Space Shuttle Interesting Facts

Space Shuttle interesting facts you need to know.

The most complex flying machines ever built by man that served as the main space exploration vehicle of the United States for about 3 decades have some interesting facts that you need to know.

Six Space Shuttles were built by NASA

There are a total of six Space Shuttles built by NASA that were flown since it started in 1981. These six Space Shuttles are Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. The first orbital flight occurred on April 12, 1981 with the test mission of Columbia and the last flight occurred on July 21, 2011 on a trip to the International Space Station, or ISS, with Atlantis.

Only five of the six shuttles have flown and were capable of flying into space, which includes Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. Enterprise was constructed without engine and heat shields, therefore it was not capable of spaceflight.  It was only used for flying and landing tests in the early years of the space shuttle development in the 1970′s.

Space Shuttle Weight and Cost

During the Space Shuttle’s lift off it has a total weight of around 2.04 million kg and a maximum payload weight of about 26,786 kg. The whole space shuttle system, including its boosters, has a length of 56.08 meters. The orbiter alone has a length of 37.19 meters and a wingspan of about 23.77 meters.

The estimated total cost of the program since the Space Shuttle started its operation in 1981 was about $192 billion. With a total number of 134 missions, the estimated cost per mission of the Space Shuttle equals $1.5 billion.


Of the total 134 spaceflights, the Space Shuttle encountered two accidents that killed all of the on-board crew. These two tragic flights are those of Challenger that occurred on January 28, 1986 and Columbia on January 16, 2003.

Remember the Space Shuttle’s significance with the Space Shuttle Program – NASA Commemorative Award Medallion or by visiting the Space Shuttle Collectibles Section of The Space Store.

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