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US space shuttle Endeavour lifts off
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With the arrival of the Japanese-built component, the ISS will really go "international" after 10 years of construction. The United States and Russia lead the 16-nation partnership, which also includes Canada, Japan, Brazil and 11 members of the European Space Agency.

Less than three weeks ago, shuttle Atlantis just returned home from the space station, after delivering Europe's first permanent space laboratory Columbus to the growing orbital outpost.

NASA's three service shuttles will all retire in 2010. Therefore, it hopes to finish the construction of the ISS before that deadline. There will be six shuttle flights in 2008, with five to the ISS and one service call for Hubble space telescope.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2008)
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