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Endeavour lifting off from the Kennedy Space Centre today. AP Photo/John Raoux

Watch: Endeavour shuttle launches for final space mission

After last month’s launch was delayed due to technical issues, Endeavour has finally taken off and is heading to the International Space Station.

Updated at 14:20

NASA’S SHUTTLE Endeavour has lifted off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida for the final space mission of its 19-year career.

Commanded by astronaut Mark Kelly, the Endeavour will travel to the International Space Station where the shuttle’s six-person crew will carry out maintenance work and deliver a particle detector called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). Their mission is expected to last 16 days.

The shuttle weighed 4.5 million pounds before lifting off, but its boosters burned 11,000 pounds of fuel per second as it travelled into space. It hit speeds of 13,500mph en route.

Delayed launch

Endeavour was due to launch late last month, but take-off was cancelled just as the crew was being driven to the launch pad due to a faulty heater part. NASA said engineers would need at least a week to replace and test a switch box inside the engine compartment.

Work on the shuttle had also been temporarily suspended in April after a NASA employee fell to his death from a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Centre.

Kelly’s wife, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was seriously injured in a shooting attack in Arizona earlier this year, but travelled to Florida for the launch.

Endeavour, which has been in operation for 19 years, will be displayed at the California Science Centre in LA when it is retired after this final mission. NASA is planning just one more shuttle mission this year – the last of its 30-year space shuttle programme.

Video uploaded by RussiaToday

Watch: Endeavour shuttle launches for final space mission
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  • Space Shuttle

    Endeavour's crew. From left, Canadian-born US astronaut Greg Chamitoff, mission specialist Drew Feustel, European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori, of Italy, mission specialist Mike Fincke, British-born US astronaut, pilot Greg Johnson and commander Mark Kelly, head to Pad 39A to board the shuttle. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
  • Space Shuttle

    Space Shuttle Endeavour is seen at Cape Canaveral, Florida, this morning. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
  • Space Shuttle

    The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
  • Space Shuttle

    Photographers capture sunrise behind space shuttle Endeavour a couple of hours before today's launch. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
  • Space Shuttle

    Sunrise turns the sky red behind space shuttle Endeavour a couple of hours before launch. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

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