Challenger Learning Center Visitors Take in Discovery's Launch

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After much anticipation, at 10:39 Tuesday morning, the shuttle Discovery successfully took off from the Kennedy Space Center.

NASA says that almost nine minutes after lifting off, Discovery reached orbit, marking the return to space.

Locally, the Challenger Learning Center held a viewing of the launch.

Michelle Personette, Director of the Challenger Learning Center, says, "We hope that seeing a space shuttle launch, a lot of people will start to engage themselves in the space program. It's a wonderful way for kids to get excited about science and math."

Zack and Patrick Slayer say, "I'm so excited that they have it here and Patrick has been talking about it ever since he found out the space shuttle was gonna take off."

As the spectators counted down and discovery made its way into space, there was an air of excitement and relief in the crowd.

Katie Seitzinger, who watched the launch, says, "I thought it was really exciting. I've been waiting for this a long time."

Chris Bryant, who also watched the launch, says, "It's amazing that they get the timing down and know exactly what they're doing. It gives you a lot of confidence that the folks at NASA are doing their job right."

NASA says that during the 12-day mission to the International Space Station, Discovery's crew will deliver supplies and test techniques for inspecting and repairing the shuttle in orbit.

This was NASA's 114th shuttle launch.