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Last Updated: Tuesday July 26 2005 15:34 GMT

Discovery space shuttle takes off

Discovery takes off

After weeks of delays, the Discovery space shuttle has successfully blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center.

The shuttle, carrying seven astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), roared into the sky above Cape Canaveral at 1039 local time.

Discovery is on a 12-day mission to take food supplies to the ISS.

It's the first time a shuttle has been launched by Nasa since 2003, when the Columbia orbiter broke up killing all seven astronauts on board.

SHUTTLE RETURN TO FLIGHT
Mission known as STS-114
Discovery's 31st flight
17th orbiter flight to ISS
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Launch Pad 39B
Discovery crew: Collins, Kelly, Noguchi, Robinson, Thomas, Lawrence and Camarda

The Columbia accident happened as the shuttle re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, and Nasa experts say they have learnt a lot from the disaster, allowing them to make this flight safer.

Delays

The launch date for Discovery was delayed by 13 days after a problem was detected with the fuel sensor.

But after safety checks the flight was re-scheduled, and Nasa engineers finally gave the go-ahead for the shuttle to take-off on Tuesday morning.

Discovery is due to return to Earth on the morning of 7 August.