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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

STS-46

Atlantis launched from Kennedy Space Center on July 31, 1992 at 9:56 AM EDT and landed at Kennedy on August 8 at 9:11 AM EDT. The shuttle orbited 127 times at an altitude of 230 nautical miles at an inclination of 28.45 degrees and travelled 3.3 million miles. The mission lasted 7 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, and 3 seconds.

This mission was planned to launch satellites for international partners.

The primary objective was deployment of the European Space Agency’s European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) and operation of the joint NASA/Italian Space Agency Tethered Satellite System (TSS). The mission was extended one day to complete the science objectives. EURECA deployed one day later than scheduled because of problem with its data handling system. After deployment, the spacecraft’s thrusters were fired to boost EURECA to its planned operating altitude of about 310 statute miles (499 kilometers). However, the thruster firing was cut to six minutes instead of the planned 24 minutes because of unexpected attitude data from EURECA. The problem resolved and EURECA was boosted to operational orbit on the sixth day of the mission. The payload was to be retrieved on STS-57 in 1993.

TSS deployment was also delayed one day because of EURECA. During TSS deployment, the satellite reached a maximum distance of only 840 feet (256 meters) from orbiter instead of planned 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) because of a jammed tether line. After numerous attempts over several days to free the tether, TSS operations were curtailed and satellite was stowed for return to Earth.

Secondary payloads were: Evaluation of Oxygen Integration with Materials/Thermal Management Processes (EOIM-III/TEMP 2A-3); Consortium for Materials Development in Space Complex Autonomous Payload (CONCAP II and CONCAP III); IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC); Limited Duration Space Environment Candidate Materials Exposure (LDCE); Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS); Pituitary Growth Hormone Cell Function (PHCF); and Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI).

Atlantis was crewed by Commander Loren J. Shriver, Pilot Andrew M. Allen, Mission Specialists Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Claude Nicollier (Switzerland), and Marsha S. Ivins, and Payload Specialist Franco Malerba (Italy)

STS-46