Author Topic: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity  (Read 7660 times)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #360 on: 04/17/2017 10:17 PM »
December 11: COLUMBIA IS IN GOOD CONDITION
At Dryden Flight Research Facility in California turnaround crews had Columbia in the Mate/Demate Device by 3:55 a.m. PST today. Sling, jacking and hoisting operations were underway by 7:25 a.m. PST. After about six days of turnaround operations, the orbiter will be ferried back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft will need to make several refueling stops across the country because of the shuttle’s extra weight due to the Astro-1 observatory.

Two key DDU computers which failed during the mission will be investigated by NASA. The agency will also investigate Columbia’s waste water management plumbing problems after she returns to KSC. Early speculation suggested that shuttle processing teams may have failed to clean the computer panels prior to launch. “I think the lint (found inside the computers) probably came with the panels when they were given to us to install in the orbiter,” according to Bascom Murrah, Columbia’s processing manager. (Lint, hair and even a piece of a peanut – items found in a filter after the flight – reduced air circulation and caused the machines to overheat). Regarding the plumbing problem, Murrah said technicians replaced a waste water line and a plumbing valve prior to the flight but evidently didn’t catch all debris in the system.

The post-flight inspection revealed Columbia’s Thermal Protection System to be in good to excellent condition with minimal impact damage, but with two large surface-damage areas evident in the right-hand chine. The orbiter TPS sustained a total of 147 hits, of which 17 had a major dimension of one inch or greater. A comparison of these numbers to statistics from 24 previous flights of similar configuration indicates the total number of hits on the lower surface was average. A cluster of 45 hits (six larger than one inch) occurred just aft and inboard of the liquid hydrogen ET/Orbiter umbilical opening.

Overall, all Reusable Carbon Carbon parts appeared nominal. Columbia’s chin panel recorded its first flight. Inspection of the panel revealed surface bubbling of the “A” enhancement coating applied on the RCC surface. The chin panel is acceptable for flight in the as-is condition.

The nose landing gear door TPS was in good condition with only one loose patch on the Nicalon sacrificial thermal barrier and small breaches on both sides. Indications of potential flow paths and blanket damage were evident under the forward ET forward attach RCC. The left-hand main landing gear door forward outboard tile and adjacent structure tile had significant edge damage. Breaching of the outboard and aft thermal barrier was evident on both doors. The ET door thermal barriers were in good condition.

The elevon cove TPS was in good condition with no evidence of outgassing or gap filler damage. The elevon-elevon gap tiles were in good condition, with no breached gap fillers. There was missing coating and tile material on the right-hand wing tip, aft of RCC panel 22. Overall, the upper surface TPS and OMS pods were nominal, with typical upper wing surface white-tile damage. One of these sites exhibited significant thermal erosion (approximately 3/4 inch in depth) and melting of the adjacent tile coating material.

The largest lower surface damage site was located on the right-hand chine, affected four tiles, and had a maximum depth of 1/4 inch. No TPS damage was attributed to material from the wheels, tires, or brakes. Material loss from the main landing gear tires was average for a concrete runway landing.

Damage to the base heat shield tiles was less than average (approximately 100 sites). The body flap upper surface tiles suffered more damage than usual with several damage sites exhibiting significant depth. All three main engine closeout blankets had localized areas of peeled, frayed, and/or missing maerial.

During the post-flight inspection, a piece of environmental seal material, approximately 24 inches long, was observed hanging from the expansion joint between the first and second sections of the right-hand payload bay door. An impact crater, about 0.15 inch in diameter, was found in window 1; windows 3 and 4 were moderately hazed with minor streaking, and windows 2 and 5 were lightly hazed.

(STS-35 Space Shuttle Mission Report, NASA-TM-105476, January 1991; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)


December 12: COLUMBIA PREPARING TO LEAVE CALIFORNIA
Officials at Kennedy Space Center are optimistic that Columbia will return from California on December 17. “The bird is in great shape and we’re looking forward to getting it back here,” said KSC Director Forrest McCartney. KSC spokesman George Diller said, “It still looks good for departure at first light on Sunday.”

The fuel cell cryogenic reactants were offloaded tonight from the onboard storage spheres; the waste containment facility was also removed and awaits evaluation on return of the orbiter to KSC. Scheduled for tomorrow is the removal of the payload Data Display Units. They will be flown back to KSC to begin troubleshooting the problem that developed with them inflight. Dumping of Columbia’s flight data recorders continues. The installation of the protective cover over the star trackers was rescheduled for December 14 and rescheduled for December 15 is the removal of film from the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope.

The weather at Dryden continues to have a generally favorable forecast for completing work on schedule and to depart Edwards Air Force Base December 16 for the two-day ferry flight aboard the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The cold front approaching southern California is not predicted to reach the area until December 15, bringing with it some increase in wind. (Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)


December 13: WEATHER COULD DELAY COLUMBIA’S RETURN
A storm front approaching Edwards Air Force Base could delay the return of Columbia to Florida. If winds are greater than 15 miles per hour, some of the work needed to prepare the orbiter for its ride aboard the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft would have to be delayed. Today, KSC workers on station at Dryden will drain remaining liquid hydrogen and oxygen from the orbiter’s tanks. Bascom Murrah, Columbia’s processing manager, said, “Everything is right on schedule and we haven’t had any problems.” (Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 14 & 16, 1990 – edited)


December 14: COLUMBIA TO FLY OVER JSC MONDAY
The orbiter Columbia, atop the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, will fly over the Johnson Space Center at about 8:00 a.m. CST Monday weather permitting. The flyover will be at 2,000 feet approaching west to east from Webster, paralleling NASA Road 1 to Galveston Bay, and then departing.

Columbia and the SCA will depart Edwards Air Force Base at 9:00 a.m. CST Sunday, refuel at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, and fly to Kelly AFB in San Antonio for an overnight stop. Departure from Kelly is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. CST Monday with the flyover at JSC about 30 minutes later. The aircraft will land for refueling at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana before continuing to the SLF at Kennedy Space Center. Arrival at KSC is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. CST Monday.

Pilots on the first leg of the return flight will be ex-astronaut Gordon Fullerton with Tom McMurtry, both from Dryden Flight Research Facility. JSC pilots A.J. Roy and Arthur “Ace” Beall will be the flight team from San Antonio to the SLF in Florida. Flight engineers on both legs of the flight will be Dan Hill and Larry LaRose.

Once at KSC, Columbia will be demated and towed to the Vehicle Assembly Building, where she will await room in the Orbiter Processing Facility. There she will take Discovery’s place in the OPF when Discovery is moved to the VAB late next month. Work on Discovery is processing on schedule to support the STS-39 unclassified Department of Defense flight scheduled for late February or early March. (Space News Roundup, Dec. 14, 1990 – edited)


December 15: CRITICAL ASTRO-1 FILM RETRIEVAL SET FOR TODAY
The retrieval of exposed film from the Astro-1 Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope will be attempted today by a dozen Kennedy Space Center workers who will crawl into Columbia’s cargo bay. The retrieval has required special planning, training and the construction of special equipment, according to McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Co. Payload Operations worker Ralph Moore. “All the data is on that film,” said Ted Stecher, Goddard Space Flight Center’s UIT Chief Scientist, “and we are very anxious to see it.” The entire retrieval operation should take twelve hours. (Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 15, 1990 – edited)


December 17: COLUMBIA MAY HEAD HOME TODAY
Columbia may begin her trip home to Kennedy Space Center today as a result of NASA managers meeting. Forecasts for the flight path are looking somewhat better, but the ferry team was pessimistic about an 8:00 a.m. PST departure for Florida. The route includes a trip to Davis-Monthan AFB (Tucson, Arizona) for fuel, then on to Kelly AFB (San Antonio, Texas) for an overnight stay. The next day, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and Columbia will head to Barksdale AFB (Shreveport, Louisiana) and from there to Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility. (Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 17, 1990 – edited)

UPDATE: COLUMBIA RETURN DELAYED
Due to weather conditions, the departure of Columbia atop her Shuttle Carrier Aircraft has been rescheduled for December 18. Today’s forecast showed a low freezing line located at 8,000 feet, air turbulence, and a significant crosswind at Biggs Army Air Field (El Paso, Texas). Conditions are expected to be favorable as far as Central Texas tomorrow. (Diller, Columbia Status Report, Dec. 17, 1990 – edited)


December 18: COLUMBIA DEPARTS DRYDEN
Perched atop her Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Columbia departed Dryden Research Facility in California this morning at 8:03 a.m. EST en route to her first refueling stop at Biggs Army Air Field. At Biggs, NASA managers will conduct a cross-country weather assessment to ascertain whether the mated vehicles may safely continue to the preferred overnight stop at Barksdale Air Force Base, or if safety requires landing at Kelly Air Force Base. Arrival at Kennedy Space Center is expected for early afternoon December 19. Once Back at KSC, about four days of deservicing is required to safe the vehicle before ground crews can take time off for the holidays. After demate from the SCA, Columbia will be transported to the Vehicle Assembly Building where she will remain for about a month, until Discovery is moved from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the VAB. (Brown, Florida Today, Dec. 19, 1990; KSC Space Shuttle Processing Status Report, Dec. 18, 1990 – edited)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #361 on: 04/17/2017 10:18 PM »
December 19: COLUMBIA STILL HEADING HOME
Stormy weather across the country has held up the return of Columbia to her home at Kennedy Space Center. She is expected to arrive at approximately 10:15 a.m. EST tomorrow. If weather does not prevent the journey, Columbia and her Shuttle Carrier Aircraft should depart Barksdale Air Force Base at 8:00 a.m. EST tomorrow. The final route to KSC will be determined by the pilot and is dependent on weather and wind direction; if conditions permit, the mated vehicles will pass low over Brevard Beaches between Patrick Air Force Base and Port Canaveral. (Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 20, 1990 – edited)


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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #362 on: 04/17/2017 10:20 PM »
December 20: COLUMBIA HOME AT LAST
Columbia, atop her Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, finally ended her cross-country ferry flight when she landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center this afternoon at 1:01 p.m. EST, about three hours behind schedule. The departure of the mated vehicles from Barksdale Air Force Base was postponed until weather over the Florida Panhandle cleared. NASA pilot Ace Beall flew over Titusville, then turned south over Merritt Island, and headed back northward to KSC, landing just after a brief rain shower moistened the runway. The orbiter was demated tonight and protective window covers were installed. (Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 21, 1990; KSC Space Shuttle Processing Status Report, Dec. 21, 1990 – edited)


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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #363 on: 04/17/2017 10:22 PM »

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #364 on: 04/17/2017 10:23 PM »

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #365 on: 04/17/2017 10:25 PM »
December 20: THE STORY OF ASTRO-1 IS NOT FINISHED
NASA's Columbia astronauts predicted Thursday that their recent problem-plagued astronomy mission will prove highly successful as ground researchers sift through the findings generated by their high flying observatory. "The story of this mission is not finished," astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman told a news conference. "I think in all honesty it's up to the scientists who have the data to give the answer. They are the people who will write the final chapter."
 
During the nine-day mission that ended December 10, the seven Columbia fliers and ground-based teams of astronomers and flight controllers wrestled with a succession of problems that interrupted an ambitious agenda of stellar observations. First, the automated telescope pointing system aboard the shuttle was sluggish in finding its targets, then two crucial computer keyboards and video displays needed to operate the observatory overheated. Finally, a shuttle sewer drain line clogged, threatening to cut the mission short a day. Once all of those difficulties were overcome, and mission managers were confident Columbia could fly ten days, the weather at their California landing site threatened to sour. Finally, the flight was cut short a day to ensure Columbia could return to Earth safely in the darkness.

“This flight, more than many, demonstrated the value of man in space as a flexible element, as a person who is able to do troubleshooting, to continue on with manual control after automatic systems have failed to perform like we thought they would,” said Commander Vance Brand. “I was just very pleased that we had those capabilities onboard to use man as a flexible element.” Mission Specialist Mike Lounge echoed that sentiment, "If this observatory had flown unmanned, we would not have have had a mission."

Johns Hopkins University astronomer Sam Durrance, one of two non-NASA researchers on the flight, said the first of at least 100 research papers already in development will be presented publicly in April. Some of the findings will deal with theories on the presence of large quantities of mass distributed throughout the Universe but largely unobservable to ground-based instruments, said Durrance. The existence of this "missing matter" is essential to a full understanding of how the Universe was formed and whether it is still expanding but destined to contract.

Vance Brand, who at 59 became the oldest human to fly in space, was making his fourth and final trip into space. "It was very natural," Brand said of the experience. "In my opinion I got along as well, if not better, (than the younger crew members) as far as feeling good in space and adapting." (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 21, 1990; Crew Post-Flight Press Conference, Dec. 20, 1990 – edited)


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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #366 on: 04/17/2017 10:26 PM »

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #367 on: 04/17/2017 10:27 PM »
December 20: WIN A TRIP TO MIR! – FOR REAL?
The contest to win a Mir trip is still on! Soviet Union space agency officials verified its offer to take the winner of a Houston-based sweepstakes aboard their space station Mir. This announcement came after the Soviet news agency, Tass, wrongly called the sweepstakes a hoax. Space Travel Services of Houston announced the sweepstakes the second week in December, after it had signed an agreement with another Houston company, a travel company, which markets U.S.S.R. launch services. The travel company had made a contract with NPO Energia, the Soviet agency which negotiates commercial deals for the Soviets. Tass incorrectly reported the following day that Glavkosmos, the Soviet space agency, knew nothing about the deal made by NPO Energia. Dimity Poletayev, an executive at Glavkosmos, sent a letter to contest officials in Houston stating that there was no problem from the Soviet side.

Other problems soon cropped up. Space Travel Services of Houston, who are conducting the sweepstakes, were brought in front of a grand jury because a district attorney’s office was investigating the possibility the sweepstakes violated Texas statutes. The investigations found the sweepstakes to be completely legal and the grand jury subpoenas were dropped. The winner of the trip to the space station is expected to be picked in December of 1991. Residents of Florida, New York and Rhode Island are ineligible since the sweepstakes are restricted by those states’ laws. (Countdown, February 1991 – edited)


December 21: COLUMBIA HOUSED IN VAB
Kennedy Space Center officials said today that the Space Shuttle Columbia will stay in the Vehicle Assembly Building until late January 1991. The orbiter’s protective tail cone will be removed inside the VAB, according to KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham. While in the VAB, workers can’t open up the shuttle’s cargo bay doors, so the Astro-1 payload will remain inside the vehicle. But work will proceed on the orbiter’s Thermal Protection System and some tasks in the rear engine compartment, said Bascom Murrah, Columbia Processing Manager. (Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 22, 1990 –edited)


December 21: HO, HO, HO! – TRULY’S HOLIDAY MESSAGE
NASA plans to move out aggressively in implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program, Administrator Richard Truly told employees Tuesday (Dec. 18) in a televised holiday message. “This is not a report that J.R. Thompson and I intend to study to death,” Truly said. “Our driving objective after we come back from the holidays is to work with you to make our decisions so that, together, we can get on with the business of the space program.”

Truly said he and the top NASA managers from Headquarters and all the field centers met with Chairman Norman Augustine at a NASA leadership meeting last weekend to clarify several points made in the report. “We are making plans to move out aggressively across the board, particularly in robust space transportation and more particularly in heavy-lift,” he said.

In addition to acting on the committee’s 15 main recommendations, Truly said he also is moving quickly to implement several internal management changes it suggested. He said he plans to establish an associate administrator for exploration and an associate administrator for human resources right away, but that he hasn’t made a final decision on whether to separate the agency’s operations and development efforts. To help him develop a specific overall implementation plan, he said he has asked JSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Don Puddy to “drop everything” and go to Headquarters to help.

Truly looked back on the successes and difficulties of 1990, noting with special pride the observation of the 75th anniversary of NASA and the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, and the Cosmic Background Explorer complete sky survey. He said he liked one of COBE’s pictures of the Milky Way so much he put it on his Christmas cards.

He also noted the successful deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope, Galileo’s flyby of Venus Earth and the Moon, Magellan’s radar mapping of Venus’ surface and the ultraviolet and X-ray astronomy of the recent Astro-1 shuttle mission. He pointed to six safely flown shuttle missions, the last three in just 60 days, and the longest shuttle mission to date that retrieved the Long Duration Exposure Facility.

He recalled that 23 new astronaut candidates were selected, including the first female pilot and first Hispanic female, and that NASA has invited Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency to provide two mission specialist candidates each for the class of 1992. He said international relations, technology utilization and education programs also were highly successful in 1990.

Truly ended with a display of the “Ho, ho, ho” socks his wife, Cody, had given him and a personal message. “To each of you in the NASA family, I want yo to drive safely as you go visit your family, because we’re going to need you to start this new year.” (JSC Space News Roundup, Dec. 21, 1990 – edited)


December 23: MICHAEL COLLINS WEAVES SCENARIO FOR HISTORIC TRIP TO MARS
As Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins envisions the historic trip, man's first voyage to Mars will require an international crew composed of four married couples, led, perhaps, by a Soviet commander. Those are just two of several intriguing twists woven into the plot of "Mission to Mars," a new book by Collins, who circled the Moon alone on July 20, 1969, while crewmates Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked the lunar surface for the first time. The work, Collins' fourth on the space program, sketches a credible scenario for a grueling 22-month journey that he believes could be launched as soon as June 3, 2004, at least a decade ahead of current White House planning.

During an interview in Houston last week, the astronaut-author said the journey to Mars could be accomplished that quickly if NASA were to eliminate plans for costly intermediate steps such as the lunar science outpost and possibly even the Space Station. "I don't think you need to go back to the Moon," said Collins. "I think it's a lot better if you can simplify and unify your goals." The notion of bypassing the Moon may seem a strange position for someone so closely identified with the Apollo program. But Collins says astronauts could return to the Moon after the first explorers reach Mars.

President Bush's vision of America's space future - sketched in a speech on the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing - has the Space Station Freedom in place by the end of the decade and a permanent lunar scientific base soon after the turn of the century. Currently, NASA's plans for Freedom are being re-evaluated at the direction of Congress and in response to a sweeping White House reappraisal of the space program's future made public earlier this month.

Collins' "Mission to Mars" injects doses of first-hand experience into an increasingly complex policy-making process that is threatening to become more of an obstacle to reaching Mars than the hazards of spaceflight. Collins' book makes the endeavor an international undertaking for reasons of cost and politics. In his fictionalized account, the United States and NASA play crucial roles, training the crew, controlling the flight from the Johnson Space Center in Houston and building one of two vessels for the long trip.

In exchange, the prestigious position of crew commander goes to a Soviet cosmonaut, accompanied by his wife, the flight surgeon. The U.S. couple - a geologist and an electrical engineer - join the Soviets on the actual descent to the Martian surface for a 40-day stay. Meanwhile, their companions - a Japanese pilot and his internist wife; and a French nuclear physicist and his physicist wife - circle Mars much as Collins did during the Apollo 11 flight.

"It was a trade-off," said Collins, explaining his choice of a Soviet as the commander. "I had to have a crew commander. The two logical candidates are the United States and the Soviet Union. "It seemed to me there is a lot of prestige associated with the command of this international task force. On the other hand, there is probably prestige in equal measure with the whole mission being controlled from the United States," Collins said.

As for the composition of the crew, Collins said that decision was prompted by the years of training required for the long mission as well as the risks and stresses associated with the venture. "There are certain tensions to living with people of the opposite sex that tend to quiet down a bit after a few years of successful marriage," Collins contends.

In the book, when the crew reach the Martian surface and prepare to step from their spacecraft, they refuse to disclose which of the four actually touches the ground first, insisting it was a team effort. Asked if that twist was an attempt to avoid a repeat of the near obsession among historians with why Armstrong was the first to walk on the Moon, Collins hedged. "The only possible connection is that the Apollo 11 experience reinforced in my mind that it is important to some people who went first," he said. "More important than I would have thought."

In Collins' scenario, the Americans and the Soviets develop transit capsules and the big cargo rockets to place the spacecraft and their supplies in Earth orbit. The two ships dock once they blast from Earth orbit toward Mars. The Japanese contribute the Mars lander and ascent vehicle, and the Americans a nuclear power generator that is left on the Martian surface for the explorers who follow. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 23, 1990 – edited)


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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #368 on: 04/17/2017 10:29 PM »
December 27: CONSTRUCTION OF KSC SPACE STATION PROCESSING FACILITY PUT ON HOLD
NASA is revising its budget plans for the $37 billion Space Station and that has put construction of Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station processing plant on hold. Bids were solicited for the construction in August, but Congress cut the Space Station budget by $600 million and ordered NASA to look at restructuring the program.

Associate Administrator for Spaceflight William Lenoir said, “If we cannot come up with what we consider a reasonable program then we ought to hang it up. We have $6 billion more program planned than we have money for.” KSC’s Director of Procurement Wes Dean said, “Our position is that the processing plant is needed regardless of the final size or configuration of the Space Station. (Brown and Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 28, 1990 – edited)


December 29: MIR COSMONAUTS PLAN HOLIDAY WALK
Two Soviet cosmonauts will spend the Russian Christmas on January 7 walking in space, Tass reported today. Viktor Afanasyev and Musa Manarov will make another attempt to repair a broken hatch on the Kvant 2 module attached to the orbiting Mir space station, the official Soviet news agency said. Two other cosmonauts spent a grueling seven hours in space in July trying to repair a torn thermal insulation on their Soyuz TM-9 capsule, only to discover they could not close the hatch leading back to the space station. Soviet media reported at the time they were dangerously close to running out of oxygen, although the cosmonauts later denied they had any problems. They were able to close the hatch on a subsequent spacewalk, but Tass said it continues to cause problems. (Deseret News, Dec. 30, 1990 – edited)

« Last Edit: 04/17/2017 10:29 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #369 on: 04/17/2017 10:30 PM »
The Devil and Mr. Truly

“Levity is appropriate in a dangerous business.”

- Astronaut Walter “Wally” Schirra (1923 – 2007)


The following is Countdown magazine’s 1990 Year in Review... When I first read it somehow I imagined Star Trek The Next Generation’s John DeLancie (“Q”) playing the role of “the Devil,” haunting NASA Administrator Richard Truly…

;)


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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #370 on: 04/17/2017 10:32 PM »
AND WHO ARE YOU?

On New Year’s Day 1990, the start of a new decade, a giant Florida sink hole opened up and swallowed half of the city of Orlando. The next day, Disney made the huge hole their latest attraction. Deep underground, the great cavity opened upon the denizens of Hell, who were greatly disturbed by the rush of tourists. 

Unable to cope with the power of Mickey Mouse, the Devil climbed out of the sink hole and headed east. By the ocean, he saw standing a great rust red silo and said, “This is for me.”

“What’s that attached to my red tower?” he asked.
“That’s my Space Shuttle,” a voice replied.
“And who are you?”
“I am Richard Truly, Administrator of NASA, and we’re going to launch nine shuttles this year. We’re going to pull out from under the shadow of the 1980s.”
“We’ll see about that,” the Devil replied.



January 8 – Launch of Columbia on STS-32, scheduled for 8:10 a.m. (all times Eastern), is scrubbed as problems with a launch pad water sensor holds the count just long enough for clouds to move into the area creating a weather violation. Shortly before 9:00 a.m., the first weather scrub of the 1990s is made by Launch Director Bob Sieck, telling his troops, “We’re going to have to call it a day. Nice try.”


“Ha! – See it does not take much to keep your shuttles grounded – one little sensor that’s gone to the devil, that’s all,” the Devil said. “I think I’ll become easily bored with you, Administrator Truly.”
“We’ll get this flight off and retrieve the 1984 experiment carrier before it comes crashing down – you’ll see,” Truly replied.



January 9 – “Today’s the day,” Sieck calls just prior to lift-off of Columbia on time at 7:35 a.m. The crew consists of Commander Dan Brandenstein, Pilot Jim Wetherbee, and Mission Specialists Bonnie Dunbar, Marsha Ivins and David Low.

January 10 – “We had a good deploy,” the STS-32 crew reports after the Syncom Navy communications satellite, weighing 15,000 pounds, rolls out of the rear of Columbia’s payload bay shortly after 8:00 a.m. After the deploy the shuttle resumes its chase of the 11-ton Long Duration Exposure Facility.

January 12 – “We have LDEF,” Brandenstein reports after the crew, using the shuttle’s robot arm, snags the 30-feet-long satellite, studded with 57 experiments, at 10:16 a.m. After photographing the effects of over five years in space on the experiments, Dunbar, controlling the arm, places LDEF to bed in the payload bay at 3:49 p.m.


“There, Devil – we have beaten you! Look at this perfect mission,” Truly said.
“Your shuttle, so finicky at launch, will prove just as fragile come landing,” the Devil said, and he blew a hot breath across the Pacific Ocean, creating a dense fog.



January 19 – Landing of STS-32 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, scheduled for 5:55 a.m., is postponed one day due to fog at the landing site. The delay allows Columbia to surpass the old shuttle duration record of 10 days, 7 hours, 47 minutes set by STS-9 in December 1983.

January 20 – Columbia lands in the California darkness at 4:36 a.m., completing a record flight of 10 days, 21 hours, 1 minute, 38 seconds.


“Ha! – Instead of defeating us, you have given us a record shuttle flight,” Truly claimed. “We’re on our way into the 1990s.”
The Devil, fingering some of the sandpaper-like abrasives used to finish off the refurbished launch platform from which Columbia had launched, was slow to reply. Assuming the shape of Willard Scott, he said, “Haven’t you learned to check with the weatherman before you make your flight manifest?”



BUT I SCARED YOU THERE, DIDN’T I?

February 19 – NASA announces that STS-36, a secret military flight aboard Atlantis, will be postponed from its February 22 launch target because Mission Commander John Creighton has developed a cold. Initially, a one-day postponement is called. With weather forecasts looking bad for February 23, and additional 24-hour delay is called. A third one-day postponement occurs as a weather front stalls over the Cape area.

February 25 – Launch, set for 12:55 a.m., is scrubbed in the final minutes of the countdown. After the time-limiting Auxiliary Power Units of the shuttle’s hydraulic system have started, a tracking computer used by range safety fails. Once the APUs are started, hold time is severely limited.

February 26 – Launch, set for 12:54 a.m., is again scrubbed, this time due to weather. Atlantis and crew wait for high winds to subside, but by then clouds move into the area; the launch is scrubbed as the window closes at 2:32 a.m.

February 28 – After a two-day rest, launch of STS-36 takes place at 2:50 a.m. Launch occurs at the end of the window as the crew – consisting, in addition to Creighton, of Pilot John Casper and Mission Specialists David Hilmers, Mike Mullane and Pierre Thuot – out-waited rain in the area.

March 1 – The crew of STS-36 reportedly deploys the AFP-731 spy satellite at approximately 6:00 a.m. The satellite, weighing 37,500 pounds, is equipped both with digital cameras and electronic eavesdropping equipment.

March 4 – Atlantis lands at Edwards Air Force Base at 1:08 p.m., ending a flight of 4 days, 10 hours, 18 minutes. During descent, a leak in the hydraulic system causes the loss of one of three hydraulic loops, with no impact on the landing.


“But I scared you there, didn’t I” the Devil called. “You never know what’s going to go wrong.”
“That’s why we build in redundant systems. That’s why we watch every detail with an eagle eye,” Truly responded.
“Every detail?”
“As is humanly possible.”
“Human’s have such a limited vision.”
“Devil, this next flight will teach you about the human vision. We’re about to see back to the beginning of the Universe.”



IS THAT PERSPIRATION ON YOUR FOREHEAD?

April 10 – After moving the launch date of STS-31, the Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission, up from April 12, the countdown comes screeching to a halt at T minus four minutes 11 seconds as Mission Commander Loren Shriver reports, “Intermittent on APU 1.” With the APU, one of three, failing to run at the normal speed, the launch is scrubbed. The APU has to be replaced, the first time the task will be attempted on the pad, necessitating a launch delay of two weeks.


“You are so easily stopped,” the Devil yawned.
“You did not stop us; our carefulness saved us. The launch procedures worked as advertised.”
“I’ll make you sweat yet.”



April 24 – Discovery STS-31 hauls the Hubble telescope into the highest orbit achieved by a shuttle, at 381 miles attitude. Lift-off, delayed three minutes as launch controllers rush to bypass an error in recently revised computer software, comes at 8:34 a.m.

April 25 – The STS-31 crew – consisting, in addition to Shriver, of Pilot Charles Bolden and Mission Specialists Steven Hawley, Kathryn Sullivan and Bruce McCandless – begins HST deploy activities at 6:37 a.m., aiming for a deployment at about 2:00 p.m. By 8:40 a.m., the umbilical lines of the telescope are severed, and HST is counting down on eight hours of battery life. After the telescope is raised over the payload bay on the end of the shuttle’s robot arm, the masts of the HST solar wings are deployed by 10:40 a.m. However, microswitches fail to show that the masts are locked in place, causing the crew to begin to fall behind in the timeline as motors drive the masts one more time to insure they are locked in place. Deployment of the first set of solar arrays, which unfurl from the masts like window shades, finally begins at 12:25 p.m. More time is lost as changes to procedures, made to safeguard against the suspect microswitches halting deployment, cut off electronics following full extension of the arrays. Release of Hubble must be delayed one orbit, until a window opening at 3:37 p.m. At 1:46 p.m., the crew begins deployment of the second set of arrays. Automatic safing systems stop deployment just after the blankets begin to unfurl. At 2:15 p.m., ground controllers again attempt to deploy the arrays. After one of five panels deploys, wing movement comes to another halt. If the wing cannot be deployed, a spacewalk to do so manually will have to be performed by McCandless and Sullivan, who have already begun suiting up. Controllers decide that the problem rests with the safety device designed to stop the unfurling arrays if tension on the blankets becomes too great. The tension safety Is too sensitive. They send commands to disable the tension check, and try again to unfurl the array at 2:59 p.m. “It’s fully deployed,” Mission Control calls to the crew at 3:04 p.m. A bit over a half hour later, at 3:38 p.m., the HST is released.

April 29 – Discovery lands at 9:21 a.m., completing a flight of five days, one hour, 16 minutes, six seconds.


“Is that perspiration on your forehead?” the Devil asked.
“We got Hubble deployed and working – and it worked because humans were there to make it work. We’re on a roll now.”
“We’ll see,” the Devil replied and assumed the shape of the sandman, tossing seal-corroding sand into the humid Florida air.



ANY WAY YOU COUNT IT, YOU LOSE, MR. TRULY

May 9 – Launch of Columbia on the Astro-1 mission, targeted for May 17, must be delayed due to restricted flow in one of the orbiter’s Freon cooling loops. Replacement of a valve in the system, located under the floor of the payload bay, will take at least two weeks.

May 29 – With lift-off of Columbia STS-35 set for 12:38 a.m. on May 30, fueling of the shuttle begins at 4:36 p.m. The three-hour tanking process is ordered to a halt at 5:25 p.m. as a buildup of explosive hydrogen fuel is detected in the aft engine compartment of Columbia.


“Do you have a little problem?” the Devil smiled.
“The system works – we stopped the launch until we’re sure it’s safe, that’s all.”
“How can you ever be sure about such a complicated system?”



June 6 – With 14 additional hydrogen sensors in place, Columbia undergoes a tanking test. The leak appears, located in the Orbiter/ET interface plates, but cannot be pinpointed exactly.

June 12 – Beginning at 4:00 p.m., Columbia is rolled from Pad 39A, only the fourth time a shuttle has retreated from the pad.


“The only roll NASA is on leads back to the garage!” the Devil sang, dancing circles around Truly.
“We’re sure the Columbia leaks are just an isolated case. It won’t keep us down – we’ll proceed with Atlantis.”
“You have more to worry about than Atlantis,” the Devil replied, taking the shape of a ghost from NASA’s past.



June 14 – Hubble controllers begin the “bootstrap B” effort to fine focus the orbiting telescope.

June 18 – Atlantis is rolled to Pad 39A. The shuttle is targeted for a mid-July launch on the STS-38 military mission.

June 23/24 – Six focusing sequences are performed on the HST to locate a proper focus point. Each effort fails.

June 25 – As rumors begin to circulate in the scientific community of a focusing problem with the Hubble Space Telescope, a two-day conference by the HST managers begins at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

June 27 – Saying that the “anticipated image quality was not achieved,” NASA reveals the focusing problem with the HST. “Spherical aberration,” a design flaw in one of the telescope’s mirrors, appears to be the likely cause. Lew Allen, outgoing director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is appointed head of an investigating team into the cause of the problem.


Before the Devil could speak, Truly cried, “The problem occurred long ago, before the watch of the present NASA administration.”
“Old NASA, new NASA – it’s all perceived as the same NASA. Any way you count it, you lose, Mr. Truly.”
”We’ll find a way to correct the Hubble flaw. If it wasn’t for the shuttle’s ability, we’d have no hope of repairing it.”
“I think it’s time I turned up the heat.”



I LOVE ALL THE CONFIDENT WORDS

June 29 – Although NASA says, “We don’t expect any leaks in the Atlantis vehicle,” a tanking test of the shuttle begins at 8:00 a.m. just to make sure. In only 18 minutes, a leak surfaces, appearing similar to the Columbia problem. “It could be two independent problems. Tight now that seems unlikely,” says William Lenoir, NASA’s head of spaceflight. “It seems likely that these are related, of a similar class.”

July 13 – Atlantis, equipped with improved leak sensors, undergoes a second tanking test. The leak is pinpointed to a flange seal with the 17-inch fuel line connects to the External Tank. Lenoir says NASA is “98 percent” positive that the Columbia and Atlantis leaks are unrelated, and no design flaw exits with the shuttle system. Tests in California of Columbia’s disassembled Orbiter/ET quick-disconnect umbilicals shows a leak in the internal seals.

July 20 – Technicians tighten 48 bolts on the ET flange seal of Atlantis. If the effort – torquing the bolts down an extra ten percent – halts the leak, Atlantis might fly as early as August 10.


“I’ll say it again,” Truly proclaimed, “We detected what could have been an extremely hazardous situation with a hydrogen leak, and we have not been embarrassed to stop the flights until it is corrected. The system works.”
“You’ll have to say it over and over,” the Devil chortled. “And while you are saying it, who knows what else will happen.”



July 20 – The Space Station Freedom External Maintenance Task Team, headed by astronaut William F. Fisher and Charles R. Price, chief of robotics development at the Johnson Space Center, issues its final report listing nearly 100 recommendations on how to reduce the amount of Extravehicular Activity needed for station upkeep. The report makes a detailed assessment which reduces the number of external-component failure requiring EVAs from 249 per year to 125 and the total EVA man hours per year for repairs from about 3,276 to 507.


“These types of problems have occurred in every major NASA project dating back to Apollo. We are well on our way to overcoming them now as we did then,” Truyl argued.
“Well, that’s not how it will look to Congress – and they count more than your bean-counting studies.”



July 25 – Atlantis undergoes yet another tanking test. The leak reappears in spite of the bolt tightening. Indeed, the leak rate remains the same as before. “I’m not surprised at all – nor am I disappointed of disheartened,” Lenoir says. The plan now involves flying Columbia, re-equipped with a disconnect system borrowed from Endeavour in early September. “I feel very confident that Columbia is ready to go,” shuttle Chief Robert Crippen says.


“I love all the confident words, but they seem to be the only thing flying these days,” the Devil laughed.
“Well launch when we’re sure it’s safe – not a day sooner.”
“That sounds like the meaningless lines I use when bargaining for a soul!”



August 10 – Magellan enters orbit around Venus.


“There’s a success you can’t touch! We’re back in the planetary exploration business.”
“Just as long as your ‘E.T.’ doesn’t forget to phone home!”


August 16 – Magellan loses contact with Earth for 15 hours. Onboard computer safing systems automatically search for Earth and regain lock on August 17.

August 21 – Magellan again loses touch with Earth, and communication is reestablished the next day.


“And now we’re seeing amazing radar images of the surface of Venus,” Truly exclaimed. “You can’t keep NASA down – we’re like Magellan, with built-in safing modes to overcome problems.”
“Your shuttle has been down, and we’ll see how you cope with what I can throw at it,” the Devil replied, rolling up his red sleeves.



ARE YOU BEAT YET?

August 31 – The launch of Columbia STS-35, scheduled for the next day, is scrubbed due to problems with a communications line from the shuttle to the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope.

September 5 – As fueling begins, aiming towards a launch of Columbia early on the 6th, sensors detect a buildup of hydrogen in the aft engine compartment of the shuttle. Fueling is halted. Initially, NASA believes a hydrogen recirculation pump is the cause of the leak. It checks out perfectly, but technicians find some crushed seals in a valve in the main hydrogen system.

September 17 – Fueling of Columbia begins at 6:35 p.m., aiming for an early-morning launch. Thirty-five minutes later, the launch is scrubbed as again concentration of hydrogen begins to rise in the aft compartment. After the scrub, NASA identifies 83 potential leak points in the fuel system.


“Are you beat yet?” the Devil chortled. “You’ve got a major planetary mission coming up, and you haven’t been able to launch a shuttle in five months – some Space Transportation System you have!”
The time had come for Truly to roll up his sleeves. “Devil, you’ve thrown a plethora of problems at us, but we’ve got a viable launch system here and the scales will balance out. We’ll still get three missions of before the end of the year.”



October 6 – After a couple of short holds up due to weather and technical glitches, Discovery is launched at 7:47 a.m., carrying a crew of Richard Richards, Robert Cabana, Bruce Melnick, Thomas Akers, William Shepherd and the Ulysses solar polar probe. At 1:48 p.m., Ulysses is successfully deployed from the shuttle. Then the European-built probe becomes the fastest object to leave Earth orbit as three solid-fueled motors kick it on a trajectory to Jupiter. Following a slingshot maneuver around the giant planet in 1992, Ulysses will then swing onto a course to view the Sun’s poles in 1994-95.

October 10 – Discovery completes the STS-41 mission, landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, after a flight of four days, two hours, 10 minutes, 54 seconds.


“That’s one,” Truly said, raising a finger in victory.
The Devil tossed some sand in the air. “Are you forgetting Columbia’s fuel system, contaminated through and through by the abrasives from the launch platform?”
“We’ll pinpoint every source, even if it takes a couple fueling tests.”



October 24 – Atlantis, attached to a new External Tank, passes a tanking test, clearing STS-38 for launch.

October 30 – Columbia, undergoing a tanking test ostensibly to pinpoint leak sources, completes the fueling without leaking. The replacement of some seals, along with the tightening of some bolts, has already erased the leak.


Truly now lorded over the Devil, who began to look rather small. “Our technicians worked intensively to develop computer traces on those leaks,” Truly said. “I’ll prove it with two flights within the span of 30 days.”
The Devil made no reply.



November 15 – Atlantis lifts off at 6:48 p.m. with astronauts Richard Covey, Frank Culbertson, Robert Springer, Charles “Sam” Gemar and Carl Meade. Within the first day of flight, the final secret military mission as deployed its payload, believed to be the AFP-658 spy satellite.


“There’s the second shuttle in a row.” Truly poked two fingers at the Devil.
The desperate Devil resorted to his favorite trick – the weather…



November 19 – High winds prevent Atlantis from landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, where every shuttle has landed since April 1985. The winds remain high the next day, and NASA diverts the shuttle to the Kennedy Space Center. Atlantis makes a perfect landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility, swooping in over the Florida swamps at 4:43 p.m. after a flight of four days, 21 hours, 55 minutes, 22 seconds.


“Thank you, Devil – your weather problems have given us the opportunity to show the flexibility of the shuttle system by landing at KSC if we need to.” Truly now could dance. “I’ve got one point to make – and it carries the name ‘Columbia’.”
But the Devil dusted himself off and saw red. “I’m not licked yet,” he said. “Go ahead and launch your Columbia – you’ll see.”
And so the climatic struggle was joined.



DEVIL, I CAN’T HEAR YOU NOW!

December 2 – Columbia and Astro-1 are launched at 1:49 a.m., following a short but confusing hold called as a range safety helicopter maneuvered through clouds for a view of the ascent. The crew of Vance Brand, Guy Gardner, Robert Parker, John Lounge, Jeffrey Hoffman, Ronald Parise and Samuel Durrance begins checking out the array of Astro telescopes, with activation scheduled to take one day.

December 3 – Usable science data has yet to come from Astro as a series of problems slows activation. The primary problem involves the star trackers of the automatic pointing system, which are experiencing trouble recognizing star patterns.


“To the world, it looks like another botched job,” the Devil howled, salivating in Truly’s face. “You won’t recover; you won’t recover!”


December 5 – Despite continued trouble calibrating the star trackers, the Columbia crew moves up the learning curve, mastering a mix of manual and automatic pointing control.


“Devil, I can’t hear you now!” Truly strutted like an admiral around the ruler of the underworld. “Choke on these words: We’ve reached a productive level of observations with Astro. We’re gaining data from nearly every target.”
“Eat this!” the Devil hissed.



December 6 – the second and only functioning computer display for the Astro payload burns out. The first unit had done likewise on the first day of flight. The crew can no longer control the Astro telescopes.


“You’re done now! You may as well land the useless thing!” The Devil poked Truly with the point of his pitchfork.
Truly did not flinch. “Now you’re going to learn that NASA never quits.”



DEVIL, YOU ARE DEFEATED!

December 7 – After a monumental replanning effort accomplished more swiftly than any had dared hope, the science data begins flowing from Astro under ground control – with manual pointing by the crew. Soon observations are being made as effiently as if no problems had occurred.

December 11 – Despite having to land a day early due to worsening weather, Astro-1 ends its mission of 8 days, 23 hours, five minutes, eight seconds, having achieved observations of 135 of its planned 200-250 targets.


“Devil, you are defeated!” Truly proclaimed, but as he looked around, the Devil was nowhere in sight. “Why don’t you stay and watch all the amazing discoveries come out of the Astro data?”
The Devil did not hear. He had gone to Washington D.C. As Truly spoke, the Devil’s red eyes were focusing on a model of a delicate, airy structure. “So they call this the Freedom Space Station,” he hissed, reaching for it with a gnarled, claw-like hand…


(Countdown, March 1991 – edited)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
« Reply #371 on: 04/17/2017 10:33 PM »
Groundhog Day

STS-41, STS-38, STS-35… It’s done – finally! To write these three history reports about the long, launchless summer of 1990 (shuttle-wise) felt a little bit like watching the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.” (Actually, I recently did watch it again…) Well, now let’s make it “Back to the Future,” because the next one will not be Atlantis STS-37, but I’ll jump to the second mission of 1991

Discovery STS-39 – Sky Ballet

This report will cover what was initially supposed to be the first shuttle flight of 1991, which then slipped into May. Also included will be the second part of the 1990/1991 Gulf War coverage started in the STS-38 report. After that, we’ll go back in time for

Atlantis STS-37 – Keep Walking

To be followed by

Columbia STS-40 – Flying Doctors


That’s my current plan for 2017...  More will follow after that: 

Atlantis STS-43 – Not Just Another TDRS

Discovery STS-48 – What’s Up There?

Atlantis STS-44 – Not So Secret


And then:

Discovery STS-42 – Microgravity Matters

Atlantis STS-45 – On ATLAS’ Shoulders

Endeavour STS-49 – The Challenging Maiden Voyage

… to be continued


But…

”Wait for it, wait for it; give it some time…”

We’re talking about the next two years here I guess, realistically well into 2019. It’s difficult to estimate my progress on this project – for example, as it turned out, I’m about six weeks behind my intended target date for posting this STS-35 mission report. Sounds a bit like a shuttle launch schedule, doesn’t it… Yet it’ll be worth waiting for the coming attractions listed above – promised!


Of course you all know where to find the STS-35 Hi-res images

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19707.0


Okay, that’s it for now. 

Hope you’ll join me again for that fascinating ballet in the sky – and some fierce battle on the ground.


- Ares67


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