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 ←/→.
Jump to Comments

Most Recent

  • Bill Ingalls/NASA

    Photos of the Week: 3/21-3/27

    This week, we have photos of the Germanwings flight crash scene, preparations for launch at the Baikonur cosmodrome, a sinkhole in New Jersey, unrest and airstrikes in Yemen, Alaskan Wood bison returning to the wild, the last Jew in the Turkish town of Edirne, a memorial to Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, and much more.

  • AP

    On This Day 36 Years Ago: The Signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty

    Thirty-six years ago, on March 26, 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a historic peace treaty that has held to this day.

  • Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP/Getty Images

    The Big Thaw

    Friday was the vernal equinox, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, despite continued wintry conditions in a few places (I'm looking at you, New England).

  • Google, Inc.

    A Virtual Drive Through Bhutan

    I'd like to show you a few views of Bhutan, its remarkable landscape, and colorful architecture, courtesy of Google's Street View team (with links, so you can explore more on your own).

Join the Discussion