STS-3 landing.jpg
STS-3 landing at Northrop Strip, White Sands, New Mexico, on March 30, 1982, with two T-38 Talon chase planes observing.
NamesSpace Transportation System-3
Mission typeTest flight
COSPAR ID1982-022A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.13106
Mission duration7 days (planned)
8 days, 4 minutes, 46 seconds (achieved)
Distance travelled5,300,000 km (3,300,000 mi)
Orbits completed130
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Columbia
Launch mass106,782 kg (235,414 lb)
Landing mass93,924 kg (207,067 lb)
Payload mass10,301 kg (22,710 lb)
Crew size2
Start of mission
Launch dateMarch 22, 1982, 16:00:00 UTC
RocketSpace Shuttle Columbia
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39A
ContractorRockwell International
End of mission
Landing dateMarch 30, 1982, 16:04:46 UTC
Landing siteWhite Sands Missile Range,
Northrop Strip Runway 17
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude241 km (150 mi)
Apogee altitude249 km (155 mi)
Period89.40 minutes
  • Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI)
  • Office of Space Science (OSS-l) pallet
  • Plasma Diagnostics Package (PDP)
STS-3 mission patch
STS-3 Crew.jpg
Lousma and Fullerton
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STS-4 →

STS-3 was NASA's third Space Shuttle mission, and was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It launched on March 22, 1982, and landed eight days later on March 30, 1982. The mission, crewed by Jack R. Lousma and C. Gordon Fullerton, involved extensive orbital endurance testing of the Columbia itself, as well as numerous scientific experiments. STS-3 was the first shuttle launch with an unpainted external tank, and the only mission to land at the White Sands Space Harbor near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The orbiter was forced to land at White Sands due to flooding at its originally planned landing site, Edwards Air Force Base.