Discover the Space Shuttle

Dec 21, 2012

Sarah Nicols

On Tuesday, April 17, the space shuttle Discovery made its final flight from Florida to Washington, D.C.. The NASA program officially retired all of its space shuttles in 2011, after Atlantis completed the final space shuttle mission. Since I went to college in Virginia, a lot of my friends still live in northern Virginia and were able to take some amazing pictures of the space shuttle flying over the different landmarks and monuments, while strapped to the back of a jumbo jet.

When did the shuttle program start? Why did it start? These questions started popping up in my science classes this week, and I decided to write them all down here.

The space shuttle Columbia took its first flight in 1981, and lasted for 37 orbits. NASA had decided to start the shuttle program to allow for longer flights and the ability to carry large satellites and telescopes (Hubble!) up into Earth’s orbit. The shuttle was for long-term flights, unlike the pods and modules that had been used in the Mercury and Apollo missions.

wonder how astronauts will travel in space in the future…check out Wonderopolis:

The space shuttle program had some very high points, like bringing the Hubble telescope into orbit, and for allowing spacewalks outside of the shuttle. However, two of the lowest points for the shuttle program came on January 28, 1986, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded during its ascent into orbit, killing all aboard. Another blow to the shuttle program came on February 1, 2003, when the shuttle Columbia broke apart on its reentry into the atmosphere, killing all aboard.

The space shuttle Discovery that was flown to Washington, D.C., was the first shuttle to fly a mission after the Challenger disaster. It flew more than any other spacecraft, completing 39 successful missions over 27 years of service. It will be put on display at the National Air & Space Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institute.

Would you like to see how they made the space shuttle Discovery? Check it out!

Also, watch the final launch of the Discovery space shuttle:

Do you have any questions about space shuttles or space travel? Did you get to see the shuttle flying up to D.C.? Tell me about it in the comments below!


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