The launch of the penultimate Space Shuttle Mir mission, the STS89/Endeavour, will now be delayed by about a week from 15 January as the result of a the request from Russia.

Two cosmonauts aboard the Mir space station, with US astronaut David Wolf, need to complete three spacewalks and unload a new Progress M tanker craft before the Endeavour's arrival.

The Endeavour will carry Andrew Thomas, the final NASA astronaut to work on the Mir, and will return with Wolf.

One of the orbiter's cargo bay doors suffered slight damage in its processing building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA is also evaluating the impact on the Endeavour's schedule of unusual tile damage to the orbiter Columbia found after its return from the STS87 mission on 5 December.

Source: Flight International