STS -72 (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour ( OV -105 ) from NASA. The launch took place on 11 January 1996. It was the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the tenth flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.


  • Brian Duffy ( third space flight), Commander
  • Brent Jett ( first space flight), Pilot
  • Leroy Chiao ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Daniel Barry ( 1 space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Winston Scott ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Koichi Wakata ( first space flight), Mission Specialist ( NASDA / Japan)

Mission Description

Main points of the work program of the Endeavour crew were capturing the Japanese experiment platform SFU ( Space Flyer Unit, four tons of mass, starting in March 1995), exposing the SPARTAN 206 satellites for two days and the completion of various tests in two extravehicular activities. Furthermore, flew a number of secondary experiments in the payload bay and in the mid-deck of the Space Shuttle.

In order to achieve SFU schedule had to be adhered to a narrow launch window. Due to a launch delay you had to avoid on the first day of flying the disused military satellites MTSI. Several maneuvers brought the Endeavour then closer to the non-powered satellite SFU approach. The capture of the manipulator Koichi Wakata took over on the third day of flying. Since the solar panels could not be fully fold, they were blasted out of the ground.

A day later, the satellite SPARTAN / ODST (Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology, 1.3 t weight) was suspended. On him four experiments were then activated. Reflex (Return Flux Experiment) is designed to monitor computer models to impurities, learn the sensitive components such as lenses or sensors in near-Earth space. Particles detach from the surface of a spacecraft and be rejected by the molecules of the residual atmosphere. This particle reflux has not yet been mathematically modeled. It was also studied by reflex the erosion of various surfaces by chemical reactions with substances of the earth's atmosphere. With Gadács (GPS Attitude Determination and Control Experiment) important orbital parameters such as altitude and speed with the help of GPS data were calculated. A similar system was also on board the Endeavour. So far complicated apparatus with gyros and star, sun or earth sensors were it always used. SELODe (solar exposure to laser Ordnance Device) is a system that is no longer electrically connected to the small explosive charge, but are ignited by means of a laser. Such charges shall be used for the separation of rocket stages or redundant parts. Static electricity but it could always come back to misfires. SPRE ( Spartan Packet Radio Experiment) Finally, an experimental amateur radio system with a tracking based on amateur technique was tested.

During the two exits ( Chiao / Barry at 15:01. 6:09 for Chiao and / Scott at 17:01. 6:54 for ) were tested installation techniques and various tools and components for the planned International Space Station. These included a portable work platform with foot holder (Portable Work Platform), the Space Station Utility Box, which is used for storage of small parts, a slide wire, which was mounted along the payload bay and to ensure a more rapid locomotion, a cable reel ( Cable Caddy ) and a rigid outer casing (Rigid umbilical ), which was stretched across the payload bay. Such a system now connects individual space station modules by enveloping electrical cables and fluid pipes and thus protects it from damage. In the cargo bay of Endeavour 5 electric cable and two liquid lines were tentatively connected between two points. The 120 kg heavy, rigid outer casing had to be deployed before. With further folded copies the handling of heavy loads was trained. These offered the pegs on the platform, however, not enough grip. Therefore, various mounting accessories were used and measured the forces at work. Were retested improvements to the space suits. In the area of the hands and feet are battery-powered auxiliary heaters, which should prevent a cold on long extravehicular activities. For the first time used was also a small computer that was attached to the wrist of the astronauts and display various checklists could (Electronic Cuff Checklist ).

In the payload bay of the shuttle, six other experiments were. With the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Experiment ( SSBUV ) for the eighth time, the UV reflection of the upper atmosphere was measured below the flight path of the Endeavour. The data were mainly the calibration of the instruments at various international satellites ( NOAA 9, 11 and 14 and UARS, ERS and Meteor 3). With them, the ozone concentration was monitored at different heights.

The shuttle laser altimeter (SLA), the distance of the shuttle to the earth is determined by means of laser reflection. The measurements are so precise that you could also measure small surface elevations and tree heights or altitudes of clouds. SLA consisted of a laser, which sent out 10 pulses per second, a mirror and a detector for the reflected light. He irradiated from orbit at each pulse a surface that was as big as a football field.

With thermal energy storage, the heat storage capacity of fluoride salts was investigated. Here, the stored heat is then converted to electrical energy. In continuous operation, the salt must constantly melting and solidification processes intact to survive. So TES represents a solar dynamic power system

During Flexible Beam Experiment ( Flex beam) was investigated, as can be dampened oscillations in vacuum. Previous damping systems are always based on moving masses, springs, oscillators or small gas jets. Flex Beam consisted of two flexible aluminum beam whose vibrations were measured with high accuracy.

The experiment consisted of ballast Can a trap for small cosmic particles. Through such measurements statements can be made to the concentration of micrometeorites at a height between 300 and 400 kilometers above the earth's surface.

In a canister in a Japanese apparatus for protein crystal extraction (Protein Crystal Growth ) was carried. This size and shape of solid crystals were studied in 16 independent crystallization chambers. Three different crystallization methods were tested (crystal growth from the vapor phase, Temperaturgradientenkristallisation, free interface diffusion ). Crystallization medium used was a protein from the hearts of horses ( ribonuclease S). The resulting brownish crystals are too good for the film 35mm camera and easy to examine later.

In the mid-deck of the Space Shuttle, similar studies have been made. PCG was more advanced apparatus for optimizing the crystal growth from the vapor phase in zero gravity. It contained four containers each with 20 samples. CPCG ( Commertial Protein Crystal Growth ), however, served the commercial production of protein crystals for medical purposes. When Endeavour Flight various container shapes and sizes were used and the temperature varies. With a smaller footprint and thus reduced costs the plant for industrial use should be interesting.

Also in the middle deck were two biological investigations on behalf of the United States National Institute of Health instead ( National Institute of Health ). Several female rats were carried to with infants in a special module system. In the first three weeks of life strong changes in the brain of the newborn will be held. These changes should be first investigated in zero gravity. The birth of the infants was back at the various dams 5, 8, or 15 days. Thus, different stages of development could be put under the microscope. The brains of the animals were carefully examined after returning to Earth. The second experiment was concerned with the development of muscle and bone cells from chicken embryos. In weightlessness is always a tissue loss recorded (Space Tissue Loss ).

After a successful flight, the Endeavour landed on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center.