Credit: STS-1, NASA
Explanation: On April 12, 1981, space flight entered a new era with the first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia. NASA's Space Shuttles land like a normal airplane, 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.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.