STS-38 (37)

Atlantis (7)
Pad 39-A 39)
37th Shuttle mission
7th Flight OV-104
5th Rollback
5th Night launch
Extended mission
Diverted landing
6th KSC Landing


Richard O. Covey (3), Commander
Frank L. Culbertson, Jr. (1), Pilot
Robert C. Springer (2), Mission Specialist 1
Carl J. Meade (1), Mission Specialist 2
Charles D. Gemar (1), Mission Specialist 3


Flow A:
OPF - March 14, 1990
VAB - June 8, 1990
PAD - June 18, 1990
Flow B (rollback):
VAB - Aug. 9,1990
OPF - Aug. 15, 1990
VAB - Oct. 2,1990
PAD - Oct. 12, 1990



Mission Objectives:

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November 15, 1990, 6:48:13 p.m. EST. Launch originally scheduled for July 1990. However, liquid hydrogen leak found on orbiter Columbia during STS-35 countdown prompted three precautionary tanking tests on Atlantis at pad June 29, July 13 and July 25. Tests confirmed hydrogen fuel leak on external tank- side of external tank/orbiter 17-inch quick disconnect umbilical. Could not repair at pad and Atlantis rolled back to VAB Aug. 9, demated and transferred to OPF. During rollback, vehicle parked outside VAB about a day while COLUMBIA/STS-35 stack transferred to pad for launch. Outside, Atlantis suffered minor hail damage to tiles during thunderstorm. After repairs made in OPF, Atlantis transferred to VAB for mating Oct. 2. During hoisting operations, platform beam that should have been removed from aft compartment fell and caused minor damage which was repaired. Vehicle rolled out to Pad A Oct. 12. Fourth mini-tanking test performed Oct. 24, with no excessive hydrogen or oxygen leakage detected. At Flight Readiness Review, launch date set for Nov. 9. Launch reset for Nov. 15 due to payload problems. Liftoff occurred during classified launch window lying within launch period extending from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 15, 1990. Launch Weight: Classified.


Altitude: 142
Inclination: 28.5
Orbits: 79
Duration: 4 days, 21 hours, 54 minutes, 31 seconds.
Distance: 2,030,000 miles


SRB: BI-039
SRM: 360W012
ET : 40/LWT-33
MLP : 1
SSME-1: SN-2019
SSME-2: SN-2022
SSME-3: SN-2027


November 20, 1990, 4:42:42 p.m. EST, Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Rollout distance: 9,032 feet. Rollout time: 57 seconds. Mission extended one day due to unacceptable crosswinds at original planned landing site, Edwards. Continued adverse conditions led to decision to shift landing to KSC. First KSC landing for Atlantis, first end-of-mission landing at KSC since April 1985. Landing Weight: 191,091 lbs.

Mission Highlights:

Seventh mission dedicated to Department of Defense.

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Last Updated Friday June 29 11:21:02 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (