Space Shuttle Takes Off; 19/43 News Talks To Astronaut - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Space Shuttle Takes Off; 19/43 News Talks To Astronaut

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER - The space shuttle Columbia blasted off on Friday morning with two former Ohio residents on board.

Troy High School graduate Nancy Currie and former Ohio State veterinary student Richard Linnehan are among the seven-member crew on a mission to renovate the Hubble telescope.

Their launch was delayed by a day to wait for warmer weather at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The delay gave time for representatives from the U.S. Mint to send down four new Ohio quarters, which are now packed inside Currie's backpack.

Shortly before takeoff, Mission Control wished the crew well, saying their mission would provide "a better glimpse of the future."

NASA said that the shuttle should reach Hubble early Sunday morning.

When they get to outer space, the astronauts will join South Euclid native Carl Walz, who has been in orbit since last December. 19/43 News' Lynna Lai talked to Walz (pictured, above) via satellite, and surprised him with a special hello (video link, under picture).

The new astronauts will conduct a record-tying five spacewalks next week to install all the equipment on the 12-year-old telescope.

The launch was surrounded by highly tight security to guard against a possible terrorist attack.

(Copyright 2001 WorldNow. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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