December 02 - 09, 1992.

Crew & Mission

Space Shuttle Discovery was launched at 1324 UTC on December 02 into a 369 x 379 km x 57 deg orbit. This was the 8th Shuttle flight of 1992, a record surpassed only by the 9 flights in 1985. At 1918 UTC the DoD-1 satellite was deployed. On December 03 the orbit was lowered to 317 x 331 km; on Dec 4 an attempt to deploy the ODERACS satellites failed due to electrical problems.

The Crewmembers of STS-53 were; Commander David M. Walker, Pilot Robert D. Cabana, Mission Specialist Guion S. Bluford, James S. Voss and Michael R.U. Clifford. STS-53 Mission Specialist Mike Clifford is the first of the 1990 astronaut group to fly in space; the last of the 1987 group astronauts made their first flight on STS-47.

Life sciences experiments performed during the STS-53 mission were those classified as Detailed Supplementary Objectives (DSOs). A DSO is a NASA-sponsored investigation performed by Space Shuttle crewmembers, who serve as the test subjects. These studies are designed to require minimal crew time, power and stowage. Biomedical DSOs focus on operational concerns, including space motion sickness, cardiovascular deconditioning, muscle loss, changes in coordination and balance strategies, radiation exposure, pharmacokinetics and changes in the body's biochemistry. Additional payloads flown on this mission included multiple Get Away Special (GAS) experiments, including the Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres experiment.

Discovery landed December 09, 1992, 3:43.17 p.m. EST, Runway 22, Edwards AFB, Calif., orbit 115. Mission Elapsed Time: 7 days, 7 hours, 19 minutes, 17 seconds. Rollout distance: 10,165 feet. Landing diverted from KSC because of cloud cover. Orbiter returned to KSC on Dec. l8. Orbiter Landing Weight: 193,215. Payload down weight: 5,151 lbs.

The Artwork

(STS053-S-001 -) --- The STS-53 insignia shows the Space Shuttle Discovery rising to new achievments as it trails the symbol of the Astronaut Office against a backdrop of the American flag. The five stars and three stripes also symbolize teh mission number -- STS-53 -- and America's continuing commitment to world leadership in space. The pentagonal shape of the patch represents the Department of Defense and its support of the Space Shuttle Program. The band delineating the flag from space includes the four colors of the military services of the crew members.