Photo Credit: NASA

On this day (April 14)  in 1981, the space shuttle orbiter Columbia made its return to Earth.

Columbia landed on Rogers dry lake at Edwards Air Force Base, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (then Dryden Flight Research Center), in southern California. The landing concluded the successful stay in space of more than two days.

On board were Astronauts John W. Young, STS-1 commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot. The mission marked the first NASA flight to end with a wheeled landing and represented the beginning of a new age of spaceflight that would employ the same hardware repeatedly.

The landing drew a large crowd of more than 200,000 people, with estimates as high as 300,000 visitors who came to see the momentous event.