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Image: Discovery launched into space
December 10, 2006
Sunita Williams on Sunday became the second woman of Indian origin after Kalpana Chawla to venture into space when the US shuttle Discovery, with seven astronauts on board, rose into the night sky on a 12-day repair mission to the International Space Station.
The shuttle blasted off with a thunderous roar in a cloud of white smoke and flame and reached orbit about nine minutes later also carrying with it a $11 million truss segment to add to the space lab.
This is the first niight launch by NASA in four years since the disintegration of space shuttle Columbia in 2003 which killed seven astronauts, including Chawla.
Photograph: Getty Images