WASHINGTON – NASA has rescheduled the next launch of the space shuttle Discovery for Oct. 5, a week later than the original launch date, officials said Thursday.
The liftoff was pushed back as the landing date of Atlantis, a shuttle to be launched before Discovery, was rescheduled for Sept. 19, NASA said.
The seven-member crew of the Discovery, the fourth space shuttle mission to assemble the International Space Station, includes mission specialist Koichi Wakata, a Japanese national.
Wakata, who will be in charge of assembling components for the space station, will become the first Japanese astronaut to visit the station now under construction.
The space station’s service module will lift off July 12 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan on a Russian Proton rocket. The module will rendezvous and dock with the space station 14 days after its launch.
In January 1996, Wakata flew aboard the space shuttle Endeavour as the first Japanese mission specialist.