Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
In February 1985 he was named to STS 51-J, a classified Department of Defense mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 3, 1985. This was the maiden voyage of the Atlantis. As a mission specialist on this flight, he had prime responsibility for a number of on-orbit activities during the mission. After 98 hours of orbital operations, Atlantis landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on October 7, 1985.
In May 1985 he was named to the crew of STS 61-F which was to deploy the Ulysses spacecraft on an interplanetary trajectory using a Centaur upper stage. This mission was to have flown in May 1986, but the Shuttle Centaur project was terminated in July 1986, and Hilmers then worked in the areas of ascent abort development, payload safety, and shuttle on-board software. During 1987 he was involved in training for STS-26 and in flight software development.
Hilmers next served on the crew of STS-26, the first flight to be flown after the Challenger accident. The Orbiter Discovery was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on September 29, 1988. During the four day mission, the crew successfully deployed the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-C), which was subsequently carried to orbit by the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) rocket. They also operated eleven mid-deck experiments. Discovery completed 64 orbits of the earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on October 3, 1988.
He then served on the crew of STS-36 which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on February 28, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. This mission carried Department of Defense payloads and a number of secondary payloads. After 72 orbits of the Earth, the STS-36 mission concluded with a lakebed landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on March 4, 1990, after traveling 1.87 million miles.
More recently, Hilmers served on the crew of STS-42, aboard the Shuttle Discovery, which lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 22, 1992. Fifty five major experiments conducted in the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 module were provided by investigators from eleven countries, and represented a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. During 128 orbits of the Earth, the STS-42 crew accomplished the mission's primary objective of investigating the effects on the growth of protein and semiconductor crystals. Biological experiments on the effects of zero gravity on plants, tissues, bacteria, insects and human vestibular response were also conducted. This eight-day mission culminated in a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on January 30, 1992.
With the completion of his fourth space flight, Hilmers has over 493 hours in space.
FEBRUARY 1992 ARCHIVAL BIOGRAPHY