Thanks NASA we were on every Ride.
Space Shuttle program:
NASA’s Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System (STS), is the United States government’s current manned launch vehicle program. The winged Space Shuttle orbiter was launched vertically, usually carrying four to seven astronauts (although eight have been carried) and up to 50,000 lb (22,700 kg) of payload into low earth orbit. When its mission is complete, the shuttle can independently move itself out of orbit using its Maneuvering System (it orients itself appropriately and fires its main OMS engines, thus slowing it down) and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. During descent and landing the orbiter acts as a re-entry vehicle and a glider, using its OMS system and flight surfaces to make adjustments.
The shuttle is the only winged manned spacecraft to achieve orbit and land, and the only reusable space vehicle that has ever made multiple flights into orbit. Its missions involved carrying large payloads to various orbits (including segments to be added to the International Space Station), provided crew rotation for the International Space Station, and performing service missions. The orbiter has also recovered satellites and other payloads from orbit and returned them to Earth, but its use in this capacity was rare. However, the shuttle has previously been used to return large payloads from the ISS to Earth, as the Russian Soyuz spacecraft has limited capacity for return payloads. Each vehicle was designed with a projected lifespan of 100 launches, or 10 years’ operational life.
The program started in the late 1960s and has dominated NASA’s manned operations since the mid-1970s. According to the Vision for Space Exploration, use of the space shuttle was to be focused on completing assembly of the ISS by 2011, after which it will be retired. NASA planned to replace the shuttle with the Orion spacecraft, but budget cuts have placed full development of the Orion craft in doubt.
The first fully functional orbiter was the Columbia (designated OV-102), built-in Palmdale, California. It was delivered to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on March 25, 1979, and was first launched on April 12, 1981—the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin‘s space flight—with a crew of two. Challenger (OV-099) was delivered to KSC in July 1982, Discovery (OV-103) in November 1983, and Atlantis (OV-104) in April 1985. Challenger was originally built and used as a Structural Test Article (STA-099) but was converted to a complete shuttle when this was found to be less expensive than converting Enterprise from its Approach and Landing Test configuration, according to NASA. Challenger was destroyed during ascent due to O-Ring failure on the right solid rocket booster (SRB) on January 28, 1986, with the loss of all seven astronauts on board. Endeavour (OV-105) was built to replace Challenger (using structural spare parts originally intended for the other orbiters) and delivered in May 1991; it was first launched a year later. Seventeen years after the Challenger accident, Columbia broke up on reentry, killing all seven crew members, on February 1, 2003, and it has not been replaced. NASA maintains warehoused extensive catalogs of recovered pieces from the two destroyed orbiters. Out of the five fully functional shuttle orbiters built, three remain. Enterprise, which was used for atmospheric test flights but not intended for orbital flight, had many parts taken out for use on the other orbiters. It was later visually restored and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum‘s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.