Space Shuttle Challenger: Wikis

  
  

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Challenger
OV-099
Space Shuttle Challenger
Challenger launches, STS-7
OV designation OV-099
Country United States
Contract award July 26, 1972
Named after HMS Challenger
Status destroyed January 28, 1986
First flight STS-6
April 4, 1983 – April 9, 1983
Last flight STS-51-L
January 28, 1986
Number of missions 10
Time spent in space 62 days 07:56:22[1]
Number of orbits 995
Distance travelled 25,803,939 miles
Satellites deployed 10

Space Shuttle Challenger (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-099) was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, Columbia being the first. Its maiden flight was on April 4, 1983, and it completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission, STS-51-L on January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members. The accident led to a two-and-a-half year grounding of the shuttle fleet, with missions resuming in 1988 with the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-26. Challenger itself was replaced by the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which first launched in 1992. Endeavour was constructed from spare parts originally meant for Challenger and the other shuttles in the fleet.

Contents

History

Challenger was named after two previous vessels—first, HMS Challenger, a British corvette that, from 1872 to 1876, was the command ship for the "Challenger expedition," conducting pioneering global marine research.[2]; and second, the Apollo 17 lunar module Challenger, which landed on the Moon in 1972.[3]

Construction

Because of the low production of orbiters, the Space Shuttle program decided to build a vehicle as a Structural Test Article, STA-099, that could later be converted to a flight vehicle. In order to prevent damage during structural testing, qualification tests were performed to a factor of safety of 1.2 times the design limit loads. The qualification tests were used to validate computational models, and compliance with the required 1.4 factor of safety was shown by analysis.[4]

NASA planned to refit the prototype orbiter Enterprise (OV-101), used for flight testing, as the second operational orbiter. However, design changes made during construction of the first orbiter, Columbia (OV-102), would have required extensive rework. Because STA-099's qualification testing prevented damage, NASA found that rebuilding STA-099 as OV-099 would be less expensive than refitting Enterprise.

Challenger (and the orbiters built after it) had fewer tiles in its Thermal Protection System than Columbia. Most of the tiles on the payload bay doors, upper wing surface, and rear fuselage surface were replaced with DuPont white nomex felt insulation. This modification allowed Challenger to carry 2,500 lb (1,100 kg) more payload than Columbia. Challenger was also the first orbiter to have a head-up display system for use in the descent phase of a mission.

Flights and modifications

After its first flight in April 1983, Challenger quickly became the workhorse of NASA's Space Shuttle fleet, flying far more missions per year than Columbia. In 1983 and 1984, Challenger flew on 85% of all Space Shuttle missions. Even when the orbiters Discovery and Atlantis joined the fleet, Challenger remained in heavy use with three missions a year from 1983 to 1985. Challenger, along with Discovery, was modified at Kennedy Space Center to be able to carry the Centaur-G upper stage in its payload bay. Had STS-51-L been successful, Challenger's next mission would have been the deployment of the Ulysses probe with the Centaur to study the polar regions of the Sun.

Challenger's many spaceflight accomplishments included the first American woman, African-American, and Canadian in space; three Spacelab missions; and the first night launch and night landing of a Space Shuttle. Challenger was also the first space shuttle to be destroyed in an accident during a mission. The collected debris of the vessel are currently stored in decommissioned missile silos at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. From time to time, further pieces of debris from the orbiter wash up on the Florida coast.[5] When this happens, they are collected and transported to the silos for storage. Because of its early loss, Challenger was the only space shuttle that never wore the NASA "meatball" logo.

Shuttle-challenger.jpg
Space Shuttle Challenger as STA-099.jpg
Challenger's rollout from Orbiter Processing
Facility (OPF) to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Photo 1983-8-25 courtesy of NASA.
Challenger while in service as structural test article STA-099.
# Date Designation Launch pad Landing location Notes Mission duration
1 April 4, 1983 STS-6 LC-39A Edwards Air Force Base Deployed TDRS-A.

First spacewalk during a space shuttle mission.

5 days, 00 hours, 23 minutes, 42 seconds
2 June 18, 1983 STS-7 LC-39A Edwards Air Force Base Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space.

Deployed two communications satellites.

6 days, 02 hours, 23 minutes, 59 seconds
3 August 30, 1983 STS-8 LC-39A Edwards Air Force Base Guion Bluford becomes first African-American in space

First shuttle night launch and night landing.
Deployed Insat-1B.
Carried 260,000 envelopes stamped to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of NASA.

6 days, 01 hours, 08 minutes, 43 seconds
4 February 3, 1984 STS-41-B LC-39A Kennedy Space Center First untethered spacewalk.

Deployed two communications satellites, unsuccessfully.

7 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, 55 seconds
5 April 6, 1984 STS-41-C LC-39A Edwards Air Force Base Solar Maximum Mission service mission. 6 days, 23 hours, 40 minutes, 07 seconds
6 October 5, 1984 STS-41-G LC-39A Kennedy Space Center First mission to carry two women.

Marc Garneau becomes first Canadian in space.
Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes first American woman to make a spacewalk.
Deployed Earth Radiation Budget Satellite.

8 days, 05 hours, 23 minutes, 33 seconds
7 April 29, 1985 STS-51-B LC-39A Edwards Air Force Base Carried Spacelab-3. 7 days, 00 hours, 08 minutes, 46 seconds
8 July 29, 1985 STS-51-F LC-39A Edwards Air Force Base Carried Spacelab-2. 7 days, 22 hours, 45 minutes, 26 seconds
9 October 30, 1985 STS-61-A LC-39A Edwards Air Force Base Carried German Spacelab D-1. 7 days, 00 hours, 44 minutes, 51 seconds
10 January 28, 1986 STS-51-L LC-39B Did not land (Planned to land at Kennedy Space Center). Shuttle disintegrated after launch, killing all seven astronauts on board. Was to have deployed TDRS-B. 0 days, 00 hours, 01 minutes, 13 seconds

Loss of Challenger

The crew of the Challenger's final flight.

Challenger was destroyed in the second minute of the orbiter's tenth mission, on January 28, 1986 at 11:38:00 a.m. EST ("51-L". http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/51-l/mission-51-l.html. ), when an O-ring seal on its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed. The O-rings failed to seal due to a variety of factors, including unusually low temperatures.[6] This failure allowed a plume of flame to leak out of the SRB and impinge on both the external fuel tank (ET) and SRB aft attachment strut. This caused both structural failure of the ET and the SRB pivoting into the orbiter and ET. The orbiter's attitude rotated out of the normal flight profile and the vehicle assembly then broke apart under aerodynamic loads.[7]

See also

Space Shuttle Challenger at Ellington Field in 1982

References

External links


Simple English

Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-099) was a spaceship used by NASA to fly into outer space. The shuttle broke up 73 seconds after take-off from Cape Canaveral on 28 January 1986.[1] All seven astronauts who were on it at the time were killed. The crash happened because a rubber tube called an o-ring did not expand to fill a gap in one of the booster rockets, due to cold weather.

The Challenger was named after a US Navy ship which explored the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans from 1872 to 1876.[1] Challenger was also the name of the Apollo 17 Lunar Excursion Module.[1]

Astronauts

  • Francis "Dick" Scobee (46)
  • Michael Smith (40)
  • Judith Resnik (36)
  • Ellison Onizuka (39)
  • Ronald McNair (35)
  • Gregory Jarvis (41)
  • Christa McAuliffe, first teacher in space

References








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