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Timeline of Events


Birth of the Space Program

President Nixon announced that NASA would proceed with the development of a reusable space shuttle system.

January 5, 1972

Challenger's Maiden Flight

STS-6, the sixth NASA Space Shuttle mission launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

April 4, 1983

Challenger Disaster

Shuttle disintegrates over the Atlantic Ocean 73 seconds into its flight.

January 28, 1986

Rogers Commission Report

Report sumbitted to President Reagan attributes accident to O-rings sealing the aft field joint on the right solid rocket booster. It also recommends improved safety features on the shuttles.

Read the Report June 9, 1986

U.S. House Committee hearings

According to the committee, "the fundamental problem was poor technical decision-making over a period of several years by top NASA and contractor personnel, who failed to act decisively to solve the increasingly serious anomalies in the Solid Rocket Booster joints."

Full Document October 29, 1986

Columbia's Maiden Flight

It was the first orbital spaceflight of NASA's Space Shuttle program.

April 12, 1981

Columbia Disaster

The Shuttle disintegrates upon reentering Earth's atmosphere.

February 1, 2003

1st Investigative Report

Columbia Accident Investigation Board confirmed the immediate cause of the accident was a breach in the leading edge of the left wing, caused by insulating foam shed during launch.

Pertinent Document August 26, 2003

2nd Investigative Report

Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report provides further details on the incident and recommends automatic survival systems activaton for future flights.

Read the Report December 30, 2008

End of the Space Program

A month and a half after the Atlantis returned to Earth to close out the 135th and final shuttle mission.

August 31, 2011