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Space shuttle blasts off after month's delay

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- Space shuttle Endeavour and seven astronauts are on their way to the international space station after more than a month's delay.

The shuttle blasted off early Wednesday evening, hauling up a veranda for Japan's space station lab. It was NASA's sixth attempt to launch Endeavour, and was a welcome sight for shuttle workers who had to overcome gas leaks last month and, more recently, thunderstorms. In an unexpected bonus, the launch fell on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the liftoff for man's first moon landing.

Shuttle commander Mark Polansky and his crew will reach the space station Friday. Five spacewalks are planned to hook up the new porch for the Japanese lab and perform other station work. The flight will last 16 days.