Suggested Searches


Occurred 36 years ago

STS-26's primary payload, NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-3 (TDRS-3) became the second TDRS deployed.



mission duration

4 days, 1 hour, 0 minutes, 11 seconds


Sept. 29, 1988


Oct. 3, 1988
Five astronauts in blue jumpsuits pose for portrait with model shuttle in front of US flag
S87-40673 (September 1987) — Astronauts Frederick H. (Rick) Hauck (right front), mission commander, and Richard O. Covey (left front), pilot, are flanked by NASA’s STS-26 mission specialists (l.-r.) David C. Hilmers, George D. (Pinky) Nelson and John M. (Mike) Lounge.

Mission Facts

Mission: TDRS-C
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39B
Launch Weight: 254,606 pounds
Launched: Sept. 29, 1988, 11:37:00 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: October 3, 1988, 9:37:11 a.m. PDT
Landing Weight: 194,184 pounds
Runway: 17
Rollout Distance: 7,451 feet
Rollout Time: 46 seconds
Revolution: 64
Mission Duration: 4 days, 1 hour, 0 minutes, 11 seconds
Returned to KSC: Oct. 8, 1988
Orbit Altitude: 203 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 1.7 million


Frederick H. (Rick) Hauck, Commander
Richard O. Covey, Pilot
David C. Hilmers, Mission Specialist
George D. (Pinky) Nelson, Mission Specialist
John M. (Mike) Lounge, Mission Specialist

Launch Highlights

The launch was delayed 1 hour, 38 minutes to replace fuses in the cooling system of two of the crew’s flight pressure suits, and due to lighter than expected upper atmospheric winds. The suit repairs were successful and the countdown continued after a waiver of wind condition constraint was issued.

Mission Highlights

The primary payload, NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-3 (TDRS-3) attached to an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), became the second TDRS deployed. After deployment, IUS propelled the satellite to a geosynchronous orbit. Secondary payloads: Physical Vapor Transport of Organic Solids (PVTOS); Protein Crystal Growth (PCG); Infrared Communications Flight Experiment (IRCFE); Aggregation of Red Blood Cells (ARC); Isoelectric Focusing Experiment (IFE); Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE); Phase Partitioning Experiment (PPE); Earth-Limb Radiance Experiment (ELRAD); Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (ADSF) and two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments. Orbiter Experiments Autonomous Supporting Instrumentation System-I (OASIS-I) recorded variety of environmental measurements during various inflight phases of orbiter.

Ku-band antenna in the payload bay was deployed; however, the dish antenna command and actual telemetry did not correspond. Also, the orbiter cabin Flash Evaporator System iced up, raising crew cabin temperature to the mid-80s.

Featured Story

30 Years Ago: STS-26 Returns Shuttle to Flight

January 28, 1986, was a cold day at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and became a dark day for the American…

Read the Story
Featured Story

Retired Space Shuttle Locations

Shuttle Atlantis – Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Shuttle Discovery – Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Shuttle Endeavour – California Science…

Read the Story