space shuttle program

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space shuttle program

Watch a launch! This is awesome!

All the Shuttles A total of six space shuttles were built. The first, Enterprise, was built in 1976 as a test vehicle and only flew test missions within the earth's atmosphere. Parts from the Enterprise have been used as replacement parts on other shuttles. Columbia was in service from 1981-2003 and flew a total of 28 missions. On its final mission, it burned up on re-entry, killing all seven astronauts aboard. Challenger completed 9 missions from 1983-1985, and in 1986 blew up 73 seconds after launch on its tenth mission, killing all seven astronauts, including the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe. Discovery few a total of 39 missions between 1984 and 2011, the most of any of the shuttles. Atlantis debuted in 1985 and flew 33 missions, retiring in 2011. Endeavour, built as a replacement for the Challenger, flew 25 missions between 1990 and 2011.

About the MissionsThe Space Shuttle was used to transport crew members and supplies to and from Skylab, MIR, and the International Space Station; help launch satellites and space probes such as Galileo, Magellan, and Ulysses; conduct science experiments; repair the Hubble telescope; and transport components of the Space Station.

About the EnterpriseThe first shuttle was named Enterprise after the spaceship on Star Trek. It was only used for test flights and test landings and was not equipped to fly outside the earth's atmosphere. The Enterprise could fly piggyback on a specially designed Boeing 747.

poster yourself

poster yourself

poster yourself

poster yourself

Space Shuttle 1981-2011

Mission Patches Each shuttle mission has a specially designed Mission Patch with the last names of the astronauts on it. Sometimes the mission patch will identify the spacecraft and the mission number. Some mission patch designs chosen in contests. The Mission Patch pictured is from the last mission of Challenger.

About the Cargo BayComponents for the International Space Station, satellites, and space probes are examples of equipment carried into space in the cargo bay of the shuttle. The cargo is known as payload. Two hinged doors on the top of the shuttle open up to reveal the cargo bay. There is a 50 ft. arm, called the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) that is used to maneuver the payload. The photo above shows Discovery flying with the cargo doors open and the RMS extended.


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