24 December 1979: The first European Space Agency Ariane 1, a four-stage expendable launch vehicle, was launched at Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 1 (ELA-1), Centre Spatial Guyanais, Kourou, Guiana. The rocket was designed to place two communications satellites into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.
28 November 1983, 16:00:00.84 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-9) lifted of from Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Florida on its sixth space flight.
On board was the largest flight crew for a manned space mission up to that time: Mission Commander John W. Young (Captain, United States Navy, Retired), Pilot; Lieutenant Colonel Brewster H. Shaw, Jr., United States Air Force; Mission Specialists Owen K. Garriott, Ph.D., and Robert A.R. Parker, Ph.D.; and Payload Specialists Ulf Dietrich Merbold, Dr. rer. nat, of the European Space Agency (ESA); and Lieutenant Colonel Byron K. Lichtenberg, D.Sc., USAF (Massachusetts Air National Guard).
Columbia carried the NASA/ESA Spacelab module in the cargo bay. The mission was primarily to carry out 72 scientific experiments in astronomy, physics, biology, as well as to make observations of the Earth.
Columbia landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California at 23:47:24 UTC (3:47 p.m., PST), 8 December 1983. At 10 days, 7 hours, 47 minutes, 24 seconds, STS-9 was the longest space shuttle mission up to that time.