Space Shuttle Endeavour blasts off in successful launch [Update]

May 16, 2011

Having seen its late April launch scrubbed over a power unit problem, the Space Shuttle Endeavour has finally taken off today, taking six astronauts from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, up to the International Space Station. The team will arrive there on Wednesday, two days into a 16-day mission to deliver a Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) as well as various spare parts and scientific components, and perform experiments in low-gravity.

It's possible to track the shuttle's progress using Google Earth. NASA is making not only the craft's location but various milestones along the way public into the free 3D app, including the points where the solid rocket boosters separate, where the external tank separates, and various speed, altitude and landing events.

This is the final flight Endeavour will be used for, and will see the crew perform a total of four spacewalks, including one which will see the shuttle's orbiter boom sensor system transplanted onto the ISS. There's more information on that and other projects here [pdf].

Update: Andrew Lim threw together a photo-log of the takeoff from NASA's livestream, which you can see in the gallery below.

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