NASA approves May 31 space shuttle launch

May 20, 2008 at 12:53 PM
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 20 (UPI) -- National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials have selected May 31 as the launch date for space shuttle Discovery's STS-124 mission.

Commander Mark Kelly and his six crewmates are scheduled to lift off for the International Space Station at 5:02 p.m. EDT that day.

Discovery's 14-day flight will carry the largest payload so far to the station and the mission will include three spacewalks. It's the second of three flights to carry components to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. The crew will install Kibo's large Japanese Pressurized Module and Kibo's robotic arm system.

Discovery also will deliver new station crew member Greg Chamitoff and bring Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman back to Earth after a three-month stay aboard the space station.

Kelly will be joined on STS-124 by U.S. astronauts Ken Ham, Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan, Mike Fossum, Chamitoff and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

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