Author Topic: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back  (Read 21676 times)

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #40 on: 05/05/2012 09:20 PM »
November 18: Despite several technical problems that might well have scrubbed a real shuttle launch effort, the five-member astronaut crew aboard Atlantis said the experience brought back "a bunch of very, very fond memories." Pilot Charles Bolden said, "It was almost like deja vu." Cmdr. Robert "Hoot" Gibson said, "We felt it was a real good test...everything went pretty well."

The site of the orbiter on Launch Pad 39B, Gibson acknowledged, stirred memories that aren't as fond as his recollections of Columbia's flight, Jan. 12 - Jan. 18. “I think it's going to be very difficult to look at an orbiter or look at the launch pad" without remembering the Challenger crew and the tragedy,” he said. "They were our companions. They were our very close friends. And I don't think I'm ever going to quite get over that completely." "I decided a long time ago," he added, "I was going to keep going and that I want to fly on the shuttle again."

The fact that the countdown was halted 25 seconds short of the simulated main engine firings because of computer software problems does not diminish what NASA was trying to accomplish during the exercise, Gibson said. "I think the fact that we got some problems during the countdown made it a much more useful simulation that it would have been had we just proceeded right on down to T-zero," he said.

Two computer problems arose during the countdown, said NASA spokesman Jim Ball. One was with a mission operations computer at Johnson Space Center in Houston, which sends data to the shuttle on the ground and during the flight. That problem was remedied quickly and the computer supported the remainder of the countdown, Ball said.

The other problem was with the computer software in the Launch Control Center at KSC. Software normally used during launch countdowns was changed - or "patched" - because the orbiter was without its main engines, Ball said. He added that officials were concerned that the patched software might not perform as expected and result in damage to flight hardware. Therefore, launch officials chose to stop the count at T-31 seconds, which is when computers automatically take charge of the launch. "What stopped the countdown was caution," Ball said. "We didn't want anything unexpected happening." (Florida Today, Nov. 19, 1986)


Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #41 on: 05/05/2012 09:22 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #42 on: 05/05/2012 09:25 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #43 on: 05/05/2012 09:29 PM »
November 20: Seven rookie astronauts participated in a crew emergency simulation conducted at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39B and using Atlantis which is currently on the pad. NASA officials said the disaster drill will help improve safety in the aftermath of the Challenger tragedy. "The simulations were very realistic and well-orchestrated by the people in charge," said NASA launch director Gene Thomas. "We learned an awful lot about where improvements can be made."

The mock emergency was declared in the morning just as the astronauts were entering Atlantis. Those participating in the drill were: Cmdr. Frank Culbertson, pilot Stephen Oswald, mission specialists Carl Meade, Kathryn Thornton and G. David Low, and payload specialists Pierre Thuot and Jerome Apt. NASA officials simulated a fuel leak in the shuttle's reaction control system and then looked on as fire and rescue workers rushed to the scene from a station about a mile away from the pad. The simulated spill involved hydrazine, a toxic chemical that could incapacitate an astronaut in a real emergency. The drill included simulated injuries to an astronaut, a quality control inspector and two members of the crew that assists the astronauts into the orbiter.

Within six minutes, a fire and rescue team was at the pad helping the astronauts and pad workers put on breathing apparatus. The "injured" were carried across a platform to wire baskets at the cabin level of the pad, 147 feet above ground. The astronauts and support personnel - 19 in all - entered the baskets but didn't ride them to the ground. Officials said the ride was too risky to attempt except in a real emergency. The baskets were filled with sandbags and sent to ground level. The drill participants rode an elevator to the ground and re-entered the baskets. After leaving the baskets, "uninjured" astronauts scrambled to a protected bunker near the pad and rescue workers hurried the "victims" into three armored personnel carriers, which then drove to a nearby heliport. One carrier broke down and a van was used instead.

Stand-ins for the injured then were transported by helicopter ambulance to three Central Florida hospitals. The drill concluded Atlantis's testing on the pad. "We had a very good visit to the pad," Thomas said. "Whenever we have a shuttle considered safe to fly again, we'll be ready to launch it." Atlantis is scheduled to roll back to the Vehicle Assembly Building early Nov. 22. (Florida Today, Nov. 21, 1986)

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #44 on: 05/05/2012 09:33 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #45 on: 05/05/2012 09:35 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #46 on: 05/05/2012 09:38 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #47 on: 05/05/2012 09:40 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #48 on: 05/05/2012 09:42 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #49 on: 05/05/2012 09:43 PM »
November 21: NASA workers began moving Atlantis back to Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building from Launch Complex 39B where it has been for the past seven weeks. (Florida Today, Nov. 22, 1986)

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #50 on: 05/05/2012 09:46 PM »
November 23: Playalinda Beach was reopened to the public by NASA following the rollback of the Space Shuttle Atlantis to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Kennedy Space Center officials said that the beach will probably not be closed again till shuttle flights resume early in 1988. (Florida Today, Nov. 24, 1986)

December 1: After eight delays NASA will try a night launch of an Atlas Centaur rocket Thursday, hoping to end the agency's slowest year ever with the delivery into space of a Pentagon communications satellite. If successful, the liftoff would be a small victory for the troubled space agency, which has had fewer launches during 1986 than in any year since it was created in 1958. The Atlas flight has had its share of problems, including suspected faults in the vehicle's main computer and guidance system, which have led to the launch postponements.

Blastoff for the two-stage, liquid-fuel rocket is set for 9:04 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and should provide a spectacular show for Central Florida residents as it blazes into the night sky. Countdown delays could push the launch to 12:02 a.m. Friday before it would have to be rescheduled. Officials are counting on the Atlas to give them something to cheer about as they leave a disastrous year behind and confront dozens of major obstacles that must be resolved before shuttle flights can resume.
''It would certainly be a good way to end the year,'' said James Womack, chief of operations for the Atlas launch. ''We've been down here a long time.'' Other officials emphasized that flight preparations have been extra cautious to ensure nothing goes wrong. ''We've had it out there six months and addressed every conceivable concern,'' said Kennedy Space Center spokesman George Diller. ''From the standpoint of the the Atlas Centaur program, it's probably the most thorough review ever.''

With the Challenger accident and loss of an unmanned Delta rocket in May grounding most of NASA's space fleet, the agency can point to just three launches this year, breaking the record low of five liftoffs in 1959 and 1979. The Air Force also suffered a blow in April when a Titan 34D rocket exploded shortly after launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, shutting down the program until spring 1987. NASA's few successes came with the seven-day mission of the shuttle Columbia in early January and the return in September of the Delta carrying a military Star Wars experiment. Another small Scout rocket made it off a California launch pad in November with a scientific payload for the Defense Department. The one program spared major grief has been Atlas, with two Air Force launches of the rocket boosting Pentagon payloads into orbit from Vandenberg in February and September.

The launch Thursday will be the first time an Atlas has flown from Cape Canaveral since 1985. Its cargo will be a versatile satellite that provides instant communication between Navy and Air Force troops anywhere in the world. Among reasons for the mission's many delays have been worries that the rocket's guidance system and main computer contained faulty components. The concerns forced engineers to ship the systems back to the manufacturers, where they were double-checked and replaced. Nonetheless, Diller said an extra computer for the rocket is ''on the sidelines'' in case a stand-in is needed. The launch also will bring a continuation of management safety practices begun as a result of the Challenger accident. (The Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 2, 1986)

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #51 on: 05/05/2012 09:48 PM »
December 4: NASA's 9:30 p.m. launch of an unmanned Atlas-Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was the fourth successful U.S. launch in four tries. NASA"s last launch of 1986 was a $125 million Fleet Satellite Communications - FLTSATCOM - satellite. Jim Ball, NASA spokesman, said "It certainly is a good way to bring the year to a close. We had an excellent liftoff. It was great. It was beautiful." Liftoff came 26 minutes later than planned because of a problem with equipment used to track the flight of the spacecraft. (Florida Today, Dec. 5, 1986)

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #52 on: 05/05/2012 09:52 PM »
December 7: All shuttle crew escape methods currently under review would cause NASA to miss its target of Feb. 18, 1988, for launch of the shuttle Discovery in the first post-Challenger mission. Instead, officials at the space agency said that installing a bailout system would most likely scrub the first liftoff until at least the summer of 1988. Robert "Hoot" Gibson, commander of the last successful shuttle mission said, "I think we will not fly again before we have something in the orbiter to at least give you some chance of getting out." (The Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 8, 1986)

December 10: NASA will commemorate the first anniversary of the Challenger tragedy and the deaths of other on-duty astronauts by observing 73 seconds of silence at all agency offices Jan. 28. It will be an annual observance. The period of silence, lasting as long as Challenger's flight, will begin at 11:38 a.m. and flags will be lowered to half staff at all NASA installations, according to Shirley Green, chief of public affairs for NASA. No other agency observances are planned next month, but NASA employees may hold other remembrances, Green said. "That's really it," she said. Administrator James Fletcher "felt it was appropriate for all NASA centers to observe the date the same way as a NASA family." (The Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 11, 1986)

December 12: Kennedy Space Center will create a top division for safety, quality assurance and reliability as part of a major reorganization to streamline shuttle management and to improve communication at the launch center, said NASA today. The KSC changes involve new assignments for nearly every top shuttle official, most of whom were involved in the Jan. 28 launch of Challenger. Gene Thomas, launch and landing director, was made director of the center's new Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance wing. He'd served as launch director for mission 51-L.

In addition, the KSC realignment calls for combining shuttle operations and shuttle engineering work under one division, reflecting a similar change at NASA headquarters. This change is intended to improve communication by making reporting channels more direct and explicit, a need cited by the Challenger commission. Thomas Utsman, KSC Deputy Director, will keep his present job but will also head the new division as director of Space Transportation System Management and Operations "through the next few shuttle flights,” according to the NASA press release. Utsman will work with NASA headquarters to coordinate KSC's processing work.

Robert Sieck, who presently heads KSC's shuttle operations, will report to Utsman as launch director. George Saseen, manager of Advanced Projects, Technology and Commercialization Office, will become engineering director. Thus, Sieck and Saseen will be the "primary directors" of KSC shuttle tasks and will work with Utsman to manage shuttle processing.

Other administrative changes include: Marvin Jones, director of safety, reliability, quality assurance and protective services, will head a new Protective Services Office that will report to Center Director McCartney. William Rock, deputy director of shuttle operations, was named manager of the Advanced Projects Technology and Commercialization Office. James Womack, chief of the Centaur Operations Division, will be in charge of expendable launch vehicle operations. (The Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 13, 1986)

December 13: Kennedy Space center Director Forrest McCartney told Florida Institute of Technology graduates that KSC was moving steadily and carefully toward resuming shuttle flights. Lt. Gen, McCartney was commencement speaker at FIT's graduation ceremeonies in Melbourne, FL. "Our country, indeed our world, has an urgent need to get the Space Shuttle flying again. We still have a great deal to accomplish before we can fly the shuttle again," McCartney told the students. "The schedule is tight, and when we resume shuttle flights, there will still be many sophisticated high-tech problems to challenge us as we continue to probe the vast frontiers of space."

After the ceremony, McCartney, who has headed KSC since Oct. 1, said space center managers are examining their work force needs and laid off workers may be back to work sooner than planned initially. "We are going to try," said McCartney, "to do all we can to make sure those employees are back again as soon as we can. I can't give you any definite time period now but, yes, I think that: will be the trend." (Florida Today, Dec. 14, 1986)

December 19: Installing a crew escape system in the Discovery before its scheduled launch Feb. 18, 1988, is a "90 percent bet," said Shuttle Flow Director Tip Talone. The system is among several modifications set for the orbiter; 30 of the changes must be in before launches resume. "The astronauts have final vote on all changes, and I just can't imagine them giving this up....Our scheduling for a Feb. 18 launch hasn't taken into account installing an escape system, but I don't think it would set us back," Talone said. "Discovery is being tested like it's never left the ground. We've got problems with about 30 of the modifications. I'm not making promises, but it looks like we'll get work schedules, money and new hardware all together on time." (Florida Today, Dec. 20, 1986)

December 31: Kennedy Space Center attracted an estimated total of 2,142,785 tourists this year, making 1986 the busiest year ever experienced since public tours began in 1966. In 1985, KSC hosted 1,795,857 tourists. NASA spokesman Mitch Varnes said the space center was probably getting some of the "spillover" from Disney World where tourists had been turned away because of the crowds. (The Orlando Sentinel, Jan. 1, 1987)


Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #53 on: 05/05/2012 09:58 PM »
To be continued in

RTF 1987 – It’s a Long Way…

I’m already working on it and will bring it to you as soon as possible.

Meanwhile you may want to have a look at this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18724.0



« Last Edit: 05/05/2012 10:01 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Beemer

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #54 on: 05/05/2012 10:54 PM »
I had forgotten a lot of this after living through that time  :o

Thanks for bringing it all back, bad and good.
Ride, Sally Ride! In memory of Sally Ride [1951-2012] America's first woman astronaut

Offline theonlyspace

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #55 on: 05/06/2012 12:19 PM »
Excellent....Thank you for all your hard work

Offline Mark Dave

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #56 on: 05/08/2012 01:29 PM »
More please. :) I wish to see the  first RTF mission STS-26R and events leading up to it and beyond.

Will there be a similar thread to STS-107 and RTF of 114?
« Last Edit: 05/08/2012 01:29 PM by MarkD »

Offline Ares67

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Re: RTF 1986 – Find Your Way Back
« Reply #57 on: 05/18/2012 05:07 PM »
More please. :) I wish to see the  first RTF mission STS-26R and events leading up to it and beyond.

Will there be a similar thread to STS-107 and RTF of 114?

Yes, MarkD, I'll do that. But STS-107 and 114 will have to wait, because my intention is to continue in chronological order now. Here is the good news: The RTF 1987 thread will go online today. And RTF 1988, followed by STS-26R, will probably be ready next month.


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