Space shuttle Endeavour blasted off Wednesday carrying teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan, who after more than two decades is finally carrying out the dream of Christa McAuliffe and the rest of the fallen Challenger crew.
Endeavour and its crew of seven rose from the seaside pad at 6:36 p.m. (2236 GMT), right on time, and pierced a solidly blue sky. They are expected to reach the international space station in two days.
"Good luck, godspeed and have some fun up there," launch director Michael Leinbach said.
Morgan was McAuliffe's backup for Challenger's doomed launch in 1986 and, even after two space shuttle disasters, never swayed in her dedication to NASA and the agency's on-and-off quest to send a schoolteacher into space.