Discovery successfully launched at 6:21 EDT this morning from the Kennedy Space Center. On board are a record number of female astronauts, who form part of the team delivering supplies to the International Space Station in orbit around Earth.
NASA is winding down its operations as the U.S. era of leading the mission into space is expected to be coming to an end.
This shuttle launch is one of just a handful left before NASA retires the Discovery fleet. Three more are scheduled after today’s, with the last due to take off on Sept. 16, 2010.
President Obama has already canceled the replacement manned space program known as Constellation, mainly due to the amount of money it all costs to develop and run.
Whether he and his government have any other plans remains to be seen. If not then the Russians and Chinese will likely take over as the premier space-faring nations.