STS -68 (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour NASA. The launch took place on 30 September 1994 after previously attempting to start was canceled on 18 August 1994. It was the 65th Space Shuttle mission and the seventh flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour.


  • Michael Baker ( third space flight), Commander
  • Terrence Wilcutt ( first space flight), Pilot
  • Thomas Jones ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Steven Smith ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Daniel Bursch ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Peter Wisoff ( second space flight), Mission Specialist

Mission overview

During the ten- day mission, the payload of the Space Radar Laboratory ( SRL), made in the hold of Endeavour, its second flight. The SRL, whose first flight was during the STS -59 in April 1994, had the scientists delivered very detailed information that helped to distinguish the people affected by environmental changes of nätürlichen changes. SRL 2 radar images provided for systematic scientific studies of the geology, geography, hydrology, oceanography, agriculture and botany.

First launch attempt on 18 August 1994

The planned start on 18 August 1994 was aborted at T- 1.9s, just before the Solid Rocket Boosters ( SRBs ) should have been fired. The three main engines of the shuttle had already ignited, and were deactivated again ( main engine cutoff ). The cause was that the temperature of the "High Pressure Oxidizer Turbo Pump" ( HPOT ) of engine three was too high, which pumps liquid oxygen to the engine. Computer then automatically prevented the ignition of the SRBs and the shuttle was grounded. If the launch has not been canceled, so it could happen that the engine number would be 3 failed during startup. Astronaut Thomas D. Jones writes about this in his blog.

Main components and research objectives

The SRL includes the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band-Synthetic Aperture Radar ( SIR-C/X-SAR ) and the measurement of Pollution from Satellites ( MAPS). The German Space Agency DARA and the Italian Space Agency ( ASI) supervised the X - SAR instrument. The imaging radar of SIR-C/X-SAR-Instruments is to able to make measurements of virtually any region, at any time, regardless of weather conditions or the sun light. The radar waves can penetrate clouds and, under certain conditions, they can "see" through vegetation, ice and extremely dry sand. Often scientists can explore inaccessible regions of the earth surface using radar.

The data of the SIR-C/X-SAR provided information about how much the complex Earth system processes that control the movement of land, water, air and life forms that interact in order to make it a habitable planet. The scientific team particularly wanted to explore the mass of the vegetation cover, the extent of the snow areas ( Snow packs ), the wetlands, the geological characteristics of rock types and their distribution, volcanic activity, the height of ocean waves and wind speeds. STS -68 flew over the same areas that have already been observed by STS -59, so that earth scientists could study seasons -related changes that occurred in these areas between missions.

An international research team of 49 scientists and three partners conducted the experiments of the SIR-C/X-SAR. 13 nations were represented: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the United States. MAPS the experiment measured the global distribution of carbon monoxide in the troposphere and the underlying layers. Measurements of carbon monoxide, an important molecule in several chemical cycles, provide scientists evidence about how well the atmosphere can clean itself of greenhouse gases, ie the chemical components that increase the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere.

STS -68 was responsible for the continuation of the GAS program of NASA. The project is a researcher or an organization the opportunity to carry out their experiments in space during a shuttle mission. Two universities, North Carolina A & T State University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the Swedish Space Corporation " Soina " had small independent payload units mitflogen during the mission. Other GAS units in the payload bay containing 500,000 Memory stamps for the U.S. Postal Service to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the moon landing of Apollo 11

Further scientific components

Further research units of the payload were the Biological Research in Canister (BRIC ), which first came to be used and the Military Applications of Ship Tracks ( MAST), a military program for the investigation of shipping routes, the mitflog for the first time. The BRIC experiments were paid for by the NASA Office of Life and research facilities for microgravity, a program that is designed to investigate the effects of microgravity in a wide variety of physiological processes of higher plants and arthropods, such as Spiders, centipedes, crabs. MAST is an experiment that was paid for by the Office of Naval Research ( ONR ). It was part of a 5 - year research program, which was developed by the ONR to investigate the effects of ships on the marine environment.

Further research units were used to investigate the growth of proteins, cell division under space conditions and the effects of cosmic radiation.