Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Kennedy Space Center and charged into the midday Florida sky on a mission to boost power on the International Space Station. The launch was on time, with liftoff at 11:15 a.m. EDT. Over the 11-day mission, the six-member crew will perform three spacewalks to install the P3/P4 integrated truss and solar arrays on the station, doubling the current power generating capability of the orbiting outpost.

Atlantis Heads for Station

The shuttle Atlantis is in orbit, headed for a challenging new phase in the construction of the International Space Station.

Commander Brent Jett and his five crewmates will install a new 17-ton segment of the station’s truss backbone, adding a new set of giant solar panels and batteries to the complex. Three spacewalks are planned.