BACKGROUND: Space shuttle's milestones
Jul 9, 2011, 0:06 GMT
Berlin - Many records were attained in the 30-year era of US space shuttles:
THE LONGEST MISSION: lasted 17 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes and 18 seconds, as the Columbia orbited the earth a total of 279 times November 19-December 7, 1996.
THE LONGEST DISTANCE COVERED: Discovery, the hardest-working among the shuttles, spent a total of 365 days in orbit and travelled almost 240 million kilometres.
THE MOST ASTRONAUTS TRANSPORTED: The Discovery carried into space a total of 252 astronauts in 39 missions over nearly 27 years.
THE OLDEST CREW MEMBER: US senator John Glenn was 77 when he was part of the Discovery's 25th mission in October-November 1998.
CURIOUS FREIGHT: 3,300 bees were on board the Challenger in April 1984, to test their behaviour with zero gravity.
THE FIRST FEMALE PILOT: Eileen Marie Collins flew the Discovery in February 1995 and was later, in 1999, also the first female commander of a space shuttle, on board the Columbia.