STS -37 (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis NASA. The launch took place on 5 April 1991. It was the 39th Space Shuttle mission and the eighth flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis. Main task of this mission was the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory ( CGRO ) suspend.


  • Steven Nagel ( third space flight), Commander
  • Kenneth Cameron ( first space flight), Pilot
  • Jerry Ross ( third space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Jerome Apt ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Linda Godwin ( first space flight ), Mission Specialist

Mission overview

The launch was scheduled for April 5, 1991 at 14:18 UTC. He was delayed by passing clouds a few minutes and was at 14:22:45 UTC. The takeoff weight was 116,040 kg.

The main payload, the gamma ray Observatory CGRO, has been suspended on the third day of flying. It is the second of the four Great Observatories NASA. The Hubble Space Telescope is started with the mission STS -31 in April 1990, was the first. CGRO should watch for two years high-energy gamma-ray ejections in the sky that can not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. With over 15 tons, it was the heaviest satellite to be exposed in low orbit by a Space Shuttle. He also was the first satellite, which could be refueled by a shuttle. After five months in space that previously only "Gamma Ray Observatory " said telescope was renamed " Compton Gamma Ray Observatory ", in honor of Nobel Prize winner Arthur Holly Compton, who had carried out important work in the field of gamma radiation. The CGRO consisted of the burst and Transient Source Experiment ( BATSE ), the Imaging Compton Telescope ( COMPTEL ), the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope ( EGRET ) and the Oriented Scintillation Spectrometer Experiment ( OSSE ).

Despite repeated attempts, the antenna of the CGRO by the ground control of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt (Maryland) to activate remained from the success. Therefore, led the two astronauts Jerry Ross and Jay Apt, who were trained for this extraordinary action, a spacewalk (EVA ) by that was not in the flight plan. Already after 17 minutes, they were able to activate the antenna manually. It was the first unscheduled exit from the STS -51 -D mission in April 1985.

The following day, April 8, led Ross and Apt a planned EVA, the first since STS -61- B in November 1985 by. This locomotion methods for the crew and equipment were tested in order to be prepared for the maintenance of the planned station Freedom ( Crew and Equipment Translation Aids, short CETA ). One of the experiments checked manual, mechanical and electrical methods, material along the outside to move long structures in space. Although all three methods worked, the astronauts reported that pushing it manually would work best. Both EVA lasted total of ten hrs 49 minutes.

The "Space Station Heat Pipe Advanced Radiator Experiment (SHARE II) " shaped first bubbles in his Plexiglas tube, which had already been a problem even in the first SHARE experiment during the mission STS -29. However, this could be prevented in further consequence. SHARE II contained a new distribution system for heating the future space station. Furthermore, there was the " Bioserve Instrumentation Technology Associates Materials Dispersion Apparatus ( BIMDA ) " on board, explored the commercial use of experiments in the field of biomedicine, manufacturing processes and fluid sciences. In addition, the "Protein Crystal Growth" was conducted experiment, which had already been eight times in a different form in space. Pilot Kenneth Cameron was the primary user of the "Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment ( SAREX ) ", the other five crew members participated as amateur radio operators participate.

The landing took place on 11 April 1991 at 13:55 UTC on the runway 33 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The landing was scheduled a day earlier, but had been postponed by one day due to bad weather. The landing weight was 86,227 kg. The orbiter returned to the Kennedy Space Center on April 18.