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On April 12, 1981, the space shuttle Columbia lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., with Apollo moon walker John Young and Navy test pilot Bob Crippen aboard. The shuttle was the first reusable spacecraft and the two solid rocket boosters that launched it were the first to be reused. It was a very risky mission--the first time a manned spacecraft had launched without a test flight.
It was a "happening" in 1981. After 36 orbits and 55 hours in space, the crew landed the Columbia at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The first flight was primarily used to test systems and pave the way for more shuttle flights--114 and still counting.