In its 30 year history, the NASA space shuttle program has seen exhilarating highs and devastating lows. The fleet has taken astronauts on dozens of successful missions, resulting in immeasurable scientific gains. But this success has had a serious cost. In 1986, the challenger exploded during launch procedures,and on February 1st of2003, the Columbia broke up during re-entry over Texas.

Since the Columbia accident, the shuttles have been grounded pending redesigns to improve their safety.The 2005 shuttle Discovery was supposed to initiate the return to flight, but a large piece of insulating foam broke free from its external fuel tank, leaving scientists to solve the mystery and the program grounded once more until July2006, when the Discovery and Atlantis both carried out successful missions. This seminar will be taking a brief look into the monumental technology behind America's shuttle program, the mission it was designed to carry out, and the extraordinary efforts that NASA has made to return the shuttle to flight.