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Endeavour begins Shuttle's final year

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Endeavour begins Shuttle's final year


The space shuttle Endeavour has blasted off on what may be the remarkable vehicle’s final night launch, as it will be honourably retired at the end of the year.

After 30 years of service America’s shuttle fleet will have played a major role in near-Earth exploration and research, helping put the Hubble telescope into orbit, and building the International Space Station.

The current 13-day mission is the first of five this year, and is carrying the final two major parts needed for the ISS’s completion.

Six astronauts are on board for flight 130, which takes up life support, toilet and exercise modules, and the biggest-ever space observation cupola.

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