The U.S. space agency says the countdown is on track for a Friday
evening launch of the space shuttle Endeavour to the International
NASA officials say all systems are in good shape
and that weather conditions for the scheduled launch from the Kennedy
Space Center in the U.S. state of Florida are likely to be favorable.
The lift-off is scheduled for 7:55 p.m. EST.
The shuttle will carry seven astronauts and components to increase living space on the space station.
part of their 15-day mission, the astronauts will deliver two new
sleeping units, a bathroom, a kitchenette and exercise equipment. They
will also install a new system to recycle waste-water into safe drinking
Endeavour is also delivering a new member of the space
station crew. American Sandra Magnus will replace U.S. astronaut
Spacewalks are also scheduled during the
mission to repair a broken solar panel array on the space station. The
array has not been rotating properly because its joint is clogged with
The Endeavour mission is the last U.S. shuttle
flight scheduled for this year. A mission scheduled for last month to
conduct repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope has been postponed until
May 2009. Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth on November 29.
NASA plans to retire the shuttle fleet in 2010.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.