2 December 1993, 09:27:00 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-61) lifted off from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mission was to service the Hubble Space Telescope in Earth orbit. This was Endeavour‘s fifth flight.
The flight crew were Mission Commander Colonel Richard O. Covey, United States Air Force, on his fourth space flight, with shuttle pilot Captain Kenneth D. Bowersox, U.S. Navy, on his second flight. Mission Specialist Kathryn C. Thornton, Ph.D., on her third space flight; Professor Claude Nicollier, Captain, Schweizer Luftwaffe, (Swiss Air Force) and European Space Agency, on his second space flight; Jeffrey A. Hoffman, fourth flight, F. Story Musgrave, M.D., fifth space flight; and Thomas D. Akers, third space flight.
During this flight there were five EVAs (“space walks”) conducted to service and upgrade Hubble. EVAs 1, 3 and 5 were performed by Musgrave and Hoffman, while 2 and 4 were carried out by Thornton and Akers. The duration of these EVAs were between 6 hours, 36 minutes and 7 hours, 54 minutes.
Endeavour landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), Kennedy Space Center, at 05:25:33 UTC, 13 December 1993. The duration of the mission was 10 days, 19 hours, 58 minutes, 37 seconds.
2 December 1992, 13:24:00 UTC: Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-53) lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying a classified Satellite Data System-2 military communications satellite, USA-89. This satellite also included the Heritage (Radiant Agate) infrared early warning system for detection of ballistic missile launches. Several other satellites and scientific experiments were also carried.
This was Discovery‘s 15th flight.
The Mission Commander was Captain David M. Walker, United States Navy, on his third space flight, with shuttle pilot Colonel Robert D. Cabana, U. S. Marine Corps, on his second. Three Mission Specialists were aboard: Colonel Guion S. Bluford, Ph.D., U.S. Air Force on his fourth and final space flight; Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Clifford, U.S. Army, first flight; Colonel James S. Voss, U.S. Army, second flight.
Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert of southern California at 20:43:17 UTC, 9 December 1992. The duration of the mission was 7 days, 7 hours, 19 minutes, 17 seconds.
2 December 1990, 06:49:01 UTC: At 1:49:01 a.m. EST, Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-35) lifted off from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. This was Columbia‘s 10th flight. STS-35 was a scientific mission, with the ASTRO-1 observatory.
The flight crew consisted of Mission Commander Vance D. Brand on his fourth and final space flight, and shuttle pilot Colonel Guy S. Gardner, U.S. Air Force, on his second. There were three Mission Specialists and two Payload Specialists: Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Ph.D., second space flight; John M. Lounge, third flight; Robert A.R. Parker, Ph.D., second flight; Samuel T. Durance, Ph.D., and Ronald A. Parise, Ph.D., were both on their first flights.
Columbia landed at Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert of southern California at 05:54:08 UTC, 11 December 1990. The duration of the mission was 8 days, 23 hours, 5 minutes, 8 seconds.
2 December 1988, 14:30:34 UTC: At 9:30 a.m., EST, Space Shuttle Atlantis (OV-104) launched from Pad 39B, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on mission STS-27. This was the deployment of the first of five Lockheed Martin Lacrosse I reconnaissance satellites, USA-34, for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office and the Central Intelligence Agency.
STS-27 was the third flight for Atlantis. It would eventually be flown 33 times.
Space Transport System Flight STS-27 was commanded by Captain Robert Lee Gibson, United States Navy, with Colonel Guy S. Gardner, United States Air Force, as the shuttle pilot. Three mission specialists were aboard for the mission: Colonel Richard M. Mullane, USAF; Colonel Jerry L. Ross, USAF; and Captain William B. Shepherd, a United States Navy SEAL.
Approximately 1 minute, 25 seconds after liftoff, insulating material from the right solid rocket booster (SRB) came off and struck the orbiter. The damage to the thermal tiles on the shuttle’s right side was extensive. More than 700 tiles were damaged and one was completely missing.
Atlantis completed 68 orbits during this mission. It landed on Runway 17, Edwards Air Force Base, California, 6 December 1988, at 23:36:11 UTC (4:36 p.m., PST). The duration of the flight was 4 days, 9 hours, 5 minutes, 37 seconds.
28 November 1983, 16:00:00.84 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-9) lifted of from Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Florida on its sixth space flight.
On board was the largest flight crew for a manned space mission up to that time: Mission Commander John W. Young (Captain, United States Navy, Retired), Pilot; Lieutenant Colonel Brewster H. Shaw, Jr., United States Air Force; Mission Specialists Owen K. Garriott, Ph.D., and Robert A.R. Parker, Ph.D.; and Payload Specialists Ulf Dietrich Merbold, Dr. rer. nat, of the European Space Agency (ESA); and Lieutenant Colonel Byron K. Lichtenberg, D.Sc., USAF (Massachusetts Air National Guard).
Columbia carried the NASA/ESA Spacelab module in the cargo bay. The mission was primarily to carry out 72 scientific experiments in astronomy, physics, biology, as well as to make observations of the Earth.
Columbia landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California at 23:47:24 UTC (3:47 p.m., PST), 8 December 1983. At 10 days, 7 hours, 47 minutes, 24 seconds, STS-9 was the longest space shuttle mission up to that time.