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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 March 2008, 10:57 GMT
Japan's science lab takes shape
Inside the Kibo Logistics Module (Nasa)
Astronaut Takao Doi (L) climbed inside the Kibo Logistics Module
The first segment of Japan's science lab has been added to the International Space Station (ISS).

The 4.3m-long cylinder is a storage facility for the Kibo ("Hope") complex.

Astronauts used a robotic arm to lift the pressurised vessel out of space shuttle Endeavour's payload bay and lift it into position on the platform.

Meanwhile, spacewalking astronauts have begun the assembly of the Dextre robot also brought up on the shuttle and which was moved across on Thursday.

In the first of five walks on the Endeavour mission, Richard Linnehan and Garrett Reisman added hands to the robot's arms, which were packed separately for launch, on Friday.

The arms themselves will then be fitted to the robot's torso in a spacewalk on Saturday.

Dextre, currently, can only be powered when attached to the station's robotic arm because its travel pallet will not make an electrical connection with the station.

Dextre. Image: The Canadian Space Agency (
Dextre will be used for external maintenance on the station

Mission controllers said the pallet had been sent up with the wrong type of cabling.

Long-term, this was not a problem, they explained, because Dextre would not live on its travel pallet but at any of a number of attachment points directly on the space station.

The main section of Japan's Kibo complex will fly to the ISS in May.

Japanese astronaut Takao Doi has already christened the new storage component by climbing into it.

"This is a small step for one Japanese astronaut, but a giant entrance for Japan to a greater and newer space programme," Doi said.

The shuttle blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday and is scheduled to land on Wednesday 26 March.

On completion of its mission, the new European space freighter, the ATV Jules Verne, will be ordered to make a docking. It is bringing just under five tonnes of supplies to the station.

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