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The Space Shuttle Columbia is hoisted into place by cranes at White Sands Northrup Strip. Columbia made the first, and only, shuttle landing at the New Mexico facility in March 1982 during STS-3. The shuttle was flown by Astronaut C. Gordon Fullerton, who passed away Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the age of 76. The fine gypsum sand battered the spacecraft so harshly that despite a deep cleaning and years of use, the sand was still found on subsequent missions.


STS-3 crew

The Space Shuttle Columbia is hoisted into place by cranes at White Sands Northrup Strip. Columbia made the first, and only, shuttle landing at the New Mexico facility in March 1982 during STS-3. The shuttle was flown by Astronaut C. Gordon Fullerton, who passed away Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the age of 76. The fine gypsum sand battered the spacecraft so harshly that despite a deep cleaning and years of use, the sand was still found on subsequent missions.

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