SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Baby Star, Crescent Earth, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Baby Star, Crescent Earth, More
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November 15, 2009--The space shuttle Atlantis waits to launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Atlantis successfully lifted off on Monday, headed to the International Space Station to deliver valuable spare parts before the fleet of heavy-lifting NASA shuttles is retired forever. Five shuttle launches remain after Atlantis lands on November 27.

After the shuttle program ends, crew changes and spare parts for the ISS are likely to be carried by Russian Soyuz and Progress launch vehicles--or, possibly, the NASA Ares I rocket.

Many of the spare parts being delivered by the shuttle's final missions are too large for any other existing space ship to carry to the station.
—Photograph courtesy NASA
 
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