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Atlantis and Magellan (3).jpg
Magellan and its IUS in the payload bay of Atlantis
NamesSpace Transportation System-29
Mission typeMagellan spacecraft deployment
COSPAR ID1989-033A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.19968
Mission duration4 days, 0 hours, 56 minutes, 27 seconds (achieved)
Distance travelled2,377,800 km (1,477,500 mi)
Orbits completed65
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Atlantis
Launch mass118,441 kg (261,118 lb)
Landing mass87,296 kg (192,455 lb)
Payload mass20,833 kg (45,929 lb)
Crew size5
Start of mission
Launch date4 May 1989, 18:46:59 UTC
RocketSpace Shuttle Atlantis
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39B
ContractorRockwell International
End of mission
Landing date8 May 1989, 19:43:26 UTC
Landing siteEdwards Air Force Base,
Runway 22
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude361 km (224 mi)
Apogee altitude366 km (227 mi)
Period91.80 minutes
Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA)
Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE)
STS-30 mission patch
Sts-30 crew.jpg
Ronald J. Grabe, David M. Walker, Norman E. Thagard, Mary L. Cleave, Mark C. Lee
← STS-29 (28)
STS-28 (30) →

STS-30 was the 29th NASA Space Shuttle mission and the fourth mission for Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was the fourth shuttle launch since the Challenger disaster and the first shuttle mission since the disaster to have a female astronaut on board. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 4 May 1989, and landed four days later on 8 May 1989. During the mission, Atlantis deployed the Venus-bound Magellan probe into orbit.

The mission was officially designated STS-30R as the original STS-30 designator belonged to STS-61-A, the 22nd Space Shuttle mission. Official documentation for that mission contained the designator STS-30 throughout. As STS-51-L was designated STS-33, future flights with the STS-26 through STS-33 designators would require the R in their documentation to avoid conflicts in tracking data from one mission to another.


Position Astronaut
Commander David M. Walker
Second spaceflight
Pilot Ronald J. Grabe
Second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Mark C. Lee
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 Norman E. Thagard
Third spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 Mary L. Cleave
Second and last spaceflight

Crew seating arrangements[edit]

Seat[1] Launch Landing
STS-121 seating assignments.png

Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
S1 Walker Walker
S2 Grabe Grabe
S3 Lee Cleave
S4 Thagard Thagard
S5 Cleave Lee

Shuttle processing[edit]

Atlantis spent three months in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF-2) after returning to the Kennedy Space Center at the end of STS-27.[2] During this period technicians got to work removing and replacing all of the damaged Thermal Protection System (TPS) tiles that Atlantis sustained during her prior flight. They also took detailed inspections of the shuttle while simultaneously preparing Atlantis for STS-30R. The shuttle was rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building and mated with ET-29 and an SRB set on 11 March 1989. Eleven days later on 22 March 1989, Atlantis was rolled out to launch pad 39B.[3]

Mission summary[edit]

The launch of Atlantis on STS-30
Atlantis deploys its landing gear before landing at the end of STS-30.

Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, at 14:46:59 EDT on 4 May 1989.[3] The primary payload, the Magellan spacecraft with its attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), was successfully deployed later that day.[4] Magellan was the first American planetary mission in 11 years.

The launch was originally scheduled for 28 April 1989, the first day of a 31-day launch period when Earth and Venus were properly aligned. However, the liftoff was scrubbed at T-31 seconds because of a problem with the liquid hydrogen recirculation pump on Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) No. 1, and a vapor leak in the liquid hydrogen recirculation line between the orbiter and external tank (ET).[4] On the rescheduled liftoff date of 4 May 1989, the launch was again delayed until the final five minutes of the launch window due to cloud cover and excessive crosswinds at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF).[4] Good landing conditions were required at the SLF in case of a Return To Launch Site (RTLS) abort early in the flight.

The only major glitch during the flight occurred on 7 May 1989, when one of the four general-purpose computers programmed to operate the orbiter failed.[5] The shuttle crew replaced the computer, part of a redundant set, with a backup one. It was the first time a computer had been replaced while in orbit.[5] The glitch had no impact on the crew's safety or the primary objectives of the mission, although some of the activities involved in conducting experiments had to be canceled while the crew was replacing the computer. There also was no impact to the mission when one of the three thrusters on Atlantis' aft right-hand Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod failed during ascent.[6]

However, the STS-30 crew experienced several minor annoyances. A Hasselblad camera used to photograph sites on Earth had to be stowed for the remainder of the mission after a shutter stuck during the crew's third day in space. The Text and Graphics Systems (TAGS), a device to send images and graphics to the orbiter from Mission Control Center, had to be turned off on Flight Day 2 because of a paper jam. Commander Walker and Pilot Grabe had problems with a device used to take measurements of central venous pressure to determine the effects of microgravity on the cardiovascular system. On the second full day in space, the water dispensing system in the galley malfunctioned, causing some difficulties for the crew in preparing meals.

Atlantis touched down at Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 8 May 1989, at 15:43:27 EDT. Minutes before landing, the runway had to be switched from 17 to 22 due to high crosswinds. The mission lasted a total of 4 days, 0 hour, 56 minutes, and 28 seconds.

Payload and experiments[edit]

The Magellan spacecraft was deployed from the shuttle's payload bay six hours and 14 minutes into the mission.[6] Two successive IUS propulsion burns placed the spacecraft on its trajectory to Venus about an hour later. Magellan arrived at Venus in August 1990 and began a 243-day mission of mapping the planet's surface with radar.

Three mid-deck experiments were included on the mission. All had flown before. Mission Specialist Cleave used a portable laptop computer to operate and monitor the Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA).[6] An 8 mm (0.31 in) video camcorder, flown for the first time on the Shuttle, provided the opportunity for the crew to record and downlink on-orbit activities such as the FEA, which was a joint endeavor between Rockwell International and NASA. Payload bay video cameras were used to record storm systems from orbit as part of the Mesoscale Lightning Experiment.[6]

Wake-up calls[edit]

NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Project Gemini, and first used music to awaken a flight crew during Apollo 15.[7] Each track is specially chosen, often by the astronauts' families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities.

Flight Day Song Artist/Composer
Day 2 Theme from the film "Superman"
Day 3 Anchors Aweigh

The Wild Blue Yonder
Colorado State University Fight Song
Florida State University Fight Song

Day 4 "Gonna Fly Now" - Theme from Rocky Bill Conti
Day 5 "A Hard Day's Night" The Beatles


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Becker, Joachim. "Spaceflight mission report: STS-30". SPACEFACTS. Archived from the original on 16 June 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  2. ^ "STS-30 Press Kit" (PDF). NASA. April 1989. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 January 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b "STS-30 Atlantis, OV-104, lifts off from KSC LC Pad 39B". NASA. 4 May 1989. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ a b c Legler, Robert D.; Floyd V., Bennett (September 2011). "Space Shuttle Missions Summary" (PDF). Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Program Office. NASA. pp. 2–32. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 May 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b Peter G. Neumann (1994). Computer-Related Risks. Addison-Wesley Professional. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-321-70316-3.
  6. ^ a b c d Office of Safety, Reliability, Maintainability and Quality Assurance (25 August 1989). "Misson Safety Evaluation Report for STS-30 - Postflight Edition" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: NASA. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ Fries, Colin (13 March 2015). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF). History Division. NASA. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 January 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

External links[edit]