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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

NASA Launches Space Shuttle Endeavour on Final Voyage

 CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The space shuttle Endeavour, the youngest orbiter in NASA's fleet, soared into the morning sky Monday to begin the final mission of its 19-year career.

Endeavour blazed a path through the sky here at the Kennedy Space Center at 8:56 a.m. EDT (1256 GMT), lifting off from the seaside Launch Pad 39A."It was a fantastic launch, a really great day for us," shuttle mission management team chair Mike Moses said after the launch. "We're happy to be in orbit."

The shuttle and its six-man crew are bound for the International Space Station, where they will spend 16 days delivering spare supplies and an ambitious astrophysics experiment.

"Looks like a great day to launch Endeavour for the final time," launch director Mike Leinbach told the crew as the minutes and seconds ticked down to liftoff. "On behalf of thousands of proud Americans who've been part of the journey, good luck, godspeed, see you back here on June 1."

Endeavour's commander Mark Kelly also shared some poignant words just prior to the launch.

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