Mission Overview

NASA's Spartan program was based on the idea of a simple, low-cost platform deployed from a space shuttle in orbit for a 2-3 day flight, then recovered and returned to Earth. The platform allows the experiments to get out of the messy shuttle environment and frees it of any shuttle pointing constraints.

Spartan-1 was deployed from the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-51G) on 20 June 1985 and retrieved 45.5 hours later.

Launch Information

Launch Date: 1985-06-17 at 11:33:00 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Shuttle
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Decay Date: 1985-06-24

Trajectory Description
Type: Orbiter
Central Body: Earth
Epoch start: 1985-06-17 00:00:00 UTC

Orbital Parameters
Periapsis 296.0 km
Apoapsis 296.0 km
Period 90.30000305175781 minutes
Inclination 28.5°
Eccentricity 0.0


The X-ray detectors aboard the Spartan platform were sensitive to the energy range 1-12 keV. The instrument scanned its target with narrowly collimated (5 arcmin x 3 degrees) gas scintillation proportional counters. There were 2 identical sets of counters, each having ~ 660 cm2 effective area. Counts were accumulated for 0.812 s into 128 energy channels. The energy resolution was 16% at 6 keV.


During its 2 days of flight, Spartan-1 observed the Perseus cluster of galaxies and our galactic center region.