Encyclopedia Astronautica
North American


American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. North American, Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA, USA

North American's Downey facility was originally used for construction of the Apollo spacecraft. It then became the facility for Space Shuttle construction.

AKA: Rockwell; Boeing North American; Boeing Palmdale; Boeing Reusable Space Systems; Rockwell International Corp.
Location: Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Paup Paup, John W (1923-1968) American North American engineer who managed their winning Apollo proposal and was the company's Apollo program manager 1961-1964. Replaced under NASA pressure, he died in 1968 before his spacecraft made it to the moon. More...
  • Freedman Freedman, Toby (1924-) American physician. Human factors physiologist at North American, proved feasibilty of Apollo three-crew cabin. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Project 7969 American manned spacecraft. Study 1959. North American was the final selected vendor for Manned-In-Space-Soonest. The 1360-kg ballistic capsule would be launched by an Atlas booster to an 185-km altitude orbit. More...
  • FJ-4F American manned rocketplane. Study 1958. The FJ-4F was a US Navy Fury fighter fitted with a Rocketdyne AR1 engine for quick intercept of Soviet bombers. Two prototypes were tested which reached Mach 1.41 at 22 km altitude. More...
  • X-15B American manned spacecraft. Study 1958. North American's proposal for the Air Force initial manned space project was to extend the X-15 program. The X-15B was a 'stripped' X-15A with an empty mass of 4500 kg. More...
  • X-15A American manned spaceplane. 174 launches, 1959.06.08 (X-15 Flight 1) to 1968.10.24 (X-15 Flight 199). The X-15 was the first USAF and NASA project for manned spaceflight, initiated years before Mercury. More...
  • Apollo CSM American manned lunar orbiter. 22 launches, 1964.05.28 (Saturn 6) to 1975.07.15 (Apollo (ASTP)). The Apollo Command Service Module was the spacecraft developed by NASA in the 1960's as a standard spacecraft for earth and lunar orbit missions. More...
  • X-15A-3 American manned spaceplane. Cancelled 1962. It had been proposed that X-15 number 3 would be reworked to install a delta wing and designed to reach Mach 8. More...
  • Apollo CSM Boilerplate American manned spacecraft. Boilerplate structural Apollo CSM's were used for various systems and booster tests, especially proving of the LES (launch escape system). More...
  • Apollo CSM Block I American manned spacecraft. The Apollo Command Service Module was the spacecraft developed by NASA in the 1960's as a standard spacecraft for earth and lunar orbit missions. More...
  • NAA RTTOCV American manned spaceplane. Study 1963. North American Aviation's Reusable Ten Ton Orbital Carrier Vehicle design of 1963 had as a standard payload a lenticular 12-man orbital transfer vehicle spaceplane for space station logistics and crew transfer. More...
  • X-15A-2 American manned spaceplane. Study 1965. The crash-damaged X-15 number 2 was rebuilt to attain even higher speeds. The body frame was stretched, and two drop tanks were added, increasing propellant load by 75%. More...
  • Apollo SMLL American lunar logistics spacecraft. Study 1966. North American Aviation (NAA) proposed use of the SM as a lunar logistics vehicle (LLV) in 1966. The configuration, simply stated, put a landing gear on the SM. More...
  • MOCOM American manned lunar rover. Study 1966. Third generation versions of the CM were studied by North American in 1966 to further modify a CM shelter to provide mobility. Essentially the CM was mounted on a four-wheel chassis. More...
  • SAVER American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1966. The Rockwell SAVER concept provided return of a single crew member in his ejection seat. A nosecap only the size of the seat absorbed most of the re-entry heat. More...
  • Apollo RM American logistics spacecraft. Study 1967. In 1967 it was planned that Saturn IB-launched Orbital Workshops would be supplied by Apollo CSM spacecraft and Resupply Modules (RM) with up to three metric tons of supplies and instruments. More...
  • MEM American manned Mars lander. Study 1967. The Mars Excursion Module was designed by North American for the Marshall Spaceflight Center in an October 1966-August 1967 study. More...
  • Rib Stiffened Expandable Escape System American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1968. This Rockwell concept was stowed in a canister. In an emergency, the articulated rib-truss structure would be deployed into a mechanically rigid aeroshell shape. More...
  • LFV North American American manned lunar flyer. Cancelled 1969. The North American design for a Lunar Flying Vehicle would have taken one astronaut and up to 167 kg of cargo to a distance of 3. 2 to 8.5 km from a lunar landing site in minutes, at a maximum speed of 85 m/s. More...
  • Apollo Rescue CSM American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1970. Influenced by the stranded Skylab crew portrayed in the book and movie 'Marooned', NASA provided a crew rescue capability for the first time in its history. More...
  • Space Base American manned space station. Study 1970. Growth of Space Station into a 50 man Space Base was a required capability in the Phase B NASA Space Station studies of 1969-1970. More...
  • LSV American manned lunar rover. Study 1971. The Lunar Sortie Vehicle (LSV), was a North American Rockwell design of 1971, conceived as a railroad train without the rails. More...
  • Mini-shuttle American manned rocketplane. Study 1972. In August 1972 it was proposed to test a subscale version of the shuttle to test the aerodynamics. The 13,750 kg vehicle would be 11 m long and have a wingspan of 7 m. More...
  • Modularised Space Station American manned space station. Study 1972. Space station design of 1972 using modules sized for transport in the Space Shuttle payload bay. could be carried inside the Shuttle orbiter payload bay. More...
  • Enterprise American manned spaceplane. Study 1974. Enterprise was the first Space Shuttle Orbiter. It was rolled out on September 17, 1976. More...
  • Apollo ASTP Docking Module American manned space station module. One launch, 1975.07.15, Docking Module 2. The ASTP docking module was basically an airlock with docking facilities on each end to allow crew transfer between the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft. More...
  • Apollo CM Escape Concept American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1976. Escape capsule using Apollo command module studied by Rockwell for NASA for use with the shuttle in the 1970's-80's. Mass per crew: 750 kg. More...
  • Rockwell SHS American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1976. The Rockwell Spherical Heat Shield escape concept used a return capsule shell like a Vostok capsule cut in half. Two crew could be returned in a pressurized environment. Mass per crew 220 kg. More...
  • GPS Block 1 American navigation satellite. 11 launches, 1978.02.22 (Navstar 1) to 1985.10.09 (USA 10). GPS Block 1 prototype satellites formed the GPS Demonstration system and were followed by the Block 2 operational system. More...
  • Columbia American manned spaceplane. 28 launches, 1981.04.12 (STS-1) to 2003.01.16 (STS-107). Columbia, the first orbiter in the Shuttle fleet, was named after the sloop that accomplished the first American circumnavigation of the globe. More...
  • Space Station Designs - 1982 American manned space station. Study 1982. NASA regarded a permanently manned space station as the next 'logical step' in manned spaceflight after the Space Shuttle entered service in April 1981. More...
  • Challenger American manned spaceplane. 10 launches, 1983.04.04 (STS-6) to 1986.01.28 (STS-51-L). More...
  • Discovery American manned spaceplane. 39 launches, 1984.08.30 to 2011.02.24. More...
  • Atlantis American manned spaceplane. 33 launches, 1985.10.03 to 2011.07.08. The space shuttle Atlantis was the fourth orbiter to become operational at Kennedy Space Center, and the last of the original production run. More...
  • GPS Block 2 and 2A American navigation satellite. 28 launches, 1989.02.14 (USA 35) to 1997.11.06 (USA 134). The Navstar GPS constellation worked in concert with ground receivers to give precise location information to military and civilian users anywhere in the world. More...
  • Endeavour American manned spaceplane. 25 launches, 1992.05.07 to 2011.05.16. Built as a replacement after the loss of the Challenger; named after the first ship commanded by James Cook. More...
  • Alpha Lifeboat Russian manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1995. 1995 joint Energia-Rockwell-Khrunichev design for space station Alpha lifeboat based on the Zarya reentry vehicle with a solid retrofire motor, cold gas thruster package. Five years on-orbit storage. More...
  • ARGOS American ion engine technology satellite. One launch, 1999.02.23. ARGOS was the USAF Space Test Program P91-1 technology satellite by Boeing/Seal Beach. More...

Associated Engines
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • NAA HATV North American's HATV proposal was an ogival single-stage-to-orbit vehicle, with tanks made from 18-8 stainless steel. In common with other HATV designs, the tanks had to be pressurized to maintain rigidity. More...
  • Navaho SSM-A-2 American intermediate range cruise missile. The first version of the Navaho developed in 1946-1950 was a Mach-3 ramjet vehicle with an integral rocket booster. Completion of the vehicle was cancelled in 1950 but the engine was used to power the Redstone ballistic missile. More...
  • Nativ As part of its effort to develop what started out as an American version of the A9 boost-glide rocket, North American Aviation built seven Nativ subscale technology demonstrators. More...
  • Navaho The Navaho intercontinental cruise missile project was begun just after World War II, at a time when the US Army Air Force considered ballistic missiles to be technically impractical. The Navaho required a large liquid propellant rocket engine to get its Mach 3 ramjet up to ignition speed. This engine, derived with German assistance from that of the V-2, provided the basis for the rockets that would later take Americans into space.

    It turned out that mastering the guidance and materials technology needed for a Mach 3 cruise air vehicle was actually more difficult than for a Mach 22 ballistic missile. In the end, the Redstone, Thor, Jupiter, and Atlas rockets were flying before their equivalent-range Navaho counterparts. However the Navaho program provided the engine technology that allowed the US to develop these ballistic missiles rapidly and catch up with the Russians. Navaho also developed chem-milling fuel tank fabrication techniques, inertial and stellar navigation, and a host of other technologies used in later space vehicles. It put North American Aviation, and its Rocketdyne Division, in a leading position that allowed them to capture the prime contracts for the X-15, Apollo, and Space Shuttle projects, thereby dominating American manned spaceflight for the next seventy years. More...

  • Taurus SSM-N-4 Interim long-range cruise missile considered by the US Navy in 1946-1948, an unmanned version of the AJ-1 Savage carrier-based bomber. More...
  • Navaho G-38 American intercontinental cruise missile. The intercontinental-range Navaho G-38 was the ultimate development of the German A-9/A-10 concept. At the time the Navaho program was cancelled on 13 July 1957 missiles were in fabrication with first flight test planned by the end of 1958. More...
  • Navaho X-10 American intermediate range cruise missile. Reusable, conventional airfield takeoff-and-landing aerodynamic test vehicle for Navaho missile. More...
  • Navaho G-26 American intermediate range cruise missile. The Navaho G-26 was a 2/3 scale test version of the operational Navaho G-38. The Navaho program was cancelled on 13 July 1957, but already-built G-26 test missiles were flown to the end of 1958. More...
  • Hound Dog First American air-launched cruise missile to become operational. Based on Navaho technology. More...
  • X-15A American air-launched rocketplane. Manned hypersonic research rocket aircraft. More...
  • Little Joe Little Joe was used to test the Mercury capsule launch escape system. The booster was designed by NASA Langley using existing components. Six to eight solid rocket motors were mounted in an aerodynamic finned fairing built by North American. More...
  • Navaho/X-15 North American proposed several methods of taking the X-15 spaceplane to higher velocities and altitudes. One of these involved the use of one to three Navaho booster rockets, which could even place the X-15 into orbit. This incremental approach to manned spaceflight was not pursued - the Mercury and X-20 Dynasoar programs were favored instead. More...
  • RBSS American winged orbital launch vehicle. The Recoverable Booster Space System was a plan circulated in the early 1960's to use the XB-70 as a recoverable supersonic first stage for a range of systems. The XB-70 would be capable of orbiting a 6800 kg payload, or an X-20 manned space glider. More...
  • X-15/Blue Scout American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. In March 1962, NASA proposed an orbital launch vehicle using the B-52/X-15 combination. A Blue Scout booster would be fitted to an extendable launch rail on the belly of the X-15. The X-15 would be air-launched from the B-52, and then itself air-launch the Blue Scout well above the earth's atmosphere. More...
  • Apollo LES American test vehicle. Flight tests from a surface pad of the Apollo Launch Escape System using a boilerplate capsule. More...
  • North American Air Augmented VTOVL North American Aviation's air-augmented vertical takeoff & landing single-stage-to-orbit RLV from 1963 would have used external burning ramjets which, according to preliminary studies would reduce the gross liftoff mass of a VTVL SSTO by up to 30%. More...
  • NAA RTTOCV NASA awarded a "Reusable Ten Ton Orbital Carrier Vehicle" contract worth $342,000 to North American Aviation. The final concept from 1963 was quite similar to Lockheed's System III design. The launch capability was 11,340 kg (25,000 lb) and the standard payload would have consisted of a small lenticular 12-man orbital transfer vehicle spaceplane for space station logistics and crew transfer. More...
  • X-15A-2 American air-launched rocketplane. Manned hypersonic research rocket aircraft. Stretched rebuild of crashed X-15A, with drop tanks. Reached Mach 6.7 and 108 km altitude. More...
  • Shuttle NAR A North American's Phase A shuttle design was completed under contract NAS9-9205 in December 1969. North American had learned that the way to win a NASA design competition was to adhere to the design favoured by Max Faget, so they proposed a two-stage-to-orbit vehicle, with both booster and orbiter being of Faget's straight-wing, low cross-range configuration. More...
  • Shuttle R134C American winged orbital launch vehicle. Rockwell/General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase B, November 1970. Delta wing high-cross range orbiter and booster. More...
  • Shuttle R134G American winged orbital launch vehicle. Rockwell/General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase B, November 1970. Straight wing low-cross range orbiter. More...
  • Star-raker American winged orbital launch vehicle. Rockwell International's Star-raker was an enormous 1979 heavy-lift ramjet/rocket horizontal takeoff/horizontal landing single-stage-to-orbit concept capable of atmospheric cruise and powered landing for maximum operational flexibility. More...

Associated Programs
  • ISS Finally completed in 2010 after a torturous 25-year development and production process, the International Space Station was originally conceived as the staging post for manned exploration of the solar systrem. Instead, it was seemed to be the death knell of manned spaceflight. More...
  • 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...

Associated Stages

North American Chronology


1997 February 11 - . 08:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-82.
  • STS-82 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Bowersox; Horowitz; Lee; Tanner; Hawley; Harbaugh; Smith, Steven. Payload: Discovery F22 / SAC. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bowersox; Horowitz; Lee; Tanner; Hawley; Harbaugh; Smith, Steven. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-82. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 9.98 days. Decay Date: 1997-02-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 24719 . COSPAR: 1997-004A. Apogee: 618 km (384 mi). Perigee: 584 km (362 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 96.70 min. After a spectacular night launch, the Shuttle completed its rendezvous with Hubble Space Telescope on February 13. Over the next four days five spacewalks were undertaken to renovate Hubble.

    The Hubble Space Telescope was released back into orbit at 06:41 GMT on February 19. Discovery landed on Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center at 08:32 GMT on February 21.


1997 August 7 - . 14:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-85.
  • STS-85 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Brown; Rominger; Davis; Curbeam; Robinson; Tryggvason. Payload: Discovery F23 / CRISTA-SPAS-2. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Rominger; Davis; Curbeam; Robinson; Tryggvason. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-85. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 11.85 days. Decay Date: 1997-08-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 24889 . COSPAR: 1997-039A. Apogee: 261 km (162 mi). Perigee: 249 km (154 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 89.60 min. Deployed and retrieved the CRISTA-SPAS-2 (the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite-2) designed to study Earth's middle atmosphere. The CRISTA-SPAS-2 was making its second flight on the Space Shuttle and represented the fourth mission in a cooperative venture between the German Space Agency (DARA) and NASA.

    CRISTA-SPAS was deployed by the RMS arm at 22:27 GMT on August 7 and was recaptured by Discovery's RMS arm at 15:14 GMT on August 16. Because of unfavorable weather conditions at the primary shuttle landing site at the Kennedy Space Center, Discovery was waved off for its scheduled August 18 landing. STS-85 landed the next day, at Kennedy Space Center at 11:08 GMT.


1997 November 19 - . 19:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-87.
  • STS-87 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Kregel; Lindsey; Chawla; Scott, Winston; Doi; Kadenyuk. Payload: Columbia F24 / Spartan / USMP-4 Aft. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kregel; Lindsey; Chawla; Scott, Winston; Doi; Kadenyuk. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-87. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 15.69 days. Decay Date: 1997-12-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 25061 . COSPAR: 1997-073A. Apogee: 279 km (173 mi). Perigee: 273 km (169 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.00 min. OV-102 Columbia was launched on a microgravity science mission. Spartan 201 was released a day late on November 21. However the satellite did not start its automatic orientation maneuver because the crew failed to send it the correct commands prior to release.

    Spartan was recaptured by hand, during a spacewalk by Takao Doi and Winston Scott on November 25. Tests of space station tools went well, but the free-flying Sprint camera subsatellite was not deployed due to lack of time.

    NASA decided not to redeploy Spartan on this mission. During an EVA on Dec 3, Doi and Scott carried out more tests of the Space Station crane. They also deployed the AERCam/Sprint 'football' remote-controlled camera for a free flight in the payload bay.

    Columbia landed on December 5, with a deorbit burn at 11:21 GMT. Touchdown was at 12:20 GMT at Kennedy Space Center.


1998 December 4 - . 08:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-88.
  • STS-88 - . Call Sign: Endeavour. Crew: Cabana; Sturckow; Ross; Currie; Newman; Krikalyov. Payload: Endeavour F13. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cabana; Sturckow; Ross; Currie; Newman; Krikalyov. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-88. Spacecraft: Endeavour. Duration: 11.80 days. Decay Date: 1998-12-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 25549 . COSPAR: 1998-069A. Apogee: 399 km (247 mi). Perigee: 382 km (237 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.40 min. First attempted launch of STS-88 was scrubbed at 09:03 GMT on December 3 due to a problem with a hydraulic system sensor. Launch came the next day, with Endeavour entering an initial 75 km x 313 km x 51.6 degree orbit. Half an orbit after launch, at 09:19 GMT, Endeavour fired its OMS engines to raise the orbit to 180 km x 322 km x 51.6 degree.

    On December 5 at 22:25 GMT Nancy Currie unberthed the Unity space station node from the payload bay using the RMS arm. She then moved the Unity to a position docked to the Orbiter Docking System in the payload bay in readiness for assembly with the Russian-launched Zarya FGB ISS component. After rendezvous with the Zarya FGB module, on December 6 at 23:47 GMT Endeavour grappled Zarya with the robot arm, and at 02:07 GMT on December 7 it was soft docked to the PMA-1 port on Unity. After some problems hard dock was achieved at 02:48 GMT. Unity and Zarya then formed the core of the future International Space Station. Ross and Newman made three space walks to connect cables between Zarya and Unity, on December 7, 9 and 12. On the last EVA a canvas tool bag was attached to the exterior of Unity to provide tools for future station assembly workers. Docking cables were disconnected to prevent Unity and Zarya from inadvertently undocking. Following an internal examination of the embryonic space station, Endeavour undocked at 20:30 GMT on December 13. The SAC-A and Mightysat satellites were ejected from the payload bay on December 14 and 15. Deorbit burn was December 16 at 03:48 GMT, and Endeavour landed at 04:53:29 GMT, on Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center.

    Payloads included:

    • Sill: RMS arm No. 303
    • Bay 1-2: Tunnel Adapter 002
    • Bay 3-4: Orbiter Docking System/External Airlock (Boeing/Palmdale)
    • Bay 7-13: Unity (Node 1) (Boeing/Huntsville), including the PMA-1 and PMA-2 docking adapters (Boeing/Huntington Beach)
    • Bay 2 Port: GABA adapter with SAC-A satellite
    • Bay 4 Starboard: Carrier with Tool Stowage Assembly
    • Bay 5 Port: GABA adapter with two PFR space walk platforms and one PFR stanchion.
    • Bay 5 Starboard: GABA adapter with two more PFR space walk platforms and one PFR stanchion.
    • Bay 6 Port: GABA adapter with Mightysat
    • Bay 6 Starboard: APC carrier with TCS laser rendezvous sensor
    • Bay 7 Starboard: APC carrier with TCS laser rendezvous sensor
    • Bay 13 Port: GABA adapter with SEM-7 and G-093 canisters
    • Bay 13 Starboard: GABA adapter with IMAX Cargo Bay Camera

1999 May 27 - . 10:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-96.
  • STS-96 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Rominger; Husband; Jernigan; Ochoa; Barry; Payette; Tokarev. Payload: Discovery F26 / Spacehab-DM. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Rominger; Husband; Jernigan; Ochoa; Barry; Payette; Tokarev. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-96. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 9.80 days. Decay Date: 1999-06-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 25760 . COSPAR: 1999-030A. Apogee: 397 km (246 mi). Perigee: 384 km (238 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.40 min. Discovery docked at the PMA-2 end of the International Space Station PMA-2/Unity/PMA-1/Zarya stack. The crew transferred equipment from the Spacehab Logistics Double Module in the payload bay to the interior of the station. Tammy Jernigan and Dan Barry made a space walk to transfer equipment from the payload bay to the exterior of the station. The ODS/EAL docking/airlock truss carried two TSA (Tool Stowage Assembly) packets with space walk tools. The Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC), built by Energia and DASA-Bremen, carried parts of the Strela crane and the US OTD crane as well as the SHOSS box which contains three bags of tools and equipment to be stored on ISS's exterior.

    The STS-96 payload bay manifest:

    • Bay 1-2: Orbiter Docking System/External Airlock
    • Bay 3-4: Tunnel Adapter S/N 001
    • Bay 5-7: Spacehab Tunnel
    • Bay 5: Keel Yoke Device (KYD) and Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC)
    • Bay 8-12: Spacehab Logistics Double Module
    • Bay 13 Port: Adapter Beam (ABA) with IVHM
    • Bay 13 Stbd: Adapter Beam (ABA) with SVF/Starshine
    • Sill: RMS Arm S/N 303

    The STS-96 stack, on mobile launcher 2, was rolled back out to pad 39B after hail damage to the external tank had been repaired. On the launch day, solid rocket booster separation was at 10:51 GMT, main engine cut-off of external tank ET-100 at 10:57 GMT. Discovery was in an initial 74 km x 320 km x 51.6 degree transfer orbit. After the OMS-2 burn at 11:32 GMT, the orbit was 324 km x 341 km x 51.6 degree. Discovery docked with the International Space Station's PMA-2 docking port at 04:24 GMT on May 29. ISS was in a 379 km x 385 km x 51.6 degree orbit. In its configuration at that time it consisted of the PMA-2 docking port, NASA's Unity node, the NASA-owned, Russian-built Zarya module, and the PMA-1 docking unit connecting Unity and Zarya.

    On May 30 at 02:56 GMT Tammy Jernigan and Dan Barry entered the payload bay of Discovery from the tunnel adapter hatch, and made a 7 hr 55 min space walk, transferring equipment to the exterior of the station.

    On May 31 at 01:15 GMT the hatch to Unity was opened and the crew began several days of cargo transfers to the station. Battery units and communications equipment were replaced and sound insulation was added to Zarya. Discovery undocked from ISS at 22:39 GMT on June 3 into a 385 x 399 km x 51.6 degree orbit, leaving the station without a crew aboard. On June 5 the Starshine satellite was ejected from the payload bay. The payload bay doors were closed at around 02:15 GMT on June 6 and the deorbit burn was at 04:54 GMT. Discovery landed on runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center at 06:02 GMT.


1999 July 23 - . 04:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-93.
  • STS-93 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Collins, Eileen; Ashby; Hawley; Coleman; Tognini. Payload: Columbia F26 / Chandra. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Collins, Eileen; Ashby; Hawley; Coleman; Tognini. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-93. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 4.95 days. Decay Date: 1999-07-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 25866 . COSPAR: 1999-040A. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi). Perigee: 260 km (160 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. STS-93 was first rolled out to pad 39B on June 7 1999. The Chandra/IUS-27 vehicle was placed in the payload canister on June 19. The first launch attempt was on July 20, but controllers aborted the launch at T-6 seconds, just before main engine ignition, due to a data spike in hydrogen pressure data. This was determined to be due to a faulty sensor and a second attempt was on July 22. A lightning storm prevented launch during the 46 minute window, and the launch was again scrubbed. Finally the vehicle lifted off the pad on July 23, but five seconds after launch a short in an electrical bus brought down two of the three main engine controllers. Backup controllers took over, but a further failure on the backup controller bus would have resulted in engine shutdown and the first ever attempt at an RTLS (Return To Launch Site) abort. To further complicate matters engine 3 (SSME 2019) had a hydrogen leak throughout the ascent, causing the engine to run hot. Controllers sweated as temperatures neared redline. The hot engine’s controller compensated as programmed by using additional liquid oxygen propellant. The final result was that the shuttle ran out of gas - main engine cut-off (MECO) was at 04:39 GMT, putting Columbia into a 78 km x 276 km x 28.5 degree transfer orbit. Columbia was 1,700 kg short of oxygen propellant and 5 meters/sec slower than planned. The OMS-2 engine burn at 05:12 GMT circularised the orbit 10 km lower than planned.

    The orbiter payload bay contained only the Chandra spacecraft, the IUS, and the IUS tilt tableTthe following payloads were carried in the shuttle’s cabin: STL-B (Space Tissue Loss), CCM (Cell culture module), SAREX-II (Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment), EarthKam, PGIM (Plant Growth Investigations in Microgravity), CGBA (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus), MEMS (Micro-electric Mechanical System), and BRIC (Biological Research in Canisters) and SWUIS (the Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System, an 0.18-m UV telescope to be used for airglow and planetary observations); GOSAMR (the Gelation of Sols: Applied Microgravity Research experiment) and LFSAH, the Lightweight Flexible Solar Array Hinge. MSX and SIMPLEX experiments were also to be carried out.

    Chandra/IUS-27 was deployed from Columbia at 11:47 GMT July 23. Flight duration was limited; this was the heaviest shuttle (122,534 kg) and heaviest payload (19,736 kg) to that date. Columbia landed at 03:20 GMT on July 28 on runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center. Post-flight inspection found the presence of holes in the cooling lines on the nozzle of SSME 2019 (engine 3) which caused a hydrogen leak. A loose repair pin in the engine broke free and caused the failure. The cause of the short was found to be chaffed wiring inside the shuttle. The entire fleet was grounded for inspection and replacement of wiring as necessary.


1999 December 20 - . 00:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-103.
  • STS-103 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Brown; Kelly, Scott; Smith, Steven; Grunsfeld; Foale; Nicollier; Clervoy. Payload: Discovery F27. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Kelly, Scott; Smith, Steven; Grunsfeld; Foale; Nicollier; Clervoy. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-103. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 7.97 days. Decay Date: 1999-12-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 25996 . COSPAR: 1999-069A. Apogee: 609 km (378 mi). Perigee: 563 km (349 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 96.40 min. Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission SM-3A, delayed repeatedly by technical problems with the shuttle fleet after the near-disastrous previous launch. Finally launched after the last possible day to avoid Y2K computer problems; one spacewalk was cancelled so that the shuttle could return by December 28. Hubble was in a 591 km x 610 km x 28.5 deg orbit at launch. After separation of the external tank ET-101 the Orbiter was in a 56 km x 587 km x 28.5 deg transfer orbit. The OMS 2 burn at 0134 UTC raised the orbit to 313 km x 582 km. The payload bay contained:

    • Bay 1-2: External airlock/ODS
    • Bay 7-8: ORU Carrier (Spacelab pallet). Carried Hubble replacement spares arranged as follows: COPE protective enclosure with three RSU gyros, a new solid state recorder, and an S-band transmitter; LOPE enclosure with an HST-486 computer and voltage improvement kit; ASIPE enclosure with a spare HST-486 and spare RSU; FSIPE enclosure with a replacement FGS-2 fine guidance sensor; and NPE enclosure with New Outer Blanket Layer insulation.
    • Bay 11: Flight Servicing System (FSS). Contained the BAPS (Berthing and Positioning System) used to dock with the aft end of the Hubble Space Telescope.
    • Bay 8: APC carrier with foot restraint
    • Bay 12: APC carrier with HST foot retstraint

    Hubble was grabbed by the shuttle's robot arm at 0034 UTC on December 22. Following completion of repairs HST was released on December 25 at 2303 UTC. The deorbit burn at 2248 UTC on Dec 27 placed the orbiter in a 50 km x 616 km descent orbit. Discovery landed on runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center at 0001 UTC on December 28.

2000 December 1 - . 03:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-97.
  • STS-97 - . Call Sign: Endeavour. Crew: Jett; Bloomfield; Tanner; Garneau; Noriega. Payload: Endeavour F15. Mass: 120,742 kg (266,190 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Jett; Bloomfield; Tanner; Garneau; Noriega. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-97. Spacecraft: Endeavour. Duration: 10.83 days. Decay Date: 2000-12-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 26630 . COSPAR: 2000-078A. Apogee: 365 km (226 mi). Perigee: 352 km (218 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.70 min. Endeavour was launched on an assembly mission to the to the International Space Station (ISS). The main mission was to install a 72 m x 11.4 m, 65 kW double-wing solar panel on the Unity module of the ISS. The external tank and the Orbiter entered a 74 x 325 km orbit at 0314 GMT. Endeavour's OMS burn raised its perigee to 205 km at around 0347 GMT; the ET re-entered over the Pacific. Endeavour docked with the Station's PMA-3 docking port at 1959 GMT on December 2. Astronauts then installed the P6 solar panel truss to the station during a series of spacewalks. The P6 was made up of the LS (Long Spacer), PV-1 IEA (Integrated Equipment Assembly) and the PVAA (Photovoltaic Array). The LS carried two Thermal Control Systems with radiators to eject waste heat from the Station; these radiators were to be moved to truss segments S4 and S6 later in assembly. The PVAA had solar array wings SAW-2B and SAW-4B, which deployed to a span of 73 meters. Only after completion of three station assembly space walks on December 3, 5, and 7 did the Endeavour crew enter the station (at 1436 GMT on December 8), delivering supplies to Alpha's Expedition One crew. Hatches were closed again at 1551 GMT December 9, and Endeavour undocked at 1913 GMT the same day. After one flyaround of the station, Endeavour fired its engines to depart the vicinity at 2017 GMT December 9. The deorbit burn was at 2158 GMT on December 11, changing the orbit from 351 x 365 km to 27 x 365 km, with landing at Runway 15 of Kennedy Space Center at 2303 GMT.

    The payload bay of Endeavour for STS-97 contained a total cargo of 18740 kg:

    • Bay 1-2:
      • Orbiter Docking System 1800 kg
      • 3 EMU spacesuits (S/N unknown) 360 kg
      • FPPU experiment (in airlock) 23 kg. The FPPU (Floating Potential Probe Experiment) was installed on P6 to measure charge build-up as the arrays pass through the ionosphere plasma. P6 had devices to bleed off excess charge, and FPPU would monitor their effectiveness.
      • APCU Assembly Power Converter Unit 35 kg
      • APCU Assembly Power Converter Unit 35 kg
    • Bay 3-6:
      • ITS P6 Long Spacer 4000 kg
      • TCS radiator (aft) 500 kg
      • TCS radiator (starboard) 500 kg
    • Bay 8-11:
      • ITS P6 Integrated Equipment Assembly 7200 kg
      • PV radiator P6 500 kg
    • Bay 12-13:
      • ITS P6 Photovoltaic Array/Beta Gimbal Assembly. 1000 kg
      • Solar array wing 2B 1070 kg
      • Solar array wing 4B 1070 kg
    • Bay 13S: IMAX Cargo Bay Camera 238 kg
    • Sill: Canadarm RMS 303 410 kg


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