Ulysses was launched on the 6th October, 1990 on board the space shuttle "Discovery". The spacecraft was mounted on top of two propulsion modules, the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) and the Payload Assisted Module (PAM).

The tower-like space vehicle was released into orbit from the "Discovery" cargo bay and aimed towards Jupiter. First the two-stage IUS was fired, followed by the PAM, accelerating Ulysses to the greatest injection velocity ever achieved by a man-made object. The spacecraft velocity relative to the Sun was more than 41 km/second (25 miles/second).

At the end of its injection into interplanetary orbit, the Ulysses Spacecraft separated from the PAM and started transmitting data to the ground. This data was eagerly received by Mission Control after the long silence imposed by the injection manoeuvre. Ulysses was in perfect condition, heralding the start of a successful mission.

[STS-41 Images] [STS-41 Images] [STS-41 Images]

For more information about the STS-41 Shuttle Mission, visit the NASA Shuttle Archive