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First engine removed from Discovery
Posted: March 31, 2011

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The lower-left space shuttle main engine was removed from Discovery inside the Kennedy Space Center's orbiter processing facility bay No. 2 on Wednesday, March 30 as part of post-flight deservicing and retirement.

Built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, the cryogenic powerplants are fed with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen stored in the external fuel tank to propel the space shuttle throughout its eight-and-a-half minute climb to orbit.

The engine being removed in these photographs below is SSME Block 2-2048 in Discovery's engine No. 2 position. The just-completed flight was the 11th launch for this particular engine which initially debuted on STS-95 in 1998 when John Glenn made his historic return to space.

Photos by NASA

Photos by NASA