NASA's space shuttle program in pictures: A tribute

Endeavour's Arrival


The newest addition to NASA's space shuttle fleet, Endeavour, arrives at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida atop the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on May 7, 1991. Endeavour's first launch, the STS-49 mission, began with a flawless liftoff on May 7, 1992.

Endeavour Begins Its First Mission


Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off to begin its first mission, STS-49, on May 7, 1992. The shuttle would rendezvous with a stranded communications satellite and return it to service.

Protecting the Hubble


Astronaut F. Story Musgrave, anchored on the end of the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm, prepares to be elevated to the top of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to install protective covers on the magnetometers during Endeavour's STS-61 mission, which launched on Dec. 2, 1993. Astronaut Jeffrey A. Hoffman inside the shuttle's payload bay, assisted Musgrave with final servicing tasks on the telescope, wrapping up five days of space walks.

Endeavour Lights Up the Night Sky


The Space Shuttle Endeavour lights up the night sky as it embarks on the first U.S. mission, STS-88, dedicated to the assembly of the International Space Station. Liftoff on Dec. 4, 1998, from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, occurred at 3:35 a.m. EST.

The First Launch of the Space Shuttle Program


A view of the shuttle Columbia as it soars beyond the launch pad into space on its STS-1 mission on April 12, 1981. This flight marked the beginning of NASA's space shuttle program.

Cloud-covered Earth behind Challenger


This full view of Challenger in space was taken by a satellite. A heavily cloud-covered portion of the Earth forms the backdrop for this scene of Challenger in orbit. This image was taken during Challenger's STS-7 mission, which launched on June 18, 1983.

Challenger's Maiden Voyage


A view of the shuttle Challenger's maiden STS-6 launch on April 4, 1983. In this view, Challenger is just clearing the launch pad in a cloud of smoke.

Flaming into the Night


Flaming exhaust spews from beneath one of the two solid rocket boosters on space shuttle Columbia, as it roared into the night sky on the STS-93 mission, which launched on July 23, 1999.

Discovery Delivers


The space shuttle Discovery is seen from the International Space Station after the spacecraft undocked from the orbiting laboratory near the end of its STS-133 mission, which launched on Feb. 24, 2011. Discovery's final 13-day mission delivered supplies and a closet module to the station, which effectively wrapped up construction of the orbiting outpost from an American perspective.

Space Shuttle Endeavour's Fans

NASA/Frankie Martin

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, employees hold up a banner to commemorate space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission as it is moved from its hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building on Feb. 28, 2011. The shuttle is due to launch its final mission STS-134 on April 19, 2011.

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