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Space Shuttle Columbia launches on April 12, 1981

S81-30498 (12 April 1981) --- After six years of silence, the thunder of manned space flight is heard again, as the successful launch of the first Space Shuttle ushers in a new concept in utilization of space. The April 12 launch, at Pad 39A, just seconds past 7 a.m., carries astronaut John Young and Robert Crippen into an Earth orbital mission scheduled to last for 54 hours, ending with unpowered landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. STS-1, the first in a series of Shuttle vehicles planned for the Space Transportation System, utilizes reusable launch and return components.