Orbital platforms

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Size comparisons between current and past space stations as they appeared most recently. Solar panels in blue, heat radiators in red. Note that stations have different depths not shown by silhouettes. Credit: Evolution and evolvability.{{free media}}

Def. a "manned [crewed] artificial satellite designed for long-term habitation, research, etc."[1] is called a space station.

Def. "a space station, generally constructed for one purpose, that orbits a celestial body such as a planet, asteroid, or star"[2] is called an orbital platform.

Apollo-Soyuz[edit | edit source]

A 1973 artist's conception of the docking of the two spacecraft is shown. Credit: R. Bruneau, NASA.{{free media}}
A Saturn IB launch vehicle lifts the American ASTP crew into orbit. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
This scene was photographed with a handheld 70mm camera from a rendezvous window of the American Apollo spacecraft. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

An artist's concept illustrates an Apollo-type spacecraft (on left) about to dock with a Soviet Soyuz-type spacecraft. A recent agreement between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics provides for the docking in space of the Soyuz and Apollo-type spacecraft in Earth orbit in 1975. The joint venture is called the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

The three American astronauts, Thomas P. Stafford, Vance D. Brand, and Deke Slayton, and two Soviet cosmonauts, Alexei Leonov and Valeri Kubasov, performed both joint and separate scientific experiments, including an arranged eclipse of the Sun by the Apollo module to allow instruments on the Soyuz to take photographs of the solar corona.

The photo on the left depicts the liftoff of the Saturn IB launch vehicle (SA-210), for the Apollo/Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission, from the Launch Complex 39B, Kennedy Space Center. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) was the first international docking of the U.S.'s Apollo spacecraft and the U.S.S.R.'s Soyuz spacecraft in space. The objective of the ASTP mission was to provide the basis for a standardized international system for docking of manned spacecraft. The Soyuz spacecraft, with Cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valeri Kubasov aboard, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam in the Kazakh, Soviet Socialist Republic, at 8:20 a.m. (EDT) on July 15, 1975. The Apollo spacecraft, with Astronauts Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald Slayton aboard, was launched from Launch Complex 39B, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 3:50 p.m. (EDT) on July 15, 1975. The Primary objectives of the ASTP were achieved. They performed spacecraft rendezvous, docking and undocking, conducted intervehicular crew transfer, and demonstrated the interaction of U.S. and U.S.S.R. control centers and spacecraft crews. The mission marked the last use of a Saturn launch vehicle. The Marshall Space Flight Center was responsible for development and sustaining engineering of the Saturn IB launch vehicle during the mission.

This scene (second image down on the right) was photographed with a handheld 70 mm camera from a rendezvous window of the American Apollo spacecraft in Earth orbit during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission. It shows the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft contrasted against a black-sky background with the Earth's horizon below. The American Docking Mechanism (DM) is visible at the top of the picture.

International Space Station[edit | edit source]

The International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by an STS-134 crew member on the space shuttle Endeavour after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
The Space Shuttle Endeavor crew captured this shot of the International Space Station (ISS) against the backdrop of Planet Earth. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
The MISSE are usually loaded on the outside of International Space Station. The inset image shows where. Credit: NASA.{{fairuse}}
In this image, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS-02) is visible at center left on top of the starboard truss of the International Space Station. Credit: STS-134 crew member and NASA.{{free media}}
This is a computer-generated image of the Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO) as part of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) on the International Space Station (ISS). Credit: JEM-EUSO, Angela Olinto.{{fairuse}}
This image shows a Bonner Ball Neutron Detector which is housed inside the small plastic ball when the top is put back on. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

On the right is the International Space Station after the undocking of STS-134 Space Shuttle.

The Space Shuttle Endeavor crew captured this shot [on the left] of the International Space Station (ISS) against the backdrop of Planet Earth.

"Since 2001, NASA and its partners have operated a series of flight experiments called Materials International Space Station Experiment, or MISSE [on the second right]. The objective of MISSE is to test the stability and durability of materials and devices in the space environment."[3]

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the second left is designed to search for various types of unusual matter by measuring cosmic rays.

The Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO) [on the third right] is the first Space mission concept devoted to the investigation of cosmic rays and neutrinos of extreme energy (E > 5×1019
 eV
). Using the Earth's atmosphere as a giant detector, the detection is performed by looking at the streak of fluorescence produced when such a particle interacts with the Earth's atmosphere.

The Space Environment Data Acquisition equipment-Attached Payload (SEDA-AP) aboard the Kibo (International Space Station module) measures neutrons, plasma, heavy ions, and high-energy light particles in ISS orbit.

On the lower right is a Bonner Ball Neutron Detector "BBND ... determined that galactic cosmic rays were the major cause of secondary neutrons measured inside ISS. The neutron energy spectrum was measured from March 23, 2001 through November 14, 2001 in the U.S. Laboratory Module of the ISS. The time frame enabled neutron measurements to be made during a time of increased solar activity (solar maximum) as well as observe the results of a solar flare on November 4, 2001."[4]

"Bonner Ball Neutron Detector (BBND) [shown with its cap off] measures neutron radiation (low-energy, uncharged particles) which can deeply penetrate the body and damage blood forming organs. Neutron radiation is estimated to be 20 percent of the total radiation on the International Space Station (ISS). This study characterizes the neutron radiation environment to develop safety measures to protect future ISS crews."[4]

Six BBND detectors were distributed around the International Space Station (ISS) to allow data collection at selected points.

"The six BBND detectors provided data indicating how much radiation was absorbed at various times, allowing a model of real-time exposure to be calculated, as opposed to earlier models of passive neutron detectors which were only capable of providing a total amount of radiation received over a span of time. Neutron radiation information obtained from the Bonner Ball Neutron Detector (BBND) can be used to develop safety measures to protect crewmembers during both long-duration missions on the ISS and during interplanetary exploration."[4]

"The Bonner Ball Neutron Detector (BBND) developed by Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA) was used inside the International Space Station (ISS) to measure the neutron energy spectrum. It consisted of several neutron moderators enabling the device to discriminate neutron energies up to 15 MeV (15 mega electron volts). This BBND characterized the neutron radiation on ISS during Expeditions 2 and 3."[4]

"BBND results show the overall neutron environment at the ISS orbital altitude is influenced by highly energetic galactic cosmic rays, except in the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) region where protons trapped in the Earth's magnetic field cause a more severe neutron environment. However, the number of particles measured per second per square cm per MeV obtained by BBND is consistently lower than that of the precursor investigations. The average dose-equivalent rate observed through the investigation was 3.9 micro Sv/hour or about 10 times the rate of radiological exposure to the average US citizen. In general, radiation damage to the human body is indicated by the amount of energy deposited in living tissue, modified by the type of radiation causing the damage; this is measured in units of Sieverts (Sv). The background radiation dose received by an average person in the United States is approximately 3.5 milliSv/year. Conversely, an exposure of 1 Sv can result in radiation poisoning and a dose of five Sv will result in death in 50 percent of exposed individuals. The average dose-equivalent rate observed through the BBND investigation is 3.9 micro Sv/hour, or about ten times the average US surface rate. The highest rate, 96 microSv/hour was observed in the SAA region."[4]

"The November 4, 2001 solar flare and the associated geomagnetic activity caused the most severe radiation environment inside the ISS during the BBND experiment. The increase of neutron dose-equivalent due to those events was evaluated to be 0.19mSv, which is less than 1 percent of the measured neutron dose-equivalent measured over the entire 8-month period."[4]

Mir[edit | edit source]

Approach view is of the Mir Space Station viewed from Space Shuttle Endeavour during the STS-89 rendezvous. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

In the image on the right, a Progress cargo ship is attached on the left, a Soyuz manned spacecraft attached on the right. Mir is seen on the right from Space Shuttle Endeavour during STS-89 (28 January 1998).

Mir was a space station that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, operated by the Soviet Union and later by Russia. Mir was the first modular space station and was assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996. It had a greater mass than any previous spacecraft. At the time it was the largest artificial satellite in orbit, succeeded by the International Space Station (ISS) after Mir's orbit decayed.

Mir was the first continuously inhabited long-term research station in orbit and held the record for the longest continuous human presence in space at 3,644 days, until it was surpassed by the ISS on 23 October 2010.[5]

The first module of the station, known as the Mir Core Module or base block, was launched in 1986 and followed by six further modules. Proton rockets were used to launch all of its components except for the Mir Docking Module, which was installed by US Space Shuttle mission STS-74 in 1995. When complete, the station consisted of seven pressurised modules and several unpressurised components. Power was provided by several photovoltaic arrays attached directly to the modules. The station was maintained at an orbit between 296 km (184 mi) and 421 km (262 mi) altitude and travelled at an average speed of 27,700 km/h (17,200 mph), completing 15.7 orbits per day.[6][7][8]

Polar Satellite 4[edit | edit source]

Third and fourth stages of PSLV-C45. Credit: Indian Space Research Organisation.{{free media}}

PS4 has carried hosted payloads like AAM on PSLV-C8,[9] Luxspace (Rubin 9.1)/(Rubin 9.2) on PSLV-C14[10] and mRESINS on PSLV-C21.[11]

PS4 is being augmented to serve as a long duration orbital platform after completion of its primary mission. PS4 Orbital Platform (PS4-OP) will have its own power supply, telemetry package, data storage and attitude control for hosted payloads.[12][13][14]

On PSLV-C37 and PSLV-C38 campaigns,[15] as a demonstration PS4 was kept operational and monitored for over ten orbits after delivering spacecraft.[16][17][18]

PSLV-C44 was the first campaign where PS4 functioned as independent orbital platform for short duration as there was no on-board power generation capacity.[19] It carried KalamSAT-V2 as a fixed payload, a 1U cubesat by Space Kidz India based on Interorbital Systems kit.[20][21]

On PSLV-C45 campaign, the fourth stage had its own power generation capability as it was augmented with an array of fixed solar cells around PS4 propellant tank.[22] Three payloads hosted on PS4-OP were, Advanced Retarding Potential Analyzer for Ionospheric Studies (ARIS 101F) by IIST,[23] experimental Automatic identification system (AIS) payload by ISRO and AISAT by Satellize.[24] To function as orbital platform, fourth stage was put in spin-stabilized mode using its RCS thrusters.[25]

Salyut 1[edit | edit source]

Salyut 1 is photographed from the departing Soyuz 11. Credit: Viktor Patsayev.{{fairuse}}

Salyut 1 (DOS-1) was the world's first space station launched into low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971. The Soyuz 11 crew achieved successful hard docking and performed experiments in Salyut 1 for 23 days.

Civilian Soviet space stations were internally referred to as DOS (the Russian acronym for "Long-duration orbital station"), although publicly, the Salyut name was used for the first six DOS stations (Mir was internally known as DOS-7).[26]

The astrophysical Orion 1 Space Observatory designed by Grigor Gurzadyan of Byurakan Observatory in Armenia, was installed in Salyut 1. Ultraviolet spectrograms of stars were obtained with the help of a mirror telescope of the Mersenne Three-mirror_anastigmat system and a spectrograph of the Wadsworth system using film sensitive to the far ultraviolet. The dispersion of the spectrograph was 32 Å/mm (3.2 nm/mm), while the resolution of the spectrograms derived was about 5 Å at 2600 Å (0.5 nm at 260 nm). Slitless spectrograms were obtained of the stars Vega and Beta Centauri between 2000 and 3800 Å (200 and 380 nm).[27] The telescope was operated by crew member Viktor Patsayev, who became the first man to operate a telescope outside of the Earth's atmosphere.[28]

Salyut 3[edit | edit source]

Salyut 3 (Almaz 2) Soviet military space station model shows Soyuz 14 docked. Credit: Godai.{{free media}}

Salyut 3; also known as OPS-2[29] or Almaz 2[30]) was a Soviet Union space station launched on 25 June 1974. It was the second Almaz military space station, and the first such station to be launched successfully.[30] It was included in the Salyut program to disguise its true military nature.[31] Due to the military nature of the station, the Soviet Union was reluctant to release information about its design, and about the missions relating to the station.[32]

It attained an altitude of 219 to 270 km on launch[33] and NASA reported its final orbital altitude was 268 to 272 km.[34]

The space stations funded and developed by the military, known as Almaz stations, were roughly similar in size and shape to the civilian DOS stations.[32] But the details of their design, which is attributed to Vladimir Chelomey, are considered to be significantly different from the DOS stations.[32] The first Almaz station was Salyut 2, which launched in April 1973, but failed only days after reaching orbit, and hence it was never manned.[30]

Salyut 3 consisted of an airlock chamber, a large-diameter work compartment, and a small diameter living compartment, giving a total habitable volume of 90 m³.[35] It had two solar arrays, one docking port, and two main engines, each of which could produce 400 kgf (3.9 kN) of thrust.[35] Its launch mass was 18,900 kg.[30]

The station came equipped with a shower, a standing sleeping station, as well as a foldaway bed.[30] The floor was covered with hook and loop fastener (Velcro) to assist the cosmonauts moving around the station. Some entertainment on the station included a magnetic chess set, a small library, and a cassette deck with some audio compact Cassette tapes.[35] Exercise equipment included a treadmill and Pingvin exercise suit.[35] The first water-recycling facilities were tested on the station; the system was called Priboy.[30]

The work compartment was dominated by the Agat-1 Earth-observation telescope, which had a focal length of 6.375 metres and an optical resolution better than three metres, according to post-Soviet sources;[36]. Another NASA source[30] states the focal length was 10 metres; but Portree's document preceded Siddiqi's by several years, during which time more information about the specifications was gathered. NASA historian Siddiqi has speculated that given the size of the telescope's mirror, it likely had a resolution better than one metre.[36] The telescope was used in conjunction with a wide-film camera, and was used primarily for military reconnaissance purposes.[36] The cosmonauts are said to have observed targets set out on the ground at Baikonur. Secondary objectives included study of water pollution, agricultural land, possible ore-bearing landforms, and oceanic ice formation.[30]

The Salyut 3, although called a "civilian" station, was equipped with a "self-defence" gun which had been designed for use aboard the station, and whose design is attributed to Alexander Nudelman.[29] Some accounts claim the station was equipped with a Nudelman-Rikhter "Vulkan" gun, which was a variant of the Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 (23 mm Nudelman) aircraft cannon, or possibly a Nudelman-Rikhter NR-30 (Nudelman NR-30) 30 mm gun.[37] Later Russian sources indicate that the gun was the virtually unknown (in the West) Rikhter R-23.[38] These claims have reportedly been verified by Pavel Popovich, who had visited the station in orbit, as commander of Soyuz 14.[37] Due to potential shaking of the station, in-orbit tests of the weapon with cosmonauts in the station were ruled out.[29] The gun was fixed to the station in such a way that the only way to aim would have been to change the orientation of the entire station.[29][37] Following the last manned mission to the station, the gun was commanded by the ground to be fired; some sources say it was fired to depletion,[37] while other sources say three test firings took place during the Salyut 3 mission.[29]

Salyut 4[edit | edit source]

Diagram shows the orbital configuration of the Soviet space station Salyut 4 with a docked Soyuz 7K-T spacecraft. Credit: Bricktop.{{free media}}

Installed on the Salyut 4 were OST-1 (Orbiting Solar Telescope) 25 cm solar telescope with a focal length of 2.5m and spectrograph shortwave diffraction spectrometer for far ultraviolet emissions, designed at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, and two X-ray telescopes.[39][40] One of the X-ray telescopes, often called the Filin telescope, consisted of four gas flow proportional counters, three of which had a total detection surface of 450 cm2 in the energy range 2–10 keV, and one of which had an effective surface of 37 cm2 for the range 0.2 to 2 keV (32 to 320 Attojoule (aJ)). The field of view was limited by a slit collimator to 3 in × 10 in full width at half maximum. The instrumentation also included optical sensors which were mounted on the outside of the station together with the X-ray detectors, and power supply and measurement units which were inside the station. Ground-based calibration of the detectors was considered along with in-flight operation in three modes: inertial orientation, orbital orientation, and survey. Data could be collected in 4 energy channels: 2 to 3.1 keV (320 to 497 aJ), 3.1 to 5.9 keV (497 to 945 aJ), 5.9 to 9.6 keV (945 to 1,538 aJ), and 2 to 9.6 keV (320 to 1,538 aJ) in the larger detectors. The smaller detector had discriminator levels set at 0.2 keV (32 aJ), 0.55 keV (88 aJ), and 0.95 keV (152 aJ).[41]

Other instruments include a swivel chair for vestibular function tests, lower body negative pressure gear for cardiovascular studies, bicycle ergometer integrated physical trainer (electrically driven running track 1 m X .3 m with elastic cords providing 50 kg load), penguin suits and alternate athletic suit, sensors for temperature and characteristics of upper atmosphere, ITS-K infrared telescope spectrometer and ultraviolet spectrometer for study of earth's infrared radiation, multispectral earth resources camera, cosmic ray detector, embryological studies, new engineering instruments tested for orientation of station by celestial objects and in darkness and a teletypewriter.[41]

Salyut 5[edit | edit source]

Image was obtained from the Almaz OPS page. Credit: Mpaoper.{{free media}}

Salyut 5 carried Agat, a camera which the crews used to observe the Earth. The first manned mission, Soyuz 21, was launched from Baikonur on 6 July 1976, and docked at 13:40 UTC the next day.[42]

On 14 October 1976, Soyuz 23 was launched carrying Vyacheslav Zudov and Valery Rozhdestvensky to the space station. During approach for docking the next day, a faulty sensor incorrectly detected an unexpected lateral motion. The spacecraft's Igla automated docking system fired the spacecraft's maneuvering thrusters in an attempt to stop the non-existent motion. Although the crew was able to deactivate the Igla system, the spacecraft had expended too much fuel to reattempt the docking under manual control. Soyuz 23 returned to Earth on 16 October without completing its mission objectives.

The last mission to Salyut 5, Soyuz 24, was launched on 7 February 1977. Its crew consisted of cosmonauts Viktor Gorbatko and Yury Glazkov, who conducted repairs aboard the station and vented the air which had been reported to be contaminated. Scientific experiments were conducted, including observation of the sun. The Soyuz 24 crew departed on 25 February. The short mission was apparently related to Salyut 5 starting to run low on propellant for its main engines and attitude control system.[29]

Salyut 6[edit | edit source]

Salyut 6 is photographed with docked Soyuz (right) and Progress (left). Credit: A cosmonaut of the Soviet space programme.{{fairuse}}

Salyut 6 aka DOS-5, was a Soviet orbital space station, the eighth station of the Salyut programme. It was launched on 29 September 1977 by a Proton rocket. Salyut 6 was the first space station to receive large numbers of crewed and uncrewed spacecraft for human habitation, crew transfer, international participation and resupply, establishing precedents for station life and operations which were enhanced on Mir and the International Space Station.

Salyut 6 was the first "second generation" space station, representing a major breakthrough in capabilities and operational success. In addition to a new propulsion system and its primary scientific instrument—the BST-1M multispectral telescope—the station had two docking ports, allowing two craft to visit simultaneously. This feature made it possible for humans to remain aboard for several months.[43] Six long-term resident crews were supported by ten short-term visiting crews who typically arrived in newer Soyuz craft and departed in older craft, leaving the newer craft available to the resident crew as a return vehicle, thereby extending the resident crew's stay past the design life of the Soyuz. Short-term visiting crews routinely included international cosmonauts from Warsaw pact countries participating in the Soviet Union's Intercosmos programme. These cosmonauts were the first spacefarers from countries other than the Soviet Union or the United States. Salyut 6 was visited and resupplied by twelve uncrewed Progress spacecraft including Progress 1, the first instance of the series. Additionally, Salyut 6 was visited by the first instances of the new Soyuz-T spacecraft.

Salyut 7[edit | edit source]

A view of the Soviet orbital station Salyut 7, with a docked Soyuz spacecraft in view. Credit:NASA.{{fairuse}}

Salyut 7 a.k.a. DOS-6, short for Durable Orbital Station[30]) was a space station in low Earth orbit from April 1982 to February 1991.[30] It was first crewed in May 1982 with two crew via Soyuz T-5, and last visited in June 1986, by Soyuz T-15.[30] Various crew and modules were used over its lifetime, including 12 crewed and 15 uncrewed launches in total.[30] Supporting spacecraft included the Soyuz T, Progress, and TKS spacecraft.[30]

Skylab[edit | edit source]

Skylab is an example of a manned observatory in orbit. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

Skylab included an Apollo Telescope Mount, which was a multi-spectral solar observatory. Numerous scientific experiments were conducted aboard Skylab during its operational life, and crews were able to confirm the existence of coronal holes in the Sun. The Earth Resources Experiment Package (EREP), was used to view the Earth with sensors that recorded data in the visible, infrared, and microwave spectral regions.

Skylab 2[edit | edit source]

Skylab is photographed from the departing Skylab 2 spacecraft. Credit: NASA Skylab 2 crew.{{free media}}

As the crew of Skylab 2 departs, the gold sun shield covers the main portion of the space station. The solar array at the top was the one freed during a spacewalk. The four, windmill-like solar arrays are attached to the Apollo Telescope Mount used for solar astronomy.

Skylab 3[edit | edit source]

Skylab is photographed by the arriving Skylab 3 crew. Credit: NASA Skylab 3 crew.{{free media}}

A close-up view of the Skylab space station photographed against an Earth background from the Skylab 3 Command/Service Module during station-keeping maneuvers prior to docking. The Ilha Grande de Gurupá area of the Amazon River Valley of Brazil can be seen below. Aboard the command module were astronauts Alan L. Bean, Owen K. Garriott, and Jack R. Lousma, who remained with the Skylab space station in Earth's orbit for 59 days. This picture was taken with a hand-held 70mm Hasselblad camera using a 100mm lens and SO-368 medium speed Ektachrome film. Note the one solar array system wing on the Orbital Workshop (OWS) which was successfully deployed during extravehicular activity (EVA) on the first manned Skylab flight. The parasol solar shield which was deployed by the Skylab 2 crew can be seen through the support struts of the Apollo Telescope Mount.

Skylab 4[edit | edit source]

The final view of Skylab, from the departing mission 4 crew, with Earth in the background. Credit: NASA Skylab 4 crew.{{free media}}

An overhead view of the Skylab Orbital Workshop in Earth orbit as photographed from the Skylab 4 Command and Service Modules (CSM) during the final fly-around by the CSM before returning home.

During launch on May 14, 1973, 63 seconds into flight, the micrometeor shield on the Orbital Workshop (OWS) experienced a failure that caused it to be caught up in the supersonic air flow during ascent. This ripped the shield from the OWS and damaged the tie-downs that secured one of the solar array systems.

Complete loss of one of the solar arrays happened at 593 seconds when the exhaust plume from the S-II's separation rockets impacted the partially deployed solar array system. Without the micrometeoroid shield that was to protect against solar heating as well, temperatures inside the OWS rose to 126°F.

The rectangular gold "parasol" over the main body of the station was designed to replace the missing micrometeoroid shield, to protect the workshop against solar heating. The replacement solar shield was deployed by the Skylab I crew.

Spacelabs[edit | edit source]

STS-42 is shown with Spacelab hardware in the orbiter bay overlooking Earth. Credit: NASA STS-42 crew.{{free media}}

OSS-l (named for the NASA Office of Space Science and Applications) onboard STS-3 consisted of a number of instruments mounted on a Spacelab pallet, intended to obtain data on the near-Earth environment and the extent of contamination caused by the orbiter itself. Among other experiments, the OSS pallet contained a X-ray detector for measuring the polarization of X-rays emitted by solar flares.[44] Spacelab was a reusable laboratory developed by European Space Agency (ESA) and used on certain spaceflights flown by the Space Shuttle. The laboratory comprised multiple components, including a pressurized module, an unpressurized carrier, and other related hardware housed in the Shuttle's cargo bay. The components were arranged in various configurations to meet the needs of each spaceflight.

"Spacelab is important to all of us for at least four good reasons. It expanded the Shuttle's ability to conduct science on-orbit manyfold. It provided a marvelous opportunity and example of a large international joint venture involving government, industry, and science with our European allies. The European effort provided the free world with a really versatile laboratory system several years before it would have been possible if the United States had had to fund it on its own. And finally, it provided Europe with the systems development and management experience they needed to move into the exclusive manned space flight arena."[45]

NASA shifted its focus from the Lunar missions to the Space Shuttle, and also space research.[35]

Spacelab consisted of a variety of interchangeable components, with the major one being a crewed laboratory that could be flown in Space Shuttle orbiter's bay and returned to Earth.[46] However, the habitable module did not have to be flown to conduct a Spacelab-type mission and there was a variety of pallets and other hardware supporting space research.[46] The habitable module expanded the volume for astronauts to work in a shirt-sleeve environment and had space for equipment racks and related support equipment.[46] When the habitable module was not used, some of the support equipment for the pallets could instead be housed in the smaller Igloo, a pressurized cylinder connected to the Space Shuttle orbiter crew area.[46]

Mission name Space Shuttle orbiter Launch date Spacelab
mission name
Pressurized
module
Unpressurized
modules
STS-2 Columbia November 12, 1981 OSTA-1 1 Pallet (E002)[47]
STS-3 Columbia March 22, 1982 OSS-1 1 Pallet (E003)[48]
STS-9 Columbia November 28, 1983 Spacelab 1 Module LM1 1 Pallet (F001)
STS-41-G Challenger October 5, 1984 OSTA-3 1 Pallet (F006)[49]
STS-51-A Discovery November 8, 1984 Retrieval of 2 satellites 2 Pallets (F007+F008)
STS-51-B Challenger April 29, 1985 Spacelab 3 Module LM1 Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure (MPESS)
STS-51-F Challenger July 29, 1985 Spacelab 2 Igloo 3 Pallets (F003+F004+F005) + IPS
STS-61-A Challenger October 30, 1985 Spacelab D1 Module LM2 MPESS
STS-35 Columbia December 2, 1990 ASTRO-1 Igloo 2 Pallets (F002+F010) + IPS
STS-40 Columbia June 5, 1991 SLS-1 Module LM1
STS-42 Discovery January 22, 1992 IML-1 Module LM2
STS-45 Atlantis March 24, 1992 ATLAS-1 Igloo 2 Pallets (F004+F005)
STS-50 Columbia June 25, 1992 USML-1 Module LM1 Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO)
STS-46 Atlantis July 31, 1992 TSS-1 1 Pallet (F003)[50]
STS-47 (J) Endeavour September 12, 1992 Spacelab-J Module LM2
STS-56 Discovery April 8, 1993 ATLAS-2 Igloo 1 Pallet (F008)
STS-55 (D2) Columbia April 26, 1993 Spacelab D2 Module LM1 Unique Support Structure (USS)
STS-58 Columbia October 18, 1993 SLS-2 Module LM2 EDO
STS-61 Endeavour December 2, 1993 HST SM 01 1 Pallet (F009)
STS-59 Endeavour April 9, 1994 SRL-1 1 Pallet (F006)
STS-65 Columbia July 8, 1994 IML-2 Module LM1 EDO
STS-64 Discovery September 9, 1994 LITE 1 Pallet (F007)[51]
STS-68 Endeavour September 30, 1994 SRL-2 1 Pallet (F006)
STS-66 Atlantis November 3, 1994 ATLAS-3 Igloo 1 Pallet (F008)
STS-67 Endeavour March 2, 1995 ASTRO-2 Igloo 2 Pallets (F002+F010) + IPS + EDO
STS-71 Atlantis June 27, 1995 Spacelab-Mir Module LM2
STS-73 Columbia October 20, 1995 USML-2 Module LM1 EDO
STS-75 Columbia February 22, 1996 TSS-1R / USMP-3 1 Pallet (F003)[49] + 2 MPESS + EDO
STS-78 Columbia June 20, 1996 LMS Module LM2 EDO
STS-82 Discovery February 21, 1997 HST SM 02 1 Pallet (F009)[49]
STS-83 Columbia April 4, 1997 MSL-1 Module LM1 EDO
STS-94 Columbia July 1, 1997 MSL-1R Module LM1 EDO
STS-90 Columbia April 17, 1998 Neurolab Module LM2 EDO
STS-103 Discovery December 20, 1999 HST SM 03A 1 Pallet (F009)
STS-99 Endeavour February 11, 2000 SRTM 1 Pallet (F006)
STS-92 Discovery Oktober 11, 2000 ISS assembly 1 Pallet (F005)
STS-100 Endeavour April 19, 2001 ISS assembly 1 Pallet (F004)
STS-104 Atlantis July 12, 2001 ISS assembly 2 Pallets (F002+F010)
STS-109 Columbia March 1, 2002 HST SM 03B 1 Pallet (F009)
STS-123 Endeavour March 11, 2008 ISS assembly 1 Pallet (F004)
STS-125 Atlantis May 11, 2009 HST SM 04 1 Pallet (F009)

Spacelab 1[edit | edit source]

Spacelab 1 was carried into space onboard STS-9. Credit: NASA STS-9 crew.{{free media}}

The Spacelab 1 mission had experiments in the fields of space plasma physics, solar physics, atmospheric physics, astronomy, and Earth observation.[52]

Spacelab 2[edit | edit source]

Spacelab 2 pallet is shown in the open payload bay of Space Shuttle Challenger. Credit: NASA STS-19 crew.{{free media}}

View of the Spacelab 2 pallet in the open payload bay. The solar telescope on the Instrument Pointing System (IPS) is fully deployed. The Solar UV high resolution Telescope and Spectrograph are also visible.

The Spacelab Infrared Telescope (IRT) was also flown on the mission.[53] The IRT was a 15.2 cm (6.0 in) aperture liquid helium-cooled infrared telescope, observing light between wavelengths of 1.7 to 118 μm.[53] It was thought heat emissions from the Shuttle corrupting long-wavelength data, but it still returned useful astronomical data.[53] Another problem was that a piece of mylar insulation broke loose and floated in the line-of-sight of the telescope.[53] IRT collected infrared data on 60% of the galactic plane.[54] A later space mission that experienced a stray light problem from debris was Gaia astrometry spacecraft launch in 2013 by the ESA - the source of the stray light was later identified as the fibers of the sunshield, protruding beyond the edges of the shield.[55]

Spacelab 3[edit | edit source]

Spacelab Module is photographed in the Cargo Bay. Credit: NASA STS-17 crew.{{free media}}
Mercuric iodide crystals were grown on STS-51-B, Spacelab 3. Credit: Lodewijk van den Berg and Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA.{{free media}}
The Vapor Crystal Growth System Furnace experiment is shown on STS-51-B. Credit: STS-17 crew.{{free media}}
Space Shuttle Challenger launches on STS-51B. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Lodewijk van den Berg observes the crystal growth aboard Spacelab. Credit: NASA STS-17 crew.{{free media}}

Van den Berg and his colleagues designed the EG&G Vapor Crystal Growth System experiment apparatus for a Space Shuttle flight. The experiment required an in-flight operator and NASA decided that it would be easier to train a crystal growth scientist to become an astronaut, than it would be the other way around. NASA asked EG&G and Van den Berg to compile a list of eight people who would qualify to perform the science experiments in space and to become a Payload Specialist. Van den Berg and his chief, Dr. Harold A. Lamonds could only come up with seven names. Lamonds subsequently proposed adding Van den Berg to the list, joking with Van den Berg that due to his age, huge glasses and little strength, he would probably be dropped during the first selection round; but at least they would have eight names. Van den Berg agreed to be added to the list, but didn't really consider himself being selected to be a realistic scenario.[56][57]

The first selection round consisted of a selection based on science qualifications in the field in question, which Van den Berg easily passed. The final four candidates were tested on physical and mental qualifications which he also passed, while two of the others failed due to possible heart issues. He was now part of the final two, and NASA always trains two astronauts, a prime and a back-up. In 1983 he started to train as an astronaut and six months before the launch he was told that he would be the prime astronaut, much to his own surprise. When he went into space he was 53 years old, making him one of the oldest rookie astronauts.[56][57]

Space Transportation Systems (STSs)[edit | edit source]

This artist's concept illustrates the use of the Space Shuttle, Nuclear Shuttle, and Space Tug in NASA's Integrated Program. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

The purpose of the system was two-fold: to reduce the cost of spaceflight by replacing the current method of launching capsules on expendable rockets with reusable spacecraft; and to support ambitious follow-on programs including permanent orbiting space stations around Earth and the Moon, and a human landing mission to Mars.

The Space Shuttles were often used as short term orbital platforms.

STS-1[edit | edit source]

The April 12, 1981, launch at Pad 39A of STS-1, just seconds past 7 a.m., carries astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen into an Earth orbital mission scheduled to last for 54 hours, ending with unpowered landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
STS-1 crew is shown in Space Shuttle Columbia's cabin. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-1 (Space Transportation System-1) was the first orbital spaceflight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The first orbiter, Columbia, launched on April 12, 1981, and returned on April 14, 1981, 54.5 hours later, having orbited the Earth 36 times. The majority of the Columbia crew's approximately 53 hours in low Earth orbit was spent conducting systems tests including Crew Optical Alignment Sight (COAS) calibration, star tracker performance, Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) performance, manual and automatic Reaction Control System (RCS) testing, radiation measurement, propellant crossfeeding, hydraulics functioning, fuel cell purging and Earth photography.

STS-2[edit | edit source]

Aerial view shows Columbia launch from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA / John Young aboard NASA's Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA).{{free media}}
On Space Shuttle mission STS-2, Nov. 1981, the Canadarm is flown in space for the first time. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-2 was the second Space Shuttle mission conducted by NASA, and the second flight of the orbiter Columbia. It launched on November 12, 1981, and landed two days later on November 14, 1981.[58] On a Spacelab pallet were a number of remote-sensing instruments for environmental quality, and ocean and weather conditions.[59] The second launch of Columbia also included an onboard camera for Earth photography.

Other experiments or tests included Shuttle Multispectral Infrared Radiometer, Feature Identification and Location Experiment, Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites, Ocean Color Experiment, Night/Day optical Survey of Lightning, Heflex Bioengineering Test, and Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package (ACIP).[60]

STS-3[edit | edit source]

STS-3 lifts off from Launch Complex-39A at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
The Kuiper Airborne Observatory took an infrared image of the orbiter's heat shield to study its operational temperatures. In this image, Columbia is travelling at Mach 15.6 at an altitude of 56 km (35 mi). Credit: .{{free media}}

STS-3 was NASA's third Space Shuttle mission, and was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It launched on March 22, 1982, and landed eight days later on March 30, 1982. In its payload bay, Columbia again carried the Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI) package, and a test canister for the Small Self-Contained Payload program – also known as the Getaway Special (GAS) – was mounted on one side of the payload bay.

STS-4[edit | edit source]

Launch view of the Space Shuttle Columbia for the STS-4 mission. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
View shows the Space Shuttle's RMS grappling the Induced Environment Contaminant Monitor (IECM) experiment. Credit: NASA STS-4 crew.{{free media}}

STS-4 was the fourth NASA Space Shuttle mission, and also the fourth for Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission launched on June 27, 1982,[61] and landed a week later on July 4, 1982.[62]

The North Atlantic Ocean southeast of the Bahamas is in the background as Columbia's remote manipulator system (RMS) arm and end effector grasp a multi-instrument monitor for detecting contaminants. The experiment is called the induced environment contaminant monitor (IECM). Below the IECM the tail of the orbiter can be seen.

In the shuttle's mid-deck, a Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System and the Mono-disperse Latex Reactor flew for the second time. The crew conducted a lightning survey with hand-held cameras, and performed medical experiments on themselves for two student projects. They also operated the Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm) with an instrument called the Induced Environment Contamination Monitor mounted on its end, designed to obtain information on gases or particles being released by the orbiter in flight.[63]

STS-5[edit | edit source]

Columbia is launched from Launch Pad 39A on its fifth flight and first operational mission. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-5 was the fifth NASA Space Shuttle mission and the fifth flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia. It launched on November 11, 1982, and landed five days later on November 16, 1982.

STS-5 carried a West German-sponsored microgravity Getaway Special (GAS) experiment canister in the payload bay. The crew also conducted three student-designed experiments during the flight.

STS-6[edit | edit source]

STS-6 was launched. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-6 was the sixth NASA Space Shuttle mission and the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 4, 1983, Challenger returned to Earth on April 9, 1983, at 10:53:42 a.m. PST.

Names: Space Transportation System-6, NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1982-110A.

STS-6 payloads included three Getaway Special (GAS) canisters and the continuation of the Mono-disperse Latex Reactor and Continuous Flow Electrophoresis experiments.

STS-7[edit | edit source]

Space Shuttle Challenger launches on STS-7. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
An impact crater is in one of the windows of the Space Shuttle Challenger following a collision with a paint chip during STS-7. Credit: NASA STS-7 crew.{{free media}}

STS-7 was NASA's seventh Space Shuttle mission, and the second mission for the Space Shuttle Challenger. The shuttle launched from Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on June 24, 1983.

Norman Thagard, a mission specialist, conducted medical tests concerning Space adaptation syndrome, a bout of nausea frequently experienced by astronauts during the early phase of a space flight.

The mission carried the first Shuttle pallet satellite (SPAS-1), built by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB). SPAS-1 was unique in that it was designed to operate in the payload bay or be deployed by the Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm) as a free-flying satellite. It carried 10 experiments to study formation of metal alloys in microgravity, the operation of heat pipes, instruments for remote sensing observations, and a mass spectrometer to identify various gases in the payload bay. It was deployed by the Canadarm and flew alongside and over Challenger for several hours, performing various maneuvers, while a U.S.-supplied camera mounted on SPAS-1 took pictures of the orbiter. The Canadarm later grappled the pallet and returned it to the payload bay.

STS-7 also carried seven Getaway Special (GAS) canisters, which contained a wide variety of experiments, as well as the OSTA-2 payload, a joint U.S.-West Germany scientific pallet payload. The orbiter's Ku-band antenna was able to relay data through the U.S. tracking and data relay satellite (TDRS) to a ground terminal for the first time.

STS-8[edit | edit source]

Space Shuttle Challenger begins its third mission on 30 August 1983, conducting the first night launch of the shuttle program. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-8 was the eighth NASA Space Shuttle mission and the third flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It launched on August 30, 1983, and landed on September 5, 1983.

The secondary payload, replacing a delayed NASA communications satellite, was a four-metric-ton dummy payload, intended to test the use of the shuttle's Canadarm (remote manipulator system). Scientific experiments carried on board Challenger included the environmental testing of new hardware and materials designed for future spacecraft, the study of biological materials in electric fields under microgravity, and research into space adaptation syndrome (also known as "space sickness").

The Payload Flight Test Article (PFTA) had been scheduled for launch in June 1984 on STS-16 in the April 1982 manifest,[64] but by May 1983 it had been brought forward to STS-11. That month, when the TDRS missions were delayed, it was brought forward to STS-8 to fill the hole in the manifest.[65] It was an aluminum structure resembling two wheels with a 6 m (20 ft) long central axle, ballasted with lead to give it a total mass of 3,855 kg (8,499 lb), which could be lifted by the Canadarm Remote Manipulator System – the Shuttle's "robot arm" – and moved around to help astronauts gain experience in using the system. It was stored in the midsection of the payload bay.[66]

The orbiter carried the Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI) pallet in its forward payload bay; this had previously flown on Columbia to carry test equipment. The pallet was not outfitted with any flight instrumentation, but was used to mount two experiments. The first studied the interaction of ambient atomic oxygen with the structural materials of the orbiter and payload, while the second tested the performance of a heat pipe designed for use in the heat rejection systems of future spacecraft.[67]

Four Getaway Special (GAS) payloads were carried. One studied the effects of cosmic rays on electronic equipment. The second studied the effect of the gas environment around the orbiter using ultraviolet absorption measurements, as a precursor to ultraviolet equipment being designed for Spacelab 2. A third, sponsored by the Japanese Asahi Shimbun newspaper, tried to use water vapor in two tanks to create snow crystals. This was a second attempt at an experiment first flown on STS-6, which had had to be redesigned after the water in the tanks froze solid. The last was similar to an experiment flown on STS-3, and studied the ambient levels of atomic oxygen by measuring the rates at which small carbon and osmium wafers oxidized.[68]

The mission, in cooperation with the United States Postal Service (USPS), also carried 260,000 postal covers franked with US$9.35 express postage stamps, which were to be sold to collectors, with the profits divided between the USPS and NASA. Two storage boxes were attached to the DFI pallet, with more stored in six of the Getaway Special canisters.[69]

A number of other experiments were to be performed inside the orbiter crew compartment. Among these was the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System, being flown for the fourth time. This separated solutions of biological materials by passing electric fields through them; the experiment aimed at supporting research into diabetes treatments.[70] A small animal cage was flown containing six rats; no animal experiment was carried out on the flight, but a student involvement project was planned for a later mission which would use the cage, and NASA wanted to ensure it was flight-tested.[71] The student involvement project carried out on STS-8 involved William E. Thornton using biofeedback techniques, to try to determine if they worked in microgravity.[71] A photography experiment would attempt to study the spectrum of a luminous atmospheric glow which had been reported around the orbiter, and determine how this interacted with firings of the reaction control system (RCS).[72]

STS-9[edit | edit source]

Columbia launches on mission STS-9 from Launch Pad 39-A. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-9 (also referred to Spacelab 1) [73] was the ninth NASA Space Shuttle mission and the sixth mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Launched on 28 November 1983, the ten-day mission carried the first Spacelab laboratory module into orbit.

The mission was devoted entirely to Spacelab 1, a joint NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) program designed to demonstrate the ability to conduct advanced scientific research in space. Both the mission specialists and payload specialists worked in the Spacelab module and coordinated their efforts with scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Payload Operations Control Center (POCC), which was then located at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Texas. Funding for Spacelab 1 was provided by the ESA.

Over the course of the mission, 72 scientific experiments were carried out, spanning the fields of atmospheric and plasma physics, astronomy, solar physics, material sciences, technology, astrobiology and Earth observations. The Spacelab effort went so well that the mission was extended an additional day to 10 days, making it the longest-duration shuttle flight at that time.

STS-10[edit | edit source]

STS-41B was launched. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
McCandless approaches his maximum distance from Challenger. Credit: NASA STS-10 crew.{{free media}}

STS-41-B was the tenth (STS-10) NASA Space Shuttle mission and the fourth flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It launched on 3 February 1984, and landed on 11 February 1984. The mission carried five Get Away Special (GAS) canisters, six live rats in the middeck area, a Cinema-360 camera and a continuation of the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System and Monodisperse Latex Reactor experiments.[74] Included in one of the GAS canisters was the first experiment designed and built by a high school team to fly in space. The experiment, on seed germination and growth in zero gravity, was created and built by a team of four students from Brighton High School, Cottonwood Heights, Utah, through a partnership with Utah State University.[74]

STS-11[edit | edit source]

Mission Specialists George Nelson and James D. A. van Hoften repair the captured Solar Maximum Mission satellite on 11 April 1984. Credit: NASA STS-13 (STS-41-C) crew.{{free media}}
The launch of STS-41-C on 6 April 1984 is shown. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
The deployed Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) became an important source of information on the small-particle space debris environment. Credit: NASA STS-13 (STS-41-C) crew.{{free media}}

STS-41-C (formerly STS-13) was NASA's eleventh Space Shuttle mission, and the fifth mission of Space Shuttle Challenger.[75][76] The launch took place on 6 April 1984 and the landing on 13 April 1984 took place at Edwards Air Force Base.

On the second day of the flight, the LDEF was grappled by the Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm) and successfully released into orbit. Its 57 experiments, mounted in 86 removable trays, were contributed by 200 researchers from eight countries. Retrieval of the passive LDEF was initially scheduled for 1985, but schedule delays and the Challenger disaster of 1986 postponed the retrieval until 12 January 1990, when Columbia retrieved the LDEF during STS-32.

STS-12[edit | edit source]

The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on its first mission on 30 August 1984. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
View of the OAST-1 solar array on STS-41-D is shown. Credit: NASA STS-14 crew.{{free media}}

STS-41-D (formerly STS-14) was the 12th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the first mission of Space Shuttle Discovery. It was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 30 August 1984, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 5 September 1984.

A number of scientific experiments were conducted, including a prototype electrical system of the International Space Station, or extendable solar array, that would eventually form the basis of the main solar arrays on the International Space Station (ISS).

The OAST-1 photovoltaic module (solar array), a device 4 m (13 ft) wide and 31 m (102 ft) high, folded into a package 18 cm (7.1 in) deep. The array carried a number of different types of experimental solar cells and was extended to its full height several times during the mission. At the time, it was the largest structure ever extended from a crewed spacecraft, and it demonstrated the feasibility of large lightweight solar arrays for use on future orbital installations, such as the International Space Station (ISS).

A student experiment to study crystal growth in microgravity was also carried out.

STS-13[edit | edit source]

STS-41-G (formerly STS-17) was the 13th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program and the sixth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger. Challenger launched on 5 October 1984 and landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at Kennedy Space Center – becoming the second shuttle mission to land there – on 13 October 1984, at 12:26 p.m. EDT.[77].

The OSTA-3 experiment package (Spacelab) in the payload bay included the Large Format Camera (LFC) to photograph the Earth, another camera called MAPS which measured air pollution, and a feature identification and location experiment called FILE, which consisted of two TV cameras and two 70 mm (2.8 in) still cameras.

Payload Specialist Scully-Power, an employee of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), performed a series of oceanography observations during the mission. Garneau conducted a series of experiments sponsored by the Canadian government, called CANEX, which were related to medical, atmospheric, climatic, materials and robotic science. A number of Getaway Special (GAS) canisters, covering a wide variety of materials testing and physics experiments, were also flown.

STS-14[edit | edit source]

STS-51-A (formerly STS-19) was the 14th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the second flight of Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center on 8 November 1984, and landed just under eight days later on 16 November 1984.

STS-51-F (also known as Spacelab 2) was the 19th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program and the eighth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger. It launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 29 July 1985, and landed just under eight days later on 6 August 1985.

Names: Space Transportation System-19 and Spacelab 2.

STS-15[edit | edit source]

STS-51-C (formerly STS-20) was the 15th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the third flight of Space Shuttle Discovery. It launched on 24 January 1985, and made the fourth shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 27 January 1985.

STS-16[edit | edit source]

STS-51-D was the 16th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the fourth flight of Space Shuttle Discovery.[78] The launch of STS-51-D from Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, on 12 April 1985, and landed on 19 April 1985, at KSC.

Discoverys other mission payloads included the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System III (CFES-III), which was flying for sixth time; two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments; the American Flight Echo-cardiograph (AFE); two Getaway specials (GASs); a set of Phase Partitioning Experiments (PPE); an astronomical photography verification test; various medical experiments; and "Toys in Space", an informal study of the behavior of simple toys in a microgravity environment, with the results being made available to school students upon the shuttle's return.[79]

STS-17[edit | edit source]

Space Transportation System-17, Spacelab 3, Overmyer, Lind, van den Berg, and Thornton are in the Spacelab Module LM1 during flight. Credit: NASA STS-17 crew.{{free media}}
Launch of STS-51B is shown. Credit:NASA.{{free media}}

STS-51B was the 17th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the seventh flight of Space Shuttle Challenger. The launch of Challenger was on April 29, 1985, and it landed successfully on May 6, 1985.

STS-51B was the second flight of the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Spacelab pressurized module, and the first with the Spacelab module in a fully operational configuration. Spacelab's capabilities for multi-disciplinary research in microgravity were successfully demonstrated. The gravity gradient attitude of the orbiter proved quite stable, allowing the delicate experiments in materials processing and fluid mechanics to proceed normally. The crew operated around the clock in two 12-hour shifts. Two squirrel monkeys and 24 Brown rats were flown in special cages,[80] the second time American astronauts flew live non-human mammals aboard the shuttle. The crew members in orbit were supported 24 hours a day by a temporary Payload Operations Control Center, located at the Johnson Space Center.

On the mission, Spacelab carried 15 primary experiments, of which 14 were successfully performed. Two Getaway Special (GAS) experiments required that they be deployed from their canisters, a first for the program. These were NUSAT (Northern Utah Satellite) and GLOMR (Global Low Orbiting Message Relay satellite). NUSAT deployed successfully, but GLOMR did not deploy, and was returned to Earth.

STS-18[edit | edit source]

Mexico's Morelos satellite deploys from Discovery's payload bay. Credit: NASA STS-18 crew.{{free media}}
Spartan 1 is shown after deployment on STS-51-G. Credit: NASA STS-18 crew.{{free media}}

STS-51-G was the 18th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the fifth flight of Space Shuttle Discovery.

The SPARTAN-1 (Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for AstroNomy) a deployable/retrievable carrier module, was designed to be deployed from the orbiter and fly free in space before being retrieved. SPARTAN-1 included 140 kg (310 lb) of astronomy experiments. It was deployed and operated successfully, independent of the orbiter, before being retrieved. Discovery furthermore carried an experimental materials-processing furnace, two French biomedical experiments (French Echocardiograph Experiment (FEE) and French Postural Experiment (FPE)),[81] and six Getaway Special (GAS) experiments, which were all successfully performed, although the GO34 Getaway Special shut down prematurely. This mission was also the first flight test of the OEX advanced autopilot which gave the orbiter capabilities above and beyond those of the baseline system.

The mission's final payload element was a High Precision Tracking Experiment (HPTE) for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) (nicknamed "Star Wars"); the HPTE successfully deployed on orbit 64.

STS-19[edit | edit source]

Aborted launch attempt is at T-3 seconds on 12 July 1985. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
The Plasma Diagnostics Package (PDP) is grappled by the Canadarm. Credit: NASA STS-19 crew.{{free media}}
A view of the Sierra Nevada mountains and surroundings from Earth orbit was taken on the STS-51-F mission. Credit: NASA STS-19 crew.{{free media}}

STS-51-F (also known as Spacelab 2) was the 19th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program and the eighth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger.

STS-51-F's primary payload was the laboratory module Spacelab 2. A special part of the modular Spacelab system, the "Spacelab igloo", which was located at the head of a three-pallet train, provided on-site support to instruments mounted on pallets. The main mission objective was to verify performance of Spacelab systems, determine the interface capability of the orbiter, and measure the environment created by the spacecraft. Experiments covered life sciences, plasma physics, astronomy, high-energy astrophysics, solar physics, atmospheric physics and technology research. Despite mission replanning necessitated by Challengers abort to orbit trajectory, the Spacelab mission was declared a success.

The flight marked the first time the European Space Agency (ESA) Instrument Pointing System (IPS) was tested in orbit. This unique pointing instrument was designed with an accuracy of one arcsecond. Initially, some problems were experienced when it was commanded to track the Sun, but a series of software fixes were made and the problem was corrected. In addition, Anthony W. England became the second amateur radio operator to transmit from space during the mission.

The Plasma Diagnostics Package (PDP), which had been previously flown on STS-3, made its return on the mission, and was part of a set of plasma physics experiments designed to study the Earth's ionosphere. During the third day of the mission, it was grappled out of the payload bay by the Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm) and released for six hours.[82] During this time, Challenger maneuvered around the PDP as part of a targeted proximity operations exercise. The PDP was successfully grappled by the Canadarm and returned to the payload bay at the beginning of the fourth day of the mission.[82]

In an experiment during the mission, thruster rockets were fired at a point over Tasmania and also above Boston to create two "holes" – plasma depletion regions – in the ionosphere. A worldwide group collaborated with the observations made from Spacelab 2.[83]

STS-20[edit | edit source]

STS-51-I was the 20th mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program and the sixth flight of Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 27, 1985, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on September 3, 1985.

STS-21[edit | edit source]

STS-51-J was the 21st NASA Space Shuttle mission and the first flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis. It launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 3 October 1985, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 7 October 1985.

STS-22[edit | edit source]

STS-61-A (also known as Spacelab D-1) was the 22nd mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program. It was a scientific Spacelab mission, funded and directed by West Germany – hence the non-NASA designation of D-1 (for Deutschland-1). STS-61-A was the ninth and last successful flight of Space Shuttle Challenger.

STS-23[edit | edit source]

STS-61-B was NASA's 23rd Space Shuttle mission, and its second using Space Shuttle Atlantis. The shuttle was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 26 November 1985. Atlantis landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 16:33:49 EST on 3 December 1985.

STS-24[edit | edit source]

STS-61-C was the 24th mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the seventh mission of Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on 12 January 1986, and landed six days later on 18 January 1986.

STS-26[edit | edit source]

Discovery lifts off from KSC, the first shuttle mission after the Challenger disaster. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
This 70mm southward-looking view over the Pacific Ocean features the Hawaiian Islands chain. Credit: NASA STS-26 crew.{{free media}}
Chad is photographed from orbit on STS-26. Credit: NASA STS-26 crew.{{free media}}
Jebel Marra, Sudan, is photographed from Discovery, STS-26. Credit: NASA STS-26 crew.{{free media}}

STS-26 was the 26th NASA Space Shuttle mission and the seventh flight of the orbiter Discovery. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 29 September 1988, and landed four days later on 3 October 1988.

The materials processing experiments included two Shuttle Student Involvement Projects, one on titanium grain formation and the other on controlling crystal growth with a membrane. Another materials science experiment, the Physical Vapor Transport of Organic Solids-2 (PVTOS-2), was a joint project of NASA's Office of Commercial Programs and the 3M company.

Three life sciences experiments were conducted, including one on the aggregation of red blood cells, intended to help determine if microgravity can play a beneficial role in clinical research and medical diagnostic tests. Two further experiments involved atmospheric sciences, while one was in communications research.

  • Physical Vapor Transport of Organic Solids (PVTOS-2)
  • Protein Crystal Growth (PCG)
  • Infrared Communications Flight Experiment (IRCFE)
  • Aggregation of Red Blood Cells (ARC)
  • Isoelectric Focusing Experiment (IFE)
  • Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE)
  • Phase Partitioning Experiment (PPE)
  • Earth-Limb Radiance Experiment (ELRAD)
  • Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (ADSF)
  • Two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments
  • Voice Control Unit test and evaluation (VCU)

The Hawaiian Islands shown in the image on the right perturb the prevailing northeasterly winds producing extensive cloud wakes in the lee of the islands. The atmospheric haze in the Hawaii wake is probably a result of the continuing eruptions of Kilauea volcano on the southeast coast. From the lower right corner in a diagonal directed upward to the north are the islands of Nihau (1), Kauai (2), Oahu (3), Molokai (4), Lanai (5), Maui (6), Kahoolawe (7), and Hawaii (8).

STS-27[edit | edit source]

Atlantis launches on STS-27. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
The Brahmaputra River was imaged from orbit. Credit: NASA STS-27 crew.{{free media}}
Fiji was imaged from orbit. Credit: NASA STS-27 crew.{{free media}}

STS-27 was the 27th NASA Space Shuttle mission, and the third flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis. Launching on 2 December 1988, 14:30:34 UTC, and landing on 6 December 1988, 23:36:11 UTC, at Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 17.

STS-28[edit | edit source]

Liftoff shows mission STS-29 with shuttle Discovery. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Lake Natron, Tanzania, was photographed from Discovery on mission STS-29. Credit: NASA STS-28 crew.{{free media}}

STS-29 was the 28th NASA Space Shuttle mission, the eighth flight of Discovery and the 28th Space Shuttle mission overall. It launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 13 March 1989,[84] and landed on 18 March 1989, 14:35:50 UTC, at Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 22.

Discovery carried eight secondary payloads, including two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments. One student experiment, using four live rats with tiny pieces of bone removed from their bodies, was to test whether the environmental effects of space flight inhibit bone healing. The other student experiment was to fly 32 chicken eggs to determine the effects of space flight on fertilized chicken embryos.[85]

One experiment, mounted in the payload bay, was only termed "partially successful". The Space Station Heat Pipe Advanced Radiator Element (SHARE), a potential cooling system for the planned Space Station Freedom, operated continuously for less than 30 minutes under powered electrical loads. The failure was blamed on the faulty design of the equipment, especially the manifold section.[86]

All other experiments operated successfully. Crystals were obtained from all the proteins in the Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) experiment. The Chromosomes and Plant Cell Division in Space (CHROMEX), a life sciences experiment, was designed to show the effects of microgravity on root development. An IMAX (70 mm) camera was used to film a variety of scenes for the 1990 IMAX film Blue Planet,[87] including the effects of floods, hurricanes, wildfires and volcanic eruptions on Earth. A ground-based United States Air Force experiment used the orbiter as a calibration target for the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory (AMOS) in Hawaii.[88]

STS-29[edit | edit source]

The launch of Atlantis is as STS-30. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Thunderstorms are imaged from orbit. Credit: NASA STS-29 crew.{{free media}}

STS-30 was the 29th NASA Space Shuttle mission and the fourth mission for the Space Shuttle Atlantis. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 4 May 1989, and landed four days later on 8 May 1989 at Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 22.

Three mid-deck experiments were included on the mission. All had flown before. Mission Specialist Cleave used a portable laptop computer to operate and monitor the Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA).[89]

Ocean waves off the coast of Mexico are imaged from orbit. Credit: NASA STS-29 crew.{{free media}}

An 8 mm (0.31 in) video camcorder, flown for the first time on the Shuttle, provided the opportunity for the crew to record and downlink on-orbit activities such as the FEA, which was a joint endeavor between Rockwell International and NASA. Payload bay video cameras were used to record storm systems from orbit as part of the Mesoscale Lightning Experiment.[89]

STS-30[edit | edit source]

Launch of STS-28 is shown. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
SILTS camera infrared image shows the flight surfaces of Columbia during STS-28 reentry. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Human skull is flown as part of DSO-469 on Space Shuttle missions STS-28, 36, and 31 during a study of radiation doses in space. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Alaska and the vast Malaspina Glacier were photographed from Columbia on mission STS-28. Credit: NASA STS-30 crew.{{free media}}

STS-28 was the 30th NASA Space Shuttle mission, the fourth shuttle mission dedicated to United States Department of Defense (DoD) purposes, and the eighth flight of Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission launched on 8 August 1989 and landed on runway 17 of Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 13 August 1989.

The mission marked the first flight of an 5 kg (11 lb) human skull, which served as the primary element of "Detailed Secondary Objective 469", also known as the In-flight Radiation Dose Distribution (IDRD) experiment. This joint NASA/DoD experiment was designed to examine the penetration of radiation into the human cranium during spaceflight. The female skull was seated in a plastic matrix, representative of tissue, and sliced into ten layers. Hundreds of thermoluminescent dosimeters were mounted in the skull's layers to record radiation levels at multiple depths. This experiment, which also flew on STS-36 and STS-31, was located in the shuttle's mid-deck lockers on all three flights, recording radiation levels at different orbital inclinations.[90]

The Shuttle Lee-side Temperature Sensing (SILTS) infrared camera package made its second flight aboard Columbia on this mission. The cylindrical pod and surrounding black tiles on the orbiter's vertical stabilizer housed an imaging system, designed to map thermodynamic conditions during reentry, on the surfaces visible from the top of the tail fin. Ironically, the camera faced the port wing of Columbia, which was breached by superheated plasma on STS-107 (its disastrous final flight), destroying the wing and, later, the orbiter. The SILTS system was used for only six missions before being deactivated, but the pod remained for the duration of Columbias career.[91] Columbia's thermal protection system was also upgraded to a similar configuration as Discovery and Atlantis in between the loss of Challenger and STS-28, with many of the white LRSI tiles replaced with felt insulation blankets in order to reduce weight and turnaround time. One other minor modification that debuted on STS-28 was the move of Columbia's name from its payload bay doors to the fuselage, allowing the orbiter to be easily recognized while in orbit.

STS-31[edit | edit source]

The launch was viewed from below. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Greece was imaged from orbit. Credit: NASA STS-31 crew.{{free media}}
The Mekong River delta was imaged from orbit. Credit: NASA STS-31 crew.{{free media}}

STS-34 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission using Atlantis. It was the 31st shuttle mission overall, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 18 October 1989, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 23, California, on 23 October 1989.

Atlantis' payload bay held two canisters containing the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment. SSBUV, which made its first flight on STS-34, was developed by NASA to check the calibration of the ozone sounders on free-flying satellites, and to verify the accuracy of atmospheric ozone and solar irradiance data. The experiment operated successfully.

STS-34 carried a further five mid-deck experiments, all of which were deemed successful, including the Polymer Morphology (PM) experiment, sponsored by the 3M company under a joint endeavor agreement with NASA. The PM experiment was designed to observe the melting and resolidifying of different types of polymers while in orbit. The Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE), which had been flown on previous shuttle missions, observed the visual characteristics of large-scale lightning in the upper atmosphere. Chang-Díaz and Baker, a medical doctor, performed a detailed supplementary objective by photographing and videotaping the veins and arteries in the retinal wall of Baker's eyeball to provide detailed measurements which might give clues about a possible relationship between cranial pressure and motion sickness. Baker also tested the effectiveness of anti-motion sickness medication in space.

STS-32[edit | edit source]

Launch shows STS-32. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-33 was NASA Space Shuttle mission 32 using the Space Shuttle Discovery that lifted off from Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, on 22 November 1989 at 7:23:30 p.m. EST; and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 27 November 1989 at 7:30:16 p.m. EST.

STS-33 was observed by the 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in) telescope of the United States Air Force, Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory (AMOS) during five passes over Hawaii. Spectrographic and infrared images of the shuttle obtained with the Enhanced Longwave Spectral Imager (ELSI) were aimed at studying the interactions between gases released by the shuttle's primary reaction control system (RCS) and residual atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen species in orbit.[92][93]

STS-33[edit | edit source]

The launch show STS-32 from LC-39A. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-32 was the 33rd mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the ninth launch of Space Shuttle Columbia, that launched on 9 January 1990, 12:35:00 UTC, from the Kennedy Space Center, LC-39A, and landed on 20 January 1990, 09:35:36 UTC, at Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 22.

A primary objective was to retrieve NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) on the fourth day of the flight using the shuttle's Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm). The crew performed a 41⁄2-hour photographic survey of the free-flying structure, which held 57 science, technology and applications experiments. The 12-sided cylinder, about the size of a small satellite bus, was then berthed in the orbiter's payload bay for return to Earth. LDEF had dropped to such a low altitude that the orbiter could not do the usual lower-orbit catch-up because of the thicker atmosphere, and had to reach the LDEF from above.

Earth observation footage from the IMAX camera was retrieved. STS-32 carried a number of mid-deck scientific payloads, some of which had already been flown on previous shuttle missions. The experiments included:

  • Characterization of Neurospora crassa Circadian Rhythms (CNCR)
  • Protein Crystal Growth (PCG)
  • Fluid Experiment Apparatus (FEA)
  • American Flight Echocardiograph (AFE)
  • Latitude / Longitude Locator (L3)
  • Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE)
  • IMAX camera
  • Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

STS-34[edit | edit source]

Launch shows Atlantis. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-36 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission using Atlantis, the sixth flight, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 28 February 1990, and landed on 4 March 1990 at Edwards Air Force Base Runway 23.

The mission marked another flight of a 5 kg (11 lb) human skull, which served as the primary element of "Detailed Secondary Objective 469", also known as the In-flight Radiation Dose Distribution (IDRD) experiment. This joint NASA/DoD experiment was designed to examine the penetration of radiation into the human cranium during spaceflight. The female skull was seated in a plastic matrix, representative of tissue, and sliced into ten layers. Hundreds of thermo-luminescent dosimeters were mounted in the skull's layers to record radiation levels at multiple depths. This experiment, which also flew on STS-28 and STS-31, was located in the shuttle's mid-deck lockers on all three flights, recording radiation levels at different orbital inclinations.[90]

STS-35[edit | edit source]

Space Shuttle Discovery launches from LC-39B for STS-31 with Columbia on LC-39A in preparation for STS-35. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Columbia is high over Cuba. Credit: NASA STS-35 crew.{{free media}}
Hubble drifts away over Peru. Credit: NASA STS-35 crew.{{free media}}
Florida and The Bahamas are photographed. Credit: NASA STS-35 crew.{{free media}}

STS-31 was the 35th mission of the NASA Space Shuttle program, launch date: 24 April 1990, 12:33:51 UTC, spacecraft: Space Shuttle Discovery, launch site: Kennedy Space Center, LC-39B, landing date: 29 April 1990, 13:49:57 UTC, landing site: Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 22.

The mission was devoted to photography and onboard experiments.

At one point during the mission, Discovery briefly reached an apsis (apogee) of 621 km (386 mi), the highest altitude ever reached by a Shuttle orbiter.[94] The record height also permitted the crew to photograph Earth's large-scale geographic features not apparent from lower orbits.

Experiments on the mission included a biomedical technology study, advanced materials research, particle contamination and ionizing radiation measurements, and a student science project studying zero gravity effects on electronic arcs. Discovery's reentry from its higher than usual orbit required a deorbit burn of 4 minutes and 58 seconds, the longest in Shuttle history up to that time.[95]

Secondary payloads included the IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC) to document operations outside the crew cabin, and a handheld IMAX camera for use inside the orbiter. Also included were the Ascent Particle Monitor (APM) to detect particulate matter in the payload bay; a Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) experiment to provide data on growing protein crystals in microgravity, Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) to measure gamma ray levels in the crew cabin; Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP) to determine porosity control in the microgravity environment, and an Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory (Air Force Maui Optical Site, or AMOS) experiment.[95]

The mission marked the flight of a 5 kg (11 lb) human skull, which served as the primary element of "Detailed Secondary Objective 469", also known as the In-flight Radiation Dose Distribution (IDRD) experiment. This joint NASA/DoD experiment was designed to examine the penetration of radiation into the human cranium during spaceflight. The female skull was seated in a plastic matrix, representative of tissue, and sliced into ten layers. Hundreds of thermo-luminescent dosimeters were mounted in the skull's layers to record radiation levels at multiple depths. This experiment, which also flew on STS-28 and STS-36, was located in the shuttle's mid-deck lockers on all three flights, recording radiation levels at different orbital inclinations.[90]

STS-36[edit | edit source]

STS-41 launches from Kennedy Space Center, on 6 October 1990. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-41 was the 36th Space Shuttle mission, and the eleventh mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Instruments:

  1. Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS)
  2. Chromosome and Plant Cell Division Experiment (CHROMEX)
  3. INTELSAT Solar Array Coupon (ISAC)
  4. Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP)
  5. Physiological Systems Experiment (PSE)
  6. Radiation Monitoring Experiment (RME III)
  7. Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV)
  8. Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE)
  9. Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP)
  10. Voice Command System (VCS).

By comparing Discovery's measurements with coordinated satellite observations, scientists were able to calibrate their satellite instruments to insure the most accurate readings possible.

Until STS-41, previous research had shown that during the process of adapting to microgravity, animals and humans experienced loss of bone mass, cardiac deconditioning, and after prolonged periods (over 30 days), developed symptoms similar to that of terrestrial disuse osteoporosis. The goal of the STS-41 Physiological Systems Experiment (PSE), sponsored by the Ames Research Center and Pennsylvania State University's Center for Cell Research, was to determine if pharmacological treatments would be effective in reducing or eliminating some of these disorders. Proteins, developed by Genentech of San Francisco, California, were administered to eight rats during the flight while another eight rats accompanying them on the flight did not receive the treatment.

STS-37[edit | edit source]

Launch shows STS-38. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Sunlight on the ocean is shown. Credit: NASA STS-37 crew.{{free media}}

STS-38 was a Space Shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Atlantis, launch date: 15 November 1990, 23:48:15 UTC, launch site: Kennedy Space Center, LC-39A, landing date: 20 November 1990, 21:42:46 UTC, landing site: Kennedy Space Center, SLF Runway 33.

STS-38[edit | edit source]

Columbia finally heads aloft on 2 December 1990. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
ASTRO-1 is in Columbia's payload bay. Credit: NASA STS-38 crew.{{free media}}
MS Robert A. Parker manually points ASTRO-1's instruments using a toggle on the aft flight deck. Credit: NASA STS-38 crew.{{free media}}
Columbia passes over Lake Eyre, Australia. Credit: NASA STS-38 crew.{{free media}}
Namibia is photographed from orbit. Credit: NASA STS-38 crew.{{free media}}

STS-35 was the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Columbia, the 38th shuttle flight, and a mission devoted to astronomical observations with ASTRO-1, a Spacelab observatory consisting of four telescopes. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on 2 December 1990, 06:49:01 UTC, launch site: Kennedy Space Center, LC-39B, landing date: 11 December 1990, 05:54:09 UTC, landing site: Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 22.

The primary payload of mission STS-35 was ASTRO-1, the fifth flight of the Spacelab system and the second with the Igloo and two pallets train configuration. The primary objectives were round-the-clock observations of the celestial sphere in ultraviolet and X-ray spectral wavelengths with the ASTRO-1 observatory, consisting of four telescopes: Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT); Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE); Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT), mounted on the Instrument Pointing System (IPS). The Instrument Pointing System consisted of a three-axis gimbal system mounted on a gimbal support structure connected to a Spacelab pallet at one end and the aft end of the payload at the other, a payload clamping system for support of the mounted experiment during launch and landing, and a control system based on the inertial reference of a three-axis gyro package and operated by a gimbal-mounted microcomputer.[96] The Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT) and its Two-Axis Pointing System (TAPS) rounded out the instrument complement in the aft payload bay.

The crew split into shifts after reaching orbit, with Gardner, Parker, and Parise comprising the Red Team; the Blue Team consisted of Hoffman, Durrance, and Lounge. Commander Brand was unassigned to either team and helped coordinate mission activities. The telescopes were powered up and raised from their stowed position by the Red Team 11 hours into the flight. Observations began under the Blue Team 16 hours into the mission after the instruments were checked out.[97] In a typical ASTRO-1 ultraviolet observation, the flight crew member on duty maneuvered the Shuttle to point the cargo bay in the general direction of the astronomical object to be observed. The mission specialist commanded the pointing system to aim the telescopes toward the target. They also locked on to guide stars to help the pointing system remain stable despite orbiter thruster firings. The payload specialist set up each instrument for the upcoming observation, identified the celestial target on the guide television, and provided the necessary pointing corrections for placing the object precisely in the telescope's field of view. He then started the instrument observation sequences and monitored the data being recorded. Because the many observations created a heavy workload, the payload and mission specialists worked together to perform these complicated operations and evaluate the quality of observations. Each observation took between 10 minutes to a little over an hour.[98]

Issues with the pointing precision of the IPS and the sequential overheating failures of both data display units (used for pointing telescopes and operating experiments) during the mission impacted crew-aiming procedures and forced ground teams at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to aim the telescopes with fine-tuning by the flight crew. BBXRT-01 was directed from the outset by ground-based operators at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and was not affected. The X-ray telescope required little attention from the crew. A crew member would turn on the BBXRT and the TAPS at the beginning of operations and then turn them off when the operations concluded. After the telescope was activated, researchers at Goddard could "talk" to the telescope via computer. Before science operations began, stored commands were loaded into the BBXRT computer system. Then, when the astronauts positioned the Shuttle in the general direction of the source, the TAPS automatically pointed the BBXRT at the object. Since the Shuttle could be oriented in only one direction at a time, X-ray observations had to be coordinated carefully with ultraviolet observations. Despite the pointing problems, the full suite of telescopes obtained 231 observations of 130 celestial objects over a combined span of 143 hours. Science teams at Marshall and Goddard estimated that 70% of the mission objectives were completed.[99] ASTRO-1 was the first shuttle mission controlled in part from the Spacelab Mission Operations Control facility at MSFC in Huntsville, Alabama.

Conducting short-wave radio transmissions between ground-based amateur radio operators and a Shuttle-based amateur radio operator was the basis for the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX-II). SAREX communicated with amateur stations in line-of-sight of the orbiter in one of four transmission modes: voice, Slow-scan television (SSTV), data or (uplink only) amateur television (Fast scan television) (FSTV). The voice mode was operated in the attended mode while SSTV, data or FSTV could be operated in either attended or unattended modes. During the mission, SAREX was operated by Payload Specialist Ron Parise, a licensed operator (WA4SIR), during periods when he was not scheduled for orbiter or other payload activities.[100] A ground-based experiment to calibrate electro-optical sensors at Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory (Air Force Maui Optical Site, AMOS) in Hawaii was also conducted during the mission. The Space Classroom Program, Assignment: The Stars project was carried out to spark student interest in science, mathematics and technology. Mission Specialist Hoffman conducted the first classroom lesson taught from space on 7 December 1990 in support of this objective, covering material on the electromagnetic spectrum and the ASTRO-1 observatory. A supporting lesson was taught from the ASTRO-1 control center in Huntsville.

STS-39[edit | edit source]

Launch shows Atlantis on STS-37. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Smoke plumes from aKuwaiti Oil Fires were seen during STS-37. Credit: NASA STS-39 crew.{{free media}}

STS-37, the thirty-ninth NASA Space Shuttle mission and the eighth flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, launch date: 5 April 1991, 14:22:45 UTC, launch site: Kennedy Space Center, LC-39B, landing date: 11 April 1991, 13:55:29 UTC, landing site Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 33.

During the spaceflight, the crew was additionally able to photograph the Kuwaiti oil fires on 7 April 1991, as the Gulf War was ongoing during the spaceflight.[101]

Smoke plumes from a few of the Kuwaiti Oil Fires on April 7, 1991, are seen during STS-37.[102]

Instruments:

  1. Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS)
  2. Ascent Particle Monitor (APM)
  3. Bioserve/Instrumentation Technology Associates Materials Dispersion Apparatus (BIMDA) to explore the commercial potential of experiments in the biomedical, manufacturing processes and fluid sciences fields
  4. Crew and Equipment Translation Aid (CETA), which involved scheduled six-hour spacewalk by astronauts Ross and Apt
  5. Protein Crystal Growth (PCG), which has flown eight times before in various forms
  6. Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME Ill)
  7. Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX II).

STS-40[edit | edit source]

Launch shows STS-39. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
The Critical ionization velocity (CIV) experiment is shown in Discovery's payload bay. Credit: NASA STS-40 crew.{{free media}}
STS-39 observes Aurora australis. Credit: NASA STS-40 crew,{{free media}}

STS-39 was the twelfth mission of the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, and the 40th orbital shuttle mission overall, launch date: 28 April 1991, 11:33:14 UTC, launch site: Kennedy Space Center, LC-39A, landing date: 6 May 1991, 18:55:37 UTC, landing site: Kennedy Space Center, SLF Runway 15.

The high orbital inclination of the mission, 57.01° 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.


Instruments:

  1. Chemical Release Observation (CRO)
  2. Cryogenic Infrared Radiance Instrumentation for Shuttle (CIRRIS)
  3. Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS-1A)
  4. Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS)
  5. Multi-Purpose Release Canister (MPEC)
  6. Shuttle pallet satellite (SPAS-II)
  7. Space Test Program (STP-01)
  8. Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME-III).

STS-41[edit | edit source]

Launch shows STS-40. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Spacelab Module LM1 in Columbia's payload bay, served as the Spacelab Life Sciences laboratory. Credit: NASA STS-41 crew.{{free media}}

STS-40, the eleventh launch of Space Shuttle Columbia, was a nine-day mission in June 1991. It carried the Spacelab module for Spacelab Life Sciences 1 (SLS-1), the fifth Spacelab mission and the first dedicated solely to biology.

The mission featured the most detailed and interrelated physiological measurements in space since 1973-1974 Skylab missions. Subjects were humans, 30 rodents and thousands of tiny jellyfish. Primary SLS-1 experiments studied six body systems; of 18 investigations, ten involved humans, seven involved rodents, and one used jellyfish.

Six body systems investigated were cardiovascular/cardiopulmonary (heart, lungs and blood vessels); renal/endocrine (kidneys and hormone-secreting organs and glands); blood (blood plasma); immune system (white blood cells); musculoskeletal (muscles and bones); and neurovestibular (brains and nerves, eyes and inner ear). Other payloads included twelve Getaway Special (GAS) canisters installed on GAS bridge in cargo bay for experiments in materials science, plant biology and cosmic radiation; Middeck Zero-Gravity Dynamics Experiment (MODE); and seven Orbiter Experiments (OEXs).

STS-42[edit | edit source]

Launch shows Space Shuttle Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Crew members pose for on-orbit portrait in the middeck of Atlantis. Credit: NASA STS-43 crew.{{free media}}
Atlantis passes over Florida. SHARE-II is prominent on the left. Credit: NASA STS-43 crew.{{free media}}

STS-43, the forty-second space shuttle mission overall, the ninth mission for Space Shuttle Atlantis, was a nine-day mission to test an advanced heatpipe radiator for potential use on the then-future space station, conduct a variety of medical and materials science investigations, and conduct astronaut photography of Earth. Launch date: 2 August 1991, 15:01:59 UTC, launch site Kennedy Space Center, LC-39A, landing date: 11 August 1991, 12:23:25 UTC, landing site: Kennedy Space Center, SLF Runway 15.

On the left, the Space Shuttle Atlantis streaks skyward as sunlight pierces through the gap between the orbiter and ET assembly. Atlantis lifted off on the 42nd space shuttle flight at 11:02 a.m. EDT on August 2, 1991 carrying a crew of five and TDRS-E. A remote camera at the 275-foot level of the Fixed Surface Structure took this picture.

STS-43 crewmembers pose for on-orbit (in space) portrait on the middeck of Atlantis, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 104. At the left side of the frame are the forward lockers and at the right is the open airlock hatch. In between and in front of the starboard wall-mounted sleep restraints are (left to right) Mission Specialist (MS) G. David Low, MS Shannon W. Lucid, MS James C. Adamson, Commander John E. Blaha, and Pilot Michael A. Baker.

Other experiments included Auroral Photography Experiment (APE-B) Protein Crystal Growth Ill (PCG Ill); Bioserve / Instrumentation Technology Associates Materials Dispersion Apparatus (BIMDA); Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP); Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS); Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE); Ultraviolet Plume imager (UVPI); and the Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.[103]

Instruments:

  1. Optical Communications Through Windows (OCTW)
  2. Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE)
  3. Space Station Heat Pipe Advanced Radiator Element (SHARE II)
  4. Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultra-Violet (SSBUV)
  5. Tank Pressure Control Equipment (TPCE)

STS-43[edit | edit source]

Liftoff shows STS-48. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-48 was a Space Shuttle mission that launched on 12 September 1991, 23:11:04 UTC, from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The orbiter was Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission landed on 18 September at 12:38 a.m. EDT at Edwards Air Force Base on runway 22.

Names: Space Transportation System-43.

NSSDCA ID: 1991-063A, launch date: 1991-09-12.

Instruments:

  1. Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS)
  2. Ascent Particle Monitor (APM)
  3. Cosmic Ray Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM)
  4. Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP)
  5. Middeck 0-Gravity Dynamics Experiment (MODE)
  6. Physiological and Anatomical Rodent Experiment (PARE)
  7. Protein Crystal Growth (PCG II-2)
  8. Shuttle Activation Monitor (SAM)

STS-44[edit | edit source]

STS-44 Atlantis, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 104, soars into the evening darkness after liftoff from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Launch Complex (LC) Pad at 6:44 pm (Eastern Standard Time (EST)). Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Low oblique photograph was taken from Atlantis of clouds over the Indian Ocean. Credit: NASA STS-44 crew.{{free media}}
This spectacular, low-oblique photograph shows the bowl-shaped eye (center of photograph) of Typhoon Yuri in the western Pacific Ocean just west of the Northern Mariana Islands. Credit: NASA STS-44 crew.{{free media}}

STS-44 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission using Atlantis that launched on 24 November 1991, 23:44:00 UTC, launch site: Kennedy Space Center, LC-39A, landing date: 1 December 1991, 22:34:12 UTC, landing site: Edwards Air Force Base, Runway 5. NSSDCA ID: 1991-080A, launch date: 1991-11-24.

Names: Space Transportation System-44.

The clouds over the Indian Ocean were photographed at tilt: Low Oblique cldp: 50, -24.2°N latitude, 89.8°N longitude, azimuth: 103°, 198 km altitude, elevation: 52°.

In the second image down on the right, the eye wall descends almost to the sea surface, a distance of nearly 45 000 feet (13 800 meters). In this case the eye is filled with clouds, but in many cases the sea surface can be seen through the eye. Yuri grew to super typhoon status, packing maximum sustained winds estimated at 165 miles (270 kilometers) per hour, with gusts reaching an estimated 200 miles (320 kilometers) per hour. The storm moved west toward the Philippine Islands before turning northeast into the north Pacific Ocean, thus avoiding any major landmass.

Instruments:

  1. Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS)
  2. Bioreactor Flow
  3. Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM)
  4. Extended Duration Orbiter Medical Project
  5. Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO)
  6. Interim Operational Contamination Monitor (IOCM)
  7. Military Man in Space (M88-1)
  8. Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME III)
  9. Shuttle Activation Monitor (SAM)
  10. Terra-Scout
  11. Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI)
  12. Visual Function Tester (VFT-1)

STS-45[edit | edit source]

Kunlun Mountains are in Tibet at lat: 36°N lon: 91°E. Credit: NASA STS-45 crew.{{free media}}

STS-42/IML 1, NSSDCA ID: 1992-002A. launch date: 1992-01-22. Space Shuttle Mission STS-42 was the 45th Shuttle flight and the 15th flight of Discovery.

"The main objective of STS-42 was to carry out the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1) mission, a collection of life science and microgravity experiments developed by more than 200 scientists from 16 countries. The IML-1 was the first in a series of IML missions planned to fly aboard the Space Shuttle this decade. In addition the the IML-1 module, STS-42 also carried 12 Get Away Special containers containing experiments ranging from materials processing work to investigations into the development of animal life in weightlessness. Two experiments from the Space Shuttle Student Involvement Program, Convection in Zero Gravity and Zero-G Capillary Rise of Liquid Through Granular Porous Media, were also flown. On Discovery's lower deck, the Investigation into Polymer Membrane Processing investigated advances in filtering technologies in microgravity, and the Radiation Monitoring Equipment-III recorded radiation levels in the crew cabin. The spacecraft maintained a gravity gradient orientation with its nose pointed to space and its tail to Earth in order to minimize firings of the Shuttle's small steering thrusters, thus avoiding disturbances to onboard experiments."[104]

STS-46[edit | edit source]

Components of the Spacelab (ATLAS-1 laboratory) in the payload bay of Atlantis is shown. Credit: NASA STS-46 crew.{{free media}}

STS-45 was a 1992 NASA Space Shuttle mission using the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Names: Space Transportation System-46. It was the 46th Space Shuttle mission and the 11th for Atlantis. Launch date: 24 March 1992, 13:13:39 UTC, launch site: Kennedy Space Center, LC-39A, lLanding date: 2 April 1992, 11:23 UTC, landing site Kennedy Space Center, SLF Runway 33.

NSSDCA ID: 1992-015A.[105]

STS-45 carried the first Spacelab (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science) (ATLAS-1) experiments, placed on Spacelab pallets mounted in the orbiter's payload bay. The non-deployable payload, equipped with 12 instruments from the United States, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Japan, conducted studies in atmospheric chemistry, solar radiation, space plasma physics and ultraviolet astronomy. ATLAS-1 instruments included the Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS); Grille Spectrometer; Millimeter Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS); Imaging Spectrometric Observatory (ISO); Atmospheric Lyman-Alpha Emissions (ALAE); Atmospheric Emissions Photometric Imager (AEPI); Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC); Active Cavity Radiometer (ACR); Measurement of Solar Constant (SOLCON); Solar Spectrum;[106] Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM); and Far Ultraviolet Space Telescope (FAUST). Other payloads included the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment, a Get Away Special (GAS) experiment and six mid-deck experiments.

STS-47[edit | edit source]

STS-49 was the NASA maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which launched on 7 May 1992, Names: Space Transportation System-47.

NSSDCA ID: 1992-026A, launch date: 1992-05-07.

Other "payloads of opportunity" experiments conducted included: Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG), Ultraviolet Plume Imager (UVPI) and the Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS) investigation. Mission was extended two days to complete objectives.

STS-48[edit | edit source]

Spacelab Module LM1 in Columbia's payload bay, served as the United States Microgravity Laboratory. Credit: NASA STS-48 crew.{{free media}}

STS-50 (U.S. Microgravity Laboratory-1) was a NASA Space Shuttle mission, the 12th mission of the Columbia orbiter.

Names: Space Transportation System-48.

NSSDCA ID: 1992-034A, launch date: 1992-06-25.

"Space Shuttle Mission STS 50 was the 48th Shuttle flight and the 12th flight of Columbia. [...] STS 50 carried the United States Microgravity Laboratory (USML 1), a Spacelab long module with an Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) pallet in the aft cargo bay. The USML 1 consisted of 31 experiments ranging from the manufacture of crystals for possible semiconductor use to the study of the behavior of weightless fluids. STS 50 also carried the Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing experiment and the Space Shuttle Amature Radio Experiment-II. Columbia landed July 9, 1992, at 11:43 a.m. UT on KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility Runway 33."[107]

Columbia's "stand-up" orbital attitude, although ideal for microgravity experiments, was very far from optimal from the point of view of D&M (Debris and Micrometeoroid) vulnerability. The orbiter received 40 radiation debris impacts, impacts on eight windows, and three impacts on the carbon-carbon wing leading edges.[108]

STS-49[edit | edit source]

Space Shuttle Atlantis' STS-46 mission was launched on July 31, 1992, from the Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Earth observation is from the shuttle orbiter Atlantis during STS-46 of Dominican Republic, lat. 20°, lon. -71°. Credit: NASA STS-49 crew.{{free media}}
Vietnam, Dong Hoi coastal area is at lat: 17.5° lon: 105.8°, tilt: 15°, dir: N, azi: 83, alt: 124, elev: 34. Credit: NASA STS-49 crew.{{free media}}

NSSDCA ID: 1992-049A for STS-46 launch date 1992-07-31.

STS-46 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission using Space Shuttle Atlantis and was launched on July 31, 1992, 13:56:48 UTC, and landed on August 8, 1992, 13:11:50 UTC, at Kennedy Space Center, SLF Runway 33.

Names: Space Transportation System-49.

Secondary payloads included the Evaluation of Oxygen Integration with Materials/Thermal Management Processes (EOIM-III/TEMP 2A), Consortium for Materials Development in Space Complex Autonomous Payload (CONCAP II and CONCAP III), IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC), Limited Duration Space Environment Candidate Materials Exposure (LDCE), Pituitary Growth Hormone Cell Function (PHCF), and the Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI).

STS-50[edit | edit source]

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Part of Space Shuttle Endeavour's payload bay and the Spacelab-J science module are shown. Credit: NASA STS-50 crew.{{free media}}
Bosten Lake area in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) is shown. Credit: NASA STS-50 crew.{{free media}}

STS-47 was the 50th NASA Space Shuttle mission of the program, as well as the second mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

NSSDCA ID: 1992-061A.

"STS 47 was the 50th Shuttle mission and flew as its primary payload Spacelab-J (SL-J), utilized pressurized Spacelab module. Jointly sponsored by NASA and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan, SL-J included 24 material science and 19 life sciences experiments, of which 34 were sponsored by NASDA, seven by NASA, and two collaborative efforts. The mission was extended one day to further science objectives. The materials science investigations covered such fields as biotechnology, electronic materials, fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, glasses and ceramics, metals and alloys, and acceleration measurements. The life sciences investigations covered human health, cell separation and biology, development biology, animal and human physiology and behavior, space radiation, and biological rhythms. Test subjects included the crew, Japanese koi fish, cultured animal and plant cells, chicken embryos, fruit flies, fungi and plant seeds, and frogs and frog eggs."[109]

"Also flown in the payload bay were 12 Get Away Special (GAS) canisters (10 holding experiments, two for ballast) attached to a GAS Bridge Assembly. Middeck experiments included Israeli Space Agency Investigation about Hornets (USAIAH); Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE); Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX II); Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS); and Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI)."[109]

Camera location for the second image on the right was 42° 00′ 00″ N, 87° 00′ 00″ E, taken on 13 September 1992, 04:07:31.

STS-51[edit | edit source]

Liftoff shows STS-51. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-52 was a Space Transportation System (NASA Space Shuttle) mission using Space Shuttle Columbia, and was launched on 22 October 1992.[110]

NSSDCA ID: 1992-070A, launch date: 1992-10-22. Names: Space Transportation System-51.

"It carried the US Microgravity Payload-2 (USMP-2) which contained several microgravity experimental packages. Among them were the growth of cadmium telluride crystals from vapor phase, growth of protein/enzyme crystals, and a number of high school experiments such as the clotting action of snake venom on blood plasma proteins, germination of Florida's official flower seeds, and microgravity effect on dry mustard seeds that were germinated after return. Also on-board were 6 rats that had been given anti-osteoporotic treatment with an experimental drug."[111]

STS-52[edit | edit source]

Launch of Discovery is for a United States Department of Defense (DoD) mission. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-53 was a NASA Space Shuttle Discovery mission in support of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The mission was launched on 2 December 1992 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1992-086A.

"The secondary unclassified experiments include: (1) Shuttle Glow (GLO), to investigate Shuttle/space environment interactions; (2) Cryogenic Heat Pipe Experiment (CRYOHP), a joint DoD and NASA Hitchhiker experiment to test advanced technology to regect excess heat generated by infrared sensors; [...] (4) Battlefield Laser Acquisition Sensor Test (BLAST), an Army space project to demonstrate the use of spaceborne laser receivers to detect laser energy from ground test locations; (5) Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense System (CLOUDS), a meteorological experiment to quantify the variation in apparent cloud cover as a function of orbital view angle; (6) Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM), an experiment designed to collect cosmic ray energy loss spectra, neutron fluxes, and induced radioactivity; (7) Fluid Acquisition and Resupply Equipment (FARE), an experimen t to investigate the dynamics of fluid transfer in space; (8) Hand-held, earth-oriented, Real-time, Cooperative, User-friendly, Location-targeting and Environmental System (HERCULES), a Naval Research Lab (NRL) experiment to enable a Shuttle astrionaut to point a camera at an Earth feature, record the image and determine the latitude and longitude of the feature; (10) Microencapsulation In Space (MIS), designed to incresae the knowledge of microencapsulated drug technology; (11) Radiation Monitoring Equipment -III (RME-III), an instrument to measure the exposure to ionizing radiation on the Shuttle; (12) Space Tissue Loss (STL), to study the effects of space on fragile life systems; and (13) Visual Function Tester - Model II (VFT-2), a series of vision performance experiments in space."[112]

Names: Space Transportation System-52.

STS-53[edit | edit source]

STS-54 was a NASA Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) mission using Space Shuttle Endeavour. This was the third flight for Endeavour, and was launched on 13 January 1993.

Names: Space Transportation System-53.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1993-003A.

STS-54[edit | edit source]

Components of the Spacelab ATLAS-2 laboratory are shown in the payload bay of Discovery. Credit: NASA STS-53 crew.{{free media}}
Launch shows STS-56. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
SPARTAN-201 free-flying near STS-56. Credit: NASA STS-53 crew retouched by Askeuhd.{{free media}}

Names: Space Transportation System-54.

STS-56 was a NASA Space Shuttle Discovery mission to perform special experiments. The mission was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 8 April 1993.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1993-023A.

The primary payload of the flight was the Spacelab Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-2 (ATLAS-2), designed to collect data on the relationship between the Sun's energy output and Earth's middle atmosphere and how these factors affect the ozone layer. It included six instruments mounted on a Spacelab pallet in the cargo bay, with the seventh mounted on the wall of the bay in two Get Away Special (GAS) canisters. Atmospheric instruments included the Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS) experiment, the Millimeter Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS), and the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV/A) spectrometer (on the cargo bay wall). Solar science instruments were the solar spectrometry instrument SOLSPEC,[113] the Solar Ultraviolet Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM), and the Active Cavity Radiometer (ACR) and Solar Constant (SOLCON) experiments.[114]

ATLAS-2 is one element of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program. All seven ATLAS-2 instruments first flew on Spacelab ATLAS-1 during STS-45, and flew a third time in late 1994 on STS-66.[114]

On 11 April 1993, the crew used the remote manipulator arm (Canadarm) to deploy the Shuttle Point Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy-201 (SPARTAN-201), a free-flying science instrument platform designed to study velocity and acceleration of the solar wind and observe the sun's corona. Collected data was stored on tape for playback after return to Earth. SPARTAN-201 was retrieved on 13 April 1993.[114]

STS-55[edit | edit source]

Spacelab Module LM1 in Columbia's payload bay, serves as the Spacelab D-2 laboratory. Credit: NASA STS-55 crew.{{free media}}

Names: Space Transportation System-55.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1993-027A.

Columbia carried to orbit the second reusable German Spacelab D-2 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 STS-61-A in October 1985.

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 took full advantage of the technical advancements since 1985.

STS-56[edit | edit source]

Endeavour's payload bay, with the Space habitat (SpaceHab) module (foreground), European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) (background), and astronauts David Low and Peter Wisoff performing an Extravehicular activity (EVA) (centre). Credit: NASA STS-56 crew.{{free media}}
Liftoff shows STS-51. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) is stowed by Endeavour's remote manipulator system (Canadarm). Credit: NASA STS-56 crew.{{free media}}

STS-57 was a NASA Space Shuttle-Spacehab mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour that launched 21 June 1993 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Names: Space Transportation System-56.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1993-037A.

EURECA had been deployed from the Space Shuttle Atlantis in August 1992 (STS-46) and contained several experiments to study the long-term effects of exposure to microgravity.

STS-57[edit | edit source]

IMAX photography of Discovery in orbit, was viewed from the free-flying SPAS-ORFEUS astronomy platform. Credit: NASA STS-57 crew.{{free media}}
Launch was seen from the RSS. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
The ORFEUS/SPAS platform is captured by the Canadarm. Credit: NASA STS-57 crew.{{free media}}

STS-51 was a NASA Space Shuttle Discovery mission. The flight featured the deployment and retrieval of the SPAS-ORFEUS satellite and its IMAX camera, which captured spectacular footage of Discovery in space.

Names: Space Transportation System-57.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1993-058A.

STS-58[edit | edit source]

Spacelab module LM2 is in Columbia's payload bay, serving as the Spacelab Life Sciences-2 laboratory. Credit: NASA STS-58 crew.{{free media}}
Columbia is on Pad 39B ready for launch. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-58 was a NASA mission flown by Space Shuttle Columbia launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 18 October 1993.

Names: Space Transportation System-58.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1993-065A.

STS-59[edit | edit source]

Musgrave is being raised to the top of Hubble by Canadarm, as it sits in Endeavour's payload bay. Credit: NASA STS-59 crew.{{free media}}
Launch shows the first Hubble servicing mission. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

STS-61 was the first NASA Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, and the fifth flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The mission launched on 2 December 1993 from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

Names: Space Transportation System-59.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1993-075A.

STS-60[edit | edit source]

The Astrotech Corporation SPACEHAB-2 in Discovery's payload bay, as Canadarm grapples the Wake Shield Facility (WSF-1). Credit: NASA STS-60 crew.{{free media}}

STS-60 was the first mission of the U.S./Russian Shuttle-Mir Program. The mission used NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, which lifted off from Launch Pad 39A on 3 February 1994 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The mission carried the Wake Shield Facility experiment and a SPACEHAB module, developed by SPACEHAB Inc., into orbit.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1994-006A.

Names: Space Transportation System-60.

STS-61[edit | edit source]

Liftoff shows Columbia on STS-62. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Columbia passes over Typhoon Owen. Credit: NASA STS-61 crew.{{free media}}

STS-62 was a Space Shuttle program mission flown aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. The primary payloads were the USMP-02 microgravity experiments package and the OAST-2 engineering and technology payload, both in the orbiter's cargo bay. The two-week mission also featured a number of biomedical experiments focusing on the effects of long duration spaceflight.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1994-015A

Names: Space Transportation System-61.

STS-62[edit | edit source]

Space Shuttle Endeavour is in orbit with SIR-C in its payload bay. Credit: NASA STS-61 crew.{{free media}}

STS-59 was a Space Shuttle program mission that took place in 1994. The launch was chronicled by the 1994 Discovery Channel special about the Space Shuttle program.

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1994-020A.

Names: Space Transportation System-62.

STS-63[edit | edit source]

Spacelab Module LM1 in Columbia's payload bay, serving as the International Microgravity Laboratory. Credit: NASA STS-63 crew.{{free media}}

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1994-039A.

Names: Space Transportation System-63.

Tiangong space stations[edit | edit source]

Rendering of Tiangong Space Station in late July 2022, is as of June 2022 with Tianhe core module in the middle, Wentian lab module on the left, Tianzhou cargo spacecrafts on right, and Shenzhou-14 crewed spacecraft at nadir. Credit: Shujianyang.{{free media}}

.

The Tiangong space station is a space station being constructed by China in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 km (210 and 280 mi) above the surface. Being China's first long-term space station, it is the goal of the "Third Step" of the China Manned Space Program. Once completed, Tiangong will have a mass between 80 and 100 t (180,000 and 220,000 lb), roughly one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station and about the size of the decommissioned Russian Mir space station.

Reflections[edit | edit source]

This oblique astronaut photograph from the International Space Station (ISS) captures a white-to-grey volcanic ash and steam plume extending westwards from the Soufriere Hills volcano. Credit: NASA Expedition 21 crew.{{free media}}

The Soufrière Hills, a volcano on the island of Montserrat, in the Lesser Antilles island chain in the Caribbean Sea, has been active since 1995. The most recent eruptive phase of the volcano began with a short swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes—earthquakes thought to be caused by movement of magma beneath a volcano—on October 4, 2009, followed by a series of ash-venting events that have continued through October 13, 2009. These venting events create plumes that can deposit ash at significant distances from the volcano. In addition to ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and lava dome growth have been reported as part of the current eruptive activity.

This oblique astronaut photograph from the International Space Station (ISS) captures a white-to-gray ash and steam plume extending westwards from the volcano on October 11, 2009. Oblique images are taken by astronauts looking out from the ISS at an angle, rather than looking straight downward toward the Earth (a perspective called a nadir view), as is common with most remotely sensed data from satellites. An oblique view gives the scene a more three-dimension quality, and provides a look at the vertical structure of the volcanic plume.

While much of the island is covered in green vegetation, gray deposits that include pyroclastic flows and volcanic mudflows (lahars) are visible extending from the volcano toward the coastline. When compared to its extent in earlier views, the volcanic debris has filled in more of the eastern coastline. Urban areas are visible in the northern and western portions of the island; they are recognizable by linear street patterns and the presence of bright building rooftops. The silver-gray appearance of the Caribbean Sea surface is due to sunglint, which is the mirror-like reflection of sunlight off the water surface back towards the handheld camera onboard the ISS. The sunglint highlights surface wave patterns around the island.

Visuals[edit | edit source]

This mosaic of two astronaut photographs illustrates the closeness of Arequipa, Peru, to the 5,822-meter-high El Misti Volcano. Credit: This image was taken by the NASA Expedition 21 crew.{{free media}}

This mosaic on the right of two astronaut photographs illustrates the closeness of Arequipa, Peru, to the 5,822-meter-high El Misti Volcano. The city centre of Arequipa, Peru, lies only 17 kilometres away from the summit of El Misti; the grey urban area is bordered by green agricultural fields (image left). Much of the building stone for Arequipa, known locally as sillar, is quarried from nearby pyroclastic flow deposits that are white. Arequipa is known as “the White City” because of the prevalence of this building material. The Chili River extends north-eastwards from the city centre and flows through a canyon (image right) between El Misti volcano and Nevado Chachani to the north.

Blues[edit | edit source]

NASA astronaut image is of Ifalik Atoll, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia. Credit: ISS Expedition 21 Crew Earth Observations.{{free media}}

Ifalik is a coral atoll of four islands in the central Caroline Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and forms a legislative district in Yap State in the Federated States of Micronesia. Ifalik is located approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of Woleai and 700 kilometres (430 mi) southeast of the island of Yap. The population of Ifalik was 561 in 2000,[115] living on 1.5 km2. The primary islets of Ifalik are called Ella, Elangelap, Rawaii, and Falalop, which is the atoll's main island.[116]

The total land area of Ifalik is only 1.47 square kilometres (0.57 sq mi), but it encloses a 20 metres (66 ft) deep lagoon of 2.43 square kilometres (0.94 sq mi).[117] The total area is about six square kilometers.[118]

Ifalik is known as a “warrior island”. Prior to European contact, its warriors invaded the outer islands in Yap as well as some of the outer islands in Chuuk. Atolls under the attack included, Lamotrek, Faraulep, Woleai, Elato, Satawal, Ulithi, and Poluwat (outer islet of Chuuk).

Greens[edit | edit source]

This detailed astronaut photograph illustrates the southern coastline of the Hawaiian island Oahu, including Pearl Harbor. Credit: ISS Expedition 21 Crew Earth Observations.{{free media}}

A comparison between this image and a 2003 astronaut photograph of Pearl Harbor suggests that little observable land use or land cover change has occurred in the area over the past six years. The most significant difference is the presence of more naval vessels in the Reserve Fleet anchorage in Middle Loch (image center). The urban areas of Waipahu, Pearl City, and Aliamanu border the harbor to the northwest, north, and east. The built-up areas, recognizable by linear streets and white rooftops, contrast sharply with the reddish volcanic soils and green vegetation on the surrounding hills.

Oranges[edit | edit source]

Selvagem Grande, with an approximate area of 4 square kilometres, is the largest of the Savage Islands. Credit: NASA Expedition 21 crew.{{free media}}
This astronaut photograph features one of the largest of a series of ten mostly fresh water lakes in the Ounianga Basin in the heart of the Sahara Desert of northeastern Chad. Credit: NASA Expedition 21 crew.{{free media}}
The irregularly-shaped Ilhéus do Norte, Ilhéu de Fora, and Selvagem Pequena are visible in the centre of the image. Credit: NASA Expedition 21 crew.{{free media}}

Selvagem Grande Island is part of the Savage Islands archipelago, which themselves are part of the Portuguese Autonomous Region of Madeira in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The island (2,000 by 1,700 metres (6,600 ft × 5,600 ft)) belongs to the northeast group of the Savage Islands, which comprises in addition three islets: Sinho Islet, Palheiro de Terra and Palheiro do Mar.[119]

It is generally flat, but has three summits, remnants of former volcanic cones appropriately named Atalaia, Tornozelos and Inferno, Atalaia being the highest of the three, reaching 163 m (535 ft) in altitude.[119]

The lakes in the image on the left are remnants of a single large lake, probably tens of kilometers long, that once occupied this remote area approximately 14,800 to 5,500 years ago. As the climate dried out during the subsequent millennia, the lake shrank, and large, wind-driven sand dunes invaded the original depression, dividing it into several smaller basins. The area shown in this image is approximately 11 by 9 kilometers. The lakes’ dark surfaces are almost completely segregated by linear, orange sand dunes that stream into the depression from the northeast. The almost-year-round northeast winds and cloudless skies make for very high evaporation rates; an evaporation rate of more than 6 meters per year has been measured in one of the nearby lakes. Despite this, only one of the ten lakes is saline.

In the second image down on the right, the other Savage islands are ringed by bright white breaking waves along the fringing beaches.

Reds[edit | edit source]

The central portion of the capital city of Turkey, Ankara, is featured in this astronaut photograph. Credit: NASA Expedition 19 crew.{{free media}}

The central portion of the capital city of Turkey, Ankara, is featured in this astronaut photograph. Hill slopes around the city (image left and right) are fairly green due to spring rainfall. One of the most striking aspects of the urban area is the almost uniform use of red brick roofing tiles, which contrast with lighter-coloured roads; the contrast is particularly evident in the northern (image lower left) and southern (image upper right) portions of the city. Numerous parks are visible as green patches interspersed within the red-roofed urban region. A region of cultivated fields in the western portion of the city (image centre) is a recreational farming area known as the Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo—an interesting example of intentional preservation of a former land use within an urban area.

Radars[edit | edit source]

Sample image was taken using the SIR-B over Canada. Credit: NASA STS-13 (STS-17, STS-41-G) crew.{{free media}}
SIR-B antenna deployment is shown. Credit: NASA STS-13 (STS-17, STS-41-G) crew.{{free media}}
A Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. Credit: NASA STS-65 (STS-68) crew.{{free media}}

The Shuttle Imaging Radar-A (SIR-A) was for remote sensing of Earth's resources. Experiments were conducted by Shuttle missions: STS-2.

The Shuttle Imaging Radar-B (SIR-B) was part of the OSTA-3 experiment package (Spacelab) in the payload bay of STS-13.

The SIR-B was an improved version of a similar device flown on the OSTA-1 package during STS-2. It had an eight-panel antenna array measuring 11 × 2 m (36.1 × 6.6 ft). It operated throughout the flight, but much of the data had to be recorded on board the orbiter rather than transmitted to Earth in real-time as was originally planned.

Capes[edit | edit source]

Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center are shown in this near-vertical photograph. Credit: NASA STS-43 crew.{{free media}}

Def. a "piece or point of land, extending beyond the adjacent coast into a sea or lake"[120] is called a cape.

Coastlines[edit | edit source]

Dalmatian Coastline near Split, Croatia, is shown. Credit: NASA Expedition 19 crew.{{free media}}

In this image on the right, a thin zone of disturbed water (tan patches) marking a water boundary appears in the Adriatic Sea between Split and the island of Brač. It may be a plankton bloom or a line of convergence between water masses, which creates rougher water.

Craters[edit | edit source]

The concentric ring structure of the Aorounga crater—renamed Aorounga South in the multiple-crater interpretation of SIR data—is clearly visible in this detailed astronaut photograph. Credit: NASA Expedition 20 crew.{{free media}}
This detailed astronaut photograph depicts the summit caldera of the Mount Tambora. Credit: NASA ISS Expedition 20 crew.{{free media}}

The concentric ring structure of the Aorounga crater—renamed Aorounga South in the multiple-crater interpretation of SIR data—is clearly visible in this detailed astronaut photograph on the right. The central highland, or peak, of the crater is surrounded by a small sand-filled trough; this in turn is surrounded by a larger circular trough. Linear rock ridges alternating with light orange sand deposits cross the image from upper left to lower right; these are called yardangs by geomorphologists. Yardangs form by wind erosion of exposed rock layers in a unidirectional wind field. The wind blows from the northeast at Aorounga, and sand dunes formed between the yardangs are actively migrating to the southwest.

Aorounga Impact Crater is located in the Sahara Desert, in north-central Chad, and is one of the best preserved impact structures in the world. The crater is thought to be middle or upper Devonian to lower Mississippian (approximately 345–370 million years old) based on the age of the sedimentary rocks deformed by the impact. Spaceborne Imaging Radar (SIR) data collected in 1994 suggests that Aorounga is one of a set of three craters formed by the same impact event. The other two suggested impact structures are buried by sand deposits.

The concentric ring structure of the Aorounga crater—renamed Aorounga South in the multiple-crater interpretation of SIR data—is clearly visible in this detailed astronaut photograph. The central highland, or peak, of the crater is surrounded by a small sand-filled trough; this in turn is surrounded by a larger circular trough. Linear rock ridges alternating with light orange sand deposits cross the image from upper left to lower right; these are called yardangs by geomorphologists. Yardangs form by wind erosion of exposed rock layers in a unidirectional wind field. The wind blows from the northeast at Aorounga, and sand dunes formed between the yardangs are actively migrating to the southwest.

Glaciology[edit | edit source]

The Southern Patagonian Icefield of Argentina and Chile is the southern remnant of the Patagonia Ice Sheet that covered the southern Andes Mountains during the last ice age. Credit: NASA Expedition 21 crew.{{free media}}

The Southern Patagonian Icefield of Argentina and Chile is the southern remnant of the Patagonia Ice Sheet that covered the southern Andes Mountains during the last ice age. This detailed astronaut photograph on the right illustrates the terminus of one of the ice-field’s many spectacular glaciers—Upsala Glacier, located on the eastern side of the ice-field.

This image was taken during spring in the Southern Hemisphere, and icebergs were calving from the glacier terminus into the waters of Lago Argentino (Lake Argentina, image right). Two icebergs are especially interesting because they retain fragments of the moraine (rock debris) that forms a dark line along the upper surface of the glacier. The inclusion of the moraine illustrates how land-based rocks and sediment may wind up in ocean sediments far from shore.

Moraines are formed from rock and soil debris that accumulate along the front and sides of a flowing glacier. The glacier is like a bulldozer that pushes soil and rock in front of it, leaving debris on either side. When two glaciers merge (image centre), moraines along their edges can join to form a medial moraine that is drawn out along the upper surface of the new glacier.

Lakes[edit | edit source]

View shows the lake Jieze Caka in Tibet. Credit: NASA STS-1 crew, Askeuhd.{{free media}}
The image shows Bangong Lake in Himalaya, China. Credit: STS-2 crew.{{free media}}

Def. a "large, [landlocked][121] stretch of water"[122] is called a lake.

The image on the right show the Tibetan plateau containing lake Jieze Caka.

Mountains[edit | edit source]

This astronaut photograph shows the island’s sharp peaks and deep ravines; the rugged topography results from erosion of the volcanic rocks that make up the island. Credit: NASA Expedition 19 crew.{{free media}}

Def. a "large mass of earth and rock, rising above the common level of the earth or adjacent land, usually given by geographers as above 1000 feet in height (or 304.8 metres), though such masses may still be described as hills in comparison with larger mountains"[123] is called a mountain.

The image on the right was acquired by astronauts onboard the International Space Station as part of an ongoing effort (the HMS Beagle Project) to document current biodiversity in areas visited by Charles Darwin.

Saint Helena Island, located in the South Atlantic Ocean approximately 1,860 kilometers (1,156 miles) west of Africa, was one of the many isolated islands that naturalist Charles Darwin visited during his scientific voyages in the nineteenth century. He visited the island in 1836 aboard the HMS Beagle, recording observations of the plants, animals, and geology that would shape his theory of evolution.

The astronaut photograph shows the island’s sharp peaks and deep ravines; the rugged topography results from erosion of the volcanic rocks that make up the island. The change in elevation from the coast to the interior creates a climate gradient. The higher, wetter center is covered with green vegetation, whereas the lower coastal areas are drier and hotter, with little vegetation cover. Human presence on the island has also caused dramatic changes to the original plants and animals of the island. Only about 10 percent of the forest cover observed by the first explorers now remains in a semi-natural state, concentrated in the interior highlands.

Rock structures[edit | edit source]

This detailed astronaut photograph shows part of Big Thomson Mesa, near the southern end of Capitol Reef National Park. Credit: NASA Expedition 20 crew.{{free media}}

This detailed astronaut photograph on the right shows part of Big Thomson Mesa, near the southern end of Capitol Reef National Park. Capitol Reef National Park is located on the Colorado Plateau, which occupies the adjacent quarters of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Big Thomson Mesa (image left) is part of a large feature known as the en:Waterpocket Fold. The Fold is a geologic structure called a monocline—layers of generally flat-lying sedimentary rock with a steep, one-sided bend, like a carpet runner draped over a stair step. Geologists think that monoclines on the Colorado Plateau result from faulting (cracking) of deeper and more brittle crystalline rocks under tectonic pressure; while the crystalline rocks were broken into raised or lowered blocks, the overlaying, less brittle sedimentary rocks were flexed without breaking.

The portion of the Waterpocket Fold illustrated in this image includes layered rocks formed during the Mesozoic Era (about 250 – 65 million years ago). The oldest layers are at the bottom of the sequence, with each successive layer younger than the preceding one going upwards in the sequence. Not all of the formation’s rock layers are clearly visible, but some of the major layers (units to geologists) can be easily distinguished. The top half of the image includes the oldest rocks in the view: dark brown and dark green Moenkopi and Chinle Formations. Moving toward the foot of the mesa, two strikingly coloured units are visible near image centre: light red to orange Wingate Sandstone and white Navajo Sandstone. Beyond those units, reddish brown to brown Carmel Formation and Entrada Sandstone occupy a topographic bench at the foot of a cliff. The top of the cliff face above this bench—Big Thomson Mesa—is comprised of brown Dakota Sandstone. This sequence represents more than 100 million years of sediments being deposited and turned into rock. Much younger Quaternary (2-million- to approximately 10,000-year-old) deposits are also present in the view.

The area shown in this astronaut photograph is located approximately 65 kilometers to the southeast of Fruita, UT near the southern end of Capitol Reef National Park.

Volcanoes[edit | edit source]

Gray volcanic deposits from Mount Hood extend southwards along the banks of the White River (image lower left). Credit: NASA Expedition 20 crew.{{free media}}
This detailed astronaut photograph features two stratovolcanoes—Pico de Teide and Pico Viejo—located on Tenerife Island. Credit: NASA Expedition 20 crew.{{free media}}

Gray volcanic deposits extend southwards along the banks of the White River (image lower left) and form several prominent ridges along the south-east to south-west flanks of the volcano. The deposits contrast sharply with the green vegetation on the lower flanks of the volcano. North is to the right.

The detailed astronaut photograph on the left features two stratovolcanoes—Pico de Teide and Pico Viejo—located on Tenerife Island, part of the Canary Islands of Spain. Stratovolcanoes are steep-sided, typically conical volcanoes formed by interwoven layers of lava and fragmented rock material from explosive eruptions. Pico de Teide has a relatively sharp peak, whereas an explosion crater forms the summit of Pico Viejo. The two stratovolcanoes formed within an even larger volcanic structure known as the Las Cañadas caldera. A caldera is a large collapse depression usually formed when a major eruption completely empties the magma chamber underlying a volcano. The last eruption of Teide occurred in 1909. Sinuous flow levees marking individual lava flows are perhaps the most striking volcanic features visible in the image. Flow levees are formed when the outer edges of a channelized lava flow cool and harden while the still-molten interior continues to flow downhill. Numerous examples radiate outwards from the peaks of both Pico de Teide and Pico Viejo. Brown to tan overlapping lava flows and domes are visible to the east-south-east of the Teide stratovolcano.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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External links[edit | edit source]

{{Principles of radiation astronomy}}