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Shuttle Atlantis Lifts Off for Latest Trip to Space Station - 2002-10-07

The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis has taken off from Florida on another international space station construction mission.

The Atlantis mission finally got off the ground, after a seven week delay because of emergency fuel line repairs to the entire shuttle fleet and last week's hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

The shuttle crew of four Americans, one Georgian, and one Briton is hauling up a huge girder that two of them will connect to the station during three space walks.

The 15-meter-long, 13-metric-ton aluminum truss nearly fills the huge shuttle cargo bay. It is the second of 10 segments that will eventually stretch more than 100 meters across the station to support power, cooling, and data systems for future research laboratories.

Atlantis is to dock with the space station Wednesday. The shuttle team will be the first visitors the three U.S. and Russian crew members aboard the outpost have had since the last shuttle visit in June.