STS-1

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STS-1
Mission insignia
Sts-1-patch.png
Mission statistics
Mission nameSTS-1
Space shuttleColumbia
Crew size2
Launch padKennedy Space Center, Florida
LC 39A
Launch date12 April 1981 12:00:03 (1981-04-12T12:00:03) UTC
Landing siteEdwards AFB, Runway 23
Landing14 April 1981 18:20:57 (1981-04-14T18:20:58) UTC
Mission duration2 days, 6 hours, 20 minutes, 53 seconds
Number of orbits37
Apogee156 mi (251 km)
Perigee149 mi (240 km)
Orbital period89.4 min
Orbital altitude307 km (191 mi)
Orbital inclination40.4 degrees
Distance traveled1,728,000 kilometres (1,074,000 mi)
Crew photo
The STS-1 Crew - GPN-2000-001172.jpg
Crew members John W. Young (left) and Robert L. Crippen pose in ejection escape suits (EES) with a small model of the Space Shuttle orbiter.
Related missions
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ALT mission patch.PNG Approach and Landing TestsSTS-2 STS-2
 
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STS-1
Mission insignia
Sts-1-patch.png
Mission statistics
Mission nameSTS-1
Space shuttleColumbia
Crew size2
Launch padKennedy Space Center, Florida
LC 39A
Launch date12 April 1981 12:00:03 (1981-04-12T12:00:03) UTC
Landing siteEdwards AFB, Runway 23
Landing14 April 1981 18:20:57 (1981-04-14T18:20:58) UTC
Mission duration2 days, 6 hours, 20 minutes, 53 seconds
Number of orbits37
Apogee156 mi (251 km)
Perigee149 mi (240 km)
Orbital period89.4 min
Orbital altitude307 km (191 mi)
Orbital inclination40.4 degrees
Distance traveled1,728,000 kilometres (1,074,000 mi)
Crew photo
The STS-1 Crew - GPN-2000-001172.jpg
Crew members John W. Young (left) and Robert L. Crippen pose in ejection escape suits (EES) with a small model of the Space Shuttle orbiter.
Related missions
PreviousSubsequent
ALT mission patch.PNG Approach and Landing TestsSTS-2 STS-2

STS-1 was the first orbital flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. Space Shuttle Columbia launched on 12 April 1981, and returned to Earth on 14 April, having orbited the Earth 37 times during the 54.5-hour mission. It was the first American manned space flight since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project on 15 July 1975. STS-1 was also the only US manned maiden test flight of a new spacecraft system, although it was the culmination of atmospheric testing of the Space Shuttle orbiter.

Contents

Crew

PositionAstronaut
CommanderJohn W. Young
Fifth spaceflight
PilotRobert L. Crippen
First spaceflight

Backup crew

PositionAstronaut
CommanderJoe H. Engle
PilotRichard H. Truly

Support crew

Mission parameters

Mission summary

The first launch of the Space Shuttle occurred on 12 April 1981, exactly 20 years after the first manned space flight, when the orbiter Columbia, with two crew members, astronauts John W. Young, commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, lifted off from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, at the Kennedy Space Center. This was the first of 24 launches from Pad A. The launch took place at precisely 7 a.m. EST. A launch attempt two days earlier was scrubbed because of a timing problem in one of Columbia’s general-purpose computers.

Not only was this the first launch of the Space Shuttle, but it marked the first time that solid-fuel rockets were used for a NASA manned launch (although all of the Mercury and Apollo astronauts had relied on a solid-fuel motor in their escape towers). STS-1 was also the first U.S. manned space vehicle launched without an unmanned powered test flight. The STS-1 orbiter, Columbia, also holds the record for the amount of time spent in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) before launch – 610 days, the time needed for the replacement of many of its heat shield tiles.

The primary mission objectives of the maiden flight were to perform a general check out of the Space Shuttle system, accomplish a safe ascent into orbit and to return to Earth for a safe landing. The only payload carried on the mission was a Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI) package, which contained sensors and measuring devices to record the orbiter's performance and the stresses that occurred during launch, ascent, orbital flight, descent and landing. All of these objectives were met successfully, and the orbiter's spaceworthiness was verified.

During flight day 2, the astronauts received a phone call from Vice President George H. W. Bush. President Ronald Reagan had originally intended to visit the Mission Control Center during the mission, but at the time was still recovering from an assassination attempt which had taken place two weeks before the launch.

Columbia reached an orbital altitude of 166 nautical miles (307 km). The 37-orbit, 1,074,567-mile (1,729,348 km)-long flight lasted 2 days, 6 hours, 20 minutes and 53 seconds. Landing occurred on Runway 23 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 10:21 am PST, 14 April 1981.[2] Columbia was returned to Kennedy Space Center from California on 28 April atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

Mission anomalies

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STS-1 touches down at Edwards Air Force Base
STS-1 crew in Space Shuttle Columbia's cabin.

STS-1 was the first test-flight of what was, at the time, the most complex spacecraft ever built. Numerous anomalies were observed during and after the flight, owing to the many components and systems that could not otherwise be adequately tested. Notable anomalies included:

Despite these problems, STS-1 was a successful test, and in most respects Columbia came through with flying colors. After some modifications to the shuttle and to the launch and re-entry procedures, Columbia would fly the next four Shuttle missions.

Mission insignia

The artwork for the official mission insignia was designed by artist Robert McCall. It is a symbolic representation of the shuttle. The image does not depict the black wing roots present on the actual shuttle.

Anniversary

The plaque of the Young-Crippen Firing Room in the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center.

The ultimate launch date of STS-1 fell on the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1, the first manned spaceflight. In 2001, Yuri's Night was established to celebrate both events. In a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the first flight of Space Shuttle, Firing Room 1 in the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center – which launched STS-1 – was renamed the Young-Crippen Firing Room. NASA described the mission as "the boldest test flight in history".[11]

External tank

STS-1 was one of only two shuttle flights to have its External Tank (ET) painted white. To reduce the shuttle's overall weight, all flights from STS-3 onward used an unpainted tank. The use of an unpainted tank provided a weight saving of approximately 272 kilograms (600 lb),[12] and gave the ET the distinctive orange color which later became associated with the Space Shuttle.

In popular culture

The song "Countdown", by Rush, from the 1982 album Signals, was written about STS-1 and the inaugural flight of Columbia.[13] The song was "dedicated with thanks to astronauts Young and Crippen and all the people of NASA for their inspiration and cooperation".

Hail Columbia!

IMAX cameras filmed the launch, landing, and mission control during the flight, for a film entitled Hail Columbia!, which debuted in 1982 and was later available on DVD. The title of the film comes from the pre-1930s unofficial American national anthem, Hail, Columbia.

Wake-up calls

NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Gemini program, and first used music to wake up a flight crew during Apollo 15.[14] A special musical track is chosen for each day in space, often by the astronauts' families, to have a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or in reference to the day's planned activities.[15]

Flight DaySongArtist/Composer
Day 2"Blast-Off Columbia"Written by Jerry W. Rucker, a NASA shuttle technician; sung by Roy McCall
Day 3"Reveille"Houston DJs Hudson and Harrigan

Gallery

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ a b c STS-1 Transcript. Internet Archive. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  2. ^ "STS-1 Overview". NASA. http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-1/mission-sts-1.html. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  3. ^ "STS-1 Anomaly Report". NASA. 2003-02-27. p. 19. http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/news/columbia/anomaly/STS1.pdf.
  4. ^ a b STS-1 Technical Crew Debriefing, page 4-4
  5. ^ King, James R. (1981-04-13). "NASA says missing tiles no threat to shuttle". The Madison Courier. Associated Press. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=4rRkAAAAIBAJ&sjid=tGcNAAAAIBAJ&pg=5544%2C1256886. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  6. ^ "STS-1 Anomaly Report". NASA. 2003-02-27. p. 39. http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/news/columbia/anomaly/STS1.pdf.
  7. ^ "Cosmic log". MSNBC. 12 April 2006. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12243173/#060412b. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  8. ^ Kenneth Iliff and Mary Shafer, Space Shuttle Hypersonic Aerodynamic and Aerothermodynamic Flight Research and the Comparison to Ground Test Results, Page 5-6
  9. ^ Jeff Foust (14 April 2003). "John Young’s shuttle secret". Space Review. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/15/1. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  10. ^ STS-1 In-Flight Anomaly report, page 33
  11. ^ "NASA – STS-1". Nasa.gov. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/sts1/index.html. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  12. ^ National Aeronautics and Space Administration "NASA Takes Delivery of 100th Space Shuttle External Tank." Press Release 99–193. 16 August 1999.
  13. ^ "25 years later, JSC remembers shuttle’s first flight". JSC Features. Johnson Spaceflight Center. issue 502. http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/jscfeatures/articles/000000502.html. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
  14. ^ Fries, Colin (25 June 2007). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF). NASA. http://history.nasa.gov/wakeup%20calls.pdf. Retrieved 13 August 2007.
  15. ^ NASA (11 May 2009). "STS-1 Wakeup Calls". NASA.

External links