STS-1 (1)

Pad 39-A (13)
1st Shuttle mission
1st Flight OV-102


John W. Young (5), Commander
Robert L. Crippen (1), Pilot

Backup Crew:

Joseph H. Engle (0), Commander
Richard H. Truly (0), Pilot


03/24/79 - Arrival from Dryden
03/25/79 - Move to OPF-1 (610 days)
11/24/80 - Move to VAB-3 (35 days)
12/29/80 - Move to PAD-39A (105 days)
02/20/81 - Flight Readiness Firing (FRF)
04/12/81 - Launch
04/14/81 - Landing
04/28/81 - Return to KSC (14 days)



Mission Objectives:

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Demonstrate safe launch into orbit and safe return of the orbiter and crew. Verify the combined performance of the entire shuttle vehicle - orbiter, solid rocket boosters and external tank.

Payloads included the Developmental Flight Instrumentation (DFI) and the Aerodynamic Coefficient Identifications Package (ACIP) pallet containing equipment for recording temperatures, pressures and acceleration levels at various points on the vehicle.


April 12, 1981, 7:00:03 a.m, EST. Launch April 10 postponed due to timing skew in orbiter's general purpose computer system. Backup flight software failed to synchronize with primary avionics software system. Countdown proceeded on schedule April 12. First 24 Shuttle liftoffs - STS-1 through 61-C - were from Pad 39-A. Launch Weight: 219,258 lbs.


Altitude: 166nm
Inclination: 40.3 degrees
Orbits: 37
Duration: 2 Days, 6 hours, 20 min, 53 seconds
Distance: 1,074,567 miles


SRB: BI-001
ET : 2/SWT-1
MLP : 1
SSME-1: SN-2007
SSME-2: SN-2006
SSME-3: SN-2005


April 14, 1981, 10:20:57 a.m. PST, Runway 23, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Rollout distance: 8,993 feet. Rollout time: 60 seconds. Orbiter returned to KSC April 28, 1981. Landing Weight: 194,184 lbs.

Mission Highlights:

Primary mission objectives of the maiden flight were to check out the overall Shuttle system, accomplish a safe ascent into orbit and to return to Earth for a safe landing. All of these objectives were met successfully and the Shuttle's worthiness as a space vehicle was verified.

Major systems tested successfully on first flight of Space Trans- portation System. Orbiter sustained tile damage on launch and from overpressure wave created by solid rocket boosters. Sub sequent modifications to water sound suppression system eliminated problem. Sixteen tiles lost and 148 damaged.

The only payload carried on the mission was a Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI) package which contained sensors and measuring devices to record orbiter performance and the stresses that occurred during launch, ascent, orbital flight, descent and landing.

Post-flight inspection of the Columbia revealed that an overpressure wave which occurred when the SRB ignited resulted in the loss of 16 heat shield tiles and damage to 148 others. In all other respects, however, Columbia came through the flight with flying colors, and it was to fly the next four Shuttle missions.

Columbia was returned to Kennedy Space Center.from California on April 28 atop its 747 carrier aircraft.

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Last Updated Friday June 29 11:21:02 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (Redacted)