The STS-126 crew waves on their way to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of a 15-day flight to the International Space Station (ISS).
Front row, Commander Christopher J. Ferguson (R) and Pilot Eric A. Boe (L), second row mission specialists Donald R. Pettit (L) and Stephen G. Bowen, third row, Robert S. (Shane) Kimbrough (L), Sandra H. Magnus (C) and Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper (R).
Image: NASA: STS-126 (Kim Shiflett)
Endeavour's launch marked the 31st nighttime liftoff in NASA's 124-shuttle flight history and was made more spectacular by a nearly full moon, mission managers said. The sight seemed symbolic to some as the agency prepares to fly nine more shuttle missions after Endeavour's before retiring the fleet in 2010 and replacing it with capsule-based Orion spacecraft by 2015. Source
After 'Remarkable' Night Launch, Complex Shuttle Flight Ahead: more.
ISS Crew Views Launch: Video.
"As you saw today we arranged to have the moon out there, and that's so you can see the shuttle launching," Gerstenmaier said. "As it went past the moon, that's the perfect analogy of transition." more.
Image: NASA (Bill Ingalls)
Live Video Feed: View Full NASA Launch
5 hours ago: Space shuttle Endeavour soared off its seaside launch pad On an evening lift-off at Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, Florida) Fri.
"We wish STS-126 safe travel."
Image: NASA Blast off! (Troy Cryder)