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OV-102 (Columbia)
April 12-14, 1981

Page 32

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"Before going to the van, [Young] carefully inspected Columbia's exterior and kicked a tire in the traditional test pilot's sign of acceptance of a vehicle that carried him through a successful flight."
- "Space Shuttle Log", page 3

"A really fantastic mission from start to finish."
Young outside shuttle
Young outside shuttle

Med   Lg
landing party

Oh hail Columbia, gem of the nation!

The zero-perfect landing of the rocketship Columbia and its two astronauts after a red-hot re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere Tuesday sent a cool chill of pride along the nation's spine. It was a delightful shiver, proof that America's technical skills have not all evaporated and that in the dangerous challenges of flight among the stars the country is still unmatched.

Astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen were superb, worthy to have their names engraved in the records with the other great air-space pioneers of the century. "What a way to come to California," Crippen said, as the gigantic glider burst over the Golden State shoreline, having succeeded in its 2 1/4-day test flight beyond the most optimistic hopes. Few new flying machines have worked so flawlessly...

Critics of the space program, including planetary scientists who saw their projects scuttled as funds were drained off for the shuttle program, will not be silenced by a perfect voyage. But all will have the satisfaction that the sacrifices made by other federal programs have helped produce a glorious technical winner.

And for a nation that has watched others copy and improve on its technology, a big glorious winner was badly needed. No matter for now that the shuttle must prove itself as an economic common carrier in space, a job that will require different skills than those that brought the Columbia safely home to a landing in the Mojave Desert.

But for now, let's toast the Columbia, its crew and the backup technical structure that turned yesterday's amazing fiction into this week's real-time reality.

- from an editorial in The Oregonian, 4-15-81

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"Land landings are definitely smoother than water landings -- and you don't have to swim near' as far."

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