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The liftoff of Atlantis marking the final mission in the US space shuttle program and today.
Encapsulate in thirty years of American spirit and ingenuity and determination.
Right now the future of manned space exploration remains frankly unclear.
But at this moment we do celebrate and remember the work courses of NASA.
The Fox Report she correspondent Jonathan Hunt takes a look back hey Jonathan thanks -- you know it was the -- -- achievement of America's dominance of the space race during the latter part of the twentieth century.
I'm the first out of the 21.
And all of us here in this nation and around the world watched every moment the triumphs.
And the tragedies.
Or we've gone for main engine start we.
-- -- -- captured the imagination.
Of a generation.
From the moment Columbia first -- into space the shuffle has been at the center of US space exploration.
The first test like a two day mission circling the -- 36 times before landing at Edwards air -- -- California.
Here grading eighteen months later at Columbia's first operational mission deploys to commercial satellites into space.
In 1983 a second shuttle joins NASA's fleet.
Well probably have a good challenger and that's good.
-- -- -- -- -- Challenges maiden voyage marking the first spacewalk of the shuttle program.
I could help other it's.
Challenger later carries the first woman in tool they.
Have and the first African American movement in the mid eighteen is the shuttle program continues to grow.
I don't remember in the -- with the addition of the shuttles discovery and Atlantis.
And liftoff of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on a mission that -- herald a new day of international cooperation in space.
Atlantis later -- as the shuttle Mir missions docking a total of seven times with the -- space station.
Then on January 28.
Tragedy in down under our current problem and just 73 seconds off the liftoff challenger is ripped apart by an explosion.
All seven crew members onboard a killed.
Americans returned -- Discovery cleared the tower.
In 1988 opted to at a hockey is -- more than 200 safety improvements the launch of discovery restarts the shuttle program.
The next year Atlantis deploys the Magellan -- bang for Venus and the Galileo probe heading for Jupiter.
When discovery releases the Hubble space telescope.
A new window on to the universe opens.
In 1991 a final shuffle arrives.
School children -- endeavor as part of a national competition.
It replaces the lost challenger your approach -- -- In May 1999.
Discovery becomes the first shuffle.
To dock with the new International Space Station live from discovery at the orbiting research laboratory becomes a frequent destination for the shuttle program.
Research aboard the ISS continues as part of NASA's preparations for a future without the shuffle.
A major milestone is reached in 2000 with the 100.
Flight of the shuffle -- But only three years later tragedy strikes again.
Columbia disintegrate over Texas upon reentry.
Killing all seven crew members.
Once again two and a half years -- before a shuttle returns to space.
Again discovery is cool.
During the return to flight the crew guides discovery through a back flip maneuver.
Allowing mission control to check the -- -- thermal protection system the system that failed on Columbia.
And calls the shuttle to disintegrate on re entry.
Earlier this year NASA -- high as discovery.
The end of a historic journey.
And to the ship that has let the wait time and time again we say farewell discovery.
After a total of 365.
Days in space discovery touches down -- for the final time on March ninth.
Then in May -- headed home and now we wait for one final -- landing.
That will truly not the end of a glorious era and hopefully.
The beginning of a new one as we -- wait to see -- what is next for America in space shot.
Jonathan Hunt live in New York City -- Jonathan thanks very much sort.
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