Bruce Buckingham

Kennedy Space Center, FL

(Phone: 321/867-2468)

James Hartsfield

Johnson Space Center, TX

(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: J00-78

The launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour has been set for Thursday,
Nov. 30, 2000, on a mission of space flight firsts that will spread
giant solar array wings — the longest structure ever in space — above
the International Space Station, providing it with more power than any
previous spacecraft.

“This mission will assemble the heaviest, largest and most complex piece
of the International Space Station to date,” Space Shuttle Program
Manager Ron Dittemore said. “Every Shuttle flight for the next year
carries its own set of firsts. But this mission, unfolding solar arrays
of historic proportions, will make the challenge and grandeur of this
entire venture more apparent than will any other single flight. It’s a
great mission to complete a very safe and successful year for the Space
Shuttle team coast to coast.”

Endeavour’s liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center on Shuttle mission
STS-97 is targeted for 10:06 p.m. EST, in a launch window that will be
less than five minutes long. Endeavour and its five-man crew will carry
aloft a 17-ton package of immense solar arrays and their associated
batteries, electronics and cooling equipment to be attached to the
International Space Station. Once deployed, this first set of
U.S.-developed arrays — three more sets of arrays will be added in
coming years — will measure 240 feet tip-to-tip and power the first
station science experiments and laboratory, the U.S. Destiny Lab, to be
launched on the next shuttle flight, STS-98 in January 2001.

Veteran Astronaut Brent Jett (Cmdr., USN) will command the mission.
Michael Bloomfield (Lt. Col., USAF) will serve as pilot. They will be
accompanied by Mission Specialists Joe Tanner, Carlos Noriega (Lt. Col.,
USMC) and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Marc Garneau. Tanner and
Noriega will perform spacewalks during the mission to install the arrays
and prepare for the laboratory’s arrival next year. Endeavour also will
be the first Shuttle to visit an inhabited International Space Station,
dropping off supplies and equipment for the three-person station crew —
Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei
Krikalev — that has been aboard the outpost since Nov. 2.