7 August 1997

Space Shuttle ‘Discovery’ launched for the NASA STS-85 mission.

The STS-85 mission has begun at 10:41:00 EDT, when ´Discovery´ crewed by astronauts – Commander Curtis L. Brown; Pilot Kent V. Rominger; Mission Specialists N. Jan Davis, Robert L. Curbeam, Jr., Stephen K. Robinson and Payload Specialist Bjarni V. Tryggvason left the famous Launch Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Centre.

The goal of STS-85 was to place several devices in space, perform experiments and gather data important for the NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth, a programme dedicated to improve the understanding of an overall Earth’s system and influence of natural and human-induced changes on our planet and its atmosphere. Additionally, a few other tests have been performed during this mission, that helped the future assembling of the International Space Station.

Among the specific equipment carried by the shuttle were: the CRISTA-SPAS-02 (Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite-2); the MFD (Japanese Manipulator Flight Development); the TAS-1 (Technology Applications and Science-01) and the IEH-02 (International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker-02). Moreover, a number of other probes were installed on board the shuttle for research in the field of biology. It is also worth noting, that during that mission the ´Discovery´ crew worked with the Orbiter Space Vision System – a series of dots placed on various cargo elements and spacecraft structures to precise align and install the particular parts. The system was later used during assembly of the International Space Station.

The STS-85 mission lasted almost 12 days (exactly it was 11 days, 19 hours, 18 minutes and 47 seconds). Within that time, the Space Shuttle performed 185 revolutions around the Earth and the crew successfully completed all the scheduled tasks.

´Discovery´ returned to Earth on 19th August, at 7:07:59 EDT, landing at runway 33 at the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility.

The STS-85 mission was the twenty-third flight of ´Discovery´ and the eighty-sixth mission of the NASA’s Space Shuttle programme.

Photo: Space Shuttle Discovery launching for the STS-85 mission. (Source: NASA Image and Video Library, NASA ID: KSC-97PC1206, Date Created: 1997-08-07)