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STS-32 was the 33rd mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the ninth launch of Space Shuttle Columbia. Launched on 9 January 1990, it marked the first use of Launch Pad A at Kennedy Space Center's Complex 39 since 1986; it also marked the first use of Mobile Launcher Platform No. 3 (MLP-3) in the Space Shuttle program. STS-32 was, at the time, the longest shuttle mission yet conducted, with a duration of nearly 11 days. Before STS-32, the only mission of the same duration had been STS-9 in 1983. On 20 January 1990, STS-32 executed the third night landing of the shuttle program.
Columbia retrieves the Long Duration Exposure Facility
|Mission type||Satellite deployment|
|Mission duration||10 days, 21 hours, 36 seconds|
|Distance travelled||7,258,096 kilometres (4,509,972 mi)|
|Spacecraft||Space Shuttle Columbia|
|Launch mass||116,117 kilograms (255,994 lb)|
|Landing mass||103,571 kilograms (228,335 lb)|
|Payload mass||12,014 kilograms (26,486 lb)|
|Members||Daniel C. Brandenstein|
James D. Wetherbee
Bonnie J. Dunbar
Marsha S. Ivins
G. David Low
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||9 January 1990, 12:35:00UTC|
|Launch site||Kennedy LC-39A|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||20 January 1990, 09:35:37UTC|
|Landing site||Edwards Runway 22|
|Perigee altitude||296 kilometres (184 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||361 kilometres (224 mi)|
Clockwise from top left: Ivins, Low, Dunbar, Wetherbee, Brandenstein.
|Commander||Daniel C. Brandenstein|
|Pilot||James D. Wetherbee|
|Mission Specialist 1||Bonnie J. Dunbar|
|Mission Specialist 2||Marsha S. Ivins|
|Mission Specialist 3||G. David Low|
Crew seating arrangementsEdit
Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
Launch Complex 39A was modified extensively in preparation for the launch, with STS-32 being the first launch from the refurbished pad since STS-61-C in 1986. NASA made improvements to the crew emergency egress system and the shuttle payload room, increased anti-freeze protection for the water systems, installed debris traps used during propellant loading, and added more weather protection features and an umbilical to provide power, instrumentation and controls to the heaters for the solid rocket booster field joints.
MLP-3, the oldest of the three Apollo-era launch structures, also underwent extensive remodeling for use with the shuttle. These modifications included the removal of the umbilical tower, the reconfiguring of three exhaust holes, and amendments to the electrical and mechanical ground support systems.
STS-32 launched from Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, on 9 January 1990 at 7:35:00 am EST. The launch was initially scheduled for 18 December 1989, but was later postponed to allow the modifications to Pad A to be completed and verified. The second scheduled launch, on 8 January 1990, was aborted due to weather conditions. Columbia had a mission launch weight of 255,994 lb (116,117 kg).
The primary objectives of the mission were to deploy the Syncom IV-F5 defense communications satellite (also known as Leasat 5), and to retrieve NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), whose retrieval had been delayed for 41⁄2 years by scheduling changes and the Challenger disaster of 1986. Syncom IV-F5 was deployed on the second flight day, and a third-stage Minuteman solid perigee kick motor propelled it into a geosynchronous orbit. Dunbar retrieved the LDEF on the fourth day of the flight using the shuttle's Remote Manipulator System. The timeliness of the retrieval was of critical importance, because a high rate of solar flux had increased the density of the LDEF's orbital environment and accelerated its rate of orbital decay. Specialists who carefully monitored the stability of the craft's orbit had anticipated that if the LDEF was not retrieved in time, it would pass too low for the shuttle to safely reach, and could be destroyed during re-entry in February 1990. Thus, the mission's exact liftoff time was determined about 12 hours before launch, using the latest tracking data on LDEF. It was flown on a 352 kilometers (219 mi) orbit inclined 28.5 degrees to the equator.
The crew performed a 41⁄2-hour photographic survey of the free-flying structure, which held 57 science, technology and applications experiments. The 12-sided cylinder, about the size of a small bus, was then berthed in the orbiter's payload bay for return to Earth.
NASA had planned to acquire data on the crew members' exposure to long periods of zero gravity, and its effects on the crew's performance while landing the orbiter after an extended mission. STS-32 set a new shuttle duration record of nearly eleven days. An orbiter kit was developed to allow the shuttle to operate for up to 16 days in Earth orbit, and would later make its debut on Columbia's STS-50 mission in 1992.
Columbia landed safely on 20 January 1990 at 1:35:37 am PST on Runway 22 of Edwards Air Force Base, California. The shuttle had a landing weight of 103,571 kilograms (228,335 lb). The roll-out distance was 3,271 metres (10,732 ft), and the roll-out time was 62 seconds. The orbiter returned to KSC on 26 January 1990.
In addition to the Syncom IV-F5 satellite, STS-32 carried a number of mid-deck scientific payloads, some of which had already been flown on previous shuttle missions. The experiments included:
The three stars on the left and two stars on the right of STS-32's insignia symbolized the flight's numerical designation in the Space Transportation System's mission sequence.
The inverted orbiter on the mission patch reflects the overhead phasing required for rendezvous with LDEF. LDEF had dropped to such a low altitude that the orbiter couldn't do the usual lower-orbit catch-up because of the thicker atmosphere, and had to reach the LDEF from above.
NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Gemini program, and first used music to wake up a flight crew during Apollo 15. Each track is specially chosen, often by the astronauts' families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities.
|Day 2||"What’s More American?"||Bing Crosby|
|Day 3||"The Banana Boat Song" parody|
|Day 4||"Let It Snow" parody|
|Day 5||"Hello Dolly" parody|
|Day 6||"Attack of the Killer Tomatoes"|
|Day 7||"Notre Dame Victory March"|
|Day 8||"Bow Down to Washington"||University of Washington|
|Day 9||"Glory, Glory, Colorado"||University of Colorado|
|Day 10||"Danny Boy"||Larry Bird|
|Day 11||"Washington and Lee"||Washington and Lee University|
|Day 12||"Born to Be Wild"||Steppenwolf|
|Day 13||"Anchors Aweigh"||Charles A. Zimmerman|