4 March 2011
We live in a very, very shallow layer of life giving air. It only takes the space shuttle 2 short minutes to get into space. The rest of the engine burn time is just for getting higher and going fast enough to reach orbit.
Look at the video below taken from a camera on the solid rocket booster. It separates from the shuttle at 2 minutes into the flight. When it separates, look at the Earth and the sky. You are, without doubt, in space.