Thirty years ago today — November 12, 1981 — astronauts Joe H. Engle and Richard H. Truly launched aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.
(STS-2 launch. NASA image.)
Mission STS-2 began at 10:10 a.m. EST at Kennedy Space Center, and ended a little over 48 hours later — having been cut short by three days — when Engle and Truly landed at Edwards Air Force Base. Mission controllers ended the flight early because one of the shuttle’s fuel cells failed, reducing the amount of electricity and fresh water available; nevertheless, the crew achieved most of the mission objectives.by