On September 17, 1976, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveiled its first space shuttle, Enterprise, at a ceremony in Palmdale, California. Scientists and engineers had been developing a re-usable “space plane” design for more than a decade. The shuttle combined features of rockets, traditional spacecraft, and aircraft. Due to changes in the shuttle’s structural design, Enterprise (named after the fictional Star Trek starship) never exited the Earth’s atmosphere.
After Enterprise’s successful atmospheric tests, NASA built five more space shuttles that went on to fly all the way into space: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. The Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry aircraft Noun
vehicle able to travel and operate above the ground.
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
Encyclopedic Entry: atmosphere decade Noun
person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).
(acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration) U.S. agency responsible for space research and systems.
vehicle designed for travel outside Earth's atmosphere.
space shuttle Noun
vehicle used to transport astronauts and instruments to and from Earth.