STS -123 (English Space Transportation System) is the designation for a flight mission of the American Space Shuttle Endeavour NASA. It was the 122nd space shuttle mission, the 21st flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the 25th flight of the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch took place on 11 March 2008.

  • 4.1 Start
  • 4.2 Inspection and coupling
  • 4.3 Working on the ISS
  • 4.4 return


  • Dominic Gorie (4th space flight), Commander
  • Gregory H. Johnson ( first space flight), Pilot
  • Robert Behnken ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Michael Foreman ( 1 space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Richard Linnehan (4th space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Takao Doi ( second space flight), Mission Specialist ( JAXA / Japan)

ISS crew Departure

ISS Expedition 17 16/ISS-Expedition

ISS Crew Return

ISS Expedition 16

  • Léopold Eyharts ( second space flight), flight engineer (ESA / France)

Mission overview

STS -123 brought the Experiment Logistics Module ELM - PS (Experiment Logistics Module - Pressurized Section), which is part of the Japanese Kibo module and the Canadian Dextre robot hand to the International Space Station (ISS). Dextre can be attached to the ISS robotic arm and extend its remit.

STS -123 was 16 days, the longest shuttle mission to the ISS. The coupling time was 11 days and 20 hours, the highest ever. Moreover, that the astronauts with five spacewalks on another record at Shuttle Space Station flights.

Both the start and the landing took place at night. It was the second night launch since the Columbia disaster in January 2003 and the 22nd night landing since the beginning of the shuttle program in 1981.


The main payload of the mission, the first component of the Japanese Kibo module (ELM -PS), was transported to its completion by the JAXA by ship from Yokohama to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC ). After five weeks of driving, the ELM - PS met on 12 March 2007 in Florida, where it was prepared for launch.

After landing, the Endeavour on 21 August 2007 on the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC, the Space Shuttle was moved to the Orbiter Processing Facility. There were carried out the preparatory work for STS- 123.

The external tank for the mission came on 30 November at the KSC and was taken to the Vehicle Assembly Building ( VAB). Having a problem with a grommet in the tank of the previous STS-122 mission had occurred, the corresponding component was checked in this tank.

The orbiter was transferred on February 12, 2008 in the VAB, where he was connected to the external tank and two solid rocket boosters. On 18 February, the Endeavour was rolled to the launch pad.

On February 28, NASA managers met at the KSC to consider whether the Endeavour was ready to carry out the mission. Following the Special Air decrease was then confirmed on the day with the 11th March, the provisional start date.

The countdown for the mission began on March 8. Shortly before, the team from Houston was coming arrived at KSC.

Mission History


On March 10, began the three-hour filling the external tank at about 21:00 UTC. It all worked ECO sensors ( engine cutoff, low - level of switching off ), which had caused problems several times in the previous mission, normal. Scheduled lifted from the Endeavour at 6:28 UTC from the launch pad.

In this mission the first time a digital camera with flash light was installed on the underside of the orbiter, which automatically every two seconds anfertigte a photo of this after the separation of the External Tank. 45 seconds at a series of photos was created. Then stopped the camera because the distance of 40 meters had become too large to obtain meaningful photographs. This " digital Umbilical Camera Flash Module " should help to photograph the tank after separation even in the dark detail and to be able to find small pieces of insulating foam spalling.

Inspection and coupling

On the second flight day inspection of the heat shield using the orbiter boom sensor system was performed ( OBSS ). It also spacesuits were tested, which should be used during five spacewalks. Furthermore, preparations were made for docking the next day.

Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver After March 13, in which the underside of the orbiter was photographed by the crew of the space station, the Endeavour docked at 03:49 UTC to the ISS. The bulkhead between the two spacecraft were opened one and a half hours later. Later, the Sojussitz of Eyharts against was replaced by Reisman, which latter officially belonged to the ISS crew. Furthermore, preparations were made on the first spacewalk of Linnehan and Reisman. It was also the Spacelab pallet on which the disassembled Dextre was delivered, installed by the robotic arm of the station at the Mobile Transporter.

Work on the ISS

The next day (March 14 ), the first spacewalk took place, which began at 00:18 UTC. First, Linnehan and Reisman went into the cargo bay of the shuttle and caused the shipping brackets to ELM -PS. Then ELM - PS was lifted out of the cargo bay and maneuvered to Harmony. At 7:06 UTC, the module was docked to Harmony. For the first time, all countries participating in the International Space Station at least a portion of their modules in space. Simultaneously, the " dropout " began putting together Dextre. Was further enhanced, the video system of the station. The withdrawal lasted seven hours and one minute and ended at 7:19 UTC. NASA announced then that all attempts to provide Dextre on the connection system on mobile vans with electricity, were unsuccessful. Current is to be operated for Dextre " vital " to the heating elements. Technicians of the CSA, the manufacturer of Dextre tried to fix with a software update error, which did not succeed. It was therefore decided to let fall by the Canadarm2 Dextre and supply with power via.

On the fifth day of flying (March 15 ) was commissioned in ELM -PS. Together with ISS Commander Peggy Whitson opened Takao Doi at 1:23 UTC the hatches to the Japanese module. Then supply lines between Harmony and ELM - PS were moved, turned on the light and the fans turned on. Later, NASA announced that the problems with the power supply of Dextre back to a design flaw. The further procedure was not disclosed.

The second withdrawal began on 15 March ( 6 Flugtag ) at 23:49 UTC. The Mission Specialists Richard Linnehan and Michael Foreman continued assembly of the Dextre robot hand. The astronauts had problems, an arm of Dextre to break away from the Spacelab pallet, as a fastening bolt sat very firmly. Only after about half an hour they were able to release the arm and attach them to Dextre. Then they removed some heat protective covers. The application went after seven hours and eight minutes at 6:57 UTC the next day to end.

March 16, the astronauts spent to equip the ELM - PS module and to make it operational.

During the third field operations, which began on March 17 at 22:51 UTC, the assembly of Dextre was terminated. The astronauts Linnehan and Behnken installed on the robot hand a spare parts platform, a tool holder and a video camera. They also tried a MISSE experiment to bring the Columbus module, which did not succeed. The EVA ended after 6 hours and 53 minutes on 18 March at 5:44 UTC.

On the ninth day of flying, 18 March, Dextre has been tested and implemented. With the ISS robotic arm Dextre was transported from its mounting position to the laboratory Destiny. There is mounted on a bracket to which is usually attached to the Canadarm2. This holder, the power supply of Dextre is ensured. Later, other functional tests were performed. Subsequently, the Spacelab pallet on which the robot hand was placed in orbit, hoisted back into the payload bay of Endeavour.

On March 20, the fourth exit was performed. Mission Specialist Behnken and his colleague Foreman began using 22:04 UTC. First, a security module has been replaced. The main objective of these EVA was proposed for an STS-120 test methods of repair of damaged heat resistant tiles, which was then carried out. The withdrawal ended after 6 hours and 24 minutes at 4:28 UTC on 21 March.

On March 21, the heat shield of the orbiter using the OBSS - Inspektionsarms was checked. This multi- hour procedure is usually performed after the separation from the space station. This time the scan of the heat protection tiles had to be preferred because of the OBSS is left on the ISS. This is necessary because the Kibo laboratory module, which will be delivered during the next flight is too large to carry a OBSS in the shuttle.

The final spacewalk took place on March 22. Preparations have been completed so quickly that Behnken and Foreman could start the EVA 50 minutes earlier than planned at 20:34 UTC. The main task of dropping out was the migration of the OBSS from the orbiter to the S1 segment. Then Behnken installed the MISSE experiment at the European Columbus module, which was not successful during the third exit. Foreman inspected at the time the SARJ swivel on the starboard side. The withdrawal was completed on 23 March at 2:36 UTC.


With a half-hour delay, the Endeavour docked on 25 March at 12:25 UTC of the International Space Station from. The delay was due to a small problem on one of the solar panels of the ISS. The port wing initially did not lock, as is done in each case in order to avoid contamination by the exhaust gases of the shuttle itself.

The first of the two landing opportunities on March 27, has squandered the mission control after weather reconnaissance flights of the Shuttle Training Aircraft. The second landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center after 249 orbits was then used for further exploration flights. The brake firing is initiated at 23:33 UTC and took two minutes and 45 seconds. The Endeavour landed at 00:39 UTC on track 15 of the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center.

Later, the Endeavour was brought to the Orbiter Processing Facility to be prepared for their next mission (STS -126 ).