STS-32 Columbia (January 9-20, 1990) saw the successful deployment of the Syncom IV-F5 satellite, and retrieval of the 21,400-pound Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) using the remote manipulator system (RMS). The crew also operated a variety of middeck experiments and conducted numerous medical test objectives, including in-flight aerobic exercise and muscle performance to evaluate human adaptation to extended duration missions. Mission duration was 261 hours, 01 minute, 38 seconds.
STS-52 Columbia (October 22 to November 1, 1992) successfully deployed the Laser Geodynamic Satellite (LAGEOS), a joint Italian-American project. The crew also operated the first U.S. Microgravity Payload (USMP) with French and American experiments, and successfully completed the initial flight tests of the Canadian-built Space Vision System (SVS). Mission duration was 236 hours, 56 minutes, 13 seconds.
STS-63 Discovery (February 2-11, 1995), was the first flight of the new joint Russian-American Space Program. Mission highlights included the rendezvous with the Russian Space Station, Mir, operation of Spacehab, and the deployment and retrieval of Spartan 204. The mission was accomplished in 129 orbits, travelling over 2.9 million miles in 198 hours, 29 minutes.
Manned five crew. Deployed Leasat 5, retrieved LDEF. Night landing. Payloads: Deployment of Syncom IV-5, retrieval of Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA)-3, Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) III-2, Latitude/Longitude Locator (L3), American Flight Echocardiograph (AFE), Characterization of Neurospora Circadian Rhythms in Space (CNCR)-01, Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS)-4, Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE), IMAX, Interim Operational Contamination Monitor (lOCM).
Deployed Lageos 2, CTA. Payloads: Laser Geodynamic Satellite (LAGEOS) II/ Italian Research Interim Stage (IRIS), Canadian Experiments (CANEX) 2, United States Micro-gravity Payload (USMP) 1, Attitude Sensor Pack-age (ASP), Tank Pressure Control Experiment (TPCE), Physiological Systems Experiment (PSE), Heat Pipe Performance (HPP) experiment, Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG), Shuttle Plume Impingement Experiment (SPIE), Commercial Materials ITA Experiment (CMIX), Crystals by Vapor Transport Experiment (CVTE).
Deployed ODERACS 2A-2E; deployed and retrieved Spartan 204. Discovery rendezvoused with Russia's space station, Mir, to a distance of 11 m and performed a fly-around, but did not dock with Mir. Payloads: SPACEHAB 03, Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy (SPARTAN) 204, Cryo Systems Experiment (CSE)/GLO-2 Experi-ment Payload (CGP)/Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) 2, Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC)
Atlantis was launched on a mission to the Russian Mir space station. The TI rendevous terminal initiation burn was carried out at 17:32 GMT on September 27, and Atlantis docked with the SO (Docking Module) on the Mir complex at 19:58 GMT. The crew exchange was completed on September 28, with David Wolf replacing Michael Foale on the Mir crew. On October 1 cosmonaut Titov and astronaut Parazynski conducted a spacewalk from the Shuttle payload bay while Atlantis was docked to Mir. They retrieved four MEEP (Mir Environmental Effects Payload ) exposure packages from Mir's SO module and installed the Spektr solar array cap. The MEEP experiments had been attached to the Docking Module by astronauts Linda Godwin and Rich Clifford during Shuttle mission STS-76 in March 1996. In addition to retrieving the MEEP, Parazynski and Titov were to continue an evaluation of the Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue (SAFER), a small jet-backpack designed for use as a type of life jacket during station assembly.
Atlantis undocked from Mir at 17:28 GMT on October 3 and conducted a flyaround focused on the damaged Spektr Module to determine the location of the puncture in its hull. The Mir crew pumped air into the Spektr Module using a pressure regulator valve, and the Shuttle crew observed evidence that, as expected, the leak seemed to be located at the base of the damaged solar panel. Final separation of Atlantis from Mir took place around 20:28 GMT. After two landing attempts were waved off on October 5 due to heavy cloud cover, the crew fired the engines to deorbit at 20:47 GMT on October 6 and landed at Kennedy Space Center at 21:55.
Discovery was launched on mission STS-102 (Space Station flight 5A.1) into an initial 60 x 222 km x 51.6 deg orbit. The mission was delivery of supplies and equipment, and changeout of the Expedition One and Expedition Two station crews. STS-102 carried the Leonardo Multi Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), built by Alenia Spazio (Torino), to the International Space Station. The MPLM was a descendant of the Spacelab long modules. Also carried was a Spacehab/Energia unpressurized Integrated Cargo Carrier with LCA/MTSAS-A, RU, and PFCS. A sidewall adapter beam with two GAS canisters (G-783 and WSVFM) was also on board. WSVFM measured vibration during launch. Another adapter beam, probably at the rear of the payload bay, carried SEM-9. SEM-9 and G-783 contained high school microgravity experiments.
Leonardo carried 16 'racks' of equipment, including the Human Research Facility Rack (Rack 13) which allowed the astronauts to do extensive medical experiments, the CHeCS Rack (28), the DDCU-1 and DDCU-2 racks (7 and 9), the Avionics-3 (Rack 6), and the MSS Avionics/Lab (Rack 11) and Avionics/Cupola (Rack 12) racks for a total of 7 equipment racks to be installed on Destiny. Three Resupply Stowage Racks (50, 51, 52) and four Resupply Stowage Platforms (180, 181, 182 and 188) remained installed on Leonardo, with their equipment bags being individually transferred to the Station. System Racks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 were already on Destiny together with stowage racks 110 through 117. Each rack had a mass of 150-300 kg.
The orbiter fired its OMS engines at 1221 GMT to raise the orbit to 185 x 219 km. Discovery docked with the PMA-2 port on the Station at 0639 GMT on March 10. The LCA (Lab Cradle Assembly) was attached to Destiny's +Z side during an EVA. It was to be used on the next mission to temporarily place a Spacelab pallet on Destiny during installation of the Station's robot arm. Later, it would be the site for the main Station truss, beginning with segment S0.
The PMA-3, on Unity at the -Z nadir position, had to be moved to the port position to make room for Leonardo. An external stowage platform was attached to Destiny and the External Stowage Platform and the PFCS Pump Flow Control System were added to the port aft trunnion on Destiny. A rigid umbilical (RU) was connected to the PDGF grapple fixture on Destiny to support the Station's future robot arm. Leonardo was docked to Unity at -Z for a while so that its cargo could be transferred to the station easily; it was then be returned to the payload bay and brought back to earth.
At 0232 GMT on March 19 command of ISS was transferred to Expedition 2 and the hatches were closed. Discovery undocked at 0432 GMT and flew once around the station before departing at 0548 GMT. ISS mass after undocking was 115527 kg. The OMS engines fired for the deorbit burn at 0625 GMT on March 21, and Discovery touched down on runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center at 0731 GMT.