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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- In Orbiter Processing Facility-2 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, thermal protection system technicians work on replacing some of space shuttle Endeavour's heat shield tiles.        As the final planned mission of the Space Shuttle Program, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, as well as critical spare components to the station on the STS-134 mission targeted for launch Feb. 26, 2011. For more information visit, http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts134/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin KSC-2010-4326

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- In Orbiter Processing Facility-2 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, thermal protection system technicians work on replacing some of space shuttle Endeavour's heat shield tiles. As the final planned mission of the Space Shuttle Program, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, as well as critical spare components to the station on the STS-134 mission targeted for launch Feb. 26, 2011. For more information visit, http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts134/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin KSC-2010-4326

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- In Orbiter Processing Facility-2 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, thermal protection system technicians work on replacing some of space shuttle Endeavour's heat shield tiles. As the final planned mission of the Space Shuttle Program, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, as well as critical spare components to the station on the STS-134 mission targeted for launch Feb. 26, 2011. For more information visit, http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts134/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin

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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Date

10/08/2010
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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Explorespectrometer

Exploretiles

Explorespace shuttle program