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The Space Shuttle Program - The Future Of The Space Shuttle Program

sts discovery columbia atlantis

In January 2004 President Bush announced a new vision for the future of the nation's space program. It calls for NASA to send astronauts to the moon by 2020 and to Mars after that. This would require a completely new spacecraft. The space shuttle was not designed to fly farther than a few hundred miles from Earth. The space shuttle program would be ended by 2010, assuming that existing U.S. commitments to build the ISS are completed by then. The nearly $6 billion spent each year on the shuttle and ISS programs would be transferred to the new projects, which would also be allocated new funds.

In October 2005 NASA announced it planned to fly nineteen more space shuttle missions between 2006 and 2010. The first of these missions, the second return-to-flight, was scheduled for the second half of 2006 using the orbiter Discovery.

During grounding of the space shuttle fleet American ISS crewmembers were transported aboard Soyuz rockets by the Russian space agency, Rosaviakosmos. NASA was unable to pay Rosaviakosmos for this service due to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, which forbids payment of "extraordinary" amounts of money from the United States to Russia until it is proven that Russia is not sharing with Iran any technology related to missiles or weapons of mass destruction. In order to raise badly needed funds, Rosaviakosmos charged "space tourists" millions of dollars to fly to the ISS. In November 2005 the U.S. Senate approved amendments to the Iran Nonproliferation Act allowing NASA to pay the Russian space agency until 2012 for launches supporting the ISS.

TABLE 4.4 Space shuttle missions

TABLE 4.4
Space shuttle missions
Flight order STS* number Orbiter name Primary payload Launch date Landing date
1 STS-1 Columbia Shuttle systems test 4/12/1981   4/14/1981
2 STS-2 Columbia OSTA-1 11/12/1981  11/14/1981
3 STS-3 Columbia Office of Space Science-1 (OSS-1) 3/22/1982  3/30/1982
4 STS-4 Columbia DOD and Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) 6/27/1982   7/4/1982
5 STS-5 Columbia Canadian satellite ANIK C-3; SBS-C 11/11/1982 11/16/1982
6 STS-6 Challenger TDRS-1 4/4/1983   4/9/1983
7 STS-7 Challenger Canadian satellite ANIK C-2; PALAPA B1 6/18/1983  6/24/1983
8 STS-8 Challenger India satellite INSAT-1B 8/30/1983   9/5/1983
9 STS-9 Columbia Spacelab-1 11/28/1983  12/8/1983
10 STS-41-B Challenger WESTAR-VI; PALAPA-B2 2/3/1984  2/11/1984
11 STS-41-C Challenger LDEF deploy 4/6/1984  4/13/1984
12 STS-41-D Discovery SBS-D; SYNCOM IV-2; TELSTAR 8/30/1984   9/5/1984
13 STS-41-G Challenger Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS); OSTA-3 10/5/1984  10/13/1984
14 STS-51-A Discovery Canadian communications satellite TELESAT-H; SYNCOM IV-1 11/8/1984  11/16/1984
15 STS-51-C Discovery DOD 1/24/1985  1/27/1985
16 STS-51-D Discovery Canadian satellite TELESAT-I; SYNCOM IV-3 4/12/1985  4/19/1985
17 STS-51-B Challenger Spacelab-3 4/29/1985   5/6/1985
18 STS-51-G Discovery MORELOS-A; Arab satellite ARABSAT-A; AT&T satellite TELSTAR-3D 6/17/1985  6/24/1985
19 STS-51-F Challenger Spacelab-2 7/29/1985   8/6/1985
20 STS-51-I Discovery American satellite ASC-1; AUSSAT-1; SYNCOM IV-4 8/27/1985   9/3/1985
21 STS-51-J Atlantis DOD 10/3/1985  10/7/1985
22 STS-61-A Challenger D-1 spacelab mission (first German-dedicated spacelab) 10/30/1985  11/6/1985
23 STS-61-B Atlantis MORELOS-B; AUSSAT-2; RCA americom satellite SATCOM KU-2 11/26/1985  12/3/1985
24 STS-61-C Columbia RCA americom satellite SATCOM KU-1 1/12/1986   1/18/1986
25 STS-51-L Challenger TDRS-B; SPARTAN-203 1/28/1986  Vehicle broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff
26 STS-26 Discovery TDRS-C 9/29/1988   10/3/1988
27 STS-27 Atlantis DOD 12/2/1988   12/6/1988
28 STS-29 Discovery TDRS-D 3/13/1989  3/18/1989
29 STS-30 Atlantis Magellan 5/4/1989   5/8/1989
30 STS-28 Columbia DOD 8/8/1989  8/13/1989
31 STS-34 Atlantis Galileo; SSBUV 10/18/1989 10/23/1989
32 STS-33 Discovery DOD 11/22/1989 11/27/1989
33 STS-32 Columbia SYNCOM IV-F5; LDEF retrieval 1/9/1990  1/20/1990
34 STS-36 Atlantis DOD 2/28/1990   3/4/1990
35 STS-31 Discovery HST deploy 4/24/1990  4/29/1990
36 STS-41 Discovery Ulysses; SSBUV; INTELSAT Solar Array Coupon (ISAC) 10/6/1990 10/10/1990
37 STS-38 Atlantis DOD 11/15/1990 11/20/1990
38 STS-35 Columbia ASTRO-1 12/2/1990 12/10/1990
39 STS-37 Atlantis Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) 4/5/1991  4/11/1991
40 STS-39 Discovery DOD; Air Force Program-675 (AFP675); Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS); Shuttle Pallet Satellite-II (SPAS-II) 4/28/1991   5/6/1991
41 STS-40 Columbia Spacelab Life Sciences-1 (SLS-1) 6/5/1991  6/14/1991
42 STS-43 Atlantis TDRS-E; SSBUV 8/2/1991  8/11/1991
43 STS-48 Discovery Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) 9/12/1991  9/18/1991
44 STS-44 Atlantis DOD; Defense Support Program (DSP) 11/24/1991  12/1/1991
45 STS-42 Discovery IML-1 1/22/1992  1/30/1992
46 STS-45 Atlantis ATLAS-1 3/24/1992   4/2/1992
47 STS-49 Endeavour Intelsat VI repair 5/7/1992  5/16/1992
48 STS-50 Columbia USML-1 6/25/1992   7/9/1992
49 STS-46 Atlantis TSS-1; EURECA deploy 7/31/1992   8/8/1992
50 STS-47 Endeavour Space lab-J 9/12/1992  9/20/1992
51 STS-52 Columbia USMP-1; Laser Geodynamic Satellite-II (LAGEOS-II) 10/22/1992  11/1/1992
52 STS-53 Discovery DOD; Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) 12/2/1992  12/9/1992
53 STS-54 Endeavour TDRS-F; Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer (DXS) 1/13/1993  1/19/1993
54 STS-56 Discovery ATLAS-2; SPARTAN-201 4/8/1993  4/17/1993
55 STS-55 Columbia D-2 spacelab mission (second German-dedicated spacelab) 4/26/1993   5/6/1993

TABLE 4.4 Space shuttle missions (CONTINUED)

TABLE 4.4
Space shuttle missions (CONTINUED)
Flight order STS* number Orbiter name Primary payload Launch date Landing date
56 STS-57 Endeavour SPACEHAB-1; EURECA retrieval 6/21/1993 7/1/1993
57 STS-51 Discovery Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS)/Transfer orbit stage (TOS) 9/12/1993 9/22/1993
58 STS-58 Columbia Spacelab SLS-2 10/18/1993 11/1/1993
59 STS-61 Endeavour 1st HST servicing 12/2/1993 12/13/1993
60 STS-60 Discovery WSF; SpaceHab-2 2/3/1994 2/11/1994
61 STS-62 Columbia USMP-2; Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-2 (OAST-2) 3/4/1994 3/18/1994
62 STS-59 Endeavour SRL-1 4/9/1994 4/20/1994
63 STS-65 Columbia IML-2 7/8/1994 7/23/1994
64 STS-64 Discovery LIDAR In-space Technology Experiment (LITE); Spartan-201 9/9/1994 9/20/1994
65 STS-68 Endeavour SRL-2 9/30/1994 10/11/1994
66 STS-66 Atlantis ATLAS-03 11/3/1994 11/14/1994
67 STS-63 Discovery SpaceHab-3; Mir rendezvous 2/3/1995 2/11/1995
68 STS-67 Endeavour ASTRO-2 3/2/1995 3/18/1995
69 STS-71 Atlantis First shuttle-Mir docking 6/27/1995 7/7/1995
70 STS-70 Discovery TDRS-G 7/13/1995 7/22/1995
71 STS-69 Endeavour Spartan 201-03; WSF-2 9/7/1995 9/18/1995
72 STS-73 Columbia USML-2 10/20/1995 11/5/1995
73 STS-74 Atlantis Second shuttle-Mir docking 11/12/1995 11/20/1995
74 STS-72 Endeavour Space Flyer Unit (SFU); Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology flyer (OAST-flyer) 1/11/1996 1/20/1996
75 STS-75 Columbia TSS-1 reflight; USMP-3 2/22/1996 3/9/1996
76 STS-76 Atlantis Third shuttle-Mir docking; SpaceHab 3/22/1996 3/31/1996
77 STS-77 Endeavour SpaceHab; SPARTAN (inflatable antenna experiment) 5/19/1996 5/29/1996
78 STS-78 Columbia Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS) 6/20/1996 7/7/1996
79 STS-79 Atlantis Fourth shuttle-Mir docking 9/16/1996 9/26/1996
80 STS-80 Columbia Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph-Shuttle Pallet Satellite II (ORFEUS-SPAS II) 11/19/1996 12/7/1996
81 STS-81 Atlantis Fifth shuttle-Mir docking 1/12/1997 1/22/1997
82 STS-82 Discovery Second HST servicing 2/11/1997 2/21/1997
83 STS-83 Columbia MSL-1 4/4/1997 4/8/1997
84 STS-84 Atlantis Sixth shuttle-Mir docking 5/15/1997 5/24/1997
85 STS-94 Columbia MSL-1 reflight 7/1/1997 7/17/1997
86 STS-85 Discovery Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite-2 (CRISTA-SPAS-2) 8/7/1997 8/19/1997
87 STS-86 Atlantis Seventh shuttle-Mir docking 9/25/1997 10/6/1997
88 STS-87 Columbia USMP-4, Spartan-201 rescue 11/19/1997 12/5/1997
89 STS-89 Endeavour Eighth shuttle-Mir docking 1/22/1998 1/31/1998
90 STS-90 Columbia Final spacelab mission 4/17/1998 5/3/1998
91 STS-91 Discovery Ninth and final shuttle-Mir docking 6/2/1998 6/12/1998
92 STS-95 Discovery John Glenn's Flight; SPACEHAB 10/29/1998 11/7/1998
93 STS-88 Endeavour First ISS flight 12/4/1998 12/15/1998
94 STS-96 Discovery 1st ISS docking 5/27/1999 6/6/1999
95 STS-93 Columbia Chandra X-Ray Observatory 7/22/1999 7/27/1999
96 STS-103 Discovery HST repair—3A 12/19/1999 12/27/1999
97 STS-99 Endeavour Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) 2/11/2000 2/22/2000
98 STS-101 Atlantis ISS assembly flight 2A.2a 5/19/2000 5/29/2000
99 STS-106 Atlantis ISS assembly flight 2A.2b 9/8/2000 9/20/2000
100 STS-92 Discovery ISS assembly flight 3A, Z1 truss and PMA 3 10/11/2000 10/24/2000
101 STS-97 Endeavour ISS assembly flight 4A, P6 truss 11/30/2000 12/11/2000
102 STS-98 Atlantis ISS assembly flight 5A, U.S. Destiny laboratory 2/7/2001 2/20/2001
103 STS-102 Discovery ISS assembly flight 5A.1, crew exchange, Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module 3/8/2001 3/21/2001
104 STS-100 Endeavour ISS assembly flight 6A, Canadarm2, Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module 4/19/2001 5/1/2001
105 STS-104 Atlantis ISS assembly flight 7A, Quest airlock, high pressure gas assembly 7/12/2001 7/24/2001
106 STS-105 Discovery ISS assembly flight 7A.1, crew exchange, Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module 8/10/2001 8/22/2001
107 STS-108 Endeavour ISS flight UF-1, crew exchange, Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, STARSHINE 2 12/5/2001 12/17/2001
108 STS-109 Columbia HST servicing mission 3B 3/1/2002 3/12/2002
109 STS-110 Atlantis ISS flight 8A, S0 (s-zero) truss, mobile transporter 4/8/2002 4/19/2002
110 STS-111 Endeavour ISS flight UF-2, crew exchange, mobile base system 6/5/2002 6/19/2002

TABLE 4.4 Space shuttle missions (CONTINUED) Adapted from Past Missions, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2004, http://spaceflight.NASA.gov/shuttle/archives (accessed December 28, 2005)

TABLE 4.4
Space shuttle missions (CONTINUED)
Flight order STS* number Orbiter name Primary payload Launch date Landing date
*STS=Space Transportation System
Notes:
Acronyms: ATLAS Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science
          AUSSAT Australian Satellite
          DOD Department of Defense
          EURECA European Retrievable Carrier
          HST Hubble Space Telescope
          IML International Microgravity Laboratory
          ISS International Space Station
          LDEF Long Duration Exposure Facility
          MORELOS Mexican Satellite
          MSL Microgravity Science Laboratory
          OSTA Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications
          PALAPA Indonesian Satellite
          SBS Satellite Business Systems
          SRL Space Radar Laboratory
          SSBUV Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet
          SYNCOM Synchronous Communication Satellite
          TDRS Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
          TSS Tethered Satellite System
          USML United States Microgravity Laboratory
          USMP U.S. Microgravity Payload
          WSF Wake Shield Facility
SOURCE: Adapted from Past Missions, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2004, http://spaceflight.NASA.gov/shuttle/archives (accessed December 28, 2005)
111 STS-112 Atlantis ISS flight 9a, S1 (s-one) truss 10/7/2002  10/16/2002
112 STS-113 Endeavour ISS flight 11a, P1 (p-one) truss 11/23/2002   12/7/2002
113 STS-107 Columbia SpaceHab-DM research mission, Freestar module, 1/16/2003 Vehicle broke up during reentry 2/1/03
114 STS-114 Discovery ISS assembly flight LF1, external stowage platform-2, Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module 7/26/2005   8/9/2005

Space shuttle difficulties affect other ongoing missions. NASA originally planned to send shuttle astronauts in 2006 to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The HST orbits in space about 350 miles above the Earth's surface. Scientists believe that it can last only until 2008 without servicing. Then it will lose its orbit and fall to Earth.

In January 2004 NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe announced that the planned HST servicing mission would be canceled due to safety concerns. The HST orbits far from the ISS. A shuttle sent to service the HST would not be able to make it to the ISS in an emergency.

NASA does not plan to launch HST's replacement (the James Webb Space Telescope) until 2011. Cancellation of the shuttle servicing mission will likely mean that the HST will fall out of orbit before the new telescope is in place. This would mean a gap of several years in which scientists would not have access to a space telescope. This caused an uproar in the scientific community and resulted in intense lobbying for NASA to reinstate the mission. In August 2005 a new NASA administrator, Mike Griffin, announced that the agency was reconsidering the HST servicing mission assuming that the return-to-flight missions are successful.

FIGURE 4.10 Number of shuttle flights per year, 1981–2005 Adapted from Past Missions, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2005, http://spaceflight.NASA.gov/shuttle/archives (accessed December 28, 2005)

FIGURE 4.11 Number of shuttle flights per Orbiter, as of February 2006 Adapted from Past Missions, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2005, http://spaceflight.NASA.gov/shuttle/archives (accessed December 28, 2005)

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