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Saturday, December 9, 2006

Into the wild blue yonder

NEEDHAM

shuttlelaunch2.jpg

(NASA photo)

Flashes of flame from space shuttle Discovery lit up the darkened sky Saturday as the space shuttle blazed off the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Fla. for the first nighttime liftoff in four years.

Sunita Williams, who grew up in Needham, and the six other astronauts are on a mission to rewire the international space station, one leg of a three-year race to finish construction on the orbiting outpost before shuttles are retired in 2010.

The illumination from the shuttle turned night into day for the spectators at the Kennedy Space Center. A cloudy sky with blustery winds earlier in the day gave way to clear skies and a gentle breeze at launch time.

-- AP

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