NASA’s development of reusable space vehicles to carry cargo into space dates to 1969.
The resultant Space Shuttle program was in active operation from 1981 to this day ten years ago when the last mission was flown.
The program had many highs, including ferrying and later repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. My personal high was seeing the Challenger land in June 1983 in the Mohave desert, and a bit later seeing another Shuttle taking off piggyback on top of a modified Boeing 747 heading to the Kennedy Space Center. This takeoff was right after President Reagan finished his remarks in front of a hangar at Edwards Air Force Base.
Then there were the two lows – the disasters involving the Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003, both claiming all lives aboard.
Now, learning from the past, the future of space transport rests with the work by Blue Origin and SpaceX.
Here is a map of Florida by Johnson from 1863. Florida is home to Cape Canaveral where the Kennedy Space Center is located and from where most of Space Shuttle missions were launched and many have landed.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.