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

  • Toru Hanai / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Virtual Parish, Drone Tourism, Rock Santa

    A royal visit to Australia, a Napoleonic-battle reenactment in Spain, marijuana legalization in Canada, fall colors in Japan and Europe, and much more

  • Henry Nicholls / Reuters

    Images of the Season: Fall Is in the Air, Part 2

    One last look at my favorite season of the year, with more autumnal images from across the Northern Hemisphere

  • Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

    Robots at Work and Play

    Recent images of robotic technology around the world

  • © Google

    Seven Square Miles

    Snapshots from Google Earth, all rectangles of the same size and scale, approximately three and a half miles wide by two miles tall—showing seven square miles of the varied surface of our planet in each view