The launch of STS-1, April 12, 1981
NamesSpace Transportation System-1
Mission typeTest flight
COSPAR ID1981-034A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.12399
Mission duration2 days, 6 hours, 20 minutes, 53 seconds (achieved)
Distance travelled1,729,348 km (1,074,567 mi)
Orbits completed36
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Columbia
Crew size2
Start of mission
Launch dateApril 12, 1981, 12:00:04 UTC
RocketSpace Shuttle Columbia
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39A
ContractorRockwell International
End of mission
Landing dateApril 14, 1981, 18:20:57 UTC
Landing siteEdwards Air Force Base, Runway 23
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude246 km (153 mi)
Apogee altitude274 km (170 mi)
Period89.88 minutes
Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI)

STS-1 mission patch

Young and Crippen 

STS-1 (Space Transportation System-1) was the first orbital spaceflight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The first orbiter, Columbia, launched on April 12, 1981,[1] and returned on April 14, 1981, 54.5 hours later, having orbited the Earth 37 times. Columbia carried a crew of two—mission commander John W. Young and pilot Robert L. Crippen. It was the first American crewed space flight since the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) in 1975. STS-1 was also the maiden test flight of a new American spacecraft to carry a crew, though it was preceded by atmospheric testing (ALT) of the orbiter and ground testing of the Space Shuttle system.

The launch occurred on the 20th anniversary of Vostok 1, the first human spaceflight, performed by Yuri Gagarin for the USSR. This was a coincidence rather than a celebration of the anniversary; a technical problem had prevented STS-1 from launching two days earlier, as was planned.

  1. ^ "'Yeeeow!' and 'Doggone!' Are Shouted on Beaches as Crowds Watch Liftoff".