Space Shuttle Endeavour Blasts Off into the Night Sky - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Space Shuttle Endeavour Blasts Off into the Night Sky

by Kristen Dahlgren
NBC News

FLORIDA - With a roar and a flash that lit up the night sky, the space shuttle Endeavor lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on a mission that will launch it into history.

It was only the 30th shuttle night launch ever and the second since the Columbia disaster.
 
But as the shuttle soared away from the Florida coastline, it carried more than just its crew of seven.  It was also carrying hope, literally.
 
Kibo, meaning "hope" in Japanese, is the name of the huge new Japanese science complex.  Endeavor is delivering the first piece to the International Space Station. 

It's also bringing Dextre, a Canadian robot that will do some of the outside maintenance on the ISS.

Over 16 days in five spacewalks, astronauts will attach the two new pieces, making the space station truly international.

At a press conference, Bill Gerstenmaier said NASA is, "looking forward to a very challenging time on orbit lots of activities with the space walk."

If all goes according to plan, Endeavor is also scheduled to return to earth at night.

One of the first tasks after astronauts get some sleep is to do an inspection of Endeavor to make sure they can't see any damage to the orbiter. 

So far, mission managers say it looked like a clean lift-off.

Powered by Frankly