Jernigan outside Unity, during the mission's only EVA
NamesSpace Transportation System-96
Mission typeISS assembly
ISS logistics
COSPAR ID1299-030A
SATCAT no.25760
Mission duration9 days, 19 hours, 13 minutes, 57 seconds
Distance travelled6,000,000 kilometres (3,700,000 mi)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Discovery
Launch mass118,857 kilograms (262,035 lb)
Landing mass100,230 kilograms (220,980 lb)
Payload mass9,097 kilograms (20,056 lb)
Crew size7
Start of mission
Launch date27 May 1999, 10:49:42 (1999-05-27UTC10:49:42Z) UTC
Launch siteKennedy LC-39B
End of mission
Landing date6 June 1999, 06:02:43 (1999-06-06UTC06:02:44Z) UTC
Landing siteKennedy SLF Runway 15
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude326 kilometres (203 mi)
Apogee altitude340 kilometres (210 mi)
Inclination51.6 degrees
Period91.2 min
Docking with ISS
Docking portPMA-2
(Unity forward)
Docking date29 May 1999, 04:23 UTC
Undocking date3 June 1999, 22:39 UTC
Time docked5 days, 18 hours, 15 minutes

Left to right - Front row: Rominger, Ochoa, Husband; Back row: Barry, Payette, Tokarev, Jernigan
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STS-93 (95) →

STS-96 was a Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS) flown by Space Shuttle Discovery, and the first shuttle flight to dock[a] at the International Space Station.[1][2] The shuttle carried the Spacehab module in the payload, filled with cargo for station outfitting. STS-96 launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 27 May 1999 at 06:49:42 AM EDT and returned to Kennedy on 6 June 1999, 2:02:43 AM EDT.[1]


Position Astronaut
Commander United States Kent V. Rominger
Fourth spaceflight
Pilot United States Rick D. Husband
First spaceflight
EVA Specialist 1 United States Daniel T. Barry
Second spaceflight
Flight Engineer United States Ellen Ochoa
Third spaceflight
EVA Specialist 2 United States Tamara E. Jernigan
Fifth and last spaceflight
IV/RMS Canada Julie Payette, CSA
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist Russia Valeri I. Tokarev, RKA
First spaceflight

Space walk

Mission highlights

STS-96 was a logistics and resupply mission for the International Space Station carrying the Spacehab Double Module (DM) 13th Spacehab overall (6th dual module use).

Space Shuttle Discovery carried to the ISS an Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) with parts for the Russian cargo crane STRELA, which was mounted to the exterior of the Russian station segment. Furthermore, the ICC carried the SPACEHAB Oceaneering Space System Box (SHOSS) and the "ORU Transfer Device" (OTD), a U.S. built crane.

Other payloads on STS-96 were the Student Tracked Atmospheric Research Satellite for Heuristic International Networking Equipment (STARSHINE), the Shuttle Vibration Forces Experiment (SVF) and the Orbiter Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring – HEDS Technology Demonstration (IVHM HTD).

The STARSHINE satellite consists of an inert, 483 millimetres (19.0 in) hollow sphere covered by 1,000 evenly distributed, flat, polished mirrors, each 1 inch in diameter. The payload consists of the STARSHINE satellite, integrated with the Pallet Ejection System (PES), then mounted inside a lidless carrier. The HH equipment consists of one HH Lightweight Avionics Plate (LAP), then mounted inside a lidless carrier. Additional HH equipment consists of one Hitchhiker Ejection System Electronics (HESE), one 5.0 cubic-foot (142 L) HH canister, and one Adapter Beam Assembly (ABA). The purpose of the mission was to train international student volunteer observers to visually track this optically reflective spacecraft during morning and evening twilight intervals for several months, calculate its orbit from shared observations, and derive atmospheric density from drag-induced changes in its orbit over time.

Space Shuttle Discovery launches on STS-96 from Kennedy Space Center, 27 May 1999.

The Shuttle Vibration Forces (SVF) Experiment provided flight measurements of the vibratory forces acting between an aerospace payload and its mounting structure. The force transducers were incorporated into four custom brackets which replaced the existing brackets used to attach the 5 ft (1.5 m) standard canister to the side wall GAS adapter beam. The payload was activated automatically by the Orbiter Lift-off vibration and operated for approximately 100 seconds. STS-96 was the second flight of the SVF experiment.

The purpose of the Orbiter Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring- HEDS Technology Demonstration (IVHM HTD) was to demonstrate competing modern, off-the-shelf sensing technologies in an operational environment to make informed design decisions for the eventual Orbiter upgrade IVHM. The objective of IVHM was to reduce planned ground processing, streamline problem troubleshooting (unplanned ground processing), enhance visibility into systems operation and improve overall vehicle safety.

A copy of Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft real-time strategy game was also flown aboard STS-96. It resides at Blizzard's headquarters in Irvine, CA.

Wake-up calls

NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Gemini program, which was first used to wake up a flight crew during Apollo 15.[3] Each track is specially chosen, often by their families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities.[3][4]

Flight Day Song Artist/Composer
Day 2 "California Dreamin" Mamas and the Papas
Day 3 "Danger Zone" Kenny Loggins
Day 4 Themes from Star Wars Space Center Intermediate Band
Day 5 "Morning Colors" US Coast Guard Band
Day 6 "Amarillo by Morning" George Strait
Day 7 "Exultate Jubilate" Mozart
Day 9 "Free Bird" Lynyrd Skynyrd

See also


a.^ Although STS-96 was the first Space Shuttle mission to perform a docking maneuver with the ISS, it was not the first to visit the station. During the previous mission, STS-88, the Space Shuttle Endeavour used the Canadarm to first attach the newly delivered Unity module to its airlock, then grasp the Zarya module to join it with Unity. Because the Shuttle's robotic arm was used to connect both modules to the spacecraft, this counted as a berthing rather than a docking despite the final configuration being identical to STS-96. See Docking and berthing of spacecraft


  1. ^ a b Warnock, Lynda. "STS-96". NASA. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  2. ^ "The International Lab in Space Helps Prepare for Life Beyond". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b Fries, Colin (25 June 2007). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF). NASA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2007.
  4. ^ "STS-96 Wakeup Calls". NASA. 11 May 2009. Archived from the original on 19 May 2000. Retrieved 31 July 2009.