Astronauts flying on the shuttle depend on other astronauts to strap them in for launch.
Astronauts Karol "Bo" Bobko and Susan Helms were inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame as the Class of 2011.
Using multiple sources, teams keep a close watch on each space shuttle launch.
The captains of two craft named for James Cook's bark Endeavour exchanged letters of greetings and well wishes.
The launch pad is equipped with all the elements needed to safely send a space shuttle into orbit.
Space shuttle Endeavour has spent 19 years pushing boundaries, and its final mission will allow that legacy to live on.
Though the next shuttle launch marks the end of an era for Endeavour, it will mark the beginning for a new NASA rendezvous and docking sensor technology designed to support future crew and uncrewed spacecraft.
The astronauts of Endeavour's last mission are marking the achievement with several notable mementoes.
NASA's T-38s would not be mistaken for a space shuttle, but they are necessary tools for astronaut training.
Launching a space shuttle requires a unique nerve center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Kennedy visitors will see shuttle Atlantis as it worked in space, with cargo bay doors open and arm extended.
It was 30 years ago this week that NASA ushered in a new era of spaceflight with the inaugural launch of space shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981.
Directors gave the space shuttle central roles in major motion pictures to draw audiences and tell action stories.
Firefighters at NASA-Kennedy Space Center rely on M113 armored personnel carriers in launch pad emergencies.
NASA's space shuttles became easier and safer to fly because of "glass cockpit" technology.
Final space shuttle inspection team goes where few others venture.
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is designed to open human eyes to invisible cosmic rays.
Space shuttle Discovery will contribute to spacecraft design in retirement.
The crew of STS-133 flew Discovery to the International Space Station to deliver new module, supplies.
George Hoggard trained Apollo, shuttle astronauts for emergencies.