A Brief History
On October 30, 1985, the American Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off on its 9th mission, a successful flight that lasted over 7 days and was notable for having taken the first Dutch astronaut into space.
Challenger had a successful career from its first flight into space in April of 1983 through its 9th flight in October and November of 1985, spending nearly 1500 hours in space flight. Unfortunately, as we have chronicled, on January 28, 1986, the magnificent space machine blew up and went to pieces only 73 seconds into its 10th and final flight, costing the lives of all 7 astronauts aboard.
One of 6 Space Shuttle reusable space crafts, Challenger was not the only shuttle to meet with disaster, as Columbia burned up upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere in February of 2003, also killing the 7 astronauts aboard. This second Space Shuttle disaster did not end the program, and the last Space Shuttle flight occurred with Endeavor’s final flight in 2011, the last of 135 Space Shuttle flights.
Question for students (and subscribers): Is the space program worth the enormous cost? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Baker, David. NASA Space Shuttle Manual: An Insight into the Design, Construction and Operation of the NASA Space Shuttle. Haynes Publishing, 2011.
Jenkins, Dennis. Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon 1972-2013. Specialty Press, 2017.
The featured image in this article, a photograph of the Space Shuttle Challenger blasting off at noon EDT from the launch pad at Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, was taken from Flickr‘s The Commons. The uploading organization may have various reasons for determining that no known copyright restrictions exist, such as:
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