Space History Photo: STS-27, Orbiter Atlantis, Liftoff

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Atlantis takes flight on Dec. 2, 1988. (Image credit: NASA.)

In this historic photo from the U.S. space agency, Space Shuttle Atlantis takes flight on its STS-27 mission on Dec. 2, 1988, 9:30 a.m. EST, utilizing 375,000 pounds thrust produced by its three main engines. The STS-27 was the third classified mission dedicated to the Department of Defense (DoD). After completion of mission, Orbiter Atlantis landed December 6, 1988, 3:36 p.m. PST at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: