Space Shuttle Starts Critical Mission to Space Station
June 8, 2007 (LPAC)--Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off at 7:38 PM (Eastern) today, to begin an 11-day mission to add critical new capabilities to the International Space Station (ISS). In the wings, waiting for launch, are scientific laboratories to be added to the station, that have been built by the European Space Agency and Japan. Over the course of three space walks, the crew of Atlantis will be adding a pair of solar panel arrays to the station, which are needed to provide the electrical power to run the future experiments.
The main purpose of the station, which is the largest international science/engineering project ever undertaken, is research and new technology development. It is perhaps the last bastion of close U.S.-Russian cooperation, which has, so far, weathered the political crises provoked by Al Gore in the 1990s, and more recently, by this Administration.