Charted: Space Shuttle missions
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the last Space Shuttle mission.
By the numbers: Over three decades, the five NASA space shuttles were launched on 135 flights to orbit. The shuttles collectively travelled more than 537 million miles and spent more than three and half years in orbit.
- 355 people flew aboard the shuttles, including Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly to space. Her first mission was aboard the Challenger in 1983.
- Missions averaged about 10 days, with the shortest at 2 days, 6 hours and the longest 17 days, 15 hours.
- Mission objective included building the International Space Station, carrying large satellites to space and maintaining equipment like the Hubble Space Telescope. Ten missions remain classified, with little to no information publicly available.
Ultimately, the fatalities on Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003 helped bring about the end of the Shuttle program. The investigation in the loss of Columbia concluded that safety improvements would be costly. The program was shut down after construction on the ISS was complete.