Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Space shuttle missions

Space shuttle missions

Space shuttle missions
The origins of NASA's space shuttle program date to the late '60s, with its first successful test flights in1981. Only two more shuttle flights remain before the program ends and the era of NASA's manned space flights comes to a close for the foreseeable future.

It's hard to believe, but it's the 30th anniversary of the launch of the space shuttle Columbia First launched on April 12, 1981, it flew 28 missions and spent nearly 301 days in space. It was the first of the NASA orbiter fleet, and was lost over Texas in 2003, along with its crew.
Challenger soared to great triumph and great tragedy. First launched on April 4, 1983, it flew 10 missions and spent just over 62 days in space. The first woman in space  as well as the first African-American astronaut flew on Challenger.The Challenger was lost on January 28, 1986.

First launched on August 30, 1984, Discovery has flown 39 missions and spent 365-and-a-half days in space. Discovery delivered the Hubble Telescope into space and has docked at the Mir space station.
Atlantis made its first flight on October 3, 1985, and has completed 32 missions, spending nearly 294 days in space. The shuttle has docked seven times at the Mir space station ,delivering important supplies. It also deployed the Gamma Ray Observatory and Galileo probe.

First launched May 7, 1992, Endeavour has completed 24 missions and spent just over 280 days in space. The shuttle was named through a national school competition, and it was the first to complete a mission to the Hubble Telescope. Endeavour will be decommissioned this year.

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