Space Shuttle

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Space Shuttle Discovery is on its way to the international space station.

It's NASA's 114th shuttle liftoff, and it's expected to be a 12-day flight.

During the mission, Commander Eileen Collins and her crew will deliver supplies to the international space station and test new techniques for inspecting and patching the shuttle in orbit.

The astronauts will try out the repair kits on deliberately broken samples of thermal tiles and panels. They also will spend their first full day in space using a remote-control, 50-foot boom to inspect the shuttle's most vulnerable areas for any cracks and holes.

Discovery is hauling an almost three-year back order of supplies and replacement parts to the half-built space station and its two residents. Construction has been on hold since the last shuttle visit in late 2002.

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