By August 9, 2005

Shuttle Fleet Facts!

[color=#6200aa]There have been six shuttles built:[/color]
[color=#6200aa]Enterprise (OV-101)[/color]
[color=#6200aa]Challenger (OV-99)[/color]
[color=#6200aa]Columbia (OV-102)[/color]
[color=#6200aa]Discovery (OV-103)[/color]
[color=#6200aa]Atlantis (OV-104)[/color]
[color=#6200aa]Endeavour (OV-105)[/color]

[color=#6200aa]Enterprise was a test vehicle for the shuttle program and was not intended for space flight. It is on display at Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C.[/color]

[color=#6200aa]Challenger was also originally built as a test vehicle, known as STA-099, for the shuttle program but in 1979 NASA decided to get her upgraded to become a space-rated orbiter known as OV-099. Her maiden space flight launched on 4th April 1983 on mission STS-6. She was the first shuttle to launch and land at night and the first to carry an American female astronaut. She flew only 9 successful mission before she was lost. On her 10th mission STS-51L an explosion 73 seconds into the flight meant the loss of her and her crew.[/color]

[color=#6200aa]Columbia was the first shuttle to go in to space. Her maiden flight was launched on 12th April 1981, mission STS-1. She was the heaviest shuttle in the fleet and because of this was unable to take part in the construction of the International Space Station. Columbia was also the carrier of the maiden flight for ‘Spacelab’. Columbia successful completed 27 mission before her last mission STS-107 ended in disaster on 1st February 2003 with the loss of her and her crew at re-entry due to damage to her wing which occurred during launch.[/color]

[color=#6200aa]Discovery was the third shuttle to join the fleet and is now the oldest shuttle left in service with her maiden flight on 30th August 1984, mission STS-41D. Discovery has completed the most missions of any of the shuttle at 31, including the successful landing today of mission STS-114. Discovery has twice been the chosen shuttle of NASA for their ‘Return to Flight’ programs, first time was STS-26 in 1988 after the loss of Challenger and again this time after the loss of Columbia with STS-114. [/color]

[color=#6200aa]Atlantis was the forth shuttle to join the fleet with her maiden flight on 3rd October 1985, mission STS-51J with carried a classified payload for the US Department of Defense. Atlantis weighs 151,315 pounds, which is 3.5 tons lighter than Columbia. Atlantis has successfully completed 26 missions and is due to launch on STS-121 later this year (subject to any delays as a result of findings from Discovery’s mission STS-114).[/color]

[color=#6200aa]Endeavour is the most recent shuttle to join the fleet. She was built as a replacement for Challenger and her maiden flight was STS-49, which launched on 7th May 1992. Endeavour has had her weight reduced to minimum to maximise her payload capacity. She has successfully completed 19 mission and was the last successful flight prior to the Columbia disaster with STS-113, which went to the International Space Station. Endeavour started a period of maintenance and modifications in December 2003 to return her to ‘as new’ condition for a safe return to flight.[/color]

[color=#6200aa]Tracy[/color]

(Image: Nasa)

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