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September 13, 2011
Against a black night sky, the Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew head toward Earth-orbit and a scheduled link-up with the International Space Station. Liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39B occurred at 8:47 p.m. (EST) on Dec. 9, 2006 in what was the first evening shuttle launch since 2002. The STS-116 crew will link up with the station on Monday, Dec. 11, to begin a complex, week-long stay that will rewire the outpost and increase its power supply. During three spacewalks and intricate choreography with ground controllers, the astronauts will bring electrical power on line generated by a giant solar array wing delivered to the station in September.

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