First Shuttle Launch

The Space Shuttle programme was developed to send a manned vehicle into space that was able to return and be reusable. The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, was launched in April 1981. Only carrying two astronauts, it stayed in orbit a little over two days. Between 1981 and 2011 there were five Space Shuttle vehicles – Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.On their 135 missions the Shuttles took the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit, carried components and crew for the International Space Station and carried out many scientific experiments. The Shuttles had a portable laboratory called the Spacelab, which accompanied them on 32 missions.