Launch of satellite SBS-3 from the Space Shuttle, 1982.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
A communications satellite, SBS-3, spins out of the bay of the Space Shuttle Columbia on mision STS-5, on 11th November 1982. This was the first satellite launch from an orbiting spacecraft. The mision carried astronauts Vance Brand, Joseph Allen, William Lenoir and Robert Overmyer. 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.