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Retro Space Pictures: Building Shuttle Atlantis

Atlantis Gets Its Name

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The space shuttle Atlantis gets its name at Rockwell's Palmdale plant in this image from March 15, 1985.

Atlantis' Upper Forward Fuselage Canopy

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Atlantis' upper forward fuselage canopy is seen in this photo that was taken on Aug. 5, 1982 at the Rockwell International facilities.

Shuttle Engineers Work on Atlantis' Aft Fuselage

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Shuttle engineers at Rockwell work on the initial fabrication and assembly of Atlantis' aft fuselage in August 1982.

Atlantis' Crew Module in Transit

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Shuttle Atlantis' crew module is transported to Rockwell's vacuum chamber test cell, at the Downey facility on March 31, 1983.

Atlantis' Upper Forward Aft Fuselage Assembled

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An upper section of the shuttle Atlantis' aft fuselage is being assembled in this photo that was taken on Aug. 5, 1982.

Atlantis' Vertical Stabilizer Delivery

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Atlantis' tail section, which is also called a vertical stabilizer, is delivered to the Rockwell plant for assembly in Aug. 1982.

Vacuum Test on Atlantis' Crew Module

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Atlantis' crew module is carefully installed into the vacuum chamber test cell at Rockwell's plant in this photo from March 31, 1983.

Engineers Watch Atlantis' Vertical Stabilizer Delivery

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Engineers look on during the delivery of Atlantis' vertical stabilizer tail section.

Atlantis' Payload Bay Doors Delivery

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Atlantis' payload bay doors were delivered to Rockwell's Palmdale, Calif. facility from Tulsa, Okla. This photo was taken on Sept. 9, 1982.

Atlantis' Payload Bay Door Delivery

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One of Atlantis' payload bay doors is seen in this image from its delivery to Rockwell's Palmdale plant in Sept. 1982.

Atlantis' Fit Check

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Engineers and technicians perform a fit check of Atlantis' upper forward fuselage and lower forward fuselage with the crew module installed in this photo from Jan. 12, 1983.

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Denise Chow is a former Space.com staff writer who then worked as assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. She spent two years with Space.com, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions, before joining the Live Science team in 2013. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University. At NBC News, Denise covers general science and climate change.