Friday, February 08, 2008

Shuttle Atlantis Finally Lifts Off

Via ScienceDaily, the long delayed flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off this morning on its mission to deliver the European Space Agency's primary contribution to the International Space Station, the Columbus laboratory module.

"Columbus was onboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis when it lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 20:45 CET today. For this one-way trip to Earth orbit, Columbus is in the expert hands of a crew of seven astronauts, including two members of the European astronaut corps: LĂ©opold Eyharts of France and Hans Schlegel of Germany."

The docking with the ISS is schedule for tomorrow, with the unloading of the module from the shuttle's cargo bay, along with the attendent space walk, scheduled for Sunday. Two additional space walks will conducted to commission the module. The shuttle will undock on February 16 and is scheduled to return to Earth in Florida two days later.

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