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Space Shuttle Columbia

Shuttle Orbiter Columbia (NASA Designation: OV-102) was the first space shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet, first flying mission STS-1 from April 12 to April 14, 1981. It was lost with all crew when it disintegrated during re-entry on its 28th mission, STS-107, which lasted from January 16 to February 1, 2003.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Final Mission
3 Cultural Reaction
4 Missions
5 Related articles
6 External links


After being constructed, the orbiter arrived at John F. Kennedy Space Center on March 25, 1979 to be prepared for its first launch. However, before its first mission three workers were killed and five injured during a ground test of the orbiter on March 19, 1981.

The first flight of Columbia was commanded by John Young (a space veteran from the Gemini and Apollo eras) and piloted by Robert Crippen a rookie who had never been in space before, but who served as support crew for the Skylab missions and Apollo-Soyuz.

In 1983 Columbia launched the first mission (STS-9) with 6 astronauts, including the first non-American astronaut on a space shuttle, Ulf Merbold. On January 12, 1986 Columbia took off with the first Hispanic-American astronaut, Dr. Franklin R. Chang-Diaz. Another first was announced on March 5, 1998 when NASA named their choice of United States Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins as commander of a future Columbia mission making Collins the first woman commander of a space shuttle mission.

Final Mission

On its final mission the craft was carrying the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon and the first woman astronaut of Indian birth, Kalpana Chawla. Other crew members on the final flight included Rick Husband (commander), Willie McCool (pilot), Michael P. Anderson, Laurel Clark, and David M. Brown.

On the morning of February 1, 2003, the shuttle re-entered the atmosphere after a 16-day scientific mission. NASA lost radio contact at about 9 a.m. EST, only minutes before the expected 09:16 landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Video recordings show the craft breaking up in flames over Texas, at an altitude of approximately 39 miles (63 km) and a speed of 12,500 mph (5.6 km/s). (See Space Shuttle Columbia disaster).

Cultural Reaction

A 1999 anime series, Cowboy Bebop, included an episode with an accurate, animated depiction of Space Shuttle Columbia. When Columbia was lost, Cartoon Network removed the episode from the air for a few weeks, as a mark of respect.

Shuttle Columbia makes its 18th landing. November 5, 1995 (NASA)


1981 April 12STS-1
1981 November 12STS-2
1982 March 22STS-3
1982 June 27STS-4
1982 November 11STS-5
1983 November 28STS-9
1986 January 12STS-61-C
1989 August 8STS-28
1990 January 9STS-32
1990 December 2STS-35
1991 June 5STS-40
1992 June 25STS-50
1992 October 22STS-52
1993 April 26STS-55
1993 October 18STS-58
1994 March 4STS-62
1994 July 8STS-65
1995 October 20STS-73
1996 February 22STS-75
1996 June 20STS-78
1996 November 19STS-80
1997 April 4STS-83
1997 July 1STS-94
1997 November 19STS-87
1998 April 13STS-90
1999 July 23STS-93
2002 March 1STS-109
2003 January 16STS-107

  28 total flights

Related articles

External links