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Atlantis deploys a Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite.
NamesSpace Transportation System-44
Mission typeDSP satellite deployment
COSPAR ID1991-080A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.21795
Mission duration6 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes, 44 seconds
Distance travelled4,651,112 km (2,890,067 mi)
Orbits completed110
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Atlantis
Launch mass117,766 kg (259,630 lb)
Landing mass87,919 kg (193,828 lb)
Payload mass20,240 kg (44,620 lb)
Crew size6
Start of mission
Launch dateNovember 24, 1991, 23:44:00 UTC
RocketSpace Shuttle Atlantis
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39A
ContractorRockwell International
End of mission
Landing dateDecember 1, 1991, 22:34:12 UTC
Landing siteEdwards Air Force Base,
Runway 5
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude363 km (226 mi)
Apogee altitude371 km (231 mi)
Period91.90 minutes

STS-44 mission patch

Standing: James S. Voss, Thomas J. Hennen, Mario Runco Jr.
Seated: Terence T. Henricks, Frederick D. Gregory, Story Musgrave
← STS-48 (43)
STS-42 (45) →

STS-44 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission using Atlantis that launched on November 24, 1991. It was a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) space mission.


Position Astronaut
Commander Frederick D. Gregory
Third and last spaceflight
Pilot Terence T. Henricks
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 James S. Voss
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 Story Musgrave
Fourth spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 Mario Runco Jr.
First spaceflight
Payload Specialist 1 Thomas J. Hennen
Only spaceflight

Backup crew[edit]

Position Astronaut
Payload Specialist 1 Michael E. Belt
First spaceflight

Crew seating arrangements[edit]

Seat[1] Launch Landing
Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
S1 Gregory Gregory
S2 Henricks Henricks
S3 Voss Runco
S4 Musgrave Musgrave
S5 Runco Voss
S6 Hennen Hennen

Mission highlights[edit]

The launch was on November 24, 1991, at 23:44:00 UTC. A launch set for November 19, 1991, was delayed due to replacement and testing of a malfunctioning redundant inertial measurement unit on the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster attached to the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite. The launch was reset for November 24 and was delayed by 13 minutes to allow an orbiting spacecraft to pass and to allow external tank liquid oxygen replenishment after minor repairs to a valve in the liquid oxygen replenishment system in the mobile launcher platform. Launch weight was 117,766 kilograms (259,630 lb).

The mission was dedicated to the Department of Defense. The unclassified payload included a Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite, DSP-16 attached to Inertial Upper Stage (IUS-14), deployed on flight day one. Cargo bay and middeck payloads included the Interim Operational Contamination Monitor (IOCM), Terra-Scout, Military Man in Space (M88-1), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM), Shuttle Activation Monitor (SAM), Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME III), Visual Function Tester (VFT-1), Bioreactor Flow, and Extended Duration Orbiter Medical Project, a series of investigations in support of Extended Duration Orbiter. The Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI) experiment was located onboard the previously-launched LACE satellite, and could've been pointed at Atlantis on-orbit to observe the shuttle's thruster findings. However, no opportunities or intersections occurred during this mission.[2]

The landing was on December 1, 1991, at 22:34:44 UTC, Runway 5, Edwards Air Force Base, California. The rollout distance was 3,411 m (11,191 ft), and the rollout time was 107 seconds. The landing weight was 87,918 kg (193,826 lb). The landing was originally scheduled for Kennedy Space Center on December 4, 1991, but the ten-day mission was shortened and the landing rescheduled following the November 30, 1991, on-orbit failure of one of three orbiter inertial measurement units.[3] The lengthy rollout was due to minimal braking for test. Atlantis returned to Kennedy on December 8, 1991. This was also the final shuttle landing on a dry lake bed runway.

Wake-up calls[edit]

NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Project Gemini, and first used music to wake up a flight crew during Apollo 15.[4] 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.

+ Day Song Artist Played/For
Day 2 Recorded message from Patrick Stewart Mario Runco
Day 3 This is the Army, Mr Jones Irving Berlin
Day 4 It's Time to Love (Put a little love in your heart) James Brown
Day 5 Cheesburger in Paradise Jimmy Buffett
Day 6 Twist and Shout from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Day 7 University of Alabama and Auburn University fight songs Jim Voss and Jan Davis
Day 8 In the Mood

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "STS-44". Spacefacts. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  2. ^ Fricke, Robert W. (January 1992). STS-47 Space Shuttle Mission Report (PDF) (Report). Houston, Texas: Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Company - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (published January 1, 1992). p. 20. NASA-TM-108735. Retrieved February 11, 2024.
  3. ^ "Shuttle Flight to Be Cut Short as Unit Fails: Mission Control favors landing at Edwards today if winds subside. Crew not considered in danger due to backup navigational devices". Los Angeles Times. December 1, 1991. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  4. ^ Fries, Colin. "Chronology of wakeup calls" (PDF). Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

External links[edit]