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STS-61 Fact Sheet

Written and Edited by Cliff Lethbridge

 

STS-61 -- Endeavour

 

59th Space Shuttle Mission

5th Flight of Endeavour

 

Crew:

 

Richard O. Covey, Commander

Kenneth D. Bowersox, Pilot

F. Story Musgrave, Payload Commander

Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Mission Specialist

Kathryn C. Thornton, Mission Specialist

Tom Akers, Mission Specialist

Claude Nicollier, Mission Specialist

 

Orbiter Preparations:

 

Tow to Orbiter Processing Facility - July 1, 1993

Rollover to Vehicle Assembly Building - October 21, 1993

Rollout to Launch Pad 39A - October 28, 1993

Rollaround to Launch Pad 39B - November 15, 1993

 

Launch:

 

December 2, 1993 - 4:27:00 a.m. EST. Launch was originally scheduled to take place from Launch Pad 39A, but contamination was discovered in the Payload Changeout Room at the pad, forcing a rollaround of Endeavour to Launch Pad 39B.

 

Launch attempt on December 1, 1993 was scrubbed due to unacceptable return to launch site weather conditions. December 2 launch occurred as scheduled with no delays.

 

Landing:

 

December 13, 1993 - 12:25:33 a.m. EST at Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center. Rollout distance was 7,911 feet. Rollout time was 52 seconds. Mission duration was 10 days, 19 hours, 58 minutes, 33 seconds. Landing occurred during the 163rd orbit.

 

Mission Summary:

 

This is considered to be one of the most challenging, complex and successful Space Shuttle missions performed to date. During a record five spacewalks during a Space Shuttle mission, astronauts completed the first service and repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

 

Deployed during STS-31 in 1990, HST proved to have manufacturing defects which hindered a great deal of its intended scientific investigations. Engineers developed remedies which were applied during this mission, including compensation for severe flaws in HST's primary mirror.

 

The 43-foot-long HST was grasped by the Shuttle's remote manipulator arm and temporarily stored upright in the cargo bay, where repair and maintenance operations were performed by the spacewalking astronauts.

 

The first spacewalk of the mission was conducted by astronauts Musgrave and Hoffman on December 4, 1993. The spacewalk lasted 7 hours, 54 minutes. During the spacewalk, the astronauts prepared the payload bay for spacewalk activities, as well as replaced gyroscopes, fuse plugs and an electronics control unit aboard HST.

 

The second spacewalk of the mission was conducted by astronauts Thornton and Akers on December 5, 1993. The spacewalk lasted 6 hours, 36 minutes. During the spacewalk, the astronauts replaced solar arrays aboard HST.

 

The third spacewalk of the mission was conducted by astronauts Musgrave and Hoffman on December 6, 1993. The spacewalk lasted 6 hours, 47 minutes. During the spacewalk, the astronauts replaced the Wide Field Planetary Camera (WFPC) aboard HST with a new one.

 

The fourth spacewalk of the mission was conducted by astronauts Thornton and Akers on December 7, 1993. The spacewalk lasted 6 hours, 50 minutes. During the spacewalk, the astronauts replaced the Goddard High Speed Photometer (GHSP) aboard HST with a completely new unit called the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR).

 

The fifth and final spacewalk of the mission was conducted by astronauts Musgrave and Hoffman on December 8, 1993. The spacewalk lasted 7 hours, 21 minutes. During the spacewalk, the astronauts replaced solar array drive electronics aboard HST.

 

HST was successfully redeployed to an altitude of 321 nautical miles, slightly higher than its previous orbit, and continues to provide a treasure trove of astronomical observations.

 

 

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