NASA begins its 2001 science odyssey with the launch of
Space Shuttle Atlantis, now scheduled for liftoff at 6:11
p.m. EST, Feb. 7. The STS-98 mission will carry the first
laboratory to the International Space Station.

The American-made Destiny module is the cornerstone for
space-based research aboard the orbiting platform. Once the
lab is in place, Destiny will also serve as the command and
control center for the space station.

“We’re looking forward to this next stage of the space
station’s construction,” said W. Michael Hawes, NASA
Associate Administrator for Space Development. “The
foundation has been laid, the electrical lines and plumbing
have been extended. We’re ready to get the lab in place and
go to work.”

Destiny will draw its power from the giant solar arrays
delivered by Endeavour in December. At the conclusion of STS-
98, the 112-ton space station will be 171 feet long, 240 feet
wide and 90 feet high, roughly the size of a three-bedroom

Atlantis and its five member crew, Commander Ken Cockrell,
Pilot Mark Polansky, and Mission Specialists Tom Jones,
Marsha Ivins and Bob Curbeam, will use the shuttle’s robotic
arm to attach Destiny to the space station. Astronauts Jones
and Curbeam will make three space walks to complete the new
laboratory’s installation, connecting power cables and other

The last space walk of STS-98 will mark the 60th
extravehicular activity (EVA) of the Shuttle program and the
100th space walk conducted by an American in space. “In 1962,
astronaut Ed White made history by walking outside his Gemini
4 space craft for 21 minutes,” added Hawes. “By 2003, we will
have spent more than 550 EVA hours on the construction of the
space station, alone.”

Astronauts Jones, Curbeam and Ivins were all born in
Baltimore, MD. Never before have so many crewmembers from one
mission hailed from the same hometown.

Ivins brings the most space flight experience to STS-98. She
has logged more than 1,000 hours in space on four previous
space shuttle flights. Ivins is also the only astronaut on
this mission to have experienced life on Russia’s Mir space
station. She was a visitor to Mir in 1997 as a member of the
STS-81 crew.

Atlantis will be the second shuttle to pay a visit to the
space station’s Expedition One crew. American commander Bill
Shepherd and fellow crewmates Sergei Krikalev and Yuri
Gidzenko have been in orbit for 11 weeks, assisting in space
station assembly, performing systems maintenance, exercising
and preparing for the arrival of STS-98 and the Destiny

Destiny is the first of six space science laboratories that
will be launched during the assembly of the station.

Additional information on the International Space Station and
STS-98 is available at:

More information on how to track and see the space station
can be found at: