Tag Archives: Space Shuttle Program

12 November 1995, 12:30:43.071 UTC, T minus Zero

Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-74) lifts off from Pad 39A, 7:30:43 a.m., EST, 12 November 1995. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-74) lifts off from Pad 39A, 7:30:43 a.m., EST, 12 November 1995. (NASA)

12 November 1995, 12:30:43.071 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-74) is launched from Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The mission commander was Colonel Kenneth Donald Cameron, United States Marine Corps, and Colonel James Donald Halsell, Jr., United States Air Force, was the shuttle pilot.

There were three mission specialists on this flight: Colonel Chris Austin Hadfield, Royal Canadian Air Force; Colonel Jerry Lynn Ross, U.S. Air Force; and Colonel William Suries McArthur, Jr., United States Army. Colonels Cameron, Halsell, Hadfield and McArthur had all been military test pilots before joining the space program. Colonel Ross was a flight test engineer.

Left to right: Colonel William S. McArthur, Jr., U.S. Army; Colonel James D. Halsell, Jr., U.S. Air Force (seated); Colonel Jerry L. Ross, U.S. Air Force; Colonel Kenneth D. Cameron, USMC (seated); Colonel Chris A. Hadfield, Royal Canadian Air Force/Canadian Space Agency. (NASA)

Mission STS-74 was the second orbital docking with the Russian space station Mir. The astronauts installed a docking module which had been carried in Atlantis‘ cargo bay. This allowed the shuttle to dock with the space station, and supplies and equipment were transferred during the three days the two spacecraft were docked.

Space Station Mir, photographed from Space Shuttle Atlantis during Mission STS-74. (NASA)

Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center 12:01:27 p.m., EST, on 20 November. The duration of the mission was  8 days, 4 hours, 30 minutes, 44 seconds.

Space Shuttle Atlantis (OV-104) lands at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, at the end of Mission STS-74, 12:01:27 p.m., EST, 20 November 1995.. (NASA)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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12 November 1981, 15:09:59 UTC, T minus Zero

Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) is launched from LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, 15:09:59 UTC, 12 November 1981. (NASA) KSC-81PC-0362

12 November 1981, 15:09:59 UTC, T minus Zero: At 10:09:59 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) lifted of from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.

On board were two NASA astronauts, Colonel Joe Henry Engle,¹ United States Air Force, the mission commander, and Captain Richard Harrison Truly, United States Navy, shuttle pilot.

The flight crew of Columbia (STS-2), left to right, Colonel Joe H. Engle, United States Air Force, and Captain Richard H. Truly, United States Navy. Both astronauts are wearing David Clark Company S1030A Ejection Escape Suits. (NASA)

This was the very first time that a manned spacecraft had returned to space on a second mission.

Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-2) climbing after liftoff, 12 November 1981. (NASA)

Columbia entered a Low Earth Orbit at an altitude of 157 nautical miles (181 statute miles/291 kilometers).

At liftoff the vehicle weighed 2,030,250 kilograms (4,475,943 pounds).

Aerial view of the launch of Columbia (STS-2) 12 November 1981. (NASA)
Columbia (STS-2) accelerates toward Earth orbit, 12 November 1981. (NASA)

STS-2 was planned as a five-day mission. In addition to continued testing of the orbital vehicle, on this flight the Remote Manipulator System (the “robot arm”) would be operated for the first time in space. A number of other experiments were carried in the cargo bay. However, when one of the three fuel cells producing electrical power and water failed, the mission was cut short.

Columbia landed on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 1:23 p.m. PST, 14 November 1981. The shuttle completed 37 orbits. The total duration of the flight was 2 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 13 seconds.

Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-2) glides overhead Edwards Air Force Base in California, 14 November 1981. (NASA S81-39564/GPN-2000-001346)

¹ Joe Engle qualified as an astronaut during the X-15 Program, when he flew the  # 3 rocketpane, 56-6672, to 280,600 feet (85,527 meters), 29 June 1965, and he is the only person to have done so prior to entering NASA’s manned space flight program.

X-15 Astronaut Joe Engle and his wife, Mary, with their children Laurie and Jon, and North American Aviation X-15 56-6672. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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29 October 1998

Senator John H. Glenn, Jr., 1998. (NASA)

29 October 1998: Senator John Herschel Glenn, Jr., the first American to orbit the Earth, returned to space as a member of the Discovery STS-95 crew. At the age of 77, John Glenn was the oldest human to fly into space.

The STS-95 mission elapsed time was 8 days, 21 hours, 44 minutes, 2 seconds. Combined with Senator Glenn’s orbital flight of 20 February 1961 aboard the Mercury space vehicle, Friendship 7, his total space mission time is 9 days, 2 hours, 39 minutes, 49 seconds. He has completed 137 orbits of the Earth.

Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95) launches at Launch Complex 39B, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, 2:19:34 p.m., EST, 29 October 1998. This was Discovery‘s 25th flight. (NASA)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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17 September 1976

Enterprise rollout at Palmdale, California, 17 September 1976. (Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS)

17 September 1976. Enterprise (OV-101), the prototype Space Shuttle Orbital Vehicle, was rolled out at the Rockwell International plant at Palmdale, California.

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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5 September 1984

Space Shuttle Discovery landing on Rogers Dry Lake, 0637 PDT, 5 September 1984. (NASA)

5 September 1984: Space Shuttle Discovery, OV-103, completed its first space flight, STS-41-D,  when it landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 6:37 a.m. PDT (13:37:54 UTC), 5 September 1984. It had completed 97 orbits of the Earth. The total duration of its flight was 6 days, 56 minutes, 4 seconds.

The purpose of the mission was to place three communications satellites into orbit, and to deploy an experimental solar panel array. Various other experiments were also carried out.

The Mission Commander was Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., making his second space flight. Shuttle Pilot Michael L. Coats was on his first. Three Mission Specialists, Richard M. Mullane, Steven A. Hawley, Judith A. Resnick, and Payload Specialist Charles D. Walker, were all on their first space flight.

A highlight of this mission was the onboard filming by the crew of footage for the IMAX film, The Dream Is Alive.

Discovery is the space shuttle fleet leader, having made 39 orbital flights, more than any other shuttle.

Mission Specialist Judith Arlene Resnick was a crew member of shuttle mission STS-51-L. She was killed when Challenger was destroyed shortly after launch, 28 January 1986.

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

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