NASA HISTORY: Space Shuttle Endeavour Launches STS-49 Mission, First 3-Person Spacewalk

By  //  May 7, 2016

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May 7, 1992

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On May 7, 1992, Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on the STS-49 mission, her maiden voyage. Not only was the mission the first flight for the orbiter, it was especially notable for the first 3-person spacewalk. (NASA Image)

(NASA) – On May 7, 1992, Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on the STS-49 mission, her maiden voyage. Not only was the mission the first flight for the orbiter, it was especially notable for the first 3-person spacewalk.

Adapting to unplanned problems, astronauts Pierre J. Thuot, Richard J. Hieb, and Thomas D. Akers hand captured the INTELSAT VI communication satellite during a spacewalk that was planned “on the fly.”

INTELSAT VI had been stranded in the wrong orbit and the mission of STS-49 was to attach a rocket motor to the satellite that would lift it to the proper orbit.

But, this remarkable repair wasn’t all – STS-49 was truly a mission of ‘firsts.’

The following records were set during the STS-49 mission:

• First spacewalk involving three astronauts.
• First and second longest spacewalks to date: 8 hours and 29 minutes and 7 hours and 45 minutes.
• First shuttle mission to feature four spacewalks.
• Most spacewalking time for a single Shuttle mission to that date: 25 hours and 27 minutes, or 59:23 person hours.
• First Shuttle mission requiring three rendezvous with an orbiting spacecraft.
• First attachment of a live rocket motor to an orbiting satellite.
• First use of a drag chute during a Shuttle landing.

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Not only was the mission the first flight for the orbiter, it was especially notable for the first 3-person spacewalk. (NASA Image)


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