Space Shuttle 'Columbia' on launch pad, Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida, USA, March 1982. STS-3 Launch Vehicle loading tests for crygenic liquid oxygen and propellants etc. STS-3, NASA's third Space Shuttle mission, was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It launched on 22 March 1982, and landed on 30 March. The mission involved extensive orbital endurance testing of Columbia, as well as scientific experiments. STS-3 was the first shuttle launch with an unpainted external tank.