RELEASE NO. 85-145
STS-61-A TO CARRY D-1 – THE FIRST GERMAN SPACELAB
The “Deutschland Spacelab Mission D-1” is the first of a series of dedicated West German missions on the Space Shuttle. It also is the first time a Spacelab payload has come from Europe completely checked out and ready for installation in the orbital laboratory.
Spacelab D-1 is managed by the Federal German Aerospace Research Establishment (DFVLR) for the German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology (BMFT). DFVLR’s responsibilities include provision of the payload, payload analytical ands physical integration and verification, and payload operation on orbit.
The Spacelab payload was assembled by MBB/ERNO over a 5-year period at a cost of approximately $175 million. The company serves as prime contractor to the 12-nation European Space Agency in the $1 billion Spacelab project.
Used by German and other European universities, research institutes and industrial enterprises, the D-1 is dedicated to experimental scientific and technological research.
Launch of the 22nd Space Shuttle mission is currently planned for no earlier than Oct. 30, 1995. Orbiter Challenger is scheduled to begin its ninth trip into space with a liftoff from Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center, FL, at 12 noon, EST. The window for that date extends to 3:00 p.m.
Highlights of the 7-day mission include basic and applied microgravity research in the fields of materials sciences, life sciences and technology, and communication and navigation. The users are German and foreign universities, research institutes and industrial enterprises as well as ESA and NASA.
Challenger will carry and 8-member crew – the largest ever flown in space – commanded by Henry (Hank) Hartsfield, who piloted the STS-4 and commanded the STS-41-D flights. Pilot Steven Nagel served as mission specialist aboard STS-51-G.
Other crewmembers include mission specialists James Buchli, Guion Bluford and Bonnie Dunbar; and European payload specialists Drs. Reinhard Furrer (DFVLR - German), Ernst Messerschmid (DFVLR - German) and Wubbo Ockels (ESA- Dutch).
Buchli is a veteran of Shuttle flight 51-C, the first mission totally dedicated to the Department of Defense. Bluford flew aboard STS-8. This will be the first mission for Dunbar, Furrer, Messerschmid and Ockels.
Challenger will be launched into a circular orbit of 201 statue miles and have a 57-degree inclination to the equator.
As with all Space Shuttle missions, NASA will maintain control over the Shuttle vehicle and overall safety and conduct of the flight. For D-1, the Federal Republic of Germany will have management responsibility for the scientific mission to be carried out during the seven-day flight. The payload operations control center will be at the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) located in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich.
The experimental facilities are arranged according to scientific disciplines into so-called Payload Elements. The facilities are provided by DFVLR, ESA and NASA.
These facilities comprise melting furnaces, facilities for the observation of fluid physics phenomena, chambers to provide specific environmental conditions for living test objects, and the Vestibular Sled, which exposes astronauts to defined accelerations to study the function of the inner ear.
Edited by Richard W. Orloff, 01/2001/Page 5