From Academic Kids

Mission Insignia

Mission Statistics
Launch Pad:39-B
Launch:May 4, 1989,
2:48:59 p.m. EDT
Landing:May 8, 1989,
12:43:27 p.m. PDT
Duration:4 days, 0 hours,
56 minutes, 28 seconds
Orbit Altitude:184 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination:28.8 degrees
Miles Traveled:1,681,997
Crew photo

STS-30 was a space shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was the 29th shuttle mission, and the 4th for Atlantis. It carried the Magellan probe bound for Venus.



Mission Parameters

Mission highlights

The Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Pad B, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 2:47 p.m. EDT on May 4, 1989. The primary payload, the Magellan spacecraft with its attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), was successfully deployed later that day. STS-30 was the first American planetary mission in 11 years. It was the fourth flight of the Orbiter Atlantis, and the 29th Space Shuttle mission.

Launch was originally scheduled April 28, the first day of the 31-day launch period when Earth and Venus are properly aligned. But liftoff was scrubbed at T-31 seconds because of a problem with the liquid hydrogen recirculation pump on Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) No. 1 and a vapor leak in the liquid hydrogen recirculation line between the orbiter and external tank. On the rescheduled liftoff date, May 4, launch was delayed until the final five minutes of the launch window due to cloud cover and excessive crosswinds at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). Good landing conditions are required at the SLF in case of a Return To Launch Site (RTLS) abort early in the flight.

The only major glitch during the flight occurred on May 7, with the failure of one of the four general purpose computers programmed to operate the orbiter. The crew replaced the computer, part of a redundant set, with a backup one. It was the first time a computer had been switched while in orbit. There was no impact to the crew's safety or the primary objectives of the mission, although some of the activities involved in conducting experiments had to be canceled while the crew was changing out the computer. There also was no impact to the mission when one of the three thrusters on Atlantis' aft right-hand Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod failed during ascent.

The STS-30 crew experienced several minor annoyances. A Hasselblad camera used to photograph sites on Earth had to be stowed for the remainder of the mission after a shutter stuck during the crew's third day in space. The Text and Graphics Systems (TAGS), a device to send images and graphics to the orbiter from Mission Control, had to be turned off on Flight Day 2 because of a paper jam. Commander Walker and Pilot Grabe had problems with a device used to take measurements of central venous pressure to determine the effects of microgravity on the cardiovascular system. On the second full day in space, the water dispensing system in the galley malfunctioned, causing some difficulties for the crew in preparing meals.

The crew finished the four-day flight with touchdown at Runway 22, Edwards AFB, CA, on May 8, 1989, at 3:43 EDT. Minutes before landing, the runway had to be switched, from 17 to 22, because of crosswinds. The mission elapsed time was 4 days, 0 hours, 56 minutes.

Crew. The crew members were Commander David M. Walker, Pilot Ronald J. Grabe, and Mission Specialists Mary L. Cleave, Mark C. Lee and Norman E. Thagard. It was Lee's first flight.

Payload and Experiments. The Magellan spacecraft was deployed from the payload bay at 6 hours, 14 minutes, into the mission. Two successive IUS propulsion burns placed the spacecraft on its trajectory to Venus about an hour later. Magellan arrived at Venus in August 1990 and began a 243-day mission of radar mapping the planet's surface.

Three middeck experiments were included on the mission. All had flown before. Mission Specialist Cleave used a portable laptop computer to operate and monitor the Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA). An 8-millimeter video camcorder flown for the first time on the Shuttle provided the opportunity for the crew to record and downlink on-orbit activities such as the FEA, which was a joint endeavor between Rockwell International and NASA. Payload bay video cameras were used to record storm systems as part of the Mesoscale Lightning Experiment. Atlantis was used as a calibration target for a third experiment involving ground-based electro-optical sensors at the Air Force Maui Optical Station in Hawaii.

Primary payload, Magellan/Venus radar mapper spacecraft and attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), deployed six hours, 14 minutes into Flight. IUS first and second stage fired as planned, boosting Magellan spacecraft on proper trajectory for 15-month journey to Venus. Secondary payloads: Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE), microgravity research with Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA), and Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment. One of five General Purpose Computers (GPC) failed and had to be replaced with a sixth onboard hardware spare. First time a GPC was switched on orbit.

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