Endeavour lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:50 p.m. CST today, carrying three new residents and a 14-ton truss segment to the International Space Station. At the time of Endeavour's launch, the International Space Station was orbiting 240 statute miles over Southern Austria.
On board the International Space Station, the current residents - Expedition Five Commander Valery Korzun, NASA ISS Science Officer Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev - were told of Endeavour's on-time liftoff by spacecraft communicator Stan Love in the space station control center.
"Thanks so much for the play-by-play Stan. That was great," Whitson said in response to the news that the Expedition Six crew - Commander Ken Bowersox and Flight Engineers Nikolai Budarin and Don Pettit - were en route.
Once on orbit, Commander Jim Wetherbee, Pilot Paul Lockhart and Mission Specialists Mike Lopez-Alegria and John Herrington, along with Bowersox, Budarin and Pettit will begin setting up equipment on board and preparing to open the shuttle's payload bay doors to begin orbital operations.
Endeavour is scheduled to dock to the station about 3:30 p.m. central time Monday, setting the stage for Tuesday's installation of the Port One (P1) truss to the International Space Station. As was the case during Atlantis' flight last month to deliver the Starboard One truss segment, three spacewalks will be conducted by Lopez-Alegria and Herrington to help activate the new truss' systems. P1 is the third truss segment to be launched this year. It is one of 11 truss segments that will form the structural backbone for the station and provide the cooling and support for new solar arrays to be delivered to the station next year.
Endeavour's crew will go to sleep just before 1 a.m. Sunday and will be awakened just before 9 a.m. to begin its first full day in orbit. The crew will begin check-outs of the Shuttle's robot arm, the spacesuits to be worn by Lopez-Alegria and Herrington during their spacewalks and the tools and mechanisms involved in Monday's rendezvous with the ISS.
The next STS-113 mission status report will be issued Sunday morning or earlier if events warrant.
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