Space shuttles

Space shuttles

With the name of space shuttle or space shuttle manned transport ships are known. In English, its official name is Space Transportation System. During the time they were in operation they were used to supply and place orbital modules in the International Space Station and for maintenance missions, such as the Hubble Space Telescope.

The key to space shuttles was that they could be reused. Each shuttle had a lifespan of approximately 100 launches, which lowered the costs of space travel.

North American ferries

In total, NASA had six space shuttles. The first was named Enterprise, such as the Star Trek spacecraft, which was launched in 1977. It was followed in 1981 by Columbia, which in 2003 exploded when it reentered the atmosphere, with the death of its seven crew members.

Then, Challenger (1982-1986), Discovery (1984-2011), Atlantis (1985-2011) and Endevour (1992-2011) were in operation. The era of NASA's ferries ended due to the withdrawal of funds by the US Government and the consequent lack of budget.

Russian ferries

Following the launch by NASA of the Columbia shuttle, the former Soviet Union created its own space shuttle in 1988. It was the Burán shuttle. He only made a single unmanned flight, since the project was suspended due to lack of funds and the turbulent political situation of that time in the Soviet Union. In 2011, the Russian company NPO Energía, responsible for the construction of the Burán and the Soyuz ships, began developing a new ferry, the Kliper. It is a reusable low cost vehicle that has not yet seen the light due to financing problems.

Other international ferries

In 1986 the People's Republic of China joined the space shuttle race. Until 1988, they designed six model proposals, including Chang Cheng 1, Tianjiao 1 or SADI H-2.

The Chinese government decided to stop the ferry program, to resume it in 1992 with the Shenzhou manned ship program. His last mission, Shenzhou 10, was launched on June 11, 2013 with three taikonauts on board. Other international space shuttle projects are the failed European shuttle Hermes, the unmanned Japanese shuttle Kounotori III or the now-missing Ariane shuttle from the European Space Agency.

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