New Delhi: After several delays NASA finally launched space shuttle Discovery on Sunday evening.
The spacecraft is on a mission to provide the International Space Station (ISS) with the fourth and final set of solar arrays.
The ISS is a research facility currently being assembled in outer space.
A hydrogen leak that temporarily stopped the mission on Wednesday did not reappear on Sunday. The ground crew apparently fixed the problem by replacing some seals and a quick-disconnect valve on the shuttle's big orange fuel tank.
Before that, valve concerns delayed the flight originally scheduled to launch in mid-February.
Because of the postponements, the mission has been shortened by a day to 13 days and one of four spacewalks has been dropped. That's because Discovery needs to leave the space station before a Russian rocket takes off March 26 to install a new crew there.
The shuttle will also deliver to the ISS its newest crew member – Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will replace flight engineer Sandra Magnus at the station.