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Rediff News  All News  » News » Atlantis blasts off on mission to international space station

Atlantis blasts off on mission to international space station

September 09, 2006 22:06 IST

Cape Canaveral, Florida

Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on Saturday with six astronauts on a mission to resume construction of the International Space Station for the first time since the Columbia disaster three-and-a-half-years ago.

Atlantis carries a heavy payload -- a 17.5 tonne truss section that will be added to the yet to be completed space station.

The blast off happened at 2045 IST (11:15 am local time).

Scientists monitored the take off via numerous cameras to watch out for any trouble.

The scrutiny is very essential since the previous shuttle on a mission to the International Space Station, Columbia, crashed due to a problem that arose after hard foam broke off the external fuel tank.