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Delayed shuttle finally launched into orbit

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Delayed shuttle finally launched into orbit

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The US space shuttle Endeavour has blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on a 16-day mission carrying the final piece of Japan’s research laboratory to the International Space Station.

The crew of seven are to join the station’s six astronauts to install an external experiments platform, the last componant of Japan’s 1.7 billion euro Kibo laboratory. After five delays due to fuel leaks, lightning and bad weather the spacecraft finally began its journey to the outpost which has been under construction for more than a decade. NASA now has seven more shuttle flights to complete the 16 nation project before the fleet is withdrawn from service next year.