The second flight of Challenger was launched from Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983 at 7:33 AM (EDT) and landed on June 24, 1983 at 6:56 AM (PDT). Challenger orbited 98 times at an altitude ranging from 160-170 nautical miles at an inclination of 28.5 degrees and travelled 2.5 million miles. The mission duration was 6 days, 2 hours, 23 minutes, and 59 seconds.
Sally Ride became the first American woman in space on this mission. Two Indonesian communications satellites were deployed. Seven Get Away Special canisters in the cargo bay held a variety of experiments. Among these was a study of the effects of space and zero gravity on the social behavior of an ant colony.
Experiments were conducted on forming metal alloys in microgravity and the use of a remote sensing scanner. The shuttle fired control rockets while the experimental modules were held by the remote manipulator arm to test the arm’s movement while extended outside the craft. Other payloads on this mission were the Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications-2 (OSTA-2); Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES); Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR) and one Shuttle Student Involvement (SSIP) experiment.
Challenger was crewed by Commander Robert L. Crippen, Pilot Frederick H. Hauck, and Mission Specialists John M. Fabian, Sally K. Ride, and Norman E. Thagard.