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The space shuttle Atlantis finally lifted off today, following a weekend of poor weather that delayed the launch. The joint U.S.-Russian crew will dock with the Russian space station Mir andbring home two cosmonauts andastronaut Norman Thagard,who have been in space since mid-March.The 100th space shuttle mission marks the first cooperative effort in space between the two countries since the Apollo-Soyuz mission twenty years ago. It is also the beginning of an eighteen year series of joint missions that should lead to the construction of a permanent international space station.