ENDEAVOUR LIFTS OFF
Photo courtesy: NASA2:28 a.m. EDT – Brilliantly lighting up the dark sky, space shuttle Endeavour roared off the launch pad carrying the STS-123 crew, a module of Japan's Kibo laboratory and a Canadian robotic system to begin the 25th mission to the International Space Station.
About the Mission
NASA astronaut Dominic Gorie commands a crew of six, including Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan, Robert L. Behnken, Mike Foreman, Garrett Reisman and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi. Johnson, Behnken and Foreman will be making their first spaceflight.
During the 16-day mission, the crew's two prime objectives are to deliver and attach to the International Space Station the first component of Japan's new laboratory called Kibo, as well as Canada's new robotics system, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre. STS-123 is the 25th shuttle mission to the International Space Station.
Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Leopold Eyharts, who arrived at the station aboard Atlantis in February, will return to Earth with the Endeavour crew as Reisman takes his place on the station.