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<i>Discovery</i> Astronauts Arrive in Florida

The seven crew members of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery have arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for Wednesday's planned shuttle launch.

Mission commander Eileen Collins and her crew flew to Florida Saturday from Houston, Texas. The U.S. space agency said on its website that the crew arrived one day early to avoid treacherous travel conditions caused by Hurricane Dennis.

The astronauts are scheduled to test new shuttle safety techniques and fly to the international space station during their 13-day mission.

The crew includes Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, the flight's mission specialist. He will take part in three spacewalks.

Discovery's scheduled launch comes more than two years after shuttle flights were grounded because of the Columbia disaster.

Discovery is scheduled to lift off at 19:51 UTC (3:51 p.m. EDT) on Wednesday.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.