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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. --    In the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, external tank No. 120 is lowered toward the mobile launcher platform in high bay 1 where it will be mated with the solid rocket boosters already there. The external tank-SRB stack is being prepared for the orbiter Discovery, which will be mated to the stack in the VAB in two weeks.  Space Shuttle Discovery is targeted to launch Oct. 23 on mission STS-120 to the International Space Station.  Photo credit: NASA/George Shelton KSC-07pd2395

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- In the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, external tank No. 120 is lowered toward the mobile launcher platform in high bay 1 where it will be mated with the solid rocket boosters already there. The external tank-SRB stack is being prepared for the orbiter Discovery, which will be mated to the stack in the VAB in two weeks. Space Shuttle Discovery is targeted to launch Oct. 23 on mission STS-120 to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/George Shelton KSC-07pd2395

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- In the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, external tank No. 120 is lowered toward the mobile launcher platform in high bay 1 where it will be mated with the solid rocket boosters already there. The external tank-SRB stack is being prepared for the orbiter Discovery, which will be mated to the stack in the VAB in two weeks. Space Shuttle Discovery is targeted to launch Oct. 23 on mission STS-120 to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/George Shelton

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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Date

05/09/2007
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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Source

NASA
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