Author Topic: Columbia STS-1  (Read 7316 times)

Offline ADC9

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Columbia STS-1
« on: 12/15/2005 02:19 AM »
Anyone on here willing to give some accounts of how the run up to STS-1 felt like? How people felt when the TPS problem saw about a year plus delay added?

Also public feeling to this being the first test launch that had to be manned?

Thanks.

Offline Ben E

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #1 on: 12/15/2005 08:07 PM »
At the expense of publicising my new book, SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA, I've picked up quite a few interesting stories/quotes from the build-up to STS-1. It seems that there were strong voices on both sides, arguing for and against having a manned first launch.

Fred Haise, for one, thought it would be far harder to fly STS-1 without a crew. Although he accepted that it might have been possible to have a pilot on the ground 'flying' Columbia, it would have been much harder to mechanically program the orbiter to do that and easier to have a Commander and Pilot aboard to handle the myriad of potential problems. According to Haise, an unmanned flight was originally planned, but was so complex that it became difficult to effectively automate. Others, particularly in NASA management, felt that with the recent successful automated landings of Viking-1 and 2 on Mars, it would have been easier and safer to fly unmanned.

A humorous snippet: when John Young complained about the size of the US flag on his pressure suit, the suit techs borrowed an enormous flag from the pole outside a real estate office and taped it to the wall of the suiting-up room. I think Young was SUITably impressed by it ;-)

When you think back to all of the unknowns prior to STS-1 and the thousands of things that could (and still could) go wrong, you have a great appreciation of the sheer bravery of Young and Crippen.

Offline ADC9

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #2 on: 12/17/2005 10:07 PM »
Did you get a chance to talk to Young? He's one of my heros!

Offline Hotol

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #3 on: 12/18/2005 01:17 AM »
Quote
Ben E - 15/12/2005  3:07 PM

At the expense of publicising my new book, SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA, I've picked up quite a few interesting stories/quotes from the build-up to STS-1. It seems that there were strong voices on both sides, arguing for and against having a manned first launch.

Fred Haise, for one, thought it would be far harder to fly STS-1 without a crew. Although he accepted that it might have been possible to have a pilot on the ground 'flying' Columbia, it would have been much harder to mechanically program the orbiter to do that and easier to have a Commander and Pilot aboard to handle the myriad of potential problems. According to Haise, an unmanned flight was originally planned, but was so complex that it became difficult to effectively automate. Others, particularly in NASA management, felt that with the recent successful automated landings of Viking-1 and 2 on Mars, it would have been easier and safer to fly unmanned.

A humorous snippet: when John Young complained about the size of the US flag on his pressure suit, the suit techs borrowed an enormous flag from the pole outside a real estate office and taped it to the wall of the suiting-up room. I think Young was SUITably impressed by it ;-)

When you think back to all of the unknowns prior to STS-1 and the thousands of things that could (and still could) go wrong, you have a great appreciation of the sheer bravery of Young and Crippen.

I wonder what this unmanned element had to play in the design of the Buran!

I agree with the bravery of Young and Crippen, apparently it was still unknown exactly how Columbia would perform and that the computer simulations got some of it wrong which meant she was actually going too fast at one point and had to correct?

Offline Flightstar

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #4 on: 12/18/2005 01:56 AM »
She lofted slightly on ascent prior to SRB sep, raising planned staging. But she performed brilliantly.

Offline carmelo

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #5 on: 12/18/2005 01:56 AM »
Quote
Ben E - 15/12/2005  3:07 PM


A humorous snippet: when John Young complained about the size of the US flag on his pressure suit, the suit techs borrowed an enormous flag from the pole outside a real estate office and taped it to the wall of the suiting-up room. I think Young was SUITably impressed by it ;-)

When you think back to all of the unknowns prior to STS-1 and the thousands of things that could (and still could) go wrong, you have a great appreciation of the sheer bravery of Young and Crippen.
Ben. Why the SR71 suit on STS-1 become from yellow - orange color to brown-tobacco color? orange is visible color,good for an escape suit,but brown?? brown is a mimetic color! why this change?

Offline Andy L

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #6 on: 12/18/2005 03:30 AM »
That's an interesting question Carmelo! I had noticed the difference, but never really wondered about that until now.

Offline Rocket Guy

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #7 on: 12/18/2005 03:30 AM »
On STS-1 to 4 they used the SR-71 suit with slight modifications. Starting with STS-5 they wore no suit, unfortunately. That changed after Challenger when they designed the Shuttle Launch and Entry Suit (LES); they have used that same suit through to today, though it was modified unnoticibly in the mid 1990-s to what is now called the ACES rather than LES suit.  The Advanced Crew Escape Suit basically is pressurized to a higher altitude (LES had a 30km limit for bailout) but otherwise is not much different.

Offline Ben E

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #8 on: 12/18/2005 12:28 PM »
Yes, the LES suits were used until mid-1995. Since then, all Shuttle crews have worn ACES suits. The first 'test' use of ACES was by the STS-68 crew in September 1994.

Still not sure about why the colour differences were there, but certainly the OFT suit, the LES suit and the ACES suit are all built by the same manufacturer, the David Clark Company.

Offline Rocket Nut

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #9 on: 12/18/2005 12:44 PM »
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Ben E - 18/12/2005  8:28 AM

Yes, the LES suits were used until mid-1995. Since then, all Shuttle crews have worn ACES suits. The first 'test' use of ACES was by the STS-68 crew in September 1994.

Still not sure about why the colour differences were there, but certainly the OFT suit, the LES suit and the ACES suit are all built by the same manufacturer, the David Clark Company.

When the David Clark Company was designing our new suits for the RB-57F (in the mid-60s), we were told that the greenish brown color was the "natural" color of the nomex outer layer of that suit.  The previous suits that we wore were orange and I preferred them to the newer suits for many reasons...one of those reasons was visibility in the arctic where we flew frequently.  Of course, if we ever went down in the arctic, the suit wouldn't have offered much warmth...they were just a rubber balloon encased in a few layers of fabric.

Offline UK Shuttle Clan

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #10 on: 12/18/2005 01:24 PM »
How did the ejection seats work? I'm not sure how they'd of gotten out of the orbiter?

Offline carmelo

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #11 on: 12/18/2005 01:56 PM »
Yes but why Brown suit for STS-1/STS-4 flights?

Offline Ben E

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #12 on: 12/18/2005 03:40 PM »
The ejection seats would have fired the Commander and Pilot through two overhead hatches in the forward section of the flight deck, although there were only a certain number of situations in which an ejection would have been survivable. John Young once joked that the seats' parachutes would open "about fifty feet after we hit the ground".

They were eventually deactivated in the wake of STS-4 and removed following STS-9. Vance Brand, apparently, refused to have them active during his STS-5 flight because there would be no way for the two Mission Specialists to escape.


Online Chris Bergin

RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #13 on: 12/18/2005 11:26 PM »
Quote
carmelo - 18/12/2005  8:56 AM

Yes but why Brown suit for STS-1/STS-4 flights?

This is the current best answer to your colour question.

Quote
Ben E - 18/12/2005  7:28 AM

Still not sure about why the colour differences were there, but certainly the OFT suit, the LES suit and the ACES suit are all built by the same manufacturer, the David Clark Company.

If someone has other information, they'll post it - you don't need to ask the question three times (one of them deleted).

Offline carmelo

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #14 on: 12/19/2005 01:43 AM »
Thanks.the enigna remain.

Offline Ben E

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #15 on: 12/19/2005 06:13 AM »
Sorry, I'm not being difficult about suit colours, I just don't know.

I'll try to do some digging and get back to you.

Offline British NASA

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #16 on: 02/01/2006 08:14 AM »
RIP Columbia.


Offline Rocket Ronnie

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RE: Columbia STS-1
« Reply #17 on: 02/01/2006 11:19 AM »
That picture says it all.

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