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‘Commander: Robert L. Crippen
Pilot: Francis R. “Dick” Scobee
Mission Specialists: George D. “Pinky” Nelson, Terry J. Hart, James D. A. van Hoften
Dates: April 6-13, 1984
Vehicle: Challenger OV-099
Payloads: LDEF, RME, SSIP (one experiment), and IMAX and Cinema 360 cameras
EVA: (MMU/Tethered) retrieved, repaired, and deployed the Solar Maximum Satellite
Landing site: Runway 17 dry lakebed at Edwards AFB, CA
Narrated by the Commander and crew, this program contains footage selected by the astronauts, as well as their comments on the mission. Footage includes launch, onboard crew activities, and landing. Includes video taken from Hawaii by Paul D. Maley (JSC DO3) of External Tank (ET) reentry.’
Originally a public domain film, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
STS-41-C was NASA’s 11th Space Shuttle mission, and the fifth mission of Space Shuttle Challenger. The launch, which took place on April 6, 1984, marked the first direct ascent trajectory for a shuttle mission. During the mission, Challenger’s crew captured and repaired the malfunctioning Solar Maximum Mission (“Solar Max”) satellite, and deployed the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) experimental apparatus. STS-41-C was extended one day due to problems capturing the Solar Max satellite, and the landing on April 13 took place at Edwards Air Force Base, instead of at Kennedy Space Center as had been planned. The flight was originally numbered STS-13…
STS-41-C launched successfully at 8:58 am EST on April 6, 1984…
On the second day of the flight, the LDEF was grappled by the “Canadarm” Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm and successfully released into orbit…
On the third day of the mission, Challenger’s orbit was raised to about 300 nautical miles (560 km), and it maneuvered to within 200 feet (61 m) of the stricken Solar Max satellite. Astronauts Nelson and van Hoften, wearing spacesuits, entered the payload bay. Nelson, using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), flew out to the satellite and attempted to grasp it with a special capture tool, called the Trunnion Pin Acquisition Device (TPAD). Three attempts to clamp the TPAD onto the satellite failed. Solar Max began tumbling on multiple axes when Nelson attempted to grab one of the satellite’s solar arrays by hand, and the effort was called off. Crippen had to perform multiple maneuvers of the orbiter to keep up with Nelson and Solar Max, and nearly ran out of RCS fuel.
During the night of the third day, the Solar Max Payload Operations Control Center (POCC), located at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, was able to establish control over the satellite by sending commands ordering the satellite’s magnetorquers to stabilize its tumbling. This was successful, and Solar Max went into a slow, regular spin. The next day, Crippen maneuvered Challenger back to Solar Max, and Hart was able to grapple the satellite with the RMS. They placed Solar Max on a special cradle in the payload bay using the RMS. Nelson and van Hoften then began the repair operation, replacing the satellite’s attitude control mechanism and the main electronics system of the coronagraph instrument. The ultimately successful repair effort took two separate spacewalks. Solar Max was deployed back into orbit the next day. After a 30-day checkout by the Goddard POCC, the satellite resumed full operation.
Other STS-41-C mission activities included a student experiment located in a middeck locker which found that honeybees can successfully make honeycomb cells in a microgravity environment. Highlights of the mission, including the LDEF deployment and the Solar Max repair, were filmed using an IMAX movie camera, and the results appeared in the 1985 IMAX movie The Dream is Alive.
The 6-day, 23-hour, 40-minute, 7-second mission ended on April 13, 1984, at 5:38 am PST, when Challenger landed safely on Runway 17, at Edwards AFB, having completed 108 orbits. Challenger was returned to KSC on April 18, 1984…