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.
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.
Article continues below