Follow this link to skip to the main content

Spacelab

Spacelab

Cutaway illustration of the shuttle with a typical Space cargo.

Cutaway illustration of the shuttle with a typical Space cargo. (Credit: NASA)

Photo of the X-ray Telescope on Spacelab 2 during the Space Shuttle flight (STS-51F).

Photo of the X-ray Telescope on Spacelab 2 during the Space Shuttle flight (STS-51F). (Credit: NASA)

Spacelab was a reusable laboratory flown on the Space Shuttle to carry out scientific investigations. Spacelab flew on 22 Space Shuttle missions allowing scientists to conduct research in the microcragity of Earth's orbit.

Lifetime: November 1983 (first Spacelab mission flown on STS-9) - April 1998 (final Spacelab mission flown on STS-90)

Operators: NASA and the European Space Agency

Primary Science

The Spacelab missions were designed for a variety of scientific studies including atmospheric physics, solar observations, and deep space astronomy. In particular, Spacelab 1 and Spacelab 2 carried instruments that made observations of extra-solar high energy sources.

Spacelab 1

Lifetime: November 1983 - December 1983

Primary Science

Spacelab 1 was flown aboard Space Shuttle flight STS-9 and carried instruments to perform a multidisciplinary mission comprising five broad areas of investigation: atmosphereic physics and Earth observations, space plasma physics, astronomy and solar physics, material sciences and technology, and life sciences.

High Energy Science

Spacelab 1 carried an X-ray spectrometer to perform detailed spectral studies of cosmic sources and their changes over time.

Science Highlights

  • Accumulated X-ray data for a dozen intended targest

Links to more information

Spacelab 2

Lifetime: July 1985 - August 1985

Primary Science

Spacelab 2 was carried aboard Space Shuttle flight STS-51F. It's primary objectives were to demonstrate Spacelab's capabilities through a multidisciplinary research program.

High Energy Science

One of the scientific experiments on Spacelab 2 was an X-ray telescope. Even though the shuttle failed to get to it's intended orbit, due to a premature main engine shutdown, the X-ray telescope performed as expected.

Science Highlights

  • Seventy-five hours of observations including eight galactic clusters, the galactic center, and the Vela supernova remnant

Links to more information




 

A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Goddard