The First Space Shuttle
Soaring Into History
STS-1 Mission Solid Rocket Boosters Jettisoned
Who Will Fly Shuttles First?
Young and Crippen: History's 1st Shuttle Flyers
Sunrise Space Shuttle
STS-1: A Mission's Emblem
Columbia's Space Pilot
Rare White Shuttle Tank
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.