STS-30 Fact Sheet

By Cliff Lethbridge

STS-30 — Atlantis

29th Space Shuttle Mission

4th Flight of Atlantis


David M. Walker, Commander

Ronald J. Grabe, Pilot

Norman E. Thagard, Mission Specialist

Mary L. Cleave, Mission Specialist

Mark C. Lee, Mission Specialist

Orbiter Preparations:

Tow to Orbiter Processing Facility – December 14, 1988

Rollover to Vehicle Assembly Building – March 11, 1989

Rollout to Launch Pad 39B – March 22, 1989


May 4, 1989 – 2:46:59 p.m. EDT. Launch attempt on April 28, 1989 was scrubbed at T-31 seconds due to a problem with a liquid hydrogen recirculation pump on Main Engine Number One and a vapor leak in a four-inch liquid hydrogen recirculation line located between the Shuttle and its external fuel tank.

May 4 launch was delayed 59 minutes due to cloud cover and high crosswinds at the Shuttle’s emergency landing runway at the Kennedy Space Center.


May 8, 1989 – 12:43:26 p.m. PDT at Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance was 10,295 feet. Rollout time was 64 seconds. Mission duration was 4 days, 0 hours, 56 minutes, 27 seconds. Landing occurred during the 65th orbit.

Mission Summary:

The mission’s primary payload, the Magellan/Venus radar mapper spacecraft, represented the first U.S. planetary mission in 11 years. Magellan was deployed using an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) two-stage booster, which sent the craft on a 15-month journey to Venus.

Secondary payloads included the Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE), microgravity research with Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA) and an Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment similar to that flown on STS-29. One of five general purpose computers failed during the flight and was replaced using an onboard spare. This was the first time the device was replaced during in-flight operations.