The design of the new NASA rocket draws on key systems from the space shuttle and Ares programs. The agency anticipates launching the first demonstration version of the rocket by 2017.
Space shuttle missions were a boon to businesses around Cape Canaveral, Fla. With the space shuttle era over, they're banking on cruise ships and other tourist draws.
When NASA's space shuttles launch into orbit, they don't just carry astronauts and supplies into the final frontier. There's a lot of other weird stuff that makes the out-of-this-world journey, too. NASA's last space shuttle mission will launch Friday, July 8 on the Atlantis orbiter to deliver spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission will be the 135th and last flight for the program, which began in 1981. But over the course of 30 years, the space shuttles have flown some peculiar objects into orbit. The list of odd stuff that flew aboard the shuttles is a long one, and includes the Olympic torch, a replica of the golden spike from the First Transcontinental Railroad, and rocks from the top of Mount Everest and the surface of the moon, just to name a few. Here nine recent space oddities carried into orbit on NASA shuttles:
Atlantis launch: Despite a bleak forecast of thunderstorms and clouds, the shuttle beat the weather in a stunning midday launch, sailing into the sky on one final voyage.
A flawless predawn landing on Wednesday capped the penultimate flight of the US space shuttle program. With Endeavor's mission over, Atlantis is already on the launch pad.
In a 40-minute plea at the White House to save the US space shuttle, John Glenn said that relying on the Russians to get US astronauts into space was a mistake. Why did President Obama turn him down?
Endeavour flight watchers, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, were able to watch the picture-perfect NASA shuttle launch Monday for only 12 seconds because of an unusual situation.
NASA's once-iconic astronaut corps will shrink but still play a vital role as the space shuttle era comes to an end.
A timeline of significant moments in America's quest to reach for the stars.