Challenger space shuttle

Challenger's rollout from Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).
Space Shuttle Challenger (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-099) was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, after Columbia. Its maiden voyage was on April 4, 1983, and it made eight further round trips to low earth orbit before breaking up 73 seconds into the launch of its tenth mission, on January 28, 1986. It would later be replaced by the space shuttle Endeavour, which would be launched six years after the 51-L disaster.

Challenger was constructed using a body frame (STA-099) that had initially been built as a test article. STA-099 had not been meant for spaceflight, but NASA discovered that recycling it would be cheaper than refitting the test shuttle Enterprise (OV-101) to be space worthy, as originally planned. The spacecraft was named after a British corvette which carried out a pioneering global marine research expedition in the 1870s[1].

Challenger is one of two space shuttles destroyed in an accident during a mission, the other being Columbia. The collected debris of the vessel is currently stored in decommissioned missile silos at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. From time to time, further pieces of debris from the orbiter wash up on the Florida coast. When this happens, they are collected and transported to the silos for storage.
Space Shuttle Challenger flew 10 flights, spent 62.41 days in space, completed 995 orbits, and flew 25,803,940 miles (it is unknown whether these are nautical or statute miles; 41,527,416 km if statute) in total, including its final mission.
Date Designation Notes
1983 April 4 STS-6 Deployed TDRS-1.

First spacewalk during a space shuttle mission.

1983 June 18 STS-7 Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space.

Deployed two communications satellites.

1983 August 30 STS-8 Guion Bluford becomes first African-American in space

First shuttle night launch and night landing.
Deployed Insat-1B.

1984 February 3 STS-41-B First untethered spacewalk.

Deployed two communications satellites, unsuccessfully.

1984 April 6 STS-41-C Solar Maximum Mission service mission.
1984 October 5 STS-41-G First mission to carry two women.

Marc Garneau become first Canadian in space.
Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes first American woman to make a spacewalk.
Deployed Earth Radiation Budget Satellite.

1985 April 29 STS-51-B Carried Spacelab-3
1985 July 29 STS-51-F Carried Spacelab-2
1985 October 30 STS-61-A Carried German Spacelab D-1
1986 January 28 STS-51-L Shuttle disintegrates after launch, killing all seven astronauts on board.

The crew of the final, ill-fated flight of the Challenger.

Loss of Challenger

Main engine exhaust, solid rocket booster plume and an expanding ball of gas from the external tank is visible seconds after the Space Shuttle Challenger accident on Jan. 28, 1986.
The Challenger catastrophe was one of the most dramatic historical events to take place in the United States during the 1980s. In the days after the accident millions participated in candlelight vigils across the United States. Then president Ronald Reagan addressed the nation and honoured the seven astronauts killed as "heroes." Perhaps the most notable astronaut was Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire school teacher. The other astronauts were Francis R. Scobee (shuttle commander), Gregory B. Jarvis, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnik, and Michael J. Smith. It was later discovered by NASA engineers and a separate panel of scientists commissioned by President Reagan that the vehicle actually broke up during the launch due to the failure of rubber seals in the booster engines called "O rings" that failed to seal properly. Subsequently, NASA adopted much stricter safety standards for shuttle missions. Shuttle missions resumed in September, 1988.