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The Space Shuttles

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Enterprise, OV-101
(Retired)

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The first Space Shuttle Orbiter was to be named Constitution, but fans of the television series "Star Trek" waged a write-in campaign and convinced the White House to rename the vehicle. The Enterprise was built as a test vehicle and not equipped for space flight. Two NASA crews, Fred Haise and Gordon Fullerton, and Joe Engle and Dick Truly took turns flying Enterprise during five free-flight landings. The first free-flight test took place on 12 August 1977. On 18 November 1985, Enterprise was ferried to Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C., and became the property of the Smithsonian Institution. The Enterprise was on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport until it was replaced by the shuttle Discovery in April 2012. Enterprise was flown to JFK Airport in New York City on 27 April 2012. It was barged to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum in New York City in June 2012 and put on temporary display on the deck of the USS Intrepid until its permanent home is completed.

Flight records

Take-off of the Enterprise
and the SCA (Shuttle Carrier Aircraft)

(credit - NASA)
Separation of the
Enterprise from the SCA.

(credit - NASA)
Landing of the Enterprise

(credit - NASA)

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Columbia, OV-102
(Destroyed)

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Columbia was the oldest orbiter in the NASA fleet. The orbiter was lost during reentry on 1 February 2003, during the flight of STS-107. It made its first flight (STS-1) on 12 April 1981. Columbia was named after a sloop out of Boston, MA, captained by Robert Gray. On 11 May 1792, the sloop Columbia became the first to sail into what was later named the Columbia River.

View a slide show of Columbia being returned from Edwards after an overhaul.

Debris recovered from the Enterprise is stored in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral.

Flight records

Watch the launch of Columbia on the STS-107 mission.

(credit - NASA)

Challenger, OV-099
(Destroyed)

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Challenger began life as a structural test article (STA-099).  Challenger was converted to an operational orbiter vehicle (OV-099) after a 1978 decision not to convert the Enterprise (OV-101) to operational status. Challenger's first space flight occurred on 4 April 1983, as STS-6. Challenger was tragically lost during its tenth flight (51-L) on 28 January 1986. Challenger was named after an American Naval research vessel which sailed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the 1870's.

Recovered debris from Challenger is stored in two abandoned missile silos at Cape Canaveral.

Flight records


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Discovery, OV-103
(Retired)

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Discovery was named after one of the ships used by James Cook (British explorer) in the 1770's. Discovery made its first flight (41-D) on 30 August 1984. The final flight was STS-133 which landed 9 March 2011. It accumulated a total of 365 days of flight and 148 million miles.

Discovery arrived at Washington Dulles 17 April 2012 and was placed on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport. (Photos)

Flight records

Watch the launch of Discovery on the STS-102 mission.

(credit - NASA)

Atlantis, OV-104
(Retired)

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Atlantis was named after the primary research vessel of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute from 1930 to 1966. The first flight for Atlantis (51-J) was on 3 October 1985. The final flight was STS-135 which landed 21 July 2011.

Atlantis on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in Florida.

Flight records

Watch Atlantis landing at Edwards AFB after the STS-98 mission.

(credit - NASA)

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Endeavour, OV-105

(Retired)
(Built as a replacement for the Challenger)

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Like Discovery, Endeavour was also the name of one of James Cook's ships. The first flight of the shuttle Endeavour (STS-49) was on 5 May 1992. The final flight, STS-134, was launched 16 May 2011 and landed 1 June 2011. During its operational life, Endeavour spent 299 days in space, orbiting the Earth 4,671 times and traveling 122,883,151 miles.

Endeavour is on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photos)

Flight records

Watch the launch of Endeavour on the STS-99 mission.

(credit - NASA)

 


Page last modified: 17 August 2015 14:37:12.