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Mission Insignia
Mission Statistics
Mission: STS-40
Shuttle: Columbia
Launch Pad: 39-B
Launch: June 5, 1991, 9:24:51 a.m. EDT.
Landing: June 14, 1991, 8:39:11 a.m. PDT, Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Duration: 9 days, 2 hours, 14 minutes, 20 seconds.
Orbit Altitude: 157 nautical miles (291 km)
Orbit Inclination: 39 degrees
Distance Traveled: 3,779,940 miles (6,083,223 km)
Crew photo


Mission Parameters

Mission Highlights

June 5, 1991, 9:24:51 a.m. EDT. Launch originally set for May 22, 1991. Mission postponed less than 48 hours before launch when it became known that a leaking liquid hydrogen transducer in orbiter main propulsion system which was removed and replaced during leak testing in 1990, had failed an analysis by vendor. Engineers feared that one or more of the nine liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen transducers protruding into fuel and oxidizer lines could break off and be ingested by the engine turbopumps, causing engine failure.

In addition, one of orbiter five general purpose computers failed completely, along with one of the multiplexer demultiplexers that control orbiter hydraulics ordinance and orbiter maneuvering system / reaction control system functions in aft compartment.

New general purpose computer and multiplexer demultiplexer were installed and tested. One liquid hydrogen and two liquid oxygen transducers were replaced upstream in propellant flow system near the 17-inch (43 cm) disconnect area, which is protected by internal screen. Three liquid oxygen transducers replaced at engine manifold area, while three liquid hydrogen transducers here were removed and openings plugged. Launch reset for 8 a.m. EDT, June 1, but postponed again after several attempts to calibrate inertial measurement unit 2 failed. Unit was replaced and retested, and launch was rescheduled for June 5. Launch Weight: 251,970 lb (114,290 kg).

Fifth dedicated Spacelab mission, Spacelab Life Sciences-1, and first dedicated solely to life sciences, using the habitable module. Mission featured most detailed and interrelated physiological measurements in space since 19731974 Skylab missions. Subjects were humans, 30 rodents and thousands of tiny jellyfish. Primary SLS-1 experiments studied six body systems; of 18 investigations, ten involved humans, seven involved rodents, and one used jellyfish.

Six body systems investigated were cardiovascular/cardiopulmonary (heart, lungs and blood vessels); renal/endocrine (kidneys and hormone-secreting organs and glands); blood (blood plasma); immune system (white blood cells); musculoskeletal (muscles and bones); and neurovestibular (brains and nerves, eyes and inner ear). Other payloads included twelve Getaway Special (GAS) canisters installed on GAS bridge in cargo bay for experiments In materials science, plant biology and cosmic radiation; Middeck Zero-Gravity Dynamics Experiment (MODE); and seven Orbiter Experiments (OEX).

June 14, 1991, 8:39:11 a.m. PDT, Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Rollout distance: 9,403 feet (2866 m). Rollout time: 55 seconds. Orbiter returned to KSC June 21. Landing Weight: 226,535 lb (102,755 kg).

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Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04