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Mission Insignia
Missing image

Mission Statistics
Launch Pad: 39-A
Launch:August 30 1984
8:41:50 EDT
Landing:September 5 1984
8:37:54 PDT
at Edwards AFB
Orbit Altitude:184 nautical miles (340 km)
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 deg
Distance Traveled:2,490,000 miles (4,007,000 km)
Crew photo
Missing image
Front row L-R: Mullane, Hawley, Hartsfield, Coats. Back row: L-R: Walker, Resnik

Back row: L-R: Walker, Resnik
Front row L-R: Mullane, Hawley, Hartsfield, Coats.

STS-41-D was a space shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Discovery. It was the 12th shuttle mission, and the first flight for Discovery.


Mission Parameters

Mission highlights

The orbiter Discovery was launched on its maiden flight --the 12th in the program -- on Aug. 30, 1984. It was the third orbiter built and the lightest one thus far because of its lightweight thermal blanket material.

The mission was originally planned for June 25, but because of a variety of technical problems, including rollback to the VAB to replace a main engine, the launch did not take place until 8:41 a.m. EDT, Aug. 30, after a 6-minute, 50-2nd delay when a private aircraft flew into the restricted air space near the launch pad. It was the fourth launch attempt for Discovery.

Because of the 2-month delay, the STS 41-F mission was cancelled (STS 41-E had already been cancelled) and its primary payloads were included on the STS 41-D flight. The combined cargo weighed over 47,000 lb., a Space Shuttle record up to that time.

The six-person flight crew consisted of Henry W. Hartsfield Jr., commander, making his second Shuttle mission; pilot Michael L. Coats; three mission specialists: -- Judith A. Resnik, Richard M. Mullane and Steven A. Hawley; and a payload specialist, Charles D. Walker, an employee of the McDonnell Douglas Corp. Walker was the first commercially-sponsored payload specialist to fly aboard the Shuttle.

The primary cargo consisted of three communications satellites, SBS-D for Satellite Business Systems, Telstar 3-C for Telesat of Canada and SYNCOM IV-2, or Leasat-2, a Hughes-built satellite leased to the Navy. Leasat-2 was the first large communications satellite designed specifically to be deployed from the Space Shuttle. All three satellites were deployed successfully and became operational.

Another payload was the OAST-l solar array, a device 13 feet wide, and 102 feet high, which folded into a package 7 inches deep. The wing carried a number of different types of experimental solar cells and was extended to its full height several times. It was the largest structure ever extended from a manned spacecraft and demonstrated the feasibility of large lightweight solar arrays for future application to large facilities in space such as the Space Station.

The McDonnell Douglas-sponsored Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) experiment, using living cells, was more elaborate than the one flown previously and payload specialist Walker operated it for more than 100 hours during the flight. A student experiment to study crystal growth in microgravity was carried out, and the IMAX motion picture camera was operated during much of the flight.

The mission lasted 6 days, 56 minutes, with landing on Runway 17 at Edwards AFB, at 6:37 a.m. PDT, on Sept. 5. It traveled 2.21 million miles and made 97 orbits. It was transported back to KSC on Sept. 10.

Related articles

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