NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Discovery launching, 23 October 2007. This launch was part of mission STS-120. Lift-off was from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA, at 11:38 EDT. The main external tank and boosters are at left. Below Discovery's rear engine exhaust nozzles are blue cones of light. These are shock waves in the exhaust plume, known as shock or mach diamonds. Discovery was part of NASA's Space Shuttle program. It flew 39 missions over a period of 26 years, being retired from service in March 2011.
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