Tag Archives: Manned Space Flight

2 December 1988, 14:30:34 UTC

Space Shuttle Atlantis lifts off at LC-39B, 2 December 1998. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-27) lifts off at LC-39B, 2 December 1998. (NASA)

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.

Space Shuttle Atlantis climbs from LC-39 on Mission STS-27, 2 December 1988. (NASA STS027-S-006)

STS-27 was the third flight for Atlantis. It would eventually be flown 33 times.

Seated, left to right, are Guy S. Gardner, pilot; Robert L. Gibson, commander and Jerry L. Ross, mission specialist. On the back row, left to right, are mission specialists William M. Shepherd and Richard M. Mullane.
SFlight crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-27): seated, left to right, are Colonel Guy S. Gardner, USAF, pilot; Captain Robert L. Gibson, USN, mission commander, and Colonel Jerry L. Ross, USAF, mission specialist. Standing, left to right, are mission specialists Captain William M. Shepherd, USN, and Colonel Richard M. Mullane, USAF. (NASA)

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.

Atlantis STS-27 lands at Edwards Air Force Base. The damage to heat-protective tiles is clearly visible. (NASA)
Atlantis STS-27 accelerates toward orbit. (NASA)

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.

This image is believed to be of a Lockheed Martin Lacrosse reconnaissance satellite. Two technicians give scale to the Lacrosse.

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.

Sts-27_Landing
Atlantis touches down on Rogers Dry Lake, on the afternoon of 6 December 1988. (NASA)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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28 November 1983, 16:00:00.84 UTC

Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-9) launches from LC-39A, Kennedy Space center, 16:00:00 UTC, 28 November 1983. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-9) launches from LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, 16:00:00 UTC, 28 November 1983. (NASA)

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).

The flight crew of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-9), left to right, Owen K. Garriott, Ph.D., NASA; LCOL Byron K. Lichtenberg, D.Sc., USAF; LCOL Brewster H. Shaw, Jr., USAF; CAPT John Watts Young, USN (Ret.); Dr. Ulf D. Merbold, ESA; Robert A.R. Parker, Ph.D., NASA.
The flight crew of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-9), left to right, Owen K. Garriott, Ph.D., NASA; LCOL Byron K. Lichtenberg, D.Sc., USAF; LCOL Brewster H. Shaw, Jr., USAF; CAPT John Watts Young, USN (Ret.); Dr. Ulf D. Merbold, ESA; Robert A.R. Parker, Ph.D., NASA.

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.

Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-9) lands at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (NASA)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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24 November 1969

Apollo 12 command modules just before splashdown 10:58 a.m., local time, 24 November 1969. (U.S. Navy)
Apollo 12 command module just before splashdown 10:58 a.m., local time, 24 November 1969. (U.S. Navy)

24 November 1969: The Apollo 12 command module Yankee Clipper, carrying astronauts Charles “Pete” Conrad, Jr., Mission Commander; Richard F. Gordon, Jr., Command Module Pilot; Alan L. Bean, Lunar Module Pilot; landed in the Pacific Ocean at 20:58:24 UTC, approximately 500 miles east of American Samoa. Mission Time: 244:36:23.

Apollo 12 command module Yankee Clipper splashed down within approximately 2.5 nautical miles of the primary recovery ship. It is in the foreground of this photograph, with a Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King and USS Hornet (CVS-12), approximately 11:00 a.m., local time, 24 November 1969. (U.S. Navy)
Apollo 12 command module Yankee Clipper splashed down within approximately 2.5 nautical miles of the primary recovery ship. It is in the foreground of this photograph, with a Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King and USS Hornet (CVS-12), approximately 11:00 a.m., local time, 24 November 1969. (U.S. Navy)

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

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23 November 2002, 00:49:47 UTC, T minus Zero

Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113) lifts off from LC-39A, 7:49:47 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, 23 November 2002. (NASA)

23 November 2002, 00:49:47 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) lifted off from Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on mission STS-113.

The mission commander, Captain James D. Wetherbee, United States Navy, was on his sixth space flight and shuttle pilot Lieutenant Colonel Paul S. Lockhart, United States Air Force, was on his second. Mission Specialist Captain Miguel López-Alegría, USN,  was on his third space flight while Commander John B. Harrington, USN, was on his first.

Flight crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-113), left to right, LCOL Paul S. Lockhart, USAF; CAPT Michael E. Lopez-Alegria, USN; CDR John B. Herrington, USN; CAPT James D. Wetherbee, USN. (NASA)
Flight crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113), left to right, LCOL Paul S. Lockhart, USAF; CAPT Michael E. López-Alegría, USN; CDR John B. Herrington, USN; CAPT James D. Wetherbee, USN. (NASA)

STS-113 delivered the P1 truss (the Port Side Thermal Radiator Truss), a major structural component of the International Space Station, into orbit, while also carrying the three members of Expedition 6, who were to spend the next four months on board the space station: Captain Kenneth D. Bowersox, USN, was on his fifth space flight; Test Cosmonaut Nikolai Mikhailovich Budarin (Николай Михайлович Бударин), Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA), on his third flight; and Donald R. Pettit, Ph.D., NASA, was on his first. ISS Expedition 5 members Colonel Valery Grigoryevich Korzun (Валерий Григорьевич Корзун), Soviet Air Force, Peggy Annette Whitson, Ph.D., NASA, and Sergei Yevgenyevich Treshchov (Сергей Евгеньевич Трещёв), RSC Energia, having completed their assignments to the ISS, were returned to Earth aboard Endeavour.

Endeavour landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility (LSF), Kennedy Space Center, at 19:38:25 UTC, 7 December 2002. The duration of mission STS-113 was  13 days, 18 hours, 48 minutes, 38 seconds.  Endeavour remained docked with the ISS for 6 days, 22 hours, 51 minutes, 00 seconds. While in orbit, NASA astronauts López-Alegría and Herrington performed three EVAs (Extravehicular Activity, of “space walks”).

Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) in Earth orbit, photographed from the International Space Station. The P1 Truss is in the open cargo bay. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) in Earth orbit, photographed from the International Space Station, 25 November 2002. The P1 Truss is in the open cargo bay. (NASA)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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19 November 1999, 22:30 UTC

神舟一号飞船 (Shenzhou 1) launch, 19 November 1999. (China National Space Administration)

19 November 1999, 22:30 UTC (20 November, 6:30 a.m., CST): The China National Space Administration ( 国家航天局 ) launched 神舟一號 (Shenzhou 1), an unmanned Project 921-1 spacecraft, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Area aboard a 长征二号F火箭, (Changzheng or “Divine Arrow”) two-stage rocket. Shenzhou 1 was placed into a Low Earth Orbit ranging from 195 kilometers (121 miles) to 315 kilometers (196 miles).

The vehicle completed 14 orbits. It successfully deorbited and reentered Earth’s atmosphere. The Shenzhou reentry module landed in Inner Mongolia, 20 November at 19:41 UTC. The duration of the flight was 21 hours, 11 minutes.

The Shenzhou 1 spacecraft was not fully operational and it differed in several ways from the manned space vehicles that followed. The primary purpose of this flight was a test of the man-rated Long March 2F rocket.

The Shenzhou spacecraft is similar to the Russian Federation’s Soyuz from which it was developed, although it is larger. Shenzhou vehicles are 9.25 meters (30 feet, 4.2 inches) long and 2.80 meters (9 feet, 2.2 inches) in diameter. The spacecraft has a mass of 7,840 kilograms (17,284 pounds). There are three modules: the orbital module, reentry module and service module. The vehicle is designed for three people for flights of up to 20 days duration.

An unidentified Shenzhou/Long March 2F launch from the Jiuquan Sateliite Launch Area. (CNSA)

The Changzheng is known as the Long March 2F in the West. It is a two-stage liquid-fueled rocket with external boosters.

The first stage is 23.7 meters (77 feet, 9.6 inches) long with a diameter of 3.35 meters (10 feet, 11.9 inches). It is powered by four YF-20B engines (clustered as a YF-21B unit) which use hypergolic fuels. The four “strap-on” boosters use the same engines. The boosters are 15.6 meters (51 feet, 2.2 inches) long and 2.25 meters (7 feet, 4.6 inches) in diameter. With all eight engines running, the total rated thrust is 1,331,140 pounds (5,921.206 kilonewtons) at Sea Level. The boosters’ burn time is 2 minutes, 8 seconds, while the primary engines burn for 38 seconds longer.

The second stage is 15.52 meters (50 feet, 11 inches) long and the same diameter as the first stage. It uses one YF-24B unit, consisting of one YF-22B and four YF-23B engines. The second stage uses the same hypergolic fuel as the first stage. This stage is rated at 177,240 pounds of thrust (788,403 kilonewtons) at Sea Level and burns for 5 minutes. The Long March 2F is capable of lifting a 8,400 kilograms (18,519 pounds) payload into Low Earth Orbit.

JIUQUAN SLC, INNER MONGOLIA, CHINA-DECEMBER 18, 2012: This December 18, 2012, image provides an overview of JSLC’s South Launch Complex just 11 hours prior to the launch of the G?kt?rk 2, a remote sensing satellite for the Turkish government. In addition to the vertical assembly building, the SLS-1 (921) launch pad and the SLS-2 (603) launch pad, various other support buildings are visible. (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)
Satellite image of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Area, Inner Mongolia, 18 December 2012. The vertical assembly building is in the lower half of the photograph, with two launch pads in the upper half.  (Bloomberg/DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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