Space Shuttle Discovery
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Space Shuttle Discovery

July 13, 2005

This image from the Ikonos satellite shows Discovery on launch pad 39B on April 8, 2005. The tip of the bright orange external fuel tank is clearly visible, with the white, solid rocket booster snug up next to it. The orbiter itself is “in front of” (to the left in the image) the booster and fuel tank, but it is almost completely hidden by the support scaffolding, which swings away from the spacecraft before the final countdown to launch. Only the tip of the shuttle's right wing is visible; it sticks out as a slim white triangle between the gray scaffolding and the rocket booster.

The shuttle was on the launch pad on April 7, but engineers decided to roll Discovery back to the Vehicle Assembly Building in order to replace the external fuel tank. The shuttle returned to its familiar spot on launch pad 39B on June 15, and has been undergoing its final checkups.

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