Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 6, 1995
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Liftoff of Space Shuttle Columbia
Credit: NASA, Kennedy Space Center

Explanation: On April 12, 1981, space flight entered a new era with the first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia, shown above. NASA's Space Shuttles land like a normal plane, carry a heavy cargo, carry a large crew, make use of cheap solid fuel, and are reusable. Previous to this flight, no manned orbiting space ship had ever landed on a runway. Space Shuttles now are the flagships and the workhorses of NASA's space going rockets.

For more information about NASA's Space Shuttle missions, see the NASA Space Shuttle Launches page.

Tomorrow's picture: Night Launch of Endeavour

We keep a chronological archive and a subject sorted archive of Astronomy Pictures of the Day.
Astronomy Picture of the Day (TM) is created by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell who are solely responsible for its content. Text copyright 1995 by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.