The space shuttle Columbia, NASA's first orbiter, is showered with lights in this nocturnal scene at Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., during preparations for the first flight (STS-1) of NASA's new reusable spacecraft system. This photo was taken in March 1981 ahead of Columbia's April 12, 1981 launch.
A remote camera at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A captured this scene as the maiden flight of space shuttle Columbia begins on April 12, 1981. Astronauts John W. Young, STS-1 commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, were aboard Columbia as it begins a 54-hour orbital mission.
On April 12, 1981, astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen launched into space on space shuttle Columbia on the STS-1 mission — NASA's first mission aboard a reusable spacecraft. STS-1 was NASA's first manned mission since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. In this image, the two solid rocket boosters are aglow after being jettisoned.
On March 22, 1978, NASA held a press conference to announce the first space shuttle crews. The eight men shown here were picked to fly the first four shuttle missions (STS-1 to STS-4) in two-man teams. They are: right to left, astronauts John W. Young, Robert L. Crippen, Joe H. Engle, Richard H. Truly, Fred W. Haise Jr., Jack R. Lousma, Vance D. Brand and C. Gordon Fullerton. Young and Crippen are commander and pilot, respectively, for the first OFT mission. Other crews are comprised of Engle, commander, and Truly, pilot; Haise, commander, and Lousma, pilot; Brand, commander, and Fullerton, pilot.
The space shuttle Columbia riding "piggyback" on NASA 905, a 747 carrier aircraft, is only seconds away from landing on Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle landing facility, ending a 2,400-mile ferry flight from California on March 24, 1979. The T-38 chase plane at left is flown by Donald "Deke" Slayton, manager for the orbital fight test (OFT) program.
These two astronauts were the prime crewmen for the first flight in the Space Transportation System (STS-1) program. Astronauts John W. Young, left, commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, will man the space shuttle orbiter 102 Columbia for the first orbital flight test.
An early morning scene at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39, with the space shuttle Columbia in position on Pad 39A at right in March 1981. The shuttle launched into space on April 12, 1981.
This is the official insignia for the first space shuttle orbital flight test (STS-1). Crew of the 102 Columbia on STS-1 will be astronauts John W. Young, commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot. The art work was done by artist Robert McCall.
The space shuttle Columbia begins a new era of space transportation when it lifts off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla, on April 12, 1981. The reusable orbiter, its two fuel tanks and two solid rocket boosters (SRB) has just cleared the launch tower.
The twin solid rocket boosters separate from the external tank of NASA's space shuttle Columbia after its April 12, 1981 launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Columbia's STS-1 mission was NASA's first manned mission since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975.
Astronaut Robert L. Crippen, pilot for STS-1 takes advantage of zero-gravity to do some rare acrobatics on the middeck of the space shuttle Columbia in Earth orbit during the two-day mission between April 12 and April 14 in 1981.
Separation of space shuttle Columbia's external tank, photographed by motion picture cameras in the umbilical bays, occurred following the shutdown of the vehicle's three main engines after a successful launch on April 12, 1981.
Columbia was one of two NASA shuttle mission to launch with an external tank that was painted white to address aerodynamic heating concerns. After the initial flights, NASA determined the paint was not needed.
The Columbia's cameras were able to record the underside of the tank as the orbiter headed toward its Earth-orbital mission with astronauts John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen aboard, and the fuel tank fell toward Earth, passing through the atmosphere rapidly.
Astronaut John W. Young, mans the commander's station in the Columbia during the 36-orbit STS-1 flight. A loose leaf notebook with flight activities data floats in the weightless environment. Young is wearing a three piece constant wear flight suit. This 35mm photo was taken by astronaut Robert L. Crippen between April 12 and April 14, 1981.
Black space and the blue and white planet Earth form the backdrop for this scene of the cargo bay and aft section of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Columbia, photographed through the flight deck's aft windows. In the lower right corner is one of the vehicle's radiator panels. Small pieces of thermal tiles had earlier been noted missing from the rounded orbital maneuvering system (OMS) pods which flank the vertical stabilizer at left edge of the photograph. A collection of possible support equipment is housed in the box-like devices (lower left) known as the development flight instrument pallet. The pentagon-shaped glare at upper left is caused by window reflection. Inside the spacecraft are astronauts John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen.
The rear wheels of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia touch down on Rogers dry lake at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California to successfully complete a stay in space of more than two days on April 14, 1981. The mission marked the first NASA flight to end with a wheeled landing and represents the beginning of a new age of spaceflight that will employ the same hardware repeatedly.
This high angle view shows the scene at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California soon after the successful landing of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia to end STS-1. Service vehicles approach the spacecraft to perform evaluations for safety, egress preparedness, etc. Astronauts John W. Young, commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, are still inside the spacecraft.
Columbia shuttle astronaut Robert L. Crippen, pilot for the STS-1 flight, exists the the orbiter after a successful landing at Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, California on April 14, 1981. Astronaut John W. Young, crew commander, had earlier exited the craft and can be seen standing at the foot of the steps with George W. S. Abbey, director of flight operations at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). Dr. Craig L. Fischer, chief of the medical operations branch in JSC's medical sciences division, follows Crippen down the steps.
This head-on photograph of NASA's space shuttle Columbia was taken during post-landing servicing on Rogers dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California. The STS-1 mission ended earlier today, two and one third days later and thousands of miles removed from Sunday's Florida launch setting. Astronauts John W. Young, commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, were Columbia's first crew.