From Academic Kids

Mission Insignia
Mission Statistics
Launch Pad: 39-A
Launch:January 9, 1990,7:35:00 a.m. EST
Landing:January 20, 1990, 1:35:37 a.m. PST, Edwards Air Force Base
Orbit Altitude:178 nautical miles (330 km)
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Distance Traveled:4,509,972 miles (7,258,096 km)
Crew Photo
Clockwise from top left: Ivins, Low, Dunbar, Wetherbee, Brandenstein.
Clockwise from top left: Ivins, Low, Dunbar, Wetherbee, Brandenstein.

STS-32 was the 33rd launch of the Space Shuttle, the 9th launch of Space Shuttle Columbia. It executed the third night landing.



Mission parameters

Mission highlights

January 9, 1990, 7:35:00 a.m. EST. Launch scheduled for December 18, 1989, postponed to complete and verify modifications to Pad A, being used for first time since January, 1986. Launch January 8, 1990 scrubbed due to weather conditions. Launch Weight: 255,994 lb (116.117 Mg).

Objectives were deployment of SYNCOM IV-F5 defense communications satellite and retrieval of NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF). SYNCOM IV-F5 (also known as LEASAT 5) deployed first, and third stage Minuteman solid perigee kick motor propelled satellite to geosynchronous orbit. LDEF retrieved on flight day four using remote manipulator system. Middeck payloads: Characterization of Neurospora Circadian Rhythms (CNCR); Protein Crystal Growth (PCG); Fluid Experiment Apparatus (FEA); American Flight Echocardiograph (AFE); Latitude /Longitude Locator (L3); Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE); IMAX camera; and Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment

The crew of STS-32 deployed the SYNCOM IV-F5 defense communications satellite and retrieved NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF). They deployed SYNCOM IV-F5 (also known as LEASAT 5) first; a third stage Minuteman solid perigee kick motor propelled the satellite to geosynchronous orbit. The crew retrieved LDEF on flight day four using the remote manipulator system.

Retrieval of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and deployment of the SYNCOM IV-5 geosynchronous communications satellite are the primary objectives of the STS-32 mission aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.

The mission will mark the first time Pad A at Kennedy Space Center's Complex 39 has been used for a launch since the 61-C mission on Jan. 12, 1986. It also will be the first use of Mobile Launcher Platform No. 3 (MLP-3) in the Shuttle program.

STS-32 will be the ninth flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia, and the 33rd Shuttle mission. It is planned as one of the longest Space Shuttle missions—10 days. There has been only one other mission of that duration. STS-9 in 1983, the first Spacelab mission, also was a 10-day mission on Columbia.

NASA planned the extended mission to acquire data on the crew members' exposure to long periods of zero gravity and its effects on landing the orbiter. An orbiter kit is being developed to allow the orbiter to operate up to 16 days in Earth orbit.

Commander of the five-member crew is Daniel C. Brandenstein (Capt., USN), who also commanded STS 51-G in 1985 and piloted STS-8 in 1983. Both of those missions included use of the Canadian-built remote manipulator system, which also will be employed to retrieve LDEF. James D. Wetherbee (Lt. Cmdr., USN) will be the pilot on STS-32, his maiden Shuttle flight. Also making their first flights are mission specialists Marsha S. Ivins and G. David Low. The third mission specialist, Bonnie J. Dunbar (Ph.D), will make her second flight; she was also a mission specialist on STS 61-A in 1985.

Dunbar will operate the robot arm to retrieve LDEF while Ivins will photograph the free-flying structure which holds 57 science, technology and applications experiments. The 12-sided cylinder, about the size of a small bus, will then be berthed in the orbiter's payload bay for return to Earth.

LDEF was originally intended to remain in space for approximately a year after it was deployed April 7, 1984 on STS-41C and placed in a near-circular Earth orbit with an apogee of 298 statute miles (480 km, 259 n mi) and a perigee of 295 statute miles (475 km, 256 n mi). Scheduling changes and then the 51-L accident delayed the retrieval.

More than 5 1/2 years later, LDEF is a valuable repository of technical and scientific data.

The timeliness of the retrieval is of critical importance. A high rate of solar flux has increased the density of LDEF's orbital environment and accelerated its rate of orbital decay. Specialists have carefully monitored the stability of the craft's orbit, and now anticipate that it could fall back into Earth's gravity pull and be destroyed during re-entry in February 1990.

STS-32 will be the fourth night launch of the Space Shuttle program, and the second since Shuttle flights resumed in 1988. The exact liftoff time will be determined about 12 hours before launch, using the latest tracking data on LDEF. The mission will be flown on a 219-statute-mile (352 km) orbit inclined 28.5 degrees to the equator.

Columbia will be the first mission launched from the newly refurbished Pad A at Complex 39. Pad A supported the first 24 Shuttle missions, from STS-1 in April 1981 through 61-C in January 1986. This will be the first time it has been used since the Shuttle's return to flight in 1988. Both Pad A and Pad B have been modified during the past few years.

The modifications included improvements to the crew emergency egress system and in the payload changeout room, protection against freezing of the water services, installation of debris traps used during propellant loading, and the addition of more weather protection features and an umbilical to provide power, instrumentation and controls to the heaters for the solid rocket booster field joints.

MLP-3, the oldest of the three Apollo-era launch structures, also underwent extensive remodeling for use with the Shuttle. Those modifications included removal of the umbilical tower, reconfiguring for three exhaust holes, and changing the electrical and mechanical ground support systems. MLP-3 supported many historical launches in the 1960s and 1970s, including the first Apollo launch of the Saturn V rocket; the first manned lunar orbit, Apollo 8; the first lunar landing mission, Apollo 11; three manned Skylab launches; and the Apollo/Soyuz mission.

January 20, 1990, 1:35:37 a.m. PST, Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Rollout distance: 10,731 feet (3,271 m). Rollout time: 62 seconds. Longest Space Shuttle flight to date. Orbiter returned to KSC Jan. 26, 1990. Landing weight: 228,335 lb (103,571 kg).

Middeck payloads

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

Related articles

External links

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