NASA said the liftoff was greeted with cheers and shouts throughout the Space Center as Endeavour, carrying the STS-118 crew, began the 22nd mission to the space station. The mission is scheduled to continue space station construction by delivering a third starboard truss segment.
The STS-118 mission is the first for astronaut Barbara Morgan, a teacher-turned-astronaut whose association with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration began more than 20 years ago. She had been the backup for teacher-astronaut Christa McAuliffe, who died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986.
First lady Laura Bush called Morgan Tuesday to offer congratulations "one schoolteacher to another," and to thank her for her commitment to the space program and to education.
The flight is the first for Endeavour since 2002.