Cargo bay of the Space Shuttle on mision STS-3, 1982.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
This third Space Shuttle test flight, carrying astronauts Jack Lousma and Charles Fullerton in the Orbiter Columbia, was launched on 22nd March 1982 and spent eight days in orbit. The Space Shuttle, the world's first partially reusable launch vehicle, first flew on 12th April 1981 and has been used for all America's manned space misions ever since. It normally carries a crew of five to seven astronauts and can lift a payload of some 25,000 kilograms into low Earth orbit. The Orbiter and the solid fuel boosters are recovered and reused.