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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today is also 30th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle flight!

Wow. Lots of history to be commemorated today. Now I'm being reminded that it was thirty years ago today that the first Space Shuttle flight - which was the orbiter Columbia - took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Here's footage of the launch...

I remember watching that! 'Twas knee-high to a grasshopper as they say. It was supposed to have lifted off a day or two before, but the launch was scrubbed 'cuz of technical problems. And I was about to leave for school that morning and really hoping that it would take off without any more delay and then... WHOOOOOSH!!! It was the first manned spaceflight that I ever got to watch live on television.

In case anyone's wondering why the external tank is white in this clip, the tank was painted on the first three flights of the space shuttle, but after that it was left its normal fiberglass-y orange: not painting the tank saved a lot of weight (and subsequently, fuel).

And unfortunately as everyone knows, Columbia was lost in that tragic re-entry accident over Texas in 2003.

But on this day, this blogger honors its maiden flight, and the inauguration of the Space Shuttle system.