The Space shuttle was a type of reuseable space vessel used by Humans on Earth during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It was the earliest example of Human-designed shuttlecraft. Constructed by Rockwell International, and operated by the United States of America's NASA space agency, the shuttle played an important role in humanity's early exploration of space.
The space shuttle was composed of three components, a reusable orbiter, a large fuel tank, and two booster rockets. After launch the fuel tank and the booster rockets would be jettisoned, and the orbiter would orbit the Earth. After the completion of the mission, the orbiter would reenter the atmosphere and make an unpowered descent to land like an airplane. (ST references: Spaceflight Chronology, Star Trek Chronology; TOS - The Lost Years novel: A Flag Full of Stars)
The space shuttle could accommodate a crew of seven, including the mission commander, a pilot, and five mission and payload specialists. Shuttle missions included scientific experiments, satellite and space telescope deployment, retrieval and testing. (Star Trek Magazine Issue 162: "Blast Off!")
Over the years, NASA operated six Enterprise-type space shuttles, and a second generation prototype.
- Enterprise (OV-101) - The prototype vehicle. As a test vehicle, this shuttle was not built to actually enter orbit, but was instead used to test the viability of certain systems - such as the landing gear. (ST references: Spaceflight Chronology, Star Trek Chronology; TOS - The Lost Years novel: A Flag Full of Stars)
- Columbia (OV-102) - The second shuttle, and the first shuttle that actually flew in space. (ST reference: Star Trek Chronology)
- Challenger (OV-099) - The third shuttle built. This shuttle was destroyed in 1986 when it exploded shortly after takeoff. (DS9 - Mission Gamma novel: Twilight; ST reference: Star Trek Chronology)
- Discovery (OV-103) (TOS novel: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 1; Star Trek Magazine Issue 162: "Blast Off!")
- Atlantis (OV-104) (ENT episode: "First Flight")
- Endeavour (OV-105) (ENT episode: "First Flight")
- Renaissance - Built as the prototype of a second generation of space shuttles that was cancelled due to budget cuts, leaving the Renaissance as the only ship of its kind. (TOS novel: The Rings of Time)
|United States space shuttles|
|United States of America||Enterprise (OV-101) • Columbia (OV-102) • Challenger (OV-099) • Discovery (OV-103) • Atlantis (OV-104) • Endeavour (OV-105) • Renaissance (prototype)|