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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. --   Astronaut Clayton Anderson suits up for launch on mission STS-117 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis.  Anderson will join the Expedition 15 crew aboard the International Space Station, exchanging his seat for the return trip to Flight Engineer Suni Williams.  Atlantis' liftoff is scheduled for 7:38 p.m. EDT from Launch Pad 39A.   The shuttle is delivering a new segment to the starboard side of the International Space Station's backbone, known as the truss. Three spacewalks are planned to install the S3/S4 truss segment, deploy a set of solar arrays and prepare them for operation. STS-117 is the 118th space shuttle flight, the 21st flight to the station, the 28th flight for Atlantis and the first of four flights planned for 2007.    Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-07pd1417

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- Astronaut Clayton Anderson suits up for launch on mission STS-117 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. Anderson will join the Expedition 15 crew aboard the International Space Station, exchanging his seat for the return trip to Flight Engineer Suni Williams. Atlantis' liftoff is scheduled for 7:38 p.m. EDT from Launch Pad 39A. The shuttle is delivering a new segment to the starboard side of the International Space Station's backbone, known as the truss. Three spacewalks are planned to install the S3/S4 truss segment, deploy a set of solar arrays and prepare them for operation. STS-117 is the 118th space shuttle flight, the 21st flight to the station, the 28th flight for Atlantis and the first of four flights planned for 2007. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-07pd1417

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- Astronaut Clayton Anderson suits up for launch on mission STS-117 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. Anderson will join the Expedition 15 crew aboard the International Space Station, exchanging his seat for the return trip to Flight Engineer Suni Williams. Atlantis' liftoff is scheduled for 7:38 p.m. EDT from Launch Pad 39A. The shuttle is delivering a new segment to the starboard side of the International Space Station's backbone, known as the truss. Three spacewalks are planned to install the S3/S4 truss segment, deploy a set of solar arrays and prepare them for operation. STS-117 is the 118th space shuttle flight, the 21st flight to the station, the 28th flight for Atlantis and the first of four flights planned for 2007. 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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08/06/2007
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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