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On this date in history… January 5, 1972…

U.S. President Richard M. Nixon ordered the development of a manned space shuttle program, to further America’s exploration of space.

President Nixon with NASA Administrator Fletcher in January 1972 three months before Congress approved funding for the Shuttle program

Additional information regarding America’s space shuttle program may be found at http://www.nasa.gov/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle, as well as other sites.

Space Shuttle Enterprise OV-101 at SLC-6 at Vandenberg AFB

Enterprise as it banks on its second Approach and Landing Test September 13 1977

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft N905NA in American Airlines livery with Shuttle Enterprise in 1978 at Ellington Airfield

STS-1 Orbiter Columbia - arrival at Complex 39A

Space Shuttle Columbia OV-102 Roll out

Space Shuttle Columbia

Space Shuttle Challenger STS-6 launched for the first time on April 4 1983

Challenger landing after its first mission STS-6

Shuttle Challenger landing on Runway 17 at Edwards at end of 51-B mission

Space Shuttle Challenger's Final Lift-off

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight and disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean.  All aboard perished.

President Ronald Reagan quoted from John Gillespie Magee, Jr’s poem “High Flight” in his speech that followed the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986.  President Reagan quoted: … [they have] “slipped the surly bonds of Earth” to “touch the face of God.”

It would be 32 months before the shuttle program recommenced.

Space Shuttle Discovery begins liftoff at the start of STS-120

Discovery rockets into orbit seen here just after booster rocket separation

DISCOVERY STS-95 landing

Space Shuttle Atlantis launches from KSC on STS-132

Space Shuttle Atlantis takes flight on the STS 27 mission on December 2 1988

Atlantis landing after STS-30 mission

The space shuttle Endeavour sits on Launch Pad 39A in the early hours of April 29 after launch was delayed for technical reasons.


A drag chute is deployed by Endeavour as it completes a mission of almost 17 days

Space Shuttles Discovery and Endeavour

Space Shuttles Atlantis STS-125 and Endeavour STS-400 on launch pads

Atlantis begins the last mission of the Space Shuttle program

(These images are in the public domain because they were created by NASA.  Pursuant to NASA copyright policy… ‘NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted’.)