The Space Shuttle Legacy – Part 2

The Space Shuttle Legacy – Part 2

Less than a few weeks remain until the Space Shuttle Atlantis makes it’s final launch into space, which will mark the culmination of thirty years of space travel for these reusable craft.
Thirty Years is a long time, and the Space Shuttle program has accomplished much in that span of time. Though some missions have seemed routine, all have been important contributions to science and space flight as a whole. As NASA’s STS Missions come to a close, let’s look at some of the more notable Space Shuttle flights and some interesting facts and figures from over the years.
Notable Shuttle Missions
ALT-12: First Test Flight of Space Shuttle Orbiter (Enterprise)
STS-1: Maiden Space Shuttle Launch (Columbia)
STS-6: First Challenger Flight; First Shuttle EVA
STS-7: First American Woman in Space [Sally Ride] (Challenger)
STS-8: First African American in Space [Guion Bluford]; First Night Shuttle Launch and Landing (Challenger)
STS-41-A: First Spacelab Mission (Columbia)
STS-41-B: First MMU Flight [Bruce McCandless] (Challenger)
STS-41-D: First Discovery Flight; First Aborted Shuttle Launch
STS-51-J: First Atlantis Flight
STS-51-L: Loss of Challenger and Crew
STS-26: First post-Challenger Flight (Discovery)
STS-31: Hubble Space Telescope Deployment (Discovery)
STS-49: First Endeavour Flight
STS-61: Hubble Telescope Repair (Endeavour)
STS-71: First Shuttle-Mir Docking (Atlantis)
STS-80: Longest Shuttle Mission –  17 days, 15 hours, and 53 minutes (Columbia)
STS-88: First Shuttle International Space Station Assembly Flight (Endeavour)
STS-95: John Glenn flies again (Discovery)
STS-107: Loss of Columbia and Crew
STS-114: First Post-Columbia Flight (Discovery)
STS-133: Final Mission for Discovery; Delivery of Robonaut to ISS
STS-134: Final EVA in Shuttle Missions; Final Mission for Endeavour
STS-135: Final Space Shuttle Mission (Atlantis)
Notable Facts and Figures

  • Total Shuttle Missions: 135
  • Launchpad 39-A: 91 Launches
  • Launchpad 39-B: 59 Launches
  • Night Launches: 34
  • Post Columbia Missions: 21
  • Over 1300 Days in Space for all Shuttles, from 1981 to 2011 – 30 years of Flight

For more facts and figures, NASA has an excellent interactive Space Shuttle resource. CLICK HERE
Next time, we’ll look at the future of the Space Shuttle fleet and at what the near-future holds for Space Exploration.

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