Manned Flight nº: 136

Earth orbit Flight nº: 133

USA manned Flight nº: 68

Launch, orbit & landing data:

Designation 20935 / 90097A
Launch date - time 15 Nov 1990 - 23:48:15 UT
Launch site KSC, LC39A
Launch vehicle  Space Shuttle
Orbiter Atlantis OV-104 (#7)
Primary payload Quasar 2 (USA-67)
Mass (kg) 
Flight Crew Covey, Culbertson, Springer
Gemar, Meade
Call Sign 
Earth orbit on :
   - Perigee / Apogee  km
   - Inclination 28.5°
   - Period  min
Landing date - time 20 Nov 1990 - 21:42:42 UT
Landing location KSC, Runway 33
Flight Duration (d:hr:min) 4d 21h 54m
Nbr orbits 79


Nr. Surname Given name Job Duration
1  Covey  Richard Oswalt  CDR 4d 21h 54m 
2  Culbertson  Frank Lee, Jr.  PLT 4d 21h 54m 
3  Springer  Robert Clyde  MSP 4d 21h 54m 
4  Meade  Carl Joseph  MSP 4d 21h 54m 
5  Gemar  Charles Donald "Sam"  MSP 4d 21h 54m 

Mission details:

Payload: Atlantis F07 / DoD. Perigee: 78 km. Apogee: 226 km. Inclination: 28.5 deg. Period: 87.5 min.
STS-38 STS-38 - STS-38 Atlantis, OV-104, lifting off from KSC LC Pad during night launch - Credit: NASA.

Manned five crew. Deployed a classified payload. Orbits of Earth: 79. Landed at: Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Landing Speed: 359 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 430.00 m. Landing Rollout: 2,712.00 m. Payloads: DoD Mission.

NASA Official Mission Narrative
Atlantis (7)
Pad 39-A 39)
37th Shuttle mission
7th Flight OV-104
5th Rollback
5th Night launch
Extended mission
Diverted landing
6th KSC Landing

STS-38STS-38 - STS-38 Atlantis, OV-104, lifts off from KSC LC Pad during night launch - Credit: NASA. 16,433 bytes. 390 x 390 pixels.

Richard O. Covey (3), Commander
Frank L. Culbertson, Jr. (1), Pilot
Robert C. Springer (2), Mission Specialist 1
Carl J. Meade (1), Mission Specialist 2
Charles D. Gemar (1), Mission Specialist 3

Flow A:
OPF - March 14, 1990
VAB - June 8, 1990
PAD - June 18, 1990
Flow B (rollback):
VAB - Aug. 9,1990
OPF - Aug. 15, 1990
VAB - Oct. 2,1990
PAD - Oct. 12, 1990

STS-38STS-38 - STS-38 Mission Specialist (MS) Springer uses camera on OV-104 aft flight deck - Credit: NASA. 39,459 bytes. 522 x 522 pixels.

Mission Objectives:

November 15, 1990, 6:48:13 p.m. EST. Launch originally scheduled for July 1990. However, liquid hydrogen leak found on orbiter Columbia during STS-35 countdown prompted three precautionary tanking tests on Atlantis at pad June 29, July 13 and July 25. Tests confirmed hydrogen fuel leak on external tank- side of external tank/orbiter 17-inch quick disconnect umbilical. Could not repair at pad and Atlantis rolled back to VAB Aug. 9, demated and transferred to OPF. During rollback, vehicle parked outside VAB about a day while COLUMBIA/STS-35 stack transferred to pad for launch. Outside, Atlantis suffered minor hail damage to tiles during thunderstorm. After repairs made in OPF, Atlantis transferred to VAB for mating Oct. 2. During hoisting operations, platform beam that should have been removed from aft compartment fell and caused minor damage which was repaired. Vehicle rolled out to Pad A Oct. 12. Fourth mini-tanking test performed Oct. 24, with no excessive hydrogen or oxygen leakage detected. At Flight Readiness Review, launch date set for Nov. 9. Launch reset for Nov. 15 due to payload problems. Liftoff occurred during classified launch window lying within launch period extending from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 15, 1990. Launch Weight: Classified.
Altitude: 142
Inclination: 28.5
Orbits: 79
Duration: 4 days, 21 hours, 54 minutes, 31 seconds.
Distance: 2,030,000 miles

STS-38STS-38 - STS-38 crewmembers eat meal on OV-104's middeck - Credit: NASA. 45,961 bytes. 602 x 602 pixels.

SRB: BI-039
SRM: 360W012
ET : 40/LWT-33
MLP : 1
SSME-1: SN-2019
SSME-2: SN-2022
SSME-3: SN-2027

November 20, 1990, 4:42:42 p.m. EST, Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Rollout distance: 9,032 feet. Rollout time: 57 seconds. Mission extended one day due to unacceptable crosswinds at original planned landing site, Edwards. Continued adverse conditions led to decision to shift landing to KSC. First KSC landing for Atlantis, first end-of-mission landing at KSC since April 1985. Landing Weight: 191,091 lbs.

STS-38STS-38 - STS-38 MS Gemar with camera and ARMY decal on OV-104's forward flight deck - Credit: NASA. 56,648 bytes. 626 x 626 pixels.

Mission Highlights:
Seventh mission dedicated to Department of Defense.

Astrophilately covers:


Launch & landing cancel KSC.

Ref.: #1, #7(JR43-44,46,54,57,58,60), #8, #16 - update: 18.03.19 Home