Spectacular Launch Begins a Complex Mission

Mon, 08 Feb 2010 04:43:21 PM GMT+0530

"What a beautiful launch we had this morning... the orbiter performed extremely well," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, during the STS-130 postlaunch news conference. "This is a great start to a very complicated mission."

Jean-Jacques Dordain, European Space Agency director general, thanked NASA, the crew and the ground teams for "a very beautiful launch." Dordain said, "It was an important event. Even more important for us because the shuttle was full of European hardware."

Mike Moses, shuttle launch integration manager, said the count went unbelievably smooth. He commented how the weather constraints influenced the launch of space shuttle Endeavour and how happy he was that it all came together today. Docking is set for flight day three with three spacewalks planned to install the Tranquility node and then cupola permanently to the International Space Station. "This will be a good example of international partnerships and cooperation between the station crew and shuttle crew," said Moses.

"This was one of the smoothest countdowns ever," said Mike Leinbach, shuttle launch director. "The team was very, very energized going into the count."