NASA HISTORY: First Night Launch In Space Shuttle Program Launched 32 Years Ago
By NASA // August 30, 2015
Launched August 30, 1983
ABOVE VIDEO: STS-8 Full Launch, Challenger, Aug. 30 1983. (NASAtechnology Video)
BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA (NASA) – Early in the morning (2:32 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time) on August 30, 1983, Shuttle Challenger launched on STS-8.
It was the first night launch in the Space Shuttle Program and the third launch for Shuttle Challenger.
The crew was commanded by Dick Truly (who later served as NASA Administrator) and piloted by Dan Brandenstein.
Mission Specialists on the crew included Dale Gardner, Guy Bluford and Bill Thornton. Launching on STS-8, Bluford became the first African-American to fly in space.
STS-8 also carried the first animals on a Shuttle mission (rats) and, when it landed on September 5, 1983, the crew also made the first night landing by a Space Shuttle.