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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –  At the 195-foot level of the fixed service structure on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-126 Mission Specialist Shane Kimbrough (right) reaches toward the release mechanism for the slidewire basket used for emergency exit from the pad.  Watching are Mission Specialist Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, at left, and Pilot Eric Boe, at center.  The crew is at Kennedy to take part in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, which includes equipment familiarization, emergency exit training and a simulated launch countdown.  On the STS-126 mission, space shuttle Endeavour's crew will deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station in preparation for expansion from a three- to six-person resident crew aboard the complex. The mission also will include four spacewalks to service the station’s Solar Alpha Rotary Joints. Endeavour is targeted to launch Nov. 14. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-08pd3412

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At the 195-foot level of the fixed service structure on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-126 Mission Specialist Shane Kimbrough (right) reaches toward the release mechanism for the slidewire basket used for emergency exit from the pad. Watching are Mission Specialist Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, at left, and Pilot Eric Boe, at center. The crew is at Kennedy to take part in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, which includes equipment familiarization, emergency exit training and a simulated launch countdown. On the STS-126 mission, space shuttle Endeavour's crew will deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station in preparation for expansion from a three- to six-person resident crew aboard the complex. The mission also will include four spacewalks to service the station’s Solar Alpha Rotary Joints. Endeavour is targeted to launch Nov. 14. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-08pd3412

 
 
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At the 195-foot level of the fixed service structure on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-126 Mission Specialist Shane Kimbrough (right) reaches toward the release mechanism for the slidewire basket used for emergency exit from the pad. Watching are Mission Specialist Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, at left, and Pilot Eric Boe, at center. The crew is at Kennedy to take part in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, which includes equipment familiarization, emergency exit training and a simulated launch countdown. On the STS-126 mission, space shuttle Endeavour's crew will deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station in preparation for expansion from a three- to six-person resident crew aboard the complex. The mission also will include four spacewalks to service the station’s Solar Alpha Rotary Joints. Endeavour is targeted to launch Nov. 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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28/10/2008
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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