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Mission insignia
Mission statistics
Mission name STS-6
Space shuttle Challenger
Launch pad 39-A
Launch date 4 April 1983, 18:30:00 UTC
Landing 9 April 1983, 18:53:42 UTC
Edwards Airforce Base
Mission duration 5d/00:23:42
Number of orbits 81
Orbital altitude 330 km
Orbital inclination 28.5°
Distance traveled 3,370,437 km
Crew photo
L-R Peterson, Weitz, Musgrave, Bobko
Related missions
Previous mission Next mission

STS-6 was a Space Shuttle mission conducted by NASA using Space Shuttle Challenger. Launched 4 April 1983, STS-6 was the sixth space shuttle mission and the first of the ten missions flown on Challenger. The mission took off from Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39-A, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base.



Position Astronaut
Commander Paul J. Weitz
Second spaceflight
Pilot Karol J. Bobko
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Donald H. Peterson
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 F. Story Musgrave
First spaceflight

Mission parameters


Space walk

  • Musgrave and Peterson - EVA 1
  • EVA 1 Start: 7 April 1983, 21:05 UTC
  • EVA 1 End: April 8, 01:15 UTC
  • Duration: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Mission highlights

The TDRS is deployed
Musgrave during the EVA

On 4 April 1983 STS-6, the first Challenger mission, lifted off at 13:30 EST. It was the first use of a new lightweight external tank and lightweight SRB casings.

The mission originally had been scheduled for launch on 30 January 1983. However, a hydrogen leak in one of the main engines was discovered. Later, after a flight readiness firing of the main engines on 25 January 1983, fuel line cracks were found in the other two engines. A spare engine replaced the engine with the hydrogen leak and the other two engines were removed, repaired and reinstalled.

Meanwhile, as the engine repairs were underway, a severe storm caused contamination of the primary cargo for the mission, the first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-1, while it was in the Payload Change-out Room on the Rotating Service Structure at the launch pad. This meant the satellite had to be taken back to its checkout facility where it was cleaned and rechecked. The Payload Change-out Room and the payload bay also had to be cleaned.

STS-6 carried a crew of four -- Paul J. Weitz, commander; Karol J. Bobko, pilot; Donald H. Peterson and Story Musgrave, both mission specialists. Using new space suits designed specifically for the Space Shuttle, Peterson and Musgrave successfully accomplished the program's first extravehicular activity (EVA), performing various tests in the payload bay. Their space walk lasted for 4 hours, 17 minutes.

Although the 5,000-lb. TDRS was successfully deployed from the Challenger, its two-stage booster rocket, the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), tumbled out of control, placing the satellite into a low elliptical orbit. Fortunately, the satellite contained extra propellant beyond what was needed for its attitude control system thrusters, and during the next several months the thrusters were fired at carefully planned intervals gradually moving TDRS-l into its geosynchronous operating orbit thus saving the $100-million satellite.

Other STS-6 cargo included three GAS canisters and continuation of the Mono-disperse Latex Reactor and the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis experiments.

Challenger returned to Earth on 9 April 1983 at 10:53 a.m. PST, landing on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB. It completed 80 orbits, traveling 2 million miles in 5 days, 23 minutes, 42 seconds. It was flown back to KSC on 16 April 1983.

Mission insignia

The six white stars in the upper blue field of the mission patch tell the flight's numerical designation in the Space Transportation System's mission sequence.

Wake-up calls

A tradition for NASA human spaceflights since the days of Gemini, mission crews are played a special musical track at the start of each day in space. Each track is specially chosen, often by their families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities. [1]

Flight Day Song Artist/Composer
Day 2
Cadets on Parade Air Force Academy Band
Day 3
Teach Me Tiger April Stevens
Day 4
Theme from F-Troop
Day 5
The Poor Co-pilot Oscar Brand
Day 6
Ode to the Lions Rusty Gordon

See also


  1. ^ Fries, Colin (June 25, 2007). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2007-08-13.  

External links


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