The space shuttle Endeavor crew will deliver the first part of Japan’s laboratory to the International Space Station for NASA’s 122nd shuttle flight.
The liftoff will be from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 11 at 2:28 am EST.
The crew will include shuttle commander Dominic Gorie, pilot Gregory Johnson, flight engineer Michael Foreman, Richard Linnehan, Robert Behnken, Japanese astronaut Takao Doi and space station flight engineer Garrett Reisman.
The astronauts will spend 16 days in orbit to deliver part of Japan’s Kibo complex and install a Canadian-built robot hand to the space station’s crane.
Five spacewalks are scheduled, including one to test a heat shield repair technique NASA wants to complete before clearing shuttle Atlantis for a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope later this year.
Space shuttle Atlantis returned from a space mission last week that delivered Europe’s Columbus laboratory to the space station. It left behind French astronaut Leopold Eyharts to oversee its setup. Eyharts will be replaced by Endeavour astronaut Garrett Reisman.