(WHTM) The era of the space shuttle came to an end ten years ago, when Atlantis rolled to a stop on the runway at Kennedy Spaceport on July 21, 2011.
In the thirty years since the first launch on April 12, 1981, the space shuttle fleet flew many different types of missions. It carted up the pieces that were assembled into the International Space Station, launched satellites, retrieved satellites, and serviced satellites-including the Hubble Space Telescope. All told, the program ran 135 missions.
So where are the shuttles now?
In total, six shuttles were built. Two were lost; on January 28, 1988 Challenger exploded during launch, and on February 1st, 2003, Columbia broke up during re-entry. In total the two losses claimed fourteen lives. The shuttle Endeavor was built as a replacement for Chalenger. When the program ended, NASA decided the four remaining vehicles would go to museums across the country.
First, though, they had to be cleaned up. Technicians purged systems of toxic chemicals, and removed components that either could be reused, or might be hazardous. This included the engines; the ones now on the shuttles are non-functional replicas. At last, the shuttles were moved to their new, permanent homes;
Enterprise (OV-101) Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
Discovery (OV-103) Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151
Atlantis (OV‑104) Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953
Endeavour (OV-105) California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037