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Endeavour crew completes dress rehearsal for next Space Station launch

The seven astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-126 crew portrait. NASA photo

WASHINGTON (BNS): The crew of STS-126 returned to Johnson Space Center in Houston on Wednesday after completing three days of intense training at Kennedy Space Center. The team of seven astronauts had a full countdown dress rehearsal on Wednesday morning.

Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver equipment to the International Space Station (ISS) which will enable larger crews to reside aboard the complex. The 27th shuttle mission to the ISS is scheduled to lift off on November 14 at 7:55 pm EST with 19,000 pounds of equipment and supplies.

The astronauts took their assigned seats in Shuttle Endeavour, during the standard countdown simulation. “They spent about three hours running through the same procedures they will use on launch day,” NASA said. The crew will fly to Kennedy Space Center just four days before the scheduled launch date to begin the final countdown.

The cargo module Leonardo will be lifted out of Endeavour’s payload bay and attached to the station, while astronauts transfer the gear. Near the end of the flight, Leonardo will be returned to Endeavour’s cargo bay for the trip back to Earth, NASA said.

Veteran space flier Navy Captain Christopher J Ferguson will command the STS-126 mission aboard Endeavour to deliver equipment to the Space Station that will enable larger crews to reside aboard the complex.

Air Force Lt Col Eric A Boe will serve as the pilot. The mission specialists are Navy Capt Stephen G Bowen, Army Lt Col Robert S Kimbrough, Navy Capt Heidemarie M Stefanyshyn-Piper and NASA astronauts Donald R Pettit and Sandra H Magnus.

Magnus will remain on the station, replacing Expedition 17/18 Flight Engineer Gregory E Chamitoff, who returns to Earth with the STS-126 crew. Magnus will serve as a flight engineer and NASA science officer for Expedition 18. Magnus will return to Earth on shuttle mission STS-119.

Endeavour will carry a reusable logistics module that will hold supplies and equipment, including additional crew quarters, additional exercise equipment, equipment for the regenerative life support system and spare hardware.

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