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STS-47 payloadbay.jpg
Spacelab in Endeavour's payload bay
Mission type Microgravity research
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 1992-061A
SATCAT no. 22120
Mission duration 7 days, 22 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds
Distance travelled 5,265,523 kilometers (3,271,844 mi)
Orbits completed 126
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Space Shuttle Endeavour
Landing mass 99,450 kilograms (219,250 lb)
Payload mass 12,485 kilograms (27,525 lb)
Crew size 7
Members Robert L. Gibson
Curtis L. Brown, Jr.
Mark C. Lee
Jay Apt
N. Jan Davis
Mae C. Jemison
Mamoru Mohri
Start of mission
Launch date 12 September 1992, 14:23:00.0680 (1992-09-12UTC14:23Z) UTC
Launch site Kennedy LC-39B
End of mission
Landing date 20 September 1992, 12:53:24 (1992-09-20UTC12:53:25Z) UTC
Landing site Kennedy SLF Runway 33
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 297 kilometres (185 mi)
Apogee 310 kilometres (190 mi)
Inclination 57.0 degrees
Sts-47-patch.png STS-47 crew.jpg
Left to right - Front row: Apt, Brown; Back row: Davis, Lee, Gibson, Jemison, Mohri
← STS-46
STS-52 →

STS-47 was the 50th Space Shuttle mission of the program, as well as the second mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour. The mission mainly involved conducting experiments in life and material sciences.


Position Crew Member
Commander Robert L. Gibson
Fourth spaceflight
Pilot Curtis L. Brown, Jr.
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Mark C. Lee
Second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 Jay Apt
Second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 N. Jan Davis
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 4 Mae C. Jemison
Only spaceflight
Payload Specialist 1 Mamoru Mohri, NASDA
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Astronaut
Payload Specialist 1 Chiaki Mukai, NASDA
First spaceflight
Payload Specialist 1 Takao Doi, NASDA
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 4 Stanley L. Koszelak
First spaceflight

Crew seating arrangements

Seat[1] Launch Landing STS-121 seating assignments.png
Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
S1 Gibson Gibson
S2 Brown Brown
S3 Lee Davis
S4 Apt Apt
S5 Davis Lee
S6 Jemison Jemison
S7 Mohri Mohri

Mission highlights

Unimak Island as seen from Endeavour.

Spacelab-J—a joint NASA and National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) mission using a manned Spacelab module—conducted microgravity investigations in materials and life sciences. The international crew, consisting of the first Japanese astronaut to fly aboard the Shuttle, the first African-American woman to fly in space and, contrary to normal NASA policy, the first married couple to fly on the same space mission (Lee and Davis), was divided into red and blue teams for around the clock operations. Spacelab-J included 24 materials science and 20 life sciences experiments, of which 35 were sponsored by NASDA, 7 by NASA and 2 collaborative efforts.

Ever since female space travelers became the norm during the 1980s, NASA instituted rules stipulating that husband/wife couples would not be launched together out of concern over disrupting in-flight morale. However, Mark Lee and Jan Davis had secretly married a few weeks before the launch of STS-47 and NASA was forced to waive this rule as it would not have been possible to cancel the mission or reassign crews at this point.

The first married couple in space created months of speculation and jibes from the media about the possibility of them having sexual relations in orbit, but NASA officials were not amused and vehemently shot down the rumors, noting among other things the lack of privacy in the cramped Shuttle cabin and the physics of zero gravity making intercourse difficult if not impossible. Davis and Lee, who later divorced, refused to answer queries about them engaging in intimate activities during the mission.

Materials science investigations covered such fields as biotechnology, electronic materials, fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, glasses and ceramics, metals and alloys, and acceleration measurements. Life sciences included experiments on human health, cell separation and biology, developmental biology, animal and human physiology and behavior, space radiation, and biological rhythms. Test subjects included the crew, Japanese koi fish (carp), cultured animal and plant cells, chicken embryos, fruit flies, fungi, plant seeds, frogs and frog eggs, and oriental hornets.

Twelve Get Away Special (GAS) canisters (10 with experiments, 2 with ballast) were carried in the payload bay. Middeck experiments were: Israeli Space Agency Investigation About Hornets (ISAIAH), Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX II), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), and Ultraviolet Plume Imager (UVPI).

STS-47 Endeavour crewmembers inside Spacelab

Among the GAS Cansisters was G-102, sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America's Exploring Division in cooperation with the TRW Systems Integration Group, Fairfax, VA. The project was named Project POSTAR and was the first space experiment created entirely by members of the Boy Scouts of America.

The mission, scheduled to end on September 19, was extended for one more day to complete certain experiments.

Also on board were two experiments prepared by Ashford School in Kent, United Kingdom, which, at the time, was a girls-only school.[2] The school had won a competition run by Independent Television News. The experiments were contained in G-520. The first one injected a few grams of cobalt nitrate crystals to a sodium silicate to create a chemical garden in weightless condition. The growths, which were photographed 66 times as they developed, spread out in random directions, twisted, and, in some cases, formed spirals. A second experiment to investigate how Liesegang rings formed in space failed to operate correctly due to friction in parts of the mechanism. On its return, the experiment was exhibited in the London Science Museum.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "STS-47". Spacefacts. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Apace shuttle mission STS-47 – Press kit". NASA. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Late bloom for crystal garden". The New Scientist. 2 January 1993. Retrieved 27 September 2010.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

External links

  • NASA mission summary
  • STS-47 Video Highlights
  • Project POSTAR

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