Atlantis lifted off this afternoon despite threats both from gloomy weather and a faulty fuel sensor.
This is a huge mission as the Atlantis shuttle is taking up the Columbus science lab, a five billion (with a BUH) dollar module built by ten European nations. The lab is going to more than double the amount of science that can be done on the international space station once the Atlantis crew gets it attached and running.
I still recall in grade school getting to put down the composition and times tables once every few times a year to watch the shuttle lift off on a TV strapped down to a cart in the glorious theatre that was my classrooms. I may not always agree with the government's expense of funds, but the exploration of space never ceases to feel like a most righteous investment and spectacle.