40 years since launch: A look back at Space Shuttle Columbia
Updated April 14, 2021 with 22 photos
The first mission of Space Shuttle Columbia, the first shuttle sent into space, launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 12, 1981. Over 20 years, that shuttle completed 28 missions, spent over 300 days in space, carried dozens of astronauts and evolved with technological advancements. Columbia's missions ended February 1, 2003, when seven astronauts died during the shuttle's re-entry.