Members of the Rogers Commission arrive at KSC
(March 7, 1986) Following the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in January 1986, President Reagan appointed a Presidential Commission to investigate the accident. The fourteen members of the Commission included former Secretary of State William Rogers as chairman, astronauts Sally Ride and Neil Armstrong, and Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman. After months of investigation, the Rogers Commission identified the cause of failure as an O- ring in the right Solid Rocket Booster that ruptured due to the cold temperatures of the launch. ..Here, Alton Keel (left), the representative to the Commission from the Executive Office of the President, and chairman William Rogers (center) arrive at the Galaxie Theatre at KSC's Visitor's Information Center for a one day briefing and tour of the NASA facility
NASA Photo Collection
The Space Shuttle program was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972. The Space Shuttle system—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank— carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). When its mission was complete, the orbiter would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a glider. Although the concept had been explored since the late 1960s, the program formally commenced in 1972 and was the focus of NASA's manned operations after the final Apollo and Skylab flights in the mid-1970s. It started with the launch of the first shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, on STS-1. and finished with its last mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.