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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Discovery to deliver relief crew
Crew Nasa
Expedition Three won't return until December
The International Space Station (ISS) is about to receive its third crew.

Shuttle AP
Discovery is ready for launch
They will travel into orbit on Thursday aboard the Discovery shuttle, which is primed and ready on its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, US.

The American space agency's (Nasa) forecasters say there is a 60% chance of clear weather. Blast-off has been scheduled for 1738 EDT (2138 GMT).

As well as Expedition Three, the shuttle will also drop off a spare command-and-control computer, food, clothes, towels, tools, science experiments, photo equipment and a sleeping bunk.

December return

The new crew is made up of one American, Commander Frank Culbertson, and two Russians, Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin.

During their time on the ISS, they will conduct three space walks - leaving the platform through its new airlock - and undertake scientific experiments.

The crew will also oversee the arrival of a Russian docking compartment and welcome the arrival of two Progress cargo ships.

Expedition Three will be relieved by Expedition Four in early December.

Discovery's mission lasts just over 11 days. Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and his two flight engineers, Susan Helms and Jim Voss, will join the return flight.

The BBC's Andrew Craig
"The shuttle will deliver equipment to be tested in space"
See also:

24 Jul 01 | Sci/Tech
Shuttle completes vital ISS mission
22 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Shuttle astronauts armed and ready
14 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
Space station crews change over
30 Oct 00 | Space station
Space exploration: Chapter four
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