THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Atlantis STS-45 Lands at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 1992

By  //  April 2, 2023

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April 2, 1992

On April 2, 1992, STS-45 (Atlantis) landed at Kennedy Space Center.

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – On April 2, 1992, STS-45 (Atlantis) landed at Kennedy Space Center.

On board, future NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, the first Belgian citizen in space Dirk Frimout, and the first Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS-1) experiments.

It was the 46th Space Shuttle mission and the 11th for Atlantis.

Atlantis was launched on March 24, 1992, at 8:13 a.m. EST. The launch was originally scheduled for March 23, 1992, but was delayed by one day because of higher-than-allowable concentrations of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in the orbiter’s aft compartment during tanking operations.

During troubleshooting, the leaks could not be reproduced, leading engineers to believe that they were the result of plumbing in the main propulsion system not thermally conditioned to the cryogenic propellants; the launch was rescheduled for March 24, 1992. Atlantis weighed 105,982 kg (233,650 lb) at launch.

STS-45 carried the first Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS-1) experiments, placed on Spacelab pallets mounted in the orbiter’s payload bay. The non-deployable payload, equipped with 12 instruments from the United States, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Japan, conducted studies in atmospheric chemistry, solar radiation, space plasma physics and ultraviolet astronomy.

ATLAS-1 instruments included the Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS); Grille Spectrometer; Millimeter Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS); Imaging Spectrometric Observatory (ISO); Atmospheric Lyman-Alpha Emissions (ALAE); Atmospheric Emissions Photometric Imager (AEPI); Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC); Active Cavity Radiometer (ACR); Measurement of Solar Constant (SOLCON); Solar Spectrum;[2] Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM); and Far Ultraviolet Space Telescope (FAUST). Other payloads included the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment, a Get Away Special (GAS) experiment and six mid-deck experiments.

The mission was extended by a day in order to continue science experiments. The landing occurred on April 2, 1992, 6:23 a.m. EST, on Runway 33 of the Shuttle Landing Facility, located at the Kennedy Space Center. The rollout distance was 2,812 m (9,226 ft) and Atlantis weighed 93,005 kg (205,041 lb) on landing.

Wikipedia contributed this report