Feb 8, 2008

Atlantis Blasts Off with Columbus

After two months of delay, US space shuttle Atlantis blasted into orbit on Thursday. Atlantis is taking Europe's Columbus lab with it, to the International Space Station. Columbus is a $2 billion science lab of European Space Agency, that spent years waiting to set sail. Columbus will join the U.S. lab, Destiny, which was launched aboard Atlantis exactly seven years ago.

Atlantis and its seven-man crew safely roared away from their seaside launch pad at 2:45 p.m., overcoming fuel gauge problems that thwarted back-to-back launch attempts in December.

NASA was anxious to get Atlantis flying as soon as possible to keep alive its hopes of achieving six launches this year. The space agency faces a 2010 deadline for finishing the station and retiring the shuttles. Link


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