Challenger (Spacecraft)Alternative names
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 killing all seven crew members. 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 spaceworthy, as originally planned. The spacecraft was named after a British corvette HMS_Challenger_which carried out a pioneering global marine research expedition in the 1870s.
Challenger was 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 exploration
- Space flight