Suggested Searches

1 min read

The First Space Shuttle

The first space shuttle takes off from a launch pad. White clouds billow upward, obscuring the rightmost third of the image. Bright flames pour out from the rockets; in contrast, the rest of the image is dim.

In this image from April 12, 1981, the first space shuttle, STS-1, launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with NASA astronauts John W. Young, commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, aboard.

STS-1 was meant to demonstrate a safe launch into orbit and a safe return of the orbiter and crew, as well as verify the combined performance of the entire shuttle vehicle – orbiter, solid rocket boosters and external tank.

The first space shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California on April 14, 1981, after having successfully tested its major systems.

Image Credit: NASA