Earth through the bay door2.jpg
TDRS-D being deployed on Flight Day 1 of the mission.
Mission typeSatellite deployment
COSPAR ID1989-021A
SATCAT no.19882
Mission duration4 days, 23 hours, 38 minutes, 52 seconds
Distance travelled3,200,000 kilometers (2,000,000 mi)
Orbits completed80
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Discovery
Launch mass116,281 kilograms (256,356 lb)
Landing mass88,353 kilograms (194,785 lb)
Payload mass17,280 kilograms (38,100 lb)
Crew size5
Start of mission
Launch date13 March 1989, 14:57:00 (1989-03-13UTC14:57Z) UTC
Launch siteKennedy LC-39B
End of mission
Landing date18 March 1989, 14:35:51 (1989-03-18UTC14:35:52Z) UTC
Landing siteEdwards Runway 22
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude297 kilometres (185 mi)
Apogee altitude308 kilometres (191 mi)
Inclination28.5 degrees
Period90.6 min
Sts-29-patch.png STS-29 crew.jpg
Back row, L-R: Bagian, Springer, Buchli. Front row, L-R: Blaha and Coats.
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STS-29 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission, during which Space Shuttle Discovery inserted a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) into Earth orbit. It was the third shuttle mission following the Challenger disaster of 1986, and launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 13 March 1989. STS-29 was the eighth flight of Discovery and the 28th Space Shuttle mission overall; its planned predecessor, STS-28, was delayed until August 1989.


Position Astronaut
Commander Michael L. Coats
Second spaceflight
Pilot John E. Blaha
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Robert C. Springer
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 James F. Buchli
Third spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 James P. Bagian
First spaceflight

Crew seating arrangements

Seat[1] Launch Landing STS-121 seating assignments.png
Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
S1 Coats Coats
S2 Blaha Blaha
S3 Springer Bagian
S4 Buchli Buchli
S5 Bagian Springer

Mission summary

Discovery lifted off from Pad B, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, at 9:57 am EST on 13 March 1989. The launch was originally scheduled for 18 February, but was postponed to allow for the replacement of faulty liquid oxygen turbopumps on the three main engines. The amended target date of 11 March also proved unviable because of the failure of a master event controller when it was powered up during prelaunch checkout; the controller was quickly replaced. On the rescheduled launch day of 13 March, the launch was delayed for nearly two hours because of ground fog and high upper winds. A waiver was approved for the orbiter's wing loads.

The primary payload was the third and final component of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation in geosynchronous orbit. The three on-orbit satellites were stationed over the equator at about 22,300 miles above Earth; two of them were positioned 130 degrees apart, while the third was located between them as an on-orbit spare.

On Flight Day 1, one of three cryogenic hydrogen tanks which supplied shuttle's electricity-generating fuel cells exhibited erratic pressure fluctuations. It was deactivated while engineers studied the problem, and the crew was told to conserve electrical power. The tank was reactivated on Flight Day 3, 15 March, and operated successfully thereafter.

Discovery landed on 18 March 1989, after orbit 80, one orbit earlier than planned, in order to avoid possible excessive wind buildup expected at the landing site. The shuttle touched down on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 9:35 am EST. The total mission duration was 4 days, 23 hours, and 39 minutes.

Payload and experiments

The mission's primary payload was a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-D), which became TDRS-4 after deployment, and its attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). The satellite was deployed from the shuttle's payload bay less than six hours after launch, at 3:12 a.m. EST. The first-stage orbit burn of the IUS took place an hour later, and the second burn to circularize the orbit occurred 12 hours and 30 minutes into the mission. The satellite was stationed at 41.0° West longitude.

TDRS-4 after deployment.

Discovery also carried eight secondary payloads, including two Shuttle Student Involvement Program experiments. One student experiment, using four live rats with tiny pieces of bone removed from their bodies, was to test whether the environmental effects of space flight inhibit bone healing. The other student experiment was to fly 32 chicken eggs to determine the effects of space flight on fertilized chicken embryos.

One experiment, mounted in the payload bay, was only termed "partially successful". The Space Station Heat Pipe Advanced Radiator Element, a potential cooling system for the planned Space Station Freedom, operated continuously for less than 30 minutes under powered electrical loads. The failure was blamed on the faulty design of the equipment, especially the manifold section.

All other experiments operated successfully. Crystals were obtained from all the proteins in the Protein Crystal Growth experiment. The Chromosomes and Plant Cell Division in Space (CHROMEX), a life sciences experiment, was designed to show the effects of microgravity on root development. An IMAX (70 mm) camera was used to film a variety of scenes for the 1990 IMAX film Blue Planet, including the effects of floods, hurricanes, wildfires and volcanic eruptions on Earth. A ground-based US Air Force experiment used the orbiter as a calibration target for the Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) in Hawaii.

Wake-up calls

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.[2]

Flight Day Song Artist/Composer
Day 2 "I Got You (I Feel Good)" James Brown
Day 3 "Marine Corps Hymn"
Day 4 "Theme from Star Trek: TOS" Alexander Courage
Day 5 "Heigh-Ho" Song from the Walt Disney animated film Snow White
Day 6 "What a Wonderful World" Louis Armstrong


See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ "STS-29". Spacefacts. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  2. ^ Fries, Colin (25 June 2007). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 13 August 2007.

External links

  • NASA mission summary
  • STS-29 Video Highlights