Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2009 May 13
Explanation: This shuttle has launched to space. Pictured above, the Space Shuttle Atlantis sat on Launch Pad 39A before dawn last month as it was prepared for the launch. The shuttle orbiter is visible on the image right, attached to a brown liquid fuel tank and two white solid rocket boosters. In the image centre is the Fixed Service Structure that stands just over 100 metres tall, including the white lightning rod at the top. Starting on Sunday, the space shuttle embarked on one of its most ambitious missions ever: its fourth mission to fix and upgrade the ageing Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble's replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, is currently scheduled for launch in 2014.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.