STS-3 was NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's third Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 mission, and was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. All seven crew...

. It was the first shuttle launch with an unpainted external tank
Space Shuttle external tank
A Space Shuttle External Tank is the component of the Space Shuttle launch vehicle that contains the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer. During lift-off and ascent it supplies the fuel and oxidizer under pressure to the three Space Shuttle Main Engines in the orbiter...

, and the only mission to land at the White Sands Space Harbor
White Sands Space Harbor
White Sands Space Harbor is the primary training area used by NASA for Space Shuttle pilots flying practice approaches and landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft and T-38 Talon aircraft. Its runways, navigational aids, runway lighting, and control facilities also stand continuously ready as a...

 near Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, also known as "The City of the Crosses", is the county seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 97,618 in 2010 according to the 2010 Census, making it the second largest city in the state....



Backup crew

Mission parameters

  • Mass
    Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

    • Orbiter Liftoff: 106782 kilograms (235,414 lb)
    • Orbiter Landing: 93924 kilograms (207,067 lb)
    • OSS Payload: 10301 kilograms (22,709.8 lb)
  • Perigee
    Perigee is the point at which an object makes its closest approach to the Earth.. Often the term is used in a broader sense to define the point in an orbit where the orbiting body is closest to the body it orbits. The opposite is the apogee, the farthest or highest point.The Greek prefix "peri"...

    150 mi (241 kilometres (149.8 mi))
  • Apogee: 155 mi (249 kilometres (154.7 mi))
  • Inclination
    Inclination in general is the angle between a reference plane and another plane or axis of direction.-Orbits:The inclination is one of the six orbital parameters describing the shape and orientation of a celestial orbit...

  • Period
    Orbital period
    The orbital period is the time taken for a given object to make one complete orbit about another object.When mentioned without further qualification in astronomy this refers to the sidereal period of an astronomical object, which is calculated with respect to the stars.There are several kinds of...

    89.4 min

Mission summary

Columbia was launched from Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

 at 11:00 am EST, on 22 March 1982, the planned launch date. The launch was delayed by one hour due to the failure of a heater on a nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

-gas ground support line. Prior to the launch, Columbia had spent only 70 days in the Orbiter Processing Facility—a record checkout time. The two-man crew consisted of Jack R. Lousma
Jack R. Lousma
Jack Robert Lousma is a former NASA astronaut and politician. He was a member of the second manned crew on the Skylab space station and also commanded the third space shuttle mission...

, commander, and Charles G. Fullerton
C. Gordon Fullerton
Charles Gordon Fullerton is a retired United States Air Force officer, a former USAF and NASA astronaut and retired research pilot at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, California...

, pilot.
The primary objectives of the flight were to continue testing the "Canadarm" Remote Manipulator System (RMS), and to carry out extensive thermal testing of Columbia by exposing its tail, nose and top to the Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

 for varying periods of time.

In addition, in its payload bay, Columbia again carried the DFI package, and OSS-l (named for the NASA Office of Space Science and Applications) which consisted of a number of instruments mounted on a Spacelab
Spacelab was a reusable laboratory used on certain spaceflights flown by the Space Shuttle. The laboratory consisted of multiple components, including a pressurized module, an unpressurized carrier and other related hardware housed in the Shuttle's cargo bay...

 pallet, intended to obtain data on the near-Earth environment and the extent of contamination caused by the orbiter itself. A test canister for the Small Self-Contained Payload program - also known as the Getaway Special
Getaway Special
Getaway Special was a NASA program that offered interested individuals, or groups, opportunities to fly small experiments aboard the Space Shuttle...

 (GAS) – was mounted on one side of the payload bay.

For the first time, a number of experiments were carried in the shuttle's mid-deck lockers. These included a Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System experiment to study the separation of biological components, and a Mono-disperse Latex Reactor experiment, to produce uniform micrometre
A micrometer , is by definition 1×10-6 of a meter .In plain English, it means one-millionth of a meter . Its unit symbol in the International System of Units is μm...

-sized latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 particles. The first Shuttle Student Involvement Project (SSIP) – a study of insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

 motion - also was carried in a mid-deck locker.

A variety of minor problems were experienced during the flight. Both crew members experienced some space sickness, the orbiter's toilet malfunctioned, one Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) overheated (but worked properly during descent), and on 26 March, three communications links were lost.

STS-3 was planned as a 7-day flight. However, it was extended an extra day due to high winds at the backup landing site, Northrop Strip, White Sands, New Mexico
White Sands, New Mexico
White Sands is a census-designated place in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 1,323 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Las Cruces Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, since the planned landing site at Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located on the border of Kern County, Los Angeles County, and San Bernardino County, California, in the Antelope Valley. It is southwest of the central business district of North Edwards, California and due east of Rosamond.It is named in...

 had flooded due to excessive rain. A large-scale equipment movement from Edwards AFB to White Sands was undertaken during the mission, to ensure that a landing could be fully supported. Although time-sensitive equipment movements of this nature were originally to be handled by Air Force cargo planes, NASA altered those plans and moved the equipment in two dedicated trains over the 1,000-mile distance via the Santa Fe Railroad and the Southern Pacific Railroad
Southern Pacific Railroad
The Southern Pacific Transportation Company , earlier Southern Pacific Railroad and Southern Pacific Company, and usually simply called the Southern Pacific or Espee, was an American railroad....

. The choice to move the support equipment by rail saved NASA $2 million in transportation costs.

Touchdown finally took place at 9:05 am MST, 30 March 1982, at Northrop Strip (later renamed White Sands Space Harbor
White Sands Space Harbor
White Sands Space Harbor is the primary training area used by NASA for Space Shuttle pilots flying practice approaches and landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft and T-38 Talon aircraft. Its runways, navigational aids, runway lighting, and control facilities also stand continuously ready as a...

). STS-3 was the only shuttle mission to land at White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range is a rocket range of almost in parts of five counties in southern New Mexico. The largest military installation in the United States, WSMR includes the and the WSMR Otera Mesa bombing range...

. The final approach was in part flown by the shuttle's autopilot
An autopilot is a mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic system used to guide a vehicle without assistance from a human being. An autopilot can refer specifically to aircraft, self-steering gear for boats, or auto guidance of space craft and missiles...

, but the autoland program was not complete, and it was not meant to be an automatic landing. Rolling out on finals, the autopilot was reengaged, and responded by closing the speedbrakes (despite the orbiter being on profile), resulting in increased speed. The autopilot then commanded full speedbrakes, and kept oscillating like this for some time. Lousma left the autopilot activated in order to gather data on its behaviour, but disconnected it again at a very late stage to touch down manually. The landing demonstrated that the shuttle could land in the desert, but sand damaged the orbiter. The landing was also one of the more dramatic of the program, with the landing gear deploying at 150 feet at 275kts, locked just 5 seconds before touch down, and the nose being raised again right before nose-gear touchdown.

Columbia made 130 orbits and traveled 3300000 miles (5,310,822 km) during its 8-day, 4-minute, 45-second flight. A total of 36 thermal protection tiles were lost and 19 were damaged. The orbiter was returned to KSC on 6 April 1982.

STS-3 was the last mission for which NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 named a complete full-time backup crew.

Flight dedication by President Reagan

"Just as the Columbia, we think, represents man's finest aspirations in the field of science and technology, so too does the struggle of the Afghan people
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 represent man's highest aspirations for freedom... I am dedicating, on behalf of the American people, the 22 March launch of the Columbia to the people of Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

." – President Ronald W. Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

Mission insignia

On the mission patch, Columbia is shown emerging from a star, representing the bright aspiration of space exploration. The orbiter is seen grabbing a PDP with the Canadarm, and is shown with many experiments in its payload bay. The three large orange triangular points of the mission patch indicate the flight's numerical designation in the Space Transportation System's mission sequence.

Wake-up calls

NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Gemini program, and first used music to wake up a flight crew during Apollo 15
Apollo 15
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed "J missions", long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous...

Each track is specially chosen, often by the astronauts' families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities.
Flight Day Song Artist/Composer
Day 2 "On the Road Again
On the Road Again (Willie Nelson song)
"On the Road Again" is a song made famous by country music singer Willie Nelson, and is part of the soundtrack to the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose....

Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

Day 3 "Marine Corps Hymn"
Day 4 "The Air Force Song"
Day 5 "Sailing" Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross is an American singer-songwriter from San Antonio, Texas. His debut album earned him five Grammys. He is perhaps best known for his Top Ten hit songs, "Sailing", "Ride Like the Wind", and "Arthur's Theme ", the last of which he performed for the film Arthur starring Dudley Moore...

Day 6 "Six Days on the Road
Six Days on the Road
"Six Days on the Road" is an American song written by Muscle Shoals Sound Studio songwriter Carl Montgomery and Earl Green, made originally famous by country music singer Dave Dudley...

Dave Dudley
Dave Dudley
Dave Dudley , born David Darwin Pedruska, was an American country music singer best-known for his truck-driving country anthems of the 1960s and 1970s and his semi-slurred baritone. His signature song was "Six Days on the Road," and he is also remembered for "Vietnam Blues," "Truck Drivin'...

Day 7 "This is My Country
This Is My Country
"This is My Country" is an American patriotic folk song composed in 1940. The lyrics are by Don Raye and the music is by Al Jacobs.The song begins slowly, opening with:"This is My Country" is an American patriotic folk song composed in 1940...


See also

  • Space exploration
    Space exploration
    Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

  • List of Space Shuttle missions
  • List of human spaceflights chronologically

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.