The History of the Space Shuttle

The last mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavor was scrubbed on Friday because of issues with the ship’s hydraulic systems. Launch is now scheduled for Monday, 2 May.

As the second-to-last Space Shuttle flight, and the final one for Endeavor, it is a memorable occasion made even more so because the mission is being commanded by Mark Kelly. Kelly is the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head in an attempted assassination attempt in Arizona last January.

Rep. Giffords will be present for the launch.

Many Americans are realizing that an American era is coming to an end with these last two space flights. On June 28th, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to embark on America’s final space shuttle mission.

Many are looking back on the shuttle’s history as an American period in which the country dominated travel into space. With no current replacement for the shuttle American astronauts will be ferried to and from the International Space Station at least through 2016.

HIGHLIGHTS

In 1981, from April 12-14th the shuttle Columbia made a successful flight as NASA’s inaugural Space Transportation System (STS-1). Commanded by John W. Young and piloted by Robert L. Crippen the system testing mission was a success, although the shuttle did sustain tile damage on launch.

March 22, 1982Columbia lands in White Plains, N.M. due to high winds at the planned landing location of Edwards Air Force Base, California. White Sands remains a back-up landing spot for shuttle missions.

June 18, 1983-STS-3 sends the first American woman into space. Sally Ride helped to deploy telecommunication on her historic mission.

August 30, 1983-Guion Bluford becomes the first African-American in space on board the shuttle Challenger.

February 3, 1984– The first un-tethered space walk. Astronauts Bruce McCandless and Robert L. Stewart try out the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), a robotic backpack with its own thrusters that allowed the astronauts to move about space without a securing line.

January 28 1986-Tragedy strikes as Challenger explodes 74 seconds after launch. Astronauts Sharon “Christa” McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Gregory Jarvis, Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik, Commander Dick Scobee. Mission Specialist, Ronald McNair, Pilot, Michael Smith and Mission Specialist, Ellison Onizuka all lose their lives.

September 29, 1988-After years of regrouping and recovering from the Challenger disaster this voyage marks America’s return to space.

April 24, 1990-The Hubble Telescope is launched by Discovery.

June 27, 1995Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir.

Oct. 29, 1998-John Glenn, the oldest astronaut in space and a member of America’s space program in its infancy goes back to space on board Discovery.

Feb. 1, 2003-America’s first shuttle Columbia and her crew of 7 heroes are lost.

The United States space program has seen huge success and tremendous failure but through it all American’s continued to step-up and perform. From the program the entire world has reaped benefit. We must never forget those lost.

“America has tossed its cap over the wall of space.” – John F. Kennedy

References:

The last mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavor was scrubbed on Friday because of issues with the ship’s hydraulic systems. Launch is now scheduled for Monday, 2 May.

As the second-to-last Space Shuttle flight, and the final one for Endeavor, it is a memorable occasion made even more so because the mission is being commanded by Mark Kelly. Kelly is the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head in an attempted assassination attempt in Arizona last January.

Rep. Giffords will be present for the launch.

Many Americans are realizing that an American era is coming to an end with these last two space flights. On June 28th, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to embark on America’s final space shuttle mission.

Many are looking back on the shuttle’s history as an American period in which the country dominated travel into space. With no current replacement for the shuttle American astronauts will be ferried to and from the International Space Station at least through 2016.

HIGHLIGHTS

In 1981, from April 12-14th the shuttle Columbia made a successful flight as NASA’s inaugural Space Transportation System (STS-1). Commanded by John W. Young and piloted by Robert L. Crippen the system testing mission was a success, although the shuttle did sustain tile damage on launch.

March 22, 1982Columbia lands in White Plains, N.M. due to high winds at the planned landing location of Edwards Air Force Base, California. White Sands remains a back-up landing spot for shuttle missions.

June 18, 1983-STS-3 sends the first American woman into space. Sally Ride helped to deploy telecommunication on her historic mission.

August 30, 1983-Guion Bluford becomes the first African-American in space on board the shuttle Challenger.

February 3, 1984– The first un-tethered space walk. Astronauts Bruce McCandless and Robert L. Stewart try out the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), a robotic backpack with its own thrusters that allowed the astronauts to move about space without a securing line.

January 28 1986-Tragedy strikes as Challenger explodes 74 seconds after launch. Astronauts Sharon “Christa” McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Gregory Jarvis, Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik, Commander Dick Scobee. Mission Specialist, Ronald McNair, Pilot, Michael Smith and Mission Specialist, Ellison Onizuka all lose their lives.

September 29, 1988-After years of regrouping and recovering from the Challenger disaster this voyage marks America’s return to space.

April 24, 1990-The Hubble Telescope is launched by Discovery.

June 27, 1995Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir.

Oct. 29, 1998-John Glenn, the oldest astronaut in space and a member of America’s space program in its infancy goes back to space on board Discovery.

Feb. 1, 2003-America’s first shuttle Columbia and her crew of 7 heroes are lost.

The United States space program has seen huge success and tremendous failure but through it all American’s continued to step-up and perform. From the program the entire world has reaped benefit. We must never forget those lost.

“America has tossed its cap over the wall of space.” – John F. Kennedy
Sources:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_f_kennedy.html
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/0429/Space-shuttle-launch-Friday-will-be-last-for-Endeavour