Model, Satellite, Solar Max

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The Solar Maximum Mission satellite (Solar Max), launched in 1980, was an orbital observatory equipped with various instruments for studying the sun. The observatory operated well for nine months until a failure in its attitude control system left it unable to point precisely at observation targets on the sun. On Space Shuttle mission STS 41-C in 1984, astronauts retrieved Solar Max, repaired it in the Shuttle payload bay, and then redeployed it for continued scientific research. This mission demonstrated new capabilities of the Space Shuttle and astronauts; it was the first to rendezvous with, capture, and repair a satellite in orbit, and it was the first operational use of the Manned Maneuvering Unit.