The shuttle introduced a new capability to the space program--the payload bay, opening wide to the vacuum of space. The bay measures 60 feet long (about half the overall length of the shuttle) and has a diameter of 15 feet.
The Columbia's main payload on this inaugural flight was a Development Flight Instrumentation package, located in the boxlike structures at bottom left. The contents included sensors and other devices used to record the details of the spacecraft's performance. NASA says that the glare at top left, by the tail, is a window reflection; that window would be one of the rear-facing ones on the flight deck.
April 12, 2011 4:20 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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