According to Wikipedia, there were sixteen Space Shuttle missions to the ISS before the loss of Columbia; of these, six each were by Endeavour and Atlantis, four by Discovery, and none at all by Columbia.

Was there any specific reason why Columbia never flew to the ISS, or was it just a freak of chance?

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    $\begingroup$ Short answer: Columbia was heavier than the other (later-built) orbiters, so wasn't as capable of reaching high-inclination orbits. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 3:21
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    $\begingroup$ Looks like that covers it to me. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 4:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Sean don't feel bad that your question is closed. It's a good question, and will attract more future readers to this answer or any other answers that may appear there. You may also be interested in reading answers to Why was Space Shuttle Atlantis selected for Mir docking so frequently? and also How many times has a spacecraft docked with two or more different space stations during a single mission? which might make you think of a new question. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 6:28
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble Actually, in retrospect, I'm wondering if a desire to retain one orbiter with the internal airlock for non-ISS missions didn't have more to do with it; Columbia should have been able to deliver ~12t of payload to ISS as compared with ~16t for the others. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ The CAIB report says "Because the airlock was not located in the payload bay, Columbia could carry longer payloads such as the Chandra space telescope, which used the full length of the payload bay. The internal airlock made the mid-deck more cramped than those of other Orbiters, but this was less of a problem when one of the laboratory modules was installed in the payload bay to provide additional habitable volume." $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 18:44


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