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(CBS/AP) Atlantis will be the first of NASA's three space shuttles to be retired, most likely in 2008, as the shuttle program winds down in four years, a senior agency official said Tuesday.
Atlantis' parts will be used by the remaining shuttles, Discovery and Endeavour, until the aging spacecraft are mothballed in 2010, shuttle program manager Wayne Hale told workers at the Kennedy Space Center last week.
NASA engineers Thursday successfully completed the first series of tests in the early development of the J-2X engine that will power the upper stages of the Ares I and Ares V rockets, key components of NASA's Constellation Program. Ares I will launch the Orion spacecraft that will take astronauts to the International Space Station and then to the moon by 2020.
The Ares V will carry cargo and components into orbit for trips to the moon and later to Mars.
NASA conducted nine tests of heritage J-2 engine components from December to May as part of a series designed to verify heritage J-2 performance data and explore performance boundaries.
Originally posted by PhloydPhan
Third, there is no reliable evidence that the TR3B actually exists - at least none that I am aware of and consider reliable. It is far more likely someone mis-heard the nomenclature "Tier 3B" in reference to a UAV or some some project.