Earth Radiation Budget Satellite.jpg
ERBS during deployment
Mission typeSatellite deployment
Radar imaging
COSPAR ID1984-108A
SATCAT no.15353
Mission duration8 days, 5 hours, 23 minutes, 33 seconds
Distance travelled5,293,847 kilometres (3,289,444 mi)
Orbits completed133
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Challenger
Launch mass110,120 kilograms (242,780 lb)
Landing mass91,746 kilograms (202,266 lb)
Payload mass8,573 kilograms (18,901 lb)
Crew size7
EVA duration3 hours, 29 minutes
Start of mission
Launch date5 October 1984, 11:03:00 (1984-10-05UTC11:03Z) UTC
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Landing date13 October 1984, 16:26:33 (1984-10-13UTC16:26:34Z) UTC
Landing siteKennedy SLF Runway 33
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude351 kilometres (218 mi)
Apogee altitude391 kilometres (243 mi)
Inclination57.0 degrees
Period92.0 min
Epoch7 October 1984[1]
STS-41G Patch.svg STS-41-G crew.jpg
Bottom (L to R) Jon A. McBride, Pilot, Sally K. Ride, Kathryn D. Sullivan and David C. Leestma, Mission Specialists. Top (L-R) Paul D. Scully-Power, Payload Specialist; Robert L. Crippen, Commander, and Marc Garneau, Canadian Payload Specialist. The replica of a gold astronaut pin near McBride signifies unity. 

STS-41-G (formerly STS-17) was the 13th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program and the sixth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger. Challenger launched on 5 October 1984, and conducted the second shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center on 13 October. It was the first shuttle mission to carry a crew of seven, including the first crew with two women (Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan), the first American EVA involving a woman (Sullivan), the first Australian-born person to journey into space and the first astronaut with a beard (Paul Scully-Power) and the first Canadian astronaut (Marc Garneau).

STS-41-G was the third shuttle mission to carry an IMAX camera on board to document the flight. Launch and in-orbit footage from the mission (including Sullivan and David Leestma's EVA) appeared in the 1985 IMAX movie The Dream is Alive.


Position Crew Member
Commander United States Robert L. Crippen
Fourth and last spaceflight
Pilot United States Jon A. McBride
Only spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 United States Kathryn D. Sullivan
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 United States Sally K. Ride
Second and last spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 United States David C. Leestma
First spaceflight
Payload Specialist 1 Australia/United States Paul D. Scully-Power
Only spaceflight
Payload Specialist 2 Canada Marc Garneau, CSA
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Crew Member
Payload Specialist 1 United States Robert E. Stevenson
First spaceflight
Payload Specialist 2 Canada Robert Thirsk, CSA
First spaceflight


  • Leestma and Sullivan – EVA 1
  • EVA 1 Start: 11 October 1984
  • EVA 1 End: 11 October 1984
  • Duration: 3 hours, 29 minutes

Crew seat assignments

Seat[2] Launch Landing STS-121 seating assignments.png
Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
S1 Crippen Crippen
S2 McBride McBride
S3 Sullivan Leestma
S4 Ride Ride
S5 Leestma Sullivan
S6 Scully-Power Scully-Power
S7 Garneau Garneau

Mission summary

SIR-B antenna deployment.
Sullivan during the EVA.

On 5 October 1984, Challenger launched from the Kennedy Space Center at 7:03 am EDT, marking the start of the STS-41-G mission. On board were seven crew members – the largest flight crew ever to fly on a single spacecraft at that time. They included commander Robert L. Crippen, making his fourth Shuttle flight and second in six months (Crippen became the first American astronaut to complete two space missions in the same calendar year); pilot Jon A. McBride; three mission specialists – David C. Leestma, Sally K. Ride and Kathryn D. Sullivan – and two payload specialists, Paul Scully-Power and Marc Garneau, the first Canadian citizen to serve as a Shuttle crew member, as well as the first Canadian in space. The mission also marked the first time two female astronauts had flown together.

Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space when she and Leestma performed a 3-hour EVA on 11 October, demonstrating the Orbital Refueling System (ORS) and proving the feasibility of refueling satellites in orbit.

Nine hours after liftoff, the 5,087 pounds (2,307 kg) Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) was deployed from the payload bay by the RMS robot arm, and its on-board thrusters boosted it into orbit 350 miles (560 km) above the Earth. ERBS was the first of three planned satellites designed to measure the amount of energy received from the Sun and reradiated into space. It also studied the seasonal movement of energy from the tropics to the polar regions.

Another major mission activity was the operation of the Shuttle Imaging Radar-B (SIR-B). The SIR-B was part of the OSTA-3 experiment package in the payload bay, which also included the Large Format Camera (LFC) to photograph the Earth, another camera called MAPS which measured air pollution, and a feature identification and location experiment called FILE, which consisted of two TV cameras and two 70 mm still cameras.

Sample image taken using the SIR-B over Canada.

The SIR-B was an improved version of a similar device flown on the OSTA-1 package during STS-2. It had an eight-panel antenna array measuring 35 feet by 7 feet (11 m by 2 m). It operated throughout the flight, but problems were encountered with Challenger's Ku band antenna, and therefore much of the data had to be recorded on board the orbiter rather than transmitted to Earth in real-time as was originally planned.

Payload Specialist Scully-Power, an employee of the U.S. Naval Research Lab, performed a series of oceanography observations during the mission. Garneau conducted a series of experiments sponsored by the Canadian government, called CANEX, which were related to medical, atmospheric, climatic, materials and robotic science. A number of GAS canisters, covering a wide variety of materials testing and physics experiments, were also flown.

A claim was later made that the Soviet Terra-3 laser testing center was used to track Challenger with a low-power laser on 10 October. This supposedly caused the malfunction of on-board equipment and the temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a U.S. diplomatic protest.[3] However, this story has been comprehensively denied by the crew members.[4]

During the 8-day, 5-hour, 23-minute, 33-second mission, Challenger traveled 3,289,444 miles (5,293,847 km) and completed 132 orbits. It landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center – becoming the second shuttle mission to land there – on 13 October 1984, at 12:26 pm EDT.[5]

The STS-41-G mission was later described in detail in the book Oceans to Orbit: The Story of Australia's First Man in Space, Paul Scully-Power by space historian Colin Burgess.

Mission insignia

The thirteen complete stars in the blue field of the U.S. flag of the mission insignia symbolize the flight's numerical designation in the Space Transportation System's mission sequence and being essentially the 13th undertaken flight, by 'obscuring' the remaining stars. (The 17 stars in the black field were indicative of the flight's original designation as STS-17.) Central, as if it is launching, is an astronaut insignia in gold, which was presented to each astronaut since Mercury, after completing their first space flight, as a reference to the mostly rookie crew. Gender symbols are placed next to each astronaut's name (the male symbol was 'buffed up' as to make it feasible to visualize on the patch), and a Canadian flag icon is placed next to Garneau's name.

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.[6]

Flight Day Song Artist/Composer
Day 2 "Flashdance... What a Feeling" Irene Cara
Day 3 "Theme From Rocky" Bill Conti

See also


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

  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "SATCAT". Jonathan's Space Pages. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  2. ^ "STS-41G". Spacefacts. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  3. ^ Lieutenant Colonel Boris Kononenko (June 1996). "Federation of American Scientists – "Silent Space Is Being Monitored"". Retrieved 11 December 2006.
  4. ^ Paolo Baldo (2009). "Intervista esclusiva all'astronauta Jon McBride" (in Italian). Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  5. ^ "41-G (13)". NASA. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  6. ^ Fries, Colin (25 June 2007). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 13 August 2007.


  • Cooper, Henry S. F., Jr., Before Lift-off: The Making of a Space Shuttle Crew, Johns Hopkins University Press 1987 (Cooper's report on the selection, forming and training of the STS-41-G crew)

External links

  • NASA mission summary
  • STS-41-G Video Highlights
  • The Dream is Alive IMAX film with footage from STS-41-G
  • STS-41-G NST Program Mission Report