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Mission Specialists Richard Hieb, Thomas Akers and Pierre Thuot capture the Intelsat 603 satellite during STS-49
|Mission type||Satellite repair|
|Mission duration||8 days, 21 hours, 17 minutes, 38 seconds|
|Distance travelled||5,948,166 kilometers (3,696,019 mi)|
|Spacecraft||Space Shuttle Endeavour|
|Landing mass||91,214 kilograms (201,092 lb)|
|Payload mass||14,618 kilograms (32,227 lb)|
Daniel C. Brandenstein|
Kevin P. Chilton
Richard J. Hieb
Bruce E. Melnick
Pierre J. Thuot
Kathryn C. Thornton
Thomas D. Akers
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||7 May 1992, 23:40:00UTC|
|Launch site||Kennedy LC-39B|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||16 May 1992, 22:57:38UTC|
|Landing site||Edwards Runway 22|
|Perigee||268 kilometres (167 mi)|
|Apogee||341 kilometres (212 mi)|
Left to right: Thornton, Melnick, Thuot, Brandenstein, Chilton, Akers, Hieb
STS-49 was the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The primary goal of its nine-day mission was to retrieve an Intelsat VI satellite (Intelsat 603, which failed to leave low earth orbit two years before), attach it to a new upper stage, and relaunch it to its intended geosynchronous orbit. After several attempts, the capture was completed with a three-person extra-vehicular activity (EVA). This was the first time that three people from the same spacecraft walked in space at the same time, and as of 2014[update] it was the only such EVA. It would also stand until STS-102 in 2001 as the longest EVA ever undertaken.
|Commander||Daniel C. Brandenstein|
Fourth and final spaceflight
|Pilot||Kevin P. Chilton|
|Mission Specialist 1||Richard J. Hieb|
|Mission Specialist 2||Bruce E. Melnick|
|Mission Specialist 3||Pierre J. Thuot|
|Mission Specialist 4||Kathryn C. Thornton|
|Mission Specialist 5||Thomas D. Akers|
Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
The Intelsat 603 satellite, stranded in an unusable orbit since launch aboard a Commercial Titan III rocket in March 1990, was captured by crewmembers during an EVA (extra-vehicular activity) and equipped with a new perigee kick motor. The satellite was subsequently released into orbit and the new motor fired to put the spacecraft into a geosynchronous orbit for operational use.
The capture required three EVAs: a planned one by astronaut Thuot and Hieb who were unable to attach a capture bar to the satellite from a position on the RMS; a second unscheduled but identical attempt the following day; and finally an unscheduled but successful hand capture by Thuot, Hieb and Akers as commander Brandenstein delicately maneuvered the orbiter to within a few feet of the 4215 kg communications satellite. An Assembly of Station by EVA Methods (ASEM) structure was erected in the cargo bay by the crew to serve as a platform to aid in the hand capture and subsequent attachment of the capture bar.
A planned EVA also was performed by astronauts Thornton and Akers as part of the ASEM experiment to demonstrate and verify maintenance and assembly capabilities for Space Station Freedom. The ASEM space walk, originally scheduled for two successive days, was cut to one day because of the lengthy Intelsat retrieval operation.
Other "payloads of opportunity" experiments conducted included: Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG), Ultraviolet Plume Imager (UVPI) and the Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS) investigation. The mission was extended by two days in order to complete all the mission objectives.
The following records were set during the STS-49 mission:
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