Mission Insignia

Mission Statistics
Launch Pad: 39-A
Launch:March 22, 1982
11:00:00 a.m. EST
Landing:March 30, 1982
9:04:46 a.m. MST
Duration:8 days, 0 hours, 4 minutes, 46 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 147 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 38.0 degrees
Miles Traveled: 3,334,904 miles
Crew photo

STS-3 was the third space shuttle mission, and was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It was the first launch with an unpainted external tank, and the only landing at White Sands, New Mexico.

Table of contents
1 The mission of the STS-3
2 Crew
3 Related articles
4 External links

The mission of the STS-3

Primary mission objective was to demonstrate safe re-launch and safe return of the orbiter and crew. Also, verify the combined performance of the entire shuttle vehicle - orbiter, solid rocket boosters and external tank.

During this mission, testing of the space shuttle and the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) continued. The crew also gathered data on contamination (dust, gasses, etc.) put into the near-Earth space environment by the shuttle itself.

Problems encountered: The crew experienced space sickness, had a malfunctioning toilet, thermostat difficulty and unexplained static interfering with crew sleep. Also, the auxiliary power unit registered overheating during ascent, but functioned properly during descent. Communication link lost three times.

STS-3 was the only shuttle mission to land at White Sands, New Mexico. The landing demonstrated that the Shuttle could land in the desert, but sand damaged the orbiter.

This is the last mission for which NASA named the backup crews.

Columbia circled the Earth 130 times.


  • Commander: Jack R. Lousma
  • Pilot: C. Gordon Fullerton

Backup Crew
  • Backup Commander: Thomas K. Mattingly
  • Backup Pilot: Henry W. Hartsfield Jr

STS-3 speeds away from Launch Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center. Note the bright orange flame from the solid rocket booster combustion of ammonium perchlorate and aluminum compared to the blue and clear flame of hydrogen and oxygen from the Space Shuttle Main Engines.

STS-3 prepares to land at Northrup Strip, White Sands, New Mexico with two T-38 chase planes observing.

Related articles

External links

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