12.04.

1981: First Launch of a Space Shuttle

1981: First Launch of a Space Shuttle
Photo Credit To http://www.spacefacts.de/mission/alternate/photo/sts-1_4.jpg

Columbia was launched on the same day when the 20th anniversary of Gagarin’s first flight into space was celebrated. It is interesting that a space shuttle had never been previously launched into space without a crew.

 

This day in 1981 marked the first space shuttle`s launch into orbit in  history. The space shuttle Columbia was launched using the launch complex LC-39 as a part of the Kennedy Space Center. The launch site is located in the U.S. state of Florida, near the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

It is interesting to note that only two astronauts were in the space shuttle – John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen. The mission commander Young was 50 years old, and one of the most experienced active American astronauts at the time (four flights into space). On the contrary, Crippen was younger than him, and this was his first flight into space.

 

Columbia was launched on the same day when the 20th anniversary of Gagarin’s first flight into space was celebrated. It is interesting that a space shuttle had never been previously launched into space without a crew (the Soviets launched their shuttle Buran without a crew in 1988, and successfully brought it back to the Earth).

 

Columbia managed to achieve maximum height of 307 kilometers, and it went round the Earth 37 times. Young and Crippen successfully landed the shuttle at the Edwards Air Force Base in California two days later.

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