The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Discovery lifts off

Cape Canaveral (Florida), July 4 (AP): After two weather delays and last-minute foam trouble, Discovery and a crew of seven blasted off today on the first shuttle launch in a year, flying over objections from those within Nasa who argued for more fuel-tank repairs.

The majestic shot ' Nasa’s first on US independence day ' was only the second shuttle flight since the Columbia was brought down three-and-a-half years ago by a chunk of insulation foam breaking off the fuel tank.

The foam problem resurfaced during last July’s flight of Discovery and again yesterday, keeping the space agency debating safety all the way up to the eve of liftoff. Commander Steven Lindsey, an air force fighter pilot, was at the controls and aiming for a linkup in two days with the international space station.

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