July 31, 1992: Shuttle Lofts Experiments

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  Space News Business

July 31, 1992: Shuttle Lofts Experiments

By CLINTON PARKS
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 10 August 2007
11:52 am ET





Washington



NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis launched








July 31, 1992, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying




two experimental spacecraft: a European science platform and a joint NASA-




Italian Space Agency satellite.



During the nine-day mission, the seven-person STS-46 crew deployed the European Space Agency’s European Retrievable Carrier (Eureca) and the Tethered Satellite System (TSS-1) mission.

Eureca
contained a series of microgravity experiments, primarily involving life sciences and radiobiology but also




Earth science and physics, from seven European nations.




The spacecraft remained in orbit 499 kilometers above




Earth until it was retrieved and stowed aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour January




1993.





TSS-1




was designed




to test whether




electricity could be generated by




floating a spherical probe 1.6-meters in diameter




attached to an electrically conductive tether through




Earth’s magnetic field.

However, the test failed




when the tether was jammed by a protruding bolt in the reel preventing it




from extending beyong




256 meters in length. The tether was meant to extend the




probe 20 kilometers above the shuttle.

Attempts were made to free the tether during the next several days, but the astronauts




were unable to




fix the problem.

Atlantis returned to Cape Canaveral Aug. 8 with TS




S-1 in tow.