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.
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)
Look back on the world's first reusable spacecraft.
Mission control blasts music to keep the astronauts awake.
Bad weather delays the return of the Space Shuttle Atlantis after its mission to install the US Destiny laboratory on the International Space Station in February 2001. The lab is used for experiments in human life science, materials research and commercial applications. John McIntyre reports for BBC News.
An astronaut repairs the space shuttle perched on a robotic arm.
BBC News reports on astronaut Steve Robinson's manual repairs to the Space Shuttle Discovery's damaged heat shield in August 2005. He completed his repairs perched on the end of a robotic arm attached to the International Space Station. This was the first shuttle mission since Columbia was lost on re-entry on 1 February 2003. Clive Myrie reports.
With a damaged belly, the shuttle returns from the ISS.
BBC News reports on the Space Shuttle Endeavour's August 2007 return to Earth. The shuttle's crew had completed a mission to attach equipment to the International Space Station despite damage to the spacecraft's belly that occurred on take off. Richard Lister reports.
An observation deck is added to the space station.
BBC News reports on the February 2010 Space Shuttle Endeavour mission to deliver some of the last components to the International Space Station. The shuttle's delivery included a seven-windowed cupola to be used as a control room for the station's robotic arm. Pallab Ghosh reports.
Tomorrow's World explains the space shuttle's launch stages.
Tomorrow's World presenter Michael Rodd explains the launch stages and mission of the first US space shuttle, Columbia, at the time of its first mission in 1981.