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US shuttle Endeavour blasts off

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US shuttle Endeavour blasts off

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The US space shuttle Endeavour has blasted off on its last ever night launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Six astronauts are on board … their task, installing the last two main pieces of the International Space Station.

During the 13-day mission the crew will fit a connecting hub and a dome-shaped cupola with seven windows providing panoramic views of the stars for the occupants.

But the dome’s primary function is as an observation tower which will be used to control robots working on the exterior of the platform.

The mission is an important milestone for the European Space Agency.

Both new modules are Italian made and they will add the finishing touches to the ISS which has been under construction since 1998.

Four more shuttle missions remain to deliver cargo platforms, spare parts and experiments before the fleet is retired next year.