Author Topic: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky  (Read 30150 times)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #40 on: 11/24/2012 08:33 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #41 on: 11/24/2012 08:35 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #42 on: 11/24/2012 08:36 PM »
ROLLOUT OF THE FIRST COMMERCIAL TITAN
The first commercial Titan rocket went for a forty-minute train ride a s it was moved from its assembly building to Launch Complex 40 at cape Canaveral. The Titan began its ride at 12:20 p.m. EST and crept along at 3-4 mph along winding rail tracks. The Martin Marietta rocket, consisting of a Titan 34D first stage and a Titan IV second stage, is scheduled for a night launch on December 8 at about 7:30 p.m. EST. Two satellites will be aboard the flight, the Japanese communications satellite JCSat and the British military communications satellite Skynet 4. There are also plans for two Titan launches next year that will both carry Intelsat VI communications satellites. (Countdown, January 1990 – edited)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #43 on: 11/24/2012 08:38 PM »
October 31: TANKING OPERATIONS AT PAD 39B
Rocketdyne technicians have finished buttoning up the nozzle on Discovery’s main engine No. 2 and finished securing the high pressure oxidizer turbopump on engine No. 3. Today they installed the heat shield in the area. Tomorrow the pad will be cleared of all but essential personnel while nitrogen tetroxide and monomethyl hydrazine are loaded in the OMS and RCS storage tanks. Also during this operation, hydrazine will be loaded for Discovery’s Auxiliary Power Units and for the Solid Rocket Booster HPUs. One of the two Hydraulic Power Units on the left-hand SRB was replaced last week after it was discovered that the unit came from a lot that produced at least one unit with a cracked housing. This unit is scheduled to be hot fired after the propellant loading operation which is expected to continue through Friday morning (Nov. 3). (JSC Space News Roundup, Nov. 3, 1989, and Countdown, December 1989 – edited)


November 1: MARSHALL RECEIVES FIRST SOLID FUEL SHIPMENT FROM NEW SUPPLIER
Marshall Space Flight Center officials announced that NASA is contemplating paying $100 million to improve Thiokol Corp.’s Solid Rocket Booster plant in Utah. Improvements will be focused on automation, allowing lower costs and increasing booster reliability by lessening human error. Meanwhile the first shipment of fuel arrived at Marshall Space Flight Center this week from Western Electro-Chemical Co. in Utah. The new plant produces ammonium perchlorate which is used for booster engines on the shuttle and military missiles. The new facility replaces the Henderson plant in Nevada which exploded in 1988, causing a fear of shortage for fuel. Samples taken from the 500-pound shipment indicate it meets proper qualifications for use, and a couple of flight tests will be conducted to confirm the tests. (Countdown, January 1990 – edited)


November 2: PUMP FAILURE WON'T DELAY DISCOVERY LAUNCH
A pump failure temporarily halted propellant loading at launch pad 39B, but the problem is not expected to delay Discovery's Department of Defense mission scheduled for later this month. "We have two more weeks to ready the vehicle for launch. Everything is looking good for the fifth shuttle launch this year," said Jay Honeycutt, Director of Shuttle Management and Operations at Kennedy Space Center. Spokeswoman Lisa Malone said a coolant pump failed while technicians were loading fuel into Discovery's on-board steering jets. The pump cools a second pump which supplies nitrogen tetroxide to the shuttle on the pad and mixes with fuel to power steering systems. The coolant pump overheated requiring it to be shut down and then replaced. After a few hours the loading operations continued late in the afternoon. It is expected to continue through November 3. (Florida Today, Nov. 3, 1989, and Countdown, January 1990 – edited)


November 3: COLONNA HEADS FOR THE OUTBACK – GERMANY TAKES ORBITER OFFICE REINS
Escaping from the everyday, Richard Colonna, manager of the Orbiter and GFE Projects Office, is headed for the outback to become NASA’s representative in Australia. He will be replaced by Dan Germany, deputy manager of the office since 1987. Effective at the conclusion of Discovery’s Defense Department mission later this month, Germany will be acting manager of the orbiter project until Headquarters makes his assignment permanent.

Colonna said he will be leaving the job in the capable hands of Germany. He “will make a very fine project manager,” Colonna said, adding that “he’ll put his own personal touch” on the job and “be able to make improvements. I’m confident he’ll keep the project on track.” In his new position as NASA’s representative to Australia, Colonna will be based in Canberra for two years and work with the space community there. Assigned to NASA Headquarters, he will be the chief liaison between Australia and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for tracking station activity in the region, including the Deep Space Network activity at Tidbinbilla and the Parkes Observatory.

As manager of the orbiter office, Germany will be responsible for management of all hardware and software projects for each orbiter. This includes technical and business activities associated with systems development, vehicle production and modifications, ground support equipment development and mission configuration, crew equipment, flight preparations and maintenance, and engineering support for orbiter operations. Germany said his goal will be to establish “a management process that’s going to allow us to fly once a month, as well as maintain a continuing evolving hardware design to meet the needs of the 1990s and then 21st century.” (Kyle Herring, JSC Space News Roundup, Nov. 3, 1989 – edited)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #44 on: 11/24/2012 08:40 PM »
JOHNSON SPACE CENTER GIVES “FERGIE” ROYAL WELCOME
Johnson Space Center entertains members of royalty regularly during the course of any given year, including the King of Norway and Prince of Spain earlier this fall. Today’s visit of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (better known as “Fergie”) created a stir among Anglophiles not seen since her brother-in-law, Prince Charles, came to call in 1977. The duchess, commoner daughter of the royal polo manager, had requested a trip to JSC as part of her five-day visit to Houston. She had visited the center nine years ago, long before becoming a member of the royal family.

The second trip proved somewhat different in tone, with employees lined up to greet her outside the Space Station mock-up in Building 9B. Acting JSC Director Paul Weitz welcomed her to the center in brief ceremonies there. Carl Shelley, deputy manager of the Station Projects Office found the duchess “very interested and inquisitive of space flight activities in general,” as he escorted her through the mockup. “She was especially fascinated with the accommodations for human living in space,” he said. “She couldn’t resist the temptation to operate the keyboard at the habitation module computer workstation,” added Shelley.

As dozens of British and U.S. reporters craned their necks for a better view, Dr. Carolyn Huntoon, director of Space and Life Sciences, toured the duchess through a space and Life Sciences exhibit set up outside the Space Station mockup. Huntoon found the royal visitor an interested and informed listener who refused to allow her tight schedule to trod over her curiosity about manned spaceflight. “They (consular officials) asked me to stay on schedule because she was running late,“ Huntoon said. “But she said, ‘Now, I’m interested in this so let’s take our time – and we did.”

The duchess asked questions about the habitability aspects of spaceflight, comparing it to living conditions aboard a submarine she had toured in the past, Huntoon said. They also talked about preparing and eating food in space, and the duchess had specific questions about medical conditions in microgravity. “We talked about medical aspects and what changes we’re seeing and what we’re doing about it,” Huntoon said. “Because of her background in aviation, she was particularly interested in space motion sickness and asked quite a few questions about that and the pooling of blood. She was very knowledgeable and asked a lot of questions.” Huntoon said the duchess also was interested in a bioreactor which is used in the study of cells. The bioreactor, an automatic cell growing device, has many applications on the ground as well as in space, a fact the duchess noted, Huntoon said.

Astronaut Mary Cleave then briefed the duchess for several minutes inside the Full Fuselage Trainer shuttle mockup in Building 9A. The final stop of the 90-minute tour was the flight director’s console in Building 30 for a briefing by Flight Director Wayne Hale. The duchess, who has earned her pilot’s license, again impressed her JSC briefer with an obvious interest in the space program. “We got the definite impression that she might be interested in flying in space,” said JSC Protocol’s Elena Salsitz.

Tourists of the regular 11 a.m. Public Affairs Mission Control briefing who chose to stay were treated to a “front row seat” of the duchess’ briefing, from behind the viewing room glass – the same view then-commoner Sarah Ferguson had shared with other visitors on the self-guided tour years before. (Linda Copley, Pam Alloway and Billie Deason, JSC Space News Roundup, Nov. 10, 1989)


WAYNE HALE, THE DUCHESS OF YORK… AND A ROLL OF TOILET TISSUE?!
The Duchess of York told Johnson Space Center officials Friday she would like to travel in space and promptly was invited by the center's acting director to take part in a mission. Although NASA officials admitted the invitation was made in jest, they said they were impressed by the former Sarah Ferguson's knowledge of aviation and the depth of her questions about the Space Shuttle. The duchess has a helicopter pilot's license. The duchess, 30, was on the second day of her five-day visit to Houston. She was invited to the city about nine months ago by the Houston Grand Opera to take part in its celebration of 300 years of British opera. The duchess met with Mayor Kathy Whitmire Friday morning, giving the mayor autographed copies of children's books she has written.

Fergie then went to the space center, where she spent about 90 minutes touring a mockup of the Space Station Freedom, sitting in the pilot's seat of a shuttle trainer and touring Mission Control. "She was very interested in everything," said flight director Wayne Hale. "She was very interested in how the shuttle works and what you have to do to train as an astronaut. She told me several times she would very much like to go into space." Hale said that at one point Johnson Space Center Acting Director Paul Weitz asked the duchess if she would like to take part in a shuttle mission. Fergie broke into laughter when she discovered in a niche on the flight director's console a roll of toilet tissue Hale said is used to clean computer screens. "She spotted that thing right off and pulled it out and asked what it was there for," Hale said. (Deseret News, Nov. 4, 1989)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #45 on: 11/24/2012 08:43 PM »
November 4: SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES… MISSILES TO SATELLITE LAUNCHERS
The Soviet Union is trying to convert its two-stage SS-20 missile to a commercial satellite launcher with the help of a Houston-based company, Space Commerce Corp. The SS-20 is an intermediate-range missile that carried three nuclear warheads and was banned by a 1987 arms treaty. Moscow now wants to convert its SS-20 factory and technology into a new rocket that would be capable of launching small scientific satellites weighing up to 770 pounds. Coined “Start” the new launcher has three stages and is 11 feet longer than the 54-foot SS-20. The hybrid SS-20 and its mobile transporter as well as necessary tracking equipment will be able to make commercial launchings from any site in the world. The Soviets reported that they will be able to produce 300 such launchers within ten years, and flight tests may start as early as 1991. (Countdown, January 1990)


November 6: LAUNCH PREPARATIONS FOR DISCOVERY AND COBE CONTINUE
Workers at Pad 39B have finished filling Discovery's propellant tanks with the nitrogen tetroxide needed to power its Orbital Maneuvering Units during flight Discovery's main engines will undergo leak tests today - one of the last major milestones before the orbiter is cleared for launch. Liftoff of the classified Department
of Defense mission is scheduled to come no earlier than November 20. During the test, helium will be pumped through the shuttle's main engines to verify there are no leaks in the equipment or in the lines between the engines and the External Tank. On Saturday (Nov. 4) technicians replaced sealant and a gasket on Discovery’s right-hand Solid Rocket Booster igniter. A newer and safer procedure was followed, using less sealant around the igniter.

Today managers will also begin a two-day review of Discovery's mission, checking the status of processing and the readiness of the launch support team. A firm launch date will be announced at the conclusion of the Flight Readiness Review on Tuesday (Nov. 7). It is expected to be the first mission to be launched after sunset since the return to flight of the space transportation system last year.

At Vandenberg Air Force Base (CA), Kennedy Space Center workers attached the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE) to the top of its Delta booster over the weekend. NASA's last expendable launch vehicle will be launched from Space Launch Complex 2 near the Pacific Ocean on November 17 between 6:24 and 6:54 p.m. The science spacecraft will use its instruments to look for evidence of the big bang theory of creation. (Florida Today, Nov. 6/7, 1989 – edited)


November 7: NASA PICKS NOVEMBER 20 FOR NIGHT LAUNCH
NASA managers cleared the way Tuesday to launch the shuttle Discovery on the evening of November 20 on a secret military mission, reportedly to deploy a satellite to spy on the Soviet military. The launch window for the STS-33 mission is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. and last until 10:30 p.m. The exact launch time is classified, but sources told United Press International the liftoff is planned for 7:34 p.m. and that the mission will last a little more than four days, with a night landing Nov. 24 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Discovery STS-33 will become the first of three night launches scheduled on the Space Coast before Christmas. Columbia will launch after dark on December 18, as currently planned, and there will be a Titan launch on December 8. It will be the first night shuttle launch since Nov. 26, 1985, when Atlantis rocketed into space at 7:29 p.m. to launch a pair of commercial communications satellites. "At the present time no major issues are being worked which might preclude launch on the 20th," the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said at the conclusion of the traditional two-day flight readiness review. "Space Shuttle managers have targeted a date of no earlier than Nov. 20 for the launch of a dedicated Department of Defense mission aboard the orbiter Discovery," NASA said. (UPI/Deseret News, Nov. 7, 1989, The Miami Herald and Florida Today, Nov. 8, 1989 – edited)


EARTHQUAKE RESULTED IN $4 MILLION OF DAMAGE AT AMES
Officials at Ames Research Center announced today that the October 17 earthquake resulted in $4 million of damage to the center. The complex had to be closed for to days after the quake, and damages included broken air flow components in the world’s largest wind tunnel, as well as broken walls, gas and water lines. (Countdown, January 1990)


November 8: MODIFIED SHUTTLE MAIN ENGINE TESTED
At the Marshall Space Flight Center technicians tested a modified Space Shuttle Main Engine using a new high-pressure oxidizer pump made by Rocketdyne. The test also incorporated the use of a new thruster measuring device that will monitor the engine performance better. The new engine has an enlarged main combustion chamber throat, and various combustion stabilizers have been removed, such as a group of baffles. The test was delayed about an hour-and-a-half because the new thrust measurer needed more calibration, but the engine fired for 160 seconds at 109 percent as scheduled. Officials said another test is planned for early December. (Countdown, January 1990)


FINAL PEGASUS TEST DELAYED A DAY
The Pegasus rocket was scheduled to complete a final test today, but the test had to be delayed a day because last-minute preparations took longer than planned. If all goes well tomorrow, Pegasus will go for a takeoff hanging from the wing of a B-52. Gordon Fullerton, a former NASA astronaut, is in charge of a four-man crew and will pilot the Pegasus down a runway at Edwards Air Force Base. Speeds of 115 mph will be reached, but there will be no takeoff. If all goes well with the first run and no problems are encountered, Fullerton and his crew will go for a takeoff and a one-hour mission to check the aircraft’s handling. Pegasus is a three-stage rocket able to carry 1,000 pounds into low-Earth orbit, and is scheduled for an orbital launch December 7. (Countdown, January 1990)

PEGASUS UPDATE, NOV. 9, 1989:
The second attempt at getting the Pegasus airborne was a success, as it went for its first 90-minute ride hanging from the wing of a B-52. The test was conducted to check the handling capabilities as the rocket is attached to the plane. Technicians were concerned the rocket might put dangerous loads or vibrations on the old B-52, but officials say the test went smoothly. (Countdown, January 1990)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #46 on: 11/24/2012 08:45 PM »
November 9: “THE MOOD’S GOOD” AT KSC
A critical main engine test on Discovery was completed early this morning and with it one of the last major hurdles the shuttle must overcome before its November 20 launch. The test was a simulation of an engine start and shutdown sequence. "Everything looks fine and we expect it will be fine. The mood's good. We're shooting for the 20th and right now we don't see anything that threatens us making the 20th," said John "Tip" Talone, launch processing manager for Discovery. He said that all work at Pad 39B was going as planned.

Today technicians will begin closing out Discovery's aft compartment and checking regulators on the Orbiter's onboard steering jets, according to Talone. "We're doing fine," Kennedy Space Center Director Forrest McCartney said today. "We've completed all the things we should have completed by now. If we continue as we have, I see no reason why we can't launch on the 20th." (Florida Today, Nov. 9/10, 1989 – edited)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #47 on: 11/24/2012 08:47 PM »
IN OTHER NEWS:

East Germany opens its borders – The Wall is coming down

"Jetzt wächst zusammen was zusammengehört.“ – "Now grows together what belongs together.“

Willy Brandt (1913 – 1992), former German chancellor (1969 – 1974) and mayor of West Berlin (1957 – 1966), commenting on the reunification of East and West Germany

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Brandt


This November 9, 1989, certainly was a historic day for the German people (less than a year later, on October 3, 1990, the reunification became official), but also for the whole of Europe; and it was an important step in ending the ideological division between the Eastern bloc and the Western world – which ultimately made also possible the international cooperation in space we saw in the years and decades that followed the end of the Cold War.

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #48 on: 11/24/2012 08:49 PM »
The following youtube videos explain quite well the events of November 9 and 10:

ABC News (November 9, 1989)





NBC News “Freedom Night” (November 10, 1989)




« Last Edit: 11/24/2012 09:09 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #49 on: 11/24/2012 08:50 PM »
I still remember what happened on November 9, 1989, very well – I was enjoying the start of a 3-day leave at my parents’ home in Remscheid that Thursday evening (I was a PFC in the West German Army in Hanover at the time) and was looking forward to celebrating my 22nd birthday the following day. I watched the events in Berlin unfolding on TV in disbelief and with tears of joy in my eyes. Nobody in East and West Germany really had expected to see the Berlin Wall come down in such a peaceful and joyful manner - not in our lifetime! It was one of those moments in life you’ll never forget, even if you only watched it on TV. But I also remember returning to Hanover the following Sunday evening and seeing the streets filled up with those East German Trabant cars. Of course, those rather strange vehicles hadn’t been there a few days earlier when I had left for home…

And the name “Trabant” is related to the space program, as you can read at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant

The name was chosen in an internal contest in 1957, the year of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. In German, a Trabant is an astronomical term to denote a moon or other natural satellite of a celestial body. In its Slavic origin, Trabant has the same meaning as the Russian word Sputnik, namely “companion.”

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #50 on: 11/24/2012 08:53 PM »
A PIECE OF HISTORY
Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher of West Germany brought President Bush a chunk of the Berlin Wall today (Nov. 21, 1989) and a message that while his Government strongly supported reunification of the two Germanys, it believed that such a union could only come about in the context of a broader reconciliation between East and West. Handing President Bush a gray piece of concrete hacked from the Wall, Mr. Genscher said it represented ''the thanks of the German people to the American people for their faithfulness, support and steadfastness in bad and good times,'' a level of support that he said had created the conditions for the wall to be breached.  ''Thank you for bringing me, Mr. Minister, the piece of the Wall,'' Mr. Bush responded. ''I will treasure this.''

The present was only the latest of a series of ''thank you's'' from West German officials to their American counterparts for United States support over the last four decades. In a recent interview, Secretary of State James A. Baker said that the morning after the East Germans opened the wall he called Mr. Genscher in Bonn to discuss the situation.  ''I picked up the phone,'' Mr. Baker said, ''and Mr. Genscher's secretary was on the line and she said, 'Just a moment for the Minister, sir, and thank you for what America has done for Germany, and God bless America.' I really thought that was something.''

Mr. Genscher came to Washington to assure the Administration about Bonn's intentions in a rapidly changing Europe and to be reassured about those of the United States. He asked to talk with President Bush and Mr. Baker, before the American-Soviet summit talks off Malta on Dec. 2 and 3, to seek reassurances that the President and President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had no intention of making sweeping new decisions about the future of Europe over the heads of the Europeans, Administration officials said. Mr. Genscher apparently left Washington content.

He told a news conference before going home that he had been assured by President Bush and Secretary Baker that no superpower decisions about the future of Europe would be made at the Malta talks.  Mr. Genscher also noted that President Bush would be meeting with leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels immediately after the Malta meetings ''not only to inform them of what went on but to discuss with them developments in Europe.''

''It shows that the President is interested in a serious exchange,'' he said. In his public remarks, Mr. Genscher did not mince words, though, on the aspirations of his countrymen to see East and West Germany reunited. Asked on the ABC program ''Good Morning America'' about recent demonstrations in Leipzig, where one banner proclaimed ''Germany - A Single Fatherland,'' Mr. Genscher said: ''The word unity has been mentioned for the first time aloud yesterday. They didn't only say, 'We are the people.' They said, 'We are one people,' and that means we are one people together with the Germans in the Federal Republic of Germany and this is, after all, a reality. We are one nation, in spite of the fact that we have been separated from each other for decades.''

Mr. Genscher emphasized four themes: that German unity could only come about after free elections are conducted in East Germany, that an actual union could only take place in a context in which Eastern and Western Europe also drew together, that if Germany would be reunited it would be on the basis of Western values, and, finally, that there was no question of altering the two Germanys' international boundaries established in 1945 at the close of World War II. Mr. Genscher also underscored his country's desire to see American troops remain in Europe as part of a flourishing NATO, no matter what happens to the Warsaw Pact. (Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, Nov. 22, 1989)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #51 on: 11/24/2012 08:56 PM »
November 10: DISCOVERY’S HPU’S TO BE TESTED TODAY
Discovery's hydraulic power units will be tested at launch pad 39B today while most Kennedy Space Center workers will be away from the space center celebrating Veterans Day. The test must be successful before Discovery is cleared for launch November 20. The test had originally been scheduled for last weekend but was postponed when a hydraulic power unit being tested by HPU manufacturer Sundstrand Corp. (Rockford, IL) developed a leak. Processing Manager John "Tip" Talone said investigators found that the manufacturer had used improper procedures during the test.

Other activities at the pad this weekend are: installing and connecting explosive devices on Discovery's external fuel tank and boosters; pressurizing the orbiter's onboard steering jets for flight; loading storage tanks on the launch tower with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. (Florida Today, Nov. 11, 1989)


November 11: VANDENBERG SHUTTLE EQUIPMENT SHIPPED TO KSC
The House and Senate Armed Services Committees have told the Air Force to convert the Space Shuttle launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to a Titan 4 rocket pad. "It is clear the facility will never be used for its original purpose, which was to launch military satellites from the shuttle," said a Congressional report issue this week. A barge carrying equipment used for shuttle launches today arrived at KSC from Vandenberg AFB. Among the items were work platforms and service structures which will be used at KSC’s Orbiter Maintenance and Refurbishment Facility. This facility will later be converted to a third Orbiter Processing facility. (Florida Today, Nov. 10, 1989, and Countdown, January 1990 – edited)


November 12: OFFICE CONSOLIDATION AT NASA
NASA consolidates offices of Space Flight and Space Station into a single organization called the Office of Space Flight. William Lenoir will be in charge, with the help of his deputy George Abbey. There are four areas in the in the new office, each with its own director: Robert Crippen, director of shuttle program; Richard Kohrs, director of Space Station program; Joseph Mahon, director of space flight systems; and Richard Wisniewski, director of the human resources and institutions department. (Countdown, January 1990 – edited)


November 15: DEADLY TORNADO HITS HUNTSVILLE
A tornado that caused extensive damage in Huntsville, Alabama, tonight killed at least three Marshall Space Flight Center workers and injured or affected at least 50 more. Marshall officials reported that the center itself received only minor damage, with the only reportable damage being lost power transmission lines in its west test area. The storm hit southeast of the middle of Huntsville, and early local news media reports indicated 17 people were killed and 300 to 400 injured.

One Marshall civil servant, James B. Summerour, a laboratory technician, was killed. Two Boeing Computer Support Services contractor employees, Tom Fry and Allen D. Cruse, also died. At least 50 other employees were either injured, suffered property damage or had family members who were killed, hurt or otherwise affected. JSC Acting Director Paul Weitz expressed his condolences to Marshall employees in a message to Marshall Director jack Lee. “All of us at JSC were deeply saddened by the news that our fellow NASA workers were among the victims of this storm,” he wrote. “We express our heartfelt condolences to everyone who was affected, especially to the families of those who were hurt or killed. We wish your community a speedy recovery.” (JSC Space News Roundup, Nov. 17, 1989 – edited) 


BUDGET CUTS COULD LEAD TO SCRUB OF THREE SHUTTLE MISSIONS
NASA officials announced today that three shuttle missions over three years could be scrubbed if Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget cuts continue for the next three years. This would result in approximately $185 million reduction, which could cut one shuttle mission for the next three years. (Countdown, January 1990 – edited)


November 16: ELECTRICAL UNITS PASS TESTS
Workers last week changed an Integrated Electronics Assembly on Discovery's right booster. The IEAs, electrical units which control separation of Solid Rocket Boosters from the Space Shuttle and External Tank, passed their first inspections today; one barrier to the launch of Discovery next week has therefore been removed. Managers had become concerned about the units when one being refurbished for a flight next year shorted out during a test. That short circuit has been blamed on faulty wiring. The inspections of the assemblies occasioned a two-day delay in launching till November 22. "I'm sure we've got two good units now. That makes us feel good that we at least have replacements if Discovery's assemblies don't check out," said Cecil Houston, Marshall Space Flight Center's Resident Manager at Kennedy Space Center. “Right now I don't think we'll see an effect on the launch because of that, but we still have to work it hard."  A troublesome hydraulic power unit will be replaced tomorrow. (Florida Today, Nov. 17/19, 1989 – edited)


November 17: DISCOVERY TO BE LAUNCHED NO EARLIER THAN NOVEMBER 22
Launch of Discovery on its ninth flight will occur no earlier than Wednesday to give workers at Kennedy Space Center time to remove and inspect the Integrated Electronic Assemblies (IEA) on each Solid Rocket Booster for possible wiring damage. The launch had been planned for Monday, but a problem with two of the IEAs at the vendor prompted shuttle managers to call for inspection of Discovery’s booster rocket IEAs. The inspection was to be completed by Thursday. Any problem found would require a change out of the IEA with one from the boosters being readied for Columbia’s next flight in a month.

The IEAs act as the brain for the booster by routing power, commands and data between the orbiter and boosters. It was discovered by the vendor that wiring in these two aft units could potentially have been routed such that some wires could rub against a metal edge, creating the possibility of a short. Once removed these units were transferred to the United States Boosters Inc. (USBI) facility where inspectors from Bendix will verify the wiring. Wednesday (Nov. 15)workers removed closeout material, or foam, from the IEAs to gain access to these units in the vicinity of the External Tank attach ring. Later, explosive devices on the vehicle were disconnected and the IEAs removed.

Closeouts of the aft compartment are underway. Purges of the power reactant storage and distribution system tanks have been completed. Prelaunch activities completed last weekend included a hot fire of the Solid Rocket Booster Hydraulic Power Units, final ordnance operations, pressurizing the Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control System tanks for flight and loading storage tanks on the launch tower with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants. Last Friday (Nov. 10) checks of the regulators for the Reaction Control system were completed and the Extravehicular Mobility Units, or spacesuits, were installed.

On Sunday (Nov. 19) the launch countdown is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. EST and the STS-33 flight crew will be arriving. Launch is scheduled for Wednesday (Nov. 22) during a four-hour launch period beginning at 7:30 p.m. EST. The crew will travel to the launch site aboard T-38 training jets from Ellington Field and proceed with final preparations for the launch.

Special hours will be in effect for JSC’s Space Center Blvd. gate and both cafeterias during STS-33. Beginning the day of launch, the Space Center Blvd. gate will be open 24 hours. The main gate on NASA Road 1 will remain open 24 hours as usual. The Building 11 cafeteria will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. CST weekdays and from 6:30 to 10:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The Building 3 cafeteria will be open normal hours on weekdays and from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends. On Thanksgiving Day, Building 3 will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST.

JSC employees should call the recorded Employee Information Service for details of the STS-33 crew return ceremony. Because the Department of Defense-dedicated mission is classified, the landing time won’t be announced until 24 hours before the end of the mission. Call the Employee Information Service at x36765 after the announcement for the most up-to-date information on the ceremony. (Kyle Herring, JSC Space News Roundup, Nov. 17, 1989 – edited)


November 18: COBE LAUNCHED FROM VANDENBERG AFB

PAO: 3… 2… we have main engine start… and lift-off. Lift-off of Delta 189 and the Cosmic Observation Background Explorer…

Under near perfect skies, after a ten-minute weather delay, NASA successfully launched its 2.5-ton Cosmic Observation Background Explorer (COBE) at 6:34 a.m. PST today using a Delta rocket, which is NASA’s last expendable booster. The launch had been delayed 24 hours because of a problem with the rocket’s guidance computer. The unit had recently been replaced. The launch window extended from 6:24 to 6:54 a.m. PDT.

With three instruments to study the big bang theory, COBE will study how galaxies formed, reasons for their arrangement and determining if there is an end to the Universe. In about a year, the 19-foot-long by 8-foot-wide satellite will make two surveys of the sky, giving scientists data that could revolutionize science and physics. For the first time, objects formed 15 billion years ago can be imaged clearly without atmospheric disturbances.

Onboard COBE are two instruments that are cryogenically cooled: the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE) and the Far Infrared Absolute Spectrometer (FIRAS). The DIRBE will search for objects that formed a half-million years after the big bang. FIRAS will measure the amount of light originating from the primeval. The third instrument, a Differential Microwave Radiometer (DMR), will function about a year longer because it does not require cryogenic cooling. This device will find out if the big bang emitted light equally, which could determine why galaxies are unequally distributed. NASA actually expects to keep COBE working for a second year to collect as much useful data as possible.

COBE was originally designed to be launched from the Space Shuttle, but after the Challenger accident, launchings from Vandenberg were ceased. This required the COBE to undergo design changes, such as a less rigid structure, weight reduction and deployable solar arrays in order to fit into the Delta compartment. The remodifications added a $100 million, for total costs of $230 million. (Countdown, January 1990 and VOA Morning, Nov. 20, 1989 – edited)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #52 on: 11/24/2012 09:00 PM »
November 19: DISCOVERY ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE AT KSC
Discovery's five-member crew arrived at Kennedy Space Center today at 4 p.m. EST. Commander Frederick Gregory, gave a thumbs up sign and shouted "You bet," to reporters asking if he was ready for the Department of Defense mission. The countdown clock started as the astronauts arrived, but NASA managers also developed plans to delay the launch if some final processing tasks are not finished by the evening of November 21. "It looks like a tight fit in terms of being finished by Tuesday night, but it’s doable," said Launch Director Robert Sieck. KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone said that workers needed to install thermal curtains and foam on the orbiter's aft skirts and do final closeouts of the aft compartment; the work is expected to take 12 hours. "We're right on track for a Wednesday night launch. Everything is going fine.” Terri Bracher, spokeswoman for Patrick Air Force Base, said that there is an 80 percent chance that the weather will be favorable for launch on November 22; weather is expected to be at 70 percent favorable for Thanksgiving Day. (The Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today, Nov. 19, 1989 – edited)


SOME BACKGROUND ON FINAL CREW PREPARATIONS FOR STS-33
There has been renewed debate as to whether all-enveloping security restrictions are necessary for military shuttle missions, particularly in view of recent developments within the Eastern Bloc, which have in turn taken place against the background of a general relaxation in East-West tensions. NASA officials were permitted to reveal some details of the STS-33 flight crew’s training activities prior to the mission, though none of these pertained to the SIGINT deployment.

During the month prior to launch, Fred Gregory and John Blaha completed their approach and landing training requirements by flying numerous simulated orbiter landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft, a heavily-modified Grumman Gulfstream 2 executive jet which mimics the spacecraft’s low lift-over-drag descent profile and handling characteristics. STA flights took place from the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, at White Sands Space harbor, New Mexico, and at Edwards AFB, California.

During the final two weeks prior to flight, Gregory and Blaha piloted an Air National Guard Boeing KC-135 airplane to enhance their proficiency in handling larger flying machines. Normally, NASA’s NKC-135 “Vomit Comet” is employed for this purpose, but the aircraft was undergoing maintenance at its Ellington Field, Houston base at the time the STS-33 crew required it. (Spaceflight News, February 1990 – edited)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #53 on: 11/24/2012 09:03 PM »
November 21: PAD ACCIDENT PROBABLY WON’T AFFECT DISCOVERY
An accident today at pad 39B may delay the scheduled launch of Discovery. Shortly before 6 p.m. EST, a transporter used to change engines on the shuttle rolled down an incline at the launch pad, apparently because of brake failure. The transporter hit and knocked over a forklift and either the transporter or the forklift hit a bunker containing lasers used to position the shuttle on the pad, according to a Kennedy Space Center spokesman. "It's an accident, but I'm not sure it amounts to anything," said space center spokesman Karl Kristofferson.

NASA officials were not sure tonight how important the lasers are to launch, but spokesmen said they thought the bunker would not be used again till the mobile launch platform is removed from the pad after launch. Workers were to review the damage Wednesday morning and a NASA board will investigate. Meanwhile, pad workers made substantial progress with their schedule of work. Among the critical jobs to be accomplished Wednesday is the loading of 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the External Tank.

With no hardware problems on the horizon, the only thing that stands in the way of launch is weather and Air Force meteorologist Captain Ken Warren said, "It looks good. There is an 80 percent probability weather will not be a problem." The major concern is high crosswinds at the Shuttle Landing Facility. (The New York Times, The Miami Herald and Florida Today, Nov. 22, 1989)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #54 on: 11/24/2012 09:10 PM »
Wednesday, November 22, 1989 (Launch Day) – Back on the Night Shift

SHUTTLE LIFTOFF SET TO LIGHT THE NIGHT SKY
Rocket crews Wednesday morning readied the shuttle Discovery for a secret military flight Wednesday night. The blastoff should be visible along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean. Exact launch time was classified, but sources said the shuttle was scheduled to lift off about 7:30 p.m. EST, painting the Thanksgiving-eve sky with a white-hot streak of flame from its 14-story booster rockets."We are optimistic and confident we can launch," NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone said. "Work has gone very smoothly."

It will be the first night shuttle launch since a flight in November 1985 that was visible from North Carolina to Cuba. The weather outlook for Wednesday called for generally favorable conditions, but officials said high winds in the launch area could be a factor. NASA officials said Discovery could be launched on Thanksgiving Day in the event of last-minute problems. (Deseret News, November 22, 1989)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #55 on: 11/24/2012 09:15 PM »
(The following is based on the “The Thanksgiving flight of STS-33 proves to be no turkey” article in Countdown, February 1990, with additional material taken from the live PAO commentary)

PAO: This is shuttle launch control. The countdown here in Firing Room 3 continuing to go smoothly; we are working no technical issues as far as Space Shuttle Discovery is concerned. The weather here at the Cape is also acceptable. And, at least at this time, the trans-Atlantic abort site weather is also acceptable. The astronauts are onboard.

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #56 on: 11/24/2012 09:17 PM »
PAO: Earlier today they went through the usual routine of arising and then going through the crew breakfast… astronaut… Mission Specialist Manley Carter, “Sonny” Carter at the end table… Mission Specialist Kathy Thornton, flanked by a Thanksgiving turkey… Mission Specialist Dr. Story Musgrave… Mission Commander Fred Gregory… and the Pilot John Blaha…

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #57 on: 11/24/2012 09:20 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #58 on: 11/24/2012 09:27 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Discovery STS-33 – Falcon in the Sky
« Reply #59 on: 11/24/2012 09:30 PM »
PAO: Following the breakfast then they received the usual weather briefing… status of the launch vehicle, weather status, payload status… and then it’s time to move over to the suit-up room, to put on their pressure suits… In the suit-up room each of the crew members is suited up individually. There’s Commander Fred Gregory, receiving the suit-up preparations… Pilot Blaha with his helmet on… of course the decorum of the Thanksgiving season… “Sonny” Carter… These pressure suits are not very comfortable, but they are indeed functional, and… but they are looking forward to getting out of them shortly after they’re on orbit… Kathy Thornton receiving her suit-up… Story Musgrave donning his helmet…

Tags: