CAPE CANAVERAL - Spaceleaders from around the world are gathering at Kennedy Space Center this weekto finalize the launch sequence for the remaining pieces of the InternationalSpace Station.
The construction of thespace station has been at a standstillsince the 2003 shuttle Columbiadisaster. After one more post-Columbiatest flight, which is set for May, NASA plans to resumeconstruction of the half-built station with about 15 shuttle missions.
The EuropeanSpace Agency has been lobbying NASA for an earlier launch of its Columbusscience laboratory, which is expected to be delivered to KSC in late May. Thecore of the Japanese section of the station - a pressurized laboratory modulenamed Kibo- is in launch preparations in the Space Station Processing Facility.
In addition to schedule,the space chiefs will discuss plans for station operations, including crew size.
Meeting with NASAAdministrator Mike Griffin will be: Virendra Jha, acting president of theCanadian Space Agency; Jean-Jacques Dordain, director-general of the EuropeanSpace Agency; Keiji Tachikawa, president of the Japanese Aerospace ExplorationAgency; and Anatolli Perminov, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency.
Many of the internationalleaders were to arrive in Brevard County on Monday night or today. The keymeeting among Griffin and his equals from other countries is Thursday.
Griffin has made completionof the station a high because of commitments made to other nations. The NASAchief has said he wants international participation in NASA's comingexpeditions to the moon and Mars.
Published under license from FLORIDA TODAY. Copyright ?2006 FLORIDA TODAY. No portion of this material may be reproduced inany way without the written consent of FLORIDATODAY.
- Air Apparent: New Oxygen Systems for the ISS
- Shuttle Flight Delays Complicate European ISS Plans
- Revised NASA Shuttle Plan Includes Most Station Hardware
- Return to Flight: NASA's Road to STS-121