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Shuttle actually lifts off

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The Shuttle Discovery successfully blasted off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Centre, at 10:39am local time, 15:39 BST, today. It is the first Shuttle to do so since the loss of the Columbia in 2003.

NASA TV followed the flight from the ground as the Shuttle rose from the launch pad, and dwindled to a bright spot in the sky. Once the twin solid rockets, were successfully separated, the coverage switched to an on board camera (fixed to the external fuel tank) which followed the spacecraft up into orbit.

Anyone watching could see the Earth's horizon becoming more and more curved, until eventually Discovery separated from the external fuel tanks at nearly 100 miles above the Earth.

Shuttle Discovery will remain in orbit for 12 days, where it will deliver much needed supplies to the International Space Station. It is scheduled to land back at the Kennedy Space Centre on 7 August. ®

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