Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-26



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STS-26
STS-26 Discovery, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 103, IUS / TDRS-C deployment
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 Discovery, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 103, IUS / TDRS-C deployment
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 Discovery, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 103, IUS / TDRS-C deployment
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 Discovery, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 103, IUS / TDRS-C deployment
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 Discovery, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 103, IUS / TDRS-C deployment
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 crewmembers eat on middeck as TAGS printout drifts among them
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 launch and entry suits (LESs) free float on OV-103's middeck
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 crewmembers in Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses pose for group portrait
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 MS Nelson adjusts ADSF power cable on Discovery's middeck
Credit: NASA
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STS-26
STS-26 Commander Hauck with launch and entry suits (LESs) on OV-103's middeck
Credit: NASA
Crew: Covey, Hauck, Hilmers, Lounge, Nelson. Manned five crew. First shuttle reflight after Challenger disaster. Deployed TDRS 3.

Manned five crew. First shuttle reflight after Challenger disaster. Deployed TDRS 3. Payloads: Deploy IUS (lnertial Upper Stage) with Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-C. 3M's Physical Vapor Transport Organics Solids 2 experiment (PVTOS), Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (ADSF), Infrared Communi-cations Flight Experiment (lRCFE), Protein Crystal Growth Il (PCG), Isoelectric Focusing (ISF)-2, Phase Partitioning Experiment (PPE), Aggrega-tion of Red Blood Cells (ARC)-2, Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE)-1, Earth Limb Radiance (ELRAD), Orbiter Experiments (OEX), Autonomous Supporting Instrumentation System (OASlS)-I, two Shuttle Student Involvement Project (SSIP) experiments.

The crew was announced by George Abbey to the astronauts on 9 January 1987. Nelson's selection as commander angered the other astronauts. He had made the last flight before the shuttle, and instead of working on returning the shuttle to flight during the long stand-down, had taken a sabbatical and taken management courses at the University of Washington. It was seen as another example of Abbey governing through intentional chaos, using (in the words of the NASA psychiatrist) "inconsistency, ambiguity, silence, evasion" as part of "studied unpredictability".

Return-to-flight mission after the Challenger disaster. Although receiving great press attention, the mission itself was pretty limited, involving only release of a TDRS satellite - leading other astronauts to dub it 'The Quiche Mission'. The other astronauts came to resent the publicity being given to the "brave crew" of Hauck's STS-26 mission, who they felt they had broken the second astronaut commandment, "Thou shalt not bask in glory".

NASA was upset when the press ignored the 'glorious' footage of the TDRS deployment on STS-26 and instead insisted on running the in-cabin 'horsing around' stuff, which they felt made the space program look like a multi-billion dollar junket for spoiled astronauts. They would sharply restrict release of such footage in the future.

Orbits of Earth: 63. Distance traveled: 2,703,697 km. Orbiter Liftoff Mass: 115,487 kg. Orbiter Mass at Landing: 88,078 kg. Payload to Orbit: 21,082 kg. Payload Returned: 4,066 kg. Landed at: Runway 17 dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, . Landing Speed: 346 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 761 m. Landing Rollout: 2,271 m.

NASA Official Mission Narrative

Mission Name: STS-26 (26)
DISCOVERY (7)
Pad 39-B (7)
26th Shuttle mission
7th Flight OV-103

Crew:
Frederick H. Hauck (3), Commander
Richard O. Covey (2), Pilot
John M. Lounge (2), Mission Specialist 1
George D. Nelson (3), Mission Specialist 2
David C. Hilmers (2), Mission Specialist 3

Milestones:
OPF - Oct. 30, 1986
VAB - June 21, 1988
PAD - July 4, 1988

Payload:
TDRS-C,PVTOS,PCG,IRCFE,ARC,IFE,MLE,PPE,ELRAD,ASDF,SSIP(x2),OASIS-I
Mission Objectives:

Launch:
September 29, 1988,11:37:00 a.m. EDT. Launch delayed one hour, 38 minutes to replace fuses in cooling system of two of crew's flight pressure suits, and due to lighter than expected upper atmospheric winds. Suit repairs successful and countdown continued after waiver of wind condition constraint. Launch Weight: 254,606 lbs.
Orbit:
Altitude: 203nm
Inclination: 28.5degrees
Orbits: 64
Duration: Four days, one hour, zero minutes, 11 seconds.
Distance: 1,680,000 miles

Hardware:
SRB: BI-029
SRM: 360L001
ET : 28/LWT-21
MLP : 2
SSME-1: SN-2019
SSME-2: SN-2022
SSME-3: SN-2028

Landing:
October 3, 1988, 9:37:11 a.m. PDT, Runway 17, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Rollout distance: 7,451 feet. Rollout time: 49 seconds. Orbiter returned to KSC Oct. 8,1988. Landing Weight: 194,184 lbs.

Mission Highlights:
Primary payload, NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-3 (TDRS-3) attached to an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), became second TDRS deployed. After deployment, IUS propelled satellite to geosynchronous orbit. Secondary payloads: Physical Vapor Transport of Organic Solids (PVTOS); Protein Crystal Growth (PCG); Infrared Communications Flight Experiment (IRCFE); Aggregation of Red Blood Cells (ARC); Isoelectric Focusing Experiment (IFE); Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE); Phase Partitioning Experiment (PPE); Earth-Limb Radiance Experiment (ELRAD); Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (ADSF) and two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments. Orbiter Experiments Autonomous Supporting Instrumentation System-I (OASIS-I) recorded variety of environmental measurements during various inflight phases of orbiter. Ku-band antenna in payload bay deployed; however, dish antenna command and actual telemetry did not correspond. Also, orbiter cabin Flash Evaporator System iced up, raising crew cabin temperature to mid-80s.

AKA: Discovery.
First Launch: 1988.09.29.
Last Launch: 1988.10.03.
Duration: 4.04 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Hauck Hauck, Frederick Hamilton 'Rick' (1941-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-7, STS-51-A, STS-26. Flew 114 combat missions in Vietnam. More...
  • Lounge Lounge, John Michael 'Mike' (1946-) American geophysicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-I, STS-26, STS-35. Grew up in Burlington, Colorado. Flew 99 combat missions in Vietnam. More...
  • Covey Covey, Richard Oswalt 'Dick' (1946-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-51-I, STS-26, STS-38, STS-61. Grew up in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, son of an Air Force officer. Flew 339 combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia More...
  • Hilmers Hilmers, David Carl 'Dave' (1950-) American USMC engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-J, STS-26, STS-36, STS-42. Known as a religiously conservative astronaut; summed up many astronaut's fears of the shuttle, saying before a flight "I have no plans past MECO". More...
  • Nelson Nelson, Dr George Driver 'Pinky' (1950-) American astronomer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-41-C, STS-61-C, STS-26. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Discovery American manned spaceplane. 39 launches, 1984.08.30 to 2011.02.24. More...

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

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Bibliography
  • Mullane, Mike, Riding Rockets, Scribner, New York, 2006.

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...

STS-26 Chronology


1988 September 29 - . 15:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-26R.
  • STS-26 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Covey; Hauck; Hilmers; Lounge; Nelson. Payload: Discovery F07 / PDP. Mass: 21,082 kg (46,477 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Covey; Hauck; Hilmers; Lounge; Nelson. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-26. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 4.04 days. Decay Date: 1988-10-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 19547 . COSPAR: 1988-091A. Apogee: 306 km (190 mi). Perigee: 301 km (187 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Manned five crew. First shuttle reflight after Challenger disaster. Deployed TDRS 3. Payloads: Deploy IUS (lnertial Upper Stage) with Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-C. 3M's Physical Vapor Transport Organics Solids 2 experiment (PVTOS), Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (ADSF), Infrared Communi-cations Flight Experiment (lRCFE), Protein Crystal Growth Il (PCG), Isoelectric Focusing (ISF)-2, Phase Partitioning Experiment (PPE), Aggrega-tion of Red Blood Cells (ARC)-2, Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE)-1, Earth Limb Radiance (ELRAD), Orbiter Experiments (OEX), Autonomous Supporting Instrumentation System (OASlS)-I, two Shuttle Student Involvement Project (SSIP) experiments.

1988 October 3 - .
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