With hardware and the weather finally in order, Atlantis lifted off at 2:46 p.m. Central time today from Launch Pad 39-B at the Kennedy Space Center to deliver the 28,000 pound Starboard 1 (S1) truss segment to the International Space Station.
Aboard Atlantis are Commander Jeff Ashby, Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialists Dave Wolf, Sandy Magnus, Piers Sellers and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. A small television camera on the shuttle's external fuel tank captured a unique view of the Earth as Atlantis headed into orbit.
Less than nine minutes after launch, Atlantis and its crewmembers settled into orbit and work began to prepare for a planned 11-day mission.
As Atlantis headed toward space, on board the ISS, Expedition 5 Commander Valery Korzun, NASA ISS Science Officer Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev were completing their 124th day in orbit and their 122nd day aboard the station. At the time of Atlantis' launch, the space station orbited 240 statute miles above the Pacific Ocean west of Ecuador.
Atlantis' crew is setting up equipment on board and preparing to open the shuttle's payload bay doors to begin orbital operations prior to heading to bed just before 9 p.m.
Atlantis is scheduled to dock to the station at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, setting the stage for the installation of the S1 truss on the starboard side of the S0 truss, which arrived at the ISS in April. Three spacewalks are scheduled during the mission by Wolf and Sellers to help activate the new truss' systems. The S1 truss is the fourth of 11 truss segments which will form the structural backbone for the station and provide the cooling and support for new solar arrays to be delivered to the station next year.
The shuttle crew will be awakened at 4:46 a.m. Tuesday to begin its first full day in orbit and to prepare for Wednesday's docking. The next STS-112 mission status report will be issued Tuesday morning after Atlantis' crew is awakened.
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