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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –  At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-127 Pilot Doug Hurley heads into the Shuttle Training Aircraft to practice landings in preparation for launch of space shuttle Endeavour on the STS-127 mission on June 13 to the International Space Station. The STA is a Grumman American Aviation-built Gulfstream II jet that was modified to simulate a shuttle’s cockpit, motion and visual cues, and handling qualities. Endeavour will deliver the Japanese Experiment Module's Exposed Facility, or JEM-EF, and the Experiment Logistics Module-Exposed Section, or ELM-ES. on STS-127. The mission is the final of three flights dedicated to the assembly of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory complex on the space station.    Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2009-3654

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-127 Pilot Doug Hurley heads into the Shuttle Training Aircraft to practice landings in preparation for launch of space shuttle Endeavour on the STS-127 mission on June 13 to the International Space Station. The STA is a Grumman American Aviation-built Gulfstream II jet that was modified to simulate a shuttle’s cockpit, motion and visual cues, and handling qualities. Endeavour will deliver the Japanese Experiment Module's Exposed Facility, or JEM-EF, and the Experiment Logistics Module-Exposed Section, or ELM-ES. on STS-127. The mission is the final of three flights dedicated to the assembly of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory complex on the space station. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2009-3654

 
 
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-127 Pilot Doug Hurley heads into the Shuttle Training Aircraft to practice landings in preparation for launch of space shuttle Endeavour on the STS-127 mission on June 13 to the International Space Station. The STA is a Grumman American Aviation-built Gulfstream II jet that was modified to simulate a shuttle’s cockpit, motion and visual cues, and handling qualities. Endeavour will deliver the Japanese Experiment Module's Exposed Facility, or JEM-EF, and the Experiment Logistics Module-Exposed Section, or ELM-ES. on STS-127. The mission is the final of three flights dedicated to the assembly of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory complex on the space station. 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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09/06/2009
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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