From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
HOUSTON - After a one day delay due to clouds, space shuttle Endeavour launched at 3:14 a.m. CST Monday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with a new module and an attached cupola for the International Space Station that should increase human understanding of our home planet. It was the last scheduled night launch in shuttle program history.
Commander George Zamka, Pilot Terry Virts and mission specialists Kay Hire, Stephen Robinson, Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken began their 13-day mission with an eight and a half minute dash to orbit to begin the pursuit of the orbital outpost, lighting up the central Florida coast as Endeavour arced to the northeast en route to space.
When Endeavour lifted off, the station was traveling at almost five miles a second about 212 miles over western Romania. Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the station at 11:09 p.m. Tuesday over the northern coast of Spain.
Aboard the station waiting to welcome Endeavour crew members are Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams, cosmonaut flight engineers Max Suraev and Oleg Kotov, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer.
Shortly after reaching orbit, Endeavour's crew began the process of converting the shuttle from a launch vehicle to an orbiting spacecraft. Payload bay doors were scheduled to be opened a little less than an hour and a half after launch. Before beginning their first sleep period in space about 9:15 a.m., crew members will check out the shuttle's robotic arm and survey the Tranquility Node 3 and its attached cupola robotic station and viewport that will be installed on the station later this week.
The crew will be awakened about 5:15 p.m. CST this afternoon for a work day that will focus on using the robotic arm and its Orbital Boom Sensor System extension to check the reinforced thermal protection on the leading edges of Endeavour's wings and nose cap for any damage that may have occurred on launch. They also will prepare for rendezvous and docking and check out the spacesuits Patrick and Behnken will wear for three spacewalks, devoted largely to installation of Tranquility and the outfitting of the new module, the cupola and a docking port that will be relocated during docked operations.
Endeavour's flight is the 130th of the shuttle program and the 32nd dedicated to station assembly, resupply and maintenance. The mission also will deliver equipment, supplies and scientific experiments to the station.
The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wakeup or earlier if warranted.
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