Category Praxis Manned Spaceflight Log 1961-2006

STS 51-C

Int. Designation



24 January 1985

Launch Site

Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida


27 January 1985

Landing Site

Runway 15 North, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Launch Vehicle

OV-103 Discovery/ET-14/SRB BI-015/SSME #1 2109;

#2 2018; #3 2012


3 days 1 hr 23 min 23 sec




First classified dedicated DoD shuttle mission

Flight Crew

MATTINGLY, Thomas Kenneth, 48, USN, commander, 3rd mission Previous missions: Apollo 16 (1972); STS-4 (1982)

SHRIVER, Loren James, 40 USAF, pilot ONIZUKA, Ellison Shoji, 38, USAF, mission specialist 1 BUCHLI, James Frederick, 39, USMC, mission specialist 2 PAYTON, Gary Eugene, 36, USAF, payload specialist

Flight Log

This mission was originally to have been designated STS-10 and to have flown in January 1984. When it finally got to the launch pad as STS 51-C (originally designated STS-20), it was assigned to orbiter Discovery, rather than Challenger, which was suffering a rather disturbing tile problem. The assignment of Discovery to the mission caused a disruption to the 1985 Shuttle schedules. Although a classified military mission, press leaks resulted in most people knowing full well what the STS 51-C crew would be doing: deploying a geostationary electronic monitoring satellite on an IUS upper stage. It was also unique in that it carried the first military specialist passenger, Gary Payton, from a cadre of US Air Force Manned Space Flight Engineers, most of whom it was anticipated at the time would fly on later military Shuttle missions.

The launch of STS 51-C was delayed by one day by the coldest weather in memory at the KSC and was quite spectacular a day later at 14: 50 hrs. The countdown had not been announced until T — 9 minutes under new rules for military launches, although observers could tell it was in progress a lot earlier by seeing wisps of liquid oxygen coming off the ET. Discovery entered a 28.4° inclination orbit with a maximum altitude of 341 km (212 miles). Trouble with the IUS on the STS-6 mission had been the main reason for this mission’s delay, and after the Acquacade ELINT (electronic

STS 51-C

USAF astronauts Onizuka (left) and Shriver give the thumbs up during the classified STS 51-C mission

signals intelligence satellite) had been deployed, the IUS misbehaved again, its first stage thrust shortfall being made up by thruster firings.

Discovery also carried a blood flow experiment but little else was officially reported about the mission, which ended after the shortest five-crew flight of just T + 3 days 1 hour 23 minutes 13 seconds on runway 15 at the KSC.


103rd manned space flight

46th US manned space flight

15th Shuttle mission

3rd flight of Discovery

1st US classified manned military mission

1st flight of a Military Spaceflight Engineer (MSE – Payton)

Int. Designation



22 January 1992

Launch Site

Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida


30 January 1992

Landing Site

Runway 22, Edwards AFB, California

Launch Vehicle

OV-103 Discovery/ET-52/SRB BI-048/SSME #1 2026; #2 2022; # 3 2027


8 days 1 hr 14 min 44 sec

Call sign



Operation of International Microgravity Laboratory 1 (IML-1) payload; fifty-five experiments devoted to space medicine and manufacturing utilising a Spacelab Long Module

Flight Crew

GRABE, Ronald John, 46, USAF, commander, 3rd mission Previous missions: STS 51-J (1985); STS-30 (1989)

OSWALD, Stephen Scott, 40, civilian, pilot

THAGARD, Norman Earl, 48, civilian, mission specialist 1, payload commander, 4th mission

Previous missions: STS-7 (1985); STS 51-B (1985); STS-30 (1989)

READDY, William Francis, 39, civilian, mission specialist 2 HILMERS, David Carl, 41, USMC, mission specialist 3, 4th mission Previous missions: STS 51-J (1985); STS-26 (1988); STS-36 (1990)

BONDAR, Roberta Lynn, 46, civilian, Canadian payload specialist 1 MERBOLD, Ulf Dietrich, 50, civilian, ESA payload specialist 2, 2nd mission Previous mission: STS-9 (1983)

Flight Log

As Discovery landed at Edwards AFB in California at the end of the IML-1 mission, the crew were told that their mission had provided a preview of both space station operations and the kind of international cooperation that would be part of future space exploration. As a new Russia emerged from the turmoil of the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Freedom Space Station was itself struggling to survive. But there was a glimmer of hope in the potential cooperation of the Russians in the future programme. However, there was still much to be done on Earth before any hardware would fly in space, but the mission of STS-42 and the first flight of the International Microgravity Laboratory had demonstrated that such cooperation was feasible.


The international crew of IML-1 pose for the traditional in space “star-burst” portrait inside the Spacelab module. At top centre is MS Hilmers, and clockwise are commander Grabe, MS Readdy, ESA PS Merbold, payload commander Thagard, pilot Oswald and Canadian PS Bondar. The rotating chair used often in biomedical tests is partially obscured in the centre of frame

Both the launch and landing of Discovery passed without incident, apart from a one-hour delay to the launch to evaluate indications of power surges from one of the fuel cells. With the vehicle cleared for launch, and safely on orbit just over an hour later, Shuttle operations in 1992 opened with one of the most successful Spacelab missions of all. With the crew operating in two shifts for round-the-clock activity (Red – Readdy, Hilmers, Merbold; Blue – Grabe, Oswald, Thagard, Bondar), opera­tions primarily focused on the adaptation of the human nervous system to low gravity and on the effects of microgravity on other life forms. These included shrimp eggs, lentil seedlings, fruit fly eggs and bacteria. There was also a programme of materials processing experiments, including crystal growth from a range of substances such as enzymes, mercury iodide and a virus. The secondary payloads carried included twelve GAS canisters attached to a GAS Bridge Assembly in the payload bay. This contained numerous US and international experiments, ranging from materials processing to investigations into the development of animal life in weightlessness.

The IML experiment programme was a cooperative effort between the space agencies of the United States (NASA), Europe (ESA), Canada (CSA), France

(CNES), Germany (DARA) and Japan (NASDA). The GAS experiments also origin­ated from multiple countries (Australia, China, Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, Sweden and the United States). There were also two student experiments flown, as well as the IMAX large-format camera and a package of on-going small mid-deck experiments. In all, over 200 scientists from sixteen countries participated in the flight and investigation programme.

Though minor problems occurred, they were all overcome with no adjustments to the flight plan, nor loss of science results. On 24 January, the Mir space station passed within 39 nautical miles of Discovery and the crew reported that the sunlight reflecting off the station looked as bright as planet Mercury when seen after sunset from Earth. On board Discovery, Thagard observed the Russian space station that he would live aboard just three years later. Towards the end of the flight, mission managers concluded that the crew had conserved their consumables so well that they would be able to stay an extra day in orbit to continue their science experiment programme.

IML-1 was the first of a series of four or five such flights that were envisaged over a ten-year period (one flight every two years), dedicated to the study of life and materials sciences and providing important data for planning and executing follow-on research on Space Station Freedom. Such was the success of IML-1 that the prospect of international cooperation on Freedom looked assured, even if the programme itself was floundering due to complexity and cost. Ironically, the revised ISS programme would signal the demise of Spacelab missions due to limited resources. The IML series was reduced from a ten-year programme to just two missions.


147th manned space flight

75th US manned space flight

45th Shuttle mission

14th flight of Discovery

1st flight of IML configuration

5th flight of Spacelab Long Module

Readdy celebrates his 40th birthday in space (24 Jan)

Hilmers celebrates his 42nd birthday in space (28 Jan)

1st female Canadian in space (Bondar)


Int. Designation



12 November 1995

Launch Site

Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida


20 November 1995

Landing Site

Runway 33, Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC, Florida

Launch Vehicle

OV-104 Atlantis/ET-74/SRB BI-076/SSME #1 2012; #2 2026; #3 2032


8 days 4 hrs 30 min 44 sec

Call sign



Mir docking mission; delivery of Russian-built Docking Module

Flight Crew

CAMERON, Kenneth Donald, 45, USMC, commander, 3rd mission Previous mission: STS-37 (1991); STS-56 (1993)

HALSELL Jr., James Donald, 39, USAF, pilot, 2nd mission Previous mission: STS-65 (1994)

HADFIELD, Chris Austin, 36, Canadian Air Force, mission specialist 1 ROSS, Jerry Lynn, 47, USAF, mission specialist 2, 5th mission Previous missions: STS 61-B (1985); STS-27 (1988); STS-37 (1991); STS-55 (1993)

McARTHUR Jr., William Surles, 44, US Army, mission specialist 3

Flight Log

Because of the planned rendezvous and docking with Mir, this Shuttle mission had only a very small seven-minute window in which to launch. The 11 November launch was scrubbed as a result of bad weather at the TAL sites and the launch was rescheduled to the following day. The original plan had been to have a crew exchange on this mission. Thagard’s back-up on the first NASA residency (Bonnie Dunbar) was originally scheduled to remain on Mir after STS-71 departed, but this option was not followed, so STS-74 was the only docking mission on which no US astronaut was exchanged or returned. Instead, the mission focused on the delivery of hardware and logistics. It did feature an international flavour, however, reflecting the plans for ISS in the coming years. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was part of the Shuttle crew, and the Canadian-developed RMS was carried once more. The payload bay of Atlantis carried the Russian-built Docking Module and solar array, along with the US-built Orbiter Docking System and a joint US/Russian-built solar array. And of course, on board Mir were the two Russian and one German cosmonaut, together with a range of Russian and European equipment and experiments.


Atlantis is seen docked with Mir high above central Canada in this IMAX camera image, which provides this 65-mm fish-eye perspective. The recently delivered Docking Module is shown connecting the Shuttle to Mir and affording better clearance for Shuttle dockings

The Russian Docking Module (which, when permanently attached to the Kristall module would give better clearance for further Shuttle dockings) was lifted out of the payload bay by Hadfield, who was operating the RMS. It was positioned just above the Orbiter Docking System, carried on all docking flights at the front of the payload bay to permit physical connection between the Shuttle and the space station. Cameron then fired the downward-facing jets on the Shuttle to move the vehicle “up” to dock, with the Docking Module held on the RMS. The docking between the Docking Module on Atlantis and Mir occurred on FD 4 and for the next three days, the crews of Atlantis and Mir completed a joint programme of activities. This included the transfer of the control of the DM to the main Mir crew. There was also 453.6 kg of water transferred across to the station, along with gifts such as Canadian maple leaf candies and the second guitar to be delivered to the station. New lithium hydroxide canisters were also delivered, which would be used in the event of a further failure of the ECS, requiring further “scrubbing” of the air inside the station. Experiment samples were transferred to Atlantis for the return to Earth and on 18 November, Atlantis separated from the DM to begin its fly around of the station and the journey home, leaving the Mir crew to continue their six-month mission.

In January 1996, NASA pronounced itself happy with the success of Shuttle-Mir missions. Continued discussions with the Russians had resulted in expansion of the programme and two further dockings were included in the Phase 1 programme, bringing the total dockings to nine. Two further long-duration visits by American astronauts were also likely, bringing the total US residencies on the station to seven prior to the commencement of ISS construction.


184th manned space flight 103rd US manned space flight 73rd Shuttle mission 15th flight of Atlantis 2nd Shuttle-Mir docking mission


Int. Designation



5 December 2001

Launch Site

Pad 39B, Kennedy Space Center, Florida


17 December 2001

Landing Site

Runway 15, Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC, Florida

Launch Vehicle

OV-105 Endeavour/ET-111/SRB BI-110/SSME #1 2049; #2 2043; #3 2050


11 days 19 hrs 36 min 45 sec

Call sign



ISS assembly flight UF-1; MPLM-2 logistics flight; ISS resident crew exchange mission

Flight Crew

GORIE, Dominic Lee, 44, USN, commander, 3rd mission Previous missions: STS-91 (1998); STS-99 (2000)

KELLY, Mark Edward, 37, USN, pilot

GODWIN, Linda Maxine, 49, civilian, mission specialist 1, 4th mission Previous missions: STS-37 (1991); STS-59 (1994); STS-76 (1996)

TANI, Daniel Michio, 40, civilian, mission specialist 2

ISS-4 crew up only:

ONUFRIYENKO, Yuri Ivanovich, 40, Russian Air Force, mission specialist 4, ISS-4 and Soyuz TM commander, 2nd mission Previous mission: Soyuz TM23 (1996)

BURSCH, Daniel Wheeler, 44, USN, mission specialist 5, ISS-4 flight engineer 1, 4th mission

Previous missions: STS-51 (1993); STS-68 (1994); STS-77 (1996)

WALZ, Carl Erwin, 46, USAF, mission specialist 5, ISS-4 flight engineer 2,

4th mission

Previous missions: STS-51 (1993); STS-65 (1994); STS-79 (1996)

ISS-3 crew down only:

CULBERTSON Jr., Frank Lee, 52, civilian, ISS-3 commander,

mission specialist 3, 3rd mission

Previous missions: STS-38 (1990); STS-51 (1993)

TYURIN, Mikhail Vladislavovich, 41, civilian, Russian ISS-3 flight engineer, mission specialist 4

DEZHUROV, Vladimir Nikolayevich, 39, Russian Air Force, ISS-3 Soyuz commander, mission specialist 5, 2nd mission Previous mission: Soyuz TM21 (1995)


Another change of shift on ISS and the traditional group photo in Destiny. At rear, left to right STS-108 crew Godwin, Kelly, Gorie and Tani. In front, l to r ISS-4 crew Walz, Onufriyenko and Bursch, and ISS-3 crew Culbertson, Tyurin and Dezhurov

Flight Log

Originally scheduled for launch on 3 December, the launch was postponed for 24 hours on 29 November in order the allow the ISS-3 crew to complete an extra unplanned EVA to clear the obstruction preventing Progress M1-7 from hard – docking with the station. The 4 December launch was postponed at the T — 5 minute point due to unfavourable weather in the KSC area, which remained throughout the duration of the launch window. After the successful launch, Endeavour docked to ISS during FD 3 (7 December) and remained linked to the station for the next 189 hours. There was one EVA, which was conducted by Godwin and Tani from the Shuttle airlock (instead of Quest) on FD 6. During the EVA (10 Dec for 4 hours 12 minutes), the astronauts installed insulation on the solar array rotation mechanism and retrieved antenna covers that had been stowed in a storage location on the outside of the station for return to Earth, and which may be returned for reuse on the station at a future date. They also performed a number of get-ahead tasks for the extensive EVAs planned for the coming year.

The flight was extended to 12 days in order to complete all the assigned main­tenance and logistics transfer tasks assigned it. During several days of logistics

transfer, the combined crew moved over 2,700 kg from the mid-deck of Endeavour and the Raffaello logistics module on to the station. This included over 385 kg of food, 453 kg of clothing, 136 kg of experiments and associated equipment, 362 kg of EVA hardware, and 272 kg of medical equipment. Over 900 kg of trash, unwanted gear and equipment was placed in the module for return to Earth, and in addition to the exchange of ISS resident crew personal items, the mid-deck of Endeavour was used for the return of several experiment results and samples from the research conducted during the ISS-3 residency. There were also several experiments conducted in the mid­deck of Endeavour during the mission, some of which would be transferred to the station while the others would return on the Shuttle.

While in orbit, the combined crew of astronauts and cosmonauts took time out to pay tribute to the victims of the 11 September attacks in the United States and the rescuers and investigation teams still working on the aftermath of the tragic day.

The official hand-over between ISS resident crews occurred on 13 December amid a week of briefings and exchange activities. One of the three Shuttle Inertial Measurement Units (IMU-2), the orbiter’s primary navigation units, experienced a problem on 12 December and was taken offline. Only two of the units were working at the time to save electricity, so IMU-3 was brought back on line to support operations. The failed unit worked after this exchange but remained off line for the rest of the flight without impact upon the mission. Prior to return to Earth after undocking from the station, the crew deployed a small satellite (Starshine 2) from a GAS canister located in the payload bay. It was estimated that over 30,000 students from 650 schools in 26 countries would track the satellite during its eight months orbiting the Earth.


229th manned space flight

137th US manned space flight

107th Shuttle mission

17th flight of Endeavour

51st US and 84th flight with EVA operations

12th Shuttle ISS mission

4th Endeavour ISS mission

4th MPLM flight

2nd MPLM-2 Raffaello flight

1st utilisation flight

Praxis Manned Spaceflight Log 1961-2006

One of the most frustrating and time consuming chores to do with collating data on each manned space flight is in finding original source material that is consistent. Questions are constantly being raised that require a definitive answer, or at least standard application, if you want to make sense of it all. To give you some examples: “Where does ‘space’ begin?” “What distinguishes a high-altitude research pilot from a space explorer or a ‘tourist’?’’ ‘‘Are the recent ‘X-Plane’ flights really sub-orbital space-flights?’’ ‘‘In multi-person crews, which one enters ‘space’ first?’’ ‘‘Upon land­ing, does a Shuttle mission end when the wheels touch the runway, or when they come to a stop?’’ ‘‘Does an EVA start from when the space walker puts a suit on, or when they step out of the airlock?’’ All of these questions find different answers even in official data and this can make a space author’s job that much harder.

What is clear is that when a spacecraft enters orbit, it is assigned a specific orbital object catalogue number. Therefore, one can follow these orbital flights in chronological order, even if the details are open to interpretation. To most crews, ‘‘the mission’’ is one of the most important objectives for their flight and their future careers, and they are assessed by their performance and achievements on ‘‘the mission’’ and its specific objectives or tasks. Usually, records, milestones and ceremonies are not as important to the flight crew as they are to watchers on the ground.

This book, therefore, is not (nor intends to try to be), a definitive record of all manned space flight aspects. Indeed, it is doubtful that such a tome could actually be written, and certainly not in the tight confines of 900 pages. What we have tried to do instead is to present is a single, handy, quick reference source of who did what on which mission, and when they accomplished it, in the 45 years between 1961 and 2006. For more detailed information, other books in this Springer-Praxis series can be referred to, as can those cited in the bibliography of this or other books in the series.

The objective of this book was to keep things simple, so we have therefore focused mostly on orbital missions (or in a few cases, those which were intended for orbital

flight and had left the pad, but never made it into space). The other “sub-orbital”-type missions are listed in context, but are detailed in the opening sections.

By way of introduction, an overview of the methods used to reach space or fly particular types of mission is presented. This is followed by a look at those missions which essentially bridged the gap between aeronautical flight and space flight. Finally, the programmes that have actually been conducted are overviewed, before each orbital space flight is addressed, starting with Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1 in April 1961 and ending with the launch of the 14th resident crew to ISS in September 2006, a span of 45 years. We have also started recording the missions leading towards the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight with the currently manifested missions of 2006-2011, reminding us all that the log is an ever-expanding account of the human exploration of space. As one mission ends, another is being prepared for flight.

In the detail of the main log entries, we have focused on the highlights and achievements for each mission, as this book was always intended to supplement the more in-depth volumes in the Praxis series, as well as other works. It is also intended as a useful starting volume for those who are just becoming interested in human space flight activities and who have not had the opportunity to collect the information from past missions or completed programmes. We also hope that this work will help to generate other, more detailed works on past and current pro­grammes, and in time on those programmes that are even now being planned and will write the future pages of space history – and further entries in the Praxis Log of Manned Space Flight.

Tim Furniss Dave Shayler Mike Shayler September 2006


Assembling a book of this nature would be impossible without a network of fellow space sleuths and journalists. In particular, the assistance over many years of the following friends and colleagues is much appreciated:

• Australia: Colin Burgess

• Europe: Brian Harvey (Ireland), Bart Hendrickx (Belgium) and Bert Vis (The Netherlands)

• UK: Phil Clark, Rex Hall, David Harland, Gordon Hooper, Neville Kidger, Andy Salmon

• USA: Michael Cassutt, John Charles, James Oberg and Asif Siddiqi.

The authors also wish to express their appreciation for the on-going help and support of the various Public Affairs departments of NASA, ESA, and the Russian Space Agency.

The assistance of the Novosti Press Agency and US Information Service was of great help in detailing the pioneering years of human space flight.

Various national and international news organisations were also often consulted, including the publications, Flight International, Aviation Week and Space Technology, and Soviet Weekly.

The staff of the British Interplanetary Society (with its publication Spaceflight) have continued to support our research for many years. We have fond memories of Ken Gatland, past President of the BIS and space flight author, who was an inspiration to many with his documentation of various missions and space activities.

We must express our thanks to Colonel Al Worden (CMP Apollo 15) for his generous foreword.

We also appreciate the help and support of our families during the time it took to compile and prepare this book from its original idea to the finished format.

Last but not least, we appreciate the support and understanding of Clive Hor – wood, Publisher of Praxis, with a project that took a lot out of all of us. Thanks to the staff of Springer-Verlag in both London and New York for post production support; to Neil Shuttlewood and staff at Originator Books for their typesetting skills; to Jim Wilkie for his continued skills in preparing the cover for the project, and to the book printer for the final result.


I was born during the great American Depression, in 1932, at a time when our telephone had a hand crank to call the operator and there were six other families on the line, the bathroom was outdoors, there was no running water and our drinking water came from a hand-dug well in the front yard. Money was tight, but there was a lot of work and fun on my grandparent’s farm. We lived nicely and I can still hear the rain beating on the tin roof at night.

As I grew up, my parents bought a small farm in Jackson, Michigan, and I, along with my five brothers and sisters, lived there during my teen years. One of the most memorable days during those times was the crash of a small airplane behind our house. I was awed by the laid back spirit of the pilots, and thought that would be a great thing to do sometime. The problem was that I did not see myself living my life on a farm. So, when I graduated from high school I searched for the right college to attend, considering that my parents did not have the money to send me to a good one. I ended up going to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating there in 1955. Since there was no Air Force Academy at the time, West Point needed to send a third of each class to the Air Force. I elected to go to the Air Force because I thought promotions would be quicker. I found out that was not going to be true, but in the meantime I discovered that I had a real talent for flying, something with which I had very little prior experience.

I never considered a career in the space program, because the possibility of getting in the program was so remote. I flew fighter aircraft for a number of years, and became my squadron’s armament officer because I spent a lot of time in the hanger learning the maintenance business for high performance fighters. While there I rebuilt the armament shop into a very modern work place to motivate the technicians and increase the quality of work. It was a successful effort and the squadron became the role model for others. In fact, I was asked to go to headquarters to help other squadrons do the same thing. Instead, I asked for and received an assignment back to college to learn about guided missiles. While in college I was the operations officer for

all the Air Force pilots, and that fact helped me to get into the Test Pilot School at Farnborough, England. I was transferred to the RAF for a year while at the school, and I returned to the United States to teach at the USAF Research Pilots School at Edwards AFB in California. I still did not believe I had a chance to become an astronaut, but I wanted to be the best test pilot possible. However, NASA had a selection program, and I applied in late 1965. Because of my academic and flight background, I was lucky enough to be selected in April of 1966.

I found out very quickly that one does not become an astronaut by being selected. You have to make a space flight to really and truly be an astronaut, and there was a long training period to finish before assignment to a flight. After that period, which included all the spacecraft operations and special geology training, I was assigned to the support crew of Apollo 9. My job was to check out the spacecraft at the factory, and to complete the build up and check of the hatch that would be used between the Command Module and the Lunar Module. Subsequently, I was assigned to the Apollo 12 back-up crew as Command Module Pilot (CMP), and then to the Apollo 15 prime crew as CMP. Apollo 15 has been proclaimed the most scientific flight of the Apollo program. We trained hard for the extensive science we would accomplish on the flight, and the results were to confirm our efforts were worthwhile.

During the course of our flight training and preparations it was quite clear to us that a vast amount of data was being accumulated. However, we were focused on the flight and what we had to do to make it successful. Once the flight was under way, we concentrated on the science and experiments we were assigned, and how we would keep on the time line so we would not miss anything. At the same time, Mission Control recorded and maintained the down link data for scientific and post-flight analysis. We kept minimal written data on board because of the crush of schedule and the attempt to get all the data we could from both observations and science equipment.

After the flight, all the data was reduced at Johnson Space Center in the form of written reports and Prime Investigator research papers. This process took many months, and in some cases years before any comprehensive knowledge became clear. Because of this process, our knowledge of the Moon has been enhanced tremendously.

Our business was not record keeping, but completing the mission in a successful fashion. Others were responsible for the data and records of our flight. Today, the records are the most important historical evidence of the flight of Apollo 15.

There have been many flights to near space, almost space, and long distance space. They all require a very high level of competence and extraordinary engineering. The X-15, for example, was a magnificent machine, and it opened the way to space. Yuri Gagarin and Al Shepard started the human space initiative, and since then well over two hundred flights have been launched. Each is unique in its own way, with different mission objectives and goals. Humans are curious about what is over the horizon, and they have been exploring for thousands of years to find new continents, new routes to markets, better places to live and work or to find new riches to take back home. Space is also part of our exploration dream, and has been since Jules Verne opened our minds to the possibility of space flight. He even had his lunar crew of three men launch from a site near Cape Kennedy, go to the Moon and return and land in the ocean.

Maybe fact follows science fiction, but here we are today launching crews from Cape Kennedy, and we will soon be sending them back to the Moon.

My journey to space is pretty typical of the American Astronauts. We all had flight and academic experience, but none of us understood what it would take to go into space until we were actually involved in the program. It turned out that hard work was the key, and that training was non-stop before any flight. We also had to maintain a certain degree of calm and fatalism. I remember thinking, the night before launch, that as I talked to my family it just might be the last conversation I would have with them. But the rewards were worth the risk and we did our jobs gladly and freely.

To really understand how all this came about, this book is essential reading. Starting with Yuri Gagarin and following on through the years, this book will educate you on the fast progression of the space programs of several countries. Understanding where we have been will help you understand where we are going. Enjoy!

Colonel Alfred M. Worden USAF Ret.

NASA Group 5 (1966) Pilot Astronaut Command Module Pilot Apollo 15, 1971


Offician portrait of Al Worden for Apollo 15

To Fallen Heroes

The crews of Apollo 1, Soyuz 1, Soyuz 11, Challenger and Columbia And all the other space explorers who are gone, but never forgotten.


Every journey begins with the first small step. Each small step into space contributes to a larger leap to colonise the cosmos. Each mission’s achievements contribute to the success of the next entry in the world’s manned space flight log book. What started as national rivalry has evolved into international cooperation where each successive space crew can genuinely claim they “came in peace for all mankind.’’


Each log entry was compiled to the same basic layout. The missions are given their official designation but are not numbered chronologically. With variations in defining exactly what constitutes a space flight, and with the increasing tendency for inter­national crews to launch and/or land on separate missions, we have found it far simpler to list the missions in launch sequence and to describe their achievements, than to say superficially which world mission or national mission it was.

The International Designation is the official orbital identification number issued by the International Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). COSPAR gives all satellites and fragments an international designation, based on the year of the launch and the number of successful orbital launches in that calendar year (1 Jan-31 Dec). For example, Apollo 11 received the designation 1969-59A, indicating that it was the 59th orbital launch during the year 1969. The letter code at the end of the designation refers to the type of vehicle launched. Normally, the letter “A” is given to the main instrumented spacecraft; “B” to the rocket; and “C”, “D,” “E” and so on assigned to fragments or ejections. Letters “I” and “O” are not used. If there are more than 24 pieces (such as debris from an explosion), the sequence after “Z” becomes “AA, AB and so on up to “AZ”, and then “BA”, “BB”, etc. For this volume, we have listed only the “A” designations. These items are tracked by the North American Aerospace Defense command (NORAD) which supplies orbital data elements (via NASA) on all traceable satellites – very useful in the identification of potential space debris impacts. In the years 1957-1962, a different system was used, with designations utilising the symbols of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet. For the years 1961-1962 in this volume, we iterate these Greek letters in full for clarity.

The launch date, launch site and landing date and site are given as local time; we have not tried to convert to GMT or UT. We have omitted local times for clarity wherever possible, although for some of the more historic missions in the days before

data was accessible at the click of a mouse button, we have kept some of this data in as a useful reference point. The launch vehicle details have been included where known. It is likely that further data will come to light in future years that will enable us to give a more complete picture of such information.

Durations are given from official sources (NASA or Soviet/Russian) and for Shuttle missions, this is from lift-off to wheel stop at the end of its runway landing. Callsigns (when used) and mission objectives are also presented for information.

Crew details are for the PRIME, or flight, crew only and are presented in the order commander; pilot; then specialists in numerical sequence. Each crew entry lists their full name, age at time of launch, military affiliation or civilian, position on this crew, the number of times they have flown into space, and their previous missions for quick cross-reference. All crew members are either American (astronauts) or Soviet (cosmonauts) unless their nationality is noted.

The flight log records key mission events and, where necessary, pre- and post­flight operations. When an X-15, sub-orbital or X-prize flight occurred, it is men­tioned briefly for continuity in the main text. The details of such missions are included in the opening sections.

When a crew is launched on one mission and returns on another, their whole flight is reported under their launch mission and only briefly mentioned under their landing mission. Therefore, when a space station crew is launched with a core crew of two with a third passenger, the passenger’s activities are recorded along with that of the core space station crew in the same “mission log.’’ This process evolved during the Mir programme, in which guest cosmonauts would fly with an expedition crew who remained on the station, while the guest returned home after about a week in the older spacecraft and with the previous core crew.

On ISS, there have been several occurrences of a complete ISS core crew being launched as “passengers’’ on a Shuttle mission, and landing “as passengers” on a separate Shuttle mission. Here, we have covered the launch of the Shuttle mission separately, followed by the resident crew’s activities as second entry and the landing mission as a third.

Milestones are significant events, achievements and celebrations relating to that crew or mission’s flight into space.

We have not provided references as there are just so many to collate all this data from. The most referred to sources are listed in the bibliography and further details of sources of information can be obtained from the authors if so desired.

Following these guidelines, the Quest for Space section covers those missions that did not reach orbital flight but are part of the story of human space exploration: the 13 launches between 1962 and 1968 of the X-15 that exceeded the then-designated 50 mile (80 km) limit; the two Mercury Redstone sub-orbital missions in 1961; the Apollo 1 pad fire that claimed the lives of three American astronauts on 27 January 1967 just two weeks prior to their planned mission; the Soyuz T10-1 pad abort which occurred just seconds prior to the planned lift-off; and the recent X-Prize flights of Spaceship 1 in 2004.

The launch abort of the Soyuz 18-1 mission in April 1975 is included in the log entries, as is the loss of Challenger during the STS 51-L mission in January 1986. Both of these missions had launched and were “missions in progress” when they encoun­tered their specific difficulties. Had they continued in their planned trajectory, both would have reached orbit.

Wherever possible, we have followed the metric system of weights and distances.

The Appendices review orbital space flight between 1961 and 2006; the cumulative time that astronauts and cosmonauts have spent in space in the order of most experienced; and a brief timeline of historic and key missions in the exploration of space.

Call signs: In the early days of manned space flight, there was no requirement to identify one spacecraft from another because there was never more than one in orbit at a time. Mercury astronauts, however, following the tradition of pilots naming their aircraft, assigned names to their Mercury capsules, adding the number 7 to signify the seven original Mercury astronauts. Thus, the Mercury missions were also known as Friendship 7, Sigma 7, Aurora 7 etc. Had Deke Slayton flown, he would have used the call sign Delta 7

The Gemini spacecraft used the spacecraft’s number as a call sign (though for a while the Gemini 4 astronauts tried to assign the name “American Eagle’’ to the flight and it was also known as “Little Eva’’ – for the EVA or spacewalk). The early Apollo missions also did not require a call sign but by now, distinctive mission emblems were being worn by the crews (from Gemini 5). These have become a traditional part of any manned space flight and are descriptive and colourful. The names of the crew are usually displayed on the emblem, though not always. Programme emblems, activity emblems (such as the EVA badge), payload and support teams emblems and (from 1978) Astronaut Group selection emblems have evolved from these. Russian cosmo­nauts and Chinese yuhangyuans have displayed similar types of emblems.

From Apollo 9 and the first manned flight test of the Lunar Module, it was necessary to be able to clearly identify both the Command and Lunar modules during radio conversations as both would be flying separately at some stage during the mission, with members of the crew aboard each module. Thus, the Command Module became “Gumdrop” and the Lunar Module “Spider.” This practice continued throughout Apollo up to Apollo 17. For Skylab and the American Apollo spacecraft used during the ASTP flight, the crews used the call signs “Skylab” or “Apollo”. When the Americans began to fly the Space Shuttle in 1981, the call sign became the name of the individual orbiter that was being used, as each has its own moniker.

For the Soviet and Russian missions, each pilot cosmonaut chose their own call sign. When in command of a mission, they adopted that call sign for the flight, with other crewmembers appending “2” or “3” to it to identify themselves individually during the mission. When engineer cosmonauts began to fly as mission commanders in 1978, they too were assigned personal call signs, and resident Soviet/Russian space station crews were also known by the call sign of the commander. For ISS missions, it appears that cosmonaut Soyuz TMA commander call signs are used for contact over Russian ground stations and during flights of the Soyuz spacecraft independent of the ISS. It is unclear if Chinese Shenzhou missions or yuhangyuans have adapted a call sign.