Shuttle Commemorative

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Space Shuttle -- A Mighty Machine

The space shuttles have captivated young audiences for 30 years. Image Credit: NASA

What is one of the marvels of all time and inspiration to students around the globe? What has created unforgettable memories for anyone who has seen it in person? It is the mighty space shuttle. It began as a dream but became the platform on which educators have inspired students around the world to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

  • The first space shuttle flew in 1981.
  • Including the STS-135 mission, the total number of space shuttle launches is 135.
  • Five space shuttles have flown: Columbia, Discovery, Challenger, Endeavour and Atlantis.
  • The space shuttle system is made up of the orbiter, two solid rocket boosters and the external tank.
  • The orbiter travels in space at 17,500 miles per hour.

Get to Know the Space Shuttle

Toward a History of the Space Shuttle Toward a History of the Space Shuttle
This annotated bibliography covering the space shuttle program from 1992 to 2011 is now available as an e-Book.
The words The Space Shuttle Experience with picture of Earth, moon, stars and shuttle in background The Space Shuttle Experience
Participate in a variety of interactive experiences to learn about the accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Program and how it affects your daily life.
Space shuttle The Shuttle
Since April 12, 1981, NASA has been sending shuttles to orbit. Over 130 missions have launched and repaired spacecraft, built the International Space Station, and expanded our understanding of Earth and what it means to live away from it.
Space shuttle Discovery Space Shuttle Era -- Celebrating a Technological Marvel
NASA's space shuttle fleet began setting records with its first launch in 1981 with high marks of achievement and endurance. This site offers a collection of stories and videos documenting space shuttle operations. You’ll gain an insider’s perspective of what was required to maintain and fly this technological marvel.
Because It Flew logo Because It Flew -- Education Activities and Space Shuttle Art Competition
"Because It Flew," or BIF, is a free educational program that introduces students in grades 4-12 (ages 9-17) to the impact of the Space Shuttle Program on our planet and people. This engaging and informative project commemorates the 30-year history of the shuttle program. BIF consists of two elements: optional educational activities and the NASA Space Shuttle Art Competition. Entries in the competition are due Aug. 5, 2011. BIF is a joint education initiative of NASA, the National Institute of Aerospace and USA Today Education.
Space shuttle Atlantis sits on the launch pad NASA Face in Space
NASA is giving you the opportunity to fly a picture of your face on the last shuttle mission. To launch your face into space and become a part of history, just follow the steps on the Fly Your Face in Space page.


The Space Shuttle and Education

NASA education resources span all age groups. Image Credit: NASA

Space Shuttle Missions Education Resource Pages
NASA educational pages were created for all shuttle missions beginning with STS-114 to provide educators with resources to bring the excitement of space shuttle science and technology to their classrooms. View educational resource materials, mission information and games. 

Education on the Space Shuttle
The first flight of the space shuttle captivated the minds of future astronauts and engineers. Read about some of the education projects made possible by the dedicated astronauts during missions on space shuttles Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery and Endeavour. 

Shuttle Activities -- For Kids of All Ages
Get to know the space shuttle with fun things to do. 

Page Last Updated: February 25th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator