Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: NASA
Crew: Harris, Henricks, Nagel, Precourt, Ross, Schlegel, Walter. Manned seven crew. Carried German Spacelab-D2.

Manned seven crew. Carried German Spacelab-D2. Payloads: Spacelab D-2 with long module, unique support structure (USS), and Reaction Kinetics in Glass Melts (RKGM) getaway special, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II.

Orbits of Earth: 160. Distance traveled: 6,701,602 km. Orbiter Liftoff Mass: 115,780 kg. Orbiter Mass at Landing: 103,055 kg. Payload to Orbit: 12,185 kg. Payload Returned: 12,185 kg. Landed at: Concrete runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, Cali. Landing Speed: 389 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 554 m. Landing Rollout: 3,086 m.

NASA Official Mission Narrative

Mission Name: STS-55 (55)
PAD 39-A (48)
55th Shuttle Mission
14th Flight OV-102
Extended Mission
RSLS Abort after SSME Ignition (3)
EAFB Landing (38)

Steven R. Nagel (4), Commander
Terence T. Henricks (2), Pilot
Jerry L. Ross (4), Mission Specialist 1
Charles J. Precourt (1), Mission Specialist 2
Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. (1), Mission Specialist 3
Dr. Ulrich Walter (1), Payload Specialist 1
Hans Schlegel (1), Payload Specialist 2

OPF-2 -- 11/02/92
VAB -- 02/03/93
PAD -- 02/08/93

Mission Objectives:

April 26, 1993, 10:50 a.m. EDT. Launch was scheduled for 9:51am EST on 3/22/93 but was scrubbed at T-3 seconds after main engine ignition. D-2 suffered months of delays. The most severe was the discovery that the three main engines mounted on Columbia might contain obsolete tip-seal retaininers in their high-pressure turbopumps. All engines were removed and inspected and contained the proper retainers.
Altitude: 163nm
Inclination: 28.45 degrees
Orbits: 160
Duration: 9 days, 23 hours, 39 minutes, 59 seconds.
Distance: 4,164,183 miles

Hardware: (Flow-A)
ET :
SSME-1: SN-2030
SSME-2: SN-2034
SSME-3: SN-2011 (Flow-B)
SRB: BI-057
SRM: 360L/W030
ET : 56
MLP : 1
SSME-1: SN-2031
SSME-2: SN-2109
SSME-3: SN-2029

May 6, 1993, 10:30 a.m. EDT. Edwards AFB Runway 22. Orbiter Landing weight: 244,400 lbs.

Mission Highlights:
Columbia carried to orbit the second reusable German Spacelab on the STS-55 mission and demonstrated the shuttle's ability for international cooperation, exploration, and scientific research in space. The Spacelab Module and an exterior experiment support structure contained in Columbia's payload bay comprised the Spacelab D-2 payload. (The first German Spacelab flight, D-1, flew Shuttle mission 61-A in October 1985.) The U.S. and Germany gained valuable experience for future space station operations.
The D-2 mission, as it was commonly called, augmented the German microgravity research program started by the D-1 mission. The German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) had been tasked by the German Space Agency (DARA) to conduct the second mission. DLR, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and agencies in France and Japan contributed to D-2's scientific program. Eleven nations participated in the experiments. Of the 88 experiments conducted on the D-2 mission, four were sponsored by NASA.

The crew worked in two shifts around-the-clock to complete investigations into the areas of fluid physics, materials sciences, life sciences, biological sciences, technology, Earth observations, atmospheric physics, and astronomy. Many of the experiments advanced the research of the D-1 mission by conducting similar tests, using upgraded processing hardware, or implementing methods that take full advantage of the technical advancements since 1985. The D-2 mission also contained several new experiments which were not previously flown on the D-1 mission. The D-2 Mission conducted 88 experiments to study life sciences, material sciences, technology applications, Earth observations, astronomy, and atmospheric physics. It surpassed the 365th day in space for the Space Shuttle fleet. Also surpassed the 100th day of flight time in space for Columbia, the fleet's oldest Orbiter on its fourteenth flight.
D-2 also Conducted the first tele-robotic capture of a free floating object by flight controllers in Germany. The crew also conducted the first intervenus saline solution injection in space as part of an experiment to study the human body's response to direct fluid replacement as a countermeasure for amounts lost during space flight. They also successfully completed an in-flight maintenance procedure for collection of orbiter waste water allowing the mission to continue .
STS-55 crewmembers also participated in two amateur radio experiments, SAREX II from the United States and the German SAFEX. The experiments allowed students and amateur radio operators from around the world to talk directly with the Space Shuttle in orbit and participated in a Space Medicine conference with the Mayo Clinic.

AKA: Columbia.
First Launch: 1993.04.25.
Last Launch: 1993.05.05.
Duration: 9.99 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated People
  • Nagel Nagel, Steven Ray (1946-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-51-G, STS-61-A, STS-37, STS-55. Was married to astronaut Linda Godwin. More...
  • Ross Ross, Jerry Lynn (1948-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-61-B, STS-27, STS-37, STS-55, STS-74, STS-88, STS-110. Held world record of seven spaceflights. US record of nine spacewalks. More...
  • Schlegel Schlegel, Hans Wilhelm (1951-) German physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-55, STS-122. More...
  • Henricks Henricks, Terence Thomas 'Tom' (1952-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-44, STS-55, STS-70, STS-78. More...
  • Walter Walter, Dr Ulrich Hans (1954-) German physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-55. More...
  • Precourt Precourt, Charles Joseph 'Charlie' (1955-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-55, STS-71, STS-84, STS-91. More...
  • Harris Harris, Dr Bernard Andrew Jr (1956-) African-American physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-55, STS-63. First African-American to walk in space. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Columbia American manned spaceplane. 28 launches, 1981.04.12 (STS-1) to 2003.01.16 (STS-107). Columbia, the first orbiter in the Shuttle fleet, was named after the sloop that accomplished the first American circumnavigation of the globe. 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-55 Chronology

1993 March 22 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle.
  • Shuttle Columbia Pad Abort - . Nation: USA. Program: STS. Flight: STS-55. Spacecraft: Columbia. The countdown for Columbia's launch was halted by on-board computers at T-3 seconds following a problem with purge pressure readings in the oxidizer preburner on main engine #2 Columbia's three main engines were replaced on the launch pad, and the flight was rescheduled behind Discovery's launch on STS-56. Columbia finally launched on April 26, 1993.

1993 April 26 - . 14:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-55.
  • STS-55 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Harris; Henricks; Nagel; Precourt; Ross; Schlegel; Walter. Payload: Columbia F14/USS/Spacelab D-2 LM. Mass: 12,185 kg (26,863 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Harris; Henricks; Nagel; Precourt; Ross; Schlegel; Walter. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-55. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 9.99 days. Decay Date: 1993-05-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 22640 . COSPAR: 1993-027A. Apogee: 312 km (193 mi). Perigee: 304 km (188 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.70 min. Summary: Manned seven crew. Carried German Spacelab-D2. Payloads: Spacelab D-2 with long module, unique support structure (USS), and Reaction Kinetics in Glass Melts (RKGM) getaway special, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II..

1993 May 5 - .
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