Goodbye to the space shuttle

Goodbye to the space shuttle

NASA's space shuttle is blasting off for the last time

On 8 July 2011 the NASA space shuttle Atlantis took its last flight. This was the end of the NASA space shuttle program after 135 flights into space! Space shuttles have been around for 20 years and have done lots of important work:

  • taking astronauts to the International Space Station
  • fixing the Hubble telescope
  • conducting experiments in space
  • launching probes to explore the Solar System

What does a space shuttle look like?

Space shuttles have three main parts.

Space Shuttle (c) NASA

Orbiter - the bit that looks like a huge plane! This is the part that goes into orbit around the Earth. The orbiter is where the crew members live.

Fuel tank - a large, orange tank holding lots of fuel to launch the orbiter into space.

Rocket boosters - two long, thin rocket boosters on either side of the fuel tank which help launch the space shuttle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Space shuttle launching, showing orbiter, fuel tank and rocket boosters (c) NASA

What's next for space travel?

NASA is developing Orion, a new type of spacecraft. It will be cheaper and safer than the space shuttle.

Have a look at NASA's website for more information about the space shuttle.

What do you know about space shuttles? Try our quiz and find out!

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