The History of the Space Shuttle

From its first launch 30 years ago to its final mission scheduled for next Friday, NASA's Space Shuttle program has seen moments of dizzying inspiration and of crushing disappointment. When next week's launch is complete, the program will have sent up 135 missions, ferrying more than 350 humans and thousands of tons of material and equipment into low Earth orbit. The missions have been risky, the engineering complex, the hazards extreme. Indeed, over the years 14 shuttle astronauts lost their lives. As we near the end of the program, let's look back at the past few decades of shuttle history.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • AP

    A Wild Elephant Runs Loose in an Indian City

    A wild elephant wandered into the streets and alleys of Siliguri, India, on February 10, leaving behind a trail of startled residents, damaged structures, trampled cars, and smashed motorbikes.

  • Christophe Simon / AFP / Getty

    Carnival 2016 Around the World

    Recent images of carnivals around the world, including images from Spain, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Lithuania, Bolivia, and more.

  • Joseph Eid / AFP / Getty

    Newlyweds in the Ruins: A Syrian Wedding Photo Shoot

    In Homs, Syria, where entire city blocks have been reduced to rubble by years of civil war, a Syrian wedding photographer thought of using the destruction of the city as a backdrop for pictures of newlywed couples to show that life is stronger than death.

  • Brittany Greeson / The Ground Truth Project

    'We Fear the Water'

    Photographs of life in Flint, Michigan, where lead, copper, and bacteria have been contaminating the drinking supply

Join the Discussion