STS-56 (54)

Pad 39-B (24)
54th Shuttle Mission
16th Flight OV-103
RSLS Abort (4)
Night launch (7)
KSC landing (15)
Extended mission


Kenneth D. Cameron (2), Commander
Stephen S. Oswald (2), Pilot
C. Michael Foale Ph.D. (2), Mission Specialist 1
Kenneth D. Cockrell (1), Mission Specialist 2
Ellen Ochoa (1), Mission Specialist 3


OPF -- Dec. 19, 1992
VAB -- March 2, 1993
PAD -- March 15, 1993



Mission Objectives:

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April 8, 1993, 1:29:00 a.m. EDT. First launch attempt on April 6 halted at T-11 seconds by orbiter computers when instrumentation on liquid hydrogen high point bleed valve in main propulsion system indicated off instead of on. Later analysis indicated valve was properly configured; 48-hour scrub turnaround procedures implemented. Final countdown on April 8 proceeded smoothly. Payload up weight: 16,046 lbs. Orbiter Weight Empty: 173,227 lbs. Orbiter weight at liftoff: 236,659 lbs.


Altitude: 160nm
Inclination: 57 degrees
Orbits: 148
Duration: 9 days, 6 hours, 8 minutes, 24 seconds.
Distance: 3,853,997 miles


SRB: BI-058
SRM: 360L031
ET : SN-054
MLP: 3
SSME-1: SN-2024
SSME-2: SN-2033
SSME-3: SN-2018


April 17, 1993, 7:37:19 a.m. EDT. Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center. Fla. Rollout distance: 9,529 feet (2,904 meters). Rollout time: 62 seconds. Landing originally set for April 16 at KSC waved off due to weather. Second reefing line added to drag chute for greater-stability. Landing Weight: 206,855 lbs. Payload down weight 16,046 lbs.

Mission Highlights:

Primary payload of flight was Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-2 (ATLAS-2), designed to collect data on relationship between sun's energy output and Earth's middle atmosphere and how these factors affect ozone layer. Included six instruments mounted on Spacelab pallet in cargo bay, with seventh mounted on wall of bay in two Get Away Special canisters. Atmospheric instruments were Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS) experiment; Millimeter Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS); and Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet/A (SSBUV/A) spectrometer (on cargo bay wall). Solar science instruments were Solar Spectrum Measurement (SOLSPEC) instrument; Solar Ultraviolet Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM); and Active Cavity Radiometer (ACR) and Solar Constant (SOLCON) experiments.

ATLAS-2 is one element of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program. All seven ATLAS-2 instruments first flew on ATLAS-I during STS-45, and will fly a third time in late 1994.

On April 11, crew used remote manipulator arm to deploy Shuttle Point Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy-201 (SPARTAN-201), a free-flying science instrument platform designed to study velocity and acceleration of solar wind and observe sun's corona. Collected data was stored on tape for playback after return to Earth. SPARTAN-201 retrieved on April 13.

Crew also made numerous radio contacts to schools around world using Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment II (SAREX II), including a brief radio contact with Russian Mir space station, first such contact between Shuttle and Mir using amateur radio equipment.

Other cargo bay payloads: Solar Ultraviolet Experiment (SUVE), sponsored by Colorado Space Grant Consortium, and located in Get Away Special canister on cargo bay wall.

Middeck payloads: Commercial Materials Dispersion Apparatus Instrumentation Technology Associates Experiment (CMIX); Physiological and Anatomical Rodent Experiment (PARE); Space Tissue Loss (STL-1); Cosmic Ray Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM) experiment; Hand-held, Earth-oriented, Real-time, Cooperative, User-friendly, Location-targeting and Environmental System (HERCULES); Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III); and Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) calibration test.

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Last Updated Friday June 29 11:21:08 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (