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Discovery Lifts Off


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Taken From CNN.com

 

Discovery roared into the blue skies over Florida this morning, marking the first shuttle flight since the 2003 Columbia disaster. The shuttle blasted off as scheduled at 10:39 a.m., following days of troubleshooting to fix a faulty fuel sensor in its external tank. Discovery is scheduled for a 12 day mission to test new shuttle safety features and to deliver supplies to the international space station.

 

Two minutes after liftoff, Discovery's two solid fuel rocket boosters separated from the orbiter as it raced toward Earth orbit.

 

Before boarding the spacecraft, Discovery crew members, who awoke after midnight, appeared at a traditional photo opportunity wearing matching Hawaiian shirts in the crew dining room as astronaut Steve Robinson strummed a guitar. Later the crew donned space suits for their journey and, by 8:22 a.m., all seven were aboard and strapped in.

 

Commander Eileen Collins was the first to board, giving a confident wave to NASA cameras before entering the cockpit.

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