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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - STS-129 Mission Specialist Leland Melvin greets Commander Charles O. Hobaugh upon their arrival at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  The six astronauts for space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-129 mission are at Kennedy for their launch dress rehearsal, the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test.    Additional training associated with the test was done last month, but the simulated countdown was postponed because of a scheduling conflict with the launch of NASA’s Ares I-X test rocket.  Launch of Atlantis on its STS-129 mission to the International Space Station is set for Nov. 16. On STS-129, the crew will deliver to the station two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly and a spare latching end effector for the station's robotic arm.  For information on the STS-129 mission objectives and crew, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts129/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder KSC-2009-6037

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - STS-129 Mission Specialist Leland Melvin greets Commander Charles O. Hobaugh upon their arrival at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The six astronauts for space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-129 mission are at Kennedy for their launch dress rehearsal, the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. Additional training associated with the test was done last month, but the simulated countdown was postponed because of a scheduling conflict with the launch of NASA’s Ares I-X test rocket. Launch of Atlantis on its STS-129 mission to the International Space Station is set for Nov. 16. On STS-129, the crew will deliver to the station two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly and a spare latching end effector for the station's robotic arm. For information on the STS-129 mission objectives and crew, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts129/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder KSC-2009-6037

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - STS-129 Mission Specialist Leland Melvin greets Commander Charles O. Hobaugh upon their arrival at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The six astronauts for space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-129 mission are at Kennedy for their launch dress rehearsal, the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. Additional training associated with the test was done last month, but the simulated countdown was postponed because of a scheduling conflict with the launch of NASA’s Ares I-X test rocket. Launch of Atlantis on its STS-129 mission to the International Space Station is set for Nov. 16. On STS-129, the crew will deliver to the station two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly and a spare latching end effector for the station's robotic arm. For information on the STS-129 mission objectives and crew, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts129/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

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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02/11/2009
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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