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VIDEO: Coverage of the Space Shuttle Missions From 1981-2011

Since the first Space Shuttle mission in 1981, news organizations have been fascinated by the launches. Along the way, there have been some tragedies, some amazing stories, and plenty of scientific progress.

We thought we would take a look back at some of the highlights–and low-points–of coverage of the Space Shuttle.

It all began in April of 1981, with the launch of Columbia. Below NASA’s footage of the launch:

In 1986, tragedy struck, as the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during launch. Below is CNN’s live coverage of the launch:


In 2003, another tragedy, when Columbia apparently disintegrated upon reentering the atmosphere. Below, CNN attempts to make sense of the situation:

In May of this year, the Space Shuttle Endeavour launched for the final time, led by Captain Mark Kelly, the husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Below is the launch from a local NBC affiliate:

This morning, Atlantis launched from Cape Canaveral. Below is NBC’s coverage:

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