August 30, 1984
NASA successfully launched the Discovery space shuttle for the first time with Birmingham native Henry Hartsfield serving as commander. A U.S. Air Force pilot with more than 7,300 hours of flight time, Hartsfield joined NASA’s astronaut program in 1969 and eventually logged 483 hours in space aboard three different shuttles. He later served as an upper-level administrator for NASA, holding positions at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, the Johnson Space Center in Houston and NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hartsfield received many awards in his lifetime and was inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Astronaut Henry Hartsfield (1933-2014) flew on three shuttle missions, serving as commander of the Discovery’s first mission to space in 1984. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of NASA)
(Aug. 29, 1984) Orbiter Discovery is poised on Launch Pad 39A as the sun sets the evening prior to its maiden launch. Space shuttle Discovery was successfully launched at 8:41 a.m. Aug. 30, 1984, after two failed attempts in June. The six-person crew includes Commander Henry Hartsfield, Pilot Michael Coats, Mission Specialists Judith Resnik, Mike Mullane and Steve Hawley and the first commercial payload specialist Charles Walker of McDonnell Douglas. (Photo Credit: NASA)
Astronaut Henry Hartsfield (1933-2014) loads film into the IMAX camera on board the Space Shuttle Discovery during the August 1984 mission. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of NASA)
Astronaut Henry Hartsfield (1933-2014) waves to the crowd after his induction into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in May 2006. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of NASA)
(April 3, 1984) The official insignia for the 41-D space shuttle flight features the Discovery – NASA’s third orbital vehicle. (Photo credit: NASA)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.