The U.S. Space Shuttle program started with the awarding of the contract to Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division. There were 6 shuttles built, Enterprise OV-101 (Orbital Vehicle) for testing, Columbia OV-102, Challenger OV-099, Discovery OV-103, Atlantis OV-104 and Endeavour OV-105. The first of 135 Space Shuttle missions took place April 12, 1981 and lasted 2 days 6 hours when STS-1 (Space Transportation System) was launched using Space Shuttle Columbia. Of the 135 mission launches there were 2 tragedies when Columbia and Challenger plus their crews were lost.
Space Shuttle “Atlantis”, named after the research sailing ship RV Atlantis, made its maiden voyage as STS-21 launching on October 3, 1985 with the mission lasting 4 days and 1 hour. Atlantis would make 32 more launches and was selected to make the STS-135 and last Space Shuttle launch on July 8, 2011. Over the length of “Atlantis’ ” career it spent 306 days 14 hours in space, made 4,848 orbits of the earth and traveled 125,935,769 miles. It deployed 14 satellites, made 19 dockings and carried 156 passengers during its 33 missions.