Endeavour to deliver 6,000 US flags to space

This night, from the Kennedy launch facility in Florida, the US Endeavour will blast off and head to the International Space Station. In addition to usual orbital work, the crew of the spaceship will execute also a propaganda function. Never before have spacecraft been fitted with such an unusual load. They also have never been so carefully guarded, using battle aviation, anti-aircraft missiles, and the most up-to-date creations in the field of radar tracking. The crew headed by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Onufrienko also consists of two Americans: Carl Walz and Daniel Bursch. The cargo modules are filled with an unusual load: the shuttle is transporting to orbit 6,000 US flags, badges, arm-bands of the New York police, and a poster with photographs of the firemen killed in the WTC catastrophe.

Upon returning to the Earth, these things will be handed over to relatives of victims of the 11 September terrorist acts and to people who took part in the rescue operation. Unprecedented security measures accompany this launch, BBC reports. The shuttle is situated in a 35-mile zone guarded by US Air Force aircraft. A powerful radar observes the situation from earth. We are ready for everything, whatever could happen, Air Force colonel Samuel Dick reports from Patrick aircraft base situated near to the launch location.

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/11/29/34345.html

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