A Record of Achievement, 1961-1998 (Upcoming Monograph 9) (2023)

A Record of Achievement, 1961-1998 (Upcoming Monograph 9) (1)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA History Division
Human Space Flight: A Record of Achievement, 1961-1998 (Monograph 9)

A Record of Achievement, 1961-1998 (Upcoming Monograph 9) (2)
A Record of Achievement, 1961-1998 (Upcoming Monograph 9) (3)

Compiled by JudyA. Rumerman

NASA History Division
Office of Policy and Plans
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC 20546

August 1998


In December 1991 the Office of SpaceFlight at NASA Headquarters issued Space Flight: The First 30 Yearsas NASA pamphlet 150. This short work chronicled each of the human spaceflights conducted by the United States up to that time. At the time ofthe fortieth anniversary of NASA, born in the aftermath of the Sputnikcrisis of 1957-1958, its it fitting to reflect on the record of achievementin human space flight from those first experimental flights of Mercurythrough the hubris of the Apollo Moon landings to the current flights ofthe Space Shuttle. Accordingly, as one of its fortieth anniversary projectsthe NASA History Division sponsored a revision and updating of that earlierchronology.

This is the ninth in a series of specialstudies prepared by the NASA History Division. The Monographs in AerospaceHistory series is designed to provide a wide variety of investigationsrelative to the history of aeronautics and space. These publications areintended to be tightly focused in terms of subject, relatively short inlength, and reproduced in an inexpensive format to allow timely and broaddissemination to researchers in aerospace history. Suggestions for additionalpublications in the Monographs in Aerospace History series are welcome.


Chief Historian

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

May 29, 1998



Mercury Missions

Gemini Missions

Apollo Missions

Skylab Missions

Space Shuttle Missions


Almost forty years after the Mercuryastronauts made their first brief forays into the new ocean of space, Earthorbit has become a busy arena of human activity. In that time, nearly 300people have traveled into orbit on U.S. spacecraft. The first astronautswent along, stuffed into capsules barely large enough for their bodies,eating squeeze-tube food and peering out at the Earth through tiny portholes.Their flights lasted only a matter of hours. Today we routinely launcheight people at a time to spend a week living, working and exploring onboard the Space Shuttle.

The history of space flight has seennot only an increase in the numbers of people traveling into orbit, buta marked improvements in their vehicles. Each successive spacecraft, fromMercury through Apollo and the Space Shuttle, has been larger, more comfortable,and more capable. Scientists working inside the Shuttle's Spacelab havemany of the comforts of a laboratory on Earth, none of which were availablewhen human space flight first began.

Some projects, like Apollo, producedstunning firsts or explored new "territory." Others-notably Skylab andthe Space Shuttle-advanced our capabilities by extending the range andsophistication of human operations in space. Both kinds of activity arevital to establishing a permanent human presence off the Earth.

Almost forty years after the dawn ofthe age of space flight, we are learning not just to travel into space,but to live and stay there. That challenge ensures that the decades tocome will be just as exciting as the past decades have been.


Project Mercury came into being on October7, 1958, only a year and three days after the Soviet Union's Sputnik Isatellite opened the Space Age. The goal of sending people into orbit andback had been discussed for many years before that, but with the initiationof the Mercury project, theory became engineering reality.

Mercury engineers had to devise a vehiclethat would protect a human being from the temperature extremes, vacuumand newly discovered radiation of space. Added to these demands was theneed to keep an astronaut cool during the burning, high-speed reentry throughthe atmosphere. The vehicle that best fit these requirements was a wingless"capsule" designed for a ballistic reentry, with an ablative heat shieldthat burned off as Mercury returned to Earth.

Mercury capsules rode into space ontwo different kinds of booster. The first suborbital flights were launchedon Redstone rockets designed by Wernher von Braun's team in Huntsville,Alabama. For orbital flights, Mercury was placed on top of an Atlas-D,a modified ballistic missile whose steel skin was so thin (to save weight)it would have collapsed like a bag if not pressurized from within.

The first Americans to venture intospace were drawn from a group of 110 military pilots chosen for their flighttest experience and because they met certain physical requirements. Sevenof those 110 became astronauts in April 1959. Six of the seven flew Mercurymissions (Deke Slayton was removed from flight status due to a heart condition).Beginning with Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 flight, the astronauts named theirown spacecraft, and all added 7 to the name to acknowledge the teamworkof their fellow astronauts.

With only 12.133 cubic meters of volume,the Mercury capsule was barely big enough to include its pilot. Insidewere 120 controls, 55 electrical switches, 30 fuses and 35 mechanical levers.Before Shepard's flight, surrogate "passengers" tested the integrity ofthe spacecraft design: two rhesus monkeys, Ham the chimpanzee, and an electronic"crewman simulator" mannequin that could breathe in and out to test thecabin environment. Finally, in May 1961, Shepard became the first Americanin space. Nine months later, John Glenn became the first American to orbitthe Earth.

The six Mercury flights (which totaledtwo days and six hours in space) taught the pioneers of space flight severalimportant lessons. They learned not only that humans could function inspace, but that they were critical to a mission's success. Ground engineerslearned the difficulty of launch preparations, and found that a worldwidecommunications network was essential for manned space flight.

By the time of the last Mercury flightin May 1963, the focus of the U.S. space program had already shifted. PresidentJohn F. Kennedy had announced the goal of reaching the Moon only threeweeks after Shepard's relatively simple 15-minute suborbital flight, andby 1963, only 500 of the 2,500 people working at NASA's Manned SpacecraftCenter were still working on Mercury-the remainder were already busy onGemini and Apollo.

But Mercury had taken the critical firststep, and had given reassuring answers to a number of fundamental questions:

  • Could humans survive in space?
  • Could a spacecraft be designed to launchthem into orbit?
  • Could they return safely to Earth?

At the moment John Glenn's Friendship7 capsule was placed into its orbital trajectory, fulfilling the primarygoal of Project Mercury, one member of the launch team on the ground madea notation in his log: "We are through the gates."

Project Mercury

Dates: 1962-1963

Vehicles: Redstone and Atlaslaunchers

Mercury spacecraft

Number of People Flown: 6

Highlights: First American inspace

First American in orbit

Mercury Bibliography

NASA Sources:

Grimwood, James M. Project Mercury:A Chronology. (NASA SP­4001, 1963).

Hansen, James R. Spaceflight Revolution:NASA Langley Research Center from Sputnik to Apollo. (NASA SP­4308,1995).

Link, Mae Mills. Space Medicine inProject Mercury. (NASA SP­4003, 1965).

Pitts, John A. The Human Factor:Biomedicine in the Manned Space Program to 1980. (NASA SP­4213,1985).

Swenson, Loyd S., Jr., Grimwood, JamesM., and Alexander, Charles C.This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury.(NASA SP­4201, 1966).

Non-NASA Sources:

Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff.(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979).

Mercury Astronauts. We Seven.(Simon and Schuster, 1962).

Mercury Missions

Mercury Redstone 3 (Freedom 7)

May 5, 1961

Crew: Alan B. Shepard, Jr.

Alan Shepard's suborbital flight lastedonly 15 minutes, but it proved that an astronaut could survive and workcomfortably in space, and demonstrated to the 45 million Americans watchingon TV that the United States was now in the space flight business. Freedom7 was a ballistic "cannon shot"-Shepard reached no higher than 187.45 kilometers,and traveled only 486.022 kilometers down range from Cape Canaveral. Duringhis short time in space he maneuvered his spacecraft using hand controllersthat pitched, yawed and rolled the tiny Mercury capsule with small thrusters.He found the ride smoother than expected and reported no discomfort duringfive minutes of weightlessness. Although this first Mercury capsule lackeda window, Shepard was able to look down at the Atlantic coastline througha periscope. His view, though, was in black and white-the astronaut hadinadvertently left a gray filter in place while waiting on the pad forliftoff.

Mercury Redstone 4 (Liberty Bell 7)

July 24, 1961

Crew Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom

Grissom's suborbital mission was essentiallya repeat of Shepard's, again using the Redstone launcher instead of themore powerful Atlas. Grissom's Mercury capsule had a few minor improvements,including new, easier-to-use hand controllers, a window, and an explosiveside hatch, which the astronauts had requested for easier escape in caseof an emergency. Since Shepard's flight had been overly busy, Grissom'sduties were deliberately reduced, and he spent more time observing theEarth. The only significant failure came at the end of the 15-minute flight,after Liberty Bell 7 had parachuted into the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas.While Grissom waited inside the floating capsule to be picked up by helicopterrescue teams, the side hatch opened, filling the tiny spacecraft with seawater.Liberty Bell sank, but a wet Grissom was safely recovered, and the Mercuryprogram was able to move on to orbital flights.

Mercury Atlas , 6 (Friendship 7)

February 20, 1962

Crew: John H. Glenn, Jr.

John Glenn's orbital flight-an Americanfirst-lasted four hours, 55 minutes, during which he circled the Earththree times, observing everything from a dust storm in Africa to Australiancities from an altitude of 260.71 kilometers. Glenn was the first Americanto see a sunrise and sunset from space, and was the first photographerin orbit, having taken along a 35­millimeter Minolta purchased froma Cocoa Beach, Florida drugstore. The most nervous moments of the flightcame before and during reentry, when a signal received on the ground (erroneously,as it turned out) indicated that the capsule's heat shield had come loose.At one point, Glenn thought his shield was burning up and breaking away.He ran out of fuel trying to stop the capsule's bucking motion as it descendedthrough the atmosphere, but splashed down safely, 64.37 kilometers

short of his target (preflight calculationsof the spacecraft's weight had not considered the loss of on­board"consumables"). Glenn returned to Earth a national hero, having achievedProject Mercury's primary goal.

Mercury Atlas 7 (Aurora 7)

May 24, 1962

Crew: M. Scott Carpenter

The focus of Carpenter's five-hour Aurora7 mission was on science. The full flight plan included the first studyof liquids in weightlessness, Earth photography and an unsuccessful attemptto observe a flare fired from the ground. At dawn of the third and finalorbit, Carpenter inadvertently bumped his hand against the inside wallof the cabin and solved a mystery from the previous flight. The resultingbright shower of particles outside the capsule-what Glenn had called "fireflies"-turnedout to be ice particles shaken loose from the capsule's exterior. LikeGlenn, Carpenter circled the Earth three times. Partly because he had beendistracted watching the fireflies and partly because of his busy schedule,he overshot his planned reentry mark, and splashed down 402.34 kilometersoff target.

Mercury Atlas 8 (Sigma 7)

October 3, 1962

Crew: Walter M. Schirra, Jr.

Schirra's was the first of two longer-durationMercury missions. After Carpenter's flawed reentry, the emphasis returnedto engineering rather than science (Schirra even named his spacecraft "Sigma"for the engineering symbol meaning "summation.") The six-orbit missionlasted nine hours and l3 minutes, much of which Schirra spent in what hecalled "chimp configuration," a free drift that tested the Mercury's autopilotsystem. Schirra also tried "steering" by the stars (he found this difficult),took photographs with a Hasselblad camera, exercised with a bungee­corddevice, saw lightning in the atmosphere, broadcast the first live messagefrom an American spacecraft to radio and TV listeners below, and made thefirst splashdown in the Pacific. This was the highest flight of the Mercuryprogram, with an apogee of 283.24 kilometers, but Schirra later claimedto be unimpressed with space scenery as compared to the view from high-flyingaircraft. "Same old deal, nothing new," he told debriefers after the flight.

Mercury Atlas 9 (Faith 7)

May 15-16, 1963

Crew: L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.

If Schirra's mission was an endurancetest, the final Mercury flight was a marathon. Cooper circled the Earth22 1/2 times, and released the first satellite from a spacecraft-a l52.4-millimetersphere with a beacon for testing the astronaut's ability to track objectsvisually in space. Although a balloon for measuring atmospheric drag failedto deploy properly, Cooper finally completed another Mercury experimentwhen he was able to spot a powerful, 44,000-watt xenon lamp shining upfrom the ground. (He also claimed to be able to see individual houses fromorbit, even smoke from chimneys in the Tibetan highlands.) During his 34hours in space, Cooper slept, spoke a prayer into his tape recorder andtook the best photographs of the Mercury program, including pictures ofthe Earth's limb and infrared weather photographs. His mission was deemeda "great success-so successful, in fact, that it allowed Mercury officialsto cancel a planned seventh flight and move on to the two-man Gemini program.


Gemini was not pure pioneering likeMercury, nor did it have the excitement of Apollo. But its success wascritical to Kennedy's goal of reaching the Moon "by decade's end."

The program was announced to the publicon January 3, l962, after Apollo already was well underway. Gemini's primarypurpose was to demonstrate space rendezvous and docking-techniques thatwould be used during Apollo, when the lunar lander would separate fromthe command module in orbit around the Moon, then meet up with it againafter the astronauts left the lunar surface. Gemini also sought to extendastronauts' stays in space to two weeks, longer than even the Apollo missionswould require.

It was during the Gemini program thatspace flight became routine. Ten piloted missions left the launch padsof Cape Canaveral, Florida, in less than 20 months, and the Manned SpacecraftCenter (renamed the Johnson Space Center in 1973) outside Houston, Texas,took over the role of Mission Control. Ground operations became smoothand efficient, due in part to fleetingly short launch windows-the GeminiXI "window" opened for only 2 seconds-dictated by the need to rendezvouswith targets already in orbit. Meanwhile, sixteen new astronauts chalkedup experience in space.

The Gemini spacecraft was an improvementon Mercury (it was originally called Mercury Mark II) in both size andcapability. Gemini weighed more than 3,628.72 kilograms-twice the weightof Mercury-but ironically seemed more cramped, having only 50 percent morecabin space for twice as many people. Ejection seats replaced Mercury'sescape rocket, and more storage space was added for the longer Gemini flights.The long duration missions also required fuel cells instead of batteriesfor generating electrical power.

Unlike Mercury, which had only beenable to change its orientation in space, Gemini needed real maneuveringcapability to rendezvous with another spacecraft. Gemini would have tomove forward, backward and sideways in its orbital path, even change orbits.The complexity of rendezvous demanded two people on board, and more pilotingthan had been possible with Mercury. It also required the first onboardcomputers to calculate complicated rendezvous maneuvers.

Gemini rode into orbit on a Titan 2launch vehicle. The target for rendezvous operations was an unmanned Agenaupper stage, which was launched ahead of the Gemini. After meeting up inorbit, the nose of the Gemini capsule then fit into a docking collar onthe Agena.

To avoid long delays between flights,Gemini spacecraft were made more serviceable, with subsystems that couldbe removed and replaced easily. An adapter module fitted to the rear ofthe capsule (and jettisoned before reentry) carried on-board oxygen, fueland other consumable supplies.

Gemini gave U.S. astronauts their firstreal experience with living and working in space. They had to learn tosleep and keep house on long flights in crowded quarters, both of whichwere difficult. Gemini astronauts also made the first forays outside theirspacecraft, which required a new spacesuit design. Space walks proved moredifficult than expected-following Ed White's successful solo on GeminiIV, it wasn't until the final Gemini flight that another extravehicularactivity went as smoothly as planned.

By Gemini's end, an important new capability-orbitalrendezvous and docking-had become routine, and space doctors had gainedconfidence that humans could live, work and stay healthy in space for daysor even weeks at a time. Gemini also completed a long list of onboard scienceexperiments, including studies of the space environment and Earth photography.Above all, the program added nearly 1,000 hours of valuable space-flightexperience in the years between Mercury and Apollo, which by 1966 was nearingflight readiness. Five days before the launch of the last Gemini, LunarOrbiter 2 had been sent to the Moon, already scouting out Apollo landingsites.

Project Gemini

Dates: 1965­1966

Vehicles: Titan 2 launcher

Gemini spacecraft

Number of People Flown: 20

Highlights: First orbital rendezvousand docking

First U.S. space-walk

Gemini Bibliography

NASA Sources:

Dethloff, Henry C. "Suddenly TomorrowCame...": A History of the Johnson Space Center. (NASA SP­4307,1993).

Grimwood, James M., and Hacker, BartonC., with Vorzimmer, Peter J. Project Gemini Technology and Operations:A Chronology. (NASA SP­4002, 1969).

Hacker, Barton C., and Grimwood, JamesM. On Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini. (NASA SP­4203,1977).

Pitts, John A. The Human Factor:Biomedicine in the Manned Space Program to 1980. (NASA SP­4213,1985).

Non-NASA Sources:

Collins, Michael. Carrying the Fire:An Astronaut Journeys. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1974).

Gemini 3

March 23, 1965

Crew: Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom and JohnW. Young

In a playful reference to the Broadwayhit The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Grissom nicknamed the Gemini 3 spacecraft"Molly Brown," hoping that it would not duplicate his experience with LibertyBell 7. (It was the last Gemini to be named by an astronaut. All subsequentflights in the program were designated by a Roman numeral.) The mission'sprimary goal was to test the new, maneuverable Gemini spacecraft. In space,the crew fired thrusters to change the shape of their orbit, shift theirorbital plane slightly, and drop to a lower altitude. The spacecraft wassupposed to have enough lift for a precision landing, but reality did notmatch wind tunnel predictions: Gemini 3 splashed down some 80.47 kilometersshort of its intended target. The capsule was designed to land on its side,suspended at two points from a parachute. But during the descent, whenthe astronauts threw a switch to shift "Molly Brown" to its landing position,they were thrown forward with such force that Grissom's faceplate cracked.Still, the first test of the two­seat spacecraft-and of Gemini groundoperations-had been a success.

Gemini IV

June 3­7, 1965

Crew: James A McDivitt and Edward H.White II

The plan for this four-day, 62-orbitmission was for Gemini IV to fly in formation with the spent second stageof its Titan 2 booster in orbit. On this first attempt, however, spaceflight engineers learned something about the complication of orbital rendezvous.Thrusting toward their target, the astronauts only moved farther away.They finally gave up after using nearly half their fuel. (On later rendezvousmissions, a spacecraft chasing another in orbit would first drop to a lower,faster orbit before rising again.) The mission's highlight was White's22-minute space walk, the first ever for an American. Tied to a tetherand using a handheld "zip gun" to maneuver himself, White swam throughspace while McDivitt took photographs. Gemini IV set a record for flightduration, and eased fears about the medical consequences of longer missions.It also was the first use of the new Mission Control Center outside Houston,which because of the long duration, had to conduct the first three-shiftoperations.

Gemini V

August 21-29, 1965

Crew: L. Gordon Cooper. Jr. and Charles"Pete" Conrad, Jr.

Gemini V doubled the space-flight recordto eight days, thanks to new fuel cells that generated enough electricityto power longer missions. Cooper and Conrad were to have made a practicerendezvous with a "pod" deployed from the spacecraft, but problems withthe electricity supply forced a switch to a simpler "phantom rendezvous,"whereby the Gemini maneuvered to a predetermined position in space. MercuryVeteran Gordon Cooper was the first person to travel into space twice.He and Conrad took high-resolution photographs for the Defense Department,but problems with the fuel cells and maneuvering system forced the cancellationof several other experiments. The astronauts found themselves marking timein orbit, and Conrad later lamented that he had not brought along a book.On-board medical tests, however, continued to show the feasibility of longerflights.

Gemini VII

December 4-18, 1965

Crew: Frank Barman and James A. Lovell,Jr.

This 14-day mission required NASA tosolve problems of long-duration space flight, not the least of which wasstowage (the crew had practiced stuffing waste paper behind their seatsbefore the flight). Timing their workday to match that of ground crews,both men worked and slept at the same time. Gemini VII flew the most experiments-20-ofany Gemini mission, including studies of nutrition in space. The astronautsalso evaluated a new, lightweight spacesuit, which proved uncomfortableif worn for a long time in Gemini's hot, cramped quarters. The high pointof the mission was the rendezvous with Gemini VI. But the three days thatfollowed were something of an endurance test, and both astronauts, heedingPete Conrad's Gemini V advice, brought books along. Gemini VII was thelongest space flight in U.S. history, until the Skylab missions of the1970s.

Gemini VI

December 15­16, 1965

Crew: Walter M. Schirra, Jr. and ThomasP. Stafford

A rendezvous and docking with an unmannedAgena target was this mission's original objective, but when Mission Controllost contact with the Agena during an October launch attempt, an alternatemission was substituted: a meeting in space of two Gemini spacecraft. Eightdays after the launch of Borman and Lovell's Gemini VII, Schirra and Staffordtried to join them, but their Titan 2 launcher shut down on the pad (thecool-headed Schirra did not eject, even though the countdown clock hadstarted ticking-he felt no motion, and trusted his senses). Three dayslater, Gemini VI made it into orbit. Using guidance from the computer aswell as his own piloting, Schirra rendezvoused with the companion spacecraftin orbit on the afternoon of December 15. Once in formation, the two Geminicapsules flew around each other, coming within 0.3048 meters of each otherbut never touching. The two spacecraft stayed in close proximity for fivehours. One of Gemini's primary goals-orbital rendezvous-had been achieved.

Gemini VIII

March 16, 1966

Crew: Neil A. Armstrong and David R.Scott

A second major objective of the Geminiprogram was completed less than six hours after launch, when Neil Armstrongbrought Gemini VIII within 0.9144 meters of the pre­launched Agenatarget, then slowly docked-the first orbital docking ever. What followed,however, were some of the most hair-raising few minutes in space-programhistory. The Gemini VIII capsule, still docked to the Agena, began rollingcontinuously. Never having faced this in simulation, the crew undockedfrom the Agena, but the problem was a stuck thruster on the spacecraft,which now tumbled even faster, at the dizzying rate of one revolution persecond. The only way to stop the motion was to use the capsule's reentrycontrol thrusters, which meant that Armstrong and Scott had to cut shorttheir mission and make an emergency return to Earth 10 hours after launch.They were still nauseated after splashdown, as well as disappointed: Scotthad missed out on a planned space-walk.

Gemini IX

June 3­6, 1966

Crew: Thomas P. Stafford and EugeneA. Cernan

Stafford and Cernan became the firstbackup crew to fly in space after the first crew of Elliott See and CharlesBassett died in a plane crash four months before the flight. The highlightof the mission was to have been a docking with a shortened Agena calledthe Augmented Target Docking Adapter. The docking was canceled, though,after Stafford and Cernan rendezvoused with the target to find its protectiveshroud still attached, which made it look, in Stafford's words, like an"angry alligator." Cernan also was to have tested an Astronaut ManeuveringUnit (AMU) ­ a jet-powered backpack stowed outside in Gemini's adaptermodule, to which the space­walking astronaut was to have strapped himself.But Cernan's space­walk was troubled from the start. His visor fogged,he sweated and struggled with his tasks, and he had problems moving inmicrogravity. Everything took longer than expected, and Cernan had to goinside before getting a chance to fly the AMU. The device was not finallytested in space until Skylab, seven years later.

Gemini X

July 18-21, 1966

Crew: John W. Young and Michael Collins

Gemini established that radiation athigh attitude was not a problem. After docking with their Agena boosterin low orbit, Young and Collins used it to climb another is 482.8032 kilometersto meet with the dead, drifting Agena left over from the aborted GeminiVIII flight-thus executing the program's first double rendezvous. Withno electricity on board the second Agena the rendezvous was accomplishedwith eyes only-no radar. After the rendezvous, Collins space-walked overto the dormant Agena at the end of a 15.24-meter tether, making Collinsthe first person to meet another spacecraft in orbit. He retrieved a cosmicdust­collecting panel from the side of the Agena, but returned no picturesof his close encounter-in the complicated business of keeping his tetherclear of the Gemini and Agena, Collins' Hasselblad camera worked itselffree and drifted off into orbit.

Gemini XI

September 12-15, 1966

Crew: Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr. andRichard F. Gordon, Jr.

With Apollo looming on the horizon,Gemini project managers wanted to accomplish a rendezvous immediately afterreaching orbit, just as it would have to be done around the Moon. Only85 minutes after launch, Conrad and Gordon matched orbits with their Agenatarget stage and docked several times. Conrad had originally hoped fora Gemini flight around the Moon, but had to settle for the highest Earthorbit-1367.94 kilometers-ever reached by an American manned spacecraft.Gordon's first space-walk once again proved more difficult than groundsimulations, and had to be cut short when he became overtired. A second,two-hour "stand-up" space walk went more smoothly: Gordon even fell asleepwhile floating halfway out the hatch. An experiment to link the Agena andGemini vehicles with a 15.24 meter tether (which Gordon had attached duringhis space-walk) and rotate the joined pair was troublesome-Conrad had problemskeeping the tether taut-but was able to generate a modicum of "artificialgravity." The mission ended with the first totally automatic, computer-controlledreentry, which brought Gemini XI down only 4.506 kilometers from its recoveryship.

Gemini XII

November 11-15, 1966

Crew: James A. Lovell, Jr. and EdwinE. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr.

By the time of the last Gemini flight,the program still had not demonstrated that an astronaut could work easilyand efficiently outside the spacecraft. In preparation for Gemini XII,new, improved restraints were added to the outside of the capsule, anda new technique-underwater training-was introduced, which would becomea staple of all future space-walk simulation. Aldrin's two-hour, 20-minutetethered space-walk, during which he photographed star fields, retrieveda micrometeorite collector and did other chores, at last demonstrated thefeasibility of extravehicular activity. Two more stand-up EVAs also wentsmoothly, as did the by­now routine rendezvous and docking with anAgena which was done "manually" using the onboard computer and charts whena rendezvous radar failed. The climb to a higher orbit, however, was canceledbecause of a problem with the Agena booster.


The Apollo program had been underwaysince July 1960, when NASA announced a follow-on to Mercury that wouldfly astronauts around the Moon. But with President John F. Kennedy's speechof May 25, 1961, declaring the goal of landing an astronaut on the surfaceof the Moon and returning to Earth by decade's end, Apollo shifted itsfocus. That goal was achieved with five months to spare, when, on July20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin touched down in the Seaof Tranquillity.

Apollo was one of the great triumphsof modern technology. Six expeditions landed on the Moon, and one-Apollo13-was forced to return without landing. Before that, there had been twomanned checkouts of Apollo hardware in Earth orbit and two lunar orbitmissions.

The Apollo lunar module, or LM, wasthe first true spacecraft-designed to fly only in a vacuum, with no aerodynamicqualities whatsoever. Launched attached to the Apollo command/service module,it separated in lunar orbit and descended to the Moon with two astronautsinside. At the end of their stay on the surface, the lunar module's ascentstage fired its own rocket to rejoin the command/service module in lunarorbit.

The teardrop-shaped Apollo command module,the living quarters for the three-man crews, had a different shape fromthe conical-nosed Gemini and Mercury. The attached cylindrical servicemodule contained supplies as well as the Service Propulsion System enginethat placed the vehicle in and out of lunar orbit.

Boosting the Apollo vehicles to theMoon was the job of the giant Saturn V-the first launch vehicle large enoughthat it had to be assembled away from the launch pad and transported there.A fueled Saturn V weighed more than 2.7 million kilograms at liftoff, andstood 110.64 meters high with the Apollo vehicle on top. The vehicle hadthree stages: the S-lC, SII, and S-IVB, the last of which burned to sendApollo out of Earth orbit and on its way to the Moon.

The Apollo program greatly increasedthe pace and complexity of ground operations, both before launch and duringthe missions, when ground controllers had to track two spacecraft at thesame time. The lunar missions also required extensive training. Apolloastronauts logged some 84,000 hours-nearly 10 man years-practicing fortheir flights: everything from simulations of lunar gravity, to geologyfield trips, to flying the lunar lander training vehicle.

On January 27, 1967, just as the programwas nearing readiness for its first manned flight, tragedy struck. A fireinside an Apollo command module took the lives of astronauts Virgil "Gus"Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee, who were training inside it atthe time. The fire resulted in delays and modifications to the spacecraft,but by October 1968, Apollo 7 was ready to carry three astronauts intoEarth orbit. There, they checked out the command/service module (both hadbeen tested in an unmanned mode during the November 1967 Apollo 4 mission,which was also the first flight of the Saturn V). By December 1968, Apollo8 was ready to try for lunar orbit (on the Saturn V's third outing), andseven months later Apollo 11 made the first lunar landing.

By the time the Apollo program endedin 1972, astronauts had extended the range and scope of their lunar explorations.The final three missions were far more sophisticated than the first three,in large part because the astronauts carried a lunar rover that allowedthem to roam miles from their base. Apollo 11's Armstrong and Aldrin spentonly two-and-a-half hours walking on the surface. On Apollo 17 the Moonwalks totaled 22 hours, and the astronauts spent three days "camped out"in the Moon's Taurus-Littrow valley.

After six lunar landings the Apolloprogram came to a conclusion (Apollo 18, 19 and 20 missions had been canceledin 1970 because of budget limitations), and with it ended the first waveof human exploration of the Moon.

Project Apollo

Dates: 1967­1972

Vehicles: Saturn IB and SaturnV launch vehicles

Apollo command/service module

Lunar module

Number of People Flown: 33

Highlights: First humans to leaveEarth orbit

First human landing on the Moon

Apollo Bibliography

NASA Sources:

Benson, Charles D. and Faherty, WilliamBarnaby. Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations.(NASA SP­4204, 1978).

Bilstein, Roger E. Stages to Saturn:A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles. (NASASP­4206, 1980).

Brooks, Courtney G., and Ertel, IvanD. The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Volume III, October 1, 1964­January20, 1966. (NASA SP­4009, 1973).

Brooks, Courtney G., Grimwood, JamesM., and Swenson, Loyd S., Jr. Chariots for Apollo: A History of MannedLunar Spacecraft. (NASA SP­4205, 1979).

Compton, W. David. Where No Man HasGone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions. (NASASP­4214, 1989).

Cortright, Edgar. Editor. ApolloExpeditions to the Moon. (NASA SP-350, 1975).

Dethloff, Henry C. "Suddenly TomorrowCame...": A History of the Johnson Space Center. (NASA SP­4307,1993).

Ertel, Ivan D., and Morse, Mary Louise.The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Volume I, Through November 7, 1962.(NASA SP­4009, 1969).

Ertel, Ivan D., and Newkirk, RolandW., with Brooks, Courtney G. The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, VolumeIV, January 21, 1966­July 13, 1974. (NASA SP­4009, 1978).

Fries, Sylvia D. NASA Engineers andthe Age of Apollo. (NASA SP­4104, 1992).

Hansen, James R. Spaceflight Revolution:NASA Langley Research Center from Sputnik to Apollo. (NASA SP­4308,1995).

Herring, Mack R. Way Station to Space:A History of the John C. Stennis Space Center. (NASA SP­4310, 1997).

Levine, Arnold S. Managing NASA inthe Apollo Era. (NASA SP­4102, 1982).

Morse, Mary Louise, and Bays, Jean Kernahan.The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Volume II, November 8, 1962­September30, 1964. (NASA SP­4009, 1973).

Pitts, John A. The Human Factor:Biomedicine in the Manned Space Program to 1980. (NASA SP­4213,1985).

Non­NASA Sources:

Armstrong, Neil A., Collins, Michael,and Aldrin, Edwin E. First on the Moon. (Little, Brown and Company,1970).

Chaiken, Andrew. A Man on the Moon.(Viking, 1994).

Cooper, Henry S.F. Apollo on theMoon. (Dial Press, 1969).

_____. Moon Rocks. (Dial Press,1970).

_____. Thirteen: The Flight thatFailed. (Dial Press, 1973).

Lambright, W. Henry. Powering Apollo:James E. Webb of NASA. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995).

Lewis, Richard S. The Voyages ofApollo: The Exploration of the Moon. (Quadrangle, 1974).

Logsdon, John M. The Decision toGo to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest. (The MITPress, 1970).

McDougall, Walter A. ...The Heavensand the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. (Johns HopkinsUniversity Press, rep. ed. 1997).

Murray, Charles A., and Cox, CatherineBly. Apollo, the Race to the Moon. (Simon and Schuster, 1989).

Pellegrino, Charles R., and Stoff, Joshua.Chariots for Apollo: The Making of the Lunar Module. (Atheneum,1985).

Wilhelms, Don E. To a Rocky Moon:A Geologist's History of Lunar Exploration. (University of ArizonaPress, 1993).

Apollo Missions?

Apollo 7

October 11­22, 1968

Crew: Walter M. Schirra. Jr., Donn F.Eisele, Walter Cunningham

Apollo 7 was a confidence-builder. Afterthe January 1967 Apollo launch pad fire, the Apollo command module hadbeen extensively redesigned. Schirra, the only astronaut to fly Mercury,Gemini and Apollo missions, commanded this Earth-orbital shakedown of thecommand and service modules. With no lunar lander, Apollo 7 could use theSaturn IB booster rather than the giant Saturn V. The Apollo hardware andall mission operations worked without any significant problems, and theService Propulsion System (SPS) ­ the all-important engine that wouldplace Apollo in and out of lunar orbit-made eight nearly perfect firings.Even though Apollo's larger cabin was more comfortable than Gemini's, elevendays in orbit took its toll on the astronauts. The food was bad, and allthree developed colds. But their mission proved the spaceworthiness ofthe basic Apollo vehicle.

Apollo 8

December 21­27, 1968

Crew: Frank Borman, James A. Lovell,Jr., William A. Anders

The Apollo 8 astronauts were the firsthuman beings to venture beyond low Earth orbit and visit another world.What was originally to have been an Earth­orbit checkout of the lunarlander became instead a race with the Soviets to become the first nationto orbit the Moon. The Apollo 8 crew rode inside the command module, withno lunar lander attached. They were the first astronauts to be launchedby the Saturn V, which had flown only twice before. The booster workedperfectly, as did the SPS engines that had been checked out on Apollo 7.Apollo 8 entered lunar orbit on the morning of December 24, 1968. For thenext 20 hours the astronauts circled the Moon, which appeared out theirwindows as a gray, battered wasteland. They took photographs, scouted futurelanding sites, and on Christmas Eve read from the Book of Genesis to TVviewers back on Earth. They also photographed the first Earthrise as seenfrom the Moon. Apollo 8 proved the ability to navigate to and from theMoon, and gave a tremendous boost to the entire Apollo program.

Apollo 9

March 3-13, 1969

Crew: James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott,Russell L. Schweickart

Apollo 9 was the first space test ofthe third critical piece of Apollo hardware-the lunar module. For ten days,the astronauts put all three Apollo vehicles through their paces in Earthorbit, undocking and then redocking the lunar lander with the command module,just as they would in lunar orbit. For this and all subsequent Apollo flights,the crews were allowed to name their own spacecraft. The gangly lunar modulewas "Spider," the command module "Gumdrop." Schweickart and Scott performeda space walk, and Schweickart checked out the new Apollo spacesuit, thefirst to have its own life support system rather than being dependent onan umbilical connection to the spacecraft. Apollo 9 gave proof that theApollo machines were up to the task of orbital rendezvous and docking.

Apollo 10

May 18­26, 1969

Crew: Thomas P. Stafford, John W. Young,Eugene A. Cernan

This dress rehearsal for a Moon landingbrought Stafford and Cernan's lunar module-nicknamed "Snoopy"-to withinnine miles of the lunar surface. Except for that final stretch, the missionwent exactly as a landing would have gone, both in space and on the ground,where Apollo's extensive tracking and control network was put through adry run. Shortly after leaving low Earth orbit, the LM and the command/servicemodule separated, then redocked, top to top. Upon reaching lunar orbit,they separated again. While Young orbited the Moon alone in his commandmodule "Charlie Brown," Stafford and Cernan checked out the LM's radarand ascent engine, rode out a momentary gyration in the lunar lander'smotion (due to a faulty switch setting), and surveyed the Apollo 11 landingsite in the Sea of Tranquillity. This test article of the lunar modulewas not equipped to land, however. Apollo 10 also added another first-broadcastinglive color TV from space.

Apollo 11

July 16-24, 1969

Crew: Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins,Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr.

Half of Apollo's primary goal-a safereturn-was achieved at 4:17 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 20, whenArmstrong piloted the "Eagle" to a touchdown on the Moon, with less than30 seconds' worth of fuel left in the lunar module. Six hours later, Armstrongtook his famous "one giant leap for mankind." Aldrin joined him, and thetwo spent two-and-a-half hours drilling core samples, photographing whatthey saw and collecting rocks. After more than 21 hours on the lunar surface,they returned to Collins on board "Columbia," bringing 20.87 kilogramsof lunar samples with them. The two Moon-walkers had left behind scientificinstruments, an American flag and other mementos, including a plaque bearingthe inscription: "Here Men From Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon the Moon.July 1969 A.D. We Came in Peace For All Mankind."

Apollo 12

November 14-24, 1969,

Crew: Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr., RichardF. Gordon, Jr., Alan L. Bean

The second lunar landing was an exercisein precision targeting. The descent was automatic, with only a few manualcorrections by Conrad. The landing, in the Ocean of Storms, brought thelunar module "Intrepid" within walking distance-182.88 meters-of a robotspacecraft that had touched down there two-and-a-half years earlier. Conradand Bean brought pieces of the Surveyor 3 back to Earth for analysis, andtook two Moon­walks lasting just under four hours each. They collectedrocks and set up experiments that measured the Moon's seismicity, solarwind flux and magnetic field. Meanwhile Gordon, on board the "Yankee Clipper"in lunar orbit, took multispectral photographs of the surface. The crewstayed an extra day in lunar orbit taking photographs. When "Intrepid's"ascent stage was dropped onto the Moon after Conrad and Bean rejoined Gordonin orbit, the seismometers the astronauts had left on the lunar surfaceregistered the vibrations for more than an hour.

Apollo 13

April 11-17, 1970

Crew: James A. Lovell, Jr. Fred W. Haise,Jr., John L. Swigert, Jr.

The crew's understated radio messageto Mission Control was "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here." Within321,860 kilometers of Earth, an oxygen tank in the service module exploded.The only solution was for the crew to abort their planned landing, swingaround the Moon and return on a trajectory back to Earth. Since their commandmodule "Odyssey" was almost completely dead, however, the three astronautshad to use the lunar module "Aquarius" as a crowded lifeboat for the returnhome. The four-day return trip was cold, uncomfortable and tense. But Apollo13 proved the program's ability to weather a major crisis and bring thecrew back home safely.

Apollo 14

January 31 ­February 9, 1971

Crew: Alan B. Shepard. Jr., Stuart A.Roosa, Edgar D. Mitchell

After landing in the Fra Mauro region-theoriginal destination for Apollo 13-Shepard and Mitchell took two Moon­walks,adding new seismic studies to the by­now familiar Apollo experimentpackage, and using a "lunar rickshaw" pull­cart to carry their equipment.A planned rock­collecting trip to the 1,000­foot­wide ConeCrater was dropped, however, when the astronauts had trouble finding theirway around the lunar surface. Although later estimates showed that theyhad made it to within 30.48 meters of the crater's rim, the explorers hadbecome disoriented in the alien landscape. Roosa, meanwhile, took picturesfrom on board command module "Kitty Hawk" in lunar orbit. On the way backto Earth, the crew conducted the first U.S. materials processing experimentsin space. The Apollo 14 astronauts were the last lunar explorers to bequarantined on their return from the Moon.

Apollo 15

July 26­August 7, /971

Crew: David R. Scott, James B. Irwin,Alfred M. Worden

The first of the longer, expedition-stylelunar landing missions was also the first to include the lunar rover, acarlike vehicle that extended the astronauts' range. The lunar module Falcontouched down near the sinuous channel known as Hadley Rille. Scott andIrwin rode more than 27.36 kilometers in their rover, and had a free handin their geological field studies compared to earlier lunar astronauts.They brought back one of the prize trophies of the Apollo program-a sampleof ancient lunar crust nicknamed the "Genesis Rock." Apollo 15 also launcheda small subsatellite for measuring particles and fields in the lunar vicinity.On the way back to Earth, Worden, who had flown solo on board Endeavorwhile his crewmates walked on the surface, conducted the first space-walkbetween Earth and the Moon to retrieve film from the side of the spacecraft.

Apollo 16

April 16-27, 1972

Crew: John W. Young, Thomas K. MattinglyII, Charles M. Duke, Jr.

A malfunction in the main propulsionsystem of the lunar module "Orion" nearly caused their Moon landing tobe scrubbed but Young and Duke ultimately spent three days exploring theDescarres highland region, while Mattingly circled overhead in "Casper."What was thought to have been a region of volcanism turned out not to be,based on the astronauts' discoveries. Their collection of returned specimensincluded an 11.34-kilogram chunk that was the largest single rock returnedby the Apollo astronauts. The Apollo 16 astronauts also conducted performancetests with the lunar rover, at one time getting up to a top speed of 17.70kilometers per hour.

Apollo 17

December 7-19, 1972

Crew: Eugene A. Cernan, Ronald E. Evans,Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt

At the end of this last Apollo mission Eugene Cernan earned the distinction of becoming the last human to stand on the Moon -- so far. While Ronald Evans circled in America , Jack Schmitt and Cernan collected a record 108.86kilograms of rocks during three Moonwalks. The crew roamed for 33.80 kilometersthrough the Taurus-Littrow valley in their rover, discovered orange-coloredsoil, and left behind a plaque attached to their lander Challenger, whichread: "Here Man completed his first exploration of the Moon, December 1972A.D. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the livesof all mankind." The Apollo lunar program had ended.

Apollo 17: Splashdown in the Pacific.


NASA had studied concepts for spacestations, including an inflatable donut-shaped station, since the earliestdays of the space program. But it wasn't until the Saturn rocket came intoexistence in the mid-1960s that the Skylab program was born. Initiallycalled the Apollo Applications Program, Skylab was designed to use leftoverApollo lunar hardware to achieve extended stays by astronauts in Earthorbit.

At first there were two competing concepts:the so-called "wet" workshop, where a Saturn IB would be launched, fueled,and its S IV-B upper stage vented and refurbished in orbit; and the "dry"workshop, where the outfitting of an empty S IV-B stage would be done onthe ground beforehand and launched on a Saturn V. In July 1969, while theApollo 11 astronauts were completing their historic lunar landing mission,program managers made their decision: the "dry" workshop concept won.

The Skylab space station weighed approximately100 tons. It was placed into orbit by the Saturn V, the last time thatgiant launcher was used. Three separate astronaut crews then met up withthe orbiting workshop using modified Apollo command and service moduleslaunched by smaller Saturn IB rockets.

Skylab had a habitable volume of justover 283.17 cubic meters. It was divided into two levels separated by ametal floor-actually an open grid into which the astronauts' cleated shoescould be locked. The "upper" floor had storage lockers and a large emptyvolume for conducting experiments, plus two scientific airlocks, one pointingdown at the Earth, the other toward the Sun. The lower floor had compartmented"rooms" with many of the comforts of home: a dining room table, three bedrooms,a work area, a shower and a bathroom.

The largest piece of scientific equipment,attached to one end of the cylindrical workshop, was the Apollo TelescopeMount, used to study the Sun in different wavelengths with no atmosphericinterference. The ATM had its own electricity-generating solar panels.

Skylab also had an airlock module forspace-walks (required for repairs, experiment deployments and routine changingof film in the ATM). The Apollo command/service module remained attachedto the station's multiple docking adapter while the astronauts were onboard.

The space station itself was launchedMay 14, 1973, on the unmanned Skylab 1 mission. Beginning only 63 secondsafter the launch, however, the workshop's combination meteorite shieldand sunshade was torn loose by aerodynamic stress, taking one of the twoelectricity­producing solar arrays with it and preventing the otherfrom deploying properly. The crew was supposed to have launched the nextday, but they waited on the ground for 10 days while a fix was worked out(see Skylab 2).

In the course of the next nine months,three different crews lived on board Skylab for one, two, then three monthsat a time. The station, which orbited at an altitude of 434.52 kilometers,was deactivated between flights. The nine Skylab astronauts chalked upa total of 513 man-days in orbit, during which they conducted thousandsof experiments and observations, studying (in decreasing order of the amountof crew time spent): solar astronomy, life sciences, Earth observations,astrophysics, man/systems studies, Comet Kohoutek observations (Skylab4 only), materials science and student experiments.

Skylab showed the value of having humansworking for long periods in orbit on a wide variety of scientific studies,and proved that they could survive the ordeal. More than five years afterthe last crew left, the empty Skylab station reentered and burned up inthe atmosphere on July 11, 1979.


Dates: 1973-74

Vehicles: Skylab orbital workshop

Saturn IB launch vehicle (for crews)

Number of People Flown: 9

Highlights: Longest durationspace flights in U.S. history

NASA Sources:

Compton, W. David, and Benson, CharlesD. Living and Working in Space: A History of Skylab. (NASA SP­4208,1983).

Newkirk, Roland W., and Ertel, IvanD., with Brooks, Courtney G. Skylab: A Chronology. (NASA SP­4011,1977).

Pitts, John A. The Human Factor:Biomedicine in the Manned Space Program to 1980. (NASA SP­4213,1985).

Skylab 2

May 25­June 22, 1973

Crew: Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr., PaulJ. Weitz, Joseph P. Kewin

The first crew to visit the Skylab spacestation started their mission with home repairs. Skylab's meteorite andsunshield had torn loose during launch, and one of its two remaining solarpanels was jammed (see above). Due to concerns that high temperatures insidethe workshop- the result of no sunshield-would release toxic materialsand ruin on­board film and food, the crew had to work fast. After afailed attempt to deploy the stuck solar panel, they set up a "parasol"as a replacement sunshade. The "fix" worked, and temperatures inside droppedlow enough that the crew could enter. Two weeks later Conrad and Kerwinconducted a space-walk, and after a struggle, were able to free the stucksolar panel and begin electricity flowing to their new "home." For nearlya month they made further repairs to the workshop, conducted medical experiments,gathered solar and Earth science data and returned some 29,000 frames offilm. The Skylab 2 astronauts spent 28 days in space, which doubled theprevious U.S. record.

Skylab 3

July28­September 25, 1973

Crew: Alan L. Bean, Jack R. Lousma,Owen K. Garriott

After an early bout of motion sickness,the three-person Skylab 3 crew settled down to a 59-day stay on board thespace station. During the flight, Garriott and Lousma deployed a secondsun shield on a space-walk lasting six and a half hours- the first andlongest of three Skylab 3 space-walks. During their two months in orbit,the astronauts continued a busy schedule of experiments, including a studentexperiment to see if spiders could spin webs in weightlessness (they could).They also tested a jet-powered Astronaut Maneuvering Unit (AMU) backpackinside the spacious volume of Skylab's forward compartment, which had beencarried but never flown on Gemini missions in the 1960s. The AMU proveda capable form of one-man space transportation, and helped engineers designthe more sophisticated Manned Maneuvering Unit used on the Space Shuttlein the 1980s.

Skylab 4

November 16, 1973­February 8, 1974

Crew: Gerald P. Carr, William R. Pogue,Edward G. Gibson

At 84 days, 1 hour, 15 minutes, and31 seconds, Skylab 4 remains the longest U.S. space flight to date. Tohelp keep the crew in shape, a treadmill was added to the on-board bicyclelike ergometer. As a result of the exercise, the Skylab 4 crew was in betterphysical condition upon their return to Earth than previous Skylab crews,even though an excessive work pace had caused some tension during the flight.Comet Kohoutek was among the special targets observed by the Skylab 4 crew,as were a solar eclipse and solar flares. The astronauts also conductedfour space-walks, including one on Christmas Day to view Kohoutek, andset records for time spent on experiments in every discipline from medicalinvestigations to materials science.


The final mission of the Apollo era,in July 1975, was the first in which spacecraft from two nations rendezvousedand docked in orbit. The idea for this U.S./Soviet "handshake in space"had been initiated three years earlier with an agreement signed by U.S.President Nixon and Soviet President Kosygin.

The American crew for this goodwillflight included Thomas Stafford, a veteran of three flights, Vance Brand,who had never flown in space, and Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton, the onlyone of the original seven astronauts who had never flown (due to a heartcondition). The American astronauts traveled into orbit inside a three-manApollo spacecraft.

Like the Apollo command module, thetwo­man Soyuz capsule flown by the Soviets had debuted in 1967. Onboard the Soviet spacecraft were Alexei Leonov, who had made history'sfirst space-walk in 1965, and rookie Valeri Kubasov.

The Apollo-Soyuz mission, aside fromits political significance, resulted in a number of technical developments,including a common docking system, which had to be specially designed sothat the different spacecraft could connect in orbit. The joint missionalso gave both "sides" a view of one another's space programs. In preparationfor the flight, Soviet cosmonauts and their backups visited and trainedat the Johnson Space Center, and the American crew and their backups paidvisits to Moscow. Flight controllers from both nations also conducted jointsimulations.

Although Apollo-Soyuz was a one-time-onlyevent, it created a sense of goodwill that transcended the simple "handshakein space" that was its most visible symbol.

Apollo­Soyuz Test Project

July 15 - 24, 1975

Crew: Thomas P. Stafford, Vince D. Brand,Donald K. "Deke" Slayton

The Soyuz 19 and Apollo 18 craft launchedwithin seven-and-a-half hours of each other July 15, and docked on July17. Three hours later, Stafford and Leonov exchanged the first internationalhandshake in space through the open hatch of the Soyuz. The two spacecraftremained linked for 44 hours, long enough for the three Americans and twoSoviets to exchange flags and gifts (including tree seeds which were laterplanted in the two countries), sign certificates, pay visits to each other'sships, eat together and converse in each other's languages. There werealso docking and redocking maneuvers during which the Soyuz reversed rolesand became the "active" ship. The Soviets remained in space for five days,the Americans for nine, during which the Soviets also conducted experimentsin Earth observation.

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Date: 1975

Vehicles: Saturn IB launcher,Apollo command module

Number of People Flown: 3

Total Time in Space: 9 days

Highlights: First internationalspace mission

ASTP Bibliography

NASA Sources:

Ezell, Edward Clinton, and Ezell, LindaNeuman. The Partnership: A History of the Apollo­ Soyuz Test Project.(NASA SP­4209, 1978).



Before the Space Shuttle, launchingcargo into space was a one-way proposition. Satellites could be sent intoorbit, but could not return. The world's first reusable space vehicle changedthat, and revolutionized the way people worked in space.

The Space Shuttle was approved as anational program in 1972. Part spacecraft and part aircraft, it requiredseveral technological advances, including thousands of insulating tilesable to stand the heat of reentry over the course of many missions, andsophisticated engines that could be used again and again without beingthrown away.

The airplane-like orbiter has threeof these Space Shuttle Main Engines, which burn liquid hydrogen and oxygenstored in the large External Tank, the single largest structure in theShuttle "stack." Attached to the tank are two Solid Rocket Boosters, whichprovide most of the vehicle's thrust at liftoff. Two minutes into the flight,the spent solids drop into the ocean to be recovered, while the orbiter'sown engines continue burning until approximately eight minutes into theflight.

The Shuttle was developed throughoutthe 1970s. Enterprise, a test vehicle not suited for space flight, wasused for approach and landing tests in 1977 that demonstrated the orbiter'saerodynamic qualities and ability to land (after separating from an airplane).The first spaceworthy Shuttle orbiter, Columbia, made its orbital debutin April 1981.

The first four missions of the new SpaceTransportation System (STS) were test flights to evaluate the Shuttle'sengineering design, thermal characteristics and performance in space. Operationalflights began with STS-5 in November 1982, with a four-person crew on board.Over time the crews grew in size: five people flew on STS-7 in 1983, sixon STS-9 later that same year. The first seven-person crew flew on STS41-C in 1984, and in 1985 eight people-a Shuttle record- flew on STS 61-A.

The Space Shuttle changed the sociologyof space flight. With such large crews, Shuttle astronauts were dividedinto two categories: pilots responsible for flying and maintaining theorbiter, and mission specialists responsible for experiments and payloads.A new class of space traveler, payload specialists-who are not even necessarilycareer astronauts-also was created to tend to specific onboard experiments.

The reusable Shuttles together makeup a fleet, with each vehicle continually being processed on the groundin preparation for its next flight. The second orbiter, Challenger, debutedin 1983, followed by Discovery in 1984 and Atlantis in 1985. A fifth orbiter,Endeavour, joined the fleet in 1991, to make its first flight in 1992.

The Space Transportation System introducedseveral new tools to the business of space flight. The Remote ManipulatorSystem, a 15.24-meter crane built by the Canadian Space Agency and designedto mimic the human arm, is able to move large and heavy payloads in andout of the Shuttle's 18.29-meter-long cargo bay. The Spacelab module, builtby the European Space Agency, provides a pressurized and fully equippedlaboratory for scientists to conduct experiments ranging in subject matterfrom astronomy to materials science to biomedical investigations. The MannedManeuvering Unit backpack allows space-walking astronauts to "fly" up toseveral hundred meters from the orbiter with no connecting tether.

The MMU has figured in several of theShuttle program's most spectacular accomplishments. On STS 41-C in April1984, the ailing Solar Max satellite was retrieved, repaired, and reorbitedby the astronaut crew, all on the same flight. Later that same year, onSTS 51-A, two malfunctioning commercial communications satellites wereretrieved in orbit and brought back to Earth in the Shuttle cargo bay.Another malfunctioning satellite was fixed in orbit by the crew of STS51-I in 1985.

Early in the Shuttle program, communicationssatellites were common payloads, with as many as three delivered into orbiton the same mission. The January 1986 Challenger accident, which resultedin the loss of the crew and vehicle due to a failed seal in one of thetwo Solid Rocket Boosters, led to a change in that policy, however. Sincereturning to flight in September 1988, the Shuttle has carried only thosepayloads unique to the Shuttle or those that require a human presence.The majority of these have been scientific and defense missions. Amongthose payloads have been some of the decade's most important space scienceprojects, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Galileo Jupiter spacecraft,and the Gamma Ray Observatory.

In 1995, the Shuttle program added anew capability to its repertoire. In preparation for deployment of theInternational Space Station, the crew of the Space Shuttle began a seriesof eight dockings and five crew exchanges with the Russian space stationMir. U.S. astronauts spent time aboard the Mir-sometimes several monthsat a time-acclimating themselves to living and working in space. They carriedout many of the types of activities they would perform on the Space Stationand encountered conditions they would possibly encounter.

The Space Shuttle continues today asthe nation's most capable form of space transportation. By early 1998,over the course of 89 missions, Shuttle missions had carried 516 peopleinto space, spent a total of 757 days in space, and circled the Earth almost12,000 times.

Space Shuttle

Dates: 1981-present

Vehicles: Space Shuttle orbiter,

External Tank, Solid Rocket Boosters

Number of People Flown: 516

(through January 1998)

Highlights: First reusable spacecraft

First in-space satellite repairs andretrievals

Space Shuttle Bibliography

NASA Sources:

Guilmartin, John F., and Maurer, John.A Space Shuttle Chronology. NASA Johnson Space Center, 1988.

Non-NASA Sources:

Allen, Joseph. Entering Space.(Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1984).

Cooper, Henry S. F., Jr. Before Lift­Off:The Making of a Space Shuttle Crew. (Johns Hopkins University Press,1987).

Forres, George. Space Shuttle: TheQuest Continues. (Ian Allen, 1989).

Furniss, Tim. Space Shuttle Log.(Jane's, 1986).

Gurney, Gene, and Forte, Jeff. TheSpace Shuttle Log: The First 25 Flights. (Aero Books, 1988).

Jenkins, Dennis. Space Shuttle: TheHistory of Developing the National Space Transportation System. Marceline,KS: Walsworth Pub. Co., 1996.

Joels, Kerry Mark, and Kennedy, Greg.Space Shuttle Operator's Manual. (Ballantine Books, 1982).

Lewis, Richard S. The Last Voyageof Challenger. (Columbia University Press, 1988).

__________. The Voyages of Columbia:The First True Spaceship. (Columbia University Press, 1984).

Nelson, Bill, with Buckingham, Jamie.Mission: An American Congressman's Voyage to Space. (Harcourt, Brace,Jovanovich, 1988).

Stockton, William, and Wilford, JohnNoble. Spaceliner: Report on Columbia's Voyage into Tomorrow. (TimesBooks, 1981).

NASA Space Shuttle Astronauts


Scott D. Altman

Michael P. Anderson

Jeffrey Ashby

Ellen L. Baker

Michael A. Baker

Daniel T. Barry

John E. Blaha

Michael J. Bloomfield

Kenneth D. Bowersox

Charles E. Brady, Jr.

Vance D. Brand

Curtis L. Brown

Daniel W. Bursch

Robert D. Cabana

John H. Casper

Franklin R. Chang-Diaz

Kalpana Chawla

Leroy Chiao

Kevin P. Chilton

Kenneth D. Cockrell

Eileen M. Collins

Frank L. Culbertson, Jr.

Robert Curbeam, Jr.

Nancy J. Currie

N. Jan Davis

Brian Duffy

Bonnie J. Dunbar

Joe F. Edwards, Jr.

Anna L. Fisher

C. Michael Foale

Charles D. Gemar

Michael L. Gernhardt

John H. Glenn, Jr.

Linda M. Godwin

Dominic L. Gorie

William G. Gregory

John M. Grunsfeld

Chris Hadfield

James D. Halsell, Jr.

Steven A. Hawley

Susan J. Helms

Kathryn P. Hire

Scott J. Horowitz

Rick D. Husband

Marsha S. Ivins

Tamara E. Jernigan

Brent W. Jett

Janet L. Kavandi

Thomas D. Jones

Kevin R. Kregel

Mark C. Lee

Steven W. Lindsey

Michael E. Lopez-Alegria

Edward T. Lu

Shannon W. Lucid

William S. McArthur, Jr.

Pamela A. Melroy

James H. Newman

Carlos I. Noriega

Ellen Ochoa

Stephen S. Oswald

Scott E. Parazynski

Charles J. Precourt

William F. Readdy

James E. Reilly

Stephen K. Robinson

Kent V. Rominger

Jerry L. Ross

Mario Runco, Jr.

Winston E. Scott

Richard A. Searfoss

William M. Shepherd

Nancy J. Sherlock

Steven L. Smith

Susan L. Still

Frederick W. Sturckow

Joseph R. Tanner

Andrew S.W. Thomas

Donald A. Thomas

James S. Voss

Janice E. Voss

Carl E. Walz

Mary E. Weber

James D. Werherbee

Terrence W. Wilcutt

Peter J.K. Wisoff

David A. Wolf

John W. Young


Thomas D. Akers

Andrew M. Allen

Jerome Apt

James C. Adamson

Joseph P. Allen

James P. Bagian

Guion S. Bluford

Karol J. Bobko

Charles F. Bolden, Jr.

Daniel C. Brandenstein

Roy D. Bridges, Jr.

Mark N. Brown

James F. Buchli

Kenneth D. Cameron

Mary L. Cleave

Michael R.U. Clifford

Michael L. Coats

Richard O. Covey

John O. Creighton

Robert L. Crippen

Anthony W. England

Joe H. Engle

John M. Fabian

William F. Fisher

C. Gordon Fullerton

Dale A. Gardner

Guy S. Gardner

Owen K. Garriott

Robert L. Gibson

Ronald J. Grabe

Frederick D. Gregory

Sidney M. Gutierrez

L. Blaine Hammond, Jr.

Gregory J. Harbaugh

Bernard A. Harris, Jr.

Terry J. Hart

Henry W. Hartsfield

Frederick H. Hauck

Steven A. Hawley

Terrence T. Henricks

Richard J. Hieb

David C. Hilmers

Jeffrey A. Hoffman

Mae C. Jemison

William B. Lenior

David C. Leestma

Don L. Lind

Jerry M. Linenger

John M. Lounge

Jack R. Lousma

David Low

T. Kenneth Mattingly, II

Jon A. McBride

Bruce McCandless, II

Michael J. McCulley

Donald R. McMonagle

Carl J. Meade

Bruce E. Melnick

Richard M. Mullane

F. Story Musgrave

Steven R. Nagel

George D. Nelson

Bryan D. O'Connor

Robert A.R. Parker

Donald H. Peterson

Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr.

Richard N. Richards

Sally K. Ride

Margaret Rhea Seddon

Ronald M. Sega

Brewster H. Shaw, Jr.

Loren J. Shriver

Sherwood C. Spring

Robert C. Springer

Robert L. Stewart

Kathryn D. Sullivan

Norman E. Thagard

Kathryn C. Thornton

William E. Thornton

Pierre J. Thuot

Richard H. Truly

James D.A. van Hoffen

David M. Walker

Paul J. Weitz

Donald E. Williams


Manley L Carter, Jr.

S. David Griggs

Karl G. Henize

Ronald E. McNair

Ellison S. Onizuka

Robert F. Overmyer

Judith A. Resnik

Francis R. Scobee

Michael J. Smith

Stephen D. Thorne

Charles Lacy Veach

Shuttle Missions


April 12­14, 1981


Crew: Young, Crippen

On its debut flight, the Space Shuttleproved that it could safely reach Earth orbit and return through the atmosphereto land like an airplane. In space, Young and Crippen tested the Columbia'sonboard systems; fired the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) used for changingorbits and the Reaction Control System (RCS) engines used for attitudecontrol; opened and closed the payload bay doors (the bay was empty forthis first flight); and, after 36 orbits, made a smooth touchdown at EdwardsAir Force Base in California, the landing site for most of the early Shuttlemissions.


November 12­14, 1981


Crew: Engle, Truly

Originally intended to last five days,the Shuttle's second test flight was cut short when problems developedwith one of three onboard fuel cells that produce electricity. Engle

and Truly conducted the first testsof the 50-foot Remote Manipulator System arm and operated the Shuttle'sfirst payload: a package of Earth-viewing instruments stored in the cargobay.


March 22-30, 1982


Crew: Lousma, Fullerton

The longest of the Shuttle test flightscarried space-viewing instruments for the first time. The crew also continuedengineering evaluations of Columbia. After rains flooded the dry lakebedat the primary landing site in California, the Columbia made the Shuttleprogram's only landing to date at White Sands, New Mexico.


June 27-July 4, 1982


Crew: Mattingly, Hartsfield

The last Shuttle test flight was thefirst mission to carry payloads for the Department of Defense. It alsoincluded the first small "Getaway Special" experiments mounted in the cargobay, and further tested the mechanical and thermal performance of the Columbia,as well as the environment surrounding the spacecraft. Mattingly made thefirst Shuttle landing on a concrete runway instead of the dry lakebed atEdwards Air Force Base.


November 11-16, 1982


Crew; Brand, Overmeyer J. Allen, Lenior

The Shuttle's first operational missionalso was the first space flight with four people on board. Two commercialcommunications satellites, SBS-3 and Anik C-3, were launched into orbitfrom the cargo bay-another first-using the Payload Assist Module (PAM)upper stage designed for the Shuttle. A planned space-walk was canceledwhen problems developed with the two on-board spacesuits.


April 4-9, 1983


Crew: Weitz, Bobko, Peterson, Musgrave

Challenger's debut flight included theShuttle program's first space-walks. Musgrave and Peterson spent more thanfour hours testing new Shuttle spacesuits and mobility aids, and evaluatedtheir own ability to work outside in the Shuttle's cargo bay. The firstof NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellites was launched. The communicationssatellite initially failed to reach its proper orbit due to an upper stageguidance error, but was eventually maneuvered into the correct position.


June 18-24, 1983


Crew: Crippen, Hauck, Ride, Fabian,Thagard

Except for Crippen, all the membersof this crew were from the "class" of 1978, the first astronauts chosenfor the Shuttle program. STS-7 had a record five people on board, includingSally Ride, the first American woman in space. The crew deployed, rendezvousedwith and retrieved the German-built SPAS experiment platform, which tookthe first full pictures of a Shuttle orbiter in space. The crew also releasedtwo communications satellites-Anik C-2 and Palapa B-l- into orbit, andactivated a series of materials processing experiments fixed in the Challenger'scargo bay.


August 30­September 5, 1983


Crew: Truly, Brandenstein, Blaford,D. Gardner, W. Thornton

STS-8 featured the Shuttle program'sfirst night launch and landing. The crew launched India's INSAT 1-B communicationssatellite, conducted the first tests of Shuttle-to-ground communicationswith the new Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, and exercised the RemoteManipulator "arm" with a test article weighing nearly four tons. Thornton,an M.D., conducted biomedical experiments, and Bluford became the firstAfrican-American in space.


November 28­December 8, 1983


Crew: Young, Shaw, Parker, Garriott.PS: Byron Lichtenberg, Ulf Merbold

The first flight of the European-builtSpacelab module was a multidisciplinary science mission, with 71 experimentsin a wide range of fields: space physics, materials processing, life sciences,Earth and atmospheric studies, astronomy and solar physics. The recordsix­person crew included the first Shuttle payload specialists: Lichtenbergof MIT, and Merbold, a West German physicist who became the first non-U.S.citizen to fly on an American spacecraft.


February 3-11, 1984


Crew: Brand, Gibson, McCandless, Stewart,McNair

With this flight, the number designationsfor Shuttle missions changed. The "4" indicates the (originally scheduled)year of the launch-1984. The second digit represents the launch site ("1"for Florida, "2" for California), and the "B" indicates the second launchof the fiscal year. The highlights of the flight were the first untetheredspace-walks by McCandless and Stewart, who tested new Manned ManeuveringUnit (MMU) backpacks that allowed them to travel as far as 97.54 metersfrom the orbiter. Two satellites deployed from the Shuttle, Westar VI andPalapa B-2, failed to reach their proper orbits when their PAM upper stagesdid not ignite. Both were later retrieved and brought back to Earth (seeSTS 51-A). Challenger made the Shuttle's first landing at the Kennedy SpaceCenter in Florida.


April 6-13, 1984


Crew: Crippen, Scobee, Hart, van Hoften,Nelson

In the space program's first satelliteservice call, the crew rendezvoused with and retrieved the Solar MaximumMission (Solar Max) satellite, which had failed after four years in orbit.With the satellite anchored in Challenger's cargo bay, Nelson and van Hoftenreplaced a faulty attitude control system and one science instrument, andthe repaired satellite was re-released into orbit. The Long Duration ExposureFacility (LDEF), a passive satellite for testing the effects of space exposureon different materials, also was deployed on the flight. Originally LDEFwas to have remained in orbit for only ten months, but it was not returnedto Earth until STS-32 in January 1990.


August 30-September 5, 1984


Crew: Hartsfield, Coats, Mullane, Hawley,Resnik, PS: Charles Walker

The first flight of Discovery was thefirst Shuttle mission to deploy three communications satellites: SyncomIV-2, SBS-4 and Telstar 3-C. The crew also experimented with a 31.09-meter-highsolar cell array, which was unfurled from a stowage container only 177.8millimeters deep located in the cargo bay. The experiments included testingthe structure's stability when the Shuttle's attitude control engines werefired. Walker, a McDonnell Douglas engineer, was the Shuttle's first commerciallysponsored payload specialist, on board to tend to the company's ContinuousFlow Electrophoresis System for separating materials in microgravity.


October 5­13, 1984


Crew: Crippen, McBride, Leestma, Ride,Sullivan. PS: Paul Scully-Power, Marc Garneau

The Shuttle's first seven-member crewincluded two payload specialists. Scully-Power, a Navy oceanographer, wason board to observe ocean dynamics from orbit. Garneau, the first Canadianin space, operated the multidisciplinary CANEX (Canadian Experiment) package.In Challenger's cargo bay was a suite of instruments dedicated to Earthobservation­the primary purpose of this mission. During a three-and-a-halfhour space-walk, Sullivan and Leestma also tested connections for an orbitalrefueling system in the bay. Sullivan was the first American woman to walkin space.


November 8­16, 1984


Crew: Hauck, Walker, J. Allen, A. Fisher,D. Gardner

The STS 51-A crew delivered two satellites-AnikD-2 and Syncom IV-I- into orbit, then brought two others-Palapa B­2and Westar VI, whose on-board boosters had failed after being deployedon STS 41-B-back to Earth. In separate space-walks using Manned ManeuveringUnit backpacks, Gardner and Allen each docked with an orbiting satellite,stopped its rotation, then assisted as it was stowed in Discovery's cargobay. Both satellites were then returned for refurbishment on the groundin a dramatic demonstration of the Shuttle's salvage capability.

5l -C

January 24­27, 1985


Crew: Mattingly, Shriver, Onizuka, Buchli.PS: Gary Payton

The crew for the Shuttle's first flightdedicated to the Department of Defense included payload specialist GaryPayton of the U.S. Air Force. The cargo, as well as details of the mission,was classified.


April 12-19, 1985


Crew: Bobko, Williams, Hoffman, Griggs,Seddon PS: Charles Walker, Jake Garn

When a booster attached to Syncom IV-3,the second of two communications satellites released into orbit (the otherwas Anik C- l ), failed to ignite, the crew, with the help of engineerson the ground, attempted a fix. Hoffman and Griggs took an unscheduledspace-walk to attach an improvised "flyswatter" device to the Remote ManipulatorSystem arm, in the hope that it could trip the satellite booster's sequencestart lever. The plan failed, however, and the satellite was eventually"jump-started" by STS 51-I astronauts four months later. Utah Senator JakeGarn was the first member of Congress to fly in space.


April 29-May 6, 1985


Crew: Overmeyer, F. Gregory, Lind, Thagard,W. Thornton PS: Taylor Wand, Lodewijk van den Berg

The Shuttle's second Spacelab missionincluded 15 experiments in materials processing, fluid behavior, atmosphericphysics, astronomy and life sciences. The crew worked around the clockin shifts, and had trouble with a leaky animal-holding facility makingits first test flight. Wang, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist, concentratedon studies of fluid behavior in microgravity, while van den Berg of EG&G,Inc. focused on crystal growth experiments. Lind, an astronaut since 1966,made his first space flight.


June 17­ 24, 1985


Crew: Brandenstein, Creighton, Fabian,Nagel. Lucid PS: Patrick Bandry, Sultan Sa/man Abdul Azziz Al Sa'ud

Baudry of France and Al Sa'ud of SaudiArabia were the international payload specialists for this flight, whichsuccessfully launched three communications satellites into orbit: Morelos-1,Arabsat 1-B and Telstar 3-D. SPARTAN-I, a reusable free-flying payloadcarrier with astronomy instruments on board, also was released, then retrieved,by the Remote Manipulator System arm. The crew conducted materials scienceand biomedical experiments and participated in a Defense Department trackingexperiment in which a laser beam directed from Hawaii was bounced froma reflector on board Discovery back to the ground.


July 29-August 6, 1985


Crew: Fullerton, Bridges, Musgrave,England, Henize. PS: Loren Acton, John-David Bartoe

The Spacelab 2 mission replaced theSpacelab's enclosed "long module" with open pallets containing 13 instrumentsdedicated to astronomy. Despite problems with an instrument pointing system,the crew was able to collect data on the Sun and other celestial targets.Earlier in the flight, Challenger made the Shuttle program's first "abortto orbit" when one of its three main engines shut down during the ascent.Henize and England had waited a long time for a space flight-both had beenastronauts during the Apollo era. England had resigned from NASA in 1972,only to rejoin the astronauts corps in 1979.


August 27-September 3, 1985


Crew: Engle, Corey, van Hoften, W. Fisher,Lounge

The Syncom IV-3 satellite (also knownas "Leasat'') stranded in orbit on STS 5I-D was repaired and re-boostedas a result of two space-walks by van Hoften and Fisher that were amongthe most challenging in the history of the space program. After van Hoften,standing on the end of the Remote Manipulator System arm, grabbed the satellitemanually, he and Fisher worked on the satellite in Discovery's cargo bay.The astronauts attached hardware that allowed ground crews to activateSyncom's still-live rocket motor after van Hoften re-released it into orbitwith a shove from the cargo bay. Earlier in the flight, the crew had launchedthree new communications satellites into orbit: ASC-1,

AUSSAT-I and Syncom IV-4 (nearly identicalto the one that was rescued).


October 3­7, 1985


Crew: Bobko, Grabe, Hilmers, Stewart.PS: William Pailes

The first flight of Atlantis was thesecond Shuttle mission dedicated to the Department of Defense. The payloadand on-board activities were classified.


October 30­November 6, 1985


Crew: Hartsfield, Nagel, Bachli, Bluford,Dunbar. PS: Reinhard Furrer, Wubbo Ockels, Ernst Messerschmid

The Spacelab D-1 mission was the firstU.S. manned space flight with a primary payload sponsored by another country-WestGermany. On board were 76 experiments, including investigations in fluidphysics, materials science, plant physiology and human adaptation to weightlessness.Science experiments were directed from a German Space Operations Centerin Oberpfaffenhofen, and two of the payload specialists-Furrer and Messerschmid-wereGerman. With eight people working around the clock in shifts, it was thelargest Shuttle crew to date.


November 26-December 3, 1985


Crew: Shaw, O'Connor, Spring, Cleave,Ross, PS: Charles Walker, Rodolfo Neri Vela

After the crew deployed three communicationssatellites (SATCOM Ku-2, Morelos 2 and AUSSAT-2) Spring and Ross conductedthe first construction experiments in space, assembling and disassemblingtwo tinkertoy-like structures called EASE and ACCESS in the cargo bay ofAtlantis. The two space-walking astronauts attached beams, nodes and strutsto evaluate different methods of assembling large structures in space.Vela was the first Mexican citizen in orbit, while Walker made his thirdflight with the commercially sponsored electrophoresis experiment.


January 12-18, 1986


Crew: Gibson, Bolden, Nelson, Hawley,Chang-Diaz. PS: Robert Cenker, Bill Nelson

Rep. Bill Nelson of Florida was thesecond member of Congress to fly on the Shuttle. The crew deployed an RCAcommunications satellite and conducted a number of smaller experiments,including several materials science investigations mounted in the cargobay of the Columbia. An attempt to photograph Comet Halley through an overheadwindow was unsuccessful, however, due to problems with the instrument'sbattery.


January 28, 1986


Crew: Scobee, Smith, Onizuka, Resnik,McNair. PS: Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe

Challenger and all seven members ofthe crew-including Jarvis, a Hughes employee, and Christa McAuliffe, thedesignated "Teacher in Space"-were lost 73 seconds into the flight whenthe vehicle exploded as the result of a leak in one of two Solid RocketBoosters. The Shuttle program was delayed for nearly three years whilethe boosters were redesigned and other safety measures were added. A changein U.S. space policy also resulted from the accident-no longer would theShuttle carry commercial satellites into orbit.


September 29-October 3, 1988


Crew: Hauck, Covey, Lounge, Nelson,Hilmers

The first Shuttle mission after theChallenger accident was a conservative, four-day flight that proved thesafety of the redesigned Solid Rocket Boosters. On board the Discoverywas the first all-veteran astronaut crew since Apollo 11. During launchand reentry, the astronauts wore new partial-pressure flight suits, andin orbit they practiced using a new emergency escape system. The principalpayload was a NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite similar to the onelost on STS 51-L, which was released into orbit on the first day.


December 2-6, 1988


Crew: Gibson, G. Garner, Mullone, Ross,Shepherd

Classified mission for the Departmentof Defense.


March 13­18. 1989


Crew: Coats, Blaha, Buchli, Springer,Bagian

Six hours into the mission, the crewreleased the fourth NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite into orbit.The astronauts conducted experiments in plant growth, crystal growth andthe human body's adaptation to weightlessness, and tested a new Shuttle"fax" machine. They also took large-format IMAX movie pictures of the Earth,and returned clear photographs of the jettisoned external fuel tank inspace.


May 4­8, 1989


Crew: Walker, Grabe, Thagard, Cleave,Lee

The Shuttle program's first launch ofa planetary spacecraft came on the first day of the mission, when the MagellanVenus Radar Mapper was released from the Atlantis' cargo bay with an InertialUpper Stage booster attached. The booster fired shortly thereafter to sendMagellan to Venus, where it arrived in August 1990 to begin an eight-monthmapping mission. Secondary experiments after the deployment included crystalgrowth studies and a search for thunderstorms in the atmosphere below,called the Mesoscale Lightning Experiment.


August 8-13, 1989


Crew: Shaw, Richards, Leestma, Adamson,M. Brown

Classified mission for the Departmentof Defense.


October 18­23, 1989


Crew: Williams, McCulley, Lucid, E.Baker, Chang-Diaz

The Jupiter-bound Galileo spacecraftwas the Shuttle's second interplanetary cargo. Galileo's mission got underwayduring Atlantis' fifth orbit around the Earth, when the spacecraft wasreleased from the cargo bay to head toward Venus, the first "stop" on itsvoyage to Jupiter. After releasing Galileo, the crew worked on experimentsthat included materials science, plant growth and measurements of ozonein the atmosphere.


November 22­27. 1989


Crew: F. Gregory, Blaha, Musgrave, K.Thornton, Carter

Classified mission for the Departmentof Defense.


January 9-20, 1990


Crew: Brandenstein, Wetherbee, Dunbar,Low, Ivins

The Long Duration Exposure Facility(LDEF), released into orbit on STS 41-C in 1984, was finally retrievedafter nearly six years in space. After rendezvousing with the large, cylindricalsatellite-one of the most complicated space rendezvous operations ever-thecrew photographed the LDEF in orbit, grappled it with the Remote ManipulatorSystem arm, then stowed it in the cargo bay of the Columbia. Scientistswho examined the LDEF after landing found evidence of erosion and micrometeoriteimpacts, as expected. A Syncom satellite also was deployed on the mission.Lasting almost 11 days, STS-32 was the longest Shuttle flight to date.


February 28-March 4, 1990


Crew: Creighton, Casper, Hilmers, Mullane,Thuot

Classified mission for the Departmentof Defense.


April 24­29, 1990


Crew: Shriver, Bolden, Hawley, McCandless,Sullivan

The Hubble Space Telescope, the firstlarge optical telescope ever to be placed above the Earth's atmosphereand the first of NASA's "Great Observatories," was released into orbitby the Remote Manipulator System arm on the second day of the flight tobegin at least a decade of astronomical observations in space. After thetelescope was deployed, the astronauts conducted experiments in crystalgrowth and monitored the radiation environment on board the orbiter. Becauseof the need to place the telescope above most of the atmosphere, the Discoveryflew the highest Shuttle orbit to date, reaching an altitude of more than531.08 kilometers.


October 6­10, 1990


Crew: Richards, Cabana, Mellnick, Shepherd,Akers

Deployment of the European Space Agency'sUlysses spacecraft to explore the polar regions of the Sun was the highlightof this four-day mission. On the first day of the flight, the crew sprungUlysses from Discovery's cargo bay, and on-board rockets fired to sendthe spacecraft toward a gravity assist at Jupiter. After the deploy, theastronauts conducted a number of secondary experiments, including takingmeasurements of atmospheric ozone, studying the effects of atomic oxygenon spacecraft materials and evaluating a new "hands-off" voice commandsystem in the Shuttle crew cabin.


November 15­20, 1990


Crew: Corey, Culbertson, Springer, Meade,Gemar

Classified mission for the Departmentof Defense.


December 2­10, 1990


Crew: Brand, Gardner, Hoffman, Lounge,Parker. PS: Ronald Parise, Samuel Durrance

STS-35 was the first Spacelab missionsince the Challenger accident, and the first Shuttle flight dedicated toa single discipline: astrophysics. Discovery carried a group of astronomicaltelescopes called ASTRO-1 in its cargo bay, as well as four Ph.D.'s inastronomy: Hoffman, Parker, Durrance of Johns Hopkins University, and Pariseof the Computer Science Corporation. Despite several hardware malfunctions,the crew was able to make observations of a wide variety of astronomicaltargets, from comets to quasars, with particular attention to x-ray andultraviolet wavelengths.


April 5-11, 1991


Crew: Nagel. Cameron. Apt, Godwin, Ross

The Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO), wasreleased by Atlantis Remote Manipulator System arm on the third day ofthe flight, after Ross and Apt made an unscheduled space-walk to repairan antenna on the spacecraft. The second of NASA's "Great Observatories"designed for a long-term program of astronomical observations from Earthorbit, the GRO was the heaviest science satellite ever launched from theShuttle. Later in the mission, Ross and Apt returned to the cargo bay torest rail-mounted mechanical pushcarts planned for use on Space StationFreedom. The two space-walks were the first in more than five years.


April 28 - May 6, 1991


Crew: Coats, Hammond, Bluford, Harbaugh,Hieb, McMonagle, Veach

The first unclassified defense-relatedmission of the Shuttle program included experiments sponsored by the AirForce and the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) organization. The studiesincluded extensive infrared, ultraviolet, visible and x-ray observationsof the space environment and the Shuttle itself. On-board instruments alsoreturned high-quality images of the Earth's aurora. In an experiment relatedto ballistic­missile defense, Discovery released a SPAS instrumentplatform equipped with infrared sensors to fly in formation and observerocket thruster plumes as the Shuttle performed a complicated series ofmaneuvers.


June 5-14, 1991


Crew: O'Connor. Gutierrez. Bagian.

Jernigan. Seldon PS: F. Drew Gaffney,Millie Hughes-Fulford

The Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-1) missionwas the first dedicated entirely to understanding the physiological effectsof space flight. An extensive series of biomedical experiments were conductedon crew members during the nine-day mission, and the results were comparedwith baseline data collected on the ground before and after the flight.Along with the human subjects, rodents and jellyfish also were on boardto test their adaptation to microgravity.


August 2-11, 1991


Crew: Blaha, Baker, Adamson, Low, Lucid

This mission marked the first scheduledlanding at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility since January1986. The Tracking/Data Relay Satellite-5 was the mission's primary payload.The satellite became the fourth member of the orbiting TDRS cluster, whichnow consisted of two operating satellites plus two spares in the spacenetwork.

Photo 91-H-707

The Tracking and Data Relay Satelliteis loosened from its restraint device and begins to leave the payload bayof the Atlantis.


September 12-18, 1991


Crew: Creighton, Reightler, Brown, Gemar,Buchli

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite(UARS) was deployed on this mission. The 6,577.2-kilogram observatory wouldinvestigate the stratosphere, mesosphere, and lower thermosphere. The satellitehad 10 sensing and measuring devices for collecting data on particularaspects of the upper atmosphere that could affect the global environment.

Photo 91-H-767

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellitein the grasp of the Remote Manipulator System arm. The photo shows deploymentof UARS' solar array panel.


November 24-December 1, 1991


Crew: Gregory, Henricks, Runco, Voss,Musgrave, PS: T. Hennen

This unclassified Department of Defensemission deployed the Defense Support Program satellite on the first dayof the flight. On-board payloads focused on contamination experiments andmedical research.

Photo 91-H-901

A 70mm frame showing a pre-deploymentview of the Defense Support Payload.


January 22-30, 1992


Crew: Grabe, Oswald, Readdy, Thagard,Hilmers, PS: Roberta Bondar, Ulf Merbold

This mission's primary payload was theInternational Microgravity Laboratory IML-1, which made its first flight.Working in the pressurized Spacelab module, the international crew splitinto two teams for 24-hour research on the human nervous system's adaptationto low gravity and the effects of microgravity on other life forms. Thecrew also conducted materials processing experiments.

Canadian payload specialist RobertaL. Bondar gets into the Microgravity Vestibular Investigation chair tobegin an experiment in the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 sciencemodule aboard the Discovery.


March 24-April 2, 1992


Crew: Bolden, Duffy, Sullivan, Leestma,Foale, PS: D. Frimout, B. Lichtenberg

This mission marked the first flightof the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-1 (ATLAS), whichwas mounted on nondeployable Spacelab pallets in the orbiter's cargo bay.An international team made up of the United States, France, Germany, Belgium,the United Kingdom, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Japan provided 12instruments that performed investigations in the atmospheric sciences.

Photo 92-H-260

The forward portion of the AtmosphericLaboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS-1) payload package.


May 7-16, 1992


Crew: Brandenstein, Chilton, Melnick,Akers, Hieb, Thornton, Thuot

STS-49 was marked by a number of "firsts."Four space walks, the most ever on a single mission, highlighted the firstvoyage of the orbiter Endeavour. Two of these were the longest in U.S.space flight history to date, lasting eight hours and 29 minutes and sevenhours and 45 minutes. The flight also featured the longest space walk todate by a female astronaut and was the first space flight where three crewmembers worked outside the spacecraft at the same time. It also was thefirst time that astronauts attached a live rocket motor to an orbitingsatellite. The crew also successfully captured and redeployed the Intelsat-VIsatellite, which had been stranded in an unusable orbit since its launchin March 1990.

Photo 92-H-355

The successful capture of the IntelsatVI satellite. Astronauts Richard J. Hieb, Thomas D. Akers, and Pierre J.Thuot have handholds on the satellite.


June 25-July 9, 1992


Crew: Richards, Bowersox, Dunbar, Meade,Baker, PS: L. DeLucas, E. Trinh

The U.S. Microgravity Laboratory-1 madeits first flight on this mission. It was the first in a planned seriesof flights to advance microgravity research efforts in several disciplines.Mission duration surpassed all previous U.S. crewed space flights to datewith the exception of the three Skylab missions in 1973-74.

Photo 92-H-549

Astronaut Bonnie J. Dunbar, payloadcommander is about to load a sample in the Crystal Growth furnace whilepayload specialist Lawrence J. DeLucas checks out the multi-purpose glovebox.


July 31-August 8, 1992


Crew: Shriver, Allen, Hoffman, Chang-Diaz,Ivins, Nicollier, PS: Franco Malerba

The primary mission objective was deploymentof the European Space Agency's European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) andoperation of the NASA-Italian Tethered Satellite System (TSS). After adelay and a shorter-than-planned thruster firing, the satellite was successfullyboosted to operational orbit. During TSS deployment, the satellite at theend of the tether reached a distance of only 256 meters rather than itsplanned 20 kilometers because of a jammed tether line. The satellite itcarried was restowed for return to Earth.


September 12-20, 1992


Crew: Gibson, Brown, Lee, Davis, Apt,Jemison, PS: Mamoru Mohri

Spacelab-J, the first Japanese Spacelab,debuted on this flight. Jointly sponsored by NASA and the National SpaceDevelopment Agency (NASDA) of Japan, the mission included 24 materialsscience and 19 life sciences experiments. Test subjects included membersof the crew, Japanese koi fish, cultured animal and plant cells, chickenembryos, fruit flies, fungi and plant seeds, and frogs and frog eggs. Thecrew also included the first African-American woman to fly in space, MaeJemison the first married couple (Mark Lee and Jan Davis), and the firstJapanese person to fly on the Shuttle, Mamoru Mohri.


October 22-November 1, 1992


Crew: Wetherbee, Baker, Veach, Jernigan,Shepherd, PS: Steven MacLean

The mission deployed the Laser GeodynamicSatellite II (LAGEOS), a joint effort of NASA and the Italian Space Agency,and operated the U.S. Microgravity Payload-1 (USMP-1). LAGEOS was boostedinto orbit by the Italian Research Interim Stage (IRIS), its first use.Studies focused on the influence of gravity on basic fluid and solidificationprocesses.


December 2-9, 1992


Crew: Walker, Cabana, Bluford, Voss,Clifford

This was the last Shuttle flight forthe Department of Defense. The Discovery deployed a classified payload,after which flight activities became unclassified. Ten secondary payloadswere contained in or attached to Get Away Special hardware in the cargobay or located on the middeck.


January 13-19, 1993


Crew: Casper, McMonagle, Runco, Harbaugh,Helms

The fifth Tracking and Data Relay Satellite(TDRS-6), part of NASA's orbiting communications system, was deployed onthis mission. On the fifth day of the flight, mission specialists Runcoand Harbaugh spent almost five hours walking in the open payload bay, performinga series of extravehicular activity (EVA) tasks designed to increase NASA'sknowledge of working in space. The astronauts tested their abilities tomove freely in the cargo bay, climb into foot restraints without usingtheir hands, and simulated carrying large objects in a microgravity environment.A Hitchhiker experiment collected data on stars and galactic gases.


April 8-17, 1993


Crew: Cameron, Oswald, Cockrell, Foale,Ochoa

The primary payload was the AtmosphericLaboratory for Applications and Science-2 (ATLAS-2), which collected dataon the relationship between the sun's energy output and the Earth's middleatmosphere and their affect on the ozone layer. ATLAS-2 was one elementof NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program. The crew also used the remotemanipulator arm to deploy the SPARTAN-201, a free-flying science instrumentplatform that studied velocity and acceleration of solar wind and observedthe sun's corona. Using the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment II (SAREXII), the crew also contacted schools around the world and briefly contactedthe Russian Mir space station, the first contact between the Shuttle andMir using amateur radio equipment.


April 26-May 6, 1993


Crew: Nagel, Henricks, Ross, Precourt,Harris, PS: Ulrich Walter, Hans W. Schlegel

This mission marked the second GermanSpacelab mission, designated D2. Around-the-clock crews conducted some88 experiments, covering materials and life sciences, technology applications,Earth observations, astronomy, and atmospheric physics.


June 21-July 1, 1993


Crew: Grabe, Duffy, Low, Sherlock, Voss,Wisoff

STS-57 marked the first flight of thecommercially developed SPACEHAB, a laboratory designed to more than doublepressurized workspace for crew-tended experiments. Altogether, 22 experimentswere flown, covering materials and life sciences, and a wastewater recyclingexperiment for the future Space Station. A five-hour, 50-minute space walksucceeded in retrieving and stowing the 4,275-kilogram EURECA science satelliteinside the Endeavour's payload bay. The satellite had been deployed onthe STS-46 mission in 1992. Two crew members also carried out maneuversusing the robot arm. During the mission, the crew also spoke with PresidentClinton.


September 12-22, 1993


Crew: Culbertson Readdy, Newman, Bursch,Walz

The Advanced Communications TechnologySatellite (ACTS) was deployed on this mission. The attached Transfer OrbitStage (TOS) booster was used for the first time to propel the communicationstechnology spacecraft to geosynchronous transfer orbit. The second primarypayload, the OERFEUS-SPAS, first in a series of ASTRO-SPAS astronomicalmissions, was also deployed. The joint German-U.S. astrophysics payloadwas controlled from the SPAS Payload Operations Control Center at KennedySpace Center, the first time a Shuttle payload was managed from Florida.Two crew members also performed a space walk that lasted seven hours, fiveminutes, and 28 seconds. It was the last in a series of generic space walksbegun earlier in the year.


October 18-November 1, 1993


Crew: Blaha, Searfoss, Seddon, McArthur,Wolf, Lucid, PS: Martin Fettman

STS-58 was the second dedicated SpacelabLife Sciences mission. Fourteen experiments were conducted in regulatoryphysiology, cardiovascular/cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, and neuroscience.Eight of the experiments centered on the crew, six on 48 rodents carriedon board. With the completion of her fourth space flight, Shannon Lucidaccumulated the most flight time for a female astronaut on the Shuttle,838 hours.


December 2-13, 1993


Crew: Covey, Bowersox, Musgrave, Hoffman,Thornton, Akers, Nicollier

This Shuttle flight was one of the mostchallenging and complex missions every attempted. During a record fiveback-to-back space walks totaling 35 hours and 28 minutes, two teams ofastronauts completed the first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.On the first space walk, which lasted seven hours and 54 minutes, the two-personteam replaced two Rate Sensing Units, two Electronic Control Units, andeight electrical fuse plugs. On the second space walk, which lasted sixhours and 35 minutes, two astronauts installed new solar arrays. On thethird space walk, the Wide Field/Planetary Camera was replaced in about40 minutes rather than in the four hours that had been anticipated. Thisteam also installed two new magnetometers at the top of the telescope.On the fourth space walk, crew members removed and replaced the High-SpeedPhotometer with the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacementunit. During this six-hour, 50-minute EVA, astronaut Akers set a new U.S.space-walking record of 29 hours, 14 minutes. The final space walk replacedthe Solar Array Drive Electronics unit and installed the Goddard High ResolutionSpectrograph Redundancy kit and also two protective covers over the originalmagnetometers.


February 3-11, 1994


Crew: Bolden, Reightler, Chang-Diaz,Davis, Sega, Krikalev

This first Shuttle flight of 1994 markedthe first flight of a Russian cosmonaut on the U.S. Space Shuttle­partof an international agreement on human space flight. The mission also wasthe second flight of the SPACEHAB pressurized module and marked the 100thGet Away Special payload to fly in space. Also on this mission, the Discoverycarried the Wake Shield Facility to generate new semiconductor films foradvanced electronics.


March 4-18, 1994


Crew: Casper, Allen, Gemar, Ivins, Thuot

The primary payloads were the U.S. MicrogravityPayload-2 (USMP-2) and the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-2(OAST-2). USMP-2 included five experiments investigating materials processingand crystal growth in microgravity. OAST-2's six experiments focused onspace technology and space flight. Both payloads were located in the payloadbay, activated by crew members, and operated by teams on the ground.


April 9-20, 1994


Crew: Gutierrez, Chilton, Godwin, Apt,Clifford, Jones

The Space Radar Laboratory-1 was theprimary payload. It gathered data on the Earth and the effect of humanson its carbon, water, and energy cycles. It was located in the payloadbay, activated by crew members, and operated by teams on the ground. TheGerman Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency provided one instrument,the X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (X-SAR). This instrument imaged morethan 400 sites and covered approximately 38.5 million miles of the Earth,equivalent to 20 percent of the planet.



July 8-23, 1994

Crew: Cabana, Halsell, Hieb, Thomas,Walz, Chiao, PS: Chiaki Naito-Mukai

STS-65 was the Columbia's last missionbefore its scheduled modification and refurbishment. This flight saw thefirst Japanese woman fly in space-payload specialist Chiaki Naito-Mukai.She also set the record for the longest flight to date by a female astronaut.The International Microgravity Laboratory-2 flew for the second time, carryingmore than twice the number of experiments and facilities as on its firstmission. Crew members split into two teams to perform around-the-clockresearch on the behavior of materials and life in near weightlessness.More than 80 experiments, representing more than 200 scientists from sixspace agencies, were located in the Spacelab module in the payload bay.This flight also marked the first time that liftoff and reentry were capturedon videotape from the crew cabin. This flight was the longest Shuttle flightto date, lasting 14 days and 18 hours.


September 9-20, 1994


Crew: Richards, Hammond, Helms, Meade,Lee, Linenger

STS-64 marked the first flight of theLidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE), which was used to performatmospheric research. It also included the first untethered U.S. extravehicularactivity (EVA) in 10 years. LITE involved the first use of lasers for environmentalresearch. During the mission, the crew also released and retrieved theSPARTAN-201 using the remote manipulator system arm.


September 30-October 11, 1994


Crew: Baker, Wilcutt, Jones, Bursch,Wisoff, Smith

This mission marked the second 1994flight of the Space Radar Laboratory, part of NASA's Mission to PlanetEarth. Flying the SRL in different seasons allowed investigators to compareobservations between the two flights. The mission also tested the abilityof SRL-2 imaging radar to distinguish between changes caused by human-inducedphenomena such as oil spills and naturally occurring events. Five Get AwaySpecials were among the other cargo bay payloads. These included two bythe U.S. Postal Service that held 500,000 commemorative stamps honoringthe 25th anniversary of Apollo 11. STS-68 set another duration record,lasting more than 16-1/2 days.


November 3-14, 1994


Crew: McMonagle, Brown, Ochoa, Tanner,Parazynski, Clervoy

STS-66 advanced data collection aboutthe sun's energy output, chemical makeup of the Earth's middle atmosphere,and how these factors affect global ozone levels with the third flightof its Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ASTRO-3). Theother primary payloads were CRISTA-SPAS, which continued the joint NASA-GermanSpace Agency series of scientific missions, and the Shuttle Solar BackscatterUltraviolet spectrometer. CRISTA-SPAS was released and retrieved usingthe remote manipulator system arm.


February 3-11, 1995


Crew: Wetherbee, Collins, Harris, Foale,Voss, Titov

This mission had special importanceas a precursor and dress rehearsal for the series of missions that wouldrendezvous and dock with the Russian space station Mir. The orbiter Discoveryapproached within 12.2 meters of the Mir, then backed off to about 121.9meters and performed a flyaround. The six-person crew included the secondRussian cosmonaut to fly on the Space Shuttle. The mission also deployedthe SPARTAN-204, a free-flying spacecraft that made astronomical observationsin the far ultraviolet spectrum. The mission also included the third operationof the commercially developed SPACEHAB module, with its array of technological,biological, and other scientific experiments. Two crew members performeda space walk to test spacesuit modifications and demonstrate large-objecthandling techniques.


March 2-18, 1995


Crew: Oswald, Gregory, Grunsfeld, Lawrence,Jernigan, PS: Ronald Parise, Samuel Durrance

The second Atmospheric Laboratory forApplications and Science (ASTRO-2) flew on this mission. Its objectiveswere to obtain scientific data on astronomical objects in the ultravioletregion of the spectrum. Its three telescopes made observations in complementaryregions of the spectrum and gathered data that would add to scientists'understanding of the universe's history and the origins of stars. STS-67set a new mission duration record of 16.6 days.


June 27-July 7, 1995


Crew: Gibson, Precourt, Baker, Harbaugh,Dunbar

This flight marked the 100th U.S. humanspace flight and was the first of a series of flights that docked withthe Russian space station Mir. On STS-71, the Atlantis and Mir remaineddocked for five days. The seven-person Shuttle crew included two Russiancosmonauts who remained on the Mir after the Atlantis returned to Earth.Two other cosmonauts and the U.S. astronaut Thagard, who had flown to Miraboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft in March 1995, returned to Earth inthe Atlantis. The mission demonstrated the successful operation of theRussian-designed docking system, which was based on the concepts used inthe Apollo-Soyuz test program flown in 1975.


July 13-22, 1995


Crew: Henricks, Kregel, Currie, Thomas,Weber

The deployment of the Tracking and DataRelay Satellite (TDRS-7) marked the completion of NASA's TDRS system thatprovided communication, tracking, telemetry, data acquisition, and commandservices to the Shuttle and other low orbital spacecraft missions. STS-70also marked the first flight of the new Block I Space Shuttle main engine.The engine featured improvements that increased the stability and safetyof the main engines.


September 7-18, 1995


Crew: Walker, Cockrell, Voss, Newman,Gernhardt

STS-69 deployed the Wake Shield Facility,which, flying separately from the Shuttle, produced an "ultra vacuum" inits wake and allowed experimentation in the production of advanced, thinfilm semiconductor materials. The SPARTAN spacecraft also was deployedand retrieved. The space walk on this mission was the 30th Shuttle extravehicularactivity.


October 20-November 5, 1995


Crew: Bowersox, Rominger, Thornton,Coleman, Lopez-Alegria, PS: Fred Leslie, Albert Sacco

The second United States MicrogravityLaboratory was the primary payload on STS-73. Some of the experiments onUSML-2 resulted from the outcome of investigations on the first USML missionthat flew aboard the Columbia on STS-50.


November 12-20, 1995


Crew: Cameron, Halsell, Hadfield, Ross,McArthur

STS-74 was the second in a series ofMir linkups. The mission marked the first time that astronauts from theEuropean Space Agency, Canada, Russia, and the United States were in spaceon the same complex at one time.


January 11-20, 1996


Crew: Duffy, Jett, Chiao, Barry, Scott,Wakata

The crew of STS-72 captured and returnedto Earth a Japanese microgravity research spacecraft, the Space Flyer Unit,which had been launched by Japan in March 1995. The mission also deployedand retrieved the OAST-Flyer spacecraft, the seventh in a series of missionsaboard reusable free-flying SPARTAN carriers. The flight also includedtwo space walks by three astronauts to test hardware and tools that willbe used in the assembly of the Space Station.


February 22-March 9, 1996


Crew: Allen, Horowitz, Hoffman, Cheli,Nicollier, Chang-Diaz, PS: Umberto Guidoni

This mission was the 50th Shuttle flightsince NASA's return to flight following the Challenger accident and the75th Shuttle flight. Its mission was a reflight of the Tethered SatelliteSystem (TSS). The tether broke three days into the mission.


March 22-31, 1996


Crew: Chilton, Searfoss, Godwin, Sega,Clifford, Lucid

This mission featured the third dockingbetween the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Space Station Mir. Itincluded a space walk, logistics operations, and scientific research. Morethan 862 kilograms of equipment were transferred from the Atlantis to theMir, including a gyrodyne, transformer, batteries, food, water, film, andclothing. Astronaut Shannon Lucid, the second U.S. astronaut and the firstU.S. woman, began what would turn out to be a marathon stay on the Mir.


May 19-29, 1996


Crew: Casper, Brown, Bursch, Runco,Garneau, Thomas

During this flight, the six-person Endeavourcrew performed microgravity research aboard the commercially owned andoperated SPACEHAB module. The crew also deployed and retrieved the Sparton-207/IAE(Inflatable Antenna Experiment) satellite. A suite of four technology experimentscalled the Technology Experiments for Advancing Mission in Space (TEAMS)also flew in the Shuttle's payload bay.


June 20-July 7, 1996


Crew: Henricks, Kregel, Helms, Linnehan,Brady, PS: J. Favier, R. Thirsk

The Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS)mission, building on previous Shuttle Spacelab flights dedicated to lifesciences and microgravity investigations, studied the effects of long-durationspace flight on human physiology and conducted the type of experimentsthat would fly on the Space Station. The length of this flight surpassedthe longest Shuttle flight to date, lasting almost 17 days.


September 16-26, 1996


Crew: Readdy, Wilcutt, Akers, Apt, Walz,Blaha, Lucid

On this mission, astronaut Shannon Lucidset the world's women's and U.S. record for length of time in space: 188days and five hours. The mission was the fourth Shuttle docking with theMir space station. Astronaut Lucid returned to Earth on the Atlantis andastronaut Blaha replaced her on the Mir.


November 19-December 7, 1996

Crew: Cockrell, Rominger, Jernigan,Jones, Musgrave

STS-80 marked the third flight of theWake Shield Facility that flew on STS-60 and STS-69 and the third flightof the German-built ORFEUS-SPAS II. Both the Wake Shield Facility and theORFEUS-SPAS were deployed and retrieved during the mission, making it thefirst time that two satellites were flying freely at the same time. Therecord for the longest Shuttle flight was broken again, with this flightlasting slightly more than 17-1/2 days.


January 12-22, 1997


Crew: Baker, Jett, Wisoff, Grunsfeld,Ivins, Linenger, Blaha

This mission was the fifth of nine plannedmissions to Mir and the second involving an exchange of U.S. astronauts.Astronaut Linenger replaced astronaut Blaha aboard the Mir after spending128 days in space. The Atlantis carried the SPACEHAB double module, whichprovided additional middeck locker space for secondary experiments.


February 11-21, 1997


Crew: Bowersox, Horowitz, Tanner, Hawley,Harbaugh, Lee, Smith

STS-82 was the second in a series ofplanned servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The orbiter'srobot arm captured the HST so it could be serviced. In five space walks,the crew replaced the Goddard High Resolution Spectrometer and the FaintObject Spectrograph with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and theNear Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer. Crew members also replacedother hardware with upgrades and spares. HST received a refurbished FineGuidance Sensor and a refurbished spare Reaction Wheel Assembly (RWA) toreplace one of four RWAs. A Solid State Recorder replaced one reel-to-reeltape recorder. The crew members also replaced the HST's insulation, whichhad deteriorated due to rapid heating and cooling as the telescope movedinto and out of sunlight and also due to constant exposure to the molecularoxygen encountered in the upper reaches of the atmosphere.


April 4-8, 1997


Crew: Halsell, Still, Voss, Gernhardt,Thomas, PS: Roger Crouch, Greg Linteris

This mission lasted only four days andreturned to Earth 12 days early due to a problem with one of the fuel cellsthat provided electricity and water to the orbiter. The Microgravity ScienceLaboratory-1 was rescheduled for a later mission.


May 15-24, 1997


Crew: Precourt, Collins, Clervoy, Noriega,Lu, Kondakova, Foale, Linenger

This was the sixth docking with theMir space station and the third involving an exchange of U.S. astronauts.Astronaut Foale replaced astronaut Linenger, who had been in space for132 days. The mission resupplied materials for experiments to be performedaboard the Mir and also returned experiment samples and data to Earth.


July 1-17, 1997


Crew: Halsell, Still, Voss, Gernhardt,Thomas, Crouch, Linteris

The reflight of the Microgravity ScienceLaboratory (MSL-1), which had flown on STS-83, took place on this mission.(STS-83 was cut short due to fuel cell problems.) The mission involvedthe same vehicle, crew, and experiment activities as planned on the earliermission. MSL-1 focused on the phenomena associated with the routine influenceof gravity, including the behavior of materials and liquids in a microgravityenvironment. The laboratory was a collection of 19 microgravity experimentshoused inside a European Spacelab Long Module.


August 7-19, 1997


Crew: Brown, Rominger, Davis, Curbeam,Robinson, PS: Bjarni Tryggvason

The primary payload for STS-85 was thesecond flight of the CRISTA-SPAS-2. It was the fourth in a series of cooperativeventures between the German Space Agency and NASA. CRISTA-SPAS-2 was deployedand retrieved using the Discovery's robot arm. Two other instruments onboard also studied the Earth's atmosphere: the Middle Atmosphere High ResolutionSpectrograph Instrument (MAHRSI) measured hydroxyl and nitric oxide, whilethe Surface Effects Sample Monitor (SESAM) carried state-of-the-art opticalsurfaces to study the impact of the atomic oxygen and the space environmenton materials and services. The Technology Applications and Science (TAS-1),the Manipulator Flight Demonstration, supplied by Japan, and the internationalExtreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker were other mission payloads.

September 25-October 6, 1997


Crew: Wetherbee, Bloomfield, Parazynski,Titov, Chretien, Lawrence, Wolf, Foale

This was the seventh docking betweenthe Atlantis and the Russian Mir space station and the fourth exchangeof U.S. astronauts. The mission included a flyaround of the Mir to determinethe location of the puncture on the hull of the Spektr module. The Mircrew pumped air into the Spektr module, and the Shuttle crew observed thatthe leak seemed to be located at the base of damaged solar panel. U.S.astronaut Foale returned aboard the Atlantis after a stay of 134 days onthe Mir. His was the second longest single space flight in U.S. space flighthistory behind Shannon Lucid's 188-day flight in 1996. The Atlantis alsocarried the SPACEHAB double module to support the transfer of logisticsand supplies for the Mir and the return of experiment hardware and specimensto Earth.


November 19-December 5, 1997


Crew: Kregel, Lindsey, Chawla, Scott,Doi, PS: Leonid Kadenyuk

Experiments that studied how the weightlessenvironment of space affected various physical processes and two spacewalks highlighted STS-87. During this mission, payload specialist Kadenyukbecame the first Ukranian to fly aboard the Space Shuttle. The missionwas marked by an unexpected event when the attitude control system aboardthe free-flying SPARTAN solar research satellite malfunctioned, causingthe satellite to rotate outside the Shuttle. Crew members successfullyrecaptured the satellite and lowered it onto its berth in the payload bay.The capture took place during a space walk that lasted seven hours and43 minutes. A second space walk that lasted seven hours and 33 minutestested a crane that will be used in constructing the Space Station anda free-flying camera that will be able to monitor conditions outside theSpace Station without requiring space walks.


January 22-31, 1998


Crew: Wilcutt, Edwards, Reilly, Anderson,Dunbar, Sharipov, Thomas, Wolf

STS-89 featured the eighth Mir-Shuttlelinkup and the fifth crew exchange. Astronaut Wolf, who had been on theMir since September 1997, was replaced by astronaut Thomas.

Monographsin Aerospace History

Launius, Roger D., and Gillette, AaronK. Compilers. The Space Shuttle: An Annotated Bibliography. (Monographsin Aerospace History, No. 1, 1992).

Launius, Roger D., and Hunley, J.D.Compilers. An Annotated Bibliography of the Apollo Program. (Monographsin Aerospace History, No. 2, 1994).

Launius, Roger D. Apollo: A RetrospectiveAnalysis. (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 3, 1994).

Hansen, James R. Enchanted Rendezvous:John C. Houbolt and the Genesis of the Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous Concept.(Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 4, 1995).

Gorn, Michael H. Hugh L. Dryden'sCareer in Aviation and Space. (Monographs in Aerospace History, No.5, 1996).

Powers, Sheryll Goecke. Women inAeronautical Engineering at the Dryden Flight Research Center, 1946­1994(Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 6, 1997).

Portree, David S.F. and Trevino, RobertC. Compilers. Walking to Olympus: A Chronology of Extravehicular Activity(EVA). (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 7, 1997).

Logsdon, John M. Moderator. The LegislativeOrigins of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958: Proceedingsof an Oral History Workshop (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 8,1998).

Updated February 8, 2005
Steve Garber, NASA History Web Curator
For further information E-mail histinfo@hq.nasa.gov

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