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STS-31

Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 24, 1990 at 8:33 AM EDT and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on April 29 at 6:49 AM PDT. The shuttle orbited 80 times at an altitude of 330 nautical miles at an inclination of 28.45 degrees and travelled 2.1 million miles. The mission lasted 5 days, 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 6 seconds.

This mission launched the Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble Telescope in its time in service has changed the way we look at space and given us a visual depth never dreamed possible. Its striking images have been invaluable to science and have captivated the general public all over the world.

The launch was scheduled for April 18, then April 12, then April 10, following the Flight Readiness Review (FRR). The first date set at FRR was earlier than that shown on previous planning schedules. The launch scheduled for April 10 was scrubbed at T-4 minutes due to a faulty valve in auxiliary power unit (APU) number one. The APU was replaced and payload batteries recharged. Countdown briefly halted at T-31 seconds when computer software failed to shut down a fuel valve line on ground support equipment. Engineers ordered valve to shut and countdown continued.

Hubble Space Telescope was deployed in a 380-statute-mile orbit. Secondary payloads: IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC) to document operations outside crew cabin and hand-held IMAX camera for use inside crew cabin; Ascent Particle Monitor (APM) to detect particulate matter in payload bay; Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) to provide data on growing protein crystals in microgravity; Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) to measure gamma ray levels in crew cabin; Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP) to determine porosity control in microgravity environment; Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiment to study effects of near-weightlessness on electrical arcs, and Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

Discovery was crewed by Commander Loren J. Shriver, Pilot Charles F. Bolden, and Mission Specialists Stephen A. Hawley, Bruce M. McCandless, and Kathryn D. Sullivan.

STS-31


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