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Occurred 34 years ago

STS-36 was the sixth mission dedicated to the Department of Defense.



mission duration

4 days, 10 hours, 18 minutes, 22 seconds


Feb. 28, 1990


March 4, 1990
Five astronauts in blue jumpsuits Posed near the Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery
The STS-36 crew portrait features 5 astronauts who served in the 6th Department of Defense (DOD) mission. Posed near the Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery are (left to right) Pierre J. Thuot, mission specialist 3; John H. Caster, pilot; John H. Creighton, commander; Richard M. (Mike) Mullane, mission specialist 1; and David. C. Hilmers, mission specialist 2. The crew launched aboard Atlantis on February 28, 1990 at 2:50:22am (EST).

Mission Facts

Mission: Department of Defense
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: Classified
Launched: February 28, 1990, 2:50:22 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: March 4, 1990, 10:08:44 a.m. PST
Landing Weight: 87,200 pounds
Runway: 23
Rollout Distance: 7,900 feet
Rollout Time: 53 seconds
Revolution: 72
Mission Duration: 4 days, 10 hours, 18 minutes, 22 seconds
Returned to KSC: March 13, 1990
Orbit Altitude: 132 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 62 degrees
Miles Traveled: 1.9 million


John O. Creighton, Commander
John H. Casper, Pilot
Pierre J. Thuot, Mission Specialist
Richard M. (Mike) Mullane, Mission Specialist
David C. Hilmers, Mission Specialist

Launch Highlights

The launch set for February 22 was postponed to February 23, February 24, and February 25 due to illness of the crew commander and weather conditions. It was the first time since Apollo 13 in 1970 that a manned space mission was affected by the illness of a crew member. The launch was set for February 25 and scrubbed due to a malfunction of a range safety computer. The launch was reset for February 26 and scrubbed again due to weather conditions (Note: external tank loaded only for launch attempts on February 25 and 26, and launch on February 28). The launch on February 28 was set for a classified window lying within a launch period extending from 12 midnight to 4 a.m. EST.

Mission Highlights

Sixth mission dedicated to the Department of Defense.

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