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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -  After taking part in a simulated launch countdown aboard space shuttle Atlantis, the STS-125 crew members practice an emergency escape from the shuttle.  They are heading for the slidewire baskets that will speed them away from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A. The countdown is the culmination of terminal countdown demonstration test, or TCDT, activities as preparation before launch.  TCDT provides astronauts and ground crews with an opportunity to participate in various launch activities, including equipment familiarization, emergency training and the countdown.  Atlantis’ STS-125 mission to service NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is targeted for launch Oct. 14. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-08pd2898

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - After taking part in a simulated launch countdown aboard space shuttle Atlantis, the STS-125 crew members practice an emergency escape from the shuttle. They are heading for the slidewire baskets that will speed them away from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A. The countdown is the culmination of terminal countdown demonstration test, or TCDT, activities as preparation before launch. TCDT provides astronauts and ground crews with an opportunity to participate in various launch activities, including equipment familiarization, emergency training and the countdown. Atlantis’ STS-125 mission to service NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is targeted for launch Oct. 14. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-08pd2898

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - After taking part in a simulated launch countdown aboard space shuttle Atlantis, the STS-125 crew members practice an emergency escape from the shuttle. They are heading for the slidewire baskets that will speed them away from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A. The countdown is the culmination of terminal countdown demonstration test, or TCDT, activities as preparation before launch. TCDT provides astronauts and ground crews with an opportunity to participate in various launch activities, including equipment familiarization, emergency training and the countdown. Atlantis’ STS-125 mission to service NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is targeted for launch Oct. 14. 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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24/09/2008
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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