The fourth space shuttle mission launched from Kennedy Space Center on July 27, 1982 at 11:00 AM (EDT) and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on July 4, 1982 at 9:09 AM (PDT). Columbia orbited 113 times at an altitude of 197 nautical miles at an inclination of 28.5 degrees and travelled 2.9 million miles. Duration of the mission was 7 days, 1 hour, and 31 seconds.
The shuttle carried a classified Department of Defense payload, cargo included first Get Away Specials, (G-001) which contained nine experiments from Utah State University; first commercial experiment involving Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES); Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR); Induced Environment Contamination Monitor (IECM), which was deployed, and two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments.
This was the final Space Transportation System research and development flight. The crew performed medical experiments on themselves and took pictures of lightning in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Two rocket booster casings were lost following ascent when the main parachutes failed. The rocket casings fell to the ocean and sank. The protective coating on several heat tiles was penetrated by rainwater while the shuttle was on the launch pad. During orbit the tiles were turned toward the sun and the water vaporized, preventing damage to the tiles from icing.
Columbia was crewed by Commander Thomas K. Mattingly and Pilot Henry W. Hartsfield.