This is Space Shuttle Discovery being hauled to its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is being carried by a gigantic Crawler-Transporter vehicle.
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Image courtesy NASA.

First Space Shuttle Launch Since 2003
News story originally written on July 13, 2005

NASA is getting ready to launch a space shuttle for the first time in more than two years. The shuttle Discovery is set to blast off on Wednesday, July 13, 2005. The space shuttle fleet has been grounded since February 2003, when the shuttle Columbia was destroyed while re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

NASA has made many changes to the shuttle since Columbia was lost to make the spacecraft safer. The seven astronauts on this new mission will test many of the new safety equipment. The shuttle has a new robot arm with cameras that will help astronauts inspect the shuttle while it is in space. If they find any problems, there are new repair kits that NASA hopes the astronauts can use to fix any damage they spot.

Discovery will also take food and other supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). This mission is supposed to last 12 days. If the shuttle can't be launched on Wednesday, NASA has until the end of July to try the launch again. Hopefully Discovery will have a safe blast-off, mission, and landing!

Last modified July 13, 2005 by Randy Russell.

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