Author Topic: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised  (Read 69075 times)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #220 on: 07/07/2012 08:02 PM »
SHUTTLE DAMAGE ANALYSIS
NASA said today that debris found embedded in Atlantis' tiles appeared to have come from insulation on the external fuel tank and the right solid-fuel rocket booster. Spokesman Ed Medal cautioned that investigators had reached no final conclusions. The investigation was expected to be completed by mid-January 1989 and agency officials are not sure if their findings will affect the launch of Discovery planned now for February 18, 1989. (The Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 28, 1988)

MIR STATION RESTOCKED
The Progress 39 cargo ship docked Tuesday with the orbiting Mir space station, bringing three Soviet cosmonauts food, other essentials and New Year's gifts, the Tass news agency said. The Progress 39 is the latest in a series of non-reusable space cargo ferries that service the Mir space station and previously the Salyut stations of the 1970 and early 1980s.Progress cargo ferries are launched to the station about every two months to supply the cosmonauts with necessities, such as food, as well as new scientific experiments to be conducted aboard the space station.
Along with food, Progress 39 brought fuel, mail and New Year's gifts from friends and family to the cosmonauts on board the Mir, the news agency said. (Deseret News, Dec. 27, 1988)

December 28: TOUR BUS/CAMPER COLLISION
An accident near Spaceport USA occurred today when a tour bus collided with a camper sending 39 people to Jess Parrish Memorial Hospital, Titusville, with mostly minor injuries. The tour bus struck a camper stopped at a traffic light in the westbound lane o£ a two-lane highway in front of the tourist attraction, about 4:30 p.m., according to Kennedy Space Center spokesman Dick Young. He said, "The light changed and the tour bus driver thought the camper had moved, but it didn't." Four people in the camper and 35 of the tour bus passengers were treated for minor injuries at the Titusville hospital. (UPI, Dec. 28, 1988)

December 29: USBI CO. WINS RENEWAL
USBI Co. has won a restructured and extended contract renewal from NASA to process and refurbish Solid Rocket Boosters. The extension runs from Sept. 30 through Sept. 30, 1994, and adds S1 billion to the contract, giving it a total value of $1.6 billion. The original contract was awarded January 1985. The new contract includes payment to USBI for its work in returning the shuttle program to flight after the Challenger tragedy. (Florida Today, Dec. 30, 1988)

December 30: HONEYWELL WINS SHUTTLE CONTRACT
A $7.2 million contract to upgrade computer systems containing master Space Shuttle launch, test and processing data has been awarded to Honeywell Federal Systems (McLean, VA), according to Kennedy Space Center officials. (Florida Today, Dec. 31, 1988)

ATLANTIS ORBITER UPDATE FOR DECEMBER 1988
After having been ferried back to KSC December 13 atop the SCA, Atlantis was demated from the 747 overnight and hauled to OPF bay 2 to begin investigation and repairs of extensive tile damage suffered during STS-27. The tail cone was removed December 16 and platforms were installed in the aft compartment to allow access to the area. The third week of December saw the continuation of post-flight deconfiguration. As of December 19, eighty new tiles had been ordered from Rockwell. The number three main engine was removed today and the high pressure oxidizer turbo pump was sent to Rocketdyne for inspection. By January 3, 1989, 3,200 tiles will have been repaired, with 500 repairs still remaining. (Countdown, February 1989 – edited)

January 4, 1989: TURBO PUMP CRACK GROUNDS SHUTTLE
Rocktdyne workers today disassembled a liquid oxygen turbo pump that flew on Atlantis to determine whether the crack in the bearing assembly which occurred is an unusual or a generic failure of the engine. KSC Director Forrest McCartney says that there will be no launches until the cause of the crack is understood. (Countdown, March 1989)

January 6, 1989: SECOND CRACK FOUND IN PUMP USED BY SHUTTLE ATLANTIS
Technicians at Rocketdyne (Canoga Park, CA) found a second crack in the high-pressure liquid oxygen turbo pump that had been part of one of Atlantis' three main engines. Bob Paster, Manager of the Space Shuttle Main Engine Program at Rocketdyne, said, "We're pretty sure the crack is due to stress corrosion." While officials know that moisture caused the crack, they don't know how the moisture got there. "We should not have found moisture," Paster said. More tests and inspections are scheduled and workers will inspect the other two turbo pumps. These tests will be crucial in deciding whether Discovery will launch Feb. 23. (Florida Today, Jan. 7, 1989)

A second tiny crack has been found in a bearing assembly in a high-pressure main engine liquid oxygen pump used by the shuttle Atlantis during its climb to space Dec. 2, NASA officials said Friday. Engineers do not yet know what caused the cracks or what impact, if any, they might have on upcoming launches. Data from Atlantis's launch showed higher-than-normal vibration levels in the powerhouse "LOX" pump right at, or shortly after, ignition. During a post-flight inspection last month at the Kennedy Space Center, a tiny, .005-inch-wide crack in a bearing race was discovered in main engine No. 3, serial No. 2029. The second crack was found Thursday. The race is the circular housing that contains ball bearings that are critical to pump operation.

Atlantis landed Dec. 6, 1988, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to close out the 27th shuttle mission, the second since the 1986 Challenger disaster. Discovery is scheduled to blast off on the next shuttle flight around Feb. 23. A shuttle's No. 3 main engine occupies the lower right position in the triangular engine layout when looking toward the front of a shuttle form the back. Atlantis' engine was removed over the holidays and the pump was shipped back to engine-builder Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, Calif., last week for a detailed inspection. Jerry Berg, a spokesman for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said late Friday engineers disassembled the pump and reached the bearing assembly for an "eyeball inspection". (Deseret News, Jan. 7, 1989)

SPECULATION ABOUT THE CRACKS
While the tile damage was the most noticeable problem with  Atlantis during its four-day military mission,  a fault even more critical sat hidden within a main engine. A paper-thin crack in a bearing in the number 3 engine turbo pump, discovered December 17, could result in the delay of the next shuttle launch, according to NASA officials.

NASA spokesman David Drachlis said that NASA will not allow the next mission to launch until the cause of the turbo pump bearing crack is understood. It is believed that the crack occurred during ignition or slightly before ignition, because engine performance data recorded during the December 2 launch indicated there was higher than normal vibration in the turbo pump which supplies liquid oxygen to the number 3 engine.

Marshall Space Flight Center engine project manager Joe Lombardo said they have not concluded that the vibration caused the crack, but indicated that “they may have been related.” NASA scientists said that a complete failure in the turbo pump bearing could actually cause the destruction of an orbiter, but added that the .005-inch crack found in the Atlantis bearing “was not severe enough to cause that type of situation.”

There has been some question as to whether the tile damage and turbo pump bearing crack were somehow related. While NASA has not given any indication that the two are related, CBS News sources reported a possibility that the vibration caused by the crack in the bearing may have been severe enough to loosen some debris which may, in turn, have caused damage to the shuttle’s vulnerable underbelly. This could not be confirmed until all available information is studied by the NASA damage assessment team. (Countdown, February 1989)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #221 on: 07/07/2012 08:05 PM »
Above and beyond – but don’t tell anyone!

(Mike Mullane: “Riding Rockets”, 2006, pp. 231-235. – This passage is slightly edited. I left out some of the funny, but politically incorrect “Swine Flight” stuff… Again, read the book!)

We became “The Grissom Crew.” It was a play on a scene from the movie The Right Stuff. After Alan Shepard returned from his history-making flight as the first American in space, he and his wife had been hosted at the White House by JFK and Jackie. The movie dramatized how Gus Grissom and his wife had been expecting similar treatment when he returned as the second American in space. But it didn’t happen. Runner-ups never slept at the White House. Rhea Seddon’s “Grissom Crew” label of STS-27 was poking fun at the fact there was no White House invitation awaiting us in our in-boxes, whereas President and Nancy Reagan had received the STS-26 crew and their spouses. In a wonderful parody of the movie scene in which Mrs. Grissom laments her lockout, Rhea exaggerated her already severe Tennessee accent and swooned, “You mean, I won’t get to meet Nancy and Ronald?!”

While it appeared we would remain invisible to the civilian world, we did have a “black world” postflight tour around the country. We visited the classified control center for our payload. We showed films of the satellite release and thanked everyone who contributed to the mission. It was all very staid and professional until Hoot presented an autographed photo to the unit commander. It was of the free-flying payload bearing Shep’s inscription, “Suck on this, you commie dogs!” The group crowded around to see the photo. They couldn’t wait to get it on their wall. Shep had made them feel like the warriors they were.

In a visit to Washington, D.C., we were invited to the Pentagon to brief the Joint Chiefs of Staff on our mission. My heart rate was as high walking into that office as it had been walking across the shuttle cockpit access arm. There was a veritable constellation of stars in the room, including five four-star generals and admirals.

In a mark of his leadership style, Hoot asked each member of the crew to say a few words about our mission tasks. I knew there were plenty of egocentric commanders who would have hogged the stage for themselves. Not Hoot. After we all made our remarks and had taken our seats, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked his staff to rise and said, “I think we owe this crew a round of applause for their outstanding work,” and five flag officers heartily responded. I was numb. The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States military, led by their chairman – a total of twenty stars – were standing to applaud Mike Mullane. I could not have been more shocked if Hoot had stood up and announced he and Shep were gay lovers.

The day only got more unusual. We were driven to a classified location for an awards ceremony. We followed our escort through multiple layers of security and were finally led into a walk-in vault where we were greeted by a senior government official. He offered his thanks for our work, then pinned the national Intelligence Medal of Achievement on each of our chests. Inwardly I laughed at the title. It sounded like an award for the brainless scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. But it was a pride-filled moment for me, even exceeding what I had experienced in Admiral Crowe’s office. I felt directly connected to America’s defense in a way I had never felt in Vietnam or in my NATO forces tour. On STS-27 with the RMS controls in my hand, I had been at the tip of the spear.

As the meeting broke up, I was looking forward to telling Donna about the award. It was as much hers as it was mine. She had earned it on that LCC roof. But my anticipation ended at the vault door. We were asked to hand back the medal. “Sorry, but this award is classified. You can’t wear it publicly or talk about it. It won’t appear on your official records. But if you are ever in town and want to come over and wear it in this vault, be our guest.” Amazing, I thought. We had received a medal we could only wear in a vault. James Bond might have been able to tell Dr. Goodhead about his daring adventures, but we couldn’t tell anybody about ours, not even our wives. (The award was declassified several years after the mission.)

No call ever came from the White House, but we did score one gem of a PR trip into the civilian world. Dan Brandenstein decided that the STS-26 crew had overstayed their welcome in the “Return to Flight” spotlight and redlined them from the Super Bowl event. Our crew would make the trip to Miami and represent NASA during the Super Bowl XXIII halftime show. January 22, 1989, found us in a skybox at Joe Robbie Stadium preparing to watch the San Francisco 49ers battle the Cincinnati Bengals. There was just one significant distraction: Billy Joel, who was to sing the national anthem, brought along his wife, Christie Brinkley, and they were ensconced in an adjoining skybox. Just a glass wall separated us. This arrangement created the greatest dilemma in the history of maledom. In front of me was the sports spectacle of the year. Joe Montana and Boomer Esiason were calling the signals for their teams. Seventy-five thousand fans were screaming. Even the STS-26 crew didn’t create a moment like this. But a few yards to our right was Christie Brinkley, arguably one of the most beautiful women on the planet. What was a man to do?

Turned out Christie was a fan of the space program. She came to our skybox to meet us. We all rose as if she was royalty, which of course she was. She was royally, freakin’ beautiful. “Are you guys astronauts?” We were all wearing our blue flight suits with patches reading “NASA” and other patches with renditions of Space Shuttles. Then there were our gold Navy and silver Air Force wings, our Mach 25 patches, and American flag patches. We were either astronauts or Epcot Disney characters. It must have been the blonde in her asking the question.

Under my breath I whispered to Hoot, “I’ll be anything she wants me to be.” Hoot, no doubt, was thinking the same lecherous things I was thinking, but he played the gentleman and answered, “Yes.”

“Have you been to the moon?” – I whispered fiercely to Hoot, “Tell her yes!” But he stuck to the truth, damn him. Maybe she would have taken us home if he had lied. She began to walk down our ranks, smiling and asking questions. At any moment I expected her to say, “You mean you aren’t the famous STS-26 crew? How disappointing.” But she didn’t. She seemed pleased to meet the runner-ups.

To my amazement I noticed the rest of the crew was shaking her hand! Even Hoot. He must have stroked out when she walked into the room. There’s no other way to explain his restraint. You shake Billy Joel’s hand. You shake NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s hand. But you don’t shake Christie Brinkley’s hand! When she came to me, I embraced her. Her arms came around my back and echoed the hug. Afterward she didn’t even signal her bodyguard to stand between us (and no restraining order arrived later in the mail). I might have a medal I couldn’t talk about, but I sure as hell was going to tell every male in the astronaut office what it was like to hug Christie Brinkley. The others could tell them what her handshake was like.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #222 on: 07/07/2012 08:08 PM »
January 25, 1989: HOOT PRESENTS POW-MIA FLAG FLOWN ABOARD STS-27
STS-27 Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson presents a POW-MIA flag carried aboard the December mission to the Veterans of the Vietnam War in Crystal River, Florida. Jim Shields, of the veterans group, says the flag should awaken interest in thousands of U.S. prisoners of war and those missing in action from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. (Countdown, March 1989)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #223 on: 07/07/2012 08:10 PM »
February 28, 1989: STS-27 TILE DAMAGE REPORT RELEASED
Two weeks before the launch of Discovery and STS-29, NASA’s Atlantis tile damage assessment team released their findings on the cause of the damage and their recommendations to avoid a recurrence of the incident. The NASA review panel, investigating the damage to the orbiter Atlantis’ thermal protection system during the STS-27 mission, found that the most probable cause was insulating material from the right-hand Solid Rocket Booster nose cap dislodging and striking the orbiter about 85 seconds into flight.

At the time of impact, the shuttle was traveling at approximately two and one-half times the speed of sound. At that speed, tests and analyses have demonstrated that material breaking away from forward portions of the vehicle can result in debris striking the orbiter with enough force to damage the tiles.

When Atlantis touched down at Edwards Air Force Base on December 6, 1988, inspection revealed the craft had sustained slightly more than 700 individual tile impacts. The damage was concentrated on the lower surface tiles of the right-hand side. One complete tile was found missing from the damaged area below the crew compartment, and an insulation panel was missing from the right Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod. The extent of damage made it necessary to ascertain the precise cause of the damage before the next flight of the shuttle.

In its effort to understand how the damage occurred, the review team gathered extensive physical evidence by examining the Atlantis vehicle, reviewing prelaunch inspection records and procedures, assessing tracking camera footage and interviewing Atlantis’ flight crew. They studied the flight hardware design and build records and conducted laboratory tests on the damaging debris material. In addition to the tests and analyses performed on Atlantis after her December flight, the finding concerning the most probable cause of the damage was based on:

1) A determination that several manufacturing process variables on the right booster nose cap were very near their specification limits; and

2) The discovery of minute bits of the booster nose cap insulation material and paint embedded in the damaged tiles and OMS pod blankets.

The review team also reported that debris from other sources, including repaired External Tanks insulation and cork material covering the solid rocket motor joints, may have caused minor tile damage. The team’s findings did not pose any constraint for launching Discovery on the STS-29 mission, according to the report. A major reason for concluding that the STS-29 hardware was ready to fly stems from the improvement made to the suspect insulating material covering the booster nose caps.

The suspect material, known as Marshall Sprayable Ablator (MSA), was used in its original formulation for nose caps up to and including the STS-27 mission. Following fabrication of the STS-27 nose caps, changes were made in the material’s properties, manufacturing process and application. The result was an improved product designated MSA-2. The changes have been shown to produce stronger bonds between the insulating material and the surface on which it is applied.

The STS-29 boosters were the first to be fabricated with the improved material, which was recently subjected to additional strength tests, called “pull tests.” Successful completion of the tests has further bolstered confidence that the material will continue to perform successfully. Despite the team’s belief that the change in nose cap insulation material will prevent severe tile damage in the future, the report recommended several other steps toward further understanding and to minimize minor damaging debris on future flights. The recommended steps include

-- Selectively performing the pull tests on SRB nose cap insulation prior to future flights;

-- Inspecting the joint cork material which externally covers solid rocket motor field joints to make sure there are no low density inclusions in the material (such inclusions, if found, normally are repairable);

-- Assigning more data-gathering sources, such as additional cameras, for future flights.

(Countdown, April 1989)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #224 on: 07/07/2012 08:12 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #225 on: 07/07/2012 08:13 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #226 on: 07/07/2012 08:17 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #227 on: 07/07/2012 08:17 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #228 on: 07/07/2012 08:19 PM »
And that’s all folks. For high-resolution shots go to L2:

STS-27:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=11427.0

STS-27 Post Flight:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18675.0

Some interesting shots of Soyuz TM-7 training and equipment

 http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=13711.0

And in my next thread I will tell you a story of cracks, eggs, chicks, rats and a perfect view…

:)
« Last Edit: 07/07/2012 08:21 PM by Ares67 »

Offline DaveS

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #229 on: 07/07/2012 09:52 PM »
February 28, 1989: STS-27 TILE DAMAGE REPORT RELEASED
Two weeks before the launch of Discovery and STS-29, NASA’s Atlantis tile damage assessment team released their findings on the cause of the damage and their recommendations to avoid a recurrence of the incident. The NASA review panel, investigating the damage to the orbiter Atlantis’ thermal protection system during the STS-27 mission, found that the most probable cause was insulating material from the right-hand Solid Rocket Booster nose cap dislodging and striking the orbiter about 85 seconds into flight.
I don't know if this is the actual report or not:
STS-27R OV-104 Orbiter TPS damage review team volume 1.
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline TJL

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #230 on: 07/08/2012 06:13 PM »
Does any video exist of that event at T+85 seconds?

Offline Jester

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #231 on: 07/08/2012 06:26 PM »
And that’s all folks. For high-resolution shots go to L2:

STS-27:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=11427.0

STS-27 Post Flight:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18675.0

Some interesting shots of Soyuz TM-7 training and equipment

 http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=13711.0

And in my next thread I will tell you a story of cracks, eggs, chicks, rats and a perfect view…

 :)


Great overview, thanks, don't forget this L2 Video:
STS-27: Video about the Undertemp issue during ground-ops
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25150.0

Offline DaveS

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #232 on: 07/08/2012 08:12 PM »
Great overview, thanks, don't forget this L2 Video:
STS-27: Video about the Undertemp issue during ground-ops
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25150.0
Available in lower resolution here: youtube.com/watch?v=7Cb965obpUM&feature=plcp
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Online wolfpack

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #233 on: 07/09/2012 10:01 PM »
Thanks for these threads, Ares67! They are all good reads.

Offline STS-85

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #234 on: 12/03/2012 03:50 AM »
Hopefully this link will work - it has some interesting comments from Hoot Gibson and what he thought would happen if they were experiencing burn-through.
And also interesting is his comments on what he would've said in the 60-seconds or so he knew they'd have to live before burning up.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts119/090327sts27/

Offline psloss

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #235 on: 12/03/2012 11:07 AM »
Hopefully this link will work - it has some interesting comments from Hoot Gibson and what he thought would happen if they were experiencing burn-through.
And also interesting is his comments on what he would've said in the 60-seconds or so he knew they'd have to live before burning up.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts119/090327sts27/

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23001.msg649413#msg649413

Offline TJL

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #236 on: 12/22/2012 04:02 PM »
Just wondering....how many here think there actually was an EVA on STS-27?

Based on the (limited) info released, I kind of lean towards an EVA being done, just by the "fact" that Atlantis rendezvoused with the recently deployed satellite. Why would the shuttle need to be close to Lacrosse, if not for access by the crew?

What do you think??
« Last Edit: 12/22/2012 04:03 PM by TJL »

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #237 on: 12/24/2012 02:25 AM »
Just wondering....how many here think there actually was an EVA on STS-27?

Based on the (limited) info released, I kind of lean towards an EVA being done, just by the "fact" that Atlantis rendezvoused with the recently deployed satellite. Why would the shuttle need to be close to Lacrosse, if not for access by the crew?

What do you think??

The "standard" time period required for declassification is 25 years.  What are the chances an FOIA request late next year would lead to any details of STS-27--i.e. WAS there a space walk?

Have any FOIA requests been made for details of pre-STS-27 DOD shuttle missions? ???
« Last Edit: 12/24/2012 02:26 AM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Hog

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Re: Atlantis STS-27 – Battered and Bruised
« Reply #238 on: 01/17/2013 02:47 PM »
And that’s all folks. For high-resolution shots go to L2:

STS-27:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=11427.0

STS-27 Post Flight:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18675.0

Some interesting shots of Soyuz TM-7 training and equipment

 http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=13711.0

And in my next thread I will tell you a story of cracks, eggs, chicks, rats and a perfect view…

 :)


Great overview, thanks, don't forget this L2 Video:
STS-27: Video about the Undertemp issue during ground-ops
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25150.0
Great video, it illustrates all the the issues that staff has to deal with even when the mission is apparently "over".  I will do some digging to find similar vids.
Thanks fpr mentioning this video Jester.
Paul

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