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Space Shuttle Commemorative Patch Entry
Artist-supplied caption:

The Space Shuttle vehicle is shown lifting off from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on one of over one-hundred missions as the steam from the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) sound suppression system rises around the vehicle. The left half of the External Tank (ET) is painted white as was done on only the first two Shuttle missions (STS-1 and STS-2), and the right half is bare foam insulation. The blue atmosphere on the horizon shows the curvature of the Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) on the left is one of many science payloads and satellites launched by the Shuttle, and the International Space Station (ISS) appears on the right. The HST was serviced/upgraded on four Shuttle missions, and has provided stunning images and data from our galaxy and beyond that contributed to scientific knowledge. The ISS is a microgravity laboratory for research in biology, medicine, materials, space technology and habitation, and is also an orbiting platform for observation of the Earth and its climate. Seven stars under the HST represent the crewmembers lost in the Challenger accident on January 28, 1986 and seven stars under the ISS represent the crewmembers lost in the Columbia accident on February 1, 2003. The moon in the distance beckons mankind to destinations within and beyond our solar system that will be explored and inhabited in the future. Satellites, telescopes and probes have already gathered data and images from some of these locations.
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