Individual Space Shuttle orbiters were named in honor of antique sailing ships of the navies of the world, and they are also numbered using the NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation system. Three of the names had also been borne by Apollo spacecraft in 1969-1972: Apollo 11 command module Columbia, Apollo 15 command module Endeavour, and Apollo 17 lunar module Challenger.
Lets look back at the past few decades of shuttle development and missions as we await the next steps toward human space flight. Some of the images are awesome and dramatic and suitable to be made as your desktop wallpaper.
|Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off from Kennedy Space Center, on April 12, 1981. Commander John Young and pilot Robert Crippen were onboard STS-1, the first orbital flight of the Space Shuttle program. (Reuters/NASA/KSC)|
|Shuttle launch profiles. From left to right: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. (Wikipedia)|