NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Space Shuttle Columbia, seen during the final stages of manufacture at the Rockwell factory in California. The olive green areas on the fuselage and the wing are bare metal skin, awaiting the fitting of the last black (high temperature) and white (low temperature) thermal insulation tiles. The oval holes around the nose section are the exhausts for the orbital manoeuvering thrusters. The glass of the windscreen had also yet to be installed. When the orbiter was completed, it was transported to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a final check-out prior to its maiden flight on 12 April 1981, twenty years to the day after Yuri Gagarin became the first human into orbit.
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