Encyclopedia Astronautica
Challenger



shutlan2.jpg
Shuttle Landing
Credit: NASA
shutorb2.gif
Shuttle Orbiter
Shuttle Orbiter 2 view
Credit: © Mark Wade
shutorb1.gif
Shuttle Orbiter
Shuttle Orbiter side view
Credit: © Mark Wade
10061058.jpg
STS-6
Deployment of the TDRS by STS-6 Challenger
Credit: NASA
10061165.jpg
STS-7
Air to air tracking views of the Challenger during launch of STS-7 mission
Credit: NASA
10061197.jpg
STS-7
Challenger's RMS arm grasps SPAS-01 during proximity operations
Credit: NASA
10061217.jpg
STS-7
Full view of Challenger in space taken by the SPAS satellite
Credit: NASA
10061218.jpg
STS-7
Full views of Challenger in space taken by the SPAS satellite
Credit: NASA
10061222.jpg
STS-7
Full views of Challenger in space taken by the SPAS satellite
Credit: NASA
10061240.jpg
STS-7
STS-7 Challenger landing at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California
Credit: NASA
10061429.jpg
STS-41-C
Launch of the Shuttle Challenger during STS 41-C mission
Credit: NASA
10061467.jpg
STS-41-C
Shuttle Challenger atop NASA 905 approaches KSC runway
Credit: NASA
10061760.jpg
STS-41-B
View of the Challenger from the fixed camera in McCandless's helmet
Credit: NASA
10061762.jpg
STS-41-B
View of the Challenger from the fixed camera in McCandless's helmet
Credit: NASA
10061765.jpg
STS-41-B
View of retrieval of foot restraint which strayed from Challenger
Credit: NASA
10061769.jpg
STS-41-B
View of the Palapa-B and the Shuttle Challenger after deployment
Credit: NASA
10061786.jpg
STS-41-B
Views of the Challenger landing at Kennedy to end shuttle mission 41-B
Credit: NASA
10061964.jpg
STS-51-B
Spacelab D-1 being installed in the Challenger payload bay
Credit: NASA
10061967.jpg
STS-51-B
Lift-off of shuttle Challenger and mission STS 51-B
Credit: NASA
10062356.jpg
STS-51-L
Lift-off of the Shuttle Challenger for STS 51-L mission
Credit: NASA
10062357.jpg
STS-51-L
Lift-off of the Shuttle Challenger for STS 51-L mission
Credit: NASA
10062362.jpg
STS-51-L
Signs of black smoke during Lift-off of the Shuttle Challenger STS 51-L
Credit: NASA
10062367.jpg
STS-51-L
View of the SRB problems with Challenger after launch
Credit: NASA
10062368.jpg
STS-51-L
View of the SRB problems with Challenger after launch
Credit: NASA
10062375.jpg
STS-51-L
Challenger SRB destruction after launch
Credit: NASA
10062377.jpg
STS-51-L
View of the SRB problems with Challenger after launch
Credit: NASA
10062378.jpg
STS-51-L
View of the SRB problems with Challenger after launch
Credit: NASA
10062380.jpg
STS-51-L
View of the SRB problems with Challenger after launch
Credit: NASA
10062381.jpg
STS-51-L
Challenger accident after launch
Credit: NASA
10062383.jpg
STS-51-L
Challenger accident after launch
Credit: NASA
10062385.jpg
STS-51-L
Challenger accident after launch
Credit: NASA
10062387.jpg
STS-51-L
Challenger accident after launch
Credit: NASA
10062509.jpg
STS-61-A
Launch of the shuttle Challenger and beginning of STS 61-A mission
Credit: NASA
10062672.jpg
STS-51-F
Launch of the STS 51-F Challenger
Credit: NASA
10062693.jpg
STS-51-F
View of the Challenger's payload bay and the SOUP experiment
Credit: NASA
10062699.jpg
STS-51-F
Landing of the Shuttle Challenger at Edwards AFB and end of STS 51-F mission
Credit: NASA
American manned spaceplane. 10 launches, 1983.04.04 (STS-6) to 1986.01.28 (STS-51-L).

Challenger, the second space shuttle orbiter to become operational at Kennedy Space Center, was named after an American Naval research vessel that sailed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during the 1870's. The Apollo 17 lunar module also carried the name of Challenger. The Challenger flew nine missions before it was destroyed together with its crew in the explosion of mission STS-51-L on 28 January 1986.

Challenger joined NASA fleet of reusable winged spaceships in July 1982. It flew nine successful Space Shuttle missions. On January 28, 1986, the Challenger and its seven-member crew were lost 73 seconds after launch when a booster failure resulted in the breakup of the vehicle.

Challenger started out as a high-fidelity structural test article (STA-099). The airframe was completed by Rockwell and delivered to Lockheed Plant 42 for structural testing on 02/04/78. The orbiter structure had evolved under such weight-saving pressure that virtually all components of the air frame were required to handle significant structural stress. With such an optimized design, it was difficult to accurately predict mechanical and thermal loading with the computer software available at the time. The only safe approach was to submit the structural test article to intensive testing and analysis. STA-099 underwent 11 months of intensive vibration testing in a 43 ton steel rig built especially for the Space Shuttle Test Program. The rig consisted of 256 hydraulic jacks, distributed over 836 load application points. Under computer control, it was possible to simulate the expected stress levels of launch, ascent, on-orbit, reentry and landing. Three 1 million pound-force hydraulic cylinders were used to simulate the thrust from the Space Shuttle Main Engines. Heating and thermal simulations were also done.

Rockwell's original $2.6 billion contract had authorized the building of a pair of static-test articles (MPTA-098 and STS-099) and two initial flight-test vehicles (OV-101 and OV-102). A decision in 1978 not to modify Enterprise from her ALT configuration would have left Columbia as the only operational orbiter vehicle. Therefore on 1/29/79 NASA awarded Rockwell a supplemental contract to convert Challenger (STA-099) from a test vehicle into a space-rated Orbiter (OV-099).

STA-099 was returned to Rockwell on 11/7/79 and it's conversion into a fully rated Orbiter Vehicle was started. This conversion, while easier than it would have been to convert Enterprise, still involved a major disassembly of the vehicle. Challenger had been built with a simulated crew module and the forward fuselage halves had to be separated to gain access to the crew module. Additionally, the wings were modified and reinforced to incorporate the results of structural testing and two heads-up displays (HUD's) were installed in the cockpit. Empty Weight was 70,500 kg at rollout and 79,415 kg with main engines installed. This was 1310 kg lighter than Columbia

Upgrades and Features

Two orbiters, Challenger and Discovery, were modified at KSC to enable them to carry the Centaur upper stage in the payload bay. These modifications included extra plumbing to load and vent Centaur's cryogenic (Lox/LH2) propellants (other IUS/PAM upper stages used solid propellants). Controls were installed on the aft flight deck for loading and monitoring the Centaur stage. No Centaur flight was ever flown and after the loss of Challenger it was decided that the risk was too great to launch a shuttle with a fuelled Centaur upper stage in the payload bay.

Construction Milestones (MPTA-098)

07/26/72 Contract Award
06/24/75 Start structural assembly of aft-fuselage
07/12/76 Start of Final Assembly
05/27/77 Completed Final Assembly
04/21/78 Flight Readiness Firing

Construction Milestones (STA-099)

07/26/72 Contract Award
11/21/75 Start structural assembly of Crew Module
06/14/76 Start structural assembly of aft-fuselage
03/16/77 Wings arrive at Palmdale from Grumman
09/30/77 Start of Final Assembly
02/10/78 Completed Final Assembly
02/14/78 Rollout from Palmdale

Construction Milestones (OV-099)

01/05/79 Contract Award
01/28/79 Start structural assembly of Crew Module
06/14/76 Start structural assembly of aft-fuselage
03/16/77 Wings arrive at Palmdale from Grumman
11/03/80 Start of Final Assembly
10/23/81 Completed Final Assembly
06/30/82 Rollout from Palmdale
07/01/82 Overland transport from Palmdale to Edwards
07/05/82 Delivery to Kennedy Space Center
12/19/82 Flight Readiness Firing
04/04/83 First Flight (STS-6)

Characteristics

Crew Size: 8. Orbital Storage: 30 days. Habitable Volume: 71.50 m3. Structure: 30,050 kg (66,240 lb). Heat shield: 12,100 kg (26,600 lb). Reaction Control System: 2,800 kg (6,100 lb). Recovery Equipment: 4,200 kg (9,200 lb). Navigation Equipment: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Electrical Equipment: 7,000 kg (15,400 lb). Communications Systems: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Crew Seats and Provisions: 750 kg (1,650 lb). Miscellaneous Contingency: 2,400 kg (5,200 lb). Environmental Control System: 2,500 kg (5,500 lb). RCS Coarse No x Thrust: 38 x 387 N. RCS Fine No x Thrust: 6 x 107 N. RCS specific imulse: 289 sec. RCS total impulse: 9,355 kgf-sec. Spacecraft delta v: 700 m/s (2,290 ft/sec). Electric System: 3,100.00 kWh. Electric System: 14.00 average kW.

Gross mass: 116,670 kg (257,210 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 104,258 kg (229,849 lb).
Payload: 24,990 kg (55,090 lb).
Height: 37.24 m (122.17 ft).
Span: 23.79 m (78.05 ft).
Thrust: 53.37 kN (11,997 lbf).
Specific impulse: 316 s.
First Launch: 1983.04.04.
Last Launch: 1986.01.28.
Number: 10 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • OME Aerojet N2O4/MMH rocket engine. 26.7 kN. Study 1972. Isp=316s. Engine used in Shuttle Orbiter Orbital Maneuvering System pods, for orbit insertion, maneuvering, and re-entry initiation. First flight 1981. More...

See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-6 Crew: Bobko, Musgrave, Peterson, Weitz. First flight of space shuttle Challenger. First space walk of Shuttle program Manned four crew. Deployed Tracking and Data Relay Satellite. More...
  • STS-7 Crew: Crippen, Fabian, Hauck, Ride, Thagard. First US woman in space. Record 5 crew aboard a single spacecraft to date. Thagard flew as physician to study space sickness, which had severely impacted STS-5 operations. Deployed Anik C2, Palapa B1; deployed and retrieved SPAS platform. More...
  • STS-8 Crew: Bluford, Brandenstein, Gardner, Thornton Bill, Truly. First African-American in space. First shuttle night launch and night landing. First night launch and night landing. Deployed Insat 1B. More...
  • STS-41-B Crew: Brand, Gibson, McCandless, McNair, Stewart. First untethered space walk. First shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center. Manned five crew. Deployed Westar 6, Palapa B2; tested Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). O-ring erosion in both the right hand nozzle joint and the left SRB forward field joint. More...
  • STS-41-C Crew: Crippen, Hart, Nelson, Scobee, van Hoften. Manned five crew. First repair on orbit of a satellite, Solar Maximum Mission, snared by astronaut using MMU. Deployed LDEF. Experienced erosion of the primary O-ring in the right-hand nozzle joint. More...
  • STS-41-G Crew: Crippen, Garneau, Leestma, McBride, Ride, Scully-Power, Sullivan. First spaceflight to include two women. First American woman to walk in space. First Canadian astronaut. Record crew size aboard a single spacecraft. Manned seven crew. Deployed Earth Radiation Budget Satellite; performed high resolution Earth imagery. More...
  • STS-51-B Crew: Gregory, Lind, Overmyer, Thagard, Thornton Bill, van den Berg, Wang. Manned seven crew. Deployed Nusat; carried Spacelab 3, conducted materials processing, environmental, life science, astrophysics,and technology experiments. Suffered the worst O-ring erosion experienced prior to the loss of Challenger More...
  • STS-51-F Crew: Acton, Bartoe, Bridges, England, Fullerton, Henize, Musgrave. Manned seven crew. Number one engine shut down prematurely during ascent; abort to orbit declared. Mission continued. Launched PDP; carried Spacelab 2. Primary O-ring was affected by heat. More...
  • STS-61-A Crew: Bluford, Buchli, Dunbar, Furrer, Hartsfield, Messerschmid, Nagel, Ockels. Record crew size aboard a single spacecraft. First Dutch astronaut. Manned eight crew. Launched GLOMR; carried Spacelab D1. Six of the eight crew members were divided into a blue and red team working 12-hour shifts. Experienced O-ring erosion. More...
  • STS-51-L Crew: Jarvis, McAuliffe, McNair, Onizuka, Resnik, Scobee, Smith. First shuttle launch from pad LC-39B. An O-ring failure in a solid rocket booster led to leaking of hot gases against the external tank; exploded 73 seconds after launch, all seven crew, with no means of escape, were killed when crew cabin hit the ocean. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Shuttle American winged orbital launch vehicle. The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. Redesign of the shuttle with reliability in mind after the Challenger disaster reduced maximum payload to low earth orbit from 27,850 kg to 24,400 kg. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • North American American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. North American, Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA, USA More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Associated Propellants
  • N2O4/MMH Nitrogen tetroxide became the storable liquid propellant of choice from the late 1950's. Monomethylhydrazine (CH3NHNH2) is a storable liquid fuel that found favour in the United States for use in orbital spacecraft engines. Its advantages in comparison to UDMH are higher density and slightly higher performance. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Shuttle and ISS Mission Press Kits and News Releases, NASA, 1981-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Shuttle-Mir Web, NASA, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Space Shuttle Launches, Kennedy Space Center, NASA, 1996. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Furniss, Tim, Manned Spaceflight Log, Jane's, London, 1986.
  • Jenkins, Dennis R,, Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System : The First 100 Missions, Third edition, Voyageur Press, 2001.
  • Wilson, Keith T., "EVA Log 1965-1997", Spaceflight, 1998, Volume 40, page 85.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39B Shuttle, Saturn V, Saturn I launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program in 1963-1966. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39A Shuttle, Saturn V launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. Construction began in December 1963. Complex 39A was completed on 4 October 1965. Complex 39A supported two unmanned and nine manned Saturn V/Apollo missions between 9 November 1967 and 8 December 1972. The site also supported the launch of the Skylab space station on 14 May 1973. Both complexes were modified to support Space Shuttle missions later on. Complex 39A supported the first Space Shuttle launch on 12 April 1981. More...

Challenger Chronology


1978 February 10 - .
  • Complete final assembly, STA-099, Palmdale - . Nation: USA. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Challenger.

1978 February 14 - .
  • STA-099 on dock, Lockheed facility, Palmdale - . Nation: USA. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Challenger.

1979 June 21 - .
  • Start assembly crew module, Challenger (OV-099) - . Nation: USA. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Challenger.

1979 August 6 - .
  • Complete limit test (STA-099) - . Nation: USA. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Challenger. Summary: Complete limit test (STA-099), Lockheed facility, Palmdale.

1983 April 4 - . 18:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-6.
  • STS-6 - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Bobko; Musgrave; Peterson; Weitz. Payload: Challenger F01 / TDRS 1 [IUS]. Mass: 21,305 kg (46,969 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bobko; Musgrave; Peterson; Weitz. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-6. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 5.02 days. Decay Date: 1983-04-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 13968 . COSPAR: 1983-026A. Apogee: 295 km (183 mi). Perigee: 288 km (178 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. Manned four crew. First flight of space shuttle Challenger; deployed TDRSS. Payloads: Deployment of Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-A with Inertial Upper Stage (lUS)-2, Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES), Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR), Night/Day Optical Survey of Lightning (NOSL) experiment, three getaway specials (GAS).

1983 April 8 - . 21:05 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-6-1 - . Crew: Musgrave; Peterson. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.17 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Musgrave; Peterson. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-6. Spacecraft: Challenger. Summary: Tested EMU Manoeuvring Unit. Tested EVA emergency procedures..

1983 June 18 - . 11:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-7.
  • STS-7 - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Crippen; Fabian; Hauck; Ride; Thagard. Payload: Challenger F02 / OSTA-2. Mass: 16,839 kg (37,123 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Crippen; Fabian; Hauck; Ride; Thagard. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-7. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 6.10 days. Decay Date: 1983-06-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 14132 . COSPAR: 1983-059A. Apogee: 307 km (190 mi). Perigee: 299 km (185 mi). Inclination: 28.3000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Manned five crew. Deployed Anik C2, Palapa B1; deployed and retrieved SPAS platform. Payloads: Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (OSTA)-2 experiments, deployment of PALAPA-B1 communications satellite for Indonesia with Payload Assist Module (PAM)-D and Telesat-F communications satellite for Canada with PAM-D, German Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS)-01, seven getaway specials (GAS), Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR), Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES).

1983 August 30 - . 06:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-8.
  • STS-8 - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Bluford; Brandenstein; Gardner; Thornton, Bill; Truly. Payload: Challenger F03 / PFTA. Mass: 13,642 kg (30,075 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Brandenstein; Gardner; Thornton, Bill; Truly. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-8. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 6.05 days. Decay Date: 1983-09-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 14312 . COSPAR: 1983-089A. Apogee: 313 km (194 mi). Perigee: 306 km (190 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.70 min. First night launch and night landing. Deployed Insat 1B. Payloads: Deployment of INSAT (lndia communica-tion satellite) with Payload Assist Module (PAM)-D, Payload Flight Test Article (PFTA)/ Payload Deployment Retrieval System (PDRS), Continuous Flow Electrophoresis (CFES), biomedical experiments. 250,000 express mail envelopes with special cachet for U.S. Postal Service were carried for a first-day cover.

1984 February 3 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-11/41-B.
  • STS-41-B - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Brand; Gibson; McCandless; McNair; Stewart. Payload: Challenger F04 / SPAS 1A. Mass: 15,362 kg (33,867 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brand; Gibson; McCandless; McNair; Stewart. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-41-B. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.97 days. Decay Date: 1984-02-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 14681 . COSPAR: 1984-011A. Apogee: 316 km (196 mi). Perigee: 307 km (190 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.80 min. Manned five crew. Deployed Westar 6, Palapa B2; tested Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). Payloads: PALAPA-B2 (Indonesian communications satellite) with Payload Assist Module (PAM)-D and WESTAR (Western Union communications satellite)-Vl with PAM-D. Both satellites were deployed but the PAM-D in each satellite failed to ignite, leaving both satellites in earth orbit. Both satellites were retrieved and returned to earth for renovation on the STS-51-A mission. The manned maneuvering unit (MMU) was tested with extravehicular astronauts as free flyers without tethers as far as 98 m from the orbiter. Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS)-01 experiments, Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR), Isoelectric Focusing Experiment (lEF), Acoustic Containerless Experiment System (ACES), Cinema 360 cameras, five getaway specials (GAS), Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification (ACIP)/High Resolution Accelerom-eter Package (HIRAP).

1984 February 7 - .
1984 February 9 - .
1984 April 6 - . 13:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-13/41-C.
  • STS-41-C - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Crippen; Hart; Nelson; Scobee; van Hoften. Payload: Challenger F05 / LDEF 1 / MMU 3. Mass: 17,357 kg (38,265 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Crippen; Hart; Nelson; Scobee; van Hoften. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-41-C. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 6.99 days. Decay Date: 1984-04-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 14897 . COSPAR: 1984-034A. Apogee: 468 km (290 mi). Perigee: 222 km (137 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 91.40 min. Manned five crew. First repair on orbit of a satellite, Solar Maximum Mission, by James van Hoften and George Nelson. Deployed LDEF. Payloads:Solar Maximum Mission (SMM) repair, manned maneuvering unit (MMU) satellite support, deployment of Long-Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) in earth orbit free drift. LDEF contained 57 experiments and weighed about 10,000 kg. Cinema 360 and IMAX 70-mm cameras.

1984 April 8 - . 14:18 GMT - .
1984 April 11 - . 08:58 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-41-C-2 - . Crew: Nelson; van Hoften. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.30 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Nelson; van Hoften. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-41-C. Spacecraft: Challenger. Summary: Successfully captured and repaired Solar Max satellite..

1984 July - .
1984 October 5 - . 11:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-17/41-G.
  • STS-41-G - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Crippen; Garneau; Leestma; McBride; Ride; Scully-Power; Sullivan. Payload: Challenger F06 / ERBS / LFC / ORS. Mass: 10,643 kg (23,463 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Crippen; Garneau; Leestma; McBride; Ride; Scully-Power; Sullivan. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-41-G. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 8.22 days. Decay Date: 1984-10-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 15353 . COSPAR: 1984-108A. Apogee: 390 km (240 mi). Perigee: 350 km (210 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.00 min. Manned seven crew. Deployed ERBS; performed high resolution Earth imagery. Payloads: Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) deployment, Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (OSTA)-3 experiments, Large Format Camera (LFC). First use of Orbital Refueling System (ORS) with extravehicular activity (EVA) astronauts, IMAX camera.

1984 October 11 - .
1985 March - .
1985 April 29 - . 16:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-21/51-B.
  • STS-51-B - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Gregory; Lind; Overmyer; Thagard; Thornton, Bill; van den Berg; Wang. Payload: Challenger F07 / SL 3 MPESS. Mass: 14,245 kg (31,404 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gregory; Lind; Overmyer; Thagard; Thornton, Bill; van den Berg; Wang. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-51-B. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.01 days. Decay Date: 1985-05-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 15665 . COSPAR: 1985-034A. Apogee: 353 km (219 mi). Perigee: 346 km (214 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 91.50 min. Manned seven crew. Deployed Nusat; carried Spacelab 3. Payloads: Spacelab-3 experiments, habitable Spacelab and mission peculiar experiment support structure. The experiments represented a total of five different disciplines: materials processing in space, environmental observa-tions, life science, astrophysics, and technology experiments. Two getaway specials (GAS). The flight crew was split into gold and silver shifts working 12-hour days during the flight.

1985 July - .
1985 July 12 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle.
  • Shuttle Challenger Pad Abort - . Nation: USA. Program: STS. Flight: STS-51-F. Spacecraft: Challenger. Summary: The countdown for Challenger's launch was halted at T-3 seconds when on-board computers detected a problem with a coolant valve on main engine #2. The valve was replaced and Challenger was launched on July 29, 1985..

1985 July 29 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-26/51-F.
  • STS-51-F - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Acton; Bartoe; Bridges; England; Fullerton; Henize; Musgrave. Payload: Challenger F08 / PDP / Spacelab 2 PLT. Mass: 15,603 kg (34,398 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Acton; Bartoe; Bridges; England; Fullerton; Henize; Musgrave. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-51-F. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.95 days. Decay Date: 1985-08-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 15925 . COSPAR: 1985-063A. Apogee: 337 km (209 mi). Perigee: 203 km (126 mi). Inclination: 49.5000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. Manned seven crew. At 5 minutes, 45 seconds into ascent the number one engine shut down prematurely due to a a sensor problem and an abort to orbit was declared. Despite the anomaly the mission continued. Launched PDP; carried Spacelab 2. Payloads: Spacelab-2 with 13 experiments, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), Protein Crystal Growth (PCG). The flight crew was divided into a red and blue team. Each team worked 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation.

1985 October 30 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-29/61-A.
  • STS-61-A - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Bluford; Buchli; Dunbar; Furrer; Hartsfield; Messerschmid; Nagel; Ockels. Payload: Challenger F09 / GLOMR 1. Mass: 14,451 kg (31,859 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Buchli; Dunbar; Furrer; Hartsfield; Messerschmid; Nagel; Ockels. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-61-A. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.03 days. Decay Date: 1985-11-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 16230 . COSPAR: 1985-104A. Apogee: 331 km (205 mi). Perigee: 319 km (198 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 91.00 min. Manned eight crew. Launched GLOMR; carried Spacelab D1. Payloads: Spacelab D-1 with habitable module and 76 experiments. Six of the eight crew members were divided into a blue and red team working 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation. The remaining two crew members were 'switch hitters.'.

1986 January 28 - . 16:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-33/51-L. FAILURE: Seal on SRB failed, allowed hot gas to burn through External Tank.. Failed Stage: 0.
1986 May - .
1986 July - .
1986 September - .
1986 December - .
1987 March - .
1988 February - .
  • STS-81-G (cancelled) - . Crew: Mohri; Mukai. Backup Crew: Doi. Payload: Spacelab-J. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mohri; Mukai; Doi. Program: STS. Flight: STS-81-G. Spacecraft: Challenger. Summary: Planned Spacelab-J shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. .

1988 September 1 - . LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: STS-51-K.
  • STS-51-K (cancelled) - . Payload: Spacelab-D1 . Nation: USA. Program: STS. Flight: STS-51-K. Spacecraft: Challenger. Summary: Planned Spacelab-D1 shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. No crew selected; renamed STS-61A.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use