Canadarm's in-flight test during STS-2
NamesSpace Transportation System-2
Mission typeTest flight
COSPAR ID1981-111A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.12953
Mission duration5 days (planned)
2 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 12 seconds (achieved)
Distance travelled1,730,000 km (1,070,000 mi) [1]
Orbits completed37
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass104,647 kg (230,707 lb)
Landing mass92,650 kg (204,260 lb)
Payload mass8,517 kg (18,777 lb)
Crew size2
Start of mission
Launch dateNovember 12, 1981, 15:09:59 UTC
RocketSpace Shuttle Columbia (mission 2)
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39A
ContractorRockwell International
End of mission
Landing dateNovember 14, 1981, 21:23:11 UTC
Landing siteEdwards Air Force Base, Runway 23
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude222 km (138 mi)
Apogee altitude231 km (144 mi)
Period89.00 minutes
  • Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI)
  • Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR)

STS-2 mission patch

Engle and Truly
← STS-1
STS-3 →

STS-2 was the second Space Shuttle mission conducted by NASA, and the second flight of the orbiter Columbia. The mission, crewed by Joe H. Engle and Richard H. Truly, launched on November 12, 1981, and landed two days later on November 14, 1981.[1] STS-2 marked the first time that a crewed, reusable orbital vehicle returned to space.[2] This mission tested the Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR) as part of the OSTA-1 (Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications) payload, along with a wide range of other experiments including the Shuttle robotic arm, commonly known as Canadarm.[3] Other experiments or tests included Shuttle Multispectral Infrared Radiometer, Feature Identification and Location Experiment, Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites, Ocean Color Experiment, Night/Day optical Survey of Lightning, Heflex Bioengineering Test, and Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package (ACIP).[3] One of the feats accomplished was various tests on the Orbital Maneuvring System (OMS) including starting and restarting the engines while in orbit and various adjustments to its orbit.[4] The OMS tests also helped adjust the Shuttle's orbit for use of the radar.[4] During the mission, President Reagan called the crew of STS-2 from Mission Control Center in Houston.[5]

In the early planning stages of the Space Shuttle program, STS-2 was intended to be a reboost mission for the aging Skylab space station.[note 1] However, such a mission was impeded by delays with the Shuttle's development and the deteriorating orbit of Skylab. Skylab ultimately de-orbited on July 11, 1979, two years before the launch of STS-2.[6]

  1. ^ a b "NASA – STS-2". NASA. Retrieved May 9, 2008. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ The uncrewed Gemini 2 suborbital capsule was reused in another uncrewed, suborbital test for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) project after significant refurbishment. Also, two X-15 airframes (flown by STS-2 Commander Joe Engle) were reused on several suborbital space missions.
  3. ^ a b Becker, Joachim. "Spaceflight mission report: STS-2". Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Evans, Ben (November 12, 2016). "Flying a Used Space Shuttle: 35 Years Since the Short Mission of STS-2 (Part 1)". Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  5. ^ Wilson, Jim. "NASA - Remembering Ronald Reagan". NASA. Retrieved December 30, 2017. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ Shayler, David (2001). Skylab. Berlin: Springer. p. 311. ISBN 1-85233-407-X.

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