Space Shuttle launch footage, showing a Space Shuttle ascending to orbit through the Earth's atmosphere. Midway through the clip, following an explosion, the booster rockets are seen detaching and falling away. The Space Shuttles were spacecraft designed to be launched into low Earth orbit. Operated by NASA, the US space administration, they flew 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. They were launched from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, USA, attached to an external tank and two solid rocket boosters. Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuel from the external tank was used to run the Shuttle's main internal engines. Most of the thrust was from the two booster rockets that used an explosive solid fuel mixture. An ascent to Earth orbit took about 9 minutes. The rocket thrust accelerated the shuttle upwards, achieving an escape velocity of over 40, 250 kilometres per hour. Launches were viewed from outside an exclusion zone several kilometres across, with footage from launch pad cameras used to monitor and analyse each launch.