Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Friday, December 4, 1998 Published at 08:58 GMT

Endeavour blasts off

A perfect launch over Florida

The space shuttle Endeavour executed a perfect launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its mission to start construction work on the International Space Station.

The successful launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour
It left the launch pad right on the scheduled blast-off time of 0335 EST (0834 GMT) and quickly rolled into the correct trajectory that would take it into orbit.

There was no repeat of the aborted launch on Thursday when an alarm had sounded in the Shuttle cockpit forcing Endeavour to stand down for 24 hours.

Watch Nasa's simulation of the Endeavour mission
"We're ready to start on a new era of international co-operation in space and get this space station built," said Endeavour commander Robert Cabana moments before the final launch sequence began. "Let's go do this."

[ image: The crew's mission will last 11 days]
The crew's mission will last 11 days
Endeavour is now chasing the Zarya module, the first component in the space station project. It was launched last month from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

It will be two days before Endeavour and Zarya are united. The shuttle crew of five Americans and one Russian will then attach a 13-tonne, six-sided hub called Unity to Zarya.

The lift-off from Cape Canaveral
Two astronauts will have to make three, six-hour-long spacewalks some 340 kilometres (210 miles) above Earth to get the work done.

Endeavour will also deploy two experimental satellites: an Argentine one called SAC-A, and a US satellite called MightySat 1, developed by the US Air Force Phillips Laboratory.

The BBC's Leo Enright: "One more step on the road to Mars"
The Unity module will become the primary docking port for future shuttle missions during construction of the multi-billion-dollar space station. A third, Russian module will be sent up in mid-1999.

This will be the crucial mission in the early construction of the space station because the power from the third module will allow the growing structure to maintain a constant orbit.

The first crew should arrive in 2000, with the station becoming fully operational in 2004.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Relevant Stories

16 Nov 98 | ISS
ISS timeline

20 Nov 98 | ISS
The Space Station era dawns

Internet Links

STS-88 Countdown Page (Nasa)

ISS (Nasa)

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Shuttle makes night landing

Shuttle launches 'disco ball'

Shuttle astronauts head home

Space station astronauts unpack bags

Space station repairs begin

Shuttle docks at space station

Perfect launch for Discovery

Hearing lost in space

New test for space 'lifeboat'

Astronauts cross new threshold

Space station comes alive

Unity and Zarya are one