Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 17:24 EDT
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May 31, 2011
Black space and the blue and white planet Earth form the backdrop for this scene of the cargo bay and aft section of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Columbia, photographed through the flight deck's aft windows. In the lower right corner is one of the vehicle's radiator panels. Small pieces of thermal tiles had earlier been noted missing from the rounded orbital maneuvering system (OMS) pods which flank the vertical stabilizer at left edge of the photograph. A collection of possible support equipment is housed in the box-like devices (lower left) known as the development flight instrument pallet. The pentagon-shaped glare at upper left is caused by window reflection. Inside the spacecraft are astronauts John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen.