Space shuttle Endeavour is launched

March 11, 2008 at 6:44 AM
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 11 (UPI) -- Space shuttle Endeavour roared into the dark Florida sky early Tuesday, beginning a record 16-day mission to the International Space Station.

Endeavour lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 2:28 a.m. EDT. During the STS-123 mission -- the longest flight ever taken to the ISS -- the Endeavour's seven astronauts will work with the three-member space station crew to install the first section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency's two-armed robotic system known as Dextre. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration mission will also include a record five shuttle spacewalks.

Shortly before launch, Shuttle Commander Dominic Gorie thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible and then said: "God's truly blessed us with a beautiful night to launch so let's light 'em up and give them a show."

Joining Gorie on STS-123 are pilot Gregory Johnson and astronauts Robert Behnken, Mike Foreman, Rick Linnehan, Garrett Reisman and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takao Doi.

NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of Endeavour's mission, which is the 122nd shuttle flight, the 21st for Endeavour and the 25th shuttle mission to the station.

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