The thunderous sound of applause and rocket engines erupted across Kennedy Space Center, Fla., as Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Launch Pad 39B for NASA’s Return to Flight mission. Commanded by Eileen Collins and carrying an international crew of seven astronauts, the Space Shuttle soared over the Atlantic Ocean as it left Florida’s eastern shores and climbed into the sky. Discovery is on a 12-day flight to deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. The STS-114 mission comes after a two and a half year initiative to reinforce the orbiters and improve the safety of the Space Shuttle fleet.
With the clearing of the launch pad tower and Discovery in orbit, the vehicle and its crew now begins the two-day chase to rendezvous with the International Space Station.