Mission Insignia
Mission statistics
Mission nameSTS-7
Space shuttleChallenger
Launch pad39-A
Launch dateJune 18, 1983, 11:33:00 UTC
LandingJune 24, 1983, 14:56:59 UTC
Edwards Airforce Base
Mission duration6d/02:23:59
Number of orbits97
Orbital altitude296 to 315 km
Orbital inclination28.5°
Distance traveled 4,072,553 km)
Crew photo
L-R: Ride, Fabian, Crippen, Thagard, Hauck
Related missions
Previous missionNext mission
35px-sts-6-patch.png (3,969 bytes)
35px-sts-8_patch.png (4,319 bytes)

STS-7 was a space shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Challenger, launched June 18, 1983. This was the seventh space shuttle mission, and was the second mission for the Space Shuttle Challenger. It was also the first American mission to have a female astronaut.


  • Commander: Robert L. Crippen (Second spaceflight)
  • Pilot: Frederick H. Hauck (First spaceflight)
  • Mission Specialist 1: John M. Fabian (First spaceflight)
  • Mission Specialist 2: Sally K. Ride (First spaceflight)
  • Mission Specialist 3: Norman E. Thagard (First spaceflight)

Mission Paramters

  • Mass:
    • Orbiter Liftoff: 113,025 kg
    • Orbiter Landing: 92,550 kg
    • Payload: 16,839 kg
  • Perigee: 299 km
  • Apogee: 307 km
  • Inclination: 28.3°
  • Period: 90.6 min

Mission highlights

The Challenger’s second flight began at 7:33 a.m. EDT, June 18, 1983, with another on-time liftoff. It was the first flight of an American woman in space -- Sally K. Ride -- and also the largest crew to fly in a single spacecraft up to that time, five people.

Crew members included Robert L. Crippen, commander, making his second Shuttle flight; Frederick H. Hauck, pilot; Ride, John M. Fabian and Norman Thagard, all mission specialists. Thagard conducted medical tests of the Space Adaptation Syndrome nausea and sickness frequently experienced by astronauts during the early phase of a space flight.

Two communications satellites -- Anik C-2 for Telesat of Canada, and Palapa B-l for Indonesia -- were successfully deployed during the first 2 days of the mission. The mission also carried the first Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS-l) built by Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm, a West German aerospace firm. SPAS-l was unique in that it was designed to operate in the payload bay or be deployed by the RMS as a free-flying satellite. It carried 10 experiments to study formation of metal alloys in microgravity, the operation of heat pipes, instruments for remote sensing observations, and a mass spectrometer to identify various gases in the payload bay. It was deployed by the RMS and flew alongside and over Challenger for several hours while a U.S.-supplied camera took pictures from the SPAS-1 of the orbiter performing various maneuvers. The RMS later grappled the pallet and returned it to the payload bay.

This mission also carried seven GAS canisters which contained a wide variety of experiments, as well as the OSTA-2 payload, a joint U.S.-West German scientific pallet payload. Finally, the orbiter's Ku-band antenna was able to relay data through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite to a ground terminal for the first time.

STS-7 was scheduled to make the first Shuttle landing at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility. However, unacceptable weather forced a change to Runway 23 at Edwards AFB. The landing took place June 24, 1983, at 6:57 a.m. PDT. The mission lasted 6 days, 2 hours, 23 minutes, 59 seconds. It covered about 2.2 million miles during 97 orbits of the Earth. Challenger was returned to KSC on June 29.


While orbiting a window of the Shuttle was damaged by space debris.

Mission insignia

The seven white stars in the black field of the mission patch, as well as the arm extending from the shuttle in the shape of a 7, tell the flight's numerical designation in the Space Transportation System's mission sequence. The five-armed symbol on the right side illustrates the four male/one female crew.

Wake-up calls

A tradition for NASA human spaceflights since the days of Gemini, mission crews are played a special musical track at the start of each day in space. Each track is specially chosen, often by their families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities.

Flight DaySongArtist/ComposerPlayed for
Day 2University of Texas Fight SongTexas A&M Marching BandBob Crippen
Day 3Tufts Tonia's Daythe Tufts University Beelzebubs
Day 4When You're SmilingMary Cleave
Day 5Washington State University Cougar Fight SongWashington State University BandJohn Fabian
Day 6Stanford HymnLeeland Stanford Junior University Marching BandDr. Sally Ride
Day 7Florida State University Fight SongFlorida State University Marching Chiefs.Norm Thagard