Encyclopedia Astronautica

STS-38 Atlantis, OV-104, lifting off from KSC LC Pad during night launch
Credit: NASA
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
STS-38 Atlantis, OV-104, lifts off from KSC LC Pad during night launch
Credit: NASA
STS-38 Mission Specialist (MS) Springer uses camera on OV-104 aft flight deck
Credit: NASA
STS-38 crewmembers eat meal on OV-104's middeck
Credit: NASA
STS-38 MS Gemar with camera and ARMY decal on OV-104's forward flight deck
Credit: NASA
Crew: Covey, Culbertson, Gemar, Meade, Springer. Manned five crew. Deployed a classified payload. Launch delayed from July 1990 for series of technical problems. First post-Challenger landing at KSC after mission extended one day due to unacceptable crosswinds at original planned landing site, Edwards.

Manned five crew. Deployed a classified payload. Orbits of Earth: 79. Landed at: Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Landing Speed: 359 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 430.00 m. Landing Rollout: 2,712.00 m. Payloads: DoD Mission.

NASA Official Mission Narrative

Mission Name: STS-38 (37)
Atlantis (7)
Pad 39-A 39)
37th Shuttle mission
7th Flight OV-104
5th Rollback
5th Night launch
Extended mission
Diverted landing
6th KSC Landing

Richard O. Covey (3), Commander
Frank L. Culbertson, Jr. (1), Pilot
Robert C. Springer (2), Mission Specialist 1
Carl J. Meade (1), Mission Specialist 2
Charles D. Gemar (1), Mission Specialist 3

Flow A:
OPF - March 14, 1990
VAB - June 8, 1990
PAD - June 18, 1990
Flow B (rollback):
VAB - Aug. 9,1990
OPF - Aug. 15, 1990
VAB - Oct. 2,1990
PAD - Oct. 12, 1990

Mission Objectives:

November 15, 1990, 6:48:13 p.m. EST. Launch originally scheduled for July 1990. However, liquid hydrogen leak found on orbiter Columbia during STS-35 countdown prompted three precautionary tanking tests on Atlantis at pad June 29, July 13 and July 25. Tests confirmed hydrogen fuel leak on external tank- side of external tank/orbiter 17-inch quick disconnect umbilical. Could not repair at pad and Atlantis rolled back to VAB Aug. 9, demated and transferred to OPF. During rollback, vehicle parked outside VAB about a day while COLUMBIA/STS-35 stack transferred to pad for launch. Outside, Atlantis suffered minor hail damage to tiles during thunderstorm. After repairs made in OPF, Atlantis transferred to VAB for mating Oct. 2. During hoisting operations, platform beam that should have been removed from aft compartment fell and caused minor damage which was repaired. Vehicle rolled out to Pad A Oct. 12. Fourth mini-tanking test performed Oct. 24, with no excessive hydrogen or oxygen leakage detected. At Flight Readiness Review, launch date set for Nov. 9. Launch reset for Nov. 15 due to payload problems. Liftoff occurred during classified launch window lying within launch period extending from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 15, 1990. Launch Weight: Classified.
Altitude: 142
Inclination: 28.5
Orbits: 79
Duration: 4 days, 21 hours, 54 minutes, 31 seconds.
Distance: 2,030,000 miles

SRB: BI-039
SRM: 360W012
ET : 40/LWT-33
MLP : 1
SSME-1: SN-2019
SSME-2: SN-2022
SSME-3: SN-2027

November 20, 1990, 4:42:42 p.m. EST, Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Rollout distance: 9,032 feet. Rollout time: 57 seconds. Mission extended one day due to unacceptable crosswinds at original planned landing site, Edwards. Continued adverse conditions led to decision to shift landing to KSC. First KSC landing for Atlantis, first end-of-mission landing at KSC since April 1985. Landing Weight: 191,091 lbs.

Mission Highlights:
Seventh mission dedicated to Department of Defense.

AKA: Atlantis.
First Launch: 1990.11.15.
Last Launch: 1990.11.20.
Duration: 4.91 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated People
  • Springer Springer, Robert Clyde 'Bob' (1942-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-29, STS-38. US Marine Corps. Flew 550 combat missions in Southeast Asia. Grew up in Ashland, Ohio. More...
  • Covey Covey, Richard Oswalt 'Dick' (1946-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-51-I, STS-26, STS-38, STS-61. Grew up in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, son of an Air Force officer. Flew 339 combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia More...
  • Culbertson Culbertson, Frank Lee Jr (1949-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-38, STS-51, ISS EO-3. More...
  • Meade Meade, Carl Joseph (1950-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-38, STS-50, STS-64. More...
  • Gemar Gemar, Charles Donald 'Sam' (1955-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-38, STS-48, STS-62. US Army More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Atlantis American manned spaceplane. 33 launches, 1985.10.03 to 2011.07.08. The space shuttle Atlantis was the fourth orbiter to become operational at Kennedy Space Center, and the last of the original production run. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NASA Houston American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Houston, Houston, 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 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...

STS-38 Chronology

1990 November 15 - . 23:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-38.
  • STS-38 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Covey; Culbertson; Gemar; Meade; Springer. Payload: Atlantis F07 / DoD. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Covey; Culbertson; Gemar; Meade; Springer. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-38. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 4.91 days. Decay Date: 1990-11-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 20935 . COSPAR: 1990-097A. Apogee: 226 km (140 mi). Perigee: 78 km (48 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 87.50 min. Summary: Manned five crew. Deployed a classified payload. Orbits of Earth: 79. Payloads: DoD Mission..

1990 November 20 - .
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