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Space Shuttle Challenger
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Challenger Tribute

This is a printable version of space shuttle Challenger's orbiter tribute, or OV-099, which hangs in Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Challenger's accomplishments include the first night launch and first African-American in space, Guion Bluford, on STS-8, the first in-flight capture, repair and redeployment of an orbiting satellite during STS-41C, the first American woman in space, Sally Ride, on STS-7, and the first American woman to walk in space, Kathryn Sullivan, during STS-41G. Challenger is credited with blazing a trail for NASA's other orbiters with the first night landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California on STS-8 and the first landing at Kennedy on STS-41B. The spacewalker in the tribute represents Challenger's role in the first spacewalk during STS-6 and the first untethered spacewalk on STS-41B.

Crew-designed patches for each of Challenger's missions lead from Earth toward a remembrance of the STS-51L crew, which was lost 73 seconds after liftoff on Jan. 28, 1986. Five orbiter tributes are on display in the firing room, representing Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Endeavour and Discovery.

Image Credit: NASA/Lynda Brammer
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Space Shuttle Challenger (NASA Orbiter Vehicle DesignationOV-099) was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, Columbia having been the first. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division inDowney, California. Its maiden flight was on April 4, 1983, and it completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission, STS-51-L on January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members. It was the first of two shuttles (the other being Columbia) to be destroyed. The accident led to a two-and-a-half year grounding of the shuttle fleet, with missions resuming in 1988 with the launch ofSpace Shuttle Discovery on STS-26Challenger itself was replaced by the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which first launched in 1992. Endeavour was constructed from spare parts originally meant for Challenger and the other shuttles in the fleet.