Discovery Blasts Off Successfully

After being grounded for more than two years, NASA’s shuttle fleet has returned to service with today’s dramatic launch of the space shuttle Discovery. It lifted off right on schedule, at 1439 UTC (10:39 am EDT), and quickly sped up through the light clouds above the Kennedy Space Center. More than 100 cameras were watching the launch from every available angle, and NASA will be examining the photographs carefully to see if any debris fell off the tank and struck the shuttle. Discovery will now link up with the International Space Station in a couple of days.