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Discovery Lifts Off!

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Published on May 31, 2008

Space shuttle Discovery rocketed into space to begin a 14-day mission to attach a new scientific module to the International Space Station. Launch came at 5:02 p.m. EDT from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and set Discovery on a trajectory to intercept the space station in two days.

Seven astronauts flew Discovery into space, led by Commander Mark Kelly. The pilot for the mission is Ken Ham. Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan, Mike Fossum, Gregory Chamitoff and Japan's Akihiko Hoshide are the mission specialists for the flight. Chamitoff will trade places on the station with astronaut Garrett Reisman.

The group will spend most of its time in space installing the Japanese Pressurized Module to the International Space Station and then outfitting it for its work as a space science laboratory. The section is the largest habitable module for the station and is equipped with its own robotic arm. A smaller module was taken into space during a previous mission and will be moved during Discovery's mission to its permanent home atop the pressurized module. The Japanese complex is called Kibo, which is Japanese for hope.

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