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.

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



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.