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KUT Looks Back at the Shuttle

Shuttle Blasts Off
Photo courtesy of NASA
The Space Shuttle Columbia at launch on the STS-1 mission, April 12, 1981.

This week, KUT News reports on the past, present and future of manned space flight.

The space program was largely launched in Texas under the auspices of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Since the 60’s the Johnson Space Center near Houston has been the center of operations for America’s manned space missions – from the Gemini Program to the space shuttles. But Texas’ links to the space program go beyond Houston – and into the annals of Texas’ history. For it was over the skies of Texas in 2003 that the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart and changed the U.S. space program forever. KUT reported on that event as it happened.

“I just stopped for coffee in Wimberly and one of the people said, ‘They’ve lost touch with the shuttle,’ and I said, ‘You’re kidding! I’m on my way to collect my experiment,’” [Southwest Texas State University professor Robert] McClean said [in 2003].

Now as NASA and the United States prepare for the end of the shuttle missions, we’ll report on what’s gone before, and what comes next. Tune in all this week during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on KUT 90.5 to hear our reports.

Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.