Shuttle crew loading space station
The shuttle is scheduled to stay in orbit for 12 or 13 days -- NASA wants to extend the mission if possible -- getting the space station fixed up. Most of the cargo is in a module called Raffaelo.
"The 21-foot long, 15-foot diameter Raffaello is packed with 9,403 pounds of spare parts, spare equipment, and other supplies -- including 2,677 pounds of food -- that will sustain space station operations for a year," NASA said ina statement.
The shuttle program is being retired after 30 years. NASA has been contracting out human space travel to private, U.S. companies. Until they can finish a new system for getting people into space, NASA will rely on Russian missions to get astronauts to and from the space station.