The space shuttle is back in orbit with Missouri astronaut Bob Behnken aboard. He’ll be walking in space three times for more than 19 hours attaching a new working unit to the International Space Station. This mission is scheduled for about two weeks. The shuttle Endeavor lifted off from Cape Kennedy about 3:15 a.m., our time, today.

Behnken was born in Creve Coeur but calls St. Ann his hometown. He’s the first astronaut born in 1970 or later to fly in space. He was born July 28, 1970.

This is Behnken’s second flight aboard the shuttle He was a mission specialist aboard Endeavor’s flight to the space station in March, 2006 and logged more than 19 hours on three space walks during the 16-day mission.

On this flight he will be helping install a new observation node that will give future space station crew greater visual access to the earth and to space and will let them visually guide unmanned supply ships to the station.

Behnken has Bachelor’s degrees in physics and in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University and graduate degrees from California Institute of Technology. He was a test pilot at Edwards Air Force base working on the F-22 project.

This morning’s launch is the last scheduled night launch of the shuttle. NASA plans only four more shuttle fights before ending the program.

Interview with Bob Behnken 7:17 mp3