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Mission insignia for STS-4


Occurred 42 years ago

The final research and development flight of the Space Transportation System was also the last Shuttle mission to have a crew of only two astronauts, Thomas K. Mattingly and Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr.



Mission Duration

7 days, 1 hour, 9 minutes and 31 seconds


June 27, 1982


July 4, 1982
President Ronald Reagan speaks to a crowd of more than 45,000 people at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center following the landi
President Ronald Reagan speaks to a crowd of more than 45,000 people at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center following the landing of STS-4 on July 4, 1982.

Mission: Department of Defense/Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES)
Space Shuttle: Columbia
Launch Pad: 39A
Launched: June 27, 1982 at 11:00:00 a.m. EDT
Launch Weight: 241,664 pounds
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: July 4, 1982 at 9:09:31 a.m. PDT
Runway: 22
Rollout Distance: 9,878 feet
Rollout Time: 73 seconds
Revolution: 113
Mission Duration: 7 days, 1 hour, 9 minutes and 31 seconds
Returned to KSC: July 15, 1982
Orbit Altitude: 197 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees
Miles Traveled: 2.9 million

Mission Highlights

The Final Space Transportation System research and development flight. In addition to classified Department of Defense payload, cargo included first Get Away Specials, (G-001) which contained nine experiments from Utah State University; first commercial experiment involving Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES); Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR); Induced Environment Contamination Monitor (IECM), which was deployed, and two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments. Crew performed medical experiments on themselves for two student projects, operated remote manipulator arm to swing IECM around orbiter, and took photos of lightning activity in Earth’s atmosphere. Two solid rocket booster casings were lost when main parachutes failed and they impacted the water and sank. Some rainwater penetrated protective coating of several tiles while orbiter on pad. On orbit, affected area turned toward sun and water vaporized, preventing further tile damage from freezing water.

Thomas K. Mattingly II


Astronaut Ken Mattingly was on the prime crew for the Apollo 13 mission prior to being removed from the mission due to exposure to German measles. He subsequently got to fly to the Moon as the Command Module Pilot on Apollo 16 before being chosen to command STS-4, the fourth and final test flight of Space Shuttle Columbia.

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Astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly II, STS-4 crew commander, cuts open a drink container in preparation for a meal onboard Space Shuttle Columbia. Various packages of food and meal accessories are attached to locker doors. At far left edge of the frame is the tall payload called continuous flow electrophoresis experiment (CFES) system.
Astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly II, STS-4 crew commander, prepares a meal in the middeck area of space shuttle Columbia. He uses scissors to open a drink container.
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