Shuttle Lifts Off with Science Lab in Tow

The space shuttle Discovery blasted into orbit on Saturday, hauling a Japanese science toward the international space station. The $1 billion lab is the size of a school bus.

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AUDIE CORNISH, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Audie Cornish.

Space Shuttle Discovery blasted into orbit yesterday with a Japanese science lab the size of a school bus in tow. They're hauling the billion-dollar lab to the International Space Station for a rendezvous tomorrow.

Leroy Kane heads the mission management team.

Mr. LEROY KANE (Head, Mission Management Team): This is hugely important mission for the programs. We're very excited for our Japanese friends and I look forward to get on with the (unintelligible) operations.

CORNISH: Space Station crewmembers are excited about the science lab delivery but they're also anxiously awaiting delivery of a spare part, to fix a malfunctioning toilet.

Unidentified Man: Fascinating.

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