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Space Shuttle Program

The Space Shuttle program was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972. The Space Shuttle system—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank— carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). When its mission was complete, the orbiter would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a glider.
Although the concept had been explored since the late 1960s, the program formally commenced in 1972 and was the focus of NASA's manned operations after the final Apollo and Skylab flights in the mid-1970s.
It started with the launch of the first shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, on STS-1. and finished with its last mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.
Shuttle Atlantis returning to Kennedy Space Center
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Shuttle Enterprise Free Flight

(1977) The Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise flies free after being released from NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) over Rogers Dry Lakebed during the second of five free flights carried out at the Dry... more

STS-51 G Launch

(June 17, 1985) On June 17, 1985, Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-51 G mission launched on a Comsat deployment mission. It deployed three communication satellites. The mission lasted a little over seven days. ..I... more

MSC Space Shuttle Model stability and control characteristics test in 9x7ft w.t. (test number not available) ARC-1970-AC70-4712

MSC Space Shuttle Model stability and control characteristics test in 9x7ft w.t. (test number not available)

PILOT KENNETH C. WHITE IN CHAIR. Space Shuttle Vehicle Simulation. SSV COCKPIT IN THE MOVING-CAB TRANSPORT SIMULATOR (S.16) ARC-1970-AC70-5441

PILOT KENNETH C. WHITE IN CHAIR. Space Shuttle Vehicle Simulation. SSV COCKPIT IN THE MOVING-CAB TRANSPORT SIMULATOR (S.16)

North American Space Shuttle Orbiter Model NA129 surface heating and boundary layer transition test in 3.5ft w.t. ARC-1971-AC71-5323

North American Space Shuttle Orbiter Model NA129 surface heating and boundary layer transition test in 3.5ft w.t.

MSC Space Shuttle Stability and Control Characteristics. Schlieren of a Hollow Tube in 6ft. W.T. Test-66-503 Approximate Mach 1.2 ARC-1971-AC71-4074

MSC Space Shuttle Stability and Control Characteristics. Schlieren of a Hollow Tube in 6ft. W.T. Test-66-503 Approximate Mach 1.2

MSC Space Shuttle Stability and Control Characteristics. Schlieren of North American Rockwell Straight Wing orbiter approximate Mach .95 6ft w.t. Test-66-503 ARC-1971-AC71-4076

MSC Space Shuttle Stability and Control Characteristics. Schlieren of North American Rockwell Straight Wing orbiter approximate Mach .95 6ft w.t. Test-66-503

MSC Space Shuttle Stability and Control Characteristics. Schlieren of North American Rockwell Straight Wing orbiter approximate Mach .95 6ft w.t. test-66-503 ARC-1971-AC71-4077

MSC Space Shuttle Stability and Control Characteristics. Schlieren of North American Rockwell Straight Wing orbiter approximate Mach .95 6ft w.t. test-66-503

MSC Space Shuttle Stability and Control Characteristics. Schlieren of North American Rockwell Straight Wing orbiter approximate Mach .95 ARC-1971-AC71-4075

MSC Space Shuttle Stability and Control Characteristics. Schlieren of North American Rockwell Straight Wing orbiter approximate Mach .95

President Nixon and James Fletcher Discuss the Space Shuttle

President Richard M. Nixon and Dr. James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator, discussed the proposed Space Shuttle vehicle in San Clemente, California, on January 5, 1972. The President announced that day that the ... more

MSC 040A Space Shuttle: 11ft. W.T. Test of Acoustic Environment (Configuration #5) ARC-1972-A72-1341

MSC 040A Space Shuttle: 11ft. W.T. Test of Acoustic Environment (Configuration #5)

MSC 040A Space Shuttle: 11ft. W.T. Tests pf Acoustic Environment (Configuration 5 with James M. Peterson ARC-1972-AC72-1344

MSC 040A Space Shuttle: 11ft. W.T. Tests pf Acoustic Environment (Configuration 5 with James M. Peterson

Space Shuttle Project

This early chart conceptualizes the use of two parallel Solid Rocket Motor Boosters in conjunction with three main engines to launch the proposed Space Shuttle to orbit. At approximately twenty-five miles altit... more

Guidance and Navaigation: CV-990 Shuttle simulation - descent at Edwards Airforce Base, Dryden Flight Research Center, CA ARC-1972-AC72-2696

Guidance and Navaigation: CV-990 Shuttle simulation - descent at Edwards Airforce Base, Dryden Flight Research Center, CA

Guidance and Navaigation: CV-990 Shuttle simulation - descent at Edwards Airforce Base, Dryden Flight Research Center, CA (Shuttle un-powered descent and landing diagram) ARC-1972-AC72-2695

Guidance and Navaigation: CV-990 Shuttle simulation - descent at Edwards Airforce Base, Dryden Flight Research Center, CA (Shuttle un-powered descent and landing diagram)

BLDG. 14 - SHUTTLE TEST - MSC

1/10 Scale-Model (metal) inside the Anechoic Chamber, Bldg. 14. 1. SHUTTLE - MODELS MSC, HOUSTON, TX

Too Close for Comfort

Date August 10, 1973 .Description: Scientist-Astronaut Edward G. Gibson, seated, and Astronaut William R. Pogue discuss a mission procedure at the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) display and control panel mockup i... more

Space Shuttle Illustration

An unidentified illustration of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) space shuttle. The space shuttle fleet flew 135 missions and helped construct the International Space Station between ... more

Space Shuttle Orbitor model 140 A/B-OA87 testing in the 3.5ft Hypersonic Wind Tunnel ARC-1973-A73-5027

Space Shuttle Orbitor model 140 A/B-OA87 testing in the 3.5ft Hypersonic Wind Tunnel

Space Shuttle Orbitor model 140 A/B-OA87 testing in the 3.5ft Hypersonic Wind Tunnel ARC-1973-AC73-5027

Space Shuttle Orbitor model 140 A/B-OA87 testing in the 3.5ft Hypersonic Wind Tunnel

Space Shuttle Tile Thermal Protection System testing in Ames Arc Jet facilities ARC-1974-AC74-2000

Space Shuttle Tile Thermal Protection System testing in Ames Arc Jet facilities

Space Shuttle Tile Thermal Protection System testing in Ames Arc Jet facilities ARC-1974-AC74-2002

Space Shuttle Tile Thermal Protection System testing in Ames Arc Jet facilities

MEETING - SHUTTLE - JSC

View taken in Building 2, Room 135, during a Shuttle briefing. Shuttle officials Robert Thompson and Aaron Cohen and Astronaut John Young are seen as panel for the Shuttle briefing with various models of the Sp... more

Space Shuttle Two Percent Plumes Model in the 11ft W.T. (Test-01) ARC-1974-AC74-3944

Space Shuttle Two Percent Plumes Model in the 11ft W.T. (Test-01)

Shuttle Test Using Electron Beam

A space shuttle model undergoes a wind tunnel test in 1975. This test is simulating the ionized gasses that surround a shuttle as it reenters the atmosphere...Center Number: L-1975-02972

Space Shuttle - Thermal Insulation

The high temperatures which were to be encountered by the Space Shuttle were simulated in the tunnels at Langley in this 1975 test of the thermal insulation materials which were used on the orbiter.

Space Shuttle Projects

The Space Shuttle represented an entirely new generation of space vehicle, the world's first reusable spacecraft. Unlike earlier expendable rockets, the Shuttle was designed to be launched over and over again a... more

Solid Rocket Booster - Space Shuttle Projects

As early as September 1972, the Marshall Space Flight Center arnounced plans for a series of 20 water-entry simulation tests with a solid-fueled rocket casing assembly. The tests would provide valuable data for... more

Space Shuttle Plume Test-97-044-1 in 9x7ft w.t. ARC-1975-AC75-0207

Space Shuttle Plume Test-97-044-1 in 9x7ft w.t.

Schlieren: Space Shuttle Plume Test-97-044-1 in 9x7ft w.t. ARC-1975-AC75-0205

Schlieren: Space Shuttle Plume Test-97-044-1 in 9x7ft w.t.

Space Shuttle Orbitor Model (A-100) in the 40x80ft W.T. ARC-1975-AC75-1161-3

Space Shuttle Orbitor Model (A-100) in the 40x80ft W.T.

Space Shuttle Orbitor Model (A-100) testing in the NASA Ames Research Center 40x80ft Subsonic Wind Tunnel ARC-1975-AC75-1161-4

Space Shuttle Orbitor Model (A-100) testing in the NASA Ames Research Center 40x80ft Subsonic Wind Tunnel

Space Shuttle SSV Orbiter Model In 40x80 Foot Wind Tunnel.

Space Shuttle SSV Orbiter Model A100 0.36 Scale In 40x80 Foot Wind Tunnel. 3/4 lower rear view. Don Richey

Space Shuttle SSV Orbiter Model In 40x80 Foot Wind Tunnel.

1/3 scale model of space shuttle, 3/4 lower front view, test section overhead doors open. Don Richey

Space Shuttle SSV orbiter model OA100 (0.36 scale): 40x80ft w.t. ARC-1975-AC75-1191

Space Shuttle SSV orbiter model OA100 (0.36 scale): 40x80ft w.t.

Space Shuttle SSV orbiter model OA100 (0.36 scale): 40x80ft w.t. ARC-1975-AC75-1190

Space Shuttle SSV orbiter model OA100 (0.36 scale): 40x80ft w.t.

Space Shuttle Model in the 10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel

Ken Baskin, an engineer from the Facilities and Engineering Branch at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Lewis Research Center checks a complete 2.25-scale model of the shuttle in the 10... more

Shuttle Service (view of spacecraft). Space shuttle delivers part for Space Colony ARC-1975-AC75-1917

Shuttle Service (view of spacecraft). Space shuttle delivers part for Space Colony

Space Shuttle Orbiter 101 model installation in the 40x80ft W.T. Test 462 ARC-1975-AC75-2582

Space Shuttle Orbiter 101 model installation in the 40x80ft W.T. Test 462

Space Shuttle Orbiter 101 model installation in the NASA Ames 40x80ft Subsonic Wind Tunnel. Test-462 ARC-1975-AC75-2584

Space Shuttle Orbiter 101 model installation in the NASA Ames 40x80ft Subsonic Wind Tunnel. Test-462

Space Shuttle A-100 installation in the NASA Ames 40x80ft Supsonic Wind Tunnel. ARC-1975-AC75-2583

Space Shuttle A-100 installation in the NASA Ames 40x80ft Supsonic Wind Tunnel.

TEST - SHUTTLE - MINI-APPROACH & LANDING TEST (ALT) - JSC

Seen left to right is Art Arrow,Owen Morris, and John Kiker. This is an image in a series of photographs documenting a " mini "Approach and Landing Test conducted on the Bldg. 14 Antenna Test Range, using a 1/... more

TEST - SHUTTLE - MINI-APPROACH & LANDING TEST (ALT) - JSC

Owen Morris and John Kiker are seen in this series of photographs documenting a mini-Approach and Landing Test conducted on the Bldg. 14 Antenna Test Range, using a 1/40th-scale model Orbiter and a model airpl... more

Haise Commands First Enterprise Test Flights

The first crew members for the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) are photographed at the Rockwell International Space Division's Orbiter Assembly Facility at Palmdale, California. The Shuttle Enter... more

Boosters - Space Shuttle Projects

This image illustrates the solid rocket motor (SRM)/solid rocket booster (SRB) configuration. The Shuttle's two SRB's are the largest solids ever built and the first designed for refurbishment and reuse. Standi... more

External tank - Space Shuttle Projects

This is a cutaway illustration of the Space Shuttle external tank (ET) with callouts. The giant cylinder, higher than a 15-story building, with a length of 154-feet (47-meters) and a diameter of 27.5-feet (8.4-... more

Mockup - Shuttle Mid-Body - JSC

Eleven (11) wide-angle views and medium shots showing progess on construction of Shuttle Orbiter Mid-Body Mockup in Bldg. 9. Workers seen in views. JSC, Houston, TX

SPACE SHUTTLE VEHICLE (SSV) 0.36 SCALE MODEL, 40X80FT W.T. TESTING - TAIL FLAPS ARC-1976-AC76-0430-3

SPACE SHUTTLE VEHICLE (SSV) 0.36 SCALE MODEL, 40X80FT W.T. TESTING - TAIL FLAPS

Space Shuttle Vehicle (SSV) 0.36 scale model, 40x80ft w.t. testing ARC-1976-AC76-0430-4

Space Shuttle Vehicle (SSV) 0.36 scale model, 40x80ft w.t. testing

APPROACH AND LANDING TEST (ALT) - ASTRONAUT HAISE, FRED W., JR. - SHUTTLE - ROLLOUT - CA

S76-29562 --- The two crews for the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) are photographed at the Rockwell International Space Division's Orbiter assembly facility at Palmdale, California on the day of... more

APPROACH AND LANDING TESTS (ALT) - SHUTTLE - ROLLOUT - CA

S76-29559 (17 Sept 1976) --- Astronaut C. Gordon Fullerton, pilot of the first crew for the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALT), is photographed at the Rockwell International Space Division's Orbiter... more

APPROACH & LANDING TEST (ALT) - SHUTTLE PATCH

S76-30340 (1976) --- This circular, red, white and blue emblem has been chosen as the official insignia for the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Test (ALT) flights. A picture of the Orbiter 101 "Enterprise" ... more

Artist: Rick Guidice NASA artwork of Space Shuttle Orbiter during re-entry showing Reusable Surface Insulation Tiles. (Text overlay) ARC-1976-AC76-1713

Artist: Rick Guidice NASA artwork of Space Shuttle Orbiter during re-entry showing Reusable Surface Insulation Tiles. (Text overlay)

Space Shuttle tile test in 60MW Interaction Heating Facility N-238 (used in NASA/AMES publication 'Searching the Horizon' - A History of Ames Research Center SP-4304) ARC-1976-A76-1732-85

Space Shuttle tile test in 60MW Interaction Heating Facility N-238 (used in NASA/AMES publication 'Searching the Horizon' - A History of Ames Research Center SP-4304)

SPACE SHUTTLE AND 747 AIRPLANE

The original finding aid described this as: Capture Date: 6/14/1977 Keywords: c1977_02300s 1977_02303.jpg Larsen Scan Photographs Relating to Agency Activities, Facilities and Personnel

SPACE SHUTTLE AND 747 AIRPLANE

The original finding aid described this as: Capture Date: 6/14/1977 Keywords: c1977_02300s 1977_02305.jpg Larsen Scan Photographs Relating to Agency Activities, Facilities and Personnel

SPACE SHUTTLE AND 747 AIRPLANE

The original finding aid described this as: Capture Date: 6/14/1977 Keywords: c1977_02300s 1977_02304.jpg Larsen Scan Photographs Relating to Agency Activities, Facilities and Personnel

SPACE SHUTTLE AND 747 AIRPLANE

The original finding aid described this as: Capture Date: 6/14/1977 Keywords: c1977_02300s 1977_02306.jpg Larsen Scan Photographs Relating to Agency Activities, Facilities and Personnel

Space Shuttle Project

MSFC, Ala. -- The Space Shuttle Orbiter simulator is hoisted into the giant dynamics test stand at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. The simulator was built at the Marshall Center for use in... more

Solid Rocket Booster - Space Shuttle Projects

This illustration is a cutaway of the solid rocket booster (SRB) sections with callouts. The Shuttle's two SRB's are the largest solids ever built and the first designed for refurbishment and reuse. Standing ne... more

The President viewing Space Shuttle in Flight

Carter White House Photographs: Presidential

Space Shuttle Projects

This photograph shows an inside view of a liquid hydrogen tank for the Space Shuttle external tank (ET) Main Propulsion Test Article (MPTA). The ET provides liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to the Shuttle's th... more

Technician Works on a Shuttle Model in the 10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel

A technician prepares a 2.25 percent scale model of the space shuttle for a base heat study in the 10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Researc... more

First Shuttle/747 Captive Flight EC77-6887

First Shuttle/747 Captive Flight

Space Shuttle Projects

This photograph shows the liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank for the Space Shuttle external tank (ET) being assembled in the weld assembly area of the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF). The ET provides l... more

Training - Shuttle - Emergency Egress - JSC

Twelve (12) views of Shuttle emergency training in JSC, Bldg. 9A. Training Officer R. Terry Neal with Astronaut Gerald P. Carr. 1. Astronaut Gerald P. Carr 2. Terry Neal JSC, Houston, TX

Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster Drop Test Vehicle (SRB-DTV) captive flight on NB-52B EC77-7428

Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster Drop Test Vehicle (SRB-DTV) captive flight on NB-52B

Space Shuttle Project

A workman reams holes to the proper size and aligment in the Space Shuttle Main Engine's main injector body, through which propellants will pass through on their way into the engine's combustion chamber. Rockwe... more

Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster Drop Test Vehicle (SRB-DTV) first release from NB-52B EC77-8184

Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster Drop Test Vehicle (SRB-DTV) first release from NB-52B

Approach & Landing Test (ALT) - Shuttle Free-Flight (FF)-2 - New Release - Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC), CA

S77-28136 (13 Sept 1977) --- The Orbiter 101 "Enterprise" is seen separating from the NASA 747 carrier aircraft during the second free flight of the Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALTs) conducted on Septem... more

Approach & Landing Test (ALT) - Shuttle Free-Flight (FF)-2 - New Release - DFRC, CA

S77-28137 (13 Sept 1977) --- The Orbiter 101 "Enterprise" soars above the NASA 747 carrier aircraft during the second free flight of the Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALTs) conducted on September 13, 1977... more

NASA 747 Carrier Aircraft - Five (5) T-38 Aircraft - Shuttle Orbiter 101 "Enterprise" - Edwards AFB (EAFB), CA

S77-28200 (13 Sept 1977) --- This impressive scene was photographed when the NASA 747 carrier aircraft and five T-38 aircraft flew over the shuttle Orbiter 101 "Enterprise" while it was parked on the runway at ... more

third "free flight" of Shuttle Orbiter 101 Spacecraft

Public Affairs Office (PAO) release print of activity documenting third "free flight" of Shuttle Orbiter 101 Spacecraft at DFRC, Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), CA. Astronauts Haise and Fullerton arriv... more

third "free flight" of Shuttle Orbiter 101 Spacecraft

S77-28542 (23 Sept 1977) --- The shuttle Orbiter 101 "Enterprise" separates from the NASA 747 carrier aircraft during the third free flight of the Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) conducted on Septembe... more

Third (3rd) "Free Flight" - Shuttle Orbiter 101 Spacecraft - Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC), Edwards AFB (EAFB), CA

Public Affairs Office (PAO) release print of activity documenting third (3rd) "free flight" of Shuttle Orbiter 101 Spacecraft at DFRC, EAFB, CA. Astronauts Haise (left) and Fullerton in front of parking "Ent... more

Third (3rd) "Free Flight" - Shuttle Orbiter 101 Spacecraft - Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC), CA

S77-28541 (23 Sept 1977) --- The NASA 747 carrier aircraft and six T-38 jets fly over the shuttle Orbiter 101 "Enterprise" soon after completion of a five-minute, 34-second unpowered mission during the third of... more

third "free flight" of Shuttle Orbiter 101 Spacecraft

Public Affairs Office (PAO) release print of activity documenting third "free flight" of Shuttle Orbiter 101 Spacecraft at DFRC, Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), CA. Enterprise is parked on the runway... more

Approach & Landing Test (ALT) - Shuttle Free-Flight (FF)-4 Tail Cone Off - Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC), CA

Frame of color news-released stills. This was a Tail Cone Off Mission. Crew was made up of Astronauts Engle and Truly. Astronauts Engle, Truly egress Orbiter following flt. DFRC, CA

Approach & Landing Test (ALT) - Shuttle Free-Flight (FF)-4 Tail Cone Off

Frame of color news-released stills. This was a Tail Cone Off Mission. Stack Enterprise and 747 in flight.

Enterprise - First Tailcone Off Free Flight EC95-43116-26

Enterprise - First Tailcone Off Free Flight

Approach & Landing Test (ALT) - Shuttle - Public Affairs Office (PAO) News Release - Free-Flight (FF)-5 Photography

PAO news release material for the 5th and final FF of the ALT series. Precise moment of separation captured by camera from a T-38 chase plane.

Approach & Landing Test (ALT) - Shuttle Free-Flight (FF)-5 - Edwards AFB (EAFB), CA

Photography from Shuttle ALT FF-5. S77-30393: ALT Fr. 3258, a higher-up shot of the Enterprise approaching runway for landing. EAFB, CA