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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- At Launch Pad 39A, space shuttle Discovery's payload bay doors begin to close around the U.S. Node 2 module, named Harmony.  The name was chosen from an academic competition involving more than 2,200 U. S. students in kindergarten through high school. The module will be delivered to the International Space Station aboard Discovery on the 14-day STS-120 mission.  An orbiter's payload bay door closure at the pad is a milestone signaling that the launch date is near.  Discovery's launch is targeted for Oct. 23 at 11:38 a.m. EDT.  Photo credit: NASA/George Shelton KSC-07pd2821

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- At Launch Pad 39A, space shuttle Discovery's payload bay doors begin to close around the U.S. Node 2 module, named Harmony. The name was chosen from an academic competition involving more than 2,200 U. S. students in kindergarten through high school. The module will be delivered to the International Space Station aboard Discovery on the 14-day STS-120 mission. An orbiter's payload bay door closure at the pad is a milestone signaling that the launch date is near. Discovery's launch is targeted for Oct. 23 at 11:38 a.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/George Shelton KSC-07pd2821

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- At Launch Pad 39A, space shuttle Discovery's payload bay doors begin to close around the U.S. Node 2 module, named Harmony. The name was chosen from an academic competition involving more than 2,200 U. S. students in kindergarten through high school. The module will be delivered to the International Space Station aboard Discovery on the 14-day STS-120 mission. An orbiter's payload bay door closure at the pad is a milestone signaling that the launch date is near. Discovery's launch is targeted for Oct. 23 at 11:38 a.m. EDT. 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

09/10/2007
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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