Space Shuttle Endeavour Arrives at Launch Pad, Countdown Test Set


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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - After safely reaching its launch pad Monday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the space shuttle Endeavour now awaits its next major milestone for the upcoming STS-123 mission. A full launch dress rehearsal, known as the terminal countdown demonstration test, is scheduled to take place at Kennedy from Feb. 23 to 25.

The shuttle arrived at the pad at approximately 4:45 a.m. EST Monday on top of a giant vehicle called the crawler-transporter. The crawler-transporter began carrying Endeavour out of Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building at 11:24 p.m. Sunday, traveling less than 1 mph during the 3.4 mile journey. Endeavour was secured and firmly on the launch pad at 6:22 a.m.

Endeavour is targeted to launch March 11 on a 16-day mission to the International Space Station. The shuttle's seven crew members will deliver the first section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency's two-armed robotic system, Dextre. Five spacewalks will be conducted during the flight.

Dominic Gorie will command the STS-123 mission. Gregory H. Johnson will be the pilot. Robert L. Behnken, Mike Foreman, Rick Linnehan, Garrett Reisman and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi make up the rest of the crew. Reisman will remain on the station as a resident crew member, replacing station Flight Engineer Leopold Eyharts of the European Space Agency, who will return home on Endeavour. Eyharts launched to the station with the STS-122 crew Feb. 7.

The STS-123 astronauts and ground crews will participate in the terminal countdown demonstration test. The test provides each shuttle crew with an opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training. STS-123 is the 122nd space shuttle flight, the 21st flight for shuttle Endeavour and the 25th flight to the station.

The following media events are associated with the test. All times are Eastern.

- Feb. 23 - STS-123 Crew Arrival: the astronauts will arrive at 9:45 a.m. at the Shuttle Landing Facility and make a statement. The arrival will be broadcast live on NASA Television.

- Feb. 24 - STS-123 Crew Media Q&A: the crew will take media questions at Launch Pad 39A at 9:20 a.m. The session will be carried live on NASA TV.

- Feb. 25 - STS-123 Crew Walkout Photo Opportunity: the astronauts will depart from the Operations and Checkout Building at 7:45 a.m. in their flight entry suits in preparation for the countdown demonstration test at the launch pad. The walkout will not be broadcast live, but will be part of the NASA TV Video File.

Dates and times of events are subject to change. Schedule updates are available at 321-867-2525.

To attend crew arrival, reporters must pick up badges by 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the Pass & I.D. Building on State Road 405. For information about covering these events, including proper attire and meeting locations, credentialed media should visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/media.html

New foreign media accreditation for these events has closed. U.S. media without permanent Kennedy Space Center credentials must apply for accreditation online by 4 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, at:

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov

Video b-roll of the terminal countdown demonstration test will be available on the NASA TV Video File. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For information about the STS-123 mission and crew, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts123/index.html

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