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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - In Orbiter Processing Facility 1 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United Space Alliance technicians inspect window #8 which was removed from the top of space shuttle Atlantis' crew module.     Inspection and maintenance of the crew module windows is standard procedure between shuttle missions.  Atlantis is next slated to deliver an Integrated Cargo Carrier and Russian-built Mini Research Module to the International Space Station on the STS-132 mission.  The second in a series of new pressurized components for Russia, the module will be permanently attached to the Zarya module. Three spacewalks are planned to store spare components outside the station, including six spare batteries, a boom assembly for the Ku-band antenna and spares for the Canadian Dextre robotic arm extension. A radiator, airlock and European robotic arm for the Russian Multi-purpose Laboratory Module also are payloads on the flight.  Launch is targeted for May 14.  Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson KSC-2010-1199

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - In Orbiter Processing Facility 1 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United Space Alliance technicians inspect window #8 which was removed from the top of space shuttle Atlantis' crew module. Inspection and maintenance of the crew module windows is standard procedure between shuttle missions. Atlantis is next slated to deliver an Integrated Cargo Carrier and Russian-built Mini Research Module to the International Space Station on the STS-132 mission. The second in a series of new pressurized components for Russia, the module will be permanently attached to the Zarya module. Three spacewalks are planned to store spare components outside the station, including six spare batteries, a boom assembly for the Ku-band antenna and spares for the Canadian Dextre robotic arm extension. A radiator, airlock and European robotic arm for the Russian Multi-purpose Laboratory Module also are payloads on the flight. Launch is targeted for May 14. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson KSC-2010-1199

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - In Orbiter Processing Facility 1 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United Space Alliance technicians inspect window #8 which was removed from the top of space shuttle Atlantis' crew module. Inspection and maintenance of the crew module windows is standard procedure between shuttle missions. Atlantis is next slated to deliver an Integrated Cargo Carrier and Russian-built Mini Research Module to the International Space Station on the STS-132 mission. The second in a series of new pressurized components for Russia, the module will be permanently attached to the Zarya module. Three spacewalks are planned to store spare components outside the station, including six spare batteries, a boom assembly for the Ku-band antenna and spares for the Canadian Dextre robotic arm extension. A radiator, airlock and European robotic arm for the Russian Multi-purpose Laboratory Module also are payloads on the flight. Launch is targeted for May 14. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

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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12/01/2010
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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