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Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Endeavour lifts off with space crane
The US space shuttle Endeavour lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday carrying a giant robotic arm for the International Space Station (ISS).
The launch took place in good weather without any delays to the countdown.
He joins four US colleagues, one Russian and one Canadian on the mission.
They are due to return to Earth on 30 April.
The 'Big Arm'
The 17-metre (57-foot) robotic arm on board the shuttle will be fitted to the ISS and used as a construction crane as building work on the platform continues.
The most advanced robotic device ever sent into space, it is designed to move itself about the station wherever it is needed.
"Without it, we will not be able to complete the station."
Two spacewalks will be required to fit and connect the device.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will take part in both of them, becoming the first Canadian to walk in space.
It will be the second of three Italian cargo carriers to be launched to the space station. Leonardo hauled up supplies last month.
If all goes to plan, the Endeavour crew will dock with the ISS on Saturday.
They will meet Russian station commander Yuri Usachev and his US crewmates, Jim Voss and Susan Helms, who have been living aboard the ISS since mid-March.
The shuttle crew is bringing them a two-month supply of food, spare parts for a broken treadmill and computer pieces.
There are also a few luxuries, including Canadian salmon and Italian parmesan cheese.