The Space Shuttle Atlantis - mission STS-115 - has been launched on its mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Atlantis launched from the Kennedy Space Center at 11:15 local time (17:15 Central European Summer Time) on Saturday. This mission resumes construction of the ISS. The shuttle and station crews will work with ground teams to install a 17.5-tonne girder-like structure, known as the P3/P4 truss, aboard the station as well as a set of giant solar arrays.
Professor Sigmar Wittig, chairman of the board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) congratulated NASA chief Michael Griffin on the successful launch of Atlantis. "As well as the launch, the STS-115 mission is important for the further development of the ISS for future scientific experiments," said Wittig.
The STS-115 mission will take eleven or twelve days. During this time, new technologies for the shuttle will be tested alongside scientific experiments, and supplies and food will be delivered. Also during the mission, three space walks (Extra Vehicular Activities, or EVAs) will take place.