Long Duration Exposure Facility

Long Duration Exposure Facility
LDEF, shortly before deployment, flies on the RMS arm of Space Shuttle Challenger over Baja California.
Mission typeMaterials research
COSPAR ID1984-034B Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.14898
Mission duration2076 days
Distance travelled1,374,052,506 km (853,796,644 mi)
Orbits completed32,422
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass9,724 kg (21,438 lb)[1]
Dry mass3,629 kg (8,001 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch dateApril 6, 1984, 13:58:00 (1984-04-06UTC13:58Z) UTC
RocketSpace Shuttle Challenger
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Recovered bySpace Shuttle Columbia
Recovery dateJanuary 12, 1990, 15:16 (1990-01-12UTC15:17Z) UTC
Landing dateJanuary 20, 1990, 09:35:37 UTC
Landing siteEdwards Runway 22
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude473.0 km (293.9 mi)
Apogee altitude483.0 km (300.1 mi)
Inclination28.5 degrees
Period94.2 minutes

NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility, or LDEF (pronounced "eldef"), was a cylindrical facility designed to provide long-term experimental data on the outer space environment and its effects on space systems, materials, operations and selected spores' survival.[2][3] It was placed in low Earth orbit by Space Shuttle Challenger in April 1984. The original plan called for the LDEF to be retrieved in March 1985, but after a series of delays it was eventually returned to Earth by Columbia in January 1990.[3]

It successfully carried science and technology experiments for about 5.7 years that have revealed a broad and detailed collection of space environmental data. LDEF's 69 months in space provided scientific data on the long-term effects of space exposure on materials, components and systems that has benefited NASA spacecraft designers to this day.[4]

  1. ^ a b "Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF)". NASA.
  2. ^ "The Long Duration Exposure Facility". NASA. Langley Research Center. Archived from the original on 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  3. ^ a b Allen, Carlton. "Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF)". NASA. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference retrieval was invoked but never defined (see the help page).