12 November 1981, 15:09:59 UTC, T minus Zero

Space Shuttle Columbia is launched from LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, 15:09:59 UTC, 12 November 1981. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Columbia is launched from LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, 15:09:59 UTC, 12 November 1981. (NASA)

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).

Aerial view of the launch of Columbia (STS-2) 12 November 1981. (NASA)
Aerial view of the launch of Columbia (STS-2) 12 November 1981. (NASA)

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.

The flight crew of Columbia (STS-2), left to right, Colonel Joe H. Engle, United States Air Force, and Captain Richard H. Truly, United States Navy. (NASA)
The flight crew of Columbia (STS-2), left to right, Colonel Joe H. Engle, United States Air Force, and Captain Richard H. Truly, United States Navy. (NASA)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The post 12 November 1981, 15:09:59 UTC, T minus Zero appeared first on This Day in Aviation.

Source: This Day in Aviation