This is going to be a particularly exciting mission to watch:
The first module of the Japanese-built Kibo laboratory complex was packed inside Endeavour’s cargo bay, along with a Canadian-built robotics system that will enhance the capabilities of the International Space Station’s robotic arm.
The pressurized logistics module for the Kibo complex represents the first manned spacecraft for Japan.
“With this flight, I believe we fully became a real partner in the International Space Station project,” said Keiji Tachikawa, president of JAXA, the Japanese space agency.
Dextre is the robotics system that Endeavour lofted into orbit. With it, Canada is making a literal extension to what the nation already built. Canada built both the space shuttle robot arm and the robotic arm used on the International Space Station.
“Today we are marking another point in our space history,” said Guy Bujold, director of the Canadian Space Agency.
It will take the STS-123 crew more than two weeks in space and five spacewalks to accomplish the goals of the mission.
Stay tuned to NASA TV for the next couple of weeks.