National

Apr 5, 2010 8:46 AM by Associated Press

Space shuttle Discovery, 7 astronauts in orbit

Space shuttle Discovery's launch into orbit this morning has clinched a record for the most women in space at the same time -- four. That includes the three female Discovery crew members and a woman on the space station.

Discovery began one of NASA's final stockpiling missions to the International Space Station in the pre-dawn darkness, its takeoff flames bringing an early dawn to the coast. The shuttle should arrive at the orbiting outpost Wednesday.

In a rare treat, the space station passed over the launch site 15 minutes before Discovery blasted off and was easily visible, resembling a big, brilliant star in the clear morning sky with the moon as a dramatic backdrop.

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