Unnamed Project 1
- to explore strange new worlds
- to seek out new life and civilizations
- to boldly go where no man has gone before
In its nearly 30-year history, the space shuttle program has seen exhilarating highs and devastating lows. The fleet has taken astronauts on dozens of successful missions, resulting in immeasurable scientific gains. But this success has had a serious cost. In 1986, the Challenger exploded during launch. In 2003, the Columbia broke up during re-entry over Texas. Since the Columbia accident, the shuttles have been grounded pending redesigns to improve their safety. The 2005 shuttle Discovery was supposed to initiate the return to flight, but a large piece of insulating foam broke free from its external fuel tank, leaving scientists to solve the mystery and the program grounded once more until July 2006, when the Discovery and Atlantis both carried out successful missions.