Spaceflight Now

Spaceflight Now +

Premium video content for our Spaceflight Now Plus subscribers.

STS-1: America's first space shuttle mission
The space shuttle era was born on April 12, 1981 when astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen rode Columbia into Earth orbit from Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A. The two-day flight proved the shuttle could get into space as a rocket and return safely with a runway landing. Following the voyage of STS-1, the two astronauts narrated this film of the mission highlights and told some of their personal thoughts on the flight.

 Small | Medium | Large

STS-2: First reusable spaceship
Seven months after the successful maiden voyage of space shuttle Columbia, astronauts Joe Engle and Richard Truly took the orbiter back into space on mission STS-2. The November 12, 1981 launch demonstrated that the space shuttle was the world's first reusable manned spacecraft. Although their mission would be cut short, Engle and Truly performed the first tests of the shuttle's Canadian-made robotic arm. The crew tells the story of the mission in this post-flight presentation.

 Small | Medium | Large

Become a subscriber
More video

Discovery's landing ground tracks
First Kennedy Space Center opportunity

These maps show the track that space shuttle Discovery would follow into Florida's Kennedy Space Center for landing on Wednesday. The landing opportunity begins with the deorbit burn braking maneuver at 11:59 a.m., leading to touchdown on Runway 33 at 1:02 p.m. EST.

If weather or a problem prevents the shuttle from reentering the atmosphere on this orbit, Discovery would remain in space and target the next shot into Florida one orbit later. That track is posted here.

Credit: NASA