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Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan -- Cosmonaut Yuri I. Malenchenko, Expedition Seven commander dons his Russian Sokol suit for the leak check and Soyuz inspection, seat liner check. Veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and veteran NASA astronaut Ed Lu have been named as the primary crew for the planned April 26, 2003, launch of a Russian Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft to the International Space Station. Malenchenko and Lu will be called the Expedition 7 crew. Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri and NASA astronaut Michael Foale are the backup crewmembers to Malenchenko and Lu.  Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA Space Station Science Officer Don Pettit will return to Earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-1 craft in May 2003. The three Expedition 6 crewmembers were launched on Nov. 23, 2002. They have been aboard the Station since November 25. They were originally scheduled to return in March aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis during the STS-114 mission.  Malenchenko and Lu will continue to operate the science payloads already on board, as well as maintaining the Station.  Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls KSC-03pd1256

Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan -- Cosmonaut Yuri I. Malenchenko, Expedition Seven commander dons his Russian Sokol suit for the leak check and Soyuz inspection, seat liner check. Veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and veteran NASA astronaut Ed Lu have been named as the primary crew for the planned April 26, 2003, launch of a Russian Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft to the International Space Station. Malenchenko and Lu will be called the Expedition 7 crew. Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri and NASA astronaut Michael Foale are the backup crewmembers to Malenchenko and Lu. Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA Space Station Science Officer Don Pettit will return to Earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-1 craft in May 2003. The three Expedition 6 crewmembers were launched on Nov. 23, 2002. They have been aboard the Station since November 25. They were originally scheduled to return in March aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis during the STS-114 mission. Malenchenko and Lu will continue to operate the science payloads already on board, as well as maintaining the Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls KSC-03pd1256

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Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan -- Cosmonaut Yuri I. Malenchenko, Expedition Seven commander dons his Russian Sokol suit for the leak check and Soyuz inspection, seat liner check. Veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and veteran NASA astronaut Ed Lu have been named as the primary crew for the planned April 26, 2003, launch of a Russian Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft to the International Space Station. Malenchenko and Lu will be called the Expedition 7 crew. Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri and NASA astronaut Michael Foale are the backup crewmembers to Malenchenko and Lu. Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA Space Station Science Officer Don Pettit will return to Earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-1 craft in May 2003. The three Expedition 6 crewmembers were launched on Nov. 23, 2002. They have been aboard the Station since November 25. They were originally scheduled to return in March aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis during the STS-114 mission. Malenchenko and Lu will continue to operate the science payloads already on board, as well as maintaining the Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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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10/04/2003
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Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
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