STS -98 (English Space Transportation System) is the designation for a flight mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis ( OV -104 ) from NASA. The launch took place on 7 February 2001. It was the 102nd space shuttle mission, the 23rd flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the seventh flight of a shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS).


  • Kenneth Cockrell (4th space flight), Commander
  • Mark Polansky ( first space flight), Pilot
  • Robert Curbeam ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Marsha Ivins ( fifth space flight ), Mission Specialist
  • Thomas Jones ( fourth space flight), Mission Specialist

Originally Mark Lee was provided as a crew member. In September 1999, however, he was removed from the team and replaced by Curbeam. NASA gave no reasons for this.

Mission overview

The team gave the American Destiny laboratory module as an extension of under construction International Space Station ( ISS). Overall, the space shuttle Atlantis was six days connected with the station. During this time, the crew led by three exits to install Destiny and put into operation.

Mission History

After the launch in Cape Canaveral multiple orbital maneuvers were performed, which allowed a coupling after already 42 hours of flight time. The Atlantis docked as the first spacecraft to the coupling adapter PMA -3, which was at that time at nadir port of Unity, to. After a brief welcome ceremony in which well water, a computer, cable, fresh fruit, DVD movies, and other personal family gifts came into the station, the hatches were closed for the upcoming outboard work again.

On the morning of February 11th, Marsha Ivins dismantled with the help of the manipulator of Atlantis the coupling adapter PMA- 2 of Unity and transported him to an intended intermediate position on the lattice structure of the station. After leaving the lock, Thomas Jones went to the lattice structure and controlled the correct position of the adapter. After that, he served as a pilot for the transport of the laboratory module Destiny. Robert Curbeam had solved during which the holders of Destiny and the power cables and cooling lines as well as protective coverings from the coupling mechanisms. With the manipulator, the module was then lifted out of the cargo area, rotated 180 degrees and placed in the correct position on the module Unity. Automatic coupling bolts then secured the connection. Then Jones and Curbeam joined a number of power and data cables and coolant lines between Unity and Destiny. From one of the lines it uses a small amount of ammonia stepped out in crystalline form. To avoid contamination of the shuttle to Curbeam held for half an hour on the direct sunlight to evaporate the crystals. Jones brushed him and the equipment from addition. After the re-entry and a pressure balance between lock and shuttle cabin, astronauts wore for about 20 minutes breathing masks. After contamination could be excluded. The exit maneuvers lasted through the problem that occurred and the additional related work 7 hours and 34 minutes.

Subsequently, the two crews entered the new module and worked on the connection and activation of important systems. These included air ventilation, two cooling systems, water-based (4 ° C and 17 ° C ) system, two so-called Avionics racks with control systems for internal communication, for position control, life support, environmental data, command, and data processing and the energy system. In addition, a rack was installed with an air purification system. It usually absorbs carbon dioxide from the air station and thus supports the Vosduch system, which is housed in the Zvezda module, but could not be started due to a defect. But were Enables the onboard computer and the fire detection and alarm system.

The second departure of Jones and Curbeam on 12 February ( 6:50 hours) was first transported to the coupling adapter PMA- 2 from its temporary position on the grid element Z1 to the front of the laboratory module Destiny and docked there. This task was again Marsha Ivins, who was operating the manipulator of the shuttle. Jones and Curbeam monitored the release or later, the engagement of the automatic locking. Then they fastened covers on the retaining bolts in the hold of Atlantis, mounted a vent channel, multiple brackets and tension wires for future extravehicular activities and a socket for the Canadian manipulator arm of the station to Destiny. The manipulator was first mounted on a later shuttle mission at Destiny and moved later to a guide carriage. This can then slide along the lattice structure and are used in various places. Since Jones and Curbeam carried out the planned work ahead of schedule, they could then still associate power and data lines between the laboratory module and the docking adapter, remove the panel at the laboratory module window and mount a window flap, the locking mechanism can be operated from the inside. During the re-entry of the two astronauts the gyroscopes were brought up to speed. They have been extensively tested on the following days and take over since the position control for the entire station. The control is performed by the onboard computer of the laboratory module.

After a day with some free time took place on 14 February, the third departure of Jones and Curbeam during the mission instead ( 5:25 hours). It was also the sixtieth spacewalk of the shuttle program and the hundredth in the American space program. Astronauts mounted a spare antenna ( S-band ), verified carefully the physical connections between the connection adapter and Destiny PMA and 2 dissolved in the fuse of the third radiator the lattice structure. It is used for the radiation of excess heat generated in the new station module is required. The conclusion of the work was the documentation of the outer skin of the new components through photographs and testing of a rescue procedure for unconscious astronaut during an exit.

At the last common working with the ISS crew other materials were transported to the station. Among the total of 1.5 tons of supplies included not only food and water, especially spare parts, clothing, tools, computer accessories, a spare computer, a reserve system for carbon dioxide absorption and a spacesuit for spacewalks. In the opposite direction 420 kg of waste and packaging materials were disposed of. In addition, a video conference with students in Maryland and a press conference with journalists and academics in the control centers in Houston and Moscow took place. In the past few days, the path of the complex had been raised during the four drive periods by almost 30 kilometers.

During the mission, also some smaller scientific studies have been made. Firstly with a plurality of protein samples frozen filled vessel was transported into the station. The vessel is surrounded by liquid nitrogen. This is gradually evaporated, so that the temperature rises in the vessel, and to thaw the samples. After about 11 days, then begin the crystallization of proteins. The samples were taken for further examination of the mission STS -102 in March back to Earth. The student Crystal experiment was planned by over 400 students 89 American schools. With this and other experiments ( SEEDS, EarthKAM ) aims to promote interest and enthusiasm for manned spaceflight, NASA.

In the drive phase, the entire complex is set into vibration. With special equipment aboard the Atlantis, the frequencies were determined, in which the station resonates particularly strongly. If other parts are attached to the station, these so-called natural frequencies change. Therefore, this experiment was repeated on subsequent missions.

The hot exhaust gases from the shuttle engines have a major impact on the surrounding ionosphere. They cause chemical changes, which resulted in an approximately 50 km measuring hole in the ionosphere created. Several of these holes were analyzed from the Earth with radar and laser. Other routine tests involving the re adaptation to gravity after the flight, changes in the immune system of astronauts and the recording of GPS data during the entire flight.

After disconnecting the Atlantis flew around the station. A multitude of video and still images was made. The landing took place due to bad weather two days later than originally planned, and also on the grounds of Edwards Air Force Base in California.