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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – On State Road 3 near the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two bald eagles scout the terrain from their vantage point atop a pole.    There are 18 active eagle nests within Kennedy's boundaries, including several in the vicinity of the landing strip. Bald eagles mate for life, choosing the tops of large trees to build nests, which they typically use and enlarge each year. Nests may reach 10 feet across and weigh half a ton. The birds travel great distances, but usually return to breeding grounds within 100 miles of the place where they were raised. Bald eagles may live 15 to 25 years in the wild. The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge coexists with Kennedy Space Center and provides a habitat for 330 species of birds including the bald eagle. A variety of other wildlife - 117 kinds of fish, 65 types of amphibians and reptiles, 31 different mammals, and 1,045 species of plants - also inhabit the refuge. For information on the refuge, visit http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/Index.html. For information on Kennedy Space Center, visit http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy. Photo credit: NASA/Ken Thornsley KSC-2011-7694

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – On State Road 3 near the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two bald eagles scout the terrain from their vantage point atop a pole. There are 18 active eagle nests within Kennedy's boundaries, including several in the vicinity of the landing strip. Bald eagles mate for life, choosing the tops of large trees to build nests, which they typically use and enlarge each year. Nests may reach 10 feet across and weigh half a ton. The birds travel great distances, but usually return to breeding grounds within 100 miles of the place where they were raised. Bald eagles may live 15 to 25 years in the wild. The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge coexists with Kennedy Space Center and provides a habitat for 330 species of birds including the bald eagle. A variety of other wildlife - 117 kinds of fish, 65 types of amphibians and reptiles, 31 different mammals, and 1,045 species of plants - also inhabit the refuge. For information on the refuge, visit http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/Index.html. For information on Kennedy Space Center, visit http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy. Photo credit: NASA/Ken Thornsley KSC-2011-7694

 
 
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – On State Road 3 near the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two bald eagles scout the terrain from their vantage point atop a pole. There are 18 active eagle nests within Kennedy's boundaries, including several in the vicinity of the landing strip. Bald eagles mate for life, choosing the tops of large trees to build nests, which they typically use and enlarge each year. Nests may reach 10 feet across and weigh half a ton. The birds travel great distances, but usually return to breeding grounds within 100 miles of the place where they were raised. Bald eagles may live 15 to 25 years in the wild. The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge coexists with Kennedy Space Center and provides a habitat for 330 species of birds including the bald eagle. A variety of other wildlife - 117 kinds of fish, 65 types of amphibians and reptiles, 31 different mammals, and 1,045 species of plants - also inhabit the refuge. For information on the refuge, visit http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/Index.html. For information on Kennedy Space Center, visit http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy. Photo credit: NASA/Ken Thornsley

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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24/10/2011
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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