The first orbiter, Columbia (Space Transportation System-1), launched on 12 April 1981 from Kennedy Space Center Launch pad 39A and returned on 14 April, having orbited the Earth 36 times.

Space shuttle Complex 39 Launch Pads A

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 in 1975.

The launch occurred on the 20th anniversary of the first human spaceflight, a technical problem had prevented STS-1 from launching two days earlier, as was planned.

The STS-1 crew members, Commander, John W. Young and Pilot Robert L. Crippen / Image source

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