12 November 1981, 15:09:59 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) lifted of from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. On board were Colonel Joe Henry Engle, United States Air Force, the mission commander, and Captain Richard Harrison Truly, United States Navy, shuttle pilot. This was the very first time that a manned spacecraft had returned to space on a second mission. At liftoff the vehicle weighed 2,030,250 kilograms (4,475,943 pounds).
STS-2 was planned as a five-day mission. In addition to continued testing of the orbital vehicle, on this flight the Remote Manipulator System (the “robot arm”) would be operated for the first time in space. A number of other experiments were carried in the cargo bay. However, when one of the three fuel cells producing electrical power and water failed, the mission was cut short.
Columbia landed on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 1:23 p.m. PST, 14 November 1981. The shuttle completed 37 orbits. The total duration of the flight was 2 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 13 seconds.
© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes
Source: This Day in Aviation