STS-41-B – Brand, Gibson, McCandless, McNair, Stewart – Challenger Mission Patch NASA – Space Shuttle Patch 5.75 x 3.75 in. USED
STS-41-B was the tenth NASA Space Shuttle mission and the fourth flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It launched on 3 February 1984 and landed on 11 February 1984 after deploying two communications satellites. It was also notable for including the first untethered spacewalk.
Following STS-9, the flight numbering system for the Space Shuttle program was changed. Thus, the next flight, instead of being designated STS-10, became STS-41-B; the original successor to STS-9, STS-10, was canceled due to payload delays.
Challenger lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 08:00:00 a.m. EST on 3 February 1984. It was estimated that 100,000 people attended the launch. Two communications satellites were deployed about 8 hours after launch; one, Westar 6, and the other, Palapa B2, for Indonesia; both were Hughes-built HS-376-series satellites. However, the Payload Assist Modules (PAM) for both satellites malfunctioned, placing them into a lower-than-planned orbit. Both satellites were retrieved successfully in November 1984 during STS-51-A, which was conducted by the orbiter Discovery.
The STS-41-B crew included commander Vance D. Brand, making his second Shuttle flight; pilot Robert L. Gibson; and mission specialists Bruce McCandless II, Ronald E. McNair, and Robert L. Stewart.
On the fourth day of the mission, astronauts McCandless and Stewart performed the first untethered spacewalk, operating the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) for the first time. McCandless ventured out 98 m (322 ft) from the orbiter, while Stewart tested the “work station” foot restraint at the end of the Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm). On the seventh day of the mission, both astronauts performed another extravehicular activity (EVA) to practice capture procedures for the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM) satellite retrieval and repair operation, which was planned for the next mission, STS-41-C.
STS-41-B also achieved the reflight of the West German-sponsored SPAS-1 pallet/satellite, which had originally flown on STS-7. This time, however, it remained in the payload bay due to an electrical problem in the RMS (Canadarm). The mission also carried five Get Away Special (GAS) canisters, six live rats in the middeck area, a Cinema-360 camera and a continuation of the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System and Monodisperse Latex Reactor experiments. Included in one of the GAS canisters was the first experiment by a high school team to fly in space. The experiment, on seed germination and growth in zero gravity, was created and built by a team from Brighton High School in Utah through a partnership with Utah State University.
The 7 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, and 55 seconds flight ended on 11 February 1984 with a successful landing at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility. This marked the first landing of a spacecraft at its launch site. Challenger completed 128 orbits and traveled 5,329,150 km (3,311,380 mi).
STS-41-B details courtesy of Wikipedia.