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The space shuttle developed by the US space agency NASA is the only reusable space transport system worldwide. It consists of three components: the space shuttle (Orbiter), three reusable main engines, an external fuel tank and two solid rockets with a starting thrust of 12.46 MN (1,270,566 kp). The space shuttle can simultaneously bring 24.5 tonnes of payload and 7 astronauts into a low earth orbit between 200 and 650 kilometers of railway altitude. Since October 3, 1985, the fourth space shuttle Atlantis has been deployed on 35 missions. In 2012 the shuttle program was discontinued after 30 years.