AKA: Columbia;Spacelab-D2. Launched: 1993-04-25. Returned: 1993-05-05. Number crew: 7 . Duration: 9.99 days.
Payloads: Spacelab D-2 with long module, unique support structure (USS), and Reaction Kinetics in Glass Melts (RKGM) getaway special, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II.
Orbits of Earth: 160. Distance traveled: 6,701,602 km. Orbiter Liftoff Mass: 115,780 kg. Orbiter Mass at Landing: 103,055 kg. Payload to Orbit: 12,185 kg. Payload Returned: 12,185 kg. Landed at: Concrete runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, Cali. Landing Speed: 389 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 554 m. Landing Rollout: 3,086 m.
NASA Official Mission Narrative
Mission Name: STS-55 (55)
PAD 39-A (48)
55th Shuttle Mission
14th Flight OV-102
RSLS Abort after SSME Ignition (3)
EAFB Landing (38)
Steven R. Nagel (4), Commander
Terence T. Henricks (2), Pilot
Jerry L. Ross (4), Mission Specialist 1
Charles J. Precourt (1), Mission Specialist 2
Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. (1), Mission Specialist 3
Dr. Ulrich Walter (1), Payload Specialist 1
Hans Schlegel (1), Payload Specialist 2
OPF-2 -- 11/02/92
VAB -- 02/03/93
PAD -- 02/08/93
April 26, 1993, 10:50 a.m. EDT. Launch was scheduled for 9:51am EST on 3/22/93 but was scrubbed at T-3 seconds after main engine ignition. D-2 suffered months of delays. The most severe was the discovery that the three main engines mounted on Columbia might contain obsolete tip-seal retaininers in their high-pressure turbopumps. All engines were removed and inspected and contained the proper retainers.
Inclination: 28.45 degrees
Duration: 9 days, 23 hours, 39 minutes, 59 seconds.
Distance: 4,164,183 miles
SSME-3: SN-2011 (Flow-B)
ET : 56
MLP : 1
May 6, 1993, 10:30 a.m. EDT. Edwards AFB Runway 22. Orbiter Landing weight: 244,400 lbs.
Columbia carried to orbit the second reusable German Spacelab on the STS-55 mission and demonstrated the shuttle's ability for international cooperation, exploration, and scientific research in space. The Spacelab Module and an exterior experiment support structure contained in Columbia's payload bay comprised the Spacelab D-2 payload. (The first German Spacelab flight, D-1, flew Shuttle mission 61-A in October 1985.) The U.S. and Germany gained valuable experience for future space station operations.
The D-2 mission, as it was commonly called, augmented the German microgravity research program started by the D-1 mission. The German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) had been tasked by the German Space Agency (DARA) to conduct the second mission. DLR, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and agencies in France and Japan contributed to D-2's scientific program. Eleven nations participated in the experiments. Of the 88 experiments conducted on the D-2 mission, four were sponsored by NASA.
The crew worked in two shifts around-the-clock to complete investigations into the areas of fluid physics, materials sciences, life sciences, biological sciences, technology, Earth observations, atmospheric physics, and astronomy. Many of the experiments advanced the research of the D-1 mission by conducting similar tests, using upgraded processing hardware, or implementing methods that take full advantage of the technical advancements since 1985. The D-2 mission also contained several new experiments which were not previously flown on the D-1 mission. The D-2 Mission conducted 88 experiments to study life sciences, material sciences, technology applications, Earth observations, astronomy, and atmospheric physics. It surpassed the 365th day in space for the Space Shuttle fleet. Also surpassed the 100th day of flight time in space for Columbia, the fleet's oldest Orbiter on its fourteenth flight.
D-2 also Conducted the first tele-robotic capture of a free floating object by flight controllers in Germany. The crew also conducted the first intervenus saline solution injection in space as part of an experiment to study the human body's response to direct fluid replacement as a countermeasure for amounts lost during space flight. They also successfully completed an in-flight maintenance procedure for collection of orbiter waste water allowing the mission to continue .
STS-55 crewmembers also participated in two amateur radio experiments, SAREX II from the United States and the German SAFEX. The experiments allowed students and amateur radio operators from around the world to talk directly with the Space Shuttle in orbit and participated in a Space Medicine conference with the Mayo Clinic.
The countdown for Columbia's launch was halted by on-board computers at T-3 seconds following a problem with purge pressure readings in the oxidizer preburner on main engine #2 Columbia's three main engines were replaced on the launch pad, and the flight was rescheduled behind Discovery's launch on STS-56. Columbia finally launched on April 26, 1993.