Universal Declaration of Human Rights reaches space as the ISS gets ready for crew of six
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was carried into space early this morning with the successful launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The launch of the Declaration on board Endeavour is part of a year long calendar of celebrations to mark 60 years since the document was first adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France.
Ms Rama Yade, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights within the French government, handed over a copy of the Declaration to ESA’s Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain in a special ceremony on 7 November.
Protected in space-proof packaging, the Declaration is scheduled to reach the International Space Station when Endeavour docks with the orbital outpost on 16 November. It will be stored on a permanent basis inside ESA’s Columbus space laboratory.
Also on board Space Shuttle Endeavour is new equipment for expanding the Space Station's crew capacity. From May 2009, with the arrival of the Soyuz TMA-15 crew, including ESA astronaut Frank De Winne, the ISS will for the first time have to accommodate a permanent six-member crew.
To cater for the two-fold increase in crew size, during their 15-day mission the Shuttle crew will install a new kitchen area, a second toilet and a water recycling unit in the US Destiny laboratory and two new bedrooms in the Harmony module. Endeavour also delivers new exercise equipment which is vital to help the crew stay fit in the Station's zero gravity environment.
Along with new supplies, such as food and clothes, the extra equipment for the ISS is carried inside Leonardo, the Italian-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), in the Shuttle's cargo bay.
The Shuttle crew will also perform four spacewalks during their stay at the Space Station. Their main task outside the ISS is to perform maintenance work on two solar alpha rotary joints - wagon-wheel-shaped joints on the Station’s truss that allow the electricity-generating solar arrays to rotate with the Sun. The repair is essential to allow the solar arrays to generate sufficient power needed for the increase to six crew members.
Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station at 23:13 CET (22:13 UT) on Sunday.