US space shuttle Discovery is in pursuit of the International Space Station after lifting off for its final mission.

The six astronauts aboard Discovery, which is NASA’s most travelled spaceship, will spend today surveying their rocket for signs of launch damage.

Several pieces of foam insulation broke off Discovery’s fuel tank, But NASA said it happened late enough in Thursday’s launch for it not to pose a safety concern.

As a precaution, Commander Steven Lindsey and his crew will use a 100-foot boom to inspect the vulnerable wings and nose.

Discovery is expected to reach the orbiting lab tomorrow. It is carrying a load of supplies and the first humanoid robot to fly in space.

This 11-day voyage will be Discovery’s final one before it is consigned to a museum.