Press Release

Space Shuttle Columbia, World’s First Reusable Spaceship, Flawlessly Returns To Service

By SpaceRef Editor
March 1, 2002
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Space Shuttle
Columbia, after undergoing 2-1/2 years of comprehensive maintenance and
modifications, embarked on its 27th space flight after a flawless countdown
this morning launching mission STS-109 to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Columbia, the original Orbiter in the fleet, carried the first Shuttle
crew to orbit more than 20 years ago on STS-1. During its lifetime more than
1,540 modification packages have been completed making Columbia more versatile
and safer than ever before.

During the most recent Orbiter Major Modification (OMM) period, Columbia
received more than 130 upgrades and improvements. Included was the
installation of the new “glass cockpit” with state-of-the-art flat panel
displays and the most exhaustive wiring review in the history of the Shuttle
program, with 95 percent of the 215 miles of wiring on board inspected and

“The team, consisting of engineers, technicians, and safety and quality
people, were committed to delivering the highest quality orbiter possible,”
said Bill Pickavance, USA vice president and deputy program manager for
Florida Operations. “Their unwavering focus and attention to safety made us
confidence that Columbia would perform impeccably during today’s launch.”

United Space Alliance, established in 1995, is a space operations business
offering products and services in space flight training, space hardware
processing, launch and return operations and on-orbit operations.
A limited
liability company owned equally by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, USA serves as
NASA’s prime contractor for the Space Shuttle Program and provides operations
services for the International Space Station.
USA employs more than 10,000
people in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Washington, D.C., and Russia.

SpaceRef staff editor.