Space shuttle Endeavour took off toward the space station today on one of the programme's last scheduled missions.
The pre-dawn launch from Cape Canaveral, in Florida, with six crew, was the last one scheduled to take place in darkness. Only four more shuttle flights are left.
Endeavour is carrying a new room for the International Space Station and an observation deck. These are the last major pieces for the orbiting complex.
The shuttle is scheduled to reach the space station on Wednesday. Its flight was delayed by a day by cloudy weather.
The Obama administration has yet to provide specifics on what happens after the last mission this autumn.
Nasa's back-to-the-moon Constellation programme is a casualty under the new budget plan.