Shuttle to open new window on space
WITH a brilliant flash, the space shuttle Endeavour rocketed into orbit early yesterday on what is likely to be the last night-time launch for the programme.
Our pictures show the shuttle, leaving Cape Canaveral, Florida, before dawn yesterday, igniting the sky for miles around.
Thick, low clouds that had delayed a first launch attempt on Sunday returned, but then cleared away just in time. There are just four more missions scheduled this year before the shuttles are retired.
With six passengers on board, five men and one woman, Endeavour is set to arrive at the International Space Station early tomorrow.
Commander George Zamka and his crew will deliver and install Tranquility, a new room to house life-support equipment, exercise machines and a toilet, as well as a seven-windowed observation dome which has the biggest window ever sent into space -- a circle 79cm in diameter.
Both the new room and observation dome -- together exceeding $400m (€292m) in cost -- were supplied by the European Space Agency. This will be the last major construction job at the space station.