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Discovery ride along!
A camera was mounted in the front of space shuttle Discovery's flight deck looking back at the astronauts during launch. This video shows the final minutes of the countdown and the ride to space with the live launch audio included. The movie shows what it would be like to launch on the shuttle with the STS-121 crew.


Shuttle from the air
A high-altitude WB-57 aircraft flying north of Discovery's launch trajectory captures this incredible aerial footage of the space shuttle's ascent from liftoff through solid rocket booster separation.


Launch experience
This is the full launch experience! The movie begins with the final readiness polls of the launch team. Countdown clocks then resume ticking from the T-minus 9 minute mark, smoothly proceeding to ignition at 2:38 p.m. Discovery rockets into orbit, as seen by ground tracker and a video camera mounted on the external tank. About 9 minutes after liftoff, the engines shut down and the tank is jettisoned as the shuttle arrives in space.


Delta 2 launches MiTEx
MiTEx -- an experimental U.S. military project to test whether the advanced technologies embedded in two miniature satellites and a new upper stage kick motor can operate through the rigors of spaceflight -- is launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a Boeing Delta 2 rocket.

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Russian spy satellite lofted

Posted: July 21, 2006

Russia launched a new military satellite into orbit today from the nation's northern space base. The cargo could be an early warning spacecraft to alert Russian forces of foreign missile launches.

The Molniya-M rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome near the Arctic Circle at 0420 GMT (12:20 a.m. EDT). It took 56 minutes for the four stage booster to finish its role in the mission by releasing its payload at 0516 GMT (1:16 a.m. EDT), the Russian news agency Novosti reported.

The satellite is expected to operate in a highly elliptical orbit carrying it to a high point of just under 25,000 miles from Earth, a low point of just over 300 miles, and an inclination of about 63 degrees. This type of orbit allows spacecraft to linger at high altitude above areas of interest for up to several hours. Molniya rockets can deliver up to 4,500 pounds to such orbits.

Russian defense officials renamed the craft Kosmos 2422 upon reaching orbit safely, but experts believe the secret satellite is likely an Oko-class spacecraft designed to monitor missile launches from foreign territory.

This morning's launch was the first for the Molniya rocket since a failure in June 2005 resulted in the loss of the booster and its cargo. Telemetry data from the vehicle indicated the third stage did not ignite and burn as planned, causing the rocket and satellite to crash in Siberia.

The Molniya rocket is heavily based on the Soyuz family, a mainstay in the Russian space program for almost 50 years. A dozen Soyuz derivatives had flown since last year's accident before today's successful launch.

The launch was also the 30th mission to reach orbit so far this year, and the second from Plesetsk Cosmodrome.