Most of the Shuttle missions pre-ISS launched to ~28 degrees, due to the latitude of Kennedy Space Center. However, several of the early missions launched to higher inclinations:
Some later missions also launched to high inclinations, although this may be due to their scientific payloads, most notably Spacelab:
- STS-41-G launched to 57 degrees.
- STS-51-B launched to 57 degrees.
- STS-51-F launched to 49.5 degrees.
- STS-61-A launched to 57 degrees.
So what motivated the choice of high-inclination orbits on these missions? For the Spacelab missions, was that the deciding factor in launching to 57 degrees?