Posted at 02:40 PM ET, 07/07/2011

Shuttle launch: A visual timeline of the shuttle program


An unidentified couple sits by a campfire, watching the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour from Merritt Island, Fla., Nov. 23, 2002. Endeavour carried a crew of seven on a crew-exchange and construction mission to the International Space Station. The photo was a time exposure. Diagonal lines on right are telephone lines. (Duffin McGee - Reuters)
The last-ever space shuttle launch planned for Friday is likely to be a no-go due to weather. But when the showers and thunderstorms stop and the last shuttle launches, it will be the end of America’s 30 year shuttle program.

It’s been a program of firsts, with the first American woman in space in 1983, the first untethered space walk in 1984, and the first international space station flight in 1998.

But it’s also been a program of missteps, including the Challenger explosion over the Atlantic Ocean in 1986, and the Columbia shuttle that disintegrated during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2003, both disasters killing all seven of its crew members

The following visual timeline helps you see the full history of the shuttle program:

See a photo gallery of the space shuttle program here.

And share your memory here with us.

YOUR TAKE: #NASAmemories

We asked what NASA means to you? And you replied with a few of your #NASAmemories. These are a few of the responses:

By  |  02:40 PM ET, 07/07/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company