Space Shuttle Columbia spews flames and smoke as it leaps off the launch pad on its 27th flight into space on mission STS-109. Liftoff occurred at 6:22:02:08 a.m. EST (11:22:02:08 GMT). The goal of the mission is the maintenance and upgrade of the Hubble Space Telescope, to be carried out in five spacewalks. The crew of STS-109 comprises Commander Scott D. Altman, Pilot Duane G. Carey, Payload Commander John M. Grunsfeld, and Mission Specialists Nancy Jane Currie, Richard M. Linnehan, James H. Newman and Michael J. Massimino. After an 11-day mission, Columbia is expected to return to Kennedy March 12 about 4:35 a.m. EST (09:35 GMT).