Discovery finally launches for ISS

Shuttle blasts off on solar wing mission

The space shuttle Discovery has finally been launched – with the mission to the International Space Station getting started with a lift-off late on Sunday.

The NASA mission, which will see the seven-man crew fit solar wings to the space station, has been much-delayed by valve trouble and then a hydrogen leak.

This has led to one of the four planned spacewalks being dropped from the program.

Visually beautiful

NASA Launch Director Mike Leinbach was delighted with the shuttle's blast off, saying: "This was the most visually beautiful launch I've ever seen - it was just spectacular.

"I'm very proud to be a part of this team."

Discovery will leave the ISS before a Russian rocket will arrive with a fresh crew for the station on March 26.

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Patrick (Twitter) is Global Editor-in-Chief for techradar, and has been with the site since its launch in 2008. He is a longstanding judge of the T3 Awards, been quoted or seen on everything from the The Sun to Sky News and is on the #CoolBrands Council. He started his career in football, making him one of approximately one journalists to have covered both a World Cup final and an iPhone launch.