US space shuttle makes its last flight

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2011, 12:00am


America is very famous for its space travel. It is the only nation to have landed a man on the moon. At that time astronauts would only use a rocket to get into space. When they came back the ship would burn up and fall apart. It was destroyed. The astronaut had to parachute out in a small capsule.

In 1981 America launched a space shuttle, a ship that could go into space and return to Earth in one piece. That first shuttle was called Columbia.

Shuttles take astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

In 1990 the shuttle Discovery took the Hubble Space Telescope into space.

On Friday the last space shuttle, Atlantis, returned to Earth. The programme has ended. The US government has not got enough money to pay for it.

Five things to know about: SHUTTLES

1. The US space shuttle is the most complex flying machine ever built.

2. The 30-year space shuttle programme cost a total of US$208 billion.

3. It was launched by American president Richard Nixon in 1972 to make space flight possible for everybody.

4. The shuttle can fly at speeds of 28,160 kilometres per hour. Its largest crew was eight people.

5. The shuttle has 2.5 million moving parts, including a robotic arm that can carry satellites into orbit.

Ryan says:

I'm sad the space shuttle programme has finished, because I really want to explore the stars.

Cheryl says:

Flying in the shuttle was quite dangerous, so I understand why they decided to stop it.