Author Topic: FEATURE: After 26 Years, Workhorse Discovery Stands Ready for Final Mission  (Read 22590 times)


Offline shuttlefanatic

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Wow.  Great article.  I think Chris B used the word already, but that was epic!  :)

Offline GoForTLI

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Quote
Launching more times than any other space vehicle in history (a  distinction she will hold for decades to come since no spaceship  currently under construction, design, or research and development is  slated to fly more than 10 times), Discovery’s 38 – soon to be 39 –  missions place her firmly and unquestionably as the workhorse for the  manned space community.

Enjoyable read! ;D (Well so far, anyway ;) -- it's long enough that I didn't get to finish it all and have to run off to work.) 

Very nice words on OV-103.  I'm going to pass this one along to some friends. 
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. -- Douglas Adams

Offline Jester

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W O N D E R F U L

i'm going to send this around....BIG TIME



Offline Space Pete

Amazing work, Chris G! I dread to think how long you've been working on this! ;D
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline Gary NASA

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That is why this site is the best, right there!

Offline racshot65

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Incredible article well done Chris !

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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some editing:

Quote
Later that year, Discovery flew the STS-64 mission, a flight that marked the first use of the Lidar In-space Technology Experiment and the first untethered US spacewalk in 10 years.

STS-64 also saw astronauts test a new SAFER device for EVA use. SAFERs are now a mandatory part of all EVAs (spacewalks) conducted by NASA.

SAFER testing was the untethered EVA, how it is worded here it would seem that the two were separate events.

Quote
Discovery returned several long-term US experiments from MIR via the SPACEBAN single module during STS-91. Among further note for STS-91 is the flight of the prototype Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) – a payload via AMS-2 that will be permanently attached to the International Space Station in 2011.

Should be Spacehab

Also for STS-96, perhaps a quick mention that Rick Husband was the PLT?
« Last Edit: 10/28/2010 06:44 PM by Ronsmytheiii »

Offline AmateurRocketeer

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Thanks so much Chris G!!  What a great way to remember this amazing machine.  And it was a wonderfully clear morning when I got to see STS-131 launch (my 5th and final orbiter).

Offline Space101

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Amazing read!
Let's go and explore space.

Online 2552

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« Last Edit: 10/28/2010 08:03 PM by 2552 »

Offline Commander Keen

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Fantastic article.  A very enjoyable read.  A bit of a sad read as it points out all that Discovery has accomplished and this will be its final mission.

« Last Edit: 10/28/2010 08:42 PM by Commander Keen »

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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Thank you all for the kind words. It was an amazing journey to chronicle Discovery's history like. And for those of you wondering, actual writing of this article only took me 5 hours (but that spread out over a few days due to illness).

Again, thank you all for the kind words. And good speed Discovery!

Offline Space Pete

And for those of you wondering, actual writing of this article only took me 5 hours (but that spread out over a few days due to illness).

:o

Well, all I can say is that you're much better than me!
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline Chris Bergin

I created a Digg account just to submit this awesome article:

http://digg.com/news/technology/after_26_years_workhorse_discovery_stands_ready_for_final_mission_nasaspaceflight_com



Thanks! I'm hardly the biggest fan of social media, but I've been impressed and appreciative of the people retweeting and spreading this important article for one of the most famous machines we'll ever know.

Offline Chris Bergin

Thank you all for the kind words. It was an amazing journey to chronicle Discovery's history like. And for those of you wondering, actual writing of this article only took me 5 hours (but that spread out over a few days due to illness).

Again, thank you all for the kind words. And good speed Discovery!

Heh. Took me four hours just to add the photos and links :D

Offline Seattle Dave

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Marathon read, but so worth it. And great use of the images from L2's massive collection.

Offline Longhorn John

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WOW! That was such a great read. A very fitting tribute to a very fine ship.

Offline Stardust9906

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Excellent article! Well done Chris.

Offline STS-85

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quick question -
You said that if the main engines light up, it's considered a flight, even if they're shut down as in STS-41D, and require changing out..

So after the FRR on 6/2/84, did they change out the main engines, or was that considered a test ? Just wondering about that.

Offline STS-85

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Also, unless I'm not thinking straight, Discovery launched 6 flights within 1 calendar year, right? That's gotta be a record?
STS-41D, 51A, 51C, 51D, 51G, 51I

Offline STS-85

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One last thing..
You say on STS-95, beacuse of the drag-chute door issue, that that was the only flight since implementation of the drag-chute to not use it..
I'm pretty certain the following flight, STS-88, did not use it either.. because Endeavour was already on the Pad, they bolted the chute door shut and obviously didn't use it on landing....

Offline psloss

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quick question -
You said that if the main engines light up, it's considered a flight, even if they're shut down as in STS-41D, and require changing out..

So after the FRR on 6/2/84, did they change out the main engines
Depended on the situation in the different cases, sometimes with a varying number of variables.  In some cases, some or all the engines were replaced after a FRF or pad shutdown; in some cases, post-firing engine inspections, maintenance, and retesting were carried out in-place at the pad.

In the case of 41D, the center engine was replaced after the FRF, as replacing the engine with another one that was ready was more advantageous to the schedule.  After the abort, the right engine was replaced with the original center engine.

Also, unless I'm not thinking straight, Discovery launched 6 flights within 1 calendar year, right? That's gotta be a record?
STS-41D, 51A, 51C, 51D, 51G, 51I
Not within the same calendar year, but within the span of a year in 1984 and 1985.

Offline STS-85

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Also, unless I'm not thinking straight, Discovery launched 6 flights within 1 calendar year, right? That's gotta be a record?
STS-41D, 51A, 51C, 51D, 51G, 51I
[/quote]
Not within the same calendar year, but within the span of a year in 1984 and 1985.

That's what I meant, just worded it wrong.. impressive though, 6 flights w/in a year..


Online Jason Davies

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Very good idea to add yet more to an epic length of an article, but there's no other way to do it. She deserves the full tribute. Nice work Chris G!


Offline STS Tony

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Beautful overview of a great servant.

Offline steveS

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The articles mentions that "She also holds the distinction of reaching the highest orbital altitude of any Space Shuttle orbiter: 378 miles during the STS-103 mission to Hubble."

What about the orbits of the Hubble repair missions such as STS-125? Were they lower than 378 miles ?

Offline wally

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During STS-125, Atlantis had an orbital apogee of 566 km (352 miles), at least according to Heavens-Above. Probably due to effects of atmospheric drag on HST?
« Last Edit: 02/23/2011 10:40 AM by wally »

Offline Naito

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Great article Chris!

Which picture is this?? Where can I find the high-res?
Carl C.

Offline wedge

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From one of the many who have been with the program since the beginning, thank you very much for a great article.

Enjoyed reading it over and all the great memories it brought back.

Go Discovery!

Online rdale

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Neat stuff with details of the stinger cracks from ET-137

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After propellant was loaded into the external tank (ET), the November 5, 2010 launch of Space Shuttle mission STS-133 was scrubbed due to a gaseous hydrogen leak located in a vent line near the ground umbilical and ET connection. Subsequent visual inspections identified cracks in the sprayed-on foam insulation in the forward end of the ET intertank segment, adjacent to the liquid oxygen (LOX) tank, as shown in Figure 1. These cracks necessitated repair of the foam due to debris concerns that violated launch constraints. As part of the repair process, the affected foam was removed to reveal cracks in the underlying external hat stiffeners on the intertank, as shown in Figure 2. Ultimately, five stiffeners were discovered to be cracked adjacent to the LOX tank. As the managing center for the ET Project, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) coordinated failure investigation and repair activities among multiple organizations, which included the ET prime contractor (Lockheed Martin Space Systems Michoud Operations), the Space Shuttle Program Office at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC), and the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC). STS-133 utilized the external tank designated as ET-137. Many aspects of the investigation have been reported previously in Refs. 1-7, which focus on the root cause of the failures, the flight readiness rationale and the local analyses of the stringer failures and repair. This paper summarizes the global analyses that were conducted on ET-137 as part of the NESC effort during the investigation, which was conducted primarily to determine if the repairs that were introduced to the stringers would alter the global response of the ET. In the process of the investigation, a new STAGS tabular input capability was developed to more easily introduce the aerodynamic pressure loads using a method that could easily be extended to incorporate finite element property data such as skin and stiffener thicknesses and beam cross-sectional properties.

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