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The Space Shuttle

The @stro object for the week of 11/29/1999

image of the Space Shuttle

image courtesy of NASA

The Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle, also known as the STS for "Space Transportation System", is currently the world's only reusable spacecraft. It is capable of carrying passengers and cargo into low Earth orbit. Typical missions include satellite repair and launch as well as in-space science experiments performed inside the shuttle payload bay. First launched in 1981 there are currently four Space Shuttles in the active fleet. They are Columbia (the first launched), Endeavor, Discovery and Atlantis. The next mission is designated STS-103 and is due to launch in December 1999 to service the ailing Hubble Telescope. The next generation of Space Shuttle is under development, but the fleet of vehicles currently in service are expected to continue their work into the next decade.

Current information for STS-103:
Orbiter Vehicle: Discovery
Mission: Hubble Telescope maintenance
Expected Launch Date (subject to change): 12/09/1999
Expected Launch Time: 10:10pm (PST)
Duration of the mission: 9 days

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