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'Endeavour' Shuttle Mission on Schedule for Mid-June

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, announced on May 28 that the space shuttle Endeavour is on schedule for a mid-June rendezvous with the International Space Station.

NASA's next shuttle mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for June 13. Space Station Lead Flight Director Holly Ridings says the 16-day mission will be another opportunity for international cooperation in space.

"We will have 13 people on board [the space station] representing the major countries that have astronauts and cosmonauts, and we are really excited about that aspect of it," Ridings explained.

The seven U.S. astronauts aboard the shuttle will deliver a new American crew member to the space station and bring a Japanese crew member back to Earth. The station is a joint venture between the U.S., Russian, Canadian, Japanese, and European space agencies.

This will be the first time 13 crew members will live and work together on the International Space Station. The station's mission is to serve as a platform for scientific experiments in space.

The U.S. shuttle crew will also complete construction of the Japanese Kibo Laboratory on the space station. Kibo means "hope" in Japanese and is Japan's first space laboratory, for experiments in space medicine, biology, earth observations and communications.

The six Americans and one Japanese astronaut are scheduled to return to Earth on June 29.