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The Space Shuttle, part of the Space Transportation System (STS), is an American spacecraft operated by NASA for orbital human spaceflight missions. The first of four test flights occurred in 1981, which were followed by operational flights beginning in 1982. The system is scheduled to be retired from service in 2010 after 134 launches. Major missions have included launching numerous satellites and interplanetary probes, conducting space science experiments, and servicing and construction of space stations. The Shuttle has been used for orbital space missions by NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the European Space Agency, and Germany. The United States funded STS development and shuttle operations.

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