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It was 30 years ago today…

…that the first space shuttle was launched. On April 12, 1981, at Pad 39A, just seconds past 7 a.m., the space shuttle Columbia carried astronaut John Young and Robert Crippen into Earth orbit.

Space Shuttle 30th Anniversary
Credit: NASA

I think our Administrator, Charlie Bolden (a former astronaut), said it best when he called the shuttle’s retirement “bittersweet”. He added, “A future that is bright and open to us because of the shuttle program. We could not be reaching for new heights and developing the next generation of capabilities without the technological breakthroughs of the shuttle and the many lessons learned that we will carry forward.”

The new homes for each of the orbiters were announced today. Atlantis goes to Kennedy Space Center, Endeavour goes to the California Science Center in LA, Enterprise (the prototype orbiter) goes to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in NYC, and Discovery goes to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum annex (the Udvar-Hazy Center) in Dulles, VA. (Roadtrip, anyone?)


  • Geoff says:

    I am sad to see it go, too, Mags. It is even more upsetting that there is no replacement on the horizon, or at least that has been publicized. I remember watching that first launch at home when I lived in RI. Then watching them land it at school when they came back. It was quite exciting for me as a 9 year old to see.

    • Maggie Masetti says:

      Thanks for your comment, Geoff. Hard to believe how long ago it was that we were at SpaceCamp dreaming about going on the shuttle one day ourselves.

  • Klaus Krebs says:

    Lets wish the best to all teammembers. They’ve daone an incredible work.

  • Lake District says:

    Wow, 30 years! I remember watching on tv in the UK as a schoolboy. Shame to see the shuttle program coming to an end but I look forward to seeing how space exploration develops. I only wish I could live forever to see how far we can go, literally and metaphorically.

  • russelljb2 says:

    The end of an awesome era in American history.
    I hope the future as as good if not better then the past.

  • gerry says:

    I was there!!!!!!!!!!!!! I went across Fla from Tampa 3 times due to the scrubs and when they lit off it was awesum!! The water supression system was not hooked up for STS 1 and we were at a vantage point on US 1 at a hotel and it knocked our socks off, like standing next to an Acela Amtrak Train going thru Metropark…On STS-2 we saw the BEANIE cap retract thru a
    scope and that was unreal!!!!!

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