NASA HISTORY: Space Shuttle Endeavour Launches STS-49 Mission, First 3-Person Spacewalk
By NASA // May 7, 2016
May 7, 1992
(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.