INTRODUCTION: Officials in charge of the United States Space Shuttle programme announced on Tuesday (31 March) that they would be aiming for an April 10 launch date for the spaceship Columbia's maiden voyage.
Cape Canaveral, Florida. GVs Shuttle orbiter Columbia at launch pad during flight readiness test. (3 SHOTS)
CU Astronaut John Young.
SV Astronaut Robert Crippen in space suit.
DISSOLVE TO Animation of space shuttle in flight.
SIMULATED LIFT-OFF CU Smoke and flames from base of space shuttle.
CU Controller watching progress of lift-off.
GV & CU Rocket emerging from platform and TV shaft of shuttle. (3 SHOTS)
TV Shuttle ascending.
CU Monitor and controllers PAN AROUND control centre. (2 SHOTS)
GV Ascension continues.
CU & GV Monitor as ascension continues and boosters burn out. (2 SHOTS)
GV Shuttle in orbit.
CUs View from Coast Guard launch, skipper at controls. (3 SHOTS)
GV Boosters in water being retrieved.
GV Shuttle and tanks separate in space.
GV Shuttle cruising through space. (3 SHOTS)
GV Landing of sister shuttle during test landing in California.
GV Columbia shuttle on launch pad at night.
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT) NASA NARRATOR: "The next time these engines fire they will be joined by two solid rocket motors on either side of the shuttle orbiter Columbia, and this country's new space transportation system will thunder off the launch pad."
YOUNG: "All in all, we'll spend two and a half days up there exercising every system in the vehicle as completely as we can think of -- any way to exercise it on the mission, and we hope that when we finish we've got at least a good handle on what it takes to get the vehicle operational."
NASA NARRATOR: "Forty-three year old Robert L. Crippen will serve as pilot on the upcoming flight of space shuttle.
CRIPPEN: "The primary things that we're achieving with the space shuttle that are unusual or different from manned flights previously, are those that deal with its capability to carry things in orbit and retrieve them if necessary, and do it economically. That's been our ever since we started out with the space shuttle."
NASA NARRATOR: "Ignition."
NASA NARRATOR: "After two minutes in flight the solid rocket boosters burn out and fall away. They are recovered in the Atlantic a hundred and seventy-five miles down-range from pad thirty-nine, to be towed ashore and used again for another shuttle flight. The main engines continue to burn and the external tank now empty is jettisoned to fall in a remote ocean area. Space shuttle is in first orbit, one hundred and fifty miles above our planet."
"Young and Crippen expect to complete about one hundred and thirty flight test requirements in five key areas -- avionics, mechanical systems, crew and spacecraft compatibility, propulsion systems and thermal vacuum tests to find out how everything is withstanding space environment. Their orbital mission accomplished, Young and Crippen will allow Columbia to slow down enough to re-enter the earth's atmosphere."
"Columbia will then descend from the west over the Pacific coast toward a twenty-mile long, by seven mile wide dry lake bed at Edwards, California, and make a powerless glider-like landing at about two hundred and ten miles per hour. When Columbia lands like its sister ship shown here during earlier tests, it will usher in a new era of flight that will make space more accessible and less costly."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Officials in charge of the United States Space Shuttle programme announced on Tuesday (31 March) that they would be aiming for an April 10 launch date for the spaceship Columbia's maiden voyage. The shuttle -- part spacecraft,part aircraft, and the world's first re-usable spacecraft has fallen almost three years behind schedule. However the many technical and management problems are now said to be resolved and the culmination of the nine billion dollar project will take place on Friday (10 April) when the astronauts spend a day abroad the shuttle in space, and then bring it back to earth. Managers of the project say the first flight will be only the beginning of an escalating programme of space exploration in the coming years. NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has sent this report about how they hop the proposed first flight will go.