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
STS-51-L: Loss of Challenger and Crew
STS-26: First post-Challenger Flight (Discovery)
STS-61: Hubble Telescope Repair (Endeavour)
STS-80: Longest Shuttle Mission – 17 days, 15 hours, and 53 minutes (Columbia)
STS-107: Loss of Columbia and Crew
STS-114: First Post-Columbia Flight (Discovery)
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.