Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne report that Atlantis lifted off from its Florida launchpad on schedule, reached orbit and is on its way to the International Space Station. From Johnson Space Center in Houston, NPR's Wade Goodwyn relays what's happening at Mission Control; and NPR science correspondent Joe Palca talks about what's next for Americans in space.
Counting down to NASA's final space shuttle launch Friday, Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne share footage from the shuttle program's roaring start 30 years ago. NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports a celebratory but bittersweet mood at Kennedy Space Center, and NPR's Greg Allen reports from crowds viewing the launchpad from Florida's Space Coast. And finally, Greenfieldboyce narrates the lift-off.
The "Barbershop" guys weigh in on Casey Anthony's murder trial, Time Magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin's off-color remark about President Obama, and the cancellation of Eliot Spitzer's show on CNN. Host Michel Martin hears from author Jimi Izrael, civil rights attorney Arsalan Iftikhar, syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, and political science professor Lester Spence.
Governor Dayton and the Republican-controlled legislature are at odds about resolving the deficit. Thousands are out of work and many state services have halted. To learn more about how locals are affected, host Michel Martin speaks with Minnesota Public Radio News reporter Catharine Richert, the Council on Black Minnesotans' Lester Collins, and Life Track Resource's TrixieAnn Golberg.
After decades of brutal civil war with the north, South Sudan will become its own country on Saturday. But challenges related to illiteracy, infrastructure and oil remain ahead. Host Michel Martin discusses the secession with Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, West Africa correspondent for NPR, and Rebecca Hamilton, author of Fighting for Darfur.