Historical photographs

The space shuttle. Instruments and vehicles

The space shuttle. Instruments and vehicles

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The shuttle is a multi-purpose manned space plane, designed to take off and enter orbit carrying ships up to 3,000 kg with seven crew and passengers. The upper part of the ship had an estimated life of about 100 missions and upon its return to Earth it would be able to perform landing maneuvers.

Its versatility and its ability to deploy, rescue and repair satellites in orbit made its defenders consider it a great advance in space exploration. However, his detractors estimated that NASA was putting too much confidence in the ship, to the detriment of other unmanned missions.

On January 28, 1986, the world watched in horror as the US space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after taking off. Television caught the tragic explosion and the ship's fall into the ocean. Caused by a defective rubber gasket, known as 'O ring', the tragedy involved the death of the seven members of the shuttle crew.

The accident and the subsequent investigation of its causes temporarily paralyzed the space program, which resumed in September 1988 with the launch of the Discovery space shuttle.

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