Space shuttle Discovery and seven astronauts blazed into orbit Friday night, August 28th just
seconds before Saturday morning on a spectacular midnight flight to the International Space
Station. It left hauling up a five million dollar treadmill (in more than 100 pieces), which was
named after Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert along with thousands of pounds of supplies.
Discovery lit up the sky for miles around as it thundered away on NASA's third launch
attempt. Lightening flashed far in the distance, and the ascending shuttle resembled a bright
star until it blinked out of sight five minutes after liftoff.
In all, the space shuttle delivered about 17,000 pounds of gear to the space station. The
experiments included six mice that remained at the orbiting complex until the following shuttle
visit in November. Part of a bone loss study, the mice were the first mammals, other than
humans, to spend a prolonged period in the space station.
The Space Shuttle Discovery returned with Buzz Lightboard on board, the action figure toy
that had been in orbit for more than a year, courtesy of Walt Disney World.