In Pictures: 30-Year History of NASA’s Shuttle Program

in Education

On July 8, Atlantis spacecraft lifted of on the final mission, closing the 30-year space shuttle program of NASA. The program has left a tremendous success but also killed 14 astronauts in two spacecraft explosions. Here are outstanding images with 30-year retrospective of NASA’s shuttle program history.


In 1969, the Space Task Group was formed by American President Richard M. Nixon and chaired by vice president Spiro T. Agnew, which meant that the shuttle program got its starts from this year. The Shuttle program of NASA was officially released on 5 January 1972, when Richard Nixon claimed that NASA would carry out the development of a reusable Space Shuttle system with winged orbiter, solid rocket boosters, and expendable external tanks. Furthermore, the final design was less costly to build and less technically ambitious than earlier fully reusable designs.


Five space shuttle was under the 30-year history of Nasa’s Shuttle Space Program including (from left to right) Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour

Five space shuttle was under the 30-year history of Nasa’s Shuttle Space Program including (from left to right) Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour


Columbia is the first ship launched into space shuttle program in the U.S. on December 4, 1981

Columbia is the first ship to be launched into space shuttle program in the U.S. on December 4, 1981


Five astronauts captured before space shuttle mission Challenger. The ship launched on 18 June 1983 was the American first space mission with the participation of a female astronaut

Five astronauts captured before space shuttle mission Challenger. The ship launched on 18 June 1983 was the American first space mission with the participation of a female astronaut


On 28 January, 1986, a tragedy occurred when Challenger exploded in the sky Kennedy Space Center, just 73 seconds after the launch. The Challenger Orbiter was destroyed and its seven-member crew killed

On 28 January, 1986, a tragedy occurred when Challenger exploded in the sky Kennedy Space Center, just 73 seconds after the launch. The Challenger Orbiter was destroyed and its seven-member crew killed


That is the world's worst space disaster including five men and two women on their flight from Cape Carnival in Florida when the Challenger exploded. The cause of the accident was determined by out-of-work rubber seals, or O-ring

That is the world's worst disaster in space including five men and two women on their flight from Cape Carnival in Florida when the Challenger exploded. The cause of the accident was determined by out-of-work rubber seals, or O-ring


In September 1988, Discovery was launched with five astronauts

In September 1988, Discovery was launched with five astronauts


Astronaut James H. Newman, mission specialist, moving outside the Space while working installing original parts for the International Space Station (ISS)

Astronaut James H. Newman, mission specialist, moving outside the Space while working installing original parts for the International Space Station (ISS)


Control compartment on the shuttle Atlantis

Control compartment on the shuttle Atlantis


The picture was extracted from the video showing that an object was falling from the ship Columbia during the launch on 16 January, 2003

The picture was extracted from the video showing that an object was falling from the ship Columbia during the launch on 16 January, 2003


After the successful two-week mission to the ISS, the space shuttle Columbia exploded on the way back to earth on 1 February 2003. It was said that Columbia's left wing was damaged by a chunk of foam insulation that weighed 1.67 pounds, causing the ship broken under enormous pressure as coming to the earth’s atmosphere

After the successful two-week mission to the ISS, the space shuttle Columbia exploded on the way back to earth on 1 February 2003. It was said that Columbia's left wing was damaged by a chunk of foam insulation that weighed 1.67 pounds, causing the ship broken under enormous pressure as coming to the earth’s atmosphere


Hundreds of pieces of space Columbia debris were collected and placed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Thus, among the five ships operating with full functions of the space shuttle program, only three vessels was in use until their retirement

Hundreds of pieces of space Columbia debris were collected and placed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Thus, among the five ships operating with full functions of the space shuttle program, only three vessels was in use until their retirement


Discovery lifted off from its launching pad on 26 July 2005, marking the first mission after the Columbia disaster

Discovery lifted off from its launching pad on 26 July 2005, marking the first mission after the Columbia disaster

 

This is image of seven Discovery astronauts before lifting off

This is image of seven Discovery astronauts before lifting off


The photo captured the ship Endeavour sitting at the launch pad to prepare for takeoff in the mission to take the first part of a Japanese space lab and the Canadian Dextre robotics system to the ISS on 11 March 2008

The photo captured the ship Endeavour sitting at the launch pad to prepare for takeoff in the mission to take the first part of a Japanese space lab and the Canadian Dextre robotics system to the ISS on 11 March 2008


The shuttle Atlantis observed through its shadow when passing through the sun on 12 May 2009

The shuttle Atlantis observed through its shadow when passing through the sun on 12 May 2009


Endeavour before docking ISS on 17 July 2009

Endeavour before docking ISS on 17 July 2009


Discovery shuttle was leaving the launch pad at the same time lightning stroke at Kennedy Space Center on 4 August 2009

Discovery shuttle was leaving the launch pad at the same time lightning stroke at Kennedy Space Center on 4 August 2009


Discovery flying over Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida in the launch on 5 April 2010

Discovery flying over Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida in the launch on 5 April 2010


Tourists admiring the moment that Discovery flew aboard on the last trip to the ISS on 24 February 2011

Tourists admiring the moment that Discovery flew aboard on the last trip to the ISS on 24 February 2011


The Discovery Space Shuttle seen from the ISS after separation from the Space Station on 8 March 2011

The Discovery Space Shuttle seen from the ISS after separation from the Space Station on 8 March 2011


Atlantis rocketed into on July 8 in the last voyage of the shuttle program. After retirement, the team three shuttles will be kept in the museum. It is expected that a Moon and Mars exploration program will replace the space shuttle program

Atlantis rocketed into on July 8 in the last voyage of the shuttle program. After retirement, the team three shuttles will be kept in the museum. It is expected that a Moon and Mars exploration program will replace the space shuttle program

 

30-Year History of NASA’s Shuttle Program

 

Related links:

Stunning Images of Final Space Shuttle Atlantis’s Launch

Should The Space Shuttle Program End?

New Crew Arrives to Oversee Space Station's Completion

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Zidane Randall has 409 articles online and 14 fans

Studying materials on education, Eric Giguere prefers reading and writing. In his spare time, Eric often joins literature clubs to share his interest with others.

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In Pictures: 30-Year History of NASA’s Shuttle Program

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This article was published on 2011/07/13