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STS-51G: Space truck
A seven-person crew featuring payload specialists from France and Saudi Arabia flew aboard the June 1985 mission of space shuttle Discovery. They narrate the highlights of STS-51G in this post-flight film. Three communications satellites -- for Mexico, the Arab countries and the U.S. -- were launched from the payload bay. And the SPARTAN 1 astrophysics spacecraft was deployed from the shuttle's robot arm for a two-day freeflight to make its science observations before being retrieved and returned to Earth.

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STS-51B: Monkeys, bubbles and auroras
The flight of Spacelab 3 aboard Challenger in April/May 1985 was a week-long scientific research mission using a laboratory tucked in the shuttle's payload bay. Experiments focused on material and fluid behaviors in weightlessness, plus observations of monkeys in the lab. The crew also watched amazing auroral displays over Earth. This post-flight crew film shows the highlights of STS-51B and includes remarkable views out the shuttle cockpit window during launch showing the Chesapeake Bay, New York City and Cape Cod as Challenger soared up the eastern seaboard.

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STS-51D: Flyswatter spacewalk
Discovery launched April 12, 1985 on the STS-51D mission. A U.S. military communications satellite, known as Leasat 3, failed to activate after its deployment from the payload bay. That set the stage for a spacewalk -- the shuttle program's first unplanned EVA -- to attach handcrafted "Flyswatter" objects on the shuttle robotic arm to hit a timing switch on the satellite. The rescue attempt did not succeed. Upon landing at Kennedy Space Center, Discovery blew a tire. The crew, including Senator Jake Garn of Utah, narrate this post-flight film of highlights from the week-long mission.

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Fuel tank update
NASA managers hold this news conference April 28 to give an update on plans for the next space shuttle mission, the ongoing external fuel tank testing and debates over further modifications.

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CALIPSO and CloudSat
The Boeing Delta 2 rocket carrying the CALIPSO and CloudSat atmospheric research spacecraft lifts off at 3:02 a.m. local time April 28 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

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AeroAstro completes STPSat-1 integration
Posted: May 9, 2006

AeroAstro, Inc., a leading provider of small satellites and related technology products, today announced the completion of bus integration on the STPSat-1 satellite, a low-earth-orbiting satellite that will be launched this year.

The space vehicle is being developed under contract to the DoD Space Test Program (STP) headquartered at Kirtland AFB, and will be the first DoD STP mission specifically designed to fly space experiments on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA).

This event marks the successful completion of the electrical and mechanical integration of all spacecraft components and payload elements. Bus functional testing is in progress at AeroAstro's Virginia headquarters, to be followed by environmental tests at the Naval Research Laboratory later this year.

STPSat-1's payload comprises three experiments: the primary experiment, Spatial Heterodyne Imager for Mesospheric Radicals (SHIMMER), is a high-resolution ultraviolet spectrometer based on the new optical technique known as Spatial Heterodyne Spectroscopy (SHS). SHS facilitates the design of low mass, low power, high throughput spectrometers for space-based remote sensing. The two secondary experiments are the Computerized Ionospheric Tomography Receiver in Space (CITRIS), which will investigate irregularities that affect propagation of satellite-to-ground links for GPS and communications; and the Micro-Electro-Mechanical (MEMS)-based PicoSat Inspector (MEPSI), a miniature free-flyer that will be released from STPSat-1 to demonstrate MEMS utility and related microsystems for proximity operations.

STPSat-1 is currently scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, on an Atlas 5, along with five other payloads, in late 2006.

Lt Col Daniel J. Griffith, Director of the DoD Space Test Program, remarked, "The DoD Space Test Program is excited about this milestone on STPSat-1. Along with our AeroAstro teammates, we believe that this marks significant progress toward the launch of three valuable DoD experiments on the first ESPA launch in late 2006 - a critical part of STP's first EELV launch, and the most complicated mission that STP has had in its 40 year history."

Patricia Davis, Executive VP and General Manager, Space, at AeroAstro, Inc., said, "We are pleased to achieve this important milestone on the STPSat-1 program. AeroAstro is proud to be a part of the first ESPA launch complement, and to support STP's role as the primary provider of spaceflight for the entire Department of Defense space research community."

This project is sponsored by the United States Air Force, Air Force Space Command Detachment 12, Space and Missile System Center, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico 87117-5778.