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Wayback Wednesday: Columbia visits Tinker

Fresh off its history making debut, Space Shuttle Columbia passed through central Oklahoma on its way back from California to Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The shuttle, perched on the back of a Boeing 747, touched down at Tinker Air Force Base on April 27, 1981 to refuel.

More than 200,000 people visited Tinker to view the shuttle's visit in the pre-9/11 days when events like that were possible. The plane was flown by Fitzhugh Fulton, Jr., a University of Oklahoma graduate.

The shuttle stayed at Tinker overnight before departing for Florida the next day.

Columbia was destroyed in a 2003 accident killing all seven astronauts on board.

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›