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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, preparations are underway to sandblast and paint the 290-foot-high water tower at Launch Pad 39B. Scaffolding surrounds the tower and a special covering has been placed around the tank.    The water towers at Launch Complex 39, which includes pad A and B, were part of the sound suppression system used during space shuttle launches. Water stored in the 300,000-gallon tank would be released just prior to main engine ignition and flow by gravity to special mobile launcher platform (MLP) outlets. Nine seconds after shuttle liftoff, the peak flow rate was 900,000 gallons per minute and helped to protect the orbiter and payloads from being damaged by acoustical energy reflected from the MLP during liftoff. Photo Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann KSC-2012-1296

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, preparations are underway to sandblast and paint the 290-foot-high water tower at Launch Pad 39B. Scaffolding surrounds the tower and a special covering has been placed around the tank. The water towers at Launch Complex 39, which includes pad A and B, were part of the sound suppression system used during space shuttle launches. Water stored in the 300,000-gallon tank would be released just prior to main engine ignition and flow by gravity to special mobile launcher platform (MLP) outlets. Nine seconds after shuttle liftoff, the peak flow rate was 900,000 gallons per minute and helped to protect the orbiter and payloads from being damaged by acoustical energy reflected from the MLP during liftoff. Photo Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann KSC-2012-1296

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, preparations are underway to sandblast and paint the 290-foot-high water tower at Launch Pad 39B. Scaffolding surrounds the tower and a special covering has been placed around the tank. The water towers at Launch Complex 39, which includes pad A and B, were part of the sound suppression system used during space shuttle launches. Water stored in the 300,000-gallon tank would be released just prior to main engine ignition and flow by gravity to special mobile launcher platform (MLP) outlets. Nine seconds after shuttle liftoff, the peak flow rate was 900,000 gallons per minute and helped to protect the orbiter and payloads from being damaged by acoustical energy reflected from the MLP during liftoff. Photo Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

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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08/02/2012
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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