March 4, 1994
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – This stunning aerial photo captured from a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA), shows Space Shuttle Columbia lifting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on this day in 1994 for STS-62.
During its 22 years of operation, Columbia was flown on 28 missions in the Space Shuttle program, spending over 300 days in space and completing over 4,000 orbits around Earth.
While it was seldom used after completing its objective of testing the Space Shuttle system, and its heavier mass and internal airlock made it less than ideal for planned Shuttle-Centaur launches and dockings with space stations, it nonetheless proved useful as a workhorse for scientific research in orbit following the loss of Challenger in 1986.
Columbia was used for eleven of the fifteen flights of Spacelab laboratories, all four United States Microgravity Payload missions, and the only flight of Spacehab’s Research Double Module.
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