Almost nine minutes after lifting off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Space Shuttle Discovery successfully reached orbit, marking the Shuttle fleet’s return to space. STS-114 is the first mission to fly since the loss of Shuttle Columbia and the STS-107 crew on Feb. 1, 2003.

Discovery and its seven-member crew launched at 10:39 a.m. EDT to begin the two-day journey to the International Space Station. Discovery is slated to dock with the ISS at 7:18 a.m. EDT Thursday.

The mission has several objectives. The STS-114 crew will demonstrate new methods of inspecting and repairing the Shuttle’s thermal protection system. Discovery will deliver supplies to the ISS, and the STS-114 crew will perform three spacewalks. The spacewalks tasks will include tasks to repair and outfit the ISS.

Discovery and its crew are scheduled to return to Earth on Aug. 7 at 5:46 a.m. EDT.

Fonte: NASA

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