Despite some worries about the weather, the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off this afternoon, bound for the International Space Station with the Columbus scientific module aboard. So many of the recent Shuttle missions have sent up this truss or that truss or worked on solar panels or other infrastructure -- at last, our astronauts will install a module that will expand our capability to conduct research in space. Assuming the installation of Columbus goes well, it also will fulfill the major remaining obligation of NASA to Europe on ISS construction. NASA still needs to launch the Japanese research module, Kibo.
Society Executive Director Lou Friedman sent me this message that he asked me to post: