NASA Space Shuttle Program
The Space Shuttle Program is one of man's greatest technological achievements. This program was possible because someone believed that we had the know-how to make it happen.
The exact date of the beginning of the Space Shuttle Program is often debated. Some believe that it began on January 5, 1972, when President Nixon announced plans for NASA to build a space transport system. Some believe it began with the ending of the Apollo missions in December of 1972. Still others believe that it began in the 1960s in a joint venture between Marshall Space Flight Center and the Manned Space Center. But, just maybe, it began in the imagination of a small child looking up at the stars and wondering what it would be like just to touch them.
Test your knowledge of space shuttle trivia.
Space Shuttle Program Quiz
1) Which shuttle flew the most flights (percent of all shuttle flights)? 132 total flights –
2) Which shuttle flew the fewest flights?
3) What shuttle made the most flights to Mir?
4) What shuttle made the most flights to the ISS?
5) Which astronauts flew Apollo missions also flew a space shuttle mission?
6) Which astronaut flew on a Mercury mission and a Space Shuttle mission?
7) How many astronauts from Soyuz also flew on the shuttle?
8) Which shuttle has spent the most hours in space?
9) During which shuttle mission was the first untethered spacewalk?
10) Which shuttle had the longest single mission in days?
11) Which shuttle has had the most orbits?
12) Which shuttle(s) never flew classified missions?
Joyce Walters, Dynetics
OTHER PAGES ABOUT NASA SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM
Final adventure planned for NASA Space Shuttle Discovery. Already having carried space pioneer John Glenn back to orbit, Discovery's final mission will help the Robonaut travel to space to live at the International Space Station (ISS).
Space Shuttle Atlantis - Of all the missions flown by the space shuttle Atlantis, its 14th and 33rd flights were the most symbolic. Atlantis' 14th mission, which launched on June 27, 1995, represented a breakthrough in international space cooperation. The July 8, 2011 launch was the 135th and last mission of the space shuttle program.
The space shuttle Enterprise was a prototype orbiter used for tests in the Earth's atmosphere that never flew in space. The story of how it was named is a fascinating one. "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and cast members Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, James Doohan, and Walter Koenig were on hand for the ceremony.
The story of the space shuttle Endeavour is one marked by many triumphs but bookended by a pair of tragedies. Endeavour was the fifth and final space shuttle to enter NASA's fleet. The space agency had not planned to build an additional orbiter. However, the tragic loss of the space shuttle Challenger and its seven-member crew in 1986 changed that plan.
The space shuttle Challenger was the shortest lived of all the orbiters. It flew ten times in less than three years. Its loss in 1986 deeply shocked the nation. Challenger was the second orbiter to join the fleet. It was named after a British corvette, the HMS Challenger, which was the command ship of the Challenger Expedition, a four-year global research voyage conducted from 1872 to 1876.
The Space Shuttle Columbia was NASA's first operational space shuttle. It was named after the 18th century American sloop Columbia Rediviva that Captain Robert Gray used to explore the U.S. Pacific Northwest and to circumnavigate the world. The shuttle also honored Apollo 11's Lunar Module Columbia.
The Last Space Shuttle Launch from the Kennedy Space Center, was viewed by millions on the morning of July 8, 2011. The 135th flight of the Space Shuttle program would end 30 years of shuttle missions - an era marked by both triumphs and tragedies. The last space shuttle flight was a textbook example of how to fly a space mission. Atlantis docked at the International Space Station two days after launch. For nearly nine days, the shuttle and station crews unloaded vital supplies, equipment and experiments for the orbiting outpost. On July 21, 2011, the shuttle Atlantis landed at 5:57 a.m. at the Kennedy Space Center.
There were 135 launches of NASA's space shuttles from 1981 to 2011. There were many triumphs and two terrible tragedies that claimed the lives of 14 astronauts during those 30 years. Below are the highlights and low points of the space shuttle program.
Discovery Space Shuttle: In selecting the name, the space agency also honored British explorer James Cook, who sailed the South Pacific in the 1770s and discovered Hawaii. Cook's ships were named Discovery and Endeavour, whose name NASA would use for another space shuttle.
Although the space shuttle program has ended, its propulsion systems will live on. NASA has now developed the shuttle-derived Space Launch System, a heavy-lift launcher that will use modified versions of the space shuttle’s main engines, solid-rocket boosters and external tank. Space shuttle fuel will live to burn another day.
Space Shuttle History: The space shuttle was born of an age-old dream: humans flying into space cheaply and routinely on vehicles that could be turned around rapidly at little cost. No longer would astronauts fly into space riding throw-away rockets.
Space Shuttle Facts and Trivia. First astronauts to fly a space shuttle: John Young, Bob Crippen (Columbia, 1981) - First American woman in space: Sally Ride (Challenger, 1983) - First African American in space: Guion Bluford (Challenger, 1983)