Author Topic: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"  (Read 47338 times)

Online Jorge

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #100 on: 01/28/2010 03:11 PM »
I am skeptical that there was a real requirement for a DoD shuttle to launch from Vandenberg, deploy a satellite, and land in one orbit.  I'd have to see a document from the time that clearly stated that.

There was a crossrange requirement dictated by abort concerns.  In other words, if they launched and had a problem, they had to be able to recover at Vandenberg because they did not want a shuttle with a spysat making an emergency landing in Russia.

But I'd like to see documents.

I have the documents, somewhere. May take a while to find. They were Baseline Reference Missions 3A (deploy) and 3B (retrieve) and the documents were dated in the 1974-75 timeframe. They are on paper but if I find them I'll scan a few representative pages if that will be enough to convince you.

I believe we are talking about the document attached.....

That's an excerpt from it (along with a cover note by Jim Oberg). The original document is much larger, though I still haven't located it. But that excerpt is sufficient to prove the existence of the reference missions.
JRF

Offline Blackstar

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #101 on: 01/28/2010 03:40 PM »
But to what extent were the reference missions adopted in the design of the shuttle and in developing operational procedures?

Offline Jim

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #102 on: 02/02/2010 11:55 PM »
I am posting so much on this forum, I have forgotten what I have posted.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=4998.0

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=10317.msg198804#msg198804


I have to find my reference for the first link.

Offline SpaceUSMC

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #103 on: 02/26/2010 01:48 AM »
I noticed some pictures with the article on the Air&Space website, What was with the blue launch and entry suits? Were they just training models?

Offline Michael Cassutt

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #104 on: 02/26/2010 03:01 AM »
I noticed some pictures with the article on the Air&Space website, What was with the blue launch and entry suits? Were they just training models?

I didn't provide that picture -- if you mean the flight deck image of Gibson's STS-27 crew -- but I'm fairly sure the 1987 launch-entry suits were blue and that the orange garment is for visibility. 

Michael Cassutt

Offline Blackstar

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #105 on: 04/02/2010 06:29 PM »
Just came across this about STS-4.  Skip to the last sentence:


Aviation Week & Space Technology

June 7, 1982
Shuttle Flight Plan Paced by Payloads
BYLINE: By Craig Covault
SECTION: SPACE TECHNOLOGY; Pg. 82
LENGTH: 3341 words
DATELINE: Washington

Flight plan for space shuttle Mission 4 astronauts Navy Capt. Thomas K. Mattingly and Henry W. Hartsfield will be paced by operation of the U. S. Air Force multidisciplinary payload, manipulator arm operations and management of biological materials processing in zero-g.

As in the third mission, the planned 168-hr. flight, spread over eight days, has orbiter thermal testing as a primary objective. Liftoff is scheduled for 11 a. m. June 27.

The mission is a pathfinder for space shuttle defense operations from the standpoint of payload support at Kennedy Space Center and secure mission operations at the Johnson Space Center and the USAF satellite control facility, located in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Key elements of Defense Dept.'s first shuttle payload are:

* Cryogenic infrared radiance instrumentation for shuttle (Cirris) -- The payload consists of a barrel-shaped, cryogenically cooled infrared sensor developed by the Air Force Geophysical Laboratory and Utah State University. The sensor will examine the Earth limb and atmospheric background to provide data supporting an increasing number of military surveillance systems incorporating infrared technology (AW&ST Mar. 15, p. 13; June 22, 1981, p. 15). The data will be used to establish criteria for signature identification of Soviet air-breathing and missile threats that could be observed by infrared sensors.

 
Cirris Research

Space shuttle payload bay contamination environment also will be researched by the Cirris instrument and there is concern that the instrument could see significant particulate contamination surrounding the orbiter if the orbiter characteristics found in initial Mission 3 data recur (AW&ST May 24, p. 53).

* Horizon ultraviolet program -The horizon ultraviolet sensor (AW&ST June 23, 1980, p. 47) will provide similar data on the ultraviolet characteristics of Earth's horizon for future military surveillance applications requiring this wavelength. There has been increasing interest in ultraviolet for use in missile early warning systems. The sensor also is sponsored by the Air Force Geophysical Laboratory.

* Sheath wake and charging experiment -- This geophysical laboratory experiment will characterize further the electrical environment present in the payload bay.

* Passive cosmic ray detector -The Cambridge Research Laboratory instrument will record the cosmic ray bombardment on the orbiter in space.

* Shuttle effects on plasmas in space --The Naval Research Laboratory experiment will characterize further the space plasma surrounding the orbiter, investigations initially carried out by the plasma diagnostics package on the third mission.

* Space sextant -This 43-lb. Martin Marietta instrument is designed to provide unmanned spacecraft with navigation data in the absence of extensive ground support. It is receiving its first space test on this mission. The system is designed to provide a navigation accuracy of 820 ft. and an attitude accuracy of 0.4 arc-sec. It is designed to provide five years of operational life.

* Pallet alignment modeling experiment -- This is to test the ability to predict and maintain the alignment of pallets carrying shuttle defense instrumentation. Lockheed has been involved in the integration.

U. S. Air Force earlier was considering a standard sortie support system, such as General Electric's standard test rack configuration, to support the instruments. Those plans have been dropped. The hardware is in storage at General Electric's Valley Forge, Pa., facility with no space utilization in sight.

The first Defense Dept. shuttle payload is devoted to obtaining scientific data that will be fed into various defense programs. USAF had earlier wanted the mission to carry a large military imaging reconnaissance film camera in the payload bay.
 
Military Reconnaissance

The plan to test actively the concept of utilizing the space shuttle as a manned military reconnaissance sortie vehicle was not approved by congressional intelligence officials, and USAF moved its attention away from using Mission 4 for anything other than scientific data gathering to enhance future defense systems.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2010 06:29 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Jim

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #106 on: 04/02/2010 07:18 PM »
The ESS (Experiment Support Structure) and its avionics that supported CIRRIS was designed with MMIS in mind.  There was no telemetry or data downlink or commanding uplink.  I have a flyer at home that I will scan.  It is about the CMP (Command and Monitor Panel).  It highlights the MMIS aspect and autonomous operations.

Offline Pheogh

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #107 on: 04/02/2010 07:34 PM »
Sorry to interject here all, but based on this new information, was? a shuttle ever launched out of Vandenberg? The image from the Space Review article is hauntingly shall we say "prepped" Thank you

Offline Blackstar

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #108 on: 04/02/2010 08:01 PM »
No shuttle was ever launched out of Vandenberg.  Challenger happened in January 1986.  I believe that by April 1986 the USAF formally indicated that it would not launch any shuttles from SLC-6/VAFB and halted construction at SLC-6.  I believe that the facility was placed in mothballs a few months later (fall 1986?).  I also believe that the facility could have been finished by late 1986, so it went into mothballs mostly complete.

Offline DeanG1967

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #109 on: 04/03/2010 12:05 AM »
There was a shuttle at Vandenberg.  The Enterprise was used to fit-check the never-used shuttle launch pad at Vandenberg AFB.  Real ET and SRBs.  I believe it was mid 1985 when that was done.  Obviously with no real motors, electronics, or TPS, it wasn't going anywhere (unless on the back of a 747)
« Last Edit: 04/03/2010 12:07 AM by DeanG1967 »

Offline psloss

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #110 on: 04/03/2010 12:21 AM »
There was a shuttle at Vandenberg.  The Enterprise was used to fit-check the never-used shuttle launch pad at Vandenberg AFB.  Real ET and SRBs.  I believe it was mid 1985 when that was done.  Obviously with no real motors, electronics, or TPS, it wasn't going anywhere (unless on the back of a 747)
Discovery made it as far as North Vandenberg in a slight detour on its delivery ferry to KSC.  That was to do fit checks of the Orbiter Lifting Frame.  But a flight-orbiter never made it to the pad.  While I think "real" SRBs were stacked at SLC-6 later, IIRC the ones that Enterprise was stacked with were inert.  (Possibly the ones used for the Enterprise fit checks at KSC.)

Offline Lobo

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Re: "Inside the Secret Space Shuttles"
« Reply #111 on: 03/03/2011 06:43 PM »
Yea,
Here's pictures of Discovery at Vandenberg.  Apparently in Nov of 1983 for fit checks of the mate-demate device there, before being delivered to KSC.

Obviously Enterprise was there too, lots of picturs on the internet showing her mated to an inert tank and SRB's at the red Vandeburg tower at SLC-6.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21331.1215

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