The Space Shuttle Survivors
The Space Shuttle was designed to be a reusable vehicle providing routine access to space. While it has not lived up to its design goals, it did fly 8 to 10 flights a year and supported both the Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station. While each orbiter was expected to fly 100 missions, the program itself flew only 135 flights over its 30 year operating span of 1981 to 2011. Shuttle missions were never as routine as once hoped, but each mission was spectacular in its own right starting with an amazing light and sound show on launch, and those signature double sonic booms on landing. Those spectacular missions, however, came with a high price as two flights ended in accidents resulting in the loss of vehicle and loss of crew. In the end, high costs and safety concerns doomed the program. I cannot help but think that a piece of America died the day that the shuttle program was canceled, leaving our nation with no direct access to space for human crews.
Space Shuttle Survivors
Space Shuttle Flight Statistics
Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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