US Endeavor Shuttle to take Russian crewman on board

The US Endeavor shuttle will April 19 head for the International Space Station, with seven astronauts aboard. One of these will be a Russian cosmonaut, 36-year-old Air Force Colonel Yuri Lonchakov, NASA spokesman at Russian Mission Control Sergei Puzanov disclosed Tuesday. According to him, the shuttle is currently gearing up for launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., where the crew of astronauts of the upcoming ISS expedition arrived Tuesday. US astronaut Kent Rominger will be heading the expedition, which is set to be his fifth space mission. The Russian cosmonaut will be making his first mission, Puzanov said. The expedition's objective is to deliver a Canadian-made building "handling arm" to the ISS, which will be used for mounting and handling cargo in space during the construction of the station, and a new Italian-made Raffaello cargo unit containing a cargo of enhanced equipment for the station. Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni of the European Space Agency will be taking care of the unit. There is no female crew this time around, the NASA spokesman said. The expedition is projected to last 11 days.

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