STS-1 Columbia's First Launch

STS-1 Columbia's First Launch American History Famous Historical Events Aviation & Space Exploration STEM Tragedies and Triumphs Disasters

In this image we see STS-1 awaiting liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center. STS-1 was the mission name for the first launch of America's new Space Shuttle.

The first shuttle to be launched from Cape Canaveral was Columbia

NASA provides the following information about this photo and the shuttle's first mission:

On April 12, 1981, the Space Shuttle Columbia became the first shuttle to orbit the Earth.

In this gorgeous time exposure, flood lights play on the Columbia and service structures (left) as it rests atop Complex 39's Pad A at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for first launch.

Flown by Commander John W. Young and Pilot Robert L. Crippen, Columbia spent 2 days aloft on its check-out mission, STS-1, which ended in a smooth landing, airplane-style, at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Ferried back to Kennedy by a modified Boeing 747, Columbia was launched again seven months later on STS-2, becoming the first piloted reuseable orbiter.

...Columbia's 1981 debut was followed by shuttles Challenger in 1982 (destroyed in 1986), Discovery in 1983, Atlantis in 1985, and Challenger's replacement Endeavour in 1991.

Note the difference in the external fuel tank between this mission and STS-107 (in which a piece of debris hit the shuttle during launch).

Columbia and her seven-person crew were lost, during reentry, on February 1, 2003.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Dec 09, 2019

Media Credits

Image, KSC [Kennedy Space Center], NASA.


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"STS-1 Columbia's First Launch" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 09, 2019.
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