Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Launch:||November 12, 1981|
10:09:59 a.m. EST
|Landing:||November 14, 1981|
1:23:11 p.m. PST
|Duration:||2 days, 6 hours,|
13 minutes, 12 seconds
|Orbit Altitude:||157 nautical miles|
|Orbit Inclination:||38.03 degrees|
|Miles Traveled:||1,074,757 miles|
STS-2 was a space shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Columbia, launched November 12, 1981. This was the second space shuttle mission, and was also the second mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It was thus the first time ever that a manned reusable spacecraft left the earth for its second mission and returned to space. (The Gemini 2 unmanned, suborbital capsule was reused in another unmanned, suborbital test for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory project after significant refurbishment.)
- Orbiter Liftoff: 104,647 kg
- Orbiter Landing: 92,650 kg
- DFI Payload: 8,517 kg
- Perigee: 222 km
- Apogee: 231 km
- Inclination: 38.0°
- Period: 89.0 min
Launch of the second Space Shuttle took place 7 months after STS-1, on Nov. 12, 1981, with liftoff at 10:10 a.m. EST. The planned launch time of 7:30 a.m. was delayed while a faulty data transmitting unit on Columbia was replaced. Originally the launch had been set for Oct. 9, but it was delayed by a nitrogen tetroxide spill during loading of the forward Reaction Control System (RCS) tanks. It was next scheduled for Nov. 4, but was again scrubbed when high oil pressures were discovered in two of the three Auxiliary Power Units (APU) that control the orbiter's hydraulic system. Prior to launch Columbia had spent 103 days in the OPF.
The flight marked the first time a manned space vehicle had been reflown with a second crew: Joseph H. Engle, commander, and Richard H. Truly, pilot. It again carried the DFI package, as well as the OSTA-l payload -- named for the NASA Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications -- which consisted of a number of remote sensing instruments mounted on a Spacelab pallet in the payload bay. These instruments, including the Shuttle Imaging Radar -A (SIR-1), successfully carried out remote sensing of Earth resources, environmental quality, ocean and weather conditions. In addition, the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm was successfully operated in all its various operating modes for the first time.
Although the STS-2 mission had been planned for 5 days, the flight was cut short when one of the three fuel cells that produce electricity and drinking water failed.
Landing took place on Runway 23, at Edwards AFB, at 1:23 p.m. PST, Nov. 14, after a 36-orbit, 933,757-mile flight that lasted 2 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 13 seconds.
Despite the truncated flight, more than 90 percent of the mission's objectives were achieved. Moreover, modifications of the water sound suppression system at the pad to absorb the solid rocket booster overpressure wave during launch were effective -- no tiles were lost and only 12 were damaged. The Columbia was flown back to KSC on Nov. 25, 1981.
- Space science
- Space shuttle
- List of space shuttle missions
- List of human spaceflights chronologically
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