STS -31 (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Discovery ( OV -103 ) from NASA. The launch took place on 24 April 1990. It was the 35th Space Shuttle mission and the tenth flight of the space shuttle Discovery. Main task of this mission was to stay the Hubble Space Telescope.

The mission was originally scheduled for October 1986 under the name of STS -61- J with the Atlantis, but was suspended due to the Challenger disaster.


  • Loren Shriver ( 2nd space flight), Commander
  • Charles Bolden ( second space flight), Pilot
  • Steven Hawley (3rd space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Bruce McCandless ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Kathryn Sullivan ( second space flight ), Mission Specialist

When the team was set for a launch in the fall of 1986, John Young was assigned as commander. This was replaced by Loren Shriver.

Mission overview

The shuttle launch took place after various problems on 24 April 1990 at 8:33:51 local time clock at the Kennedy Space Center. The starting weight was 112,994 kg. The orbit height was STS -31 611 km above the earth's surface the previous highest of all shuttle missions. Such unusually high orbit was necessary because the Hubble telescope should be exposed to this amount. The fact that such a high orbit had to be reached, even more orbits have been performed with comparable missions than with 80.

The unusually high orbit was also used by two IMAX cameras (which were the only other payload ) take special pictures of the earth, which are not feasible so to lower orbits. Also, exposing the Hubble Space Telescope with the IMAX cameras was shot, for example. In addition, some scientific experiments took place. The so-called De - orbiting maneuver in which the shuttle for the last time ignites its engines to return to Earth, had with a burning time of the engines of four minutes and 58 seconds, the longest duration of all previous de- orbiting maneuvers. This was in turn due to the high orbit.

The landing took place on 29 April 1990 at 6:49:57 clock local time at Edwards Air Force Base. The shuttle took 61 seconds to roll out on the runway and put it back 2,705 m. For the first time carbon brakes were used in the landing of a space shuttle. The landing weight was 85,783 kg. The Discovery returned to the back of a specially modified Boeing 747 to Kennedy Space Center on May 8, 1990.