Author Topic: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity  (Read 11833 times)

Offline Ares67

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Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« on: 04/16/2017 04:46 PM »
Dedicated to the Memory of

John “Mike” Lounge

1985 MS2 Discovery STS 51-I
1988 MS1 Discovery STS-26
1990 MS2 Columbia STS-35

“I feel that three flights is my fair share…”

- John M. Lounge (1946 – 2011)

… and yet you left us much too early, Mike.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #1 on: 04/16/2017 04:47 PM »
The Reluctant Space Shuttle

(By Ed Hengeveld)

In the second half of 1990 the Space Shuttle experienced a frustrating series of hydrogen leaks, which effectively grounded the entire fleet for several months. Attention was initially focused on the Columbia STS-35 mission, one of the most reluctant spaceflights ever to get off the pad, but soon other missions were also affected. So many confusing problems occurred during these months that it was not easy to keep track of what was happening.

An interesting side-effect was that they had a number of sights that had rarely (or even never) been witnessed before or since at the Kennedy Space Center: Launch pads 39A and 39B were occupied simultaneously by flight-ready shuttles on several occasions; this had only happened once before, in December 1985/January 1986. A crew went through a dress rehearsal for launch with one crew member replaced by his backup. A set of partially stacked Solid Rocket Boosters was rolled out to the launch pad and two shuttle stacks passed each other on the crawler way. Three launches took place while Columbia occupied the other pad. And a shuttle stack was rolled over from one launch pad to the other.

(Spaceflight, Vol. 47 No. 12, December 2005 – edited)

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #2 on: 04/16/2017 04:48 PM »
The Columbia Precedence

“The disaster of the Space Shuttle Challenger, seen on television by millions, reinforced that seeming determination to make space travel a no-risk business, which it cannot be. It is sad to think that we did in the decade of racing to the Moon probably would take twice as long to accomplish today, even if the national will and treasure could be mustered, which is a significant question in itself.”

- Eugene A. Cernan (1934 – 2017), CDR Apollo 17 – still “Last Man on the Moon” 


(By Dixon P. Otto)

Astro-1 represents a microcosm of all our space activities. In Astro-1, we see the highest ideals achievable by the mind of mankind – seeking to understand the Universe on its grandest scale. Seeking out the mystery of the skies pulses as the living heart of why we venture into space.

Astro-1 began charged with an optimistic, ambitious timeline. If the mission had played out in total perfection, up to 250 stellar targets would have been probed. But like with everything that the human hand touches, perfection becomes only an illusionary ideal. Nothing we do in space will be perfect or risk free.

From the start, Astro-1 was hit by problem after problem like a string of body blows from a hard-handed boxer. Yet no one quit on Astro-1. The resourcefulness of the human spirit brought the mission back from the dead on several occasions. Teamwork triumphed as plans that had taken years to develop were rewritten overnight.

In the end, triumph rang in the excited voices of the scientists. Before Astro-1, they had, in some cases, devoted years to the flight of a single sounding rocket in order to gain five minutes of data above the Earth’s obscuring atmosphere. With Astro-1, each orbit brought observations lasting up to a half hour or even a bit more.

Columbia’s Astro-1 mission – in its triumph over adversity – demonstrated the shuttle at its best use. But we need to develop the space spirit that is healthy enough to resist the failures that will come, indeed must come. As sad as it is, space must become a place to die as well as live.

Much has been made on the common-sense statement in the Augustine Report by the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program that we are likely to lose another shuttle in this decade. Norman R. Augustine, chairman of Martin Marietta and head of the committee, said, “The Space Shuttle, as everyone recognizes, is an extremely capable system for missions where human beings are required. On the other hand, our committee believes that it should be limited in use only to those cases where there’s important value added by a human presence. We are concerned that the Space Shuttle may be the thin reed that supports our entire civil space program.”

We must not abandon the shuttle, but we must build a better base around it. And as we use the shuttle, we must be prepared for failure. As Astro-1 overcame its adversity, we must be ready to overcome the greater adversities that surely will beset our space program. If we are not prepared to accept the risk, we should resign our space program into museum pieces.”

(Dixon P. Otto, “CapCom,” Countdown, February 1991 – edited)

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #3 on: 04/16/2017 04:49 PM »
Master of Orion

Designed by the seven crewmembers assigned to the mission, the STS-35 crew patch symbolizes the Space Shuttle flying above Earth’s atmosphere to better study the many celestial objects of the Universe. Columbia’s mission to “conquer the stars” is called Astro-1. The patch shows the black belly of the orbiter, with its payload bay aimed at eleven distinctive stars of the constellation Orion; STS-35 Mission Specialist Jeff Hoffman, who was an astronomer before becoming an astronaut, says Orion is his favorite constellation.

(Countdown, May 1990; description on STS-35 decal – edited)

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #4 on: 04/16/2017 04:50 PM »
Shortcuts

The STS-35 Crew – Seven Men with an Astronomical Task

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667412#msg1667412


The STS-35 Mission – Stargazing From Orbit

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667429#msg1667429


STS-35 Crew Training Images

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667461#msg1667461


STS-35 Flight Preparations – Milestones and Roadblocks

January – May 1990

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667512#msg1667512

June – August 1990

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667537#msg1667537

September – December 1990

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667580#msg1667580


STS-35 Daily Flight Log

Sunday, December 2, 1990 (Launch Day) – A Real Light Show

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667608#msg1667608

Sunday, December 2, 1990 (Flight Day 1) – Let’s Get This Show On The Road

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667890#msg1667890

Monday, December 3, 1990 (Flight Day 2) – Target Practice

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667921#msg1667921

Tuesday, December 4, 1990 (Flight Day 3) – We Have An Observatory

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667937#msg1667937

Wednesday, December 5, 1990 (Flight Day 4) – Thinking Science

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667947#msg1667947

Thursday, December 6, 1990 (Flight Day 5) – We’re Not Giving Up

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667973#msg1667973

Friday, December 7, 1990 (Flight Day 6) – Interesting and Dynamic

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667990#msg1667990

Saturday, December 8, 1990 (Flight Day 7) – An Atmosphere of Jubilation

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1667998#msg1667998


Hams in Space – “Hello” from Columbia

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1668019#msg1668019


Sunday, December 9, 1990 (Flight Day 8) – How Long Will It Last?

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1668028#msg1668028

Monday, December 10, 1990 (Landing Day) – All Good Things

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1668047#msg1668047


Mission Report: Soyuz TM-11 – Japan’s First Spacefarer

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1668091#msg1668091


December 1990 – STS-35 Post-Flight Activities

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1668124#msg1668124


The Devil and Mr. Truly

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42754.msg1668135#msg1668135

« Last Edit: 04/17/2017 10:37 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #5 on: 04/16/2017 04:53 PM »
The STS-35 Crew – Seven Men with an Astronomical Task

“I don’t feel any different than I did a few years ago, but I do realize that this probably will be my last spaceflight.”

- Apollo veteran and STS-35 CDR Vance Brand


UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Ben Evans called it “some business that had been left unfinished four years before.” In his 2005 book Space Shuttle Columbia he wrote: “This was the completion of the Astro-1 mission, which was originally her next flight after STS 61-C but had been indefinitely postponed following the Challenger disaster. Now renumbered STS-35, even after the resumption of shuttle flights, the mission would prove a bear to get off the ground and already her crew had changed several times.”

On October 3, 1986, the first flight manifest released after the Challenger disaster had shown the Astro-1 payload to be flown on STS-31, planned for launch on January 19, 1989. Some reshuffling during the next two years next two years would cause the mission to be redesignated STS-35.   

Evans explained, “Although the science crew – Mission Specialists Jeff Hoffman and Bob Parker and Payload Specialists Sam Durrance and Ron Parise (…) – remained intact from the original 61-E crew, the other three astronauts were relatively new. When the ‘new’ STS-35 crew was named in November 1988, Commander Jon McBride remained in charge, but chose to resign from the astronaut corps just six months later. His replacement was three-flight veteran Vance Brand.”

Countdown magazine in May 1990 read, “STS-35 probably will mark the final flight by an astronaut who flew in the antiquated era of space capsules.” Vance Brand had flown the last Apollo in 1975, and now – at age 59 – became the oldest person to fly in space. The revised Astro-1 crew included Pilot Guy Gardner, a veteran of STS-27, and Mission Specialist Mike Lounge – a former crewmember of Discovery STS-26, which had marked the high-profile Return to Flight after Challenger in fall of 1988. Bill Evans later wrote, “The original 61-E Pilot, Dick Richards, and Mission Specialist Dave Leestma were already, by this time, well-immersed in their training for Columbia’s return-to-flight STS-28 mission.”

“Original plans called for three flights of the Astro observatory, each with two payload specialists. Durrance and Parise would fly the first mission; then Parise would join another payload specialist, Ken Nordsieck, for Astro-2 and Durrance would fly with Nordsieck on Astro-3. All three missions were expected to be completed by July 1987. Hoffman and Parker, it seems, would have flown all three missions! It seems remarkable today, when astronauts typically wait three or four years between flights that NASA was planning to fly them into space in such rapid succession.”

Bill Evans quoted Mission Specialist Parker’s expressed disbelief at the sheer number of missions planned up to the time of the Challenger disaster: “It’s amazing when you look back at that (schedule pressure) and the rate at which we thought we had to keep pumping this stuff out. You’d have thought the world was going to end (if we didn’t meet our launch targets). My favorite expression is: Guess what? The Sun kept on rising and setting! The Sun didn’t even notice (if we missed our launch targets.”

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #6 on: 04/16/2017 04:54 PM »

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #7 on: 04/16/2017 04:57 PM »
BLAZING THE TRAIL

STS-35 marks the return of seven-person shuttle crews and the flights of payload specialists, who are not career astronauts but investigators assigned to fly with a particular payload. The two non-agency passengers say their performance could open the door for others. "We try our best to blaze that trail," said Ron Parise, an astronomer with the Computer Sciences Corp. Parise, 39, attempted unsuccessfully a dozen years ago to join the ranks of NASA astronauts. But even if Parise and one-time auto racer Sam Durrance, 46, an astronomer with Johns Hopkins University, perform flawlessly, the crew hatch to the Space Shuttle is unlikely to swing wide to admit outsiders the way it did before the Challenger exploded.

The deaths of New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe and Hughes Aircraft engineer Gregory Jarvis on Challenger ignited a simmering debate over a questionable space agency policy that permitted a Florida congressman, a Utah senator and a Saudi prince, among other outsiders, to fly on the shuttle. There even were plans to fly a journalist. The presence of those outsiders seemed more attune to boosting NASA's public image and support among key lawmakers than executing the flight plan.

It also promoted a false notion that shuttle missions held little risk. It irritated those among NASA's astronaut corps who were forced to prolong the wait for a space flight. It unfairly isolated the few scientists and engineers outside the agency who were pursuing legitimate research. "Most people have realized now that we have certainly paid our dues," said Parise. "We are not naive people who don't understand what we are getting into.' In the wake of the Challenger loss, the space agency retreated to a conservative flight policy that limited shuttle crews to five NASA astronauts, a practice it followed strictly for ten post-accident missions.

But the policy also included a provision that allows up to two more astronauts or payload specialists to fly if the shuttle mission's performance requires it. Astro's does. "On our flight the payload specialists have an expertise in areas no one else on the crew has," said Commander Vance Brand. "I'm lucky. They have been around for quite awhile. They know exactly how NASA does things and what needs to be done. They are both able to fit in very well.”


PAYLOAD SPECIALISTS VS. MISSION SPECIALISTS

“It was actually before I was even assigned to my first flight. There was a lot of controversy about payload specialists at the time. The Marshall Space Flight Center was running the Spacelab flights, and so they controlled payload specialists. There was always this competition between JSC and Marshall, sometimes friendlier than others. Marshall loved the idea that they had their own astronauts, and so they wanted to fly as many payload specialists as possible.”
 
“This was strongly resisted at JSC, because they didn‘t want astronauts that they didn‘t select. There was a lot of controversy in the early days about what payload specialists should be allowed to do and how should they be selected. Along comes this Astro payload, three fairly complicated ultraviolet telescopes. Actually, the program was originally being run up at Goddard. The project said that this was a sufficiently complex payload that we really want two payload specialists on the flight. George Abbey, who was not fond of payload specialists, decided to see if they were for real or if they were blowing smoke.”

“Since I was an astronomer and I wasn‘t assigned to a flight at the time, he asked me to go up to Goddard to one of their meetings, find out about this payload, and because I was still a new guy, he sent Joe Kerwin along with me. Joe wasn‘t an astronomer, but he was a medical doctor, and he knew the ropes and was an old hand around the office.”

“We went up there. I talked with everybody, learned about the payload. Joe and I talked about this, because we kind of thought – Well, we know what George would like to hear… but we both came to the conclusion that in fact this was an extremely complex payload. Yes, two astronaut astronomers could probably do the job – because we had a few astronomers in the Astronaut Office: Bob Parker, Karl Henize, Sally Ride, Pinky Nelson, Steve Hawley. You could assign a couple of us. We could go and spend two years working at the universities, and we could operate the payload, but we still wouldn’t know it in as much depth as the people who had developed it. We recommended that we accept payload specialists. George went along with it. It obviously didn‘t destroy my career. Everything worked out okay.”

“By the way, I think it was a totally unfortunate choice of terminology that NASA made, because the public never could tell the difference between a mission specialist and a payload specialist. It was just totally confusing to everybody. That‘s neither here nor there. That‘s the way it was. We had no problem as far as the crew. We knew very well that they knew the experiments much better than we did. It was perfectly reasonably for them to be on the flight, and they did a great job.”

- STS-35 Mission Specialist Jeff Hoffman, JSC NASA Oral History Project March 2009



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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #8 on: 04/16/2017 04:58 PM »
SEVEN PLUS ONE

CDR Vance DeVoe Brand – was born May 9, 1931 in Longmont, Colorado. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Colorado in 1960 and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of California in 1964. According to Michael Cassutt’s Who’s Who in Space, “He joined the Marine Corps in 1953, serving as a jet pilot until 1957. He would fly for the Marine Corps Reserve and Air National Guard until 1964. After further schooling at Colorado, he went to work for the Lockheed Aircraft Cooperation in 1960, first as flight engineer, later, after attending the Naval Test Pilot School, as an experimental test pilot.”

After an unsuccessful first application for NASA’s 1963 astronaut group, Brand was selected as an astronaut in April 1966. Cassutt explains, “In 1968 he and astronauts Joseph Kerwin and Joe Engle conducted vacuum chamber tests of the redesigned Apollo command and service modules. Brand later served on the support crews for Apollo 8 and Apollo 13. He was assigned as backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 15 and would have flown around the Moon on Apollo 18, but that mission was cancelled.”

Even while serving as backup commander for Skylab 3 and 4, in late 1972 he began training for what eventually became his first trip into space, as Command Module Pilot for the historic Apollo/Soyuz docking in July 1975. “During the Apollo splashdown on July 24,” says Michael Cassutt, “poisonous nitrogen tetroxide gas from a leaking thruster flooded the Apollo cabin. Brand was knocked unconscious, but revived when an oxygen mask was placed on his face. The astronauts suffered no lasting injury, but the incident was an embarrassment.”

Brand received the American Institute of Aeronautics Special Presidential Citation in 1977. In November 1982, commanding Columbia STS-5 on the first operational shuttle mission, he was a member of the first five-man crew in spaceflight history. In February 1984 he entered the history books again as Commander of mission STS 41-B, when he safely steered the orbiter Challenger towards the shuttle program’s first Kennedy Space Center landing. 

“After the 41-B mission, I was reassigned and I got a crew for a life sciences mission,” Vance Brand told interviewer Rebecca Wright in 2002. “It was the first life sciences mission. So we started training for that. Then, for some reason, because of restructuring of the missions – and I kind of forget all of the details, but I ended up with another mission, which was called Atlas. So I had another crew, and we were training. That’s what I was doing when along came Challenger, and that changed life for everybody for a while.”

Brand continued, “At that time I had really interesting assignments. For one thing, I led the Development Branch in the Astronaut Office. There were about thirty astronauts that I was working with at that time, and they were all looking at different shuttle systems. There’d be one person on escape systems, and somebody else following what was being done to the Solid Rocket Boosters and another on main engines, etc. We were all working with engineers and managers to correct problems, and there was a big effort under way to assess the critical failure points were in the Space Shuttle and to prioritize the fixes.”

“Jay Green and I co-chaired a committee that reassessed ascent and aborts and emergency landing fields around the world. The committee looked at the whole ascent and landing picture; eventually, I was on a board that looked at the system safety of the shuttle when changes were being implemented after the groundwork was laid that I just mentioned. I spent a year sitting on this board, and we were looking at all the hazards that had been identified for the Space Shuttle including the Solid Rocket Boosters and the ground facilities,” said Brand. “So it was somewhat tedious just marching through all of that, but it was interesting and necessary.”

We have to really fix the Space Shuttle so that this isn’t likely to happen again. We’ve got to strengthen the whole system so that another accident that might be somewhat probable could never happen,” Brand summed up the post-Challenger set of mind at NASA. “The Astronaut Office just had scads of concerns, and this was an opportunity to maybe not get everything fixed, but certainly to get everything looked at and to have a lot of competent people decide whether or not these things needed to be fixed.”

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #9 on: 04/16/2017 04:59 PM »

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #10 on: 04/16/2017 05:00 PM »
PLT Guy Spence Gardner, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel USAF – was born January 6, 1948, in Alta Vista, Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering sciences, astronautics, and mathematics from the United States Air Force Academy in 1969 and a Master of Science in astronautics from Purdue University in 1970.

Regarding Guy Gardner’s military career Michael Cassutt wrote, “Gardner underwent pilot training at Craig AFB, Alabama, and McDill AFB, Florida, before being sent to Thailand, where he flew F-4s on 177 combat missions. Returning to the United States, he attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, graduating in 1975, then served with the 6512th Test Squadron at Edwards. He was an instructor at the test pilot school. When selected by NASA in 1980 he was operations officer with the 1st Test Squadron at Clark AFB, the Philippines.”

Gardner logged over 3,700 hours flying time and received training to fly the first shuttle from Vandenberg AFB, California, which of course was cancelled after Challenger was lost. Finally making his first spaceflight in December 1988, Gardner piloted the orbiter Atlantis on the four-day classified STS-27 mission.

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #11 on: 04/16/2017 05:01 PM »
MS1 Jeffrey Alan Hoffman, PhD – was born November 2, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York. Michael Cassutt wrote, “He attended Amherst College, where he received a B.S. in astronomy graduating summa cum laude in 1966. He received his PhD in astrophysics from Harvard University in 1971. He has since received an M.S. in materials science from Harvard University (1988). As a postdoctoral fellow at Leicester University in England from 1972-75, Hoffman worked on scientific packages for three rocket payloads, all of them relating to X-ray astronomy, his field of study. He was also project scientist for an X-ray experiment flown on the European Space Agency’s Exosat satellite.”

“Returning to the United States in 1975, he joined the Center for Space Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as project scientist for X-ray and gamma ray experiments for the first High Energy Astronomical Observatory (HEAO-1) satellite launched in August 1977,” according to Who’s Who in Space. Jeff Hoffman has written or co-authored over twenty papers regarding X-ray bursts and was at MIT when he was selected as an astronaut in 1978; his early assignments included serving as support crew member for STS-5 and as CapCom for STS-8.

Even before making his first spaceflight, Discovery STS 51-D in April 1985 – when he and Dave Griggs performed the first “emergency” spacewalk in shuttle history – Jeff Hoffman had another assignment. “Because of my initial involvement, I went to a few more Astro meetings and at one point then George Abbey decided that Bob Parker and I, both astronomer astronauts, should fly with Astro-1,” Hoffman told interviewer Jennifer Ross-Nazzal in 2009. “So as I say, I knew before I flew on my first flight that my second flight would be with the Astro payload. That was nice.”

“Back then flights were getting shifted around a lot. There were a lot of delays. Payloads got shifted around,” Hoffman recounted later. “Astro-1 being an astronomy payload, they wanted us up there for the passage of Halley‘s Comet. So we actually held our place in the manifest, and everybody else was shifting downstream of us. We were going to go in early March of 1986. Of course Challenger was the end of January. We were in active training. We were the next flight. I was in the simulator that morning, in the EVA simulator, doing training. At T minus nine, when they start up the final countdown, we got out of the simulator, went to look at the launch.”
 
“I remember, before going in the simulator, we were looking at pictures of all the ice on the launch tower that morning and I remember thinking to myself, ‘No way they‘re going to launch; they can‘t launch with that much ice.’ When we heard they were going to launch, we all shook our heads and thought, ‘Well, they must know something that we don‘t know.’ We assumed that it was all safe and that everybody was satisfied. Nobody in the Astronaut Office was monitoring the solid boosters.”

“It was an interesting situation. It was just, ‘Solids don‘t fail! Period!’ We had people who went to all the meetings about the main engines and the computer systems and the turbopumps and everybody expected that if there was going to be a major failure it would be one of the turbopumps or the main engines, because we had seen failures on the test stands down in Mississippi, and they‘re pretty dramatic when an engine blows up.”

Hoffman said, “I wanted to make my Astro flight, and I had no particular desire to leave. I stayed around. We had been talking a lot about experiments in microgravity and growing crystals, and at that time in the Astronaut Office I think the only person with any sort of a background at all in materials science was Bonnie Dunbar. I thought, ‘I have a background in the physical sciences, I can learn about this.’ I applied to the Astronaut Office management. I said, ‘Could I take half time off and go to Rice University and get a degree in materials science with a specialization in crystallography? Then maybe, sometime in the future, I‘ll be able to go on one of those Spacelab flights and help with growing crystals.’

“There was plenty of work to do around the office. For half time, they assigned me for my astronaut job to the Payload Safety Panel, which was actually quite fascinating work. Then at the same time I was spending – basically full-time – I was sort of working at time and a half – but full-time on getting a master‘s degree, which was fun going back to school. I was what, 42 years old at the time. I remember some of the students in class would look at me funny. ‘Who‘s this old guy in class?’ Then by the end of the first semester, it gave me a good feeling because they realized that ‘Hey, he‘s getting all As.’ Before the final exam when they came up and asked if they could copy my notes to use for study, I thought, ‘Well, that‘s nice.’

“I hadn‘t taken exams since I was a graduate student, so when I went in to take my first exam, I remember thinking, ‘Can I still do this stuff?’ It was nice to see that I could still get As in my classes, and it was fun because I always liked school. I like learning new things. Just about the time that I finished up my degree and I was going to start looking around, ‘What can I do?’ I knew I was going to fly on Astro eventually, but since Halley‘s Comet had come and gone, we no longer had our privileged position. It was still going to be another year or two.”

Before being officially reassigned to Astro-1, according to Michael Cassutt, “Hoffman worked on the development of a pressure suit for the Freedom Space Station, and on the Tethered Satellite System.” This expertise on TSS eventually would qualify him for his next assignment, Atlantis STS-46 in August 1992.

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #12 on: 04/16/2017 05:02 PM »
MS2 John Michael “Mike” Lounge – was born June 28, 1946 in Denver, Colorado. During his early career in the U.S. Navy he always wanted to follow in the steps of no other than the first man on the Moon, as he described in a February 2008 interview with Jennifer Ross-Nazzal:

I graduated from the Naval Academy in 1969, went immediately to what they called an immediate master’s program. If you got selected for and got a scholarship somewhere, the Navy let you go and spend a year or fifteen months getting a master’s degree before you reported to your first duty station, and I got one of those degree programs at the University of Colorado. I went over there as a Navy ensign, wore an ensign uniform, I think once, and spent fifteen months getting a master’s degree in astrogeophysics, because then I wanted to be an astronaut and I hoped that somewhere in the future there would be opportunity.

So, to put it in perspective, I think two days after I reported to the University of Colorado for that program to start is when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon. So, a very exciting time. Every young ensign in the Navy wanted to follow in his footprints, I’m sure. So I did that.

Then I went to flight training in Pensacola, went through F-4 training and flew as a radar intercept officer, is what we called them, but the systems guy in the F-4; it’s a two-seat fighter. Flew about 2,000 hours in the F-4 on two different cruises, one on the East Coast, one on the West Coast, saw combat in Vietnam, about a hundred combat missions, most of them very boring. Were there at the end of that war when the prisoners were all released, and then we came back to California and almost immediately did a Mediterranean cruise, so I got to see the rest of that world.

After that, I went to the Naval Academy as an instructor, taught physics there for two years. At that time I was looking ahead to the credentials that I thought might be needed to compete as an astronaut candidate. There was an opportunity to be on the staff of a Navy spy satellite, essentially, project, and so I joined that staff and was on that staff for two years, and it was from that job that I interviewed the first time for the class of ’78 Shuttle astronauts. I didn’t get hired in that class, but I got close enough to get offered a job at the Johnson Space Center, working in Mission Operations.

So I asked the Navy if they would send me down to Houston as a naval officer, because the Air Force, they must have had too many officers, because they had a hundred people down at the Center then, you know, on assignment from the Air Force. The Navy said, “No, Commander Lounge, we have an aircraft carrier in mind for you.” I said, “No, I think I’ll just resign, then, and go to work for NASA.” So that’s what I did. I left the Navy and became a NASA civil servant in 1978.



Mike Lounge worked on shuttle payload integration and participated in tracking the Skylab reentry in 1979. He continued to fly F-4N aircraft with the U.S. Naval Reserve and became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Air National Guard. Finally, Lounge was selected as one of nineteen new astronaut candidates in May 1980.


Ross-Nazzal: So when you got that phone call from George Abbey, what was that like?

Lounge: That was good. Actually, I had some indications that I was pretty close, so it wasn’t a total surprise, but it was a huge relief, and obviously the largest single career-shaping event of my life, that call.

Ross-Nazzal: Were you and Bonnie (Dunbar) and Jerry (Ross) sort of comparing, seeing if someone got a phone call?

Lounge: Our offices were within shouting distance, so you could hear the shouts. I think everyone was there that morning. I couldn’t tell you who got the first call. But the party that night was at my house, of everyone that called in the Houston area, and there were probably, I don’t know, seems like five or six, and then a lot of the ’78 class showed up at the party that night, so that was fun.

Ross-Nazzal: That’s great. So why don’t you tell us about that first day as you’re walking into the Astronaut Office and you’ve got this new class of – Dave Leestma said you guys called yourselves “the Needless Nineteen.” What did the rest of the astronauts think? We hadn’t flown the Space Shuttle yet.

Lounge: Too many, right? That was the general attitude, was, “We don’t need these guys.” I don’t know. It was intimidating. It was like being a freshman. I was going to say college, but maybe even high school again, you know, in there with all the legends. So it was intimidating, I would say. But we got pretty busy right away, so you forgot about that.


Michael Cassutt tells the rest: “While an astronaut he served as a member of the launch support team at the Kennedy Space Center for STS-1, STS-2 and STS-3. His main technical assignment has been the shuttle’s computer system. He was named to his first shuttle crew in August 1983 and following that flight (STS 51-I in August/September 1985) was assigned to Mission 61-F, the launch of the Galileo Jupiter probe, which was canceled because of the Challenger accident.”

Of course, Mike Lounge was a member of Discovery’s STS-26 mission in 1988 which put the shuttle program back on track after the tragic loss two-and-a-half years earlier. Then came Astro-1 and he later put it into perspective: “It was actually also supposed to be the next flight after Challenger. It would have flown in, I guess, February of ’86 if it had been – so I like to say I flew both flights after Challenger.”

Now, while getting the chance of making a third trip into space, and actually flying Columbia while in orbit, Mike Lounge only had a single regret: “When I was flying, you didn’t do a spacewalk unless it was really a very serious problem you were trying to fix, so I never got to do one. I got to train as the EVA crewman on two of those three flights, but I never got to do a real spacewalk.”

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #13 on: 04/16/2017 05:04 PM »
MS3 Robert Alan Ridley Parker, PhD – was born in New York City on December 14, 1936. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in astronomy and physics from Amherst College in 1958 and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1962. Until being selected by NASA as one of eleven scientist astronauts in 1967 Parker had been associate professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin. His early assignments included the support crews for the Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 missions. He then was program scientist for the Skylab Program Directors Office during all three manned Skylab missions before working on Space Shuttle development.

“Astronomer Bob Parker was a mission specialist aboard STS-9, the first flight of the European research module Spacelab,” wrote Michael Cassutt. “For ten days the crew of six astronauts, the largest sent into space aboard a single spacecraft at that time, carried out scientific experiments in a variety of disciplines. For example, Parker participated in an experiment intended to prove or disprove a 1914 Nobel Prize-winning theory that hot or cold air blown into a person’s ears would cause the subject to believe he was turning. Contrary to the theory, it did not. Parker also became famous for a testy public exchange with controllers at the Marshall Space Flight Center when he felt he and Payload Specialist Ulf Merbold were being rushed to start one experiment before they could finish another.”

During his one-year assignment to NASA Headquarters in 1988/1989, where he served as director of the Spaceflight/Space Station Integration Office, Parker got confirmation he was finally going to fly the Astro-1 mission.

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #14 on: 04/16/2017 05:05 PM »
PS1 Samuel Thornton Durrance, PhD – was born September 17, 1943 in Tallahassee, Florida. He received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in physics from the California State University in 1972 and 1974, respectively, and received a PhD in astrogeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1980. He made observations with the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite. Working as  research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, Durrance became assistant project scientist for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope program. In June 1984 he was selected as payload specialist for Astro-1.

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #15 on: 04/16/2017 05:06 PM »
PS2 Ronald Anthony Parise, PhD – was born May 24, 1951, in Warren, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Youngstown State University in 1973, a Master of Science degree in astronomy from the University of Florida in 1977 and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Florida in 1979. As manager of the Advanced Astronomy Programs Section at Computer Scienes Corporation in Silver Spring, Maryland, he was responsible for flight software development, electronic systems design and mission planning for the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. Like Sam Durrance, Parise did research with the IUE satellite and was given his Astro-1 flight assignment in June 1984.

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #16 on: 04/16/2017 05:07 PM »
“There were three,” Jeffrey Hoffman reminded interviewer Jennifer Ross-Nazzal in 2009, meaning there were three payload specialists selected for Astro-1 “There were several candidates, but the actual three were selected by the scientists, not by NASA. They had to pass NASA medical qualifications. Then I guess in the end, the scientists selected the two of the three who would fly. The deal was that for the second ASTRO flight Ken Nordsieck, who was going to be the alternate for the first flight, he would definitely fly. Then one of the other two would fly. As it turned out, in the interim, Ken had developed other interests, and decided he didn‘t want to leave his academic interests for two or three years to fly. He basically withdrew.”

Alternate PS Kenneth Hugh Nordsieck, PhD – was born February 19, 1946, in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1967 and a Master of Science and a PhD in Physics from the University of California in San Diego in 1970 and 1972, respectively.

Michael Cassutt wrote, “Nordsieck is an associate professor at Washburn Observatory at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It was his work as coinvestigator for the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment that made him eligible for selection as an Astro payload specialist. His field of research includes the structure of spiral galaxies and extragalactic objects.”

And, for a short time in April/May 1990, Ken Nordsieck came close to actually flying aboard Columbia STS-35, when PS1 Sam Durrance developed a medical condition that could have affected his clearance for flight.

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #17 on: 04/16/2017 05:08 PM »
NIGHT ASSITANTS

The STS-35 crew will work continuously in shifts in order to sight a multitude of targets. The “Blue Shift,” working during which corresponds to days in Houston, will be comprised of Mike Lounge, Jeff Hoffman and Sam Durrance. Lounge and Hoffman are the emergency EVA crewmembers on this flight. The “Red Shift,” pulling the equivalent of night duty, includes Guy Gardner, Bob Parker and Ron Parise. Mission Commander Vance Brand will work a split shift, mostly with the red team.

The division of the crew into shifts will provide Mike Lounge with a rare opportunity for a mission specialist – flying the shuttle. “Many times Guy and I will be asleep, and Mike will be in charge of the orbiter, taking care of any problems, flying it – the whole works,” Brand says.

Columbia’s Astro-1 mission makes a unique mark in shuttle history because four of the seven crewmembers are astronomers by training. “The payload specialists essentially run the actual instruments,” Parker says. “Jeff and I will carry out a role which in the large observatories here on Earth – like Mt. Wilson where I used to observe – is called night assistants, the people responsible for keeping up the observatory and for pointing the telescope.”

Hoffman spent his career in astrophysics studying phenomena in the high-energy wavelengths, such as Astro-1 will study, which cannot penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. “I spent my astronomical career launching telescopes in balloons, rockets and eventually satellites,” he says. “I never thought that I’d actually be going up with one.”

“I have never been to the top of a mountain to use a real telescope,” he says. “If you’ve got to go to a mountain top to work as an astronomer, then this is a pretty neat mountain top to work from.”

(Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, May 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 27, 1990; Ben Evans, Space Shuttle Columbia – Her Missions and Crews, Springer/Praxis 2005; Spaceflight, Vol. 47, December 2005; JSC NASA Oral History Project interviews of Vance Brand, Apr. 12, 2002; Mike Lounge, Feb. 7, 2008; Jeff Hoffman, Nov. 3, 2009 – edited)

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #18 on: 04/16/2017 05:09 PM »
The STS-35 Mission – Stargazing From Orbit

“We are excited about this mission… It will break some new ground for NASA, especially in the post-Challenger era.”

- Vance Brand, CDR Columbia STS-35, during the JSC astronaut press conference on April 20, 1990


(Based on “If Astro: Spacelab tries for a return” by Dixon P. Otto)


THE RETURN OF SPACELAB

When Columbia STS-35 makes orbit in May 1990 her payload bay doors will peel back to expose the Astro-1 bank of telescopes resting in a bed of Spacelab pallets. Swinging up from the bay, the telescopes will seek to supplement and expand upon the work of the Hubble Space Telescope and other astronomical satellites, past and future.

STS-35 will be the 36th Space Shuttle mission, and the tenth flight of the orbiter Columbia. Columbia also flew the first Spacelab mission in November/December of 1983. Astro-1 will mark the first mission since 1985 for the Spacelab hardware developed by the European Space Agency. The flight will carry the first seven-person crew, including the first payload specialists, since Challenger.

STS-35 is the first Space Shuttle mission dedicated to a single scientific discipline: astrophysics. The Astro-1 observatory, which remains locked in the payload bay throughout the flight, comprises two payloads: three ultraviolet telescopes mounted on the Instrument Pointing System (IPS), and one X-ray telescope mounted on the Two-Axis Pointing System (TAPS).

Each telescope was independently designed, but all work together as elements of a single observatory. In planning the mission goals, Astro investigators optimized the number of observations and increased the science data return by pointing the instruments to view celestial targets simultaneously. However, having separate pointing systems gives investigators the flexibility to point the UV telescopes at one target while the X-ray telescope is aimed at another.

The Astro instruments can peer deeply into the ultraviolet spectrum, gaining more detailed information than has ever been possible and studying objects of interest to optical and radio astronomers. Astro-1 can also be used in conjunction to the Hubble Space Telescope by discovering interesting objects for the long-lived space telescope to study in detail.

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #19 on: 04/16/2017 05:11 PM »
FOUR EYES ON THE SKY

Four instruments make up the Astro-1 Observatory: the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT), the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT), the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE), and the Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT). The Astro ultraviolet telescopes photograph the UV sky (imaging), measure the energy distribution of UV wavelengths (spectroscopy), and analyze the intensity and orientation of UV light (photometry and polarimetry). The Astro X-ray telescope uses spectroscopy to measure the energy distribution of X-ray photons.

By using more than one instrument, Astro-1 can gather different types of information at the same time on the same objects. It is the first observatory that can simultaneously take ultraviolet pictures of objects, study their ultraviolet and X-ray spectra, and determine brightness and structure through photometry and polarimetry.

Astro-1 will view targets ranging from our solar system’s backyard to the depths of the cosmos. The target list also includes virtually every kind of object in the astrophysical zoo, from tightly grouped clusters of stars to large, tenuous nebulas.

Astro-1 will expose the hottest parts of galaxies: their active centers and dense globular clusters of stars shine with copious ultraviolet and X-ray emission. Quasars, perhaps the oldest and most energetic objects known, will be studied by Astro-1. The observatory may uncover objects that challenge our interpretation of the laws of physics: black holes that transform our concepts of space and time and neutron stars so dense that a teaspoonful of their material weighs a billion tons.

The flight is scheduled to last nine days but may be extended to a tenth. “If we turn out the lights at night and save on electricity in every way we can, we hope to make a ten-day mission,” STS-35 Commander Vance Brand says. To provide maximum power for science operations during the nine- or ten-day mission, Columbia will be equipped with additional fuel cell tanks.

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