STS-51L Mission Канада


STS-51L график миссии — STS-51-L Mission timeline

STS-51-L график Миссии представляет собой подробный график событий от воспламенения Челленджера главных двигателей к удаленному разрушению двух твердотопливных ракетных ускорителей , и включает в себя расшифровку разговоров экипажа из кабины диктофона на борту орбитального аппарата .

STS-51-L был двадцать пятый полет в американской программе Space Shuttle , и был первый разкогда гражданский уже прилетелборту космического челнока . Миссия использовала Шаттл Претендент , который стартовал с пусковой площадки 39B на 28 января 1986 года из Космического центра Кеннеди , штат Флорида . Миссия закончилась катастрофой после разрушения от Challenger 73 секунд после взлета изза отказа в уплотнительное кольцо уплотнения на Challenger правой «s твердого ракетного ускорителя , что привело к быстрому распаду стека челнока от подавляющего аэродинамического давления , Экипажсеми человек был убиткогда отсек экипажа попал в Атлантический океан на 207 миль в час, последва с половиной минуты свободного падения.

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Суммарный график

После нескольких дней длительных задержек, Challenger , наконец , взлетел в 16:38:00 UTC 28 января 1986 г. Ее три главные двигателей были воспламеняться при Т-6,6 секунды, а при Т-0 твердых ракетных бустеры воспламеняются, приподнимая шатл стек панели запуска 39-B в космическом центре Кеннеди . Почти сразу же, камеры записи о запуске регистрируется наличие дыма в поле сустава рядом стойки крепления на правой SRB, что указывает на выход из строя уплотнительных колец , которые должны были запечатать сустав против «просачивание» горячие газы из бустеров. Тем не менее, иногда около T + 2 секунды, кусок твердого топлива внутри усилителя перемещается внутри сустава и при условии , временное уплотнения против картерного, позволяя запуск действовать обычно в течение приблизительно сорок секунд.

Тем не менее, около Т + 36 секунд и на высоте чуть более 10000 футов (3000 м), Challenger испытал сильный сдвиг ветра когда — либо чувствовал во время запуска космического челнока. Тангаж и рыскание командуют компьютеры шаттла для того , чтобы противостоять эти ветрам вызвал твердое топливо , чтобы пробка смещаться из поля сустава на правой SRB.

Около Т + 58, камеры отметили создание шлейфа на кормовой части стойки крепления на правой SRB, как и зажигается газ начал заставлять себя через быстро растущую дыру в поле сустава. Через секунду, шлейф стал хорошо определены и интенсивным. Внутреннее давление в правом SRB начали падать из-за быстро расширяющейся отверстие в неудавшейся суставе, а при Т + 60 было визуальное свидетельство пламени , проходящий через сустав и падающих на внешнем баке . Как часы миссии прошли через T + 64 секунд, шлейф вдруг изменил форму, показывая , что она сожжена отверстие в жидком водороде танке в Challenger» ET с, в результате чего резервуара утечки. Давление в резервуаре начала падать, и Challenger бортовые компьютеры «с начала поворота сопел SSMEs , чтобы противостоять теперь несбалансированный тяги между двумя SRBs.

На данном этапе ситуация еще казалось нормальным как для космонавтов и управления полетом. При Т + 68, то CAPCOM сообщил экипаж — «Challenger, идти на газе до», и командующий Дик Скоби подтвердил вызов. Его ответ, «Роджер, идти на дроссельной заслонки,» была последняя связь с Challenger на петле воздух-земля.

Около Т + 72, правая СБО , по- видимому оторвался от кормовой стойки крепления его на внешний резервуар. Позднее анализ телеметрических данных показало внезапное боковое ускорение вправо при Т + 72.525, которые могут быть испытываемым экипажем. Последнее утверждение захвачена кабины экипажа рекордер пришел только полсекунды после этого ускорения, когда пилот Майкл Дж Смит сказал: «Ой — ой.» Смит также может быть реагировании на борту самолета признаки основной работы двигателя или падения давления во внешнем топливном баке.

При T + 73.124, кормовой купол жидкостного резервуара водорода не удался, производя движущую силу , которые выдвинули бак водорода в бак жидкого кислорода в передней части внешнего бака. В то же время, право SRB поворачиваться вокруг вперед прикрепить стойки, и ударил межбаковую структуру.

Распад автомобиля началась в T + 73.162 секунд, на высоте 48000 футов (14,6 км (9,1 миль)). С внешним танком разваливающегося Претендент отступал от его правильной позиции по отношению к местному потоку воздуха и сразу же был разорван аэродинамическими силами, в результате чего коэффициента нагрузки до 20 г — свыше предела его конструкции. Два SRBs, которые могли бы выдерживать большие аэродинамические нагрузки, отделенные от ET и продолжали в неконтролируемом активном полете в течение еще 37 секунд. В SRB корпуса были сделаны из 12,7 мм (0,50 дюйма) стал толщиной и были гораздо сильнее , чем орбитальный аппарат и ET; Таким образом, оба SRBs пережили распад стека космического челнока, даже если право SRB все еще страдают от последствий совместных прожогов , что приставили разрушение Challenger в движении. Ускорители были уничтожены системы безопасности на высоте около 110 секунд после запуска.

Подробный график и транскрипт

Следующий график предоставляет подробный список основных событий запуска STS-51-L , что привело к разрушению Challenger . Список также содержит транскрипт от челнока кабины экипажа Диктофон (CVR), от воспламенения главных двигателей до T + 73 секунд. Сокращения , используемые в шкале следующим образом :

  • APU — Вспомогательный блок питания
  • CAPCOM — Капсула Communicator ( Richard Covey )
  • CDR — командир ( Дик Скоби )
  • CVR — Cockpit диктофон
  • ET — Внешний бак
  • FIDO — офицер Динамика полета
  • GLS — Первый запуск секвенсор
  • GPC — компьютер общего назначения
  • HPFT — топливный турбонасос высокого давления
  • LH2 — Жидкий водород
  • LO2 — жидкий кислород (такой же, как LOX)
  • LVLH — Местное вертикальное / горизонтальное локальное
  • MCC — Центр управления полетами
  • MEC — контроллер Главный двигатель
  • MS1 / MS2 — Mission Specialist ( Эллисон Онидзука / Джудит Резник )
  • PAO — сотрудник по связям с общественностью
  • ПИК — Пиротехника контроллер инициатора
  • PLT — Пилот ( Mike Smith )
  • ФСФ — фунты на квадратный фут
  • фунтов на квадратный дюйм — фунтов на квадратный дюйм
  • РКС — система контроля реакции
  • SRB — Твердая ракета — носитель
Время (UTC) (час: мин: сек) Миссия Прошедшее время (MET) (s) Событие Источник
16: 37: 53,444 -6,566 SSME-3 команды зажигания. GPC
16: 37: 53,564 -6,446 SSME-2 команды зажигания. GPC
16: 37: 53,684 -6,326 SSME-1 команды зажигания. GPC
16:37:54 -6 CDR: « Там они идут , ребята! »

CDR: « Три на сто. »

CVR
16: 38: 00,010 0,000 СБА команда зажигания. GPC
16: 38: 00,018 0,008 Нажимной Сообщение 2 PIC обжиг. E8 камера
16:38:00 MS2: » Aall riight! « CVR
16: 38: 00,260 0,250 Во-первых непрерывное вертикальное движение. E9 камеры
Уплотнительные кольца терпят неудачу в правой SRB поле сустава.
16: 38: 00,688 0,678 Во-первых подтвердил слоеного дыма появляется над SRB / ET крепежным кольцом поля сустава на правой SRB. E60 камера
16: 38: 00,846 0,836 Восемь клубов дыма появляются над полем суставом, продолжительностью от T + 0,836 до T + 2,5 секунды MET. E63 камера
16: 38: 00,900 0,890 Наземные компьютеры Последовательность запуска начинают после старта «обезвреживание» пусковых прокладочных конструкций и оборудования. GLS
16:38:01 1 PLT: « Здесь мы идем. » CVR
16: 38: 02,743 2,733 Последнее свидетельство дыма от поля сустава. CZR-1 камера
16:38:03 3 PAO: « Liftoff 25 — й миссии шаттла, и он очистил башню. » TV NASA
Твердое-топливо «пробка» герметизирует зазор, образованный уплотнительное кольцо «просачивание».
16: 38: 03,385 3,375 Последнее свидетельство дыма. E60 камера
16: 38: 04,349 4,339 SSMEs задушил до 104% E41M2076D
16:38:05 5 DPS: » Liftoff подтвердил. «

Руководитель полета: » Liftoff . «

MCC
16: 38: 05,684 5,674 Правое давление SRB 11,8 фунтов на квадратный дюйм выше нормы. B47P2302C
16:38:07 7 CDR: » Хьюстон, Challenger — Рулон программа. « CVR
16: 38: 07,734 7,724 Ролл программа инициирована. V90R5301C
16:38:10 10 CAPCOM: » Роджер рулет, Challenger. «

FIDO: «Хороший ролл, полет » Полет Режиссер: « Рог, хороший ролл. »

MCC
16:38:11 11 PLT: « Иди вам мать! » CVR
16:38:14 14 MS1: » LVLH « CVR
16:38:15 15 MS2: «(ругательство) горячее! «

CVR
16:38:16 16 PAO: «Хорошая программа ролла подтвердила Challenger в настоящее время возглавляет стрелковую позицию. » TV NASA
16:38:19 19 PLT: « Похоже , у нас есть Лотта ветер здесь сегодня. » CVR
16: 38: 19,869 19,859 SSMEs задушил обратно до 94% E41M2076D
16:38:20 20 CDR: » Да. « CVR
16: 38: 21,134 21,124 Ролл программа завершена. VP0R5301C
16:38:22 22 CDR: « Это немного трудно увидеть из моего окна здесь. » CVR
16:38:27 27 Бустер: « дроссельная заслонка вниз до 94. »

Руководитель полета: « Девяносто четыре . »

MCC
16:38:28 28 PLT: « Там в десять тысяч футов и Mach целых пять. » CVR
16:38:28 28 PAO: « Двигатели начинают дросселирование, в настоящее время 94 процентов Нормального дроссель для большинства полета 104 процентов Мы душить до 65 процентов в ближайшее время . » TV NASA
16:38:30 30 [Искажать] CVR
16:38:35 35 CDR: » Точка девять. « CVR
16: 38: 35,389 35,379 SSMEs задушил обратно до 65%. E41M2076D
16: 38: 37.000 36,990 Ролл и рыскания Отношение Ответ на сдвиг ветра (36,990 до 62,990 с). V95H352nC
Твердое топливо «пробка» смещается.
16:38:40 40 PLT: » Там в Mach один. « CVR
16:38:41 41 CDR: « Проходя через девятнадцать тысяч. » CVR
16:38:43 43 CDR: « Хорошо, мы дросселирование. » CVR
16: 38: 45,227 45,217 Вспышка наблюдается ниже по потоку от правого крыла шаттла.
16: 38: 48,128 48,118 Вторая вспышка видно задним правого крыла.
16: 38: 48,428 48,418 Третья необъяснимая вспышка рассматривается ниже правое крыло шаттла — блестящий оранжевый огненный шар появляется выйти из-под правым крылом и быстро сливается с плюмажем из твердотопливных ракетных ускорителей, явление отмечено в предыдущих полетах. 70мм камеры
16:38:49 49 Бустер: « Три в 65. »

PAO: «. Три хороших топливных элементов Три хорошие APUs . » Руководитель полета: » Шестьдесят пять, FIDO . » FIDO: » T-дель подтверждает дроссели. » Руководитель полета: » . Спасибо . «

MCC и NASA TV
16: 38: 51,870 51,860 SSMEs задушил до 104% E41M2076D
16:38:52 52 PAO: « Скорость 2257 футов в секунду (1539 миль в час), высота 4,3 морских миль, расстояние наклонная дальность 3 морских миль . » TV NASA
16:38:57 57 CDR: » дросселирование вверх. « CVR
16:38:58 58 PLT: » дроссельная заслонка. « CVR
16: 38: 58,798 58,788 Первое свидетельство пламени на правой SRB E207 камера
16:38:59 59 CDR: » Роджер. « CVR
16: 38: 59,010 59,000 Реконструированный Макс Q (720 PSF) Лучшие по оценкам траектории
16: 38: 59,272 59,262 Непрерывный хорошо определен шлейф пламени на правой SRB E207 камера
16: 38: 59,763 59,753 Пламя из правой SRB в направлении вниз (видно из южной стороны транспортного средства) E204 камера
16:38:60 60 PLT: « Почувствуйте , что мать пойти! »

CVR
16: 39: 00,014 60,238 Давление в правой и левой SRBs начинают расходиться. B47P2302
16: 39: 00,248 60,238 Первое свидетельство прерывистого плюмового прогиба E207 камера
16: 39: 00,258 60,248 Во-первых свидетельство SRB факеле крепления к раме ET кольцевой E203 камера
16: 39: 00,998 60,988 Первое свидетельство непрерывного плюмового прогиба E207 камера
16: 39: 01,734 61,724 Пиковая скорость крена в ответ на сдвиг ветра V90R5301C
16:39:02 62 PLT: « Тридцать пять тысяч проходящие через одну точку пять. » CVR
16: 39: 02,094 62,084 Пик отклик ТЦА, чтобы сдвиг ветра B58H1150C
16: 39: 02,414 62,404 Пик отклик поворота вокруг вертикальной оси, чтобы сдвиг ветра V90R5341C
16: 39: 02,494 62,484 Правый подвесной элевон привод шарнирного момента шип V58P0966C
16: 39: 03,934 63,924 RH подвесного элевон изменение давления дельты-привода V58P0966C
16: 39: 03,974 63,964 Начало планового маневра скорости тангажа V90R5321C
Факела пламени сжигает через бак LH2 в ET.
16: 39: 04,670 64,660 Изменение аномальной формы факела (LH2 утечка бака вблизи кольцевой рамы 2058) E204 камера
16: 39: 04,715 64,705 Яркое замедленное свечение по бокам ET E204 камера
16: 39: 04,947 64,937 Начало SSME карданного угол большие изменения высоты тона V58H1100A
16:39:05 65 CDR: « Чтение четыре восемьдесят шесть на шахте. » CVR
16: 39: 05,174 65,164 Начало переходного движения из-за изменения в авиационных силах из-за кичиться V90R5321C
16:39:06 66 Бустер: « дроссельная заслонка, три на 104. »

Полет Режиссер: « CAPCOM, идти на дроссельной заслонки. »

MCC
16: 39: 06,774 66,764 Start ET LH2 отклонение давления незаполненного T41P1700C
16:39:07 67 PLT: « Да, это то, что у меня тоже. » CVR
16:39:08 68 PAO: « Двигатели дросселирование до трех двигателей в настоящее время на 104 процентов.. »

CAPCOM: » Challenger, идти на дроссельной заслонки. «

NASA TV & MCC
16:39:10 70 CDR: « Роджер, идти на дроссельной заслонки. » (Последнюю передачу на воздух-земля голосового цикла) CVR
Пламя горит через нижние стойки крепления на правой SRB, в результате чего SRB, чтобы отойти от ET.
16: 39: 12,214 72,204 Левые и правые ставки SRB рысканий начинают расходиться V90R2528C
16: 39: 12,294 72,284 Левые и правые ставки SRB тона начинают расходиться V90R2525C
16: 39: 12,488 72,478 SRB основная команда привода с высокой скоростью V79H2111A
16: 39: 12,507 72,497 SSME крена карданных скорости 5 град / с V58H1100A
16: 39: 12,535 72,525 Автомобиль макс + Y поперечное ускорение (+.227 г ) V98A1581C
16: 39: 12,574 72,564 SRB основных движения привода с высокой скоростью B58H1151C
16: 39: 12,574 72,564 Начало Н2 снижения давления бак с двумя управления потоком клапаны открываются T41P1700C
16: 39: 12,634 72,624 Последний вектор состояния борта Сжатие данных
16: 39: 12,974 72,964 Начало резкого падения MPS LOX давления на входе V41P1330C
16:39:13 73 PLT: » Ой-ой . « CVR
16: 39: 13,020 73,010 Последний полный компьютер кадр данных TDRS Сжатие данных
16: 39: 13,054 73,044 Начало резкого падения MPS LH2 давления на входе V41P1100C
16: 39: 13,055 73,045 Автомобиль макс -Y поперечное ускорение (-.254 г ). V98A1581C
Challenger начинает распадаться.
16: 39: 13,134 73,124 Окружной белый узор на ET кормового куполе (LH2 недостаточность бака). Дно ET открыт и жидкие разливы водорода. E204 камера
16: 39: 13,134 73,124 Правое давление SRB 19 фунтов на квадратный дюйм ниже левой SRB B47P2302C
16: 39: 13,147 73,137 Первый намек пары при межбаковом E207 камера
16: 39: 13,153 73,143 Все системы двигателя начинают реагировать на потери топлива и давление на входе LOX. команда SSME
16: 39: 13,172 73,162 Внезапное облако вдоль ЭТ между межбаковым и кормовым куполом. Правильные бустер врезается в ГЭ так же, как LH2 танк толкают в кислородный баллон. E207 камера
16: 39: 13,201 73,191 Вспышка между орбитальным аппаратом и LH2 танк E204 камера
16: 39: 13,221 73,211 SSME помеха телеметрических данных от 73.211 до 73.303 Сжатие данных
16: 39: 13,223 73,213 Вспышка вблизи SRB стойки вперед крепления и осветления вспышки между орбитальным аппаратом и ET E204 камера
16: 39: 13,292 73,282 Первый признак интенсивной белая вспышка на SRB FWD присоединять точку E204 камера
16: 39: 13,337 73,327 Значительно увеличена интенсивность белого вспышки E204 камера
16: 39: 13,387 73,377 Начало RCS колебаний давления струи в камере V42P1552A
16: 39: 13,393 73,383 Все двигатели приближающихся HPFT разряд временных пределы Redline E41Tn010D
16: 39: 13,492 73,482 ME-2 Температура HPFT разряда. Канал A голосов для завершения работы; два удара по каналу B. данные MEC
16: 39: 13,492 73,482 SSME-2 контроллер последний раз обновление слова данные MEC
16: 39: 13,513 73,503 SSME-3 остановки из-за разряда HPFT температуры Редлайн превышений данные MEC
16: 39: 13,513 73,503 SSME-3 контроллер последний раз обновление слова данные MEC
16: 39: 13,533 73,523 SSME-1 в остановке из-за разряда HPFT температуры Редлайн превышений расчет
16: 39: 13,553 73,543 SSME-1 последние телеметрическая точка данных расчет
16: 39: 13,628 73,618 Последнее подтверждено измерение орбитальной телеметрии V46P0120A
16: 39: 13,641 73,631 Конец последнего reconstructured кадра данных с действительной синхронизацией и подсчетом кадров Сжатие данных
16: 39: 14,140 74,130 Последний радиочастотный сигнал от орбитального аппарата Сжатие данных
Потеря нисходящем — Challenger теряется.
16: 39: 14,597 74,587 Яркая вспышка в непосредственной близости от орбитального аппарата носа E204 камера
16: 39: 16,447 76,437 разделение правой руки SRB нос колпачок и парашют развертывания E207 камера
16:39:17 77 ПКД: «Одна минута пятнадцать секунд Скорость: 2,900 футов в секунду (1977 миль в час) Высота. 9 морских миль расстояние наклонная дальность: 7 морских миль. » NASA TV & MCC
16:39:29 89 Руководитель полета: » FIDO, траектория . »

FIDO: » Идите вперед. »
Пилотажный: » Траектория, FIDO. »
FIDO: «Полет, FIDO, фильтры получили discreting источников Мы идем. »
GC: » Полет, GC, мы имели отрицательный контакт, потерю . нисходящих «
Полет Режиссер:» Хорошо, все операторы, внимательно следить за данными. «
FIDO:» Полет, FIDO, пока мы не получим вещи обратно он на кия карты для режимов Прервать. «
Flight Director:» ? процедуры, любая помощь »
Неизвестный: « Негатив, полет, нет данных. »

STS-51L

Learn about this topic in these articles:

“Challenger” disaster

…primary goal of shuttle mission 51-L was to launch the second Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-B). It also carried the Spartan Halley spacecraft, a small satellite that was to be released by Challenger and picked up two days later after observing Halley’s Comet during its closest approach to the…

McNair was assigned to the STS-51L mission of the space shuttle Challenger in January 1985. The primary goal of the mission was to launch the second Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-B). It also carried the Spartan Halley spacecraft, a small satellite that McNair, along with mission specialist Judith Resnik,…

Space shuttle missions


This is a list of missions for the space shuttle orbiter program in the 20th and 21st centuries for NASA. On these missions, the shuttles were used for delivering satellites into Earth orbit for geophysical studies and for national defense and for resupplying the International Space Station. Each of these missions was given the acronym STS («Space Transportation System») and a specific number by NASA. Early shuttle missions had a capital letter after the number.

Each of the mission insignia were designed by the mission crews and were approved by NASA. The insignia were designed with a theme appropriate for each mission. The last names of the astronauts were placed on each insignia.

In 2063, the mission insignia for STS-41G, STS-51L, and STS-33 were displayed in a bar in Bozeman, Montana. ( Star Trek: First Contact )

In 2143, the mission insignia for STS-51C, STS-26, STS-36, STS-39, STS-49, STS-52, STS-54, STS-96, and STS-107 were displayed in the 602 Club on Earth. ( ENT : » First Flight «)

STS-41G Edit

STS-51C Edit

STS-51L Edit

STS-26 Edit

STS-33 Edit

STS-36 Edit

STS-39 Edit

STS-49 Edit

STS-52 Edit

STS-54 Edit

STS-54 was crewed by John Casper, Gregory J. Harbaugh, Susan J. Helms, Donald R. McMonagle, and Mario Runco, Jr..

STS-96 Edit

STS-107 Edit

Background information Edit

Footage of STS-95 (Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 306)) and STS-101 were seen in the opening credits of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Of these patches, only STS-107 was identified in the episode. Identification came from Wikipedia and other online resources.

Michael Okuda designed the mission patch for STS-125 in 2009. Space shuttle missions

Apocrypha Edit

The first mission of the space shuttle program, STS-1, by the Columbia was included in the Star Trek Chronology.

STS Guiding Service

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STS-51L Mission Канада

The first military Shuttle mission was launched from Pad 39A at 1500Z on 27 June 1982. Military space missions also accounted for part or all of 14 out of 37 Shuttle flights launched from the Cape between August 1984 and July 1992. While many details of those missions are not releasable, some features of Shuttle payload ground processing operations and range support requirements can be summarized for what might be termed a «typical» military space mission. — SOURCE: Global Security

A military space shuttle would have been the military equivalent of NASA’s space shuttle. Many experts believe that it is extremely unlikely that NASA, the United States Department of Defense or any other Federal agency could keep the existence of such a spacecraft secret, given the official knowledge that stated extensive technical support and launching establishment would be necessary to fly it.

It should however be noted that, early in the design phase of what eventually became the Space Shuttle, there were plans for the U.S. military to purchase some of the vehicles for its own purposes (mainly the servicing and crewing of proposed ‘surveillance space stations’). The design requirements that thus emerged (in particular, the need for a longer-range glide capability, enabling the shuttle to land at specific U.S. Air Force bases), affected the eventual design of the vehicle, increasing its complexity. However, none of these ‘Blue Shuttles’ were ever built, and the U.S. military turned to increasingly sophisticated unmanned satellites as a more viable alternative.

Regular space shuttles have on occasion carried out missions for the military. It is noteworthy that NASA and the DoD agreed on delivering Discovery to Vandenberg AFB, first in May 1985 and then in September of that year. Discovery would have been dedicated for military and civilian flights from Vandenbergs’ SLC-6 launch complex . The schedule slipped until the Challenger Accident in January 1986. In the wake of Challenger, on December 26, 1989 the Space Shuttle Program at Vandenberg was terminated by the USAF.

Military Shuttle flights were conducted from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the last dedicated mission being STS-53 in late 1992, deploying a military SDS B-3 communication satellite. Some military payloads have been flown on regular civilian Shuttle missions afterwards.

The Soviet Buran space shuttle was designed with military applications in mind as well. One of the main reasons for its creation was to counter the perceived military advantage that the NASA space shuttle gave the USA. On the first launch of Buran’s energia booster the military Polyus satellite was launched.

DoD Mission Patch
.. STS-51C — January 24, 1985
.. STS-51C Mission insignia

First mission dedicated to Department of Defense. U.S. Air Force Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster deployed and met mission objectives. This mission’s accomplishments are classified due to the nature of the work done. The shuttle deployed a single satellite, 1985-010B (USA-8).

According to Aviation Week, STS-51-C launched a secret, Magnum ELINT (ELectronic INTtelligence) gathering satellite into geosynchronous orbit. An identical one was also launched by STS-33 and STS-38.

Also according to Aviation Week, the shuttle initially entered a 204 km x 519 km orbit at an inclination of 28.45 deg to the equator. It then executed three OMS (orbital maneuvering system) burns, the last on orbit #4. The first burn is to circularize the orbit at 519 km.

The satellite was deployed on the 7th orbit and then ignited its IUS rocket at the ascending node of the 8th orbit, to place it in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit.


The classified payload was deployed successfully and boosted into its operating orbit by an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster according to an Air Force announcement.

STS-51C: Classified DoD Mission

Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 250,891 pounds
Launched: January 24, 1985 at 2:50:00 p.m. EST
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: January 27, 1985 at 4:23:23 p.m. EST
Landing Weight: Classified
Runway: 15
Rollout Distance: 7,352 feet
Rollout Time: 50 seconds
Revolution: 49
Mission Duration: 3 days, 1 hour, 33 minutes, 23 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 220 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 1.3 million

Image above: STS-51C Crew photo with Commander Thomas K. Mattingly, II, Pilot Loren J. Shriver, Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, James F. Buchli and Payload Specialist Gary E. Payton. Image Credit: NASA

STS-51C Mission Patch The launch scheduled for January 23 was scrubbed due to freezing weather conditions. (Orbiter Challenger was scheduled for Mission 51-C but thermal tile problems forced the substitution of Discovery.)

The countdown phase was completed satisfactorily, however, two minor orbiter problems were noted during that period. The first occurred during the T-3 hour hold and involved a force fight in the right inboard elevon actuator between channel 4 and channels 1, 2, and 3. The condition corrected itself within 22 seconds after the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) start up at T-5 minutes. A similar problem with the same channels in the same actuator occurred on STS 41-D (the first flight of this vehicle).

The second problem that was noted during the countdown phase was the high helium concentration in the orbiter mid-body. A pressure decay test showed no significant system leakage. The high helium concentration disappeared when the main propulsion system (MPS) gaseous helium system was pressurized to the flight level.

System operations were all nominal during the ascent phase. Solid rocket booster (SRB) motor performance was near the predicted levels and well within the allowed envelopes. The external tank and MPS performance was excellent with main engine cutoff (MECO) near the predicted time.

At external tank separation, the backup flight system (BFS) did not automatically proceed to major mode 104. The crew performed the necessary manual procedures, and the BFS operated satisfactorily until the deorbit maneuver when the BFS time for deorbit maneuver ignition was 8 seconds late. However, the BFS operated satisfactorily for entry.

This was the first mission dedicated to the Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster was deployed and met the mission objectives.

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

..

No. Surname Given name Job Flight No. Duration Orbits
1 Mattingly Thomas — Kenneth — II — «Ken» CDR 3 3d 01h 33m 49
2 Shriver Loren James PLT 1 3d 01h 33m 49
3 Onizuka Ellison Shoji MSP 1 3d 01h 33m 49
4 Buchli James Frederick MSP 1 3d 01h 33m 49
5 Payton Gary Eugene MSE 1 3d 01h 33m 49

Crew seating arrangement
..

Launch
1 Mattingly
2 Shriver
3 Onizuka
4 Buchli
5 Payton
Landing
1 Mattingly
2 Shriver
3 Onizuka
4 Buchli
5 Payton

Backup Crew
..

No. Surname Given name Job
5 Wright Keith Charles MSE
STS 51C: Mission Summary

This was the first dedicated Department of Defense mission. Elements of the mission were kept secret. However, it was reported that a U.S. Air Force Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster successfully deployed a secret payload.

STS 51C: Mission highlights

First mission dedicated to Department of Defense. U.S. Air Force Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster deployed and met mission objectives. This mission’s accomplishments are classified due to the nature of the work done. The shuttle deployed a single satellite, 1985-010B (USA-8).

According to Aviation Week, STS-51-C launched a secret, Magnum ELINT (ELectronic INTtelligence) gathering satellite into geosynchronous orbit. An identical one was also launched by STS-33 and STS-38.

Also according to Aviation Week, the shuttle initially entered a 204 km x 519 km orbit at an inclination of 28.45 deg to the equator. It then executed three OMS (orbital maneuvering system) burns, the last on orbit #4. The first burn is to circularize the orbit at 519 km.

The satellite was deployed on the 7th orbit and then ignited its IUS rocket at the ascending node of the 8th orbit, to place it in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit.

The classified payload was deployed successfully and boosted into its operating orbit by an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster according to an Air Force announcement.

STS-51J — October 7, 1985
.. STS-51J Mission insignia

First flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis. First Department of Defense Space Shuttle flight in which the payload, orbital parameters and mission objectives remain classified . An Air Force crew flew the highly successful mission. Landed at Edwards Air Force Base, CA at 1:00 PM EDT on October 7. Flight duration was four days, one hour and 45 minutes.

This was the second Space Shuttle mission totally dedicated to the Department of Defense. Its cargo was classified but it is reported that two (USA-11 and USA-12) DSCS-III (Defense Satellite Communications System) communications satellites were launched into stationary orbit by an Inertial Upper Stage. The DSCS satellites use X-band frequencies (8/7 GHz). Each DSCS III satellite has a design life of ten years, although several of the DSCS satellites on-orbit today have far exceeded their design life expectancy and continue to perform with outstanding results. Liftoff occurred on October 3, 1985, at 11:15 a.m. EDT, from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center. The orbiter was Atlantis, making its first flight. The mission was classified as «Successful.» After a duration of 4 days, 1 hour and 45 minutes, Atlantis landed on Runway 23 at Edwards AFB at 1:00 p.m. EDT on October 7, 1985.

A declassified picture shows the two DSCS satellites stacked together inside
space shuttle Atlantis’ cargo bay before deployment in 1985. Photo: U.S. Air Force/NASA STS-51J: Classified DoD Mission

Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: Classified
Launched: Oct. 3, 1985 at 11:15:30 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: Oct. 7, 1985 at 10:00:08 a.m. PDT
Landing Weight: 190,400 pounds
Runway: 23
Rollout Distance: 8,056 feet
Rollout Time: 65 seconds
Revolution: 64
Mission Duration: 4 days, 1 hour, 44 minutes, 38 seconds
Returned to KSC: Oct. 11, 1985
Orbit Altitude: 319 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 1.7 million

Image above: STS-51J Crew photo with Commander Karol J. Bobko, Pilot Ronald J. Grabe, Mission Specialists David C. Hilmers, Robert L. Stewart and William A. Pailes. Image Credit: NASA

The launch was delayed 22 minutes, 30 seconds due to a main engine liqu >This was the second mission dedicated to the Department of Defense .

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

STS-27 — December 2, 1988
.. STS-27 Mission insignia Mission statistics

Mission name: STS-27
Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch pad: 39-B
Launch: December 2, 1988, 9:30:34 a.m. EST
Landing: December 6, 1988, 3:36:11 p.m. PST
Duration: 4 days, 9 hours, 5 minutes, 37 seconds
Orbit altitude: Classified
Orbit inclination: 57.0 degrees
Distance traveled: 1,820,000 miles (2,929,000 km)

  • Robert L. Gibson (3), Commander
  • Guy S. Gardner (1), Pilot
  • Richard M. Mullane (2), Mission Specialist
  • Jerry L. Ross (2), Mission Specialist
  • William M. Shepherd (1), Mission Specialist

STS-27 was a space shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was the 27th shuttle mission, and the 3rd for Atlantis, 2nd after the Challenger disaster. It carried a payload for the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis (OV-104), at the time the youngest in NASA’s fleet, made its third flight in a classified mission for the Department of Defense(DoD). It deployed a single satellite, USA-34, which is widely believed to be the first of the Lacrosse radar imaging satellites.

STS-27: Classified DoD Mission

Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39B
Launch Weight: Classified
Launched: Dec. 2, 1988, 9:30:34 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: Dec. 6, 1988, 3:36:11 p.m. PST
Landing Weight: 190,956 pounds
Runway: 17
Rollout Distance: 7,123 feet
Rollout Time: 43 seconds
Revolution: 68
Mission Duration: 4 days, 9 hours, 5 minutes, 37 seconds
Returned to KSC: Dec. 13, 1988
Orbit Altitude: Classified
Orbit Inclination: 57 degrees
Miles Traveled: 1.8 million

STS-27 Mission Patch The launch set for December 1 during a classified window lying within a launch period between 6:32 a.m. and 9:32 a.m., was postponed due to unacceptable cloud cover and wind conditions and reset for the same launch period on December 2.

Third mission dedicated to the Department of Defense.


NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

STS-28 — August 8, 1989
.. STS-28 Mission insignia

STS-28 was the fourth shuttle mission dedicated to United States Department of Defense, and first flight of Columbia since mission STS-61-C. The details of the mission are classified.

Mission statistics
Mission name: STS-28
Shuttle: Columbia
Launch pad: 39-B
Launch: August 8, 1989, 8:37:00 a.m. EDT
Landing: August 13, 1989, 6:37:08 a.m. PDT, EAFB, Runway 17
Duration: 5 days, 1 hour, 0 minutes, 8 seconds
Orbit altitude: Classified (although based on distance traveled and number of orbits, this would be between 220 and 380 km)
Orbit inclination: 57.0 degrees
Distance traveled: 2,100,000 miles (3,400,000 km)

Columbia deployed two satellites, 1989-061B (USA-40) and 1989-061C (USA-41). Early reports speculated that STS-28’s primary payload was an Advanced KH-11 photo-reconnaissance satellite. Later reports and amateur satellite observations of the satellites suggest that USA-40 was a second-generation Satellite Data System relay like that launched on STS-53.

STS-28: Classified DoD Mission

Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Columbia
Launch Pad: 39B
Launch Weight: Classified
Launched: August 8, 1989, 8:37:00 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: August 13, 1989, 6:37:08 a.m. PDT
Landing Weight: 190,956 pounds
Runway: 17
Rollout Distance: 6,015 feet
Rollout Time: 46 seconds
Revolution: 81
Mission Duration: 5 days, 1 hour, 0 minutes, 8 seconds
Returned to KSC: August 21, 1989
Orbit Altitude: Classified
Orbit Inclination: 57 degrees
Miles Traveled: 2.1 million

** The launch set for December 1 during a classified window lying within a launch period between 6:32 a.m. and 9:32 a.m., was postponed due to unacceptable cloud cover and wind conditions and reset for the same launch period on December 2.

Fourth mission dedicated to the Department of Defense.

(** PEGASUS NOTE: The Highligts are the same as posted foe STS-27 A typo?)

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

STS-33 — November 22, 1989
.. STS-33 Mission insignia

Mission statistics
Mission name: STS-33
Shuttle: Discovery
Launch pad: 39-B
Launch: November 22, 1989, 7:23:30 p.m. EST
Landing: November 27, 1989, 4:30:16 p.m. PST, EAFB, Runway 4
Duration: 5 days, 0 hours, 6 minutes, 49 seconds
Orbit altitude: 302 nautical miles (559 km)
Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees
Distance traveled: 2,100,000 miles (3 400 000 km)

Discovery deployed a single satellite, USA-48 (NSSDC ID 1989-090B). According to Aviation Week, this was a secret Magnum ELINT (ELectronic INTtelligence) gathering satellite headed for geosynchronous orbit, like those launched by STS-51-C and STS-38.

Also according to Aviation Week, the shuttle initially enters a 204 km x 519 km orbit at an inclination of 28.45 deg to the equator. It then executes three OMS (orbital manoeuvering system) burns, the last on orbit #4. The first burn is to circularize the orbit at 519 km.

The satellite was deployed on the 7th orbit and then ignited its IUS rocket at the ascending node of the 8th orbit, to place it in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit.

The classified payload was deployed successfully and boosted into its operating orbit by an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster according to an Air Force announcement.

Discovery landed on a concrete runway at Edwards AFB, CA, on November 27 at 7:30 p.m. EST, after a mission duration of 5 days, 0 hours and 6 minutes.

Note: STS-33 was the original designation for the mission that became STS-51-L, Challenger’s last flight that ended in tragedy. After the disaster, NASA recycled the numbering system back to STS-26, which was the 26th shuttle mission and first after Challenger. There is no connection between Challenger’s STS-33 and this STS-33.

STS-33: Classified DoD Mission

Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39B
Launch Weight: Classified
Launched: November 22, 1989, 7:23:30 p.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: November 27, 1989, 4:30:16 p.m. PST
Landing Weight: 194,282 pounds
Runway: 4
Rollout Distance: 7,764 feet
Rollout Time: 46 seconds
Revolution: 79
Mission Duration: 5 days, 0 hours, 6 minutes, 49 seconds
Returned to KSC: December 4, 1989
Orbit Altitude: 302 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.45 degrees
Miles Traveled: 2.1 million

The launch set for November 20 was rescheduled to allow changeout of suspect integrated electronics assemblies on the twin solid rocket boosters.

Fifth mission dedicated to the Department of Defense.

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

STS-36 — February 28, 1990
.. STS-36 Mission insignia

STS-36 was a space shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was the 34th mission, and carried a payload for the U.S. Department of Defense (believed to have been a Misty reconnaissance satellite). It was the sixth flight for Atlantis, the fourth night launch of the program, and the second night launch since Shuttle flights resumed in 1988.

Mission statistics
Mission name: STS-36
Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch pad: 39-A
Launch: February 28, 1990, 2:50:22 a.m. EST
Landing: March 4, 1990, 10:08:44 a.m. PST
Duration: 4 days, 10 hours, 18 minutes, 22 seconds
Orbit altitude: 132 nautical miles (245 km)
Orbit inclination: 62.0 degrees
Distance traveled: 1,920,000 mi, 3,089,280 km (approx.)

The sixth shuttle launch dedicated entirely to the Department of Defense, STS-36’s payload is classified. STS-36 launched a single satellite, 1990-019B (USA-53), also described as AFP-731. Other objects (1990-019C-G) have appeared in orbit since its deployment.

It has been reported that USA-53 was an Advanced KH-11 photo-reconnaissance satellite that used an all-digital imaging system to return pictures. The KH-11 series is a digital imaging photo- reconnaissance satellite with both visual and infrared sensors. USA-53, nicknamed «Misty», was tracked briefly by amateur satellite observers in October and November 1990.

The launch trajectory was unique to this flight, and allowed the mission to reach an orbital inclination of 62°, the deployment orbit of its payload, while the normal maximum inclination for a shuttle flight is 57°. This so-called «dog-leg» trajectory saw Atlantis fly downrange on a normal launch azimuth, and then maneuver to a higher launch azimuth once out over the water. Although the maneuver resulted in a reduction of vehicle performance, it was the only way to reach the required deployment orbit from the Kennedy Space Center (originally, the flight had been slated to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, until the shuttle launch facilities there were mothballed in 1989) . Flight rules that prohibit overflight of land were suspended, with the trajectory taking the vehicle over or near Cape Hatterras, Cape Cod, and parts of Canada. The payload was considered to be of importance to national security, hence the suspension of normal flight rules.

STS-36: Classified DoD Mission

Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: Classified
Launched: February 28, 1990, 2:50:22 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: March 4, 1990, 10:08:44 a.m. PST
Landing Weight: 87,200 pounds ****
Runway: 23
Rollout Distance: 7,900 feet
Rollout Time: 53 seconds
Revolution: 72
Mission Duration: 4 days, 10 hours, 18 minutes, 22 seconds
Returned to KSC: March 13, 1990
Orbit Altitude: 132 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 62 degrees
Miles Traveled: 1.9 million

The launch set for February 22 was postponed to February 23, February 24, and February 25 due to illness of the crew commander and weather conditions. It was the first time since Apollo 13 in 1970 that a manned space mission was affected by the illness of a crew member. The launch was set for February 25 and scrubbed due to a malfunction of a range safety computer. The launch was reset for February 26 and scrubbed again due to weather conditions (Note: external tank loaded only for launch attempts on February 25 and 26, and launch on February 28). The launch on February 28 was set for a classified window lying within a launch period extending from 12 midnight to 4 a.m. EST.

Sixth mission dedicated to the Department of Defense.

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

STS-36 — February 28, 1990
CODENAME: MISTY
..

1990 February 28 — USA 53 — Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. Mass: 19,600 kg (43,200 lb). Perigee: 198 km (123 mi). Apogee: 207 km (128 mi). Inclination: 62.00 deg. Period: 88.60 min.

Deployed from STS-36 February 28, 1990 . Said to be designated ‘Misty’, and believed to be the first maneouvering stealth satellite. Barely visible, it was rediscovered by amateur observors in October 1990, with a ground track that repeated every nine days. It maneouvered again in early November 1990, changing its inclination by 1.2 degrees and entering a lower orbit with a three-day repeating ground track. Amateurs again found it in 1996 and 1997 in a 66.2 degree orbit with a 99.4 minute period. The decay date for the active satellite is believed to refer instead to debris; the actually satellite was probably deorbited after 1997, perhaps after USA 144 (Misty 2?) was put into operation.

  • Misty Chronology — AFP-731— Mark Wade
  • Satellite Database Released
  • The Mystery Deepens
  • Stealth satellites — Cold War myth or operational reality?
  • The Spy Satellite So Stealthy that the Senate Couldn’t Kill It (NSA) (Outside Link) (Archived)
  • Amateur Satellite Spotters — Stealth Bird Codenamed Misty
  • A spy satellite’s rise . and faked fall— MSNBC (Outside Link) (Archived)
  • «Misty» Stealth Spy Satellite Program Cancelled? (Outside Link) (Archived)
Bigelow Aerospace Connection


A patent recently issued to an upstart space entrepreneur could be another sign that stealth satellites are real —not vestiges of the previous millennium’s battles.

In late 2004, right about the time that some U.S. lawmakers publicly unveiled a previously classified $9.5 billion program to build satellites that orbit the Earth undetected from the ground, Robert Bigelow, hotel entrepreneur and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, submitted a patent application for a satellite that proposed to do just that. Bigelow’s patent, filed in November 2004 and approved a year later, follows a dozen or so previously filed inventions back to the early 1960s. Each outlined methods that could reduce or eliminate the optical and radar signatures that could be used to track, identify and determine the orbital parameters of a satellite from the ground.

If the essentials of an orbit are obtained — potentially by low-cost, easily obtainable methods and equipment — an opponent can either hide above-ground activities during the reconnaissance satellite’s pass or possibly target the space vehicle with anti-satellite weapons. By all indications, the U.S. has launched and operated at least two such satellites in the post-Cold War era for photo reconnaissance or signal intelligence, one in 1990 and the other in 1999.

Bigelow’s invention, called an inflatable satellite bus, appears to be identical in construction to the company’s Genesis I spacecraft, which was launched July 12 by an ISC Kosmotras Dnepr rocket into a 550-kilometer near-circular orbit with 64-degree inclination.

The patent reveals that the shell, or outer surface of the inflatable portion of the vehicle, “can have radar stealth capabilities. This could include using radar absorbing materials and/or geometrics to reflect radar waves at angles that make detection of the craft difficult.” The patent goes on to say that shell could be “colored as to make visual detection more difficult.”

‘Misty’ — Stealth Satellite
.. Image Copyright © Adrian Mann 2005

‘Misty’ is the code-name widely attributed to a stealthy imaging satellite launched by the space shuttle Atlantis in 1990. A US patent from Teledyne Industries details a method of suppressing the visibility of satellites by means of an inflatable, reflective ballon, which would be inflated in orbit, and pointed towards the earth to deflect radar, lasers and also to defeat optical searches.

Due to the covert and highly secret nature of this programme, it’s not known what technology is used to hide the satellites, but this is a credible scheme.

Satellite Signature Suppression Shield

Publication number: US5345238
Publication date: 1994-09-06
Inventor: ELDRIDGE MORTON T (US); MCKECHNIE KARL H (US); HEFLEY RICHARD M (US)
Applicant: TELEDYNE IND (US)

Abstract of US5345238

An inflatable shield for suppressing the characteristic radiation signature of a satellite is described. The shield is conical-shaped and made from a thin synthetic polymer film material coated with a radiation reflecting material, such as gold or aluminum. At least one subliming agent is contained within the shield to inflate the shield when exposed to heat. An ultraviolet curable slurry coats the inner walls of the shield and permanently hardens the shield upon exposure to ultraviolet radiation from a self-contained source. The shield optionally may include absorbing and desiccant agents to absorb unwanted gas and water and prevent interference with the primary mission of the satellite. Additional means may be included for moving and positioning the shield with respect to the satellite.

STS-38 — November 15, 1990
.. STS-38 Mission insignia

STS-38 was a space shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was the 37th shuttle mission, and carried a classified payload for the U.S. Department of Defense. It was the 7th flight for Atlantis.

During STS-38, Atlantis deployed USA-67 [1]. According to Aviation Week, this was a secret Magnum (satellite) ELINT (ELectronic INTtelligence) gathering satellite headed for geosynchronous orbit like those launched by STS-51-C and STS-33, launched to monitor the events during the first Gulf War in 1990.

Also according to Aviation Week, the shuttle initially enters a 204 km x 519 km orbit at an inclination of 28.45° to the equator. It then executes three OMS (orbital manoeuvering system) burns, the last on orbit #4. The first burn is to circularize the orbit at 519 km.

Later observers have speculated that USA-67 was instead a secret SDS-2 military communications satellite, like those deployed on STS-28 and STS-53.[2] [3]

The satellite was deployed on the 7th orbit and then ignited its IUS rocket at the ascending node of the 8th orbit, to place it in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit.

The classified payload was deployed successfully and boosted into its operating orbit by an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster according to an Air Force announcement.

STS-38: Classified DoD Mission

Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: classified
Launched: November 15, 1990, 6:48:13 p.m. EST
Landing Site: Shuttle Landing Facility, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: November 20, 1990, 4:42:42 p.m. EST
Landing Weight: 191,091 pounds
Runway: 33
Rollout Distance: 9,032 feet
Rollout Time: 57 seconds
Revolution: 79
Mission Duration: 4 days, 21 hours, 54 minutes, 31 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 142 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 2 million

The launch was originally scheduled for July 1990. However, a liqu >during a classified launch window lying within a launch period extending from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. EST, November 15, 1990.

Seventh mission dedicated to Department of Defense.

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

STS-39 — April 28, 1991
.. STS-39 Mission insignia

Mission statistics
Mission name: STS-39
Shuttle: Discovery
Launch pad: 39-A
Launch: April 28, 1991 7:33:14 a.m. EDT
Landing: May 6, 1991, 2:55:35 p.m. EDT, Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Duration: 8 d 7 h 22 min 23 s
Orbit altitude: 140 nautical miles (259 km)
Orbit inclination: 57.0 degrees
Distance traveled: 3,470,000 miles (5,584,423 km)

Dedicated Department of Defense mission . Un >Classified payload consisted of Multi-Purpose Release Canister (MPEC). Also on board was Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) and Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems-IA (CLOUDS-I).

STS-39 was the first un >For STS-39, only the payload in the Multi-Purpose Experiment Canister (MPEC) was listed as classified.
STS-39 observing Aurora australis.
STS-39 observing Aurora australis.
Critical Ionization Velocity experiment
Critical Ionization Velocity experiment
SPAS-II
SPAS-II

The crew was div >As part of the sophisticated experiments, five spacecraft or satellites were deployed from the payload bay, and one was retrieved later during the mission.

Carried in the orbiter’s cargo bay were: Air Force Program-675 (AFP-675); Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS); Space Test Program-01 (STP-01); and the MPEC. Inside the crew cabin were the Cloud Logic to Optimize the Use of Defense Systems-1A (CLOUDS 1-A) experiment and the Radiation Monitoring Equipment-III (RME-III).

The Remote Manipulator System arm in the payload bay was used to deploy the Shuttle Pallet Satellite-II (SPAS-II) on which the IBSS was mounted. Among other observations, the SPAS-II/IBSS watched Discovery as it performed some orbital maneuvers including the «Malarkey Milkshake.»[1]. The deployment of IBSS was delayed a day, until Flight Day Four, to give priority to the completion of the CIRRIS (Cryogenic Infrared Radiance Instrumentation for Shuttle) experiment which was depleting its liquid helium coolant supply faster than expected while making observations of auroral and airglow emissions.

As usual, crew members faced some unexpected challenges during the mission. After working only about four hours, two tape recorders could not be reactivated. The tape recorders were designed to record observations made by three instruments on AFP-675. In a complicated two-hour bypass repair operation, the astronauts had to route wires and attach a splice wire to a Ku-band antenna system so the data could be sent directly to a ground station.

The high orbital inclination of the mission, 57 degrees with respect to the equator, allowed the crew to fly over most of Earth’s large land masses and observe and record environmental resources and problem areas.

May 6, 1991, 2:55:35 p.m. EDT, Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, FL. Rollout distance: 9,235 ft, rollout time: 56 s. Landing diverted to KSC because of unacceptably high winds at planned landing site, Edwards. Landing weight: 211,512 lb (95,940 kg).

STS-39: The «Malarkey Milkshake»

From this position, the crew will remotely command the SPAS-II/IBSS to point its imaging systems at Discovery for the first plume observation. Once the experiments are properly trained on Discovery, one OMS engine will be fired for 20 seconds. The result of the burn will be to propel Discovery north, off of its previous orbital groundtrack, without changing the spacecraft’s altitude. A burn with this lateral effect is known as «out-of-plane.» In order to set up the next observation and remain aligned with the SPAS-II for precise rendezvous maneuvers, immediately following the burn, the crew will perform a «fast-flip» yaw maneuver, using RCS jets to turn Discovery’s nose around 180 degrees to the south. A single-engine OMS braking burn will then be performed to stop Discovery’s travel at a point less than a mile north of its previous groundtrack. Using RCS jets, the crew will return Discovery to its starting position, on its originalgroundtrack behind the SPAS-II. As Discovery drifts back to the starting point, a «fast-flip» reversal will turn the spacecraft’s nose back to the north. This unique series of multiple OMS and RCS maneuvers has been dubbed the «Malarkey Milkshake» in recognition of John Malarkey, the JSC rendezvous guidance team leader who developed the back-and-forth sequence.

STS-39: Unclassified DOD Mission

Mission: Department of Defense, AFP-675; IBSS; SPAS-II
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 247,373 pounds
Launched: April 28, 1991, 7:33:14 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: May 6, 1991, 2:55:35 p.m. EDT
Landing Weight: 211,512 pounds
Runway: 15
Rollout Distance: 9,235 feet
Rollout Time: 56 seconds
Revolution: 140
Mission Duration: 8 days, 7 hours, 22 minutes, 23 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 190 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 57 degrees
Miles Traveled: 3.5 million

The launch was originally scheduled for March 9, but during processing work at Pad A, significant cracks were found on all four lug hinges on the two external tank umbilical door drive mechanisms. NASA managers opted to roll back the vehicle to the VAB on March 7, and then to OPF for repair. Hinges were replaced with units taken from orbiter Columbia, and reinforced. Discovery returned to the pad on April 1, launch was re-set for April 23. The mission was again postponed when, during prelaunch external tank loading, a transducer on the high-pressure oxidizer turbopump for main engine number three showed readings out of specification. The transducer and its cable harness were replaced and tested. Launch was rescheduled for April 28.


Dedicated Department of Defense mission. An un >Classified payload consisted of Multi-Purpose Release Canister (MPEC). Also on board was Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) and Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems-IA (CLOUDS-I).

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

STS-44 — November 24, 1991
.. STS-44 Mission insignia

STS-44 was Space Transportation System (NASA Space Shuttle) mission, launched November 24, 1991. It was a U.S. Department of Defense space mission.

Dedicated Department of Defense mission. Unclassified payload included Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite and attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), deployed on flight day one. Cargo bay and middeck payloads: Interim Operational Contamination Monitor(IOCM); Terra Scout; Military Man in Space (M88-1); Air Force Maui Optical System (AMOS); Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM); Shuttle Activation Monitor (SAM); Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III); Visual Function Tester-1 (VFT-1); Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI). Bioreactor Flow and Particle Trajectory experiment; and Extended Duration Orbiter Medical Project, a series of investigations in support of Extended Duration Orbiter.

Image credit: NASA/JSC

Image Description: STS-44 Defense Support Program (DSP) / Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) spacecraft, with forward airborne support equipment (ASE) payload retention latch actuator released (foreground), is raised to a 29 degree predeployment position by the ASE aft frame tilt actuator (AFTA) table in the payload bay (PLB) of Atlantis, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 104. Underneath the DSP / IUS combination, the umbilical boom is connected to the IUS. DSP components include Infrared (IR) sensor (top), AR I, SHF Antenna, EHF Antenna, Link 2 High-Gain Antenna, star sensor, and stowed solar paddles (box-like structure around the base). The Earth’s limb and the blackness of space create the backdrop for this deployment scene.

Image credit: NASA/JSC STS-44: Unclassified DOD Mission

Mission: DOD; DSP
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 259,629 pounds
Launched: November 24, 1991, 6:44:00 p.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: December 1, 1991, 2:34:44 p.m. PST
Landing Weight: 193,825 pounds
Runway: 5
Rollout Distance: 11,191 feet
Rollout Time: 107 seconds
Revolution: 110
Mission Duration: 6 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes, 44 seconds
Returned to KSC: December 8, 1991
Orbit Altitude: 197 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 2.9 million

The launch set for November 19 was delayed due to a malfunctioning redundant inertial measurement unit on the Inertial Upper Stage booster attached to the Defense Support Program satellite. The unit was replaced and tested. The launch was reset for November 24, delayed 13 minutes to allow an orbiting spacecraft to pass and allow external tank liquid oxygen replenishment after minor repairs to the valve in the liquid oxygen replenishment system in the mobile launcher platform.

A dedicated Department of Defense mission. The unclassified payload included a Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite and attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), which were deployed on flight day one. Cargo bay and m >Shuttle Activation Monitor (SAM) ; Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III); Visual Function Tester-1 (VFT-1); Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI). Bioreactor Flow and Particle Trajectory experiment; and Extended Duration Orbiter Medical Project, a series of investigations in support of Extended Duration Orbiter.

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

STS-53 — December 2, 1992
.. STS-53 Mission insignia

STS-53 was a Space Transportation System (NASA Space Shuttle) mission, launched December 2, 1992.

Mission statistics
Mission name: STS-53
Shuttle: Discovery
Launch pad: 39-A
Launch: December 2, 1992, 8:24 a.m. EST
Landing: December 9, 1992, 3:43.17 p.m. EST, Runway 22, Edwards AFB, California
Duration: 7 days, 7 hours, 19 minutes, 47 seconds
Orbit altitude: 174 nautical miles (322 km)
Orbit inclination: 57 degrees
Distance traveled: 3 million miles (4.8 million km) approx.

Discovery carried a classified primary payload for the United States Department of Defense, two unclassified secondary payloads and nine unclassified middeck experiments.

Discovery’s primary payload, USA-89 NSSDC ID 1992-086B is also known as «DoD-1», and was the shuttle’s last major payload for the Department of Defense. The satellite was the second launch of a Satellite Data System-2 military communications satellite, after USA-40 on STS-28.

Secondary payloads contained in or attached to Get Away Special (GAS) hardware in the cargo bay included the Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) the combined Shuttle Glow Experiment/Cryogenic Heat Pipe Experiment (GCP).

Middeck experiments included Microcapsules in Space (MIS-l); Space Tissue Loss (STL); Visual Function Tester (VFT-2); Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM); Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME-III); Fluid Acquisition and Resupply Experiment (FARE); Hand-held, Earth-oriented, Real-time, Cooperative, User-friendly, Location-targeting and Environmental System (HERCULES); Battlefield Laser Acquisition Sensor Test (BLAST); and the Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS).

STS-53: Classified DoD Mission

Mission: DOD; ODERACS
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 243,952 pounds
Launched: December 2, 1992, 8:24 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: December 9, 1992, 3:43.17 p.m. EST
Landing Weight: 193,215 pounds
Runway: 22
Rollout Distance: 10,165 feet
Rollout Time: 73 seconds
Revolution: 116
Mission Duration: 7 days, 7 hours, 19 minutes, 47 seconds
Returned to KSC: December 18, 1992
Orbit Altitude: 174 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 57 degrees

A classified Department of Defense primary payload , plus two unclassified secondary payloads and nine unclassified middeck experiments.

Secondary payloads contained in or attached to Get Away Special (GAS) hardware in the cargo bay included the Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) the combined Shuttle Glow Experiment/Cryogenic Heat Pipe Experiment (GCP).

M >Hand-held, Earth-oriented, Real-time, Cooperative, User-friendly, Location-targeting and Environmental System (HERCULES); Battlefield Laser Acquisition Sensor Test (BLAST); and the Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS).

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
SOURCE: NASA.Gov

Fictional references

A recent US Space Camp program featued a shuttle-like «X-77» spacecraft simulator. It is used during a simulated mission that is aborted and replaced by the X-77. It is said to be a collaboration between NASA and the Department of Defense.

One appeared in the James Bond movie Moonraker, carrying a platoon of spacesuited, laser-armed United States Marines to successfully attack the previously-concealed space station of Hugo Drax. This may not be a ‘covert’ spacecraft, however, as it’s plainly marked with Marine Corps logos, and there’s no indication anywhere in the film that the Marines’ orbital combat capability is a national secret .

Another such shuttle was discussed, but not shown, in the NBC television series The West Wing. The disclosure of its existence by White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler was the focus of a protracted investigation. Ziegler breached Federal national-security laws by revealing the classified military space shuttle’s existence to Greg Brock, a reporter for The New York Times, apparently because of his belief that three (two American, one Russian) astronauts marooned and running out of oxygen on the malfunctioning International Space Station would otherwise not be rescued. President Josiah Bartlet personally fired Ziegler for his willful breach of the law, but later pardoned him in the series finale.

Two shuttles under military command were shown in the 1998 movie Armageddon. Designated X-71s, they were named Freedom and Independence. Again, however, these shuttles were not particularly covert — internal dialogue in the film plainly stated that they were to be replacements for the «original shuttles,» and were to be publicly announced and rolled out in a lavish ceremony in a few months, had not the asteroid crisis arisen before that could happen.

STS-51L Mission Канада

STS-3xx — Mission insignia Mission statistics Mission name STS 3xx Launch pad LC 39, Kennedy Space Center … Wikipedia

STS-133 — Mission insignia Mission statistics Mission name STS 133 Space shuttle Discovery … Wikipedia

STS-119 — Mission insignia Mission statistics Mission name STS 119 Space shuttle Discovery … Wikipedia

STS-134 — Эмблема Полётные данные корабля … Википедия

STS-51L

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“Challenger” disaster

…primary goal of shuttle mission 51-L was to launch the second Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-B). It also carried the Spartan Halley spacecraft, a small satellite that was to be released by Challenger and picked up two days later after observing Halley’s Comet during its closest approach to the…

McNair was assigned to the STS-51L mission of the space shuttle Challenger in January 1985. The primary goal of the mission was to launch the second Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-B). It also carried the Spartan Halley spacecraft, a small satellite that McNair, along with mission specialist Judith Resnik,…


1983-1986: The Missions and History of Space Shuttle Challenger

25-years ago today, Space Shuttle Challenger was lost with all hands in the bright blue sky over Central Florida. Embarking on her 10th mission on January 28, 1986, Challenger was at the time the most-flown orbiter in NASA’s fleet. Quickly rising to prominence as the fleet leader (in terms of not only the number of missions flown, but also her impressive scientific and technological accomplishments), Challenger was the workhorse of the early days of the Shuttle fleet, setting numerous records and leaving behind a legacy of education, inspiration, and safety.

The History of Space Shuttle Challenger:

The early history of Challenger is arguable the most complex of the six Shuttle orbiters (Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour) constructed by NASA in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

Beginning life as STA-099 (Structural Test Article -099), the components that would eventually become the airframe and body for orbiter Challenger were initially used by the Space Shuttle Program (SSP) to test and validate the effects of launch and entry stress (including heating) on a “light weight” Shuttle airframe – a weight reduction savings that would, in turn, allow future orbiters (from Challenger through Endeavour) to have a greater payload weight to orbit capability than pioneer orbiter and older sister Columbia.

Since computer technology in the 1970s was not powerful or advanced enough to accurately calculate/predict the effects a “light weight” airframe would have on an orbiter’s performance and ability during launch and entry ops, NASA opted to build STA-099 and submit the Structural Test Article to a year of intense vibration and thermal testing.

To this end, the contract to begin construction of STA-099 was awarded on July 26, 1972 to Rockwell International. For the next three years, components for STA-099 were manufactured simultaneously with components for what would eventually become orbiter Columbia.

On November 21, 1975, engineers began structural assembly of STA-099’s crew module. This was followed on June 14, 1976 by the start of structural assembly of the aft-fuselage.

STA-099’s tell-tale Delta wings arrived on-dock at the Palmdale, California construction facility on March 16, 1977.

Final assembly began later that year on September 30 and was completed on February 10, 1978. STA-099 rolled out of Palmdale on February 14 (Valentine’s Day), 1978.

For the next year, STA-099 was put through the wringer, with numerous vibration and thermal tests to provide and ground the light weight airframe design planned for future Shuttle orbiters.

As stated by Volume II of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center Technical Report from June 14, 2007, “There was a high probability that performing static strength tests to demonstrate ultimate design limits (1.4 times limit load) would result in deformations and strains that [would] render the vehicle unusable for flight.”

Nonetheless, “it was clear the vehicle must be shown to be acceptable at the design limit loads [ref. 19].”

To this end, “a hybrid qualification program was adopted that combined limited flight hardware testing and the validation of stress predictions through the modeling and testing of prototype hardware assemblies and components. “Qualification” tests on STA-099 were performed at 1.2 times the design limit loads.”

Meanwhile, Rockwell was busy finishing the final year of assembly of orbiter Columbia (OV-102) at Palmdale, and NASA was busy reviewing the wealth of data gathered from orbiter Enterprise’s (OV-101’s) free-flight approach and landing tests in 1977 while taking Enterprise through KSC mating, rollout, and launch pad validation ops.

But behind all this, discussions were beginning to focus on the cost and time that would be required to convert Enterprise into a space-worthy vehicle. As the costs and timelines began to build, NASA realized that it would cost less, and take less time, to convert STA-099 into a space-worthy vehicle than it would Enterprise.

On January 1, 1979, the decision was made official when NASA awarded Rockwell International the contract to convert STA-099 into OV-099 (Orbital Vehicle -099). While the process of converting STA-099 into OV-099 was simpler than converting Enterprise, it still involved intensive work and the disassembly and reconstruction of numerous air frame and flight elements.

With conversion of STA-099 into OV-099, the process began of selecting a name for the now-second orbiter of the Shuttle fleet.

Named after the HMS Challenger – a British corvette which served as the command ship for the Challenger Expedition (a pioneering global marine research expedition from 1872-1876) – and the Apollo 17 lunar module, Challenger is the only Shuttle orbiter to be named in honor of a previously-flown spacecraft that landed on the surface of another celestial body.

In an odd coincidence, crews began the start of structural assembly of Challenger’s flight-worthy crew module on January 28, 1979 – exactly 7 years to the day before she would be lost.

From this point, through Nov. 3, 1980, engineers and technicians disassembled and rebuilt Challenger. On Nov. 3, final assembly began and ran through October 21, 1981.

Workers spent the next year going over Challenger with a fine-toothed comb and completing installation of the vehicle’s Thermal Protection System (TPS) tiles and RCC (Reinforced Carbon-Carbon) WLE (Wing Leading Edge) and nose cap panels.

A major change between the construction of Columbia and Challenger was the replacement of TPS tiles with DuPont white nomex felt insulation on her payload bay doors, upper wing surfaces, and rear fuselage. This move further reduced Challenger’s weight by 2,500 lbs.

On June 30, 1982, Challenger rolled out of her Palmdale assembly facility. She was transported overland to Edwards Air Force Base the following day where she spent four days being mated to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for her ferry flight delivery to the Kennedy Space Center.

On the day of the beginning of the ferry flight, sister orbiter Columbia triumphantly returned to Earth on July 4 with an Independence Day landing at Edwards Air Force Base to cap off STS-4 and the orbital test flight phase of the Shuttle Program.

With Columbia on the runway at Edwards, Challenger and the SCA took off on July 4 under the watchful eye of then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan. One day later, Challenger arrived at the Kennedy Space Center.

One day after delivery, Challenger was towed into an OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility), where she underwent initial receiving inspections before being transitioned into pre-mission processing for her maiden flight.

Challenger spent nearly 4 months in the OPF before she was moved to the VAB on Nov. 23 for mating with her External Tank/Solid Rocket Booster (ET/SRB) stack. Seven days later, on November 30, 1982, Challenger and the STS-6 stack was rolled out to LC-39A to undergo both pad processing and the mandatory Flight Readiness Firing (FRF) before a targeted January 20, 1983 launch.

On December 18, 1982, the customary 20-second FRF occurred, revealing a hydrogen leak into SSME-1 (Space Shuttle Main Engine 1). Launch was postponed from January 20 and a second FRF was performed on January 25.

The second FRF confirmed the presence of cracks in SSME-1. To the end, all three SSMEs were removed while Challenger was at Pad-A. This marked the first time in Shuttle Program history that the SSMEs were removed at the launch pad.

The second FRF for Challenger also places her in the record books for being the only Shuttle orbiter to require two FRFs before her maiden flight. However, Challenger is not the only orbiter to have two FRFs to her name. Discovery underwent a second FRF during the Return to Flight launch campaign for STS-26 – the mission which returned the Shuttle fleet to flight following the loss of Challenger.

With the removal of all three of Challenger’s SSMEs, the teams thoroughly tested and analyzed SSMEs 2 and 3 before reinstalling them for flight. SSME-1 was completely replaced.

The launch date was then reset before being pushed back yet again due to the contamination of Challenger’s payload – the first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-1) – during a severe storm at the launch pad.

Once the contamination issue was fixed, the launch was rescheduled for April 4 at 1330 EST. The countdown proceeded on schedule and Challenger lifted off on her maiden voyage right on time on April 4, 1983.

Weighing 256,744lbs at launch, Challenger ushered in a series of firsts for the Shuttle Program STS-6. The maiden flight of Challenger marked the first flight of a Space Shuttle from the new MLP-2 (Mobile Launch Platform 2), the first Shuttle flight to use the Light Weight External Tank, the first flight of new light weight SRB casings, the first afternoon launch of a Space Shuttle, and the first time that a second reusable spacecraft flew into space.

On STS-6, Challenger carried Story Musgrave into space – the only person who would go to fly on all five space-worthy Space Shuttle orbiters.

STS-6 also marked the last time that a Space Shuttle mission would launch with a crew of only four astronauts. (However, if STS-135/Atlantis does indeed become a reality, STS-135 will mark the first time since STS-6 that a Shuttle will launch with only four people onboard.)

Launched into a 28.5 degree 178nm orbit, Challenger’s crew successfully deployed the TDRS-1 satellite from the vehicle’s payload bay. A malfunction of TDRS-1’s Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) initially placed the satellite into an improper but stable orbit. Reserve propellant was used to boost TDRS-1 into its properly circularized orbit over the following months.

Following the deployment of TDRS-1, the Challenger crew turned their attention to performing the Shuttle Program’s first spacewalk, or EVA. Lasting 4 hours 17 minutes, Mission Specialists Story Musgrave and Donald Peterson tested the Shuttle Program’s spacesuits, or EMUs, and demonstrated their ability to perform necessary tasks in a microgravity environment.

After 81 orbits of Earth and 2,094,293 miles, Challenger touched down on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, CA on April 9 at 10:53:42 PST, bringing her total mission duration for her maiden flight to 5 days 2 hours 14 minutes and 25 seconds.


Challenger then underwent initial post-flight deservicing at Edwards before returning to KSC on the SCA on April 16. She was towed into an OPF on April 17 to undergo post-flight deservicing and pre-flight mission processing for STS-7.

After just over a month in the OPF, Challenger was rolled over to the VAB on May 21 and mated to her ET/SRB stack for STS-7. The entire stack was rolled out to LC-39A on May 26 for a targeted June 18 launch.

Pad processing and the launch countdown proceeded nominal and Challenger lifted off right on time (with no launch delays) on her second flight at 07:33 EDT 18 June 1983. Launch of Challenger on STS-7 marked the first flight of an American woman in space and the first re-flight of an astronaut on the Space Shuttle – with Robert L. Crippen from STS-1 commanding Challenger’s second flight.

Launched into a 28.5 degree 160-170nm orbit, Challenger deployed two communications satellites (ANIK C-2 for Canada and PALAPA-B2) for Indonesia.

Seven Get Away Special canisters were also launched in Challenger’s payload bay, as well as an experiment studying the effects of space on the social behavior of an ant colony. Ten experiments were also mounted on Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS-01), experiments designed to perform research in forming metal alloys in microgravity and the use of remote sensing scanners.

During the flight, Challenger’s crew fired the vehicle’s RCS control thrusters while SPAS-01 was held by SRMS (Shuttle Remote Manipulator System) to test the forces of the RCS firings on the extended arm.

STS-7 also marked the first time that a Shuttle orbiter’s Ku-Band antenna was used to transmit data through the TDRS network to a ground terminal.

STS-7 also holds the distinction of being the first Shuttle flight to carry a planned EOM (End of Mission) landing at the Kennedy Space Center; however, poor weather conditions at Kennedy precluded a landing of Challenger at the Florida spaceport.

The mission was extended by two orbits to help facilitate a landing at Edwards. Challenger successfully touched down on Runway 15 at Edwards at 06:56.59 PDT on June 24. Rollout distance was 10,450 feet over 75 seconds. Challenger was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on June 29 to begin processing for STS-8.

Challenger then spent June 30 – July 26 inside an OPF before rolling to the VAB for mating with the STS-8 SRB/ET stack. The entire vehicle was then rolled out to Pad-A on August 2 for an August 30 launch.

Initially, STS-8 had carried a July 1983 launch date for a 3-day 4-person mission to deploy the TDRS-B satellite. However, because of IUS issues during the deployment of TDRS-1, the flight was remanifested and TDRS-B pulled from the flight. (TDRS-B would later be remanifested for launch on Challenger’s STS-51E flight before additional problems with the satellite pushed its launch to the fateful STS-51L/Challenger mission.)

Pad processing for STS-8 was uneventful. In the early evening/night hours of Aug. 29/30, a large thunderstorm complex rolled over the Kennedy Space Center during the final few hours of the STS-8 countdown – providing a spectacular image of lightening arcing around Challenger as she sat on Pad-A.

Due to the inclement weather, launch was delayed 17 minutes. At 02:32 EDT, Challenger lit up the night sky of Florida, embarking on her third flight.

Launch of Challenger on STS-8 marked the first night time launch of the Space Shuttle, the 20th overall mission to launch from pad 39A, and the first flight of an African-American into space.

This would also become the first flight for which concern over potential catastrophic failure of the SRBs during flight would begin to build following discovery of SRB flight malfunction during post-flight casing inspections.

With a liftoff weight of 242,742 lbs, Challenger was inserted into 28.5 degree 191nm orbit. Over the course of the six day mission, Challenger’s crew deployed INSAT-1B for India and pointed the nose of Challenger away from the sun for a total of 14 hours to test the vehicle’s flight deck in extreme cold conditions.

During STS-8, Challenger’s orbit was lowered to 139nm to perform tests on thin atomic oxygen in an effort to understand the cause of a glow that had been observed to surround the orbiter during nighttime orbital passes.

Challenger’s SRMS was tested again on this mission to evaluate joint reactions to higher loads. Ku-Band testing/communication with TDRS-1 also continued on this flight to validate the system’s com connections before STS-9 made heavy use of TDRS-1.

Challenger also carried and tested equipment to allow for encrypted communications on future DoD (Department of Defense) dedicated and classified missions.

After 6 days 1 hour 8 minutes and 43 seconds, Challenger glided to a darkened Runway 22 at Edwards at 00:43:43 PDT on September 5 – thereby performing the first night time landing for the Space Shuttle Program.

Challenger was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on September 9 and moved into an OPF the following day. This time, Challenger spent four months in the OPF undergoing processing for the STS-41B flight. Just prior to OPF rollout, all three of Challenger’s Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) were removed and replaced (R&Red) as a precautionary measure following APU failures on Columbia’s STS-9 mission. As a result, the launch date for this mission was postponed from Jan. 29 to February 3.

On January 6, 1984, Challenger was finally rolled to the VAB. Six days later, the STS-41B stack was rolled out to Pad-A where processing occurred with just a few minor issues/hiccups.

Challenger lifted off right on time at 08:00 EST on February 3 on her fourth launch to begin the 10th Space Shuttle mission and the first under the new flight classification system. Had the previous numerical designation continued, this would have been the STS-11 mission.

(Incidentally, Challenger would be the first Shuttle orbiter to launch under the new classification system as well as the last orbiter to do so. NASA would revert back to the straight up numerical flight designation system following the loss of Challenger on STS-51L.)

Like her three previous missions, Challenger was inserted into a 28.5 degree 189nm orbit. Once in orbit, Challenger’s crew deployed the WESTAR-VI and PALAPA-B2 satellites and Bruce McCandless and Robert L. Stewart performed the first untethered EVA in history using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (McCandless) and the SRMS foot restraint for EVA purposes (Stewart). During this EVA, McCandless became the first human Earth-orbiting satellite when he ventured 320 feet away from Challenger.

Also carried aboard Challenger on this flight was the German-built Shuttle Pallet Satellite – which became the first satellite to be refurbished and re-flown into space following its first flight on STS-7. An electrical problem with SRMS, however, precluded the deployment of the satellite as intended.

After 7 days 23 hours 15 minutes and 55 seconds, Challenger triumphantly reentered Earth’s atmosphere to conduct the first EOM landing of a Space Shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center. Landing occurred on February 11 at 07:15:55 EST on KSC Runway 15. Rollout distance was 10,815 feet over 67 seconds.

Challenger was returned to the OPF later that day where she spent just over a month in pre-flight processing for STS-41C. On March 14, she was moved to the VAB. The STS-41C stack was rolled out to Pad-A on March 19 ahead of an April 6 launch.

Pad processing once again proceeded without issue, and on April 6, 1984 at 08:58 EST, Challenger lifted off right on time on her first attempt to begin her 5th mission.

The launch of STS-41C marked the first direct ascent trajectory for the Space Shuttle Program and the mission itself marked the first time that a Shuttle mission was on orbit on the anniversary of the first Space Shuttle flight (April 12).

Launched into a 28.5 degree 288nm high orbit, Challenger’s crew deployed the Long Duration Exposure Facility into Earth orbit for retrieval on a later Shuttle flight.

After this, Challenger’s orbit was raised to 313nm so that the crew could rendezvous, grapple, repair, and re-deploy the Solar Max satellite. Initial attempts by Mission Specialist George “Pinky” Nelson to manually grapple Solar Max with a special capture tool failed.

Nelson then tried to physically grab the satellite, but that sent the satellite into a multi-axis spin. In the overnight hours, the Goddard Spaceflight Center was able to regain control of the satellite. With the satellite stable, Challenger’s crew grappled the satellite with the SRMS and the crew turned their attention toward using the Manned Maneuvering Unit – tested on the previous flight – to replace the altitude control system and coronagraph/polarimeter electronics box in the Solar Max satellite.

The EVA activities were filmed by an IMAX camera in Challenger’s payload bay. The footage eventually became part of the “The Dream is Alive” documentary.

Challenger landed successfully on April 13 at 05:38:07 PST on Runway 17 at Edwards and was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on April 18. This would mark the final flight of the Shuttle with a fleet of only two orbiters. The next mission, STS-41D, would mark the addition of sister Discovery to the fleet.

However, due to lengthy delays with Discovery’s launch, Challenger ended up spending nearly five months in the OPF for STS-41G – the longest OPF stay for Challenger. On September 8, Challenger rolled to the VAB and out to Pad-A on September 13 ahead of a planned Oct. 5th launch.

Remarkably, pad processing and the launch countdown proceeded nominally with no major issues. At 07:03 EDT on October 5, Challenger lifted off into the morning sky on the 13th Space Shuttle flight.

Unlike all of Challenger’s previous missions, this flight was launched into a 57 degree 218nm orbit. The flight marked the first time a Shuttle carried a crew of seven into space, the first time two women flew into space together (and the first time two women were in space at the same time), the first time a Canadian flew into space, the first time an Australian-born person flew into space, and the first spacewalk to involve a woman.

During the 8-day flight, Challenger’s crew deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite and, through an EVA, connected Components of Orbital Refueling System – thereby demonstrating that it was possible to refuel a satellite in orbit. During this EVA, Kathryn Sullivan became the first woman to perform a spacewalk.

On October 13, Challenger returned to Earth conducting the second landing of the Space Shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center. This flight would go down as Challenger’s longest mission, clocking in at 8 days 5 hours 23 minutes 33 seconds.


Challenger was then returned to the OPF where she began processing for STS-51E to deploy the TDRS-B satellite.

After four months in the OPF, Challenger was rolled over to the VAB on February 10 and then out to Pad-A on February 15. Initially, pad processing went smoothly until timing issues were encountered with TDRS-B.

The issues became severe enough that NASA pulled STS-51E from the launch manifest and cancelled the mission.

Challenger was rolled back from the launch pad on March 4, 1985 and returned to her OPF on March 7. NASA then remanifested Challenger for the STS-51B mission and OPF processing proceeded through April 10.

Challenger was mated to her STS-51B ET/SRB stack on April 10 and rolled out to Pad-A on April 15 ahead of a planned April 29 launch – only 14-days after Challenger arrived at the pad.

Pad processing proceeded smoothly. On April 29 a launch processing system failure forced a 2 minute 18 second delay to launch. At 12:02:18 EDT Challenger left Pad-A on her 7th flight and the Space Shuttle Program’s 17th.

During post-flight inspections of the SRBs for this mission, it was discovered that one of the SRBs suffered from a failure similar to the one that would be experienced on STS-51L.

Sadly, this was the second serious O-ring issue identified in 2.5 months. During the January 24, 1985 launch of Discovery/STS-51C, the primary O-rings in both the Right-Hand and Left-Hand SRBs were found to be severely charred. But it was the discovery of the complete burn-through/penetration of the primary O-ring and heavy charring and degradation of the secondary O-ring in the center field joint of the right STS-51C SRB that caused the greatest concern.

Investigations into the failure of the O-rings on STS-51C led to the understanding that the cold temperatures at the time of Discovery’s launch significantly reduced the sealing power of the O-rings. The temperature at the time of the 51C launch was 53 degrees F.

Sadly, both of these O-ring warnings would be ignored, and temperatures at the time of the 51L/Challenger launch one year later would be nearly 20 degrees colder than during 51C.

Nonetheless, Challenger successful obtained a 57 degree 222nm orbit for STS-51B, where she performed 15 primary experiments divided into five basic disciplines: materials sciences, life sciences, fluid mechanics, atmospheric physics, and astronomy via the European Spacelab-3 – flying here for the first time in a fully operational configuration.

Of the 15 primary experiments, 14 were deemed successful. Challenger landed successfully on May 6 at 09:11:04 PDT at Edwards.

After returning to the Kennedy Space Center, Challenger was in an OPF from May 12 – June 24, before being rolled to the VAB for mating and then out to Pad-A on June 29 ahead of a planned July 12 launch on STS-51F.

Pad processing proceeded nominally, as did the countdown. On July 12, the Ground Launch Sequencer handed off control of the countdown and Challenger’s critical systems to Challenger’s onboard computers at T-31secs.

At T-6.6 seconds, with all systems polling “go,” Challenger’s computers sent the commands to start the SSMEs in a 120-millisecond staggered start sequence beginning with SSME-3.

All three engines came up and began building up to full thrust.

At T-3seconds, Challenger’s computers registered a malfunction in SSME-2’s coolant valve and immediately tripped an RSLS (Redundant Set Launch Sequencer) abort. Commands to shut down SSME-2 were transmitted immediately, as were commands to inhibit the launch sequence, safe the SRB pyros, and shutdown SSMEs 3 and 1.

Thanks to the safety upgrades put in place following the STS-41D/Disocvery post-SSME start RSLS abort, post-abort safing was conducted in a methodical manner.

In the following two weeks, Challenger’s SSMEs were replaced at the launch pad and the launch was reset for July 29, 1985.

On that day, the launch was delayed 1 hour 37 minutes due to a problem with the table maintenance block update uplink. With that issue resolved, the countdown resumed and Challenger launched at 17:00 EDT on her 8th mission.

However, 3mins 13secs into the flight, one of two high pressure fuel turbopump turbine discharge temperature sensors for SSME-1 failed, leaving only one sensor active on the engine. Two minutes 12 seconds later, at Mission Elapsed Time 5mins 43secs, the second sensor failed, triggering the immediate shutdown of SSME-1.

To date, this is the only occurrence of an engine shutdown during launch for the Space Shuttle.

The shutdown of SSME-1 significantly lowered the thrust profile for Challenger and triggered the only in-flight abort in Shuttle Program history: an Abort To Orbit (ATO) which allowed Challenger and her seven-member crew to reach a lower-than-planned but safe and stable orbit.

Nonetheless, before Challenger could complete her prolonged ascent (nearly 9mins 45secs in duration due to the lost thrust from SSME-1), an identical high pressure turbopump temperature sensor failure occurred in SSME-2.

Booster Systems Engineer Jenny M. Howard in Mission Control Houston acted immediately, instructing the crew to inhibit any further automatic SSME shutdowns based on readings from the remaining sensors. This quick action prevented the loss of another engine and a possible abort scenario far more risky or far worse than the already in-progress ATO.

When Challenger finally reached orbit, several aspects of the mission were retooled to account for the lower-than-planned orbital altitude.

The flight’s primary payload was Spacelab-2, with the main mission objectives being the verification of performance of Spacelab systems and the determination of interface capability of the Shuttle orbiter.

STS-51F marked the first time the European Space Agency’s Instrument Point System was tested in orbit… with verification of its accuracy to one arc second.

After 7 days 22 hours 45 minutes and 26 seconds in space, Challenger touched down on Runway 23 at Edwards at 12:45:26 EDT on August 6. She was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on August 11.

Challenger then spent exactly 2 months in the OPF while processing for STS-61A, before rolling to the VAB on Oct. 12. The STS-61A stack was rolled out to Pad-A on Oct. 16 for an October 30 launch.

Yet again, pad processing proceeded nominally and Challenger lifted off right on time on her first attempt at 12-noon EST on October 30.

Launch of STS-61A marked the 22nd flight of the Space Shuttle, the 9th flight of Challenger, and the first and only time in history when eight people launched into space at the same time on the same vehicle.

Launched into a 57 degree 207nm orbit, Challenger’s flight was dedicated entirely to the German Spacelab (D-1) mission. The Spacelab mission encompassed 75 numbered experiments, most of which were performed more than once.

While Challenger herself was controlled through Mission Control Houston, the scientific operations were controlled from the German Space Operations Center at Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich

Challenger glided back to Earth on November 6, landing on Runway 17 at Edwards at 09:44:51 PST. Rollout distance was 8,304 feet over 49 seconds.

Challenger was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on November 11, where she began processing for the long-awaited and much anticipated STS-51L mission.

Spending just over a month in the OPF, Challenger was rolled to the VAB on December 16 for mating with her ET and SRB stack.

The entire STS-51L stack was moved to Launch Complex 39B on December 22, 1985. With the rollout of Challenger to Pad-B, it marked the first time a Space Shuttle orbiter graced Pad-B as well as the first of 19 times in SSP history when both Shuttle launch pads at Kennedy were occupied simultaneously. (Columbia was on Pad-A following the mounting delays to her STS-61C mission).

When Challenger arrived at Pad-B, her primary payload, the TDRS-B satellite was loaded into her payload bay, and processing continued toward a targeted launch date of January 22, 1986 at 15:43 EST.


However, due to delays to the STS-61C mission, the launch date was slipped to the January 23, then 24th.

The launch was then moved again to January 25 due to unacceptable weather conditions at the mission’s Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site in Dakar, Senegal. The decision was then made to utilize Casablanca as an alternate TAL site. However, since Casablanca was not equiped to handle a night landing, the launch time on January 25 was moved to the morning.

The launch was then quickly delayed again to January 26 when ground teams were unable to meet the new target launch time. The forecast for unacceptable launch site weather on January 26 then prompted launch personnel to move the launch to January 27.

The weather on January 26 would have been more than acceptable for launch.

On January 27, Challenger’s flight crew boarded the vehicle and all appeared to be going well, with the only concern being winds at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF).

However, when the closeout crew went to close and lock Challenger’s hatch for flight, they were unable to remove the locking tool from the hatch. Numerous attempts to the remove the tool failed. Eventually, a saw was delivered to Pad-B and the tool sawed off and the attaching bolt drilled out.

The closeout crew then continued and finished closeout operations. However, during the delay caused by this issue, crosswinds at the SLF exceed RTLS (Return to Launch Site) abort limits and the launch was scrubbed for 24hrs.

In the overnight hours, temperatures at the launch pad dropped into the teens (degrees F). Water pipes at the launch pad were opened to prevent them from freezing and bursting, thus creating icicles of significant length on the launch pad structure.

Fueling of Challenger’s External Tank began in the early morning hours. Launch was delayed by two hours when the hardware interface module in the launch processing system, which monitors fire detection systems, failed during liquid hydrogen loading.

With the resolution of this issue and Challenger’s ET fully fueled, Challenger’s flight crew – Commander Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialist 1 (MS 1) Judith A. Resnik, MS2/Flight Engineer Ellison Onizuka, MS3 Ronald E. McNair, Payload Specialist 1 (PS 1) Gregory B. Jarvis, and PS2 Sharon Christa McAuliffe – once again boarded Challenger.

Final polls were conducted and all stations polled “go” for launch.

At 11:38 EST on the dot, Challenger’s SRBs ignited and the Space Shuttle Challenger launched on the 25th Space Shuttle flight, which was her 10th flight and first Space Shuttle flight from Pad-B.

Challenger executed a 90-degree roll off Pad-B, to place her onto the proper alignment for a 28.5 degree inclination orbit, and climbed quickly and gracefully into the crystal clear Florida sky.

At 11:39:13 EST on January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger and her seven member crew slipped from view.

Addressing a grieving and disheartened nation that night, President Ronald Reagan stated: “Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

“And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.

“For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, ‘Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.’ They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

“We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

“And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s take-off. I know it’s hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.

“I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program. And what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute.

“We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.

“I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA, or who worked on this mission and tell them: ‘Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.’

“There’s a coincidence today. On this day three hundred and ninety years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, ‘He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.’ Well, today, we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.

“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth to ‘touch the face of God.’”

During the course of the planned 6 day mission, Challenger’s crew would have deployed TDRS-B on Flight Day 1 (FD 1).

On Flight Day 2, the Comet Halley Active Monitoring Program (CHAMP) experiment was scheduled to begin. Also scheduled were the initial “teacher in space” video tapings. A firing of the OMS engines to place Challenger at the 152-mile orbital altitude from which the Spartan satellite would be deployed was also scheduled.

On Flight Day 3, the crew was to begin pre-deployment preparations on Spartan before deploying the satellite using the SRMS.

On Flight Day 4, the Challenger was to begin closing on Spartan while Gregory B. Jarvis continued fluid dynamics experiments started on FD-2 and FD-3. Live telecasts were also planned to be conducted by Christa McAuliffe.

On Flight Day 5, the crew was to rendezvous with Spartan and use the SRMS to capture the satellite and re-stow it in the payload bay.

On Flight Day 6, re-entry preparations were scheduled, followed on FD-7 by reentry and landing at the Kennedy Space Center.

Yet, Challenger’s mission objectives – deploying TDRS-B and flying a teaching in space – would be carried our by her sisters. TDRS-B’s replacement was deployed by Discovery during the STS-26 Return to Flight mission in September 1988.

But perhaps most fitting, school teacher Barbara Morgan, Christa McAuliffe’s backup, would realize her and Christa’s dream on August 8, 2007 when she launched as a full Mission Specialist on Space Shuttle Endeavour’s – Challenger’s replacement – STS-118 mission to the International Space Station.

In all, Space Shuttle Challenger deployed 10 satellites in her 10 mission career. She spent a total of 62 days 7 hours 56 minutes and 22 seconds in space, travelling 25,803,936 miles in 995 orbits of Earth.

And as we pause today to remember the Challenger crew, it is of great importance to remember the cause for which they freely served: the pursuit of scientific knowledge, education, and understanding. This is the cause for which we continue to fly, and cause for which we can never forget.

space mission names—what do 51-L or STS 98 stuff stand for.

I’m doing a science space ISU. i’m suppose to design a mission patch and write a paragraph to describe about my mission patch. our teacher gave us a sheet to show us an example of how to write the description, and when i looked at the sheet, it was an example of a mission patch and the paragraph’s title was, «51-L Mission Patch». Another one was «STS-98» or something. i’ve seen these things a lot for space shuttles and stuff, but i never knew what they were, and i need to know these for my mission patch paragraph.. I really want to do good for this ISU. HELP?!

5 Answers

Well, NASA changed the numbering system for the «Space Transportation System» missions twice.

Before FY1984, they just numbered them sequentially, then they switched to a system that consisted of the fiscal year in which the mission was approved (eg, 4 for 1984, 5 for 1985), the launch site (1=KSC, 2 = Vandenberg) and a letter for the sequence (A= first mission of the fiscal year) of the manifest, which is not always the same as the actual launch order. This switch was because the launch frequency was planned to raise quickly.

After Challenger, they reverted back to the sequential system

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