SPACE SHUTTLE
1981 - 2010

The goal of the space shuttle was to decrease the cost of the space program by reusing as much of the hardware as possible.

Space Shuttle Mission Summary 1981 - 2011

ORBITERMAIDEN
FLIGHT
FINAL
FLIGHT
NUMBER OF FLIGHTSDAYS IN SPACEORBITSDOCKINGSSATELLITES DEPLOYED
COLUMBIA12-April-1981
(STS-1)
1-February-2003 (STS-107)28300.744,808 N/A 8
CHALLENGER04-April-1983
(STS-6)
28-January-1986 (STS-51L)1062.4995 N/A 10
DISCOVERY30-August-1984 (STS-41D)24-February-2011 (STS-133)393655,830MIR 1
ISS 13
31
ATLANTIS03-October-1985 (STS-51J)8-July-2011
(STS-135)
33306.54,848MIR 7
ISS 12
14
ENDAEVOUR07-May-1992
(STS-49)
16-May-2011
(STS-134)
252964,677MIR 1
ISS 12
3




The Shuttle, otherwise known as the Space Transport System (STS), consists of four major components: the orbiter, the external tank, and two solid booster rockets. At launch the complete STS weighs some 4.458 million lb. The Orbiter and booster rockets are reusable but the external tank is not. Additional to the re-usability, other firsts include a crew of up to seven (previously three was the maximum) and being the largest/heaviest re-entry vehicle ever attempted, allowing it to retrieve satellites from orbit in its cargo bay. The orbiter is some 37 meters long, 24 meters wide from wing tip to wing tip and 17 meters high.

The first orbiter to be tested was the Enterprise which underwent atmospheric glide tests (ALT) in 1977. The first space test for an orbiter was the maiden flight of Columbia STS-1, which (as with all the NASA shuttles) was crewed without first being flight tested. In contrast, the Soviet Buran underwent its 1988 maiden flight unmanned. The shuttle was the first American manned space craft to perform its landing on solid land rather than at sea.

Career highlights for the Shuttle program include deploying some 65 satellites including the Hubble Space telescope, Galileo Jupiter mission, Magellan mission and Ulysses solar mission - STS-7 First American woman in space (Sally Ride in 1983, 20 years after Tereshkova) - STS-71 docking with MIR being the first of nine such missions paving the way to the International Space Station and of course the ISS itself.

Like all space programs, it has is not without its tragedies, the shuttle program has been marred by two disasters. The lost of the Challenger STS-51L on 28-January-1986 and the Columbia STS-107 in 1-February-2003.

The space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011 (Atlantis STS-135). The space shuttle program is to be replaced by Project Constellation in 2014, in the interim the International Space Station will be serviced by Soyuz and Progress craft.

SPACE SHUTTLE COLLECTION


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