Mission: SYNCOM IV-F5; LDEF Retrieval
Space Shuttle: Columbia
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 255,994 pounds
Launched: January 9, 1990, 7:35:00 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: January 20, 1990, 1:35:36 a.m. PST
Landing Weight: 228,335 pounds
Rollout Distance: 10,096 feet
Rollout Time: 62 seconds
Mission Duration: 10 days, 21 hours, 0 minutes, 36 seconds
Returned to KSC: January 26, 1990
Orbit Altitude: 178 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 4.5 million
The launch scheduled for December 18, 1989 was postponed to complete and verify modifications to Pad A, being used for first time since January 1986. The launch scheduled for January 8, 1990 scrubbed due to weather conditions.
Objectives were deployment of SYNCOM IV-F5 defense communications satellite and retrieval of NASA’s Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF). SYNCOM IV-F5 (also known as LEASAT 5) deployed first, and third stage Minuteman solid perigee kick motor propelled the satellite to geosynchronous orbit. LDEF was retrieved on flight day four using the remote manipulator system. Middeck payloads: Characterization of Neurospora Circadian Rhythms (CNCR); Protein Crystal Growth (PCG); Fluid Experiment Apparatus (FEA); American Flight Echocardiograph (AFE); Latitude /Longitude Locator (L3); Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE); IMAX camera; and Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.