The shuttles docked with Russian space station Mir nine times and visited the ISS thirty-seven times. First flight of an African American in space, Test of robot arm on heavy payloads with Payload Flight Test Article, First spacewalk by American woman, Sullivan. First flight of a sitting politician in space, First mission with Spacelab module in a fully operational configuration, Planned tracking and data relay satellite (, Heavy damage to the thermal protection system resulted in extreme heat damage to the right wing, Space Station Heat Pipe Advanced Radiator Element I space station radiator experiment, Assembly of Station by EVA Methods (ASEM) space station truss experiment EVA. In September 1969, two months after the first manned lunar landing, a Space Task Group appointed by the President of the United States to study the future course of U.S. space research and exploration made the recommendation that "…the United States accept the basic goal of a balanced manned and unmanned space program. [299][300][301] The rescue flight for STS-115, if needed, would have been STS-301. [6] It wasn't until STS-127 in 2009 where the flight numbering system returned to a standard and consistent order. The shuttle orbiter and the SCA separated and then Enterprise was flying on its own (see video below)! As a result, it was not capable of spaceflight. [2] The longest orbital flight of the Shuttle was STS-80 at 17 days 15 hours, while the shortest flight was STS-51-L at one minute 13 seconds when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart during launch. August 10, 2020. The space tourism company's latest SpaceShipTwo vehicle, known as VSS Unity, has made two crewed test flights … Space Shuttle History. Many other planned missions were canceled due to the late development of the shuttle, and the Challenger and Columbia disasters. A good night's sleep is crucial for a full day of space exploration. Ferguson, who joined Boeing in 2011 after a NASA career that included commanding the final space shuttle mission, was to lead the Crew Flight … The test flight will be the third trip into space for both astronauts, who are veterans of the space shuttle program. During that time period the fleet logged 1,322 days, 19 hours, 21 minutes and 23 seconds of flight time. Forty-three years ago, on Aug. 12, 1977, Enterprise took the next giant leap in NASA’s space shuttle Approach and Landing Test (ALT) program: free-flight. [11] These codes were assigned when the launches were initially scheduled and were not changed as missions were delayed or rescheduled. The Space Shuttle was a partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). After the Challenger disaster, NASA returned to using a sequential numbering system, with the number counting from the beginning of the STS program. The Space Shuttle Columbia (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-102) was the first space-rated orbiter in NASA's Space Shuttle fleet. Space Center Houston is a leading science and space exploration learning center. [1] Operational missions launched numerous satellites, conducted science experiments in orbit, and participated in construction and servicing of the International Space Station (ISS). [6] As a result of the changes in systems, flights under different numbering systems could have the same number with one having a letter appended, e.g. The first of four orbital test flights occurred in 1981, leading to operational flights beginning in 1982. Should the rescue mission have been needed, the crew and vehicle for STS-117 would assume the rescue mission profile and become STS-317. Earlier that year, Enterprise, NASA’s first space shuttle orbiter, arrived at Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards … However, fans of the popular sci-fi TV show, “Star Trek” began a massive campaign to urge the White House to select Enterprise as the name. The first of four orbital test flights occurred in 1981, leading to operational flights beginning in 1982.