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FACTBOX: Highlights of space shuttle Endeavour's mission

(Reuters) - The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour soared into orbit on Wednesday on a mission to install a Japanese-built porch for science experiments on the International Space Station.

Here are the highlights of the 16-day mission, which is NASA’s 127th shuttle flight and the 29th to the space station:

* Endeavour, making its 23rd spaceflight, will deliver to the space station the final components of the $2.4 billion Kibo laboratory, Japan’s major contribution to the $100 billion research outpost. The primary payload is an exposed platform that will be mounted on the front of the pressurized Kibo module. The Japanese lab includes a robotic arm and small airlock to tend remotely to outside science experiments.

* The astronauts will perform five spacewalks, each lasting about 6 1/2 hours. The first, by veteran spacewalker David Wolf and first-time space flier Timothy Kopra, will prepare connections for the outdoor perch, which will be installed by the space station’s robot arm later in the day.

* The perch, known officially as the Japanese Exposed Facility, measures 18 feet wide, 16 feet high and 13 feet long and weighs 4.5 tons. It can hold up to 10 experiments at a time.

* Spacewalking astronauts will replace six batteries on the station’s port, or left, solar panel wing and stash spare parts outside the station for future maintenance. The shuttle also is delivering 635 pounds (288 kg) of food and other supplies for the station crew.

* Endeavour will deliver to the space station American astronaut Kopra, who will join the recently expanded six-member crew and spend over a month on the orbiting research outpost as flight engineer. The shuttle will return to Earth with Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who has been living aboard the station since March.

Source: NASA

Reporting by Irene Klotz and Jim Loney in Cape Canaveral, Florida; Editing by Philip Barbara

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