The birth of the space shuttle in 1981 marked a new era of space travel. For the first time ever, NASA had a spacecraft that could launch into space and come back to earth and land like an airplane. While the shuttle had many successful flights, there were also some big catastrophes that ultimately led the program to cease operations in 2011. Former chief historian of NASA Roger Launius joins Viewpoints this week to tell the story of this era of American space history.

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