When space shuttle Columbia took to the skies on its maiden voyage on April 12, 1981, a new era of spaceflight took wing. Space Transportation System-1, or STS-1, was the first of its kind when it lifted off from NASA Kennedy Space Center.
In this image, the reusable orbiter, its two fuel tanks and two solid rocket boosters has just cleared the launch tower. Aboard the spacecraft were Commander John W. Young and pilot Robert L. Crippen.
The Space Shuttle Program went on to fly one than 100 missions over 30 years.