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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the heat shield for the agency's Orion spacecraft has been offloaded from the Super Guppy aircraft, seen in the background. The largest of its kind ever built, the heat shield is planned for installation on the Orion crew module in March of next year. A transport truck is delivering it to Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building where the Orion spacecraft is being prepared for its first unpiloted flight test, Exploration Flight Test-1 EFT-1, scheduled for September 2014.            The Orion spacecraft is designed to meet requirements for traveling beyond low-Earth orbit. The spacecraft will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry crews to space, sustain the astronauts during the space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space. For more information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orion Photo credit: NASA/Charisse Nasher KSC-2013-4254

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the heat shield for the agency's Orion spacecraft has been offloaded from the Super Guppy aircraft, seen in the background. The largest of its kind ever built, the heat shield is planned for installation on the Orion crew module in March of next year. A transport truck is delivering it to Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building where the Orion spacecraft is being prepared for its first unpiloted flight test, Exploration Flight Test-1 EFT-1, scheduled for September 2014. The Orion spacecraft is designed to meet requirements for traveling beyond low-Earth orbit. The spacecraft will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry crews to space, sustain the astronauts during the space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space. For more information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orion Photo credit: NASA/Charisse Nasher KSC-2013-4254

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the heat shield for the agency's Orion spacecraft has been offloaded from the Super Guppy aircraft, seen in the background. The largest of its kind ever built, the heat shield is planned for installation on the Orion crew module in March of next year. A transport truck is delivering it to Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building where the Orion spacecraft is being prepared for its first unpiloted flight test, Exploration Flight Test-1 EFT-1, scheduled for September 2014. The Orion spacecraft is designed to meet requirements for traveling beyond low-Earth orbit. The spacecraft will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry crews to space, sustain the astronauts during the space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space. For more information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orion Photo credit: NASA/Charisse Nasher

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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05/12/2013
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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