Last updated at 16:48 BST, Thursday, 07 July 2011

Space shuttle's final mission


Report and vocabulary

The US space shuttle Atlantis will blast off for the last time on Friday 8 July ending NASA's 30-year programme.

Four crew members will be dropping off a year's worth of supplies at the International Space Station. They'll be in orbit for 12-days and travel 6.5 million kilometres during the sortie.

In total, 355 astronauts will have flown on the shuttle since the inaugural mission in 1981.


blast off: launch, take off like a rocket

dropping off: delivering

in orbit: in a position in space, travelling around the earth

sortie: mission

inaugural: the first in a series of important events or activities


Use one of the words or phrases below to complete each of these sentences from a BBC news report.

Note that you may have to change the form of a word to complete the sentence correctly.

blast off / dropping off / in orbit / sortie / inaugural

Their work will ensure the good "housekeeping" of the satellites, including the maintenance and correct positioning of the spacecraft __________ .

Speaking at an event in Dakar, Senegal, Luc Gnacadja - a UN desertification expert - said the ___________ Africa Drylands Week had ended with a very simple, yet stark, message.

Mr Tito ___________ on 28 April 2001, but only after a struggle to get anyone to take him - the US space agency Nasa refused on the grounds that he was not a trained astronaut, so it was the Russians who facilitated the trip.

A recycling barn will also be set up for festival goers to _______ cans, bottles and packaging.

Nato says it has carried out over six thousand __________ over Libya since the bombing campaign began nearly two months ago.

Now tell us what you think

This is a trial of our new video format for Wednesday's Words in the News. Tell us what you think, we'd appreciate your feedback.

Please note that we are not able to publish all comments and comments may be edited.


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    • 1. At 6:23pm on 06 Jul 2011, mmgual wrote:

      I like the new presentation of Wednesday report.

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    • 2. At 7:15pm on 06 Jul 2011, hagi wrote:

      This new format is better than the old format. I also will suggest to remove the music sound when you are reading the text so we can hear better.

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    • 3. At 7:39pm on 06 Jul 2011, mariette wrote:


      I like this videoclip. I would appreciate if the moderator could also explain the words first, not only read them.

      I also think it's a good idea to have a related BBC link, so you can read more.

      Concerning the exercise I would prefer a quiz. It's more fun.



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    • 4. At 7:48pm on 06 Jul 2011, segaudpierre wrote:

      Nice teaching skills!

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    • 5. At 7:50pm on 06 Jul 2011, Michal wrote:

      The new formula is great, much better than a previous one. Music playing in the backroudnd is irritating though, not everyone may like it. The presenter would speak a little bit faster and in more natural manner as it is in real news I think.

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    • 6. At 8:12pm on 06 Jul 2011, Walter wrote:

      This must have been a huge work, so I'm really grateful to the team that makes it real. Thanks.

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    • 7. At 8:36pm on 06 Jul 2011, mdlugosz wrote:

      Realy good repert. Keep it!

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    • 8. At 9:09pm on 06 Jul 2011, elie wrote:

      Thank you. It is interesting.

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    • 9. At 9:40pm on 06 Jul 2011, gqparolim wrote:

      The new format is quite better. Maybe you could try to include some quizzes after the text.

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    • 10. At 9:44pm on 06 Jul 2011, iRuriko wrote:

      Your new way of presenting 'The Words in the News' is extremely good. Now I can learn them visually and auditorily. This is a very effective way for us, to learn English, especially News in English. Thanks for your good jobs.

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    • 11. At 9:55pm on 06 Jul 2011, chaitas wrote:

      Much better! Congratulations! and thanks.

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    • 12. At 9:59pm on 06 Jul 2011, marco wrote:

      I think that it's a good version, more friendly, of "words in the news". Only the music makes me a little confusion when I'm concentrating on getting the right pronunciation.

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    • 13. At 11:33pm on 06 Jul 2011, mysouda wrote:

      I wish I could download the video ...

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    • 14. At 00:01am on 07 Jul 2011, hassan hureshi wrote:

      This is very useful way of teaching , I realy love this video.
      its my favorit site.

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    • 15. At 00:11am on 07 Jul 2011, mikochen wrote:

      I like this new programe

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    • 16. At 00:46am on 07 Jul 2011, Lita wrote:

      Excellent new programme! But I don´t like the loud musik together.

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    • 17. At 01:00am on 07 Jul 2011, ColombianMistery wrote:

      I love this, thank you BBC for evolve, this new format ROCKS!

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    • 18. At 01:19am on 07 Jul 2011, unmukt wrote:

      It is much better.

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    • 19. At 02:19am on 07 Jul 2011, Lenkapham wrote:

      With new presentation of this lesson, I find it is easier to remember new words.

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    • 20. At 03:23am on 07 Jul 2011, Ivy wrote:

      I think the report is too short.

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    • 21. At 03:34am on 07 Jul 2011, zeadogar wrote:

      its nice effort. thank you bbc

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    • 22. At 03:40am on 07 Jul 2011, Cristina wrote:

      I think the video format is more friendly and helps me to improve my pronuntiation since it can actually be watch. Thanks.

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    • 23. At 03:44am on 07 Jul 2011, Thanh Binh wrote:

      I love new report style.

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    • 24. At 06:58am on 07 Jul 2011, anneta wrote:

      Congratulations BBC team. I love new video programme. It's very useful.


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    • 25. At 08:33am on 07 Jul 2011, Sinnlea wrote:

      Is this VIDEO words in the news something new? Well done.
      I like it.

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    • 26. At 08:39am on 07 Jul 2011, Sinnlea wrote:

      And the lady's smile is charming. ( :

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    • 27. At 08:42am on 07 Jul 2011, mrpaol wrote:

      I think that this new presentation is useful for learning new words.

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    • 28. At 08:49am on 07 Jul 2011, pseira wrote:

      I absolutely love it!
      Please, establish it on weekly basis with lots of topics and a little bit longer reports. I am very happy with the exersise part!

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    • 29. At 09:24am on 07 Jul 2011, Sori wrote:

      Congraturations and thanks for your new video version of Words in the News.
      Just one thing: NO background music please!

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    • 30. At 09:47am on 07 Jul 2011, Husky wrote:

      I eagerly await each new release! it is best for my learn English.
      Thank you: the BBC and concerned all persons.

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    • 31. At 11:22am on 07 Jul 2011, elie wrote:

      This new format is very good. Thank you for greate work. However, I think that your site should have formats where we can quietly listen to pronunciation to learn it correctly. It would be better to remove music when teacher is giving us new words.

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    • 32. At 11:36am on 07 Jul 2011, rfpola wrote:

      I think WitN is more pleasant and attractive with the new format. Unfortunately though, the resulting report is too short.

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    • 33. At 11:55am on 07 Jul 2011, Vera_Kuzub wrote:

      I liked this video format. The only thing that I need is an opportunity to enter words in the exercise and check their correctness at once. Thank you for your work.

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    • 34. At 12:47pm on 07 Jul 2011, milton wrote:

      Your site is great. I liked your new way of presenting " Words in the News" . The exercise is good but the report is too short .

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    • 35. At 1:02pm on 07 Jul 2011, ipjmac wrote:

      Thanks for making "Words in the News" more attractive. 
      To be concrete, may I suggest that video is not a necessary way to learn, I consider it as a kind of reward after the real learning. It helps to check either how comfortable we are in listening or sometimes desperate when perturbed by images or music.  Nevertheless we have to go ahead, and video might create a more complete environment.
      The shortened text is certainly easier, maybe a bit too short, anyway, the subject could be completed by searching  on the Internet. Reducing the number of words to focus is a good idea.
      Positive is the exercise! Thank you. The teachers' worksheets about some WITN were very useful, being an isolated learner without feed-back, I used to exactly follow them and went on as a pattern along all new WITN.
      To sum up, I appreciate this evolution and particularly activities like exercises, quizzes, or any other follow up.
      Thanks, JM
      PS, is it possible to get a video which doesn't need "flash"?

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    • 36. At 2:03pm on 07 Jul 2011, dangala wrote:


      I don't like this idea. I think the video doesn't contribute much and the music I found quite ennoying.

      But what is the more important I can not download the lessson to my MP3 any more. So I definitely prefer the old format.

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    • 37. At 2:07pm on 07 Jul 2011, Wilson wrote:

      I REALLY liked the new format. It's easier when one can actually see the words being spoken. Congrats!

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    • 38. At 2:21pm on 07 Jul 2011, lofoyo wrote:

      very much engaging with visual aid! like it!
      BBC learning english programme do me great service, and have always enjoyed visiting everyday to check out latest updates.

      A note of opinion; could it be that people can choose different levels of gramme designed to challenge their current language status? more interactive features rather than take-it-or-leave-it postings?

      I think this programme has so much potential to grow given the legitimacy and recognition of BBC itself!
      love them downloadable podcasts! the best~!

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    • 39. At 2:28pm on 07 Jul 2011, jd wrote:


      I don't understand what does means the sentence:

      Four crew members will be dropping off a year's worth of supplies at the International Space Station. They'll be in orbit for 12-days and travel 6.5 million kilometres during the sortie.

      somebody can explain?



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    • 40. At 2:56pm on 07 Jul 2011, eklips2010 wrote:

      It seems like most of the people left a positive about this new Wendsday News. In my opinion, It doesn't fit with background music. So I suggest music should remove, or put relate music.
      And I want the sentence of news more longer.
      Anyways, I like this. thumbs up!

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    • 41. At 3:32pm on 07 Jul 2011, bill wrote:

      Great! I really like this new style,
      It's more interesting and more charming than the old one.
      This is a new change I deem.
      However, I agree that the background sound should be "turned down".

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    • 42. At 3:34pm on 07 Jul 2011, Nihalani wrote:

      It is excellent. Combination of video and audio will help a lot in memorizing and using words learnt.

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    • 43. At 3:44pm on 07 Jul 2011, Nihalani wrote:

      It is excellent. Combination of video and audio will help lot in memorizing and using new words because this method engages both visual and auditory senses.

      In my view, it must be continued and if possible, download option should be provided.

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    • 44. At 03:16am on 08 Jul 2011, tomo_st wrote:

      I appreciate your new programme.
      I can hear the news three times with three goals:listening news, learning words and reading scrips. I would like to keep watching this programme. Thank you very much.

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    • 45. At 03:38am on 08 Jul 2011, Hung Dung wrote:

      I do like the Wenesday's Words in the News. They' re awesome!
      In my opinion, BBC should remain the music background in reading words and report. Cause i think do so it is so realty.

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    • 46. At 04:00am on 08 Jul 2011, Bin Seinudeen wrote:

      It's nice.I like it. Good presentation. Thanks.

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    • 47. At 05:29am on 08 Jul 2011, marathoner wrote:

      Thnaks very much for the new way of learning.
      I wish to get this program as podcasts or wish to download the video that doesn't need flash.

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    • 48. At 07:13am on 08 Jul 2011, Sinnlea wrote:

      I like the BACKGROUND music very much.
      Think of a a real news clip, can you expect one without background sound?

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    • 49. At 07:20am on 08 Jul 2011, cs wrote:

      I prefer this new type to the former version. This makes learning this site much easier especially for beginners like me.

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    • 50. At 09:26am on 08 Jul 2011, palantir wrote:

      Very good, but somewhat short material

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    • 51. At 2:24pm on 08 Jul 2011, crysler23 wrote:

      Thanks! for new program.. I like it .

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    • 52. At 5:38pm on 08 Jul 2011, KKS wrote:

      the only compaint I would have is that as a teacher who used this frequently in my classes, I liked having more vocabulary picked out from the news report

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    • 53. At 12:06pm on 09 Jul 2011, Sanaz wrote:

      This style of Words in the News is great!! I like it very much,, the repetition always helps :).

      However, the background music is so distracting and is annoying :(!!

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    • 54. At 12:08pm on 09 Jul 2011, RosangelaACesar wrote:

      Good morning!

      In my opinion, this is another exercise or better other oppotunity for learning the idiom.

      I would like that the other exercises or ways are not changed, I like very much them.

      Thank you.


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    • 55. At 2:16pm on 09 Jul 2011, Yusheng wrote:

      Awesome! I'm all for this new format. Thank you very much!

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    • 56. At 9:57pm on 09 Jul 2011, sakine wrote:

      Dear BBC
      I have been reading BBC Learning Engish webside for two years.The webside is really helpfull for practise and the video news is better than the others.Thank you very much.

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    • 57. At 03:49am on 10 Jul 2011, phn_uk wrote:

      What does "a year's worth of supplies" mean?

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    • 58. At 06:57am on 10 Jul 2011, Irishka wrote:

      Thanks a lot for everyone who created this new formula)) I really appreciate it

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    • 59. At 10:30am on 10 Jul 2011, Gero Barbara wrote:

      I think this new system to propose new words and concepts is more useful than the former version. This makes learning englesh much easier especially for beginners like me.

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    • 60. At 2:32pm on 10 Jul 2011, mayaly wrote:

      Thanks ,bbc learning English . actually i appreciate your hard work , it has became very useful with video. But i would like to be in a better way if we want to practice the new words with quiz not exercise.
      Thanks again for extremely helpful program to learn English.

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    • 61. At 3:00pm on 10 Jul 2011, Marcus wrote:

      I liked so much, of this new format for watch the word in the news.

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    • 62. At 5:55pm on 10 Jul 2011, marco-it wrote:

      In my opinion, the report can even be longer... it would be better the speaker doesn't repeat very short paragraphs for so many times. Actually I would prefer she reported an article or something like that.

      On the other hand I think that video and exercise text are handsome and very useful.

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    • 63. At 7:17pm on 10 Jul 2011, lalegre wrote:

      The new formula is great, nevertheless Music playing in the backroudnd is tiring. The presenter would speak a little bit faster the last time in a more real way. Congratulations!

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    • 64. At 7:38pm on 10 Jul 2011, yury wrote:

      thank you very much for a news

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    • 65. At 10:01pm on 10 Jul 2011, Mark van de Steeg wrote:

      It's good, I like it. The music can be missed though. It would be even better if I could download the video, not only the sound, because where I teach I can't always connect to the Internet.

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    • 66. At 00:55am on 11 Jul 2011, Kay wrote:

      Unfortunately I faced a trouble on my PC while accessing this page. The detailed error message is shown below.

      My PC's OS is Microsoft Windows XP and browser is Internet Explorer8. Please note that as I am Japanese and my PC is Japanese language style, so some phrase includes Japanese character, sorry for your inconvenience.

      For your convenience I put English phrase next to Japanese phrase.

      Web ページ エラーの詳細 (Detailed info. of error in Web page)

      ユーザー エージェント(User Agent): Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
      タイムスタンプ(Time Stamp): Sun, 10 Jul 2011 23:02:11 UTC

      メッセージ(Message): オブジェクトを指定してください。(Designate the Object)
      ライン(Line): 116
      文字(Number of character): 4
      コード(Code): 0

      Maybe because of this trouble, I cannot find video part of this programme, another remaining part may be available for me.

      However from the point of view as one of funs of this programme, this tentative programme seemes very interesting.
      If I can resolve my current trouble, I believe I can provide more evaluation of this new trial.

      I think that current style is, let's say, "News initiated" style.
      On the other hand, this trilal version looks like "Exercise initiated" style.
      My lerning style is first to take out both voice and text items into my portable digital media player and digital portable reader.
      So once video item is added on this page, I wish I could add it on tablet type device, e.g. iPod, iPad or Smartphoene.
      I imagine this new learning style is so smart!

      Do you evaluate my idea?

      Anyway as I have not so many opportunity to access this page via personal computer and instead, as mentioned above, I listen the news from portable digital player and read the news from digital portable reader while moving from my home to my office every day.
      So important point for me is that voice item should be "news initiated" style for my lerning style.

      Thank you for you great proposal.

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    • 67. At 03:19am on 11 Jul 2011, wasimlion wrote:

      Nice formula, it just pasted words in my mind.

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    • 68. At 09:08am on 11 Jul 2011, Dylan wrote:

      The presenter speaks unnaturally slowly. The vocabulary is not useful: 'sortie' for example. It might have been more useful to focus on numbers and figures as a lexical field. Then more vocubulary could have been deduced from the context.

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    • 69. At 09:10am on 11 Jul 2011, Dylan wrote:

      Also 'Blast off' is mispronounced. The presenter pronounces the phrasal verb as if it were a noun, with the emphasis on the verb not adverb.

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    • 70. At 09:21am on 11 Jul 2011, warren wrote:

      I like new video programme, like backgroud music, it's excellent. thank you BBC.

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    • 71. At 1:35pm on 11 Jul 2011, elie wrote:

      Still, I like a new format very much and background music too. These five new words have stuck in my memory. The words can be memorized easily this way. Thank you for this release and I am waiting with interest for the next.

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    • 72. At 2:54pm on 11 Jul 2011, Helen wrote:

      I think the new video format is very good but the music is most annoying.

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    • 73. At 6:31pm on 11 Jul 2011, ALFONSO wrote:

      Great presentation,easy to understand...I like it!
      What is the real drive behind the execise...drag the words?...write the words? ...print out the page and then write the answers?.Whatsoever was, the main idea with this new format looks great.

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    • 74. At 00:04am on 12 Jul 2011, Shell wrote:

      I really love this new format :)

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