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NASA moves up next space-station mission

NASA has changed the launch date of its next space shuttle mission to the International Space Station to August 7, two days earlier than the previous target, agency officials said on Thursday.
/ Source: Reuters

NASA has changed the launch date of its next space shuttle mission to the international space station to August 7, two days earlier than the previous target, agency officials said on Thursday.

The new date will give NASA a bit more time to get shuttle Endeavour off the launch pad during what is shaping up to be a busy time for rocket launches at the Eastern Test Range, which includes the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

NASA plans to launch its next Mars probe on August 3 and an Atlas launch to put a new military communications satellite into orbit is planned for August 11.

Endeavour will carry another piece of the space station's exterior beam and a large module filled with equipment and supplies. The crew includes teacher Barbara Morgan, who trained as the backup for teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe for the 1986 Challenger mission.

McAuliffe and her six crew mates were killed during liftoff due to a booster rocket failure.