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Atlantis launches on mission to space station
Posted: Thu, Jul 12, 2001, 6:49 AM ET (1049 GMT)
STS-104 launch of Atlantis (NASA) The space shuttle Atlantis lifted off early Thursday morning on a mission to the International Space Station. Atlantis lifted off on schedule at 5:04 am EDT (0904 GMT) from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. There were no problems reported during the countdown or after liftoff, and the poor weather that was a concern in the days leading up to the launch did not materialize. The main purpose of the STS-104 mission is to install an airlock module on the Unity module of the station that will allow station crews to perform spacewalks; currently, spacewalks can only take place when the shuttle is docked to the station. The launch of Atlantis was delayed by a month because of problem with the Canadarm2 robotic arm installed on the station in April. NASA had to wait until the arm problems were resolved as the arm will be used to move the airlock module into place. Atlantis is scheduled to dock with the station at 10:51 pm EDT Friday (0251 GMT Saturday) and remain there for a week.
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