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Space shuttle makes successful launch, heads for ISS

RIA Novosti

09/06/2007 10:03 CAPE CANAVERAL (U.S.) June 9 (RIA Novosti) - The Atlantis space shuttle completed a successful lift off from Kennedy space center on a 11-day mission on the International Space Station, its first since December.

The shuttle launch, which was delayed for three months, took off on time at 11.38 p.m. GMT Friday and entered orbit ten minutes later, it will dock with the ISS Sunday.

While on board the ISS the seven-man crew will carry out three space walks installing a truss segment and solar panels.

The crew is led by Commander Rick Sturckow, co-pilot Lee Archambault with mission specialists Jim Reilly, Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, John Olivas and Clayton Anderson. It is the first space mission for Archambault, Olivas, Swanson, and Anderson.

Anderson will remain on the ISS replacing Sunita Williams, who is currently part of the 15 Expedition crew, has been on the ISS since December, and will return on the shuttle Discovery in October 2007.

The shuttle is due to land at Cape Canaveral on June 19.

The launch planned for March 2007 was delayed following a hail storm which ruptured the insulating foam on the spacecraft's tank.

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