|Launch:||July 29, 1985|
5:00:00 p.m. EDT (21:00:00 UTC)
|Landing:||August 6, 1985|
12:45:26 p.m. PDT (19:45:26 UTC)
Edwards AFB, California, Runway 23
|Duration:||7 days, 22 hours, 45 minutes, 26 seconds|
|Orbit altitude:||173 nautical miles (320 km)|
|Orbit inclination:||49.5 degrees|
|Distance traveled:||3,283,543 miles (5,284,350 km)|
- Commander: C. Gordon Fullerton (flew on STS-3 & STS-51-F)
- Pilot: Roy D. Bridges, Jr. (flew on STS-51-F)
- Mission Specialist 1: F. Story Musgrave (flew on STS-6, STS-51-F, STS-33, STS-44, STS-61 & STS-80)
- Mission Specialist 2: Anthony W. England (flew on STS-51-F)
- Mission Specialist 3: Karl G. Henize (flew on STS-51-F)
- Payload Specialist 1: Loren W. Acton (flew on STS-51-F)
- Payload Specialist 2: John-David F. Bartoe (flew on STS-51-F)
- Orbiter Liftoff: 114,590 kg
- Orbiter Landing: 98,307 kg
- Payload: 15,603 kg
- Perigee: 203 km
- Apogee: 337 km
- Inclination: 49.5°
- Period: 89.9 min
Primary payload was Spacelab-2. Despite abort-to-orbit, which required mission replanning, the mission was declared a success. A special part of the modular Spacelab system, the igloo, located at 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.
The flight marked the first time the 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.
The payload with the most publicity probably was the Carbonated Beverage Dispenser Evaluation — an experiment where both Coca-Cola as well as Pepsi tried to make their drinks available to astronauts. Both fizzed excessively in microgravity.
July 29, 1985, 5:00:00 p.m. EDT. Launch countdown July 12 halted at T-3 seconds after main engine ignition when a malfunction of number two Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) coolant valve caused shutdown of all three main engines. Launch July 29 delayed one hour, 37 minutes due to problem with table maintenance block update uplink. Five minutes, 45 seconds into ascent, number one main engine shutdown prematurely, resulting in an Abort To Orbit (ATO) trajectory. Launch weight: 252,855 lb (114.693 t).
August 6, 1985, 12:45:26 p.m. PDT, Runway 23, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 8,569 ft (2.612 km). Rollout time: 55 seconds. Mission extended 17 revolutions for additional payload activities due to abort-to-orbit. Orbiter returned to KSC August 11, 1985. Landing Weight: 216,735 lb (98.309 t).
The mission insignia was designed by Houston artist Skip Bradley. The Space Shuttle Challenger is depicted ascending toward the heavens in search of new knowledge in the field of solar and stellar astronomy, with its Spacelab 2 payload. The constellations Leo and Orion are in the positions they will be in, relative to the Sun during the flight. The nineteen stars signify that this will be the 19th STS flight.
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