STS-053 shuttle.jpg
Launch of Discovery; in-flight photography of this Department of Defense support mission is limited
Mission typeSatellite deployment
COSPAR ID1992-086A
SATCAT no.22259
Mission duration7 days, 07 hours, 19 minutes, 17 seconds
Distance travelled4,800,000 kilometres (3,000,000 mi) approx.
Orbits completed116
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Discovery
Landing mass87,565 kilograms (193,048 lb)
Payload mass11,860 kilograms (26,150 lb)
Crew size5
Start of mission
Launch date2 December 1992, 13:24:00 (1992-12-02UTC13:24Z) UTC
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Landing date9 December 1992, 20:43:17 (1992-12-09UTC20:43:18Z) UTC
Landing siteEdwards Runway 22
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude365 kilometres (227 mi)
Apogee altitude376 kilometres (234 mi)
Inclination57.0 degrees
Period92.0 min
STS-53 patch.svg Sts-53 crew.jpg
Left to right - Front: Bluford, Voss; Back: Walker, Cabana, Clifford
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STS-53 was a Space Shuttle Discovery mission in support of the United States Department of Defense. The mission was launched on 2 December 1992 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.


Position Astronaut
Commander David M. Walker
Third spaceflight
Pilot Robert D. Cabana
Second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Guion S. Bluford
Fourth and last spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 Michael R. Clifford
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 James S. Voss
Second spaceflight

Mission highlights

Discovery carried a classified primary payload for the United States Department of Defense, two unclassified secondary payloads and nine unclassified middeck experiments.

Discovery's primary payload, USA-89 NSSDC ID 1992-086B is also known as "DoD-1", and was the shuttle's last major payload for the Department of Defense. The satellite was the third launch of a Satellite Data System-2 military communications satellite, after USA-40 on STS-28 and STS-38's deployment of USA-67.

Secondary payloads contained in or attached to Get Away Special (GAS) hardware in the cargo bay included the Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) and the combined Shuttle Glow Experiment/Cryogenic Heat Pipe Experiment (GCP).

Middeck experiments included Microcapsules in Space (MIS-l); Space Tissue Loss (STL); Visual Function Tester (VFT-2); Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM); Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME-III); Fluid Acquisition and Resupply Experiment (FARE); Hand-held, Earth-oriented, Real-time, Cooperative, User-friendly, Location-targeting and Environmental System (HERCULES); Battlefield Laser Acquisition Sensor Test (BLAST); and the Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS).

Mission insignia

The five sides represent the Pentagon, the Department of Defense headquarters. The five stars and three stripes of the insignia symbolize the flight's numerical designation in the Space Transportation System's mission sequence.

See also

External links

  • NASA mission summary
  • STS-53 Video Highlights

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