Delayed shuttle mission begins

June 8, 2007 at 10:22 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 8 (UPI) -- The Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Cape Canaveral into the Florida twilight Friday after more than two months of delays.

The Atlantis crew is scheduled to spend 11 days in space. The mission includes attaching solar arrays to the International Space Station, The Miami Herald reported.

The shuttle is also serving as a taxi for Clay Anderson, who is scheduled for a four-month stint at the space station, and for Sunita Williams, who is to return to Earth after being on the station since December.

The Atlantis launch was originally scheduled for March 15, but a hail storm while the shuttle was on the pad damaged the hull.

Thousands of white patches speckled the hull when the shuttle finally took off.

The launch was the first this year for the U.S. shuttle program.

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