On Nov. 11Ð15, 1990, Richard O. Corey and a crew of four launched a spy satellite from Atlantis, on the last secret military flight of the Shuttle program. Vance Brand and a crew of six attempted a complex astronomy program aboard Columbia on Dec. 2Ð10, 1990, but mechanical problems severely cut back on planned ultraviolet and X-ray observations. Atlantis was launched on Apr. 5, 1991, with Steven R. Nagel, a crew of four, and a 15-metric-ton Gamma Ray Orbiter scientific probe, the heaviest satellite placed in orbit by the Shuttle program. The Apr. 28ÐMay 6, 1991, flight of Discovery, with Michael L. Coats and a crew of six, was a nonsecret military mission testing elements of the SDI program. Columbia returned to space on June 5Ð14, 1991, with Bryan D. O'Connor and a crew of six. The ship carried a Spacelab module for conducting a variety of medical tests on the effects of living in space. John E. Blaha and a crew of four flew Atlantis, Aug. 2Ð11, 1991, on a mission to launch a final TDRS satellite and conduct further medical studies. The Sept. 12Ð18, 1991, Discovery mission, conducted by John O. Creighton and a crew of four, placed into orbit the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.On the 44th mission, Nov. 25ÐDec. 2, 1991, commander Frederick D. Gregory and his crew of five in Atlantis orbited a satellite for detecting missile launches. The first 1992 mission, flown January 22Ð30 in Discovery by commander Ronald J. Grabe and six others, carried Spacelab configured as Microgravity Laboratory 1.
On Mar. 25ÐApr. 2, 1992, the seven-person Atlantis crew, with commander Charles F. Bolden, Jr., and physicist Dirk FrimoutÑthe first Belgian in spaceÑobserved atmospheric processes. Endeavour, the replacement for Challenger, made its first flight on May 7Ð16, 1992, with commander Daniel C. Brandenstein and six other crew members. The crew achieved a daring rescue by hand of INTELSAT VI.The science mission of Columbia on June 25ÐJuly 9, 1992, with Richard N. Richards and six others, also set a Shuttle endurance record. On July 31ÐAug. 8, 1992, the attempt by Loren J. Shriver and his crew of six to fly a tethered satellite from Atlantis did not succeed, but they did launch a European science satellite. On Endeavour's American-Japanese biology-research mission, Sept. 12Ð20, 1992, with Spacelab-J, the seven-person crew commanded by Robert Gibson included Japanese scientist Mamoru Mohri and the first married couple in space, Mark Lee and Jan Davis. On Columbia's October 22ÐNovember 1 flight, James Wetherbee and his crew of five successfully launched the LAGEOS-2 geodetic satellite. The final 1992 mission was that of Discovery, with commander David Walker and a crew of four, who deployed a secret military satellite.