Remember when you were were younger and you heard that NASA were going to space in this new aircraft that looked like a plane, and when the mission was finished the craft would then glide bac to Earth and land like a plane?
I do, and of course it was the Space Shuttle. It seemed a big deal then (and it was). But I was only reminded today listening to the radio when it actually was…………….
The space shuttle Columbia launched on April 12, 1981 which happened to be the 20th anniversary of human spaceflight, and returned on April 14, 1981, after orbiting the Earth 36 times.
Another space shuttle to fly in the 80s was Challenger, whose maiden flight was on April 4, 1983.
It completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission on January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members.
The accident led to a two-and-a-half year grounding of the shuttle fleet, with missions resuming in 1988 with the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery (whose first mission was actually in 1984).
Bit of trivia – Discovery was the shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope.