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STS122-S-006 (7 Feb. 2008) --- After suiting up, the STS-122 crewmembers exit the Operations and Checkout Building to board the Astrovan, which will take them to launch pad 39A for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-122 mission. On the right (front to back) are astronauts Steve Frick, commander; Rex Walheim and European Space Agency's (ESA) Hans Schlegel, both mission specialists. On the left (front to back) are astronauts Alan Poindexter, pilot; Leland Melvin, Stanley Love and ESA's Leopold Eyharts, all mission specialists. The launch will be the third attempt for Atlantis since December 2007 to carry the ESA Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS). During the 11-day mission, the crew's prime objective is to attach the laboratory to the Harmony module, adding to the station's size and capabilities. Eyharts will join Expedition 16 in progress to serve as a flight engineer aboard the ISS. 08pd0200.jpg

STS122-S-006 (7 Feb. 2008) --- After suiting up, the STS-122 crewmembers exit the Operations and Checkout Building to board the Astrovan, which will take them to launch pad 39A for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-122 mission. On the right (front to back) are astronauts Steve Frick, commander; Rex Walheim and European Space Agency's (ESA) Hans Schlegel, both mission specialists. On the left (front to back) are astronauts Alan Poindexter, pilot; Leland Melvin, Stanley Love and ESA's Leopold Eyharts, all mission specialists. The launch will be the third attempt for Atlantis since December 2007 to carry the ESA Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS). During the 11-day mission, the crew's prime objective is to attach the laboratory to the Harmony module, adding to the station's size and capabilities. Eyharts will join Expedition 16 in progress to serve as a flight engineer aboard the ISS. 08pd0200.jpg

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STS122-S-006 (7 Feb. 2008) --- After suiting up, the STS-122 crewmembers exit the Operations and Checkout Building to board the Astrovan, which will take them to launch pad 39A for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-122 mission. On the right (front to back) are astronauts Steve Frick, commander; Rex Walheim and European Space Agency's (ESA) Hans Schlegel, both mission specialists. On the left (front to back) are astronauts Alan Poindexter, pilot; Leland Melvin, Stanley Love and ESA's Leopold Eyharts, all mission specialists. The launch will be the third attempt for Atlantis since December 2007 to carry the ESA Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS). During the 11-day mission, the crew's prime objective is to attach the laboratory to the Harmony module, adding to the station's size and capabilities. Eyharts will join Expedition 16 in progress to serve as a flight engineer aboard the ISS.

The Space Shuttle program was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972. The Space Shuttle system—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank— carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). When its mission was complete, the orbiter would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a glider. Although the concept had been explored since the late 1960s, the program formally commenced in 1972 and was the focus of NASA's manned operations after the final Apollo and Skylab flights in the mid-1970s. It started with the launch of the first shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, on STS-1. and finished with its last mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.

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07/02/2008
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