Columbia rolls out to the pad

ColumbiaFor the first time in the history of the delay-riddled Space Shuttle program, a complete, flight-ready vehicle is rolled out to the launch pad. Space Shuttle Columbia, atop the modified crawler vehicle which once carried Saturn V rockets to the pad, arrives at Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 39A, strapped to flight-qualified solid rocket boosters and a flight-ready external tank. (The shuttle Enterprise had been attached to empty boosters and tanks for fit checks as early as 1979.) Though preparation work continues to ready Columbia for flight, the shuttle is now in position for her first launch in 1981.