Shuttle Endeavour ready for takeoff

Shuttle Endeavour
The NASA space shuttle Endeavour is due to be launched to rendezvous with the International Space Station.

The 11-day flight to the ISS will be the first for Endeavour in five years.   

The crew mission is to upgrade the station and conduct three spacewalks.

Barbara Morgan, astranaut
Barbara Morgan, astranaut

New equipment will make it possible to receive power directly from the orbital station for the first time. That will allow shuttle crews to remain in orbit for longer.

Seven astronauts are assigned to the mission, but the spotlight is on a school-teacher, Barbara Morgan. During the lift she’ll be seated on the lower deck in the middle, exactly where Christa McAuliffe sat 21 years ago.

Morgan trained 22 years ago as the backup to Challenger which exploded after liftoff in 1986.