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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-128 Pilot Kevin Ford walks away from the Shuttle Training Aircraft, or STA, after completing shuttle landing practice.  The practice is in preparation for launch of space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission in late August 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. The STS-128 crew is at Kennedy for a launch dress rehearsal called the terminal countdown demonstration test, or TCDT, which includes emergency exit training and equipment familiarization, as well as a simulated launch countdown.  Discovery will deliver 33,000 pounds of equipment to the station, including science and storage racks, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping compartment and the COLBERT treadmill. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2009-4483

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-128 Pilot Kevin Ford walks away from the Shuttle Training Aircraft, or STA, after completing shuttle landing practice. The practice is in preparation for launch of space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission in late August 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. The STS-128 crew is at Kennedy for a launch dress rehearsal called the terminal countdown demonstration test, or TCDT, which includes emergency exit training and equipment familiarization, as well as a simulated launch countdown. Discovery will deliver 33,000 pounds of equipment to the station, including science and storage racks, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping compartment and the COLBERT treadmill. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2009-4483

 
 
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-128 Pilot Kevin Ford walks away from the Shuttle Training Aircraft, or STA, after completing shuttle landing practice. The practice is in preparation for launch of space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission in late August 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. The STS-128 crew is at Kennedy for a launch dress rehearsal called the terminal countdown demonstration test, or TCDT, which includes emergency exit training and equipment familiarization, as well as a simulated launch countdown. Discovery will deliver 33,000 pounds of equipment to the station, including science and storage racks, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping compartment and the COLBERT treadmill. 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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05/08/2009
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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