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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 7:51 EDT

STS-59

Endeavour launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 9. 1994 at 7:05 AM EDT and landed at Edwards AFB on April 20 at 9:54 AM PDT. The shuttle orbited 183 times at an altitude of 121 nautical miles at an inclination of 57 degrees and travelled 4.7 million miles. The mission lasted  11 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 30 seconds.

The primary payload was the Space Radar Laboratory (SRL-1), located in payload bay; activated by crew and operated by teams on ground. SRL-1 included the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and the X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) and an atmospheric instrument called Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS). The German Space Agency (DARA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) provided the X-SAR instrument.

SIR-C/X-SAR covered approximately 38.5 million miles of the Earth, the equivalent of 20 percent of the planet. More than 400 sites were imaged, including 19 primary observation sites (supersites) in Brazil, Michigan, North Carolina and Central Europe. Thirteen countries were represented in the project with 49 principal investigators and more than 100 scientists, coordinated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Some 133 hours of data were collected. The MAPS experiment measured the global distribution of carbon monoxide in the troposphere, or lower atmosphere.

Get-Away Special (GAS) experiments were sponsored by New Mexico State University, Matra Marconi Space (France), and the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies.

Consortium for Materials Development in Space Complex Autonomous Payload-IV (CONCAP IV), carried in GAS hardware in the payload bay, was developed by the University of Alabama-Huntsville. It produced crystals and thin films through physical vapor transportation.

Middeck experiments included Visual Function Tester-4 (VFT-4), Space Tissue Loss-4 and -5; and Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX).

Mission also marked first flight of Toughened Uni-Piece Fibrous Insulation, known as TUFI, an improved thermal protection tile. Several test tiles were placed on the orbiter’s base heat shield between three main engines.

Endeavour was crewed by Commander Sidney M. Gutierrez, Pilot Kevin P. Chilton, and Mission Specialists Jay Apt, Michael R. Clifford, and Thomas D. Jones.

STS-59