France's Philippe Perrin ready to fly
Taking 'The Little Prince' to read on the trip
(CNN) -- When the space shuttle Endeavour visits the international space station, the crew is to include a novice astronaut with a big job to do and a famous book to read.
Philippe Perrin, 39 -- born in Morocco and calling Avignon, France, his home -- is scheduled to take part in three spacewalks to perform construction work on the orbiting outpost.
Perrin is a colonel in the French air force and French Space Agency (CNES), and he'll work with six-space-flight veteran Franklin Chang-Diaz to install more components and cables on an unfinished railway on the space station.
In the future, the railway is to move the station's robotic arm, allowing it to grasp and move massive pieces of equipment around the modular outpost.
The trip isn't planned as all work for Perrin. Earlier this month, he told reporters that he'll take along a copy of "Le Petit Prince," the popular children's book by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It describes a young boy's imaginary adventures to different planets.
The Endeavour crew includes two cosmonauts, Valery Korzun and Sergei Treschev. The two Russians and one American, Peggy Whitson, are to remain on the space station to begin a four-month stay.
When the shuttle returns to Earth, it's to bring home the current three station residents, who have lived in space for more than six months.
Endeavour is scheduled to begin its 12-day mission on Thursday, launching from NASA's Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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