On this date in history… Today marks the anniversary of the very first launch of a Space Shuttle. On April 12, 1981 the Columbia was launched from the Kennedy Space Center beginning 30 years of shuttle fights.
In all, from the first flight in 1981 to its retirement in 2011, how many Space Shuttle launches were there?
The Space Shuttle was the first operational orbital spacecraft designed for reuse. Five space-worthy orbiters were built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. The program ended after Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Center on July 21, 2011.
Space Shuttle Columbia was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA’s orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th.
Space Shuttle Challenger was NASA’s second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service. It completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission.
In 1984, Discovery became the third operational orbiter following Columbia and Challenger, and made its final touchdown at Kennedy Space Center on March 9, 2011 having spent a cumulative total of one full year (365 days) in space and having flown 39 successful missions in over 27 years of service.
Atlantis was the fourth operational Space Shuttle. By the end of its 33rd and final mission, Atlantis had orbited the Earth 4,848 times, traveling nearly 126,000,000 mi (203,000,000 km) in space or more than 525 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 and its last mission was in May 2011. It completed 25 missions.
In all, there were 135 launches of the Space Shuttles.
NET CHECK IN’s:
A total of 28 people checked into the net tonight and of those, 10 had the correct answer to the Trivia Question. Congratulations to:
- Jim – W6ELL
- Brian – K6FIN
- Andres – KJ6HQI
- Justin – KA6JAC
- Roger – K6LMN
- Ron – K6MSU
- Roy – W6REH
- Leon – AF6TT
- Louie – AD6UP
- Dennis – KJ6UVQ
Thank you to everyone for taking part.