Night launch for shuttle Discovery

A mission to the international space station begins from the Kennedy Space Centre.

    The launch marks the fourth shuttle expedition since Colombia disintegrated over Earth in 2003

    It is the first night launch since Endeavour lifted off on November 23, 2002.

     

    Space station

     

    Nasa plans to finish building the space station by 2010, when the shuttle fleet, now down to three craft, is to be retired.

     

    The three shuttle launches following the loss of Colombia - in August 2005, and in July and September 2006 - were scheduled during daylight so the exterior of the shuttle could be closely monitored for loose insulating material on the craft during take-off.

     

    A piece of insulating foam damaged Columbia's heat shield shortly after launch, leading to the shuttle disintegrating upon re-entry into the atmosphere.

     

    The September 2006 shuttle launch marked the resumption of the space station’s construction, after the previous two missions focused on improving safety.

     

    A pair of power-producing solar arrays were added to the ISS in September and will be activated during the Discovery mission.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.