“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”
– Excerpted from President John F. Kennedy’s speech delivered before a joint session of Congress, May 25th, 1961
STS-3 was NASA’s third Space Shuttle mission, and was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It launched on March 22nd, 1982, and landed eight days later on March 30th. The mission involved extensive orbital endurance testing of the Columbia itself, as well as numerous scientific experiments. STS-3 was the first shuttle launch with an unpainted external tank, and the only mission to land at the White Sands Space Harbor near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The shuttle was forced to land at White Sands due to flooding at its originally planned landing site, Edwards Air Force Base.
Before landing, Northrop T-38 Talon chase planes flew alongside the shuttle, helping to guide the unpowered craft down and onto the flat desert floor. To commemorate this momentous occasion, and to kick off their latest aircraft tooling, Hobby Master has announced plans to model the Northrop T-38 trainer, and, in particular, the lead chase plane used at the conclusion of STS-3 (HA5401). Look for this sleek replica to streak across the hot desert sands some time in April.