On this mission the first untethered space walks were carried out by Bruce McCandless and Robert Stewart, using the manned maneuvering unit.
7 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, 55 seconds
February 3, 1984
February 11, 1984
These are the five astronauts who flew on the STS-41B mission. On the front row are Vance D. Brand, commander; and Robert L. Gibson, pilot. Mission specialists (back row, left to right) are Robert L. Stewart, Dr. Ronald E. McNair and Bruce McCandless II. Stewart and McCandless are wearing Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMU) space suits. (October 15, 1983)
Mission: WESTAR-VI, Manned Maneuvering Unit, PALAPA-B2, First KSC Landing Space Shuttle: Challenger Launch Pad: 39A Launch Weight: 250,452 pounds Launched: February 3, 1984 at 8:00:00 a.m. EST Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida Landing: February 11, 1984 at 7:15:55 a.m. EST Landing Weight: 201,238 pounds Runway: 15 Rollout Distance: 10,815 feet Rollout Time: 67 seconds Revolution: 128 Mission Duration: 7 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, 55 seconds Orbit Altitude: 189 nautical miles Orbit Inclination: 28.5 degrees Miles Traveled: 3.3 million
On this mission the first untethered space walks were carried out by McCandless and Stewart, using the manned maneuvering unit. The WESTAR-VI and PALAPA-B2 satellites were deployed, but failure of the Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) rocket motors left them in radical low-Earth orbits. The German-built Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), originally flown on STS-7, became the first satellite refurbished and carried back into space. SPAS remained in the payload bay due to an electrical problem with Remote Manipulator System (RMS). The RMS manipulator foot restraints were first used to practice procedures performed for Solar Maximum satellite retrieval and repair planned for next mission. Integrated Rendezvous Target (IRT) failed due to an internal issue. Five Get Away Special canisters flown in the cargo bay and Cinema-360 camera were used by crew. Other payloads included: Acoustic Containerless Experiment System (ACES); Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR); Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME), and Isoelectric Focusing (IEF) payload.
Vance D. Brand
A recognized aerospace engineer and test pilot with almost 10,000 flying hours, Brand is perhaps best known as for his career as a NASA astronaut.
Crew portrait for STS-41B, zoomed in on pilot Robert L. Gibson.
Bruce McCandless II
Bruce McCandless II was a United States Navy officer and aviator, electrical engineer, and NASA astronaut. In 1984, during the first of his two Space Shuttle missions, he completed the first untethered spacewalk by using the Manned Maneuvering Unit.
Astronaut Bruce McCandless II, STS-41-B mission specialist, uses his hands to control his movement above the Earth — just a few meters away from the space shuttle Challenger — during the first-ever spacewalk which didn’t use restrictive tethers and umbilicals.
Ronald E. McNair
Ronald McNair was nationally recognized for his work in laser physics and was one of the thirty-five applicants selected by NASA from a pool of ten thousand.
Crew portrait for STS-41B, zoomed in on mission specialist, Dr. Ronald E. McNair.
Robert L. Stewart
Stewart entered on active duty with the United States Army in May 1964 and was assigned as an air defense artillery director at the 32nd NORAD Region Headquarters (SAGE), Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama.