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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - .  The STS-107 crew, waving to onlookers, exits the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to Launch Pad 39A for liftoff.  Leading the way are Pilot William "Willie" McCool (left) and Commander Rick Husband (right).  Following in the second row are Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla (left) and Laurel Clark; in the rear are Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Payload Commander Michael Anderson and Mission Specialist David Brown.  Ramon is the first astronaut from Israel to fly on a Shuttle. The 16-day mission is devoted to research and will include more than 80 experiments that will study Earth and space science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety. The payload on Space Shuttle Columbia includes FREESTAR (Fast Reaction Experiments Enabling Science, Technology, Applications and Research) and the SHI Research Double Module (SHI/RDM), known as SPACEHAB.  Experiments on the module range from material sciences to life sciences.  Liftoff is scheduled for 10:39 a.m. EST.  [Photo courtesy of Scott Andrews] KSC-03pd0109

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - . The STS-107 crew, waving to onlookers, exits the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to Launch Pad 39A for liftoff. Leading the way are Pilot William "Willie" McCool (left) and Commander Rick Husband (right). Following in the second row are Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla (left) and Laurel Clark; in the rear are Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Payload Commander Michael Anderson and Mission Specialist David Brown. Ramon is the first astronaut from Israel to fly on a Shuttle. The 16-day mission is devoted to research and will include more than 80 experiments that will study Earth and space science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety. The payload on Space Shuttle Columbia includes FREESTAR (Fast Reaction Experiments Enabling Science, Technology, Applications and Research) and the SHI Research Double Module (SHI/RDM), known as SPACEHAB. Experiments on the module range from material sciences to life sciences. Liftoff is scheduled for 10:39 a.m. EST. [Photo courtesy of Scott Andrews] KSC-03pd0109

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - . The STS-107 crew, waving to onlookers, exits the Operations and Checkout Building on their way to Launch Pad 39A for liftoff. Leading the way are Pilot William "Willie" McCool (left) and Commander Rick Husband (right). Following in the second row are Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla (left) and Laurel Clark; in the rear are Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Payload Commander Michael Anderson and Mission Specialist David Brown. Ramon is the first astronaut from Israel to fly on a Shuttle. The 16-day mission is devoted to research and will include more than 80 experiments that will study Earth and space science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety. The payload on Space Shuttle Columbia includes FREESTAR (Fast Reaction Experiments Enabling Science, Technology, Applications and Research) and the SHI Research Double Module (SHI/RDM), known as SPACEHAB. Experiments on the module range from material sciences to life sciences. Liftoff is scheduled for 10:39 a.m. EST. [Photo courtesy of Scott Andrews]

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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16/01/2003
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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