STS-41-C
SMMS repair by STS-41C Astronauts.jpg
Mission Specialists George Nelson and James D. A. van Hoften repair the captured Solar Maximum Mission satellite on 11 April 1984.
NamesSpace Transportation System-11
Mission typeSatellite deployment
Satellite repair
OperatorNASA
COSPAR ID1984-034A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.14897
Mission duration6 days, 23 hours, 40 minutes, 7 seconds (achieved)
Distance travelled4,620,000 km (2,870,000 mi)
Orbits completed108
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Challenger
Launch mass115,328 kg (254,255 lb)
Landing mass89,346 kg (196,974 lb)
Payload mass15,345 kg (33,830 lb) [1]
Crew
Crew size5
Members
EVAs2
EVA duration10 hours, 6 minutes
First: 2 hours, 59 minutes
Second: 7 hours, 7 minutes
Start of mission
Launch date6 April 1984, 13:58:00 UTC
RocketSpace Shuttle Challenger
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39A
ContractorRockwell International
End of mission
Landing date13 April 1984, 13:38:07 UTC
Landing siteEdwards Air Force Base, Runway 17
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[2]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude222 km (138 mi)
Apogee altitude428 km (266 mi)
Inclination28.50°
Period91.40 minutes
STS-41-C patch.png

STS-41-C mission patch
STS-41-C crew.jpg

Robert L. Crippen, Terry J. Hart, James D. A. van Hoften, George D. Nelson, Francis R. Scobee
← STS-41-B (10)
STS-41-D (12) →
 

STS-41-C (formerly STS-13) was NASA's eleventh Space Shuttle mission, and the fifth mission of Space Shuttle Challenger. The launch, which took place on 6 April 1984, marked the first direct ascent trajectory for a shuttle mission. During the mission, Challenger's crew captured and repaired the malfunctioning Solar Maximum Mission ("Solar Max") satellite, and deployed the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) experimental apparatus. STS-41-C was extended one day due to problems capturing the Solar Max satellite, and the landing on 13 April 1984 took place at Edwards Air Force Base, instead of at Kennedy Space Center as had been planned. The flight was originally numbered STS-13.[3][4]

Crew

Position Astronaut
Commander Robert L. Crippen
Third spaceflight
Pilot Francis R. 'Dick' Scobee
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Terry J. Hart
Only spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 James D. A. van Hoften
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 George D. Nelson
First spaceflight

Spacewalks

EVA 1
EVA 2

Crew seating arrangements

Seat[6] Launch Landing
STS-121 seating assignments.png

Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
S1 Crippen Crippen
S2 Scobee Scobee
S3 Hart Nelson
S4 van Hoften van Hoften
S5 Nelson Hart

Mission summary

STS-41-C post flight presentation, narrated by the astronauts (19 minutes).

STS-41-C launched successfully at 8:58 a.m. EST on 6 April 1984. The mission marked the first direct ascent trajectory for the Space Shuttle; Challenger reached its 533 km (331 mi) - high orbit using its Orbiter Maneuvering System (OMS) engines only once, to circularize its orbit. During the ascent phase, the main computer in Mission control center (MCC) failed, as did the backup computer. For about an hour, the controllers had no data on the orbiter.[7]

The flight had two primary objectives. The first was to deploy the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), a passive, retrievable, 12-sided experimental cylinder. The 9,700 kg (21,400 lb) LDEF was 4.3 m (14 ft) in diameter and 9.1 m (30 ft) long, and carried 57 scientific experiments. The second objective of STS-41-C was to capture, repair and redeploy the malfunctioning Solar Maximum Mission satellite ("Solar Max"), which had been launched in 1980.

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.

On the third day of the mission, Challenger's orbit was raised to about 560 km (350 mi), and it maneuvered to within 61 m (200 ft) of the stricken Solar Max satellite. Astronauts Nelson and van Hoften, wearing space suits, entered the payload bay. Nelson, using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), flew out to the satellite and attempted to grasp it with a special capture tool, called the Trunnion Pin Acquisition Device (TPAD). Three attempts to clamp the TPAD onto the satellite failed. Solar Max began tumbling on multiple axes when Nelson attempted to grab one of the satellite's solar arrays by hand, and the effort was called off. Crippen had to perform multiple maneuvers of the orbiter to keep up with Nelson and Solar Max, and nearly ran out of RCS fuel.[7]

During the night of the third day, the Solar Max Payload Operations Control Center (POCC), located at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Maryland, was able to establish control over the satellite by sending commands ordering the satellite's magnetorquers to stabilize its tumbling. This was successful, and Solar Max went into a slow, regular spin. The next day, Crippen maneuvered Challenger back to Solar Max, and Hart was able to grapple the satellite with the RMS. They placed Solar Max on a special cradle in the payload bay using the RMS. Nelson and van Hoften then began the repair operation, replacing the satellite's attitude control mechanism and the main electronics system of the coronagraph instrument. The ultimately successful repair effort took two separate spacewalks. Solar Max was deployed back into orbit the next day. After a 30-day checkout by the Goddard POCC, the satellite resumed full operation.

Other STS-41-C mission activities included a student experiment located in a middeck locker which found that honeybees can successfully make honeycomb cells in a microgravity environment. Highlights of the mission, including the LDEF deployment and the Solar Max repair, were filmed using an IMAX movie camera, and the results appeared in the 1985 IMAX movie The Dream is Alive.

The 6 days, 23 hours, 40 minutes, and 7 seconds mission ended on 13 April 1984, at 5:38 a.m. PST, when Challenger landed safely on Runway 17, at Edwards Air Force Base, having completed 108 orbits. Challenger was returned to KSC on 18 April 1984.

Wake-up calls

Alternate mission patch, referencing the mission's original designation, STS-13; and landing under a black cat, given that 13 April 1984 was a Friday the 13th.[8]
Alternate mission patch, referencing the mission's original designation, STS-13; and landing under a black cat, given that 13 April 1984 was a Friday the 13th.[8]

NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Project Gemini, and first used music to wake up a flight crew during Apollo 15. Each track is specially chosen, often by the astronauts' families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities.[9]

Flight Day Song Artist/Composer
Day 2 "A Boy Named Sue" Johnny Cash
Day 3 "Fight for California" Lehigh University Fight Song
Day 4 Unidentified
Day 5 "Theme from Rocky" Bill Conti
Day 6 Unidentified
Day 7 None
Day 8 "University of Texas Fight Song"

See also

References

  1. ^ "NASA shuttle cargo weight summary" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 August 2000. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  2. ^ "SATCAT". Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  3. ^ James D. A. van Hoften NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. 5 December 2007 Retrieved 20 July 2013 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Terry J. Hart NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. April 10, 2003 Retrieved July 20, 2013 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b "STS-41-C". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 19 March 2002. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  6. ^ "STS-41C". Spacefacts. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b Hale, Wayne (28 May 2012). "Ground Up Rendezvous". Wayne Hale's Blog. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  8. ^ Ben Evans (2007). Space Shuttle Challenger: Ten Journeys into the Unknown. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-387-49679-5.
  9. ^ Fries, Colin (25 June 2007). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 13 August 2007. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.