Challenger Shuttle Missions
The original purpose of the challenger missions was to be a test for the shuttle program. A lightweight orbiter was NASA’s goal at the time, but a test item was needed to see if it could handle the stress of space flight. At the time the computer software wasn’t able to predict if the shuttle new design could handle the heat and stress so it went through a year of intense vibration and heat testing.
NASA paid Rockwell International ( now Boeing co.) in 1979 to convert the STA-099 into a space orbiter, later named the challenger. Conversion started late that year, even though the STA-099 was easier to convert into a shuttle prototype. For this to be converted they had to remove and add and remove many parts.
Birth of The Challenger
The Tragic End :-(
The challenger program soon ended on January 28, 1986 because of a tragedy. Just 73 seconds into the mission a booster failure caused an explosion. 7 astronauts were lost in this mission and the ship.