Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterThe space shuttle Columbia flew 28 mission in total. It was the second shuttle built, but the first one to enter true space. Enterprise flew first, but never left Earth orbit. The Columbia orbited the Earth over 4,800 times during its 22 year career and marked many spaceflight firsts. The Columbia’s career came to a tragic end when it broke apart during reentry in 2003. Below you will find links to several articles that contain a great deal of information about the accomplishments of the Columbia space shuttle including what caused the shuttle to break apart. Here are a few facts about the Columbia’s career to help rev you up before diving into the links.
Despite being the first shuttle in space, it was not equipped to reach the International Space Station(ISS).
After the shuttle Columbia broke apart, the ISS had to depend on Russian space shuttles for support. At the time, very few people were aware that the Russians had space shuttles and thought the astronauts on the ISS were going to die.
The disintegration of the Columbia directly led to the scheduled retirement of the entire space shuttle fleet in 2010. What will replace them is the question now.
You can find more information on these facts in the links below as well as many more interesting tidbits to help satisfy your interest about the Columbia space shuttle mission. As always, enjoy your research.