The Space Shuttle Columbia seconds after engine ignition in 1981. For the first two missions only, the external fuel tank was painted white. The space shuttle became the major focus of NASA in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Planned to be frequently launchable and mostly reusable vehicle, four space shuttles were built by 1985. The first to launch, Columbia did so on April 12, 1981.
Photo credit: NASA
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