July 16, 2009 08:02
The U.S. space agency NASA has finally launched the space shuttle Endeavour for a mission to the International Space Station, after five unsuccessful attempts in recent weeks.
The shuttle launched from the Kennedy Space Center on the southeastern U.S. state of Florida, late Wednesday. Seven crew members are aboard, on their way to the space station to add another piece to a Japanese laboratory known as Kibo, or "hope."
The crew will conduct a series of spacewalks over two weeks. One of the tasks involves mounting a platform outside the Kibo lab for experiments that require exposure to the vacuum of space.
The shuttle's payload also includes batteries and spare parts for the orbiting space station.
Endeavour is carrying astronaut Timothy Kopra to take the place of Japan's Koichi Wakata, who has been on the space station since March.
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