Shuttle Endeavour Launches from Cape Canaveral: 6th Attempt
The Space Shuttle Endeavour launches finally from Cape Canaveral Base in Florida, after six attempts to get it in to the atmosphere.
There were five launch delays due to weather, but Endeavour finally took off with seven astronauts on board, on the 40th anniversary of the liftoff of the first moon landing.
On July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins rocketed in to space, and now these seven astronauts are following in their footsteps, bound for the international space station.
Thunderstorms delayed the launching of Endeavour previously, but conditions improved just as the astronauts reached the launched pad, and the shuttle took off at 6:03pm ET.
Shuttle commander Mark Polansky noted that he launched the first time he strapped into the shuttle cockpit for his first flight in 2001, and the second time he strapped in for his second flight in 2006. “Today is 3rd time” for this mission, his third, he noted in a Twitter update sent before boarding the shuttle. “Hope the pattern holds.”
"It is now time to fly," launch director Pete Nickolenko told Polansky during the countdown's final minutes. "Persistence pays off."
Polansky radioed back his thanks. "We're ready to go, and we're going to take you all with us on a great mission," he said.
If the shuttle hadn't taken off by Thursday the mission would have had to be delayed till July 26 as the Russians need to make a space station supply run.