STS- 6 (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger ( OV -99) NASA. The launch took place on 4 April 1983. It was the sixth space shuttle mission and the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger.


  • Paul Weitz ( second space flight), Commander
  • Karol Bobko ( first space flight), Pilot
  • Donald Peterson ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Story Musgrave ( first space flight), Mission Specialist

Mission overview

STS- 6 should build on the success of STS- 5. Here, too, were next commander and pilot mission specialist on board. The charge consisted of the satellites TDRS -1 ( Tracking and Data Relay Satellite ) and some experiments.

STS -6 was originally scheduled for 20 January 1983. After a hydrogen leak that occurred in a trial run of the three main engines ( SSME ) in December 1982, began extensive maintenance. In a second test firing five weeks later cracks were discovered in a SSME, which was then replaced. A further delay was caused by the TDRS satellite was contaminated during a storm.

Ten hours and one minute after the start on April 4, TDRS -1 was suspended from the payload bay of Challenger. A malfunction in the second stage of the IUS upper stage (Inertial Upper Stage ) of the satellite resulted in a much lower orbit than planned. In order to reach its final position in the geostationary orbit, TDRS had to use his maneuvering thrusters over a period of two minutes.

The during STS -5 canceled spacewalk (EVA ) of the two mission specialists with the new spacesuit was this time made ​​up. Peterson and Musgrave were a total of four hours and ten minutes in space and introduced the first EVA by a Space Shuttle. It was also the first sale within the U.S. space program for the past nine years ( Skylab 4).

The scientific experiments related to Earth observation, materials research and navigation. We tested a production unit, the system CFES (Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System) that already mitflog on STS -4 and for the separation of chemical substances, in particular of drugs from mixtures was used. With it, the material separation was 700 times faster than in conventional plants on earth and the end products were four times greater purity before. In addition to the MLR experiment ( Monodisperse Latex Reactor ) were prepared perfectly shaped plastic beads that are to be used as drug carriers in cancer research.

After five days and 24 minutes in space Challenger finally landed safely on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. A week later, the orbiter was transferred back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.