First flight of Space Transportation System (aka Space Shuttle).. Payloads: Development Flight Instrumentation and Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package.
Orbits of Earth: 36. Distance traveled: 1,729,347 km. Orbiter Liftoff Mass: 99,453 kg. Orbiter Mass at Landing: 88,662 kg. Payload to Orbit: 4,909 kg. Payload Returned: 4,909 kg. Landed at: Runway 23 dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, . Landing Speed: 339 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 1,844 m. Landing Rollout: 2,741 m.
Mission Name: 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
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)
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.
Inclination: 40.3 degrees
Duration: 2 Days, 6 hours, 20 min, 53 seconds
Distance: 1,074,567 miles
ET : 2/SWT-1
MLP : 1
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.
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. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 33 .