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NASA training aircraft captures unique view of shuttle launch

We've seen some pretty cool photos of shuttle launches from airliners, but this NASA training plane was able to get much closer than a commercial plane.

Space.com reports: In the aerial views, Atlantis and its impressive exhaust plume were captured through the window of the agency's Shuttle Training Aircraft. These modified Gulfstream jets are used by astronauts to practice landing the space shuttle. The aircraft's controls are modified to simulate the orbiter's handling on the sharply angled descent that it makes on approach.

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Dick Clark, NASA via AP

In this photo provided by NASA, space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft as it lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center Friday, July 8, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis is the 135th and final space shuttle launch for NASA.

Dick Clark, NASA via EPA

The exhaust plume from space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) as it launches from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on the STS-135 mission, in Cape Canaveral, Fla., USA, July 8. Atlantis launched on the final flight of the shuttle program on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. The STS-135 crew will deliver the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station.