Encyclopedia Astronautica
LDEF



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STS-41-C
Florida Peninsula, LDEF Deploy-RMS
Credit: NASA
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STS-32
LDEF Retrieval over the Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa
Credit: NASA
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STS-32
LDEF positioned by RMS over OV-102's payload during STS-32 retrieval
Credit: NASA
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STS-32
LDEF grappled by remote manipulator system (RMS) during STS-32 retrieval
Credit: NASA
American earth micrometeoroid satellite. One launch, 1984.04.06.

NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) was designed to provide long-term data on the space environment, including micrometeoroids, and its effects on materials degradation and satellite systems (including power, propulsion, and optics).

The mission's 57 experiments included participation of more than 200 principal investigators from 33 private companies, 21 universities, seven NASA centers, nine Department of Defense laboratories and eight foreign countries. LDEF was released from STS 41-C in April 1984 for a planned one year mission before retrieval by another Shuttle mission. Its planned retrieval was temporarily postponed in March 1985, and then indefinitely postponed by the loss of the Challenger in 1986. It was finally retrieved by STS-32 in January 1990 and returned to Earth. At the time of its retrieval LDEF was about one month away from re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. Many of the experiments were enhanced by the extended stay in space. After landing, the experiments were returned to the investigators' institutions for analysis. The spacecraft was a twelve-sided aluminum, steel, and titanium cylinder, gravity gradient stabilized. A viscous magnetic damper damped out initial oscillations. No telemetry, power, attitude sensors, or propulsion systems were carried. The payload included 57 materials, electronics, and micrometeoroid experiments mounted in 86 trays on the outside of the vehicle.

AKA: Long Duration Exposure Facility.
Gross mass: 3,625 kg (7,991 lb).
Height: 9.10 m (29.80 ft).
First Launch: 1984.04.06.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Shuttle American winged orbital launch vehicle. The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. Redesign of the shuttle with reliability in mind after the Challenger disaster reduced maximum payload to low earth orbit from 27,850 kg to 24,400 kg. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NASA Langley American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Langley, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39A Shuttle, Saturn V launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. Construction began in December 1963. Complex 39A was completed on 4 October 1965. Complex 39A supported two unmanned and nine manned Saturn V/Apollo missions between 9 November 1967 and 8 December 1972. The site also supported the launch of the Skylab space station on 14 May 1973. Both complexes were modified to support Space Shuttle missions later on. Complex 39A supported the first Space Shuttle launch on 12 April 1981. More...

LDEF Chronology


1984 April 6 - . 13:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle 41-C.
  • LDEF - . Payload: Challenger F5 / LDEF 1. Mass: 3,625 kg (7,991 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Class: Earth. Type: Micrometeoroid satellite. Spacecraft: LDEF. Decay Date: 1990-01-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 14898 . COSPAR: 1984-034B. Apogee: 348 km (216 mi). Perigee: 344 km (213 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 91.50 min. Summary: Long Duration Exposure Facility; deployed from STS 41C 7 April 1984; retrieved by STS-32 20 January 1990. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1990 January - .
  • LDEF returned to earth - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: LDEF. NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) was designed to provide long-term data on the space environment. LDEF was released from STS 41-C in April 1984 for a planned one year mission before retrieval by another Shuttle mission. Its planned retrieval was postponed by the loss of the Challenger in 1986. It was finally retrieved by STS-32 in January 1990 and returned to Earth. At the time of its retrieval LDEF was about one month away from re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. Many of the experiments were enhanced by the extended stay in space.

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