Space Shuttle Facts
A space shuttle can be defined as the first piece of space exploration technology that was reusable. There have been total five space shuttles till now: – Columbia, Enterprise, Discover, Challenger and Atlantis. All of them have been launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Only 7 astronauts can fly to the outer space at a time. The longest ever orbit of any space shuttle lasted 17.5 days. The very first test flight took place on April 12, 1981. John Young and Robert Crippen launched the program by piloting Columbia to space and they returned safely after two days. Till now, a total of 135 missions have been completed and over 350 people have been flown out.
Facts you didn’t know: –
- Weather conditions such as precipitation, lightning, humidity, wind etc. are strongly considered before the launch.
- A space shuttle launches like a rocket, orbits like a spacecraft and lands like a plane.
- The Challenger and Columbia were both completely destroyed killing all the 14 crew members.
- Columbia was the heaviest orbiter, weighing around 178,000 pounds.
- Space shuttles have played an important role in repair and maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope and for construction of the International Space Station.
- Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman in space. She was a part of the Challenger crew.
- It takes only 8 minutes for the space shuttles to accelerate to a speed of approximately 17,000 miles per hour.
- The Columbia completed 27 missions before being destroyed in re-entry.
- The Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986.
- The entire space shuttle system is made up of three components: – two solid rocket boosters, the orbiter and the external tank.
- The liftoff weight of the space shuttle was 4.5 million pounds.