Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger (NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Orbiter Vehicle Designation
Orbiter Vehicle Designation
Each NASA space shuttle designation is composed of a prefix and suffix separated by a dash. The prefix for operational shuttles is OV, for Orbiter Vehicle.The suffix is composed of two parts: the series and the vehicle number.Series:...

: OV-099) was NASA's second Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 orbiter to be put into service,
Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. All seven crew...

 having been the first. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International
Rockwell International
Rockwell International was a major American manufacturing conglomerate in the latter half of the 20th century, involved in aircraft, the space industry, both defense-oriented and commercial electronics, automotive and truck components, printing presses, valves and meters, and industrial automation....

's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California
Downey, California
Downey is a city located in southeast Los Angeles County, California, United States, southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The city is best known as the birthplace of the Apollo space program, and is the city where folk singer Karen Carpenter lived and died...

. Its maiden flight was on April 4, 1983, and it completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission, STS-51-L
STS-51-L was the twenty-fifth flight of the American Space Shuttle program, which marked the first time an ordinary civilian, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, had flown aboard the Space Shuttle. The mission used Space Shuttle Challenger, which lifted off from the Launch Complex 39-B on 28 January...

 on January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

. The accident led to a two-and-a-half year grounding of the shuttle fleet, with missions resuming in 1988 with the launch of on STS-26
STS-26 was the 26th NASA Space Shuttle mission and the seventh flight of the Discovery orbiter. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 29 September 1988, and landed four days later on 3 October. STS-26 was declared the "Return to Flight" mission, being the first mission after...