Space shuttle

Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off

The space shuttle

The US space shuttle was the world's first reusable manned spacecraft. The orbiter mounted onto an external tank and rocket boosters reached speeds of up to 18,000mph after lift-off.

After it first launched in 1981, the shuttle's missions included the deployment and repair of the Hubble Space Telescope and delivery of components and crew to the International Space Station.

Tragedies such as the 1986 Challenger and 2003 Columbia disasters hurt the programme.

In July 2011 NASA flew the last shuttle mission. For more about this amazing spacecraft, see the special BBC News space shuttle coverage.

Photo: The shuttle Endeavour lifts off in 2007 (NASA)

Watch and listen to clips from past programmes TV clips [9]

Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off

About Space shuttle

Look back on the world's first reusable spacecraft.

About Space shuttle

The Space Shuttle is a reusable launch system and orbital spacecraft operated by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for human spaceflight missions. The system combines rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons. The first of four orbital test flights occurred in 1981 leading to operational flights beginning in 1982, all launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The system is scheduled to be retired from service in 2011 after 135 launches.[1] Major missions have included launching numerous satellites and interplanetary probes,[2] conducting space science experiments, and servicing and construction of space stations. Five space-worthy orbiters were built—two were destroyed in accidents and two have been retired, leaving one currently in service.

Read more at Wikipedia