First Shuttle Launch - Columbia, STS-1

On the 12th of April, 1981, the United States launched the shuttle Columbia into space.  The mission was designated STS-1. (Notice the color of the external fuel tank.)

This NASA video depicts the final preparations, countdown and launch of the first-ever shuttle flightMove the video forward - to 4:50 - to watch the final countdown and launch sequence.

What was the life expectancy of the shuttle program?  On March 7, 2011 - during a NASA channel broadcast - a reporter asked a relevant question during a mission status briefing:

If politics, budget, etc. wasn't in the mix - if you speak only of the machine itself - how long can the shuttles keep flying?

The head engineer gave the following answer:

With upgrades, the shuttles can fly continuously - as Discovery has shown here on STS-133, it's totally up-to-date & operating flawlessly. I don't what to say exactly when but they can continue to fly for a long time.

John Young and Robert Crippen were the two astronauts aboard Columbia as she left Launch Complex 39A during her first mission.

See, also:

Video - Columbia Lands at Edwards AFB, Completing Mission STS-1


Media Credits

Video of STS-1, launch of the shuttle Columbia, online courtesy NASA.


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"First Shuttle Launch - Columbia, STS-1" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 26, 2020.
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