Space Shuttle Columbia blasts off
• Members of the Canadian rock band Rush were on hand to witness the 1981 launch of Columbia. They were so impressed that they wrote a song about it - the song Countdown on the 1982 album Signals was inspired by the launch. • Space Shuttle Columbia was launched into orbit a total of 28 times over 22 years. It spent 300.74 days in space, completed 4,808 orbits, and flew 201,497,772 kilometres in total. • Columbia's final flight was a disastrous one. On Feb. 1, 2003, just as the shuttle was concluding its mission, it disintegrated during re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. All seven crew members on board died. • The Columbia disaster was the second such disaster during the shuttle program's history. In January 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after its launch. All seven crew members died instantly. • There have been a total of five different shuttles throughout NASA's shuttle program history: Columbia (1981 to 2003), Challenger (1983 to 1986), Discovery (1984 to 2011), Atlantis (1985 to 2011) and Endeavour (1992 to 2011). • After 30 years in operation, the space shuttle program is coming to an end in 2011. The final NASA shuttle flight, which will be undertaken by Space Shuttle Atlantis, is scheduled for July 8, 2011.
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: April 12, 1981
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Terry Milewski
Last updated: September 18, 2013
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
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