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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. --    At the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Kennedy Space Center Director Bill Parsons speaks about the accomplishments of the newest inductees to the Hall of Fame. The May 5 induction added space shuttle commanders Michael L. Coats, Steven A. Hawley and Jeffrey A. Hoffman to the Hall of Fame.  They grow the number of space explorers enshrined in the Hall of Fame to 66. These gentlemen have joined such American space heroes as Neil Armstrong, Glenn, Alan Shepard and Sally Ride. The ceremony was held at the Kennedy Space Center's Apollo/Saturn V Center.  Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-07pd1039

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- At the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Kennedy Space Center Director Bill Parsons speaks about the accomplishments of the newest inductees to the Hall of Fame. The May 5 induction added space shuttle commanders Michael L. Coats, Steven A. Hawley and Jeffrey A. Hoffman to the Hall of Fame. They grow the number of space explorers enshrined in the Hall of Fame to 66. These gentlemen have joined such American space heroes as Neil Armstrong, Glenn, Alan Shepard and Sally Ride. The ceremony was held at the Kennedy Space Center's Apollo/Saturn V Center. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-07pd1039

 
 
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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- At the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Kennedy Space Center Director Bill Parsons speaks about the accomplishments of the newest inductees to the Hall of Fame. The May 5 induction added space shuttle commanders Michael L. Coats, Steven A. Hawley and Jeffrey A. Hoffman to the Hall of Fame. They grow the number of space explorers enshrined in the Hall of Fame to 66. These gentlemen have joined such American space heroes as Neil Armstrong, Glenn, Alan Shepard and Sally Ride. The ceremony was held at the Kennedy Space Center's Apollo/Saturn V Center. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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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05/05/2007
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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