It was the 20th anniversary of the first manned space flight. In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth once before making a safe landing in a disposable spacecraft.
Columbia would successfully land two days later.
Watch the launch on CNN.
Space shuttle Columbia’s final mission ended in disaster when the shuttle burned up during reentry on 01 February 2003.
Also on this day in 1955, Dr. Thomas Francis Jr., director of the Poliomyelitis Vaccine Evaluation Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, announced that the Salk vaccine against polio was “safe, effective, and potent.”