11.16.2009

NASA Hails Fifth Shuttle Launch of 2009

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"WASHINGTON — NASA hailed the flawless liftoff of space shuttle Atlantis Monday, a space shot that marked the agency's fifth shuttle launch of the year — a flight rate not seen since 2002, before the tragic Columbia accident.

"This is a tremendous time in spaceflight," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Space Operations. "This last year we've had a very successful year."

Atlantis blasted off at 2:28 p.m. EST (1928 GMT) from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying six astronauts and a slew of large spare supplies to the International Space Station."

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