Retro Space Pictures: Building Shuttle Atlantis

Atlantis' Left Wing Panel Installation


Installation of a panel on Atlantis' left wing continues at Rockwell's Palmdale plant on Oct. 26, 1982.

Atlantis' Left Wing Glove Inspected


Engineers inspect Atlantis' left wing glove prior to its installation. This photo was taken at Rockwell's Palmdale facility on Oct. 12, 1982.

Inital Fabrication and Assembly of Atlantis' Upper Fuselage


The initial fabrication and assembly of Atlantis' upper fuselage continues at the Rockwell Downey facility on Sept. 21, 1982.

Atlantis' Engineers From Above


An overhead shot of shuttle engineers as they prepare to install Atlantis' right inboard elevon at Rockwell's Palmdale facility on Nov. 22, 1982.

Preparations Continue


Preparations continue on Atlantis' aft fuselage for its delivery to Rockwell, Palmdale from Rockwell, Downey in May 1983.

Construction Underway


Construction of Atlantis' lower forward fuselage was well underway on Nov. 8, 1983 at Rockwell's Palmdale plant.

Atlantis' Aft Fuselage Prepared for Delivery


Engineers prepare Atlantis' aft fuselage for delivery to Rockwell's Palmdale facility from the Downey plant on May 21, 1983.

Assembly of Atlantis' Forward Reaction Control System


Atlantis' forward reaction control system is assembled at Rockwell's Palmdale facility in this photo from Oct. 6, 1983.

President Reagan with Atlantis


President Reagan stands in front of Atlantis' aft fuselage at Rockwell's Downey facility in this photo from May 25, 1982.

Atlantis' Delivery from Palmdale


Atlantis' mid fuselage is delivered to Rockwell's Palmdale plant from General Dynamics.

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Denise Chow
NBC News science writer

Denise Chow is a former 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, 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.