Discovery Finally Lifts Off After Delays

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven have rocketed into orbit heading for the international space station.

Discovery rose from its seaside pad just as the sun was setting, a spectacular sight for a space agency eager to get the flight going.

A hydrogen leak prevented Discovery from lifting off Wednesday and, before that, hydrogen valves kept the shuttle grounded for weeks in February. Launch pad repairs took care of the leak, and the astronauts were able to board their spaceship and lift off.

The crew, which includes two former schoolteachers, should reach the international space station Tuesday.

They're delivering one last set of solar wings for the space station and some critical equipment for a relatively new water-recycling system.

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