Author Topic: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses  (Read 10705 times)

Offline Ares67

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Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« on: 10/01/2016 06:09 PM »
So, how do I approach this one?

“I’m confused.
In June, the fuel leaks in Atlantis and Columbia are related, NASA says. Then, the leaks are deemed totally unrelated – just a coincidence. Just like a string of bad luck. Now they are back to being related, caused by contamination…

I’m confused.
After Columbia’s September 5 scrub, NASA says they think the leak in the aft compartment is not a new leak – it was leaking all along. But it was not related to earlier leaks. They say a pump in the aft engine compartment probably was to blame. So they changed out the pump… and find it wasn’t leaking. So then they say a Teflon engine seal, damaged after Columbia’s last flight, is to blame.

I’m confused.
First, NASA says that September 14 was the cutoff date for launching Columbia. After that, the priority must shift to Discovery and its Ulysses solar probe, which must meet a tight launch window extending from October 5 through October 23. The next thing I know, Columbia is set for a September 18 launch… That is because NASA has already conceded it can’t meet the opening of the Ulysses window.

I’m confused.
I would have assumed that NASA could not meet the opening of the Ulysses window because of a coolant leak discovered aboard Discovery. But NASA says Discovery can safely fly without fixing the small leak. In any case, Discovery cannot be launched before October 8-9, perhaps a few days later, NASA says.

A few days later? Only a few days would be left before Ulysses would have to be postponed for 13 months… I’m confused – how did we suddenly arrive in a position of endangering the Ulysses launch?”


- Dixon P. Otto, “What’s so confusing?” – Countdown, October 1990


A FIRM DEADLINE

Discovery STS-41 was a mission carrying a firm deadline. The main payload, the Ulysses Sun probe, had to be deployed between October 5 and 23, 1990, in order to send it on a trajectory for Jupiter, reaching the planet in February 1992. The gas giant’s gravity would alter the probe’s course and send it out of the ecliptic, enabling “Brave Ulysses” to view the Sun’s unseen South Pole for the first time in May 1994. In case this odyssey didn’t start during the October launch window, Ulysses would have to gather dust for 13 months before Jupiter was aligned correctly for another attempt.

But, complicating things a bit more, STS-41 was only one of three flights being prepared during the long hot summer of 1990, with Columbia and Atlantis experiencing several schedule slips. Discovery eventually performed two consecutive shuttle missions – i.e. the Hubble deployment in April, and the Ulysses release in October. The 36th Space Shuttle mission was to have been flown by Columbia STS-35 in May, then Atlantis STS-38 in July. The baton was passed on to Columbia again in September, and then to Discovery in October.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #1 on: 10/01/2016 06:11 PM »
END OF SILENCE

“Look! It’s moving. It’s alive!”

- Dr. Henry Frankenstein, “Frankenstein,” Universal Pictures, 1931


Hi, everybody… yes, I’m alive! Having been rather quiet for some time now (I’ve had  a lot of other important stuff on my mind recently) I’m back again at NSF and will pick up where I left off last year, telling you about Space Shuttle history. And I hope to come up with these mission reports on a more regular basis again… we’ll see.

But looking back at the long hot summer of 1990, the imminent question was: How do I approach this complicated situation – telling you about launch preparations for three orbiters in the right order and also adding all the other related stuff…”Ares-style,” you know, quotes and other fun things included… without getting confused like Dixon P. Otto. Well, here’s the result:

Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses will focus on Discovery and her mission to launch Ulysses, giving only a glimpse into the technical trouble experienced by her sister ships. As a bonus, since we’ve been celebrating 15 years of continuous crewed ISS operations last November, at the end of this thread you will find a look into the state of the original Space Station Freedom 26 years ago.

The next shuttle history report, Atlantis STS-38 – Roundtrip Ticket, will tell the Atlantis’ side of the shuttle launch drought during 1990. It’ll also include the first flight of the Pegasus and other U.S. ELV launches, the return to flight of Ariane, and – since we’re talking about a military mission – “Desert Shield” will also be mentioned.

And finally, Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity, will focus on the whole range of problems leading up to what eventually became the final Space Shuttle mission of 1990 and also continue the story of Soviet Mir space station operations.

Although he may have been confused at times, Mr. Otto’s outstanding Countdown magazine has been an important source of information guiding me through this latest effort to cover the history of the Space Shuttle program. So, once again you’re invited to join me on another trip back in time – to the age when we were able to see these magnificent flying machines ascend into Earth orbit... uhm… or, sometimes, at least trying very hard to get off the ground...

Enjoy.

- Oliver, aka Ares67

:)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #2 on: 10/01/2016 06:14 PM »
Shortcuts

“There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas…”


- Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses” (written in 1833)


PART ONE: A New Odyssey – STS-41 Crew and Mission Overview

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1593032#msg1593032


PART TWO: Between Scylla and Charybdis – STS-41 Launch Preparations

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1593209#msg1593209


PART THREE: Perfection Itself – STS-41 Daily Flight Log

Saturday, October 6, 1990 (Launch Day) – Thus, then, the ship sped on her way

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1593225#msg1593225

Saturday, October 6, 1990 (Flight Day 1) – Then send him away…

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1595398#msg1595398

Sunday, October 7, 1990 (Flight Day 2) – Sailing along, sailing along

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1595462#msg1595462

Monday, October 8, 1990 (Flight Day 3) – Hearing the Sirens’ Voices

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1596735#msg1596735

Tuesday, October 9, 1990 (Flight Day 4) – Towards the Shores of Ithaca

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1597034#msg1597034

Wednesday, October 10, 1990 (Landing Day) – Homeward you think we must be sailing

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1597088#msg1597088


The Best Orbital Complex … or just too complex?

The state of Freedom Station – 1990

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1597146#msg1597146


Ulysses, by Jove!

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41341.msg1597157#msg1597157
« Last Edit: 10/09/2016 10:15 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #3 on: 10/01/2016 06:18 PM »
Sunbound

The STS-41 crew patch, designed by the five astronauts, depicts the Space Shuttle orbiting Earth after deployment of its primary payload – the Ulysses probe. The orbiter is shown passing over the southeastern United States, representative of its 28-degree inclination orbit. Ulysses, the solar exploration space probe, will be the fastest man-made object in the Universe, travelling at 30 miles per second and is represented by the streaking silver teardrop passing over the Sun.

Ulysses’ path is depicted by the bright red spiral originating from the shuttle cargo bay. The path will extend around Jupiter where Ulysses will receive a gravitational direction change that will put it in a polar trajectory around the Sun. The three-legged trajectory, extending out the payload bay, is symbolic of the astronaut logo and is ion honor of those who have given their lives in the conquest of space. The five stars separating the astronauts’ surnames, four golden and a silver one, represent the number 41 and also each of the crew members.

(Description on STS-41 decal – edited)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #4 on: 10/01/2016 06:20 PM »
PART ONE: A New Odyssey – STS-41 Crew and Mission Overview


Sunnyboys

“We can be heroes, forever and ever
What’d you say?”


- David Bowie (1947 – 2016), with Brian Eno, “Heroes,” RCA Records 1977


SOMETHING OF SIGNIFICANCE

“Any Space Shuttle mission obviously is a good one when you are an astronaut, but this one is especially exciting because we’re going to be able to deploy something of significance like the Ulysses,” said Thomas Akers, one of three rookies on the STS-41 crew. The all-military crew featured the first flight by an astronaut from the Coast Guard, Bruce Melnick. “It’s the Coast Guard’s bicentennial year, so this is a good time for me to fly,” he said.

The only veteran mission specialist, William Shepherd, served as MS2, riding the seat at the shoulders of the pilots and acting as flight engineer during launch and landing. In case an emergency space walk was needed, Melnick and Akers were trained to make it. Akers’ prime duty involved deploying the Ulysses. “From that point on, I’m going to try to spend as much time as I can looking out the windows and taking pictures,” he said.

The flight did not end with landing for Robert Cabana. “When this flight is history and Ulysses is speeding its way to the Sun, I hope I can share some of my experiences with America’s youth. I hope I can help motivate them towards a greater interest in math and science and maybe spur them towards careers in science and engineering,” he said.

Offline eric z

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #5 on: 10/01/2016 06:23 PM »
 I greatly miss "Countdown" magazine! Was really proud they published one of my first letters-to-the-editor submissions; pro-moon base-of course! ;D  Looking forward to reading this thread...Thanks in advance.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #6 on: 10/01/2016 06:23 PM »
CDR Richard Noel Richards, Captain USN, was born August 24, 1946, in Key West, Florida, and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri in 1969, and a Master of Science in aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida in 1970.

„Back at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, where I did my undergraduate work, I had an ROTC scholarship there,” said Richards, “I’d already sort of committed that I was going to do four years in the Navy. And at the time, that was the Vietnam War going on, so the draft was in vogue, so any young male at that point knew he had to deal with that. So I just decided to deal with it upfront and get some part of my college paid for. And my dad was a Navy guy as well, too, so I was sort of predisposed to joining the service… My dad was a submariner all of his life, and so I had to rebel a little bit, so even though I was going back in the Navy, I decided that this aviation thing looked like a fun thing. I’d never flown an airplane before in my life and so decided to go do that,” said Richards.

Michael Cassutt summed up Dick Richard’s career in Who’s Who in Space, “He was commissioned in the Navy after graduation from Missouri and underwent pilot training, winning his wings in 1969. From 1970 to 1973 he was an A-4 Skyhawk and F-4 Phantom pilot with Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 33 in Norfolk, Virginia, then served aboard the carriers USS America and USS Saratoga with Flight Squadron 103. In March 1976 he entered the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, and after graduation remained at Pax River as a test pilot until 1980, working on the first carrier catapults and landings of the F-18A Hornet.”

Dick Richards said, “I think John Young showed up at the Naval Test Pilot School at about ’78, somewhere in that range, saying that NASA was, after a long delay, was going to start interviewing for a new cadre of astronauts called Shuttle astronauts, and they’d be interested in anybody interested in it that’s got test piloting background to apply for it. So I applied for that. That was probably more like ’77. I applied for that and came down here to Houston to interview in 1978 and went through all the process and so forth, got fairly close, I was told, but was not selected in the ’78 group but got enough encouragement to try to reapply.”
 
“I was then posted to go back to another shore-based squadron, VF-102, aboard… I think it was the USS Independence,” Richard explained. “About that time, I’d already applied to the second round of the astronaut selection… George Abbey was running all that business then. And managed to get selected, and just as I was about ready to step foot on the USS Independence, George called and rescued me from another year and a half overseas and said, “How would you like to come to Houston, go fly the Space Shuttle,” and that was a fairly easy decision.”

“Richards was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in May 1980,” wrote Cassutt. “He worked as deputy chief of aircraft operations and also managed the inflight refueling of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in addition to serving as a  shuttle CapCom from April 1984 to September 1985.He was scheduled to be pilot aboard shuttle mission 61-E, the Spacelab Astro 1 intended to observe Halley’s Comet in March 1986.”

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #7 on: 10/01/2016 06:27 PM »
When Richards flew his first mission as pilot of Columbia STS-28, in August 1989, he was the last member of the 1980 astronaut class to do so. “That was nine years between the time I reported to the Astronaut Office to the time that I flew for the first time,” he later explained. “And I remember in the Astronaut Office, we’d had a whole bunch of people being selected to the astronaut office at this point. They were up to the class of ’85 or maybe even ’87 at this point. So we had a whole bunch of astronauts that had not flown, and so when we did our debrief I said, ‘I was the plank holder. I was the longest guy that had waited at that particular point, nine years.’ And I remember making the speech. I said, ‘Well, I hope I’m the last guy that has to spend nine and a half years here between the time he walks in the door and he flies.’

“And I guess management felt like they owed it to me to make it up to me, so they had turned me around and got me ready for my first command on STS-41 right away. And so I don’t recall spending a lot of time before I was announced that I’d be the commander of STS-41, and we weren’t that far from flight at that point. So I think my memory was we went right back into training at that point. NASA was pretty good to me about that.”

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #8 on: 10/01/2016 06:28 PM »
Comparing his role as pilot on Columbia STS-28 with his role as commander of Discovery STS-41, Richards said, “I was more in charge of making sure the crew was trained and trying to think about the big picture rather than just my role there…The pilot I had was Bob Cabana, who was a new guy. It was going to be his first flight, so I’d just gone through that so I was interested to try to make Bob as comfortable as possible.”

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #9 on: 10/01/2016 06:30 PM »
PLT Robert Donald Cabana, Lieutenant Colonel USMC, was born January 23, 1949 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduation from Washburn High School in Minneapolis in 1967, he attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics in 1971.

According to Michael Cassutt, “After graduation Cabana became a Marine bombardier and navigator for A-6 aircraft and was based in North Carolina and Japan. Returning to the U.S. in 1975, he became a pilot, then was assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point, North Carolina, for four years. He attended the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, in 1981.”

There Cabana served as the A-6 program manager, X-29 Advanced Technology Demonstrator project officer, and as test pilot for flight systems and ordinance separation testing on A-6 and A-4 aircraft. He was serving with Marine Aircraft Group 12 in Iwakuni, Japan, when he was selected as astronaut in June 1985. He received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his duties as Deputy Chief of Aircraft Operations at Johnson Space Center and was lead astronaut in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). Cabana logged more than 3,700 hours in 32 different types of aircraft.

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #10 on: 10/01/2016 06:31 PM »
In a 2006 interview for the JSC Oral History Project, STS-41 Commander Dick Richard had this to say about his right-hand man in the cockpit, “Bob is basically one of the nicest guys I’ve ever run across, still one of the nicest guys over there. I think the Johnson Space Center people probably love him. I just got on him more to be hard, be more of a hard-ass than what he was doing, because Bob was, ‘Well, this is okay. This is okay.’ And I said, ‘No, it’s not. We’ve got all these contractors out there. We pay them a lot of money. Make them go do it right.’

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #11 on: 10/01/2016 06:33 PM »
MS1 Bruce Edward Melnick, Commander USCG, “was born December5, 1949, in New York City, and grew up in Clearwater, Florida, graduating from high school there in 1967,” wrote Michael Cassutt. “He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1967 and 1968, then went on to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where in 1971 he was named to the NCAA Academic All-American football team.”

Melnick received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering (cum laud) from the Coast Guard Academy in 1972 and a Master of Science degree in aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida in 1975. According to Who’s Who in Space, “Following graduation from the Coast Guard Academy Melnick spent sixteen months as a deck watch officer aboard the cutter Steadfast, homeport St. Petersburg, Florida. Sent to Navy flight training at Pensacola, he won his wings in 1974 and also worked on his master’s degree.”

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #12 on: 10/01/2016 06:34 PM »
“For the next seven years he was a Coast Guard rescue pilot based at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Sitka, Alaska. In 1982 he was assigned to the Aircraft Program Office in Grand Prairie, Texas, to conduct acceptance tests of the Coast Guard’s new HH-65A Dolphin helicopter,” Cassutt wrote. “At the time of his selection as an astronaut candidate in June 1987 he was operations officer at the Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Michigan.”

Melnick’s initially was assigned to the astronaut support personnel team at Kennedy Space Center, the “Cape Crusaders,” and also represented the astronaut office in the assembly and checkout of the new orbiter Endeavour. Selected for the STS-41 mission in October 1989, he and fellow crewmember Tom Akers were the first representatives of the astronaut class of 87 to fly into space.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #13 on: 10/01/2016 06:39 PM »
MS2 William McMichael Shepherd, Captain USN, was born July 26, 1949, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. His father was a World War II Navy veteran and aerospace engineer, and Shepherd enjoyed growing up around boats and water. Towards the end of his high school education he had already decided upon a career in the Navy. He planned on becoming a naval aviator like his father, but did not pass the eye exam. So he became a diver instead.

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #14 on: 10/01/2016 06:40 PM »
In 1971 he graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering. He later received additional degrees in ocean and mechanical engineering. Michael Cassutt wrote, “Following graduation from Annapolis, Shepherd underwent basic underwater demolition/SEAL training prior to being assigned as platoon commander for Underwater Demolition Team Eleven in San Diego. In 1973 he served as platoon commander for SEAL Team One during deployments to the Western Pacific and Alaska.”

“From 1975 to 1978 he was a graduate student at MIT. He then became team operations officer for SEAL Team Two at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia, followed by a tour with the Naval Military Personnel Command in Washington, D.C. At the time of his selection by NASA he was commanding officer of Special Boat Unit 20 at Little Creek.”.

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #15 on: 10/01/2016 06:41 PM »
“I worked as a SEAL for 13 years before going to NASA,” said Shepherd. “When NASA started making the shuttle program happen, it was clear that astronauts would do more than just flying. I applied to NASA, and it took me two go-arounds to get there, but finally in 1984 I was selected as one of the 17 people in the tenth group of astronauts. I don’t really know why NASA picked me. I went to MIT for three years for the graduate program; it included ship design, and that really turned out to be propitious. I do think that NASA is particularly good about not picking everybody from exactly the same mould, and that is one of its strengths.”

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #16 on: 10/01/2016 06:42 PM »
Having qualified as a Space Shuttle mission specialist in 1985, Bill Shepherd initially had served with the astronaut support team at KSC before receiving his first flight assignment – Atlantis STS-27, a Department of Defense mission which launched December 2, 1988.

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #17 on: 10/01/2016 06:43 PM »
MS3 Thomas Dale Akers, Major USAF, was born May 20, 1951, in St Louis, Missouri. After graduation from high school in 1969 he attended the University of Missouri at Rolla, where he earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in applied mathematics in 1973 and 1975 respectively. “While he was a college student, Akers spent his summers working as a national park ranger at Alley Springs, Missouri,” wrote Michael Cassutt. “After graduation from Rolla, he became the principal of his hometown high school in Eminence.”

“He joined the Air Force in 1979 and upon completion of officer training school, was assigned to the 4484th Fighter Weapons Squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida, as a data analyst working with air-to-air missiles. In 1982 he was selected to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, where he completed the flight test engineer course.”

“He returned to Eglin in 1983 and was assigned to the Armaments Division, where he worked on weapons development and also flew F-4 and T-38 aircraft with the 3247 th Test Squadron. At the time of his selection by NASA he was executive officer to the Armament Division’s Deputy Commander for Research, Development and Acquisition.”

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #18 on: 10/01/2016 06:44 PM »
Tom Akers, recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, and Achievement Medal, was one of 13 astronaut candidates selected by NASA in 1987. His initial assignments in the astronaut office included shuttle software development and the integration of new computer hardware for future shuttle missions. In September 1989 he received his first ticket into space – and the job to send Ulysses on its long odyssey around the Sun.

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Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
« Reply #19 on: 10/01/2016 06:45 PM »
A VERY SMART, CAPABLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE

 “So Bill and I, with our one great one-flight experience, were the veterans, and the rest of us were rookies,” Dick Richards said. “I was struck by how new this particular crew was. I had had the luxury of nine years getting ready to go fly. They didn’t have that much time. And so I decided to do a little crash course in systems knowledge, and I sort of came out and decided that they would start giving lectures on systems from their perspective. So we’d do that once a week, that sort of thing. Popular with some people, not so popular with others.”

Richards added, “So we spent a lot of time, I spent a lot of time, worrying about their systems knowledge and ship basics because of the lack of their shelf life. Turned out to be they were great. By the time we got done on that crew, we knew that vehicle backwards and forwards. My contribution to that was probably small. It was just that they were… I had a very smart, capable bunch of people… and they were all military background, just like I was so, so we didn’t have to spend a lot of time talking to each other, because we could look at each other and we’d understand where we wanted to go with things. So we were pretty good, and that’s what I spent most of my time worrying about.”

(Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, October 1990; Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space – The International Space Station Edition,” Macmillan 1999; Francis French, “Beyond where the sky meets the dawn,” Spaceflight, Vol. 44, Oct. 2002; Richard Richards, JSC Oral History Project interview, Jan 26, 2006 – edited)

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