Challenger as photographed by the SPAS-1 satellite on June 22, 1983
|Mission type||Satellite deployment|
|Mission duration||6 days, 2 hours, 23 minutes, 59 seconds|
|Distance travelled||4,072,553 kilometres (2,530,567 mi)|
|Spacecraft||Space Shuttle Challenger|
|Launch mass||113,025 kilograms (249,177 lb)|
|Landing mass||92,550 kilograms (204,040 lb)|
|Payload mass||16,839 kilograms (37,124 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||June 18, 1983, 11:33:00UTC|
|Launch site||Kennedy LC-39A|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||June 24, 1983, 13:56:59UTC|
|Landing site||Edwards Runway 15|
|Perigee altitude||299 kilometres (186 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||307 kilometres (191 mi)|
L-R: Ride, Fabian, Crippen, Thagard, Hauck
STS-7 was NASA's seventh Space Shuttle mission, and the second mission for the Space Shuttle Challenger. During the mission, Challenger deployed several satellites into orbit. The shuttle launched from Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on June 24. STS-7 was notable for carrying Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut.
|Commander||Robert L. Crippen|
|Pilot||Frederick H. Hauck|
|Mission Specialist 1||John M. Fabian|
|Mission Specialist 2||Sally K. Ride|
|Mission Specialist 3||Norman E. Thagard|
Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
STS-7 began on June 18, 1983, with an on-time liftoff at 7:33 am EDT. It was the first spaceflight of an American woman (Sally K. Ride), the largest crew to fly in a single spacecraft up to that time (five people), and the first flight that included members of NASA's Group 8 astronaut class, which had been selected in 1978 to fly the Space Shuttle. President Ronald Reagan also sent his personal favourite Jelly Belly jelly beans with the astronauts, making them the first jelly beans in space.
The crew of STS-7 included Robert L. Crippen, commander, making his second Shuttle flight; Frederick H. Hauck, pilot; and Ride, John M. Fabian and Norman Thagard, all mission specialists. Thagard conducted medical tests concerning Space Adaptation Syndrome, a bout of nausea frequently experienced by astronauts during the early phase of a space flight.
Two communications satellites – Anik C2 for Telesat of Canada, and Palapa B1 for Indonesia – were successfully deployed during the first two days of the mission. The mission also carried the first Shuttle Pallet Satellite, SPAS-1, which was built by the West German aerospace firm Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm. SPAS-1 was unique in that it was designed to operate in the payload bay or be deployed by the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) as a free-flying satellite. It carried 10 experiments to study formation of metal alloys in microgravity, the operation of heat pipes, instruments for remote sensing observations, and a mass spectrometer to identify various gases in the payload bay. It was deployed by the RMS and flew alongside and over Challenger for several hours, performing various maneuvers, while a U.S.-supplied camera mounted on SPAS-1 took pictures of the orbiter. The RMS later grappled the pallet and returned it to the payload bay.
STS-7 also carried seven GAS canisters, which contained a wide variety of experiments, as well as the OSTA-2 payload, a joint U.S.-West German scientific pallet payload. Finally, the orbiter's Ku-band antenna was able to relay data through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite to a ground terminal for the first time.
STS-7 was scheduled to make the first Shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center's then-new Shuttle Landing Facility. However, unacceptable weather forced a change to Runway 15 at Edwards AFB. The landing took place on June 24, 1983, at 6:57 am PDT. The mission lasted 6 days, 2 hours, 23 minutes, and 59 seconds, and covered about 2.2 million miles during 97 orbits of the Earth. Challenger was returned to KSC on June 29.
STS-7 experienced the first known External Tank bipod ramp foam shedding event during launch. This was the root cause of the eventual loss of Columbia during STS-107 almost two decades later.
The seven white stars in the black field of the mission patch, as well as the arm extending from the shuttle in the shape of a 7, indicate the flight's numerical designation in the Space Transportation System's mission sequence. The five-armed symbol on the right side illustrates the four male/one female crew.
The second launch of Challenger
Deployment of Palapa B1
Deployment of Anik C2
Window pit caused by impact of space debris
SPAS-1 grappled by the RMS
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.
|Flight Day||Song||Artist/Composer||Played for|
|Day 2||"University of Texas Fight Song"||University of Texas band||Bob Crippen|
|Day 3||"Tufts Tonia's Day"||The Tufts University Beelzebubs||Rick Hauck|
|Day 4||"When You're Smiling"|
|Day 5||"Washington State University Cougar Fight Song"||Washington State University Band||John Fabian|
|Day 6||"Stanford Hymn"||Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band||Sally Ride|
|Day 7||"Florida State University Fight Song"||Florida State University Marching Chiefs.||Norm Thagard|
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.