A Brief History
Not being attached by any sort of lifeline had to be a terrifying prospect, but astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart, both on their first space flight, operated outside the Challenger free of any safety line for over 5 hours.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon announced the NASA Space Shuttle program, an ambitious program sadly remembered for the Challenger and Columbia disasters, but also a program that saw many space exploration firsts and carried astronauts from 16 different countries on 135 flights before being retired in 2011.
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For more information, please see…
Miller, Roland. The Space Shuttle: A Mission-by-Mission Celebration of NASA’s Extraordinary Spaceflight Program. Artisan, 2022.
Sivolella, Davide. The Untold Stories of the Space Shuttle Program: Unfulfilled Dreams and Missions that Never Flew. Springer, 2022.
The featured image in this article, the STS-41-B mission patch, is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that “NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted“. (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.