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The CrewCargoTimelineEVAShuttle ArchivesMission archivesNext mission: STS-2STS-1: The First Shuttle Mission and Launch of Columbia
Mission Patch
IMAGE: STS-1 Crew Patch.
Mission Highlights
Launch Pad:39A
Launch:April 12, 1981
6 a.m. CST
Landing:April 14, 1981
12:20 p.m. CST
Duration:2 days, 6 hours, 20 minutes, 53 seconds
Orbit Altitude:166 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination:40.3 degrees
Miles Traveled:1.074 million
Related Links
*Mission Summary
*STS-1 History
*JSC STS-1 Image Directory
IMAGE: STS-1 Pilot Robert Crippen.
STS-1 Pilot Robert Crippen does a cannonball on Space Shuttle Columbia's middeck.

Space Shuttle Program Begins with Launch of STS-1
Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on April 12, 1981, at 6 a.m. CST (12:00 GMT) to begin the first shuttle mission, STS-1. The primary mission objectives for STS-1 were to accomplish a safe ascent into orbit, check out all the systems on the space shuttle and to return to Earth for a safe landing. All of these objectives were met successfully.

The main payload carried on STS-1 was a Development Flight Instrumentation package, which contained sensors and measuring devices to record orbiter performance and the stresses that occurred during launch, ascent, orbital flight, descent and landing.

Postflight inspection of Columbia revealed that an overpressure wave, which occurred when the solid rocket boosters ignited, resulted in the loss of 16 heat shield tiles and damage to 148 others.

Click here for the STS-1 press kit.

Columbia and its crew landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on April 14, 1981, at 12:20 p.m. CST (18:20 GMT).


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 03/18/2010
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