Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Extra day added to Endeavour's final flight

Mark Kelly and the crew of shuttle Endeavour will stay docked at the International Space Station for an extra day next month to help perform maintenance on the orbiting research complex, NASA announced today.

The extra day extends the second-to-last shuttle mission -- the last to be flown by Endeavour -- to a planned 15 days in orbit.

Endeavour is targeted to launch at 3:47 p.m. April 29. The six-person shuttle crew would be expected to return to Kennedy Space Center at 9:51 a.m. May 14.

On the newly created Flight Day 10, NASA said the crew would perform work on the station's carbon dioxide removal system and assorted other tasks.

Discovery's final mission last month was extended two days to take advantage of the extra hands available while the shuttle was docked at the station. The shuttle astronauts helped outfit a newly installed module and pack a departing Japanese cargo spacecraft.

Endeavour's mission schedule still has a "plus one" day that could be added to handle any unexpected problems, and two days in case weather delays an on-time landing.

After landing, Endeavour will be prepared for display at the California Science Center, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden announced yesterday in a ceremony at KSC.

IMAGE: At Kennedy Space Center on April 1, the STS-134 crew took a break from a simulated launch countdown and simulated pad emergency to take a group photo on the 195-foot level of launch pad 39A. From left are, Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson, and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Andrew Feustel, Roberto Vittori, with the European Space Agency, and Greg Chamitoff. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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