Space shuttle Atlantis touches down, ending an era of adventure in space | Science | The Guardian
NASA officially ended its year space shuttle program on Aug. who are very special to all of us: the STSL crew and STS crew. The Space Shuttle program was the fourth human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which accomplished routine transportation for Earth-to-orbit crew and cargo from to Its official name, Space Transportation System (STS), was taken from a The Space Shuttle program formally ended on August 31, Learn about the history of NASA's space shuttle program.
NASA must establish a flight rate that is consistent with its resources.
Columbia [ edit ] The shuttle program operated accident-free for seventeen years after the Challenger disaster, until Columbia broke up on re-entrykilling all seven crew members, on February 1, The accident began when a piece of foam shed from the external tank struck the leading edge of the orbiter's left wing, puncturing one of the reinforced carbon-carbon RCC panels that covered the wing edge and protected it during re-entry. As Columbia re-entered the atmosphere, hot gas penetrated the wing and destroyed it from the inside out, causing the orbiter to lose control and disintegrate.
After the Columbia disaster, the International Space Station operated on a skeleton crew of two for more than two years and was serviced primarily by Russian spacecraft.
While the "Return to Flight" mission STS in was successful, a similar piece of foam from a different portion of the tank was shed.
Although the debris did not strike Discovery, the program was grounded once again for this reason. Two previous launches were scrubbed because of lingering thunderstorms and high winds around the launch pad, and the launch took place despite objections from its chief engineer and safety head.
Space Shuttle retirement
Discovery touched down successfully on July 17, at Following the success of STSall subsequent missions were completed without major foam problems, and the construction of ISS was completed during the STS mission in Augustthe orbiter was again struck by a foam fragment on liftoff, but this damage was minimal compared to the damage sustained by Columbia. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board, in its report, noted the reduced risk to the crew when a shuttle flew to the International Space Station ISSas the station could be used as a safe haven for the crew awaiting rescue in the event that damage to the orbiter on ascent made it unsafe for re-entry.
The board recommended that for the remaining flights, the shuttle always orbit with the station. Many dissenters, including astronauts[ who? One impact of Columbia was that future crewed launch vehicles, namely the Ares Ihad a special emphasis on crew safety compared to other considerations.
Shuttle Landing Facility [ edit ] The runway at KSC is currently used as a normal runway for the center and neighboring Cape Canaveral's daily operations. Former planned Space Shuttle successors[ edit ] In the s, a planned successor to STS was called "Shuttle II", which encompassed a number of different ideas and was influenced by the Challenger disaster.
However, the Shuttle did not fly untilwhich left a six-year gap in U. Because of this and other reasons, in particular, higher than expected Solar activity that caused Skylab's orbit to decay faster than hoped, the U.
Space Shuttle retirement - Wikipedia
Orion capsule got resurrected from the ashes of Constellation, possibly for asteroid missions. As a backup for ISS crew rotation or other destinations remained an option, but it would need a man-rated launch vehicle Following the Space Shuttle Columbia disasterin early President George W.
Bushannounced his Vision for Space Exploration which called for the completion of the American portion of the International Space Station by due to delays this would not happen untilthe retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet following its completion, to return to the moon by and one day to Mars. The Altair lunar lander would have landed crew and cargo onto the moon.
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The Constellation program experienced many cost overruns and schedule delays, and was openly criticized by the subsequent U. As the ISS lifeboat spacecraft all participants needed to train on it in the event of an emergency, if they stayed after the Shuttle left.
The Orion spacecraft was left virtually unchanged from its previous design.