Atlantis Blasts Off

9-8-06 - KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) - It turns out some foam did fall off the shuttle Atlantis during today's launch. But NASA doesn't seem
to think it's anything to worry about.

NASA says two bits of hard foam came off more than four minutes into the launch -- a point when there's less of a threat.

Mission Control told the crew one chunk of foam appeared to hit the shuttle's belly, but "it didn't look like there was any damage."

Falling foam is what damaged the shuttle Columbia in 2003, causing it to break apart on re-entry.

During today's launch NASA also observed some ice falling off after the shuttle had reached orbit, but said it was no cause for worry.

Launch director Mike Leinbach called the liftoff "really, really clean." NASA Administrator Michael Griffin described it as "majestic."