HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Space Shuttle Columbia successfully launches into orbit from Kennedy Space Center carrying Spacelab 1 as cargo for mission STS-9.
STS-9 was the first mission to put a laboratory module of Spacelab 1 into orbit and perform experiments within its module. The mission had the largest crew of the time, consisting of six astronauts. The astronauts were divided into two teams of three, Red Team and Blue Team. For the first time, two non-NASA astronauts went aboard a space shuttle; they were payload specialists and helped operate the Spacelab 1 equipment. Columbia performed over seventy experiments from space such as plasma physics, astronomy, solar physics and astrobiology.
STS-9 set an early standard for the use of technology in space to find new ways to gather information and relay it back to earth.