NASA Shuttle Specific Sections => Shuttle History - Pre-RTF => Topic started by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:12 pm

Title: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:12 pm
The darker the night, the brighter the star

This Space Shuttle history report is dedicated to the memory of

Capt. USN Dale Allan Gardner (Nov. 8, 1948 – Feb. 19, 2014)

Mission Specialist Challenger STS-8 (1983) and Discovery STS 51-A (1984)

He left this world much too early, but he definitely also left his marks in the sands of time as one of the Space Shuttle pioneers. In 1984, on his second mission, Dale Gardner became the second astronaut to be launched on his birthday, Richard Truly having been the first during STS-2 on November 12, 1981. For a short time during mission 51-A, following in the footsteps of Bruce McCandless, Gardner resembled a human satellite while successfully performing the task of catching a “falling star.” 

“Over the radio in my spacesuit, I could hear my fellow astronauts and the folks in Houston. I put those discussions into the background and felt that it would take only an exceedingly small leap of imagination to believe that I was alone in the cosmos. This feeling was not disconcerting or frightening but rather calming… Nor was it a spiritual or religious response. The explanation that seemed to fit best was that I was not in a strange or forbidding place at all, but in a place where I – as a member of the human race – was meant to be.

I thought of those who claim that human beings should not fly because they were not given wings. Those same critics conjured up, I am sure, similar analogies for space travel. As I looked at my spacesuit and the MMU, however, I knew that we are meant to travel away from Earth because we have been given the curiosity, the intelligence and the will to devise the means and build the wonderful machines that permit such adventures.”

- Dale Gardner, recounting his MMU EVA to catch the failed Westar VI   

Following his two spaceflights, Gardner was training to fly a third time to space when the shuttle Challenger was lost in January 1986. Assigned to the first crew to launch into a polar orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the mission – and  West Coast shuttle launch capability – was canceled in the wake of the tragedy.

In October 1986, Gardner retired from the astronaut corps and was assigned by the Navy to U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs. For two years he acted as the deputy chief of Space Control Operations in Cheyenne Mountain before being promoted to Captain and becoming deputy director for Space Control at Peterson Air Force Base. In that position, Gardner's responsibilities included surveilling and tracking all man-made objects in Earth orbit and the protection of U.S. and friendly space systems.

In October 1990, Gardner departed the Navy to accept a position with TRW, Inc. in Colorado Springs as a program manager involved in the development of both civilian and military space and defense high technology programs. In December 2003 he joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, where until 2013 he was managing the applied research and development activities for biofuels, fuel cells and advanced transportation within the laboratory.

A recipient of the NASA Space Flight Medal, Dale Gardner was also awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other honors. Gardner had two children with his first wife Sue Ticusan, who he divorced in 1992. He was survived by his wife Sherry, his daughter Lisa, and two stepchildren, Erika and Christopher. He was preceded in death by his son Todd, and his father.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:14 pm
Light and Darkness

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”

- Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Which is probably the reason why I work exclusively in black and white... to highlight that contrast.”

- Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)


As son of Dora and Max Nimoy, who were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, Leonard Nimoy once said that his “folks came to the U.S. as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens.” He, on the other hand, “was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien.” Logic clearly dictates that this would be the son of the Human teacher Amanda Grayson and Vulcan ambassador Sarek…

On February 27, 2015, while working on this latest installment of the Space Shuttle history reports, I received the sad news: “He’s dead, Jim.”

Rest in Peace, Leonard Nimoy. I will always remember…
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:17 pm

It’s done! Here comes the third and final installment of my coverage of the first three missions of Challenger for the NSF shuttle history section. Producing those three reports, and the “bonus thread” dealing with OV-101 Enterprise, obviously took much longer than I had anticipated. Originally, I had planned to post the STS-8 thread in fall of 2013; now we’re well into spring of 2015…

Meanwhile, at Lindo Wing, on May 2, it has also been “mission accomplished” already for the second time in nearly twenty-two months, during which I have worked on this project… you know, I’ve told you about that other side of me before…

But anyway, I think you’ll appreciate the extra time and effort I put into these extended flight reports. It has been tremendous fun recalling the events of the early 1980s and – while combining texts and images from so many sources – being able to uncover some details I personally had missed at the time.

In fact, I’m already considering a similar project covering Columbia’s first missions, marking the 35th anniversary of STS-1 in 2016… but I can’t promise anything at this time. Next, after posting this STS-8 thread, I’ll pick up where I left in spring of 2013 – with the long, hot summer of 1990 and mission STS-41.

Here, again, are the results of my two-year effort:

Challenger STS-6 – A Walk into History

Challenger STS-7 – Sally’s Ride

OV-101 Enterprise – It’s Been A Long Way

Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:19 pm

I’m really sorry for this, Dr. Sagan… But, hey, born Nov. 9, 1934 – you were a Scorpio, too!   ;)

1983 certainly had been the year that finally strengthened my bond with the Space Shuttle program – I was able to see the real thing for the first time, when the orbiter Enterprise showed up near my hometown. Of course, I now wanted to pay a return visit… and eventually made my first trip to KSC exactly ten years later – and I returned there in 1998, being able to witness the launch of Discovery STS-91.

1983 also was the year when some kids at school thought they could tease me by giving me a nickname – no, not “Ares,” but “Apollo” – because, during an English lesson, I had shared my fascination with spaceflight. Supported by my English teacher, Mr. Fabry, I had presented an essay about the Apollo 11 mission (the whole shebang, with a Saturn V model, images presented by means of an overhead projector, and tape-recorded air-to-ground communications). – Little did they know that I actually enjoyed being named after a Greek god, the American Moon landing program and a main character from one of my favorite science fiction TV shows…

And then, right before the high-profile flight (at least from the perspective of my home country) of the first West-German astronaut, Ulf Merbold, there came what I personally noted at that time as the “Scorpio Mission” – although I’m absolutely not into the pseudo-science of astrology. The stars are our destiny, but they won’t help us predict our fate! And yet, like the great Sir Arthur C. Clarke once said: “I don’t believe in astrology. I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.”

So, let’s face it, I’m a Scorpio. I was born on the 10th of November (1967)… yes, like the theologian and reformer Doctor Martin Luther (1483-1546), who between 1521 and 1534 translated the Holy Bible – and thereby actually created the modern supra-dialectal common German language – and, as a rebel against the Pope, eventually caused a major schism of Christianity; “Sturm und Drang” (“Storm and Stress”) period poet, playwright, historian and philosopher Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805); regarded British/Welsh actor, avid reader and memorable Hamlet performer, self-confessed alcoholic and two-time husband of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton (1925-1984)… and also a certain Russian guy called Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov (1919-2013)… Make of that what you will! 
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:21 pm
And, since this is NSF, let’s not forget Apollo 17 CMP Ron Evans (1933-1990), born Nov. 10, 1933, who became one of the first three U.S. astronauts having lifted off the launch pad in the darkness of night.
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:22 pm
So, it struck me that three members of the STS-8 crew – Truly, Gardner and Bluford – were born during the Scorpio timeframe, between October 24 and November 22. That, and because I absolutely liked the launch scene depicted on that particular patch, may have been the reason why my Christmas presents in December 1985 included the STS-8 crew insignia. I was wearing this patch – with the silver letters reading “Challenger” – as well as the NASA worm logo on that dark day in late January 1986.
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:24 pm

"History repeats itself because no one was listening the first time."

- Anonymous

Aside from short reports about the first black astronaut and the mission’s spectacular beginning, turning night into day for miles around, STS-8 didn’t receive much news coverage in Germany. In the pre-internet era it took much effort to get some detailed information about the third flight of Challenger – which I needed for my handwritten reports about the shuttle program… yes, at that time I already produced something you may call an early, analog version of what you’re now able to enjoy here at NSF.

Challenger’s red-eye flight was not really headline news – and got totally superseded by the events surrounding another flight, called KAL 007, which tragically ended high above Sakhalin Island on September 1, 1983… 269 souls were lost and the Cold War experienced one of its rather “hot” moments. Because this was a major news item at the time the Challenger circled our blue planet, “one of the strangest and least expected confrontations between the superpowers in the annals of U.S. post-war diplomacy,” as Time magazine put it, we’ll also look at that tragedy.

"Attacking an unarmed civilian plane is like attacking a school bus," Republican Congressman Thomas F. Hartnett of South Carolina commented. Between the free world and the communist bloc it always seemed to be black or white, good or evil – although in retrospect, like in today’s disordered world, it was always more like… well, maybe not fifty, but several shades of gray.

Unfortunately, KAL 007 wasn’t the last in a long line of mistakes of consequence, of military attacks on civilian airliners. Ironically, only five years later, on July 3, 1988, it was the American guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes which accidently downed Iran Air Flight IR655 over the Persian Gulf; and most recently, on July 17, 2014, we saw Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 being shot down over the disputed eastern part of Ukraine – a place of internal as well as international conflict showing potential of throwing us all back to those silly, dangerous, and sometimes deadly provocations and confrontations of the Cold War. Maybe some of the powers that be should have listened better the first time.

So, a lot did happen in the dark of the night during 1983 – awe-inspiring as well as horrible things. And once again, as we’ll be looking at light and darkness, you’re invited to join me on this journey back in time.

Let’s go.

- Oliver, aka… Apollo… aka Ares67   


Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:25 pm

“Prometheus they say,
Brought God’s fire down to man;
And we’ve caught it, tamed it, trained it,
Since our history began.

Now we’re going back to Heaven,
Just to look him in the eye.
There’s a thunder ‘cross the land,
And a fire in the sky!

- Jordin Kare, “Fire in the Sky”

Part One: STS-8 – THE COLORS OF SPACE (Crew and Mission Preview)

NASA at 25 / Apollo 17 – Flames Exploding Into the Darkness

Part Two: STS-8 – FAST AND FURIOUS (Launch Preparations)



Tuesday, August 30, 1983 (Launch Day) – Rumble, Young Man, Rumble

Tuesday, August 30, 1983 (Flight Day 1) – Float Like a Butterfly

Wednesday, August 31, 1983 (Flight Day 2) – Perfect Record

KAL 007 / Target Destroyed

Thursday, September 1, 1983 (Flight Day 3) – Pumping Iron Challenge

KAL 007 / Anger, Disbelief, and Profound Sadness

Friday, September 2, 1983 (Flight Day 4) – Another Challenging Workout

Saturday, September 3, 1983 (Flight Day 5) – The Extra Day

Sunday, September 4, 1983 (Flight Day 6) – Into the Sunset

Monday, September 5, 1983 (Landing Day) – Out of the Dark

KAL 007 / A Mistake of Consequence

Part Four: STS-8 – BUMPS ON THE HIGH ROAD (Post-Flight Events)

NASA at 25 – Let’s Have Some Cake!

Columbia STS-9 / Spacelab 1 – The Fourth Flight of 1983

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:30 pm
Part One: STS-8 – THE COLORS OF SPACE (Crew and Mission Preview) 

“The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.
The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people
Beautiful, also, is the Sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.”

- Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967)

Aquila and Dracula

The official patch for STS-8 depicts the night launch of the orbiter Challenger’s third mission. It is a 4-inch-diameter, round emblem with a red border. The border is broken at the top by the fuel tank of the shuttle as it rockets into space. A white band encircles the inner scene, containing the surnames of the five crewmembers in red letters – the shuttle pilots “Truly” and “Brandenstein” at the top right, the mission specialists “Gardner,” “Bluford,” and “Thornton” at the bottom left.

The spacescape at the center of the patch is particularly striking. At the bottom, the Earth can be seen falling into the distance, as the shuttle powers into space. The orbiter’s main engines flash blue flame, tinged with white. At the same time, the SRB’s trail yellow and orange flames as they begin to separate from the orbiter. The entire configuration flies upside down from an earthly point of view, just as it does in an actual launch mode. Above the orbiter, the bronze-toned ET will soon separate from the spacecraft and begin its fiery descent into the Earth’s atmosphere.

In the foreground of the scene, “Challenger” is sewn in silver mylar, denoting the mission vehicle. The part of the Earth which is visible is a blue-white sphere, tinged with gold and yellow at the horizon, symbolic of the night launch and the coming sunrise. The sky behind Challenger is a dark navy-blue, devoid of detail, save of eight silver stars. These eight stars are of the constellation Aquila, “The Eagle,” and symbolize the mission designation.

STS-8 was the first shuttle mission to have an unofficial crew patch. Designed by pilot Dan Brandenstein, it was silver on black and showed the cockpit windows of the orbiter, with steely-eyed commander Dick Truly, the man who had “seen it all before,” in the commander’s seat. The four rookies in the crew, Dan Brandenstein, Guy Bluford, Dale Gardner and Bill Thornton, are looking in awe out of the pilot’s window.

This, at least, was the “official” story behind the design.

According to people who were involved in the mission, the real story behind this patch was that it showed the bespectacled mission specialist Dr. Bill Thornton, after the blood of the other crewmembers, who were frantically trying to get away from him. As part of Thornton’s investigation into space sickness, he had to take some blood from his fellow crewmembers.

It is not known whether or not this patch was actually carried onboard Challenger during the mission, but it would become a popular item in the NASA souvenir stores in the years following the flight.

(Judith Kaplan/Robert Muniz, “Space Patches,” Sterling Publishing 1986; Bert Vis/Jacques van Oene, “Unofficial Crew Patches,” Spaceflight, Vol. 41, March 1999 – edited)
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:32 pm
Meet the Guy

“Above all, be diligent and persistent.”

- Guy Bluford, STS-8 Mission Specialist

(Based on J. Haskins/K. Benson: “Space Challenger,” and the JSC Oral History interview with Guy Bluford)


Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr., was born on November 22, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and from childhood he has preferred to be called Guy. His mother, Lolita Harriet Bluford, taught special education classes in the Philadelphia public school system. His father, Guion S. Bluford, Sr., an inventor and mechanical engineer, designed machines. Young Guy took more after his father, than after his mother. He didn’t mind going to school, but he was much more interested in learning on his own, and what he wanted to learn about was how things work.

The oldest of three boys, Guy had lots of mechanical toys to take apart and put back together, but what interested him most were things that fly. His younger brothers, Eugene and Kenneth, did not share his interest. Guy built model airplanes and collected pictures of real airplanes. When he played table tennis, he studied the way the light ball traveled through the air and tried different ways of hitting it with the paddle to make it fly differently. He became an excellent table tennis player.

On his paper route, Guy tried different ways of folding and throwing the newspapers he delivered every day. He was a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout, eventually working his way up to the rank of Star Scout. Although the rank has nothing to do with the stars in the sky, it seems fitting that the future astronaut was a Star  Scout.
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:37 pm
Many young boys are interested in model airplanes. More often than not, they want to be pilots. When Guy Bluford was growing up, there were not many black pilots. There were none at all on the few commercial airlines. That is not to say that there were no blacks who could pilot planes. In 1912 Pennsylvanian Emory Malick had been the first African-American aviator; twenty years later James Herman Banning became the first black pilot to fly coast-to-coast across the U.S. The first black American to get an official international pilot’s license was a woman. Bessie Coleman got her license in 1922, but she had to go to France for her training. The Bessie Coleman School, founded in her honor, trained other black pilots at home in the United States.

By 1941, over 100 black pilots had pilot’s licenses. When the United States entered World War II, the legendary Tuskegee Airmen officially became the first African-American flying unit in the United States military; this all-black bomber squadron saw much action in Europe and won many medals for bravery. Five years after Guy Bluford was born, the sound barrier would officially be broken. More barriers, technological as well as social, would be broken – some at a snail’s pace, others at supersonic speeds.

So, if young Guy Bluford had wanted to be a pilot, he could at least have dreamed about it. Maybe there were not many black pilots, but there had been some. Besides, he was brought up to believe that anything was possible for him. “I never felt limited as a black person,” says Guy. “My brothers and I couldn’t come home and say we’d done poorly at school because we were black. My parents wouldn’t have let us get away with that. They would have said, ‘You did poorly because you didn’t work hard enough.’

Guy was raised in an integrated Philadelphia community and went to integrated schools. While he was growing up, he never felt different because he was black. When he was in junior high school, Little Rock, Arkansas, was ordered by a federal court to integrate its schools, and there was a furor in that community. Guy read about it in the papers and remembers, “I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I remember friends of the family visiting from the South and asking me if I went to a black school. I didn’t know what they were talking about, because I just went to the local school.” Not until Guy reached college did he feel at all different because he was black.

Guy Bluford could have dreamed about becoming a pilot, but he didn’t want to be a pilot. He didn’t want to fly planes, he wanted to buildthem. “My room had airplane models and airplanes pictures all over the place,” he says. My interest wasn’t so much in flying them, but in designing them. I was fascinated with how they were put together, why they flew. My father encouraged my inquisitiveness. He had all these engineering books at home, and I was welcome to thumb through them. I decided very early that I wanted to go into the aviation business, and I wanted to be an aerospace engineer.”
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:37 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:40 pm

Back in the 1950s, when Guy Bluford was in junior high school, aerospace engineering was still a very small and very new field. No one had yet gone up into space, but scientists and engineers believed it was possible. Guy was not quite 15 years old when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 in 1957, marking the beginning of the space age.

The leaders of the United States took a look at American schools and decided that students should study more math and science so that the U.S. could catch up to Russia in the space race. But no one in the schools Guy Bluford attended seemed very interested in space. Either they did not know or they did not think it important that he had been dreaming about flight even before the Russians launched Sputnik.

Guy’s high school guidance counselors did not urge him to go to college and study aerospace engineering. They did not urge him to go to college at all. Instead, they told him he was not college material. They said Guy should go to a technical school and learn a mechanical trade.

At Overbrook Senior High School, Guy was not a straight-A student. “I was a weak reader,” he explains, “and I tended to lean towards math and science rather than toward subjects that required a lot of reading.” Perhaps the counselors thought that anyone who really wanted to be an aerospace engineer had to have top grades. Perhaps they did not think a young black man could enter the field of aerospace engineering. Luckily, Guy Bluford and his parents did not pay much attention to what the counselors said. When it came time for Guy and his classmates to decide what they were going to do after graduation, Guy applied to college. And when the editors of his senior yearbook asked him what career he wanted, he said, “aerospace engineer.”

“I really wasn’t too concerned about what that counselor said. I just ignored it,” says Guy. “I’m pretty sure that all of us have had times when somebody told us we couldn’t do this or shouldn’t do that. I had such a strong interest in aerospace engineering by then that nothing a counselor said was going to stop me.”

There had never been any question in the Bluford household that all three boys would go to college. “There was no way I could have gotten out of going,” Says Guy. Both his parents had master’s degrees, and he had grandparents on both sides who’d gone to college. Guy always assumed that he had to go. He remembers that as he was about to leave for college his mother realized, “We never asked you if you wanted to go to college or not!”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:41 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:43 pm

So, in the fall of 1960, Guy went to Pennsylvania State University to get a degree in aerospace engineering and went into the Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) program. “When I got to Penn State, I began to recognize that I was different because I was black,” says Guy. There were only about 400 blacks in a student body of several thousand.

The civil rights movement, which had begun in the 1950s, was in full swing by the time Guy entered college. Across the South, black people were marching and demonstrating for an end to segregation and discrimination. Although he supported the movement, Guy put his education first. “I was up to my elbows with studying – calculus, aerospace engineering, et cetera. I worked awfully hard at it,” he explains.

In the spring of 1961, after Alan Shepard’s fifteen-minute ride into space, most Americans were excited about the man who had gone up into space. Guy Bluford was excited about the craft that had taken him there. He wanted to learn how Freedom 7 worked. He wanted to design a craft that would work even better. Ever since he had started building model airplanes as a child, Guy’s main interest had been in flying machines. But by the time he graduated from Penn State, he had also become interested in flying the flying machines.

At the end of his sophomore year, Guy could have left the Air Force ROTC program, but he chose to remain in it. “It gave me an opportunity to serve my country,” he explains. “Also, the Vietnam War was starting, and I didn’t want to be out on the West Coast working for some aircraft company and get drafted.”

In his junior year, Guy failed a flight physical and so could not qualify as a pilot. He did not want to be a navigator, so he chose to spend his required four years in the Air Force after college as an engineer. During the summer after his junior year, he went to boot camp at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and there he did pass the flight physical. He also got his first ride in an Air Force T-33 plane.

“I changed directions right then and there,” he says. “I decided to go into the Air Force as a pilot. I thought that if I were a pilot, I would be a better engineer.” In his senior year at Penn State, Guy was a “full bird,” or pilot, in the Air Force ROTC. When he graduated, he received the ROTC’s Distinguished Graduate Award.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:45 pm

While still at Penn State, Guy married Linda Tull, a fellow student. On June 12, 1964, shortly after Guy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, their first son, Guion Stewart III, was born. Guy immediately joined the Air Force. With his wife and son, he moved to Arizona for pilot training at Williams Air Force Base. He received his pilot wings in 1965. On October 25 of that same year his and Linda’s second son, James Trevor, was born.

Guy was not around much during his sons’ early year. By the time he received his pilot wings, the United States was deeply involved in the war in Vietnam. “Upon graduation, I received my assignment as a fighter pilot to fly F-4C Phantoms in Vietnam,” Guy explains. “Over the next six to seven months, I attended several courses in preparation for my new assignment. I went to the Air Force Survival School at Stead Air Force Base in Reno Nevada. Then I went to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, for three months of radar and intercept training in the F-4C. After that I went to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida for flight training in the F-4C Phantom.

“In October of 1966, I went to Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, Vietnam, and served as a F-4C fighter pilot in the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing. From October of 1966 to June of 1967, I flew 144 combat missions throughout Southeast Asia,” Guy says. “These missions included combat air patrol, close air-to-ground support, and air superiority flights throughout North and South Vietnam as well as Laos.”

His sons, says Guy, “were so young they don’t even remember me being gone. But when I got back, they looked at me and said, ‘Who’s this guy?’There was a period when they had to adjust to the fact that they had two parents, not just one.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:46 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:47 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:49 pm

When Guy returned to the United States in 1967, he was considered one of the best pilots in the Air Force; by 1983 he would have logged over 3,000 hours jet flight time in the T-33, T-37, T-38, F-4C, C-135 and F5A/B. By then, he also would have received an FAA commercial license. After returning from the war in Southeast Asia, he wore the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and ten USAF Air Medals.

“In June, 1967, I was assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, as a T-38 instructor pilot,” Guy says. “For the next five years, I taught both American and West German students how to fly all flight phases of the T-38 aircraft as part of the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training Program. This included takeoffs and landings, instrument flying, navigation flying, and formation flying. I served as an Assistant Flight Commander and Executive Support Officer to the Deputy Director of Operations of the 3630th Flying Training Wing. I got over 1,200 hours of IP (Instructor Pilot) time in T-38s and was awarded the West German Luftwaffe wings by the West German Air Force. Many of my German students went on to fly F-104 aircraft for the German Air Force and my American students went on to fly various aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory.”

But Guy had not forgotten his dream of designing aircraft. “While serving as an instructor pilot at Sheppard Air Force Base, I sought several opportunities to become an aerospace engineer within the Air Force,” he says. “Unfortunately, the Air Force was critically short of pilots at that time and thus needed my skills as an instructor pilot versus as an engineer. The Air Force also indicated that I would need to get a master’s degree in aerospace engineering if I wanted to serve in that career field. In preparation for going back to graduate school, I decided to take several advanced mathematics courses from the University of California, Berkeley, by correspondence. I elected to do my preparatory course work that way, because there were very few educational opportunities in Wichita Falls, Texas. In 1971, I applied to the Air Force Institute of Technology for the master’s degree program in aerospace engineering. In June of 1972, I was accepted into the program and was assigned to the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. This was the break I needed in order to get into the aerospace engineering career field.”

“When I arrived at the school, my goal was to get a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and find a job in the Air Force which utilized both my flight skills as well as my technical skills. I was initially assigned to get a master’s degree in AFIT’s Air Weapons Program, however, I was able to change my major to aerospace engineering. After three semesters in the master’s degree program, I had an AFIT professor recommend that I stay on for the PhD program. He said ‘You’re doing so well in the master’s degree program, you should stay on for a PhD.’

“I said, ‘Sounds fine with me.’ While in the master’s degree program I was somewhat frustrated by the fact that there was a limit on the number of aerospace engineering courses I could take. By going into the PhD program, I was able to take more aerospace engineering courses, and thus take full advantage of the opportunity being offered me by the Air Force. Thus, I applied and got accepted into the PhD program at AFIT while still completing my master’s degree requirements. I dovetailed some of the PhD course work among my master’s degree courses so that I could complete the course work for both programs in two and a quarter years.”

“In March, 1974, after completing my PhD course work, I took my doctoral exams and then was assigned to the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to complete my dissertation. I worked with Dr. Wilbur Hankey, Dr. Joe Shang and Major Scott McRae in the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch of the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory doing research in computational fluid dynamics. Major Roger Crawford, who served as my sponsor for my master’s degree thesis, was also chairman of my doctoral committee. He was a major influence in my success at AFIT. I also served as the Deputy for Advanced Concepts for the Aeromechanics Division. In that role, I was responsible for identifying, planning, and coordinating various aerodynamic research projects. My boss was Major Kitowski, who had been an instructor at AFIT and who was serving as Branch Chief. For the next two years, I did my research and began writing my dissertation.”

“At the end of that time period, I was selected as Branch Chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch. I had completed my research for the PhD program and was in the midst of writing my dissertation,” says Guy Bluford. His paper was titled A Numerical Solution of Supersonic and Hypersonic Viscous Flow Fields around Thin Planar Delta Wings. “I calculated how the air goes around the wings at speeds greater than the speed of sound – three to four times the speed of sound and faster. If you had picked a place anywhere along a wing, I could have told you what the pressure, the density, and the velocity of the air was above and below that place. I developed a computer program that could do that.” – Not bad for someone who was not supposed to be college material!

Guy adds, “For me, at the time, being Branch Chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch was a job that I had always wanted. It was a great opportunity for me to use both my technical skills and my flying experience in developing advanced technologies for future aircraft. I led an organization of forty-five to fifty engineers, who were doing basic aerodynamic research, in such areas as forward swept wings, supercritical airfoils, advanced analytical aircraft design techniques, inlets, axisymmetric nozzles, and computational fluid dynamics. It was a great job and I was really enjoying the work.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:52 pm

“Oh, hi! I’m Nichelle Nichols. It kind of looks like when I was Lieutenant Uhura on the starship Enterprise, doesn’t it? Well. Now there’s a twentieth century Enterprise, an actual space vehicle built by NASA and designed to put us in the business of space – not merely space exploration. NASA’s Enterprise is a space shuttlecraft, built to make regularly scheduled runs into space and back.

Now, the shuttle will be taking scientists and engineers, men and women of all races, into space – just like the astronaut crew on the starship Enterprise. That is why I’m speaking to the whole family of humankind – minorities and women included. If you qualify and would like to be an astronaut, now is the time! This is your NASA!”

- Actor Nichelle Nichols, NASA astronaut recruiting ad, 1977

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:54 pm
In 1977, the Air Force informed Guy Bluford that he needed to return to a flying job. “As an Air Force pilot, I needed to complete nine years of flying in the first eighteen years of service and I had only completed six years of flying,” he explains. “I needed another three years of flying in order to continue to receive my flight pay. So I started looking for a flying job in the Air Force. My flying background was primarily in tactical fighter aircraft and training aircraft. I wanted to return to the fighter pilot business with a job flying F-15 or F-16 aircraft. The Air Force wanted me to return as a T-37 instructor pilot.”

“While I iterated with the Air Force about what flying assignment I would eventually go to, I spotted an ad in the newspaper for the Space Shuttle Program. NASA was starting to look for astronauts to fly the Space Shuttle and they opened up the opportunities for scientists and engineers (i.e. mission specialist astronauts) to be astronauts. This looked like a great opportunity for me to fulfill my flying requirements in the Air Force, utilize my technical skills, and expand my technical knowledge all at the same time. I could do it as a NASA astronaut. What a deal! So I applied in 1977. In the meantime, I was still writing my dissertation with plans on completing the document by the end of 1978.”

“Although I knew that there was going to be a lot of competition to be a NASA astronaut and that the possibility of selection was small, I decided to apply anyway. In 1977, I submitted my paperwork for the astronaut program within the Air Force. The Air Force had established a selection board and they were collecting applications from officers interested in the NASA astronaut program. More than 1,000 officers applied for both the astronaut pilot and mission specialist jobs. I applied for both positions. The Air Force selected approximately 100 officers, for consideration as NASA pilots and NASA mission specialist astronauts. I was selected as one of those officers for the NASA mission specialist position.”

“The head of the Air Force selection board was Tom Stafford, and I still remember a conversation I had with Tom Stafford many years later about my astronaut application. He said, ‘Yeah, I ran that board and I remember seeing your application.’ He was impressed with my credentials and thus supported my application to be an astronaut. After the selection process was completed, the Air Force sent our names to NASA to be included with the applicants from the Army, Navy, Marines and eight thousand civilians. So through the summer of 1977, I sat around wondering if I was going to make it or not.”

“As NASA proceeded through the selection process, they started sending out notices to people who were eliminated in the competition. They also, in the middle of 1977, started selecting astronaut finalists in groups of twenty. NASA selected ten groups of twenty astronaut finalists and asked them to come to the Johnson Space Center for a week of physicals and interviews. Because NASA hadn’t selected any astronauts in over ten years and because this new group of astronauts would include both women and minorities, there was a lot of public interest in the selection process. The requirements to be an astronaut were not limited to only test pilots, but were open to scientists and engineers. NASA was looking for not only astronaut pilots but also astronaut mission specialists. So in the summer of 1977, there was a lot of public interest and newspaper articles highlighting those selected as astronaut finalists.”

“On Wednesday, in mid October, 1977, while on government travel in Washington, D.C., I was notified by NASA that I had been selected as an astronaut finalist. Someone from the Johnson Space Center tried to contact me in Washington, D.C. They arranged to have a note left on my hotel room door asking that I contact them. I returned their call that evening and was notified that I had been selected as an astronaut finalist and that NASA wanted me to report to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on Sunday. My travel plans had me returning to Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday and I wasn’t sure that I could get permission from my boss to travel to Houston on that Sunday. I indicated to the caller that I would have to check with my boss before I could commit to traveling to Houston on such short notice. On Thursday, I spoke with my boss, Colonel McKelvey, who gave me his permission to go on such short notice and he arranged for my travel. I confirmed with NASA my travel plans, picked up my tickets on Saturday, and flew to Houston on Sunday. It was my first trip to Houston.”

Guy continues, “When I arrived in Houston, I discovered I was in the ninth group of astronaut finalists. There were quite a few members of that group that were eventually selected for the astronaut program. I think Judy Resnik, John Fabian, Terry Hart, and Steven Nagel were in that group. From what I later learned, there were more astronauts candidates selected from that group than from any other astronaut finalist group.”

“During that week in Houston, we all received thorough physicals and interviews with two psychiatrists. We were briefed on the Space Shuttle Program and we got to meet some of the current astronauts. It was an exciting experience. During that week, NASA did not disclose any information on how we were doing and if we passed or failed the physical. NASA also promised not to reveal the results of our physicals to our parent armed services. This was done as a protection to the military pilots. Since my Air Force flight physical was scheduled in November, I asked NASA to notify the Air Force if I passed my annual flight physical to preclude my taking two physicals in a short period of time. NASA eventually did that in November and I found out that I passed both the Air Force and the NASA astronaut physicals. During that week, I was also impressed with the competition and I knew that NASA would have no difficulty finding the type of talent they were looking for to serve as NASA astronauts.”

“One of the nicest experiences during that trip was the opportunity to meet NASA astronauts,” Guy explains. “I had never met any astronauts and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with John Young, T.K. Mattingly, Mike Collins, Vance Brand, and Alan Bean. I found all of them easy to talk to and they were all highly dedicated to the NASA space program. I was particularly impressed with the opportunity to talk with Joe Engle, an X-15 test pilot.”

“During the visit to the Johnson Space Center, we were required to write an essay on why we wanted to be an astronaut. Our essays were read by a number of senior managers just before we were interviewed. The interviews were conducted in a conference room by a group of 10 to 15 people. The group included Mr. George Abbey, Vance Brand, Carolyn Huntoon, Joe Atkinson and many others. I did not know any of these individuals nor did I know what roles they played in the selection process. I was asked why I wanted to be an astronaut, and they asked me about my academic performance at Penn State University. I explained how I got interested in airplanes and spacecraft as a kid and why I decided as a youngster that I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. It was a nice, friendly conversation with me doing most of the talking.”

“As the week came to an end, I had no idea how I did. I was impressed with the NASA organization, and I found myself even more interested in participating in the space program. I had wanted to speak with the NASA engineers on the aerodynamic characteristics of the Space Shuttle during my visit to Houston; however, I found very little time for that. It was a great experience, and I was hopeful that I would eventually be one of the thirty-five finalists out of two hundred to be selected for the astronaut program.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:56 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:58 pm

Guy Bluford tells us about becoming one of the Thirty-Five New Guys, “In January, 1978, NASA announced their selection of the astronauts for the eighth astronaut class. I heard about the announcement over the radio as I drove to work one Monday morning. I assumed that I had not been selected for the program when I heard the news. I made the assumption that NASA had already notified the finalists of their selection, and they were about to make the selection public. However, after arriving in the office, I received a call from Mr. George Abbey, who informed me that I had been selected. Mr. Abbey was head of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate (FCOD) at JSC. He told me not to divulge my selection to anyone until after NASA made the announcement to the press at 12:00 EST that day. I later discovered that NASA had called all two hundred finalists that morning and told them of their decision. Unfortunately, January was a bittersweet month for me. My mother had called me earlier in the month and told me that she was ill and that the doctors had given her only six months to live. As promised, I kept the announcement to myself, except for calling my wife to let her know of NASA’s decision.”
“I also had an interesting problem. I was still writing my dissertation and I had given myself until the end of the year to complete the document. NASA wanted me in Houston in July and thus I had to expedite the writing. I later learned that both Sally Ride and Kathy Sullivan were also in the same situation with their PhD dissertations. I defended my research and completed my dissertation in June of 1978 just before I left for my new assignment as a NASA astronaut.”

“As a matter of fact, we sold our house in Dayton and the family left for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in early June while I remained behind to finish up the dissertation. I eventually completed the document in late June, made six or seven copies of it, dropped it off on my dissertation advisor’s desk one Sunday evening, and left for Philadelphia to pick up the family. Although I had worked on the dissertation at nights and on the weekends, while serving as Branch Chief, I had a lot of support from AFIT and the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory in completing the project. I considered, earning a PhD from AFIT, one of the many crowning achievements of my Air Force career.”

“I went to Philadelphia and picked up the wife and kids and we drove down to Houston, where we had a house waiting for us. The wife and I had gone to Houston in April of 1978 and purchased a home and it was ready for us when we arrived in July.” – Guy Bluford’s wife, Linda, got a job as an accountant with an oil company. Their sons, Guion and James, enrolled in local high schools. “I wasn’t in Houston more than a week when I got a letter in the mail from AFIT indicating that my dissertation had been accepted and that I had completed all the requirements for my PhD degree. That was a great moment, since I had been working on the project for more than two years.”

“In February of 1978, NASA arranged to have our group come to Houston for a series of orientation meetings. During that visit, I got to meet my fellow astronaut candidates for the first time. It was a stellar group. NASA had selected fifteen test pilots and twenty mission specialists as part of the first class of astronauts dedicated to flying on the Space Shuttle. The class included six women and three African-Americans. We were slated to join approximately twenty-eight other astronauts who were already training in the astronaut office. We received a warm welcome by the people in Houston and during our visit we were measured for flight suits and T-38 flight helmets. I was thrilled to be there, and I was looking forward to working with my fellow astronauts as NASA continued to prepare for the first flight of the Space Shuttle.”

“In July, I reported to work in the Astronaut Office. Each of us in our class was assigned an office which we shared with a fellow astronaut on the third floor of Building 4. I shared my office with Don Williams, a Navy test pilot. Two weeks after beginning my training, my mother died. I knew she was proud of my accomplishments and my acceptance into the astronaut program. I promptly returned to Philadelphia for the funeral and to help close out her estate.”

“During the first year of training, I worked with Bob McCall, the artist, to develop a patch that represented our class. Bob had designed the flight patch for STS-1 and I asked him to do the same for our class. He came up with a design which highlighted the Space Shuttle, the thirty-five members of our class and 1978, the year that we arrived in Houston.” According to Guy Bluford, there was no special symbolism in the design. It was a just patch that was designed to represent the first class of astronauts hired specifically to fly on the shuttle.

“As we trained as AsCans, there was a lot of activity going on in the Astronaut Office. There were more requirements for astronauts then there were astronauts to fill them. It became very apparent that the Astronaut Office needed the AsCans as soon as possible to support the flight preparation for the first Space Shuttle flight. After one year of training, John Young, head of the Astronaut Office, declared that we were astronauts and we were given our silver astronaut pins. Thus we began to support the efforts in the Astronaut Office full time.”

(Jim Haskins/Kathleen Benson, “Space Challenger,” Carolrhoda Books, 1984; Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space,” Macmillan 1999; J. Alfred Phelps, “They Had a Dream: The Story of African American Astronauts,” Presidio Press 1994; Bert Vis, “Shuttle Astronaut Group Patches,” Spaceflight, Vol. 42, Oct. 2000; Guion Bluford JSC Oral History project interview, Aug. 2, 2004; The Pennsylvania Society’s Guion Bluford documentary, written by James Kreider – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 04:59 pm
Space is Black

“Chuck, Bobby Kennedy wants a ‘colored’ in space. Get one into your course!”

- General Curtis E. LeMay, USAF chief of staff, as quoted by J. Alfred Phelps

“The first Negro has been selected for possible participation in future U.S. manned space flights, it was disclosed yesterday. He is Air Force Captain Edward J. Dwight, Jr., of Kansas City, Kansas, who is among 14 new candidates chosen for the Air Force’s aerospace research pilot program at Edwards Air Force Base, California.”

- Fred Ferris, “First Negro Designated Space-Flight Candidate,” The Washington Post, March 31, 1963

(Based on J. Alfred Phelps’ book “They Had a Dream”)


Guy Bluford was not the first black American having the dream of becoming an astronaut. In “Who’s Who in Space” Michael Cassutt explains, “U.S. President John F. Kennedy believed that NASA should select an African-American astronaut and, through Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the President’s brother, the Air Force and Navy were encouraged to find a suitable candidate. The search resulted in the enrollment of 28-year-old Air Force Captain Edward Dwight in the Aerospace Research Pilot’s School in 1962.”

“Dwight had entered the Air Force in 1953, eventually logging over 2,000 hours of flying time in jet fighters while also doing a two-year tour as a B-57 pilot. He held a degree in aeronautical engineering. Though his qualifications for ARPS were minimal, Dwight managed to graduate. When submitted to NASA as a candidate, for the 1963 group, however, Dwight was not selected,” says Cassutt.

NASA chose two of Dwight’s ARPS classmates instead: Theodore Freeman, who died in a T-38 jet crash at Ellington AFB on October 3, 1964, and David Scott, who eventually commanded the Apollo 15 mission in 1971 – accompanied by LMP James Irwin, who had been in that same test pilot class; he was selected by NASA in April 1966.


“Edward Joseph Dwight, Jr., looked to the stars despite the obstacles facing him. Others savored space, could he not expect to fulfill his dreams?”

- J. Alfred Phelps, author of “They Had a Dream” (1994)

J. Alfred Phelps gives us some historical background information: “In 1962, news of the accomplishments of American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts filled front pages and the airwaves as the space race heated up between the superpowers. Dwight, caught up in all the excitement, began dreaming of joining the astronauts’ ranks… But it was a difficult time to be black in America and aspire to reach the stars.”

“The nation roiled with racial unrest. A little more than six years before, seamstress Rosa Parks had challenged the bus segregation ordinance in Montgomery, Alabama, releasing racial furies. In 1956, 101 Southern congressmen called for and got massive resistance to the Supreme Court’s desegregation rulings. National Guardsmen, called out by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus in 1957, barred nine black students from Little Rock’s Central High School. Blacks challenged restaurant segregation in Greensboro, North Carolina, with lunch counter sit-ins in 1960. And in July 1962, it took three thousand federal troops to ensure James Meredith’s safe admission to the University of Mississippi.”

“All of this caused a chilling stir deep in the hearts of desegregationists as they responded to the ominous muttering of the phrase, ‘We don’t want no coon on the Moon!’ But Edward Joseph Dwight, Jr., ignored the blatant discord and submitted his application for test pilot and astronaut training.” Phelps continues, “While Dwight underwent his baptism of fire at Edwards, space exploration picked up speed. On 15-16 May (1963), astronaut L. Gordon Cooper orbited the Earth twenty-two times in his Mercury-Atlas 9 vehicle. On 14 and 16 June, the Russians launched Vostok 5 and 6, orbiting the planet 81 and 48 times, respectively, with cosmonaut Valentina V. Tereshkova, the first woman in space, aboard the latter spacecraft.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:03 pm

“…the truth is that I lack the college education to qualify as a NASA astronaut. It so happens I could care less. But if I did care a lot, there isn’t a damn thing I could do about it, because the regulations say I must have a college degree… Captain Dwight may care a lot about becoming an astronaut. Well, he gave it his best shot and he just didn’t make it…”

- Charles Elwood “Chuck” Yeager (born 1923), who in 1947 became the first test pilot to have travelled faster than sound

J. Alfred Phelps explains, “Although Ed Dwight grew up in a family that stressed excellence and education, his hard work and many accomplishments were not enough to get him to the stars. Although he had survived ten years of stiff competition as an Air Force officer, logged more than 2,000 hours in the air as a jet bomber pilot, and had trained other pilots, he was unable to clear the last hurdle – the dogged racism that continued to hound the armed services and NASA.”

Phelps tells us that the famous test pilot Colonel Charles “Chuck” Yeager, who at the time headed the ARPS at Edwards AFB, held rather a dim view of Dwight’s abilities:

”In those days,” Yeager said, “there were still comparatively few black pilots in the Air Force, but Dwight sure as hell didn’t represent the top of the talent pool.” Yeager remembered black pilots with whom he had flown (e.g., Emmett Hatch and Eddie LaVelle), but “guys of their quality didn’t apply for the course. Dwight did!”…  Yeager later maintained that Dwight's abilities were so lacking "we set up a special tutoring program to get him through the academics, as I recall, he lacked the engineering (background) that the other students had."…Yeager further observes that Dwight worked hard, as did his tutors, but adds that "Dwight just couldn't hack it... didn't keep up in flying." Yeager claims to have worked with Dwight on his flying, but he noted that "our students were flying at levels really beyond his experience. The only prejudice against Dwight," Yeager recalls, wagging a literary finger, "was the conviction that he was not qualified to be in the school" in the first place.

“Yet Dwight,” states Phelps, “selected by the Air Force because of his record and educational background, must have come very close to the ‘top of the talent pool.’ If he didn’t, the service’s personnel selection process was mysteriously askew. Furthermore, because the search for a black pilot had been triggered by the President himself, the Air Force’s screening was undoubtedly thorough. Finally, there were 1,300 black Air Force officers on active duty at the time in the continental United States, many of whom were pilots. Others were overseas and within two years they represented just under two percent of all officers in the Air Force, the numbers were vastly greater than Yeager’s off-the-cuff assessment suggests.”

Ebony reporter Charles L. Sanders later claimed that ARPS commandant Chuck Yeager had not only put Edward Dwight’s professional abilities into question, but that he also – shortly before Dwight was to enter the high-powered Phase II postgraduate course dealing primarily with aerospace research – had called him into his office, ordered him to sit down and “subjected him to a line of questioning that dripped with racism.” This is how J. Alfred Phelps describes this alleged confrontation:

”Who got you into this school?” Yeager supposedly wanted to know. “Was it the NAACP or are you some kind of Black Muslim out here to make trouble? I hear you’re a ‘Kennedy boy,’ so did President Kennedy send the word down that you’re supposed to go into space? Why in hell would a colored guy want to go into space anyway? As far as I’m concerned, there’ll never be one to do it. And if it was left to me, you guys wouldn’t even get a chance to wear an Air Force uniform!”

Chuck Yeager vehemently denied those allegations. Phelps writes, “He wanted to charge Dwight with insubordination, especially after Dwight had brought charges of racism against him and ‘couldn’t make them stick.’ But the Air Force ignored Yeager’s request for a court martial. It had already taken enough flak over the Dwight Affair.

‘Yeager continued to fume. He knew that in those days and times it had become “fashionable” for government agencies to “advertise themselves as equal opportunity employers.” The Air Force, Yeager said, had been that way with him from the start, and “I would never deny anybody else the chance to prove his worth, no matter who or what he is!” But what Dwight had done struck at the very core of Yeager’s being. Dwight had “called into question not only my professional integrity,” Yeager later wrote, “but most basic, (my) loyalty to the Air Force!” Yeager says he had experienced prejudice himself because of “his ways and accent.” There were, he said, those in the service who had pegged him as “a dumb, down-home squirrel shooter.’

“Despite his commandant’s attitude towards him, Dwight entered ARPS Phase II training in the summer of 1963. He took all the tests and underwent even more in-depth physical examinations,” writes Phelps. “There is little doubt that Colonel Yeager was Dwight’s personal devil at Edwards. But NASA made the actual selection, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where the agency stood on the issue of race when it announced the latest slate of astronauts in the fall of 1963:

’What part, if any, do genetics play in astronaut selection? Personnel records indicate that a man with brown hair and blue eyes may have an advantage in being selected an astronaut. There are 19 out of 30 with brown hair, seven blonds, two redheads, and one each with auburn and black hair. Sixteen of the group have blue eyes; eight brown; three green; and three hazel.’

“One can only wonder what Dwight – who had been notified earlier in the summer that the NASA selection committee did not believe he was ‘as highly qualified as the candidates selected to participate in the later phases of the program’ – would have thought had he read that NASA press release.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:04 pm

“This is one country. It has become one country because all of us and all the people who came here had equal chance to develop their talents. We cannot say to ten percent of the population that you cannot have that right; that your children can’t have the chance to develop whatever talents they have.”

- U.S. President John F. Kennedy, June 11, 1963

J. Alfred Phelps writes, “Kennedy learned during meetings with minority leaders and from other sources that, although segregation and discrimination had been outlawed in the armed forces by President Harry S. Truman more than a decade before, there was ample evidence minority discrimination persisted in the military services. The President, stung by the revelations, resolved to initiate steps to eliminate these sources of ‘hardship and embarrassment’ for servicemen and women.”

“President Kennedy wielded a double-edged sword. On the one hand, he had intelligently mobilized the black vote in order to ensure his election. On the other, he now pressed further, attempting to ensure equality for blacks in the military. It seemed providential for blacks aspiring to enter the space program, as the armed forces were the prime source of astronauts.”

Phelps continues, “The odds are that President Kennedy did not know to extent of the maelstrom he had unleashed.” He quotes an article by Charles L. Sanders in the June 1965 issue of Ebony:

’There were people out there (who thought) Kennedy didn’t understand that he wasn’t the king of the world versus president of the United States. When you appoint a king, then all your minions follow in lock step. (But) you can be president and there can be things going on (during) your watch and you don’t know how the system operates. You’re doing all the gracious things on the surface, passing all the edicts, all those laws, and at the end of the whole process you find out these people have taken your directions and, for their own benefit, (gone off) in their direction.’

“A little more than a month before Dwight’s class graduated at Edwards, whatever furies existed in America were unleashed,” writes Phelps. “President Kennedy was fatally shot in Dallas on 22 November, and his accused murderer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed shortly thereafter by a man named Jack Ruby. Any hope Dwight might have had of assistance from the White House evaporated like steam from a whistling tea kettle, and within days of the assassination he received orders ‘to get the hell outta there!’”

“Standing in the ranks with the fifteen other pilots completing ARPS Class IV at Edwards, Dwight listened to Gen. Bernard A Shriever, commander of the Air Force Systems Command, wax eloquently about their accomplishments and futures. While Dwight could take pride in his work at Edwards, he knew in his heart that he would never, ever fly in space,” says Phelps. “His dreams had been destroyed – if not by Colonel Yeager and NASA, then by an assassin’s bullet. He had been shut out of the astronaut business.”


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

“On 2 July 1964,” Phelps writes, “President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. The long-sought legislation forbade racial discrimination in most privately owned places of public accommodation and gave the Attorney General the authority to file civil suits on behalf of victims of discrimination. Voting discrimination was also outlawed, and a commission was created to ‘investigate alleged racial discrimination by employers and labor unions.’

“Despite the enactment of that historic legislation, riots erupted in the north that summer. When a fifteen-year-old youth was killed in New York City, riots broke out in Harlem and Brooklyn, and the violence soon spread to Rochester, Jersey City, and Philadelphia. That same year, the bodies of three young civil rights workers (two whites and a black) were found buried under an earthen dam in Mississippi, where they had been left after being murdered.”

“In 1965, the civil rights movement changed its tactics and began promoting voter registration. On 1 February, when protesters led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, they were greeted with tear gas, bullwhips, cattle prods, and clubs. Black men, women, and children were beaten to the ground. Several days later, a sympathetic Unitarian minister from Boston was murdered. The federal government sought an injunction against Alabama to permit the march, and President Johnson told the Nation:

‘I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the dignity of democracy. I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me in that cause. At times, history and fate meet in a single time, in a single place, to shape a turning point in Man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.’

“The world paused, looking for long moments at Highway 82 in Alabama as whites and blacks marched and sang together behind a phalanx of federal troops and National Guardsmen. The summer of 1965 promised to be long and hot. Racial tension mounted and the nation’s attention focused on the predominantly black Watts area of Los Angeles, which seemed about to explode.”

Meanwhile, Captain Edward Dwight fought his own battles. Like most of his classmates at the ARPS, who hadn’t been chosen as astronauts or to serve on the school’s staff and therefore returned to their respective services for duty, he had received new orders from the Air Force. “Dwight later observed wryly that he was told he was being assigned to Germany as a liaison officer for that country’s then nonexistent space program,” says Phelps. “Incensed by the perceived slight, he refused to go. Soon after that he was assigned to a bomber test group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio – an assignment his fellow ARPS graduates thought was ‘the worst possible one a guy can get.’

Professionally, as well as personally, these were difficult times for Dwight. To make matters worse, while being stationed in Ohio, he and his family still encountered constant acts of vicious racism. But, as Phelps puts it, “his dreams of the stars – of going to the Moon and beyond – still burned brightly within him. He fought off the temptation to run and hide and resolved to keep fighting for redress.” – And then, in June 1965, “Charles Sanders’ article about the injustices suffered by Ed Dwight exploded in the pages of Ebony first. Newspapers blossomed with the news about Dwight’s failure to become an astronaut. The story was a hot one, linked as it was to the racial tension that plagued the country.”

Faced with an ensuing debate whether or not Dwight had been eliminated from the space program because he was black, NASA issued this statement: “If he was not selected as an astronaut, it does not mean he was not qualified. It means that someone more qualified was selected ahead of him.”

Phelps states, “As usual, none of this was lost on the Russians, who first profusely congratulated the United States on the success of the Gemini 4 spaceflight,” which had put the U.S. into the business of walking in space, “then took the opportunity to criticize America for allowing racial prejudice to ‘creep into the American space program.’ The Soviet news agency Tass revived Dwight’s charge against the Air Force ‘that he was rejected for astronaut duty because he is a Negro.’


“When we find (a woman or) Negro with the right qualifications, they’ll be selected – presently no Negroes (or women) have been found to be anywhere near qualified.”

- Astronaut Gordon Cooper (1927-2004), during a Nigeria visit in September 1965, as quoted by J. Alfred Phelps

When Ed Dwight read those comments made by just returned Gemini 5 astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., featured in a Baltimore Sun article on September 24, 1965, he saw red. Phelps explains, “After having gone through all that he had – and to a certain extent was still going through – Dwight was in no mood to countenance such a callous remark from the likes of L. Gordon Cooper or anybody else! On 30 September 1965, he sent a letter to President Johnson. The typewriter keys probably smoked as he churned out two and a half pages of single-spaced text. Dwight wasted little time on pleasantries, but instead got right to the heart of the matter:

‘…if it is true that Colonel Cooper did, in fact, make these statements, he did so as a representative of the United States government. I feel as a Negro American that this rationale is untenable and totally unacceptable. These statements are a direct affront to the American Negro citizen, and indirectly can have only harmful effects to our policy of good international race relations with the African countries.’

“Dwight added that he took

‘strong issue to Colonel Cooper’s implication that the American Negro is so backward and unqualified that he is incapable of performing space functions… I am fully qualified in all respects to perform spaceflight… It is not my intention to question government policy, but in light of the intense social upheaval in progress in this country, Colonel Cooper’s statement is a blight on Negro progress. He has demonstrated a lack of insight into the real Negro problem here and abroad. A man of his stature does not smack the Negro in the face with such a discouraging attitude, and then expect the Negro to have faith in the American way, and to exercise the drive and determination to excel. He could at least have exhibited a positive attitude. We, as a nation, can ill afford to alienate these black nations.’

Phelps writes, “Perhaps he thought that his letter to President Johnson complaining about L. Gordon Cooper’s indiscretion in Nigeria, in which Dwight reminded the chief executive of his qualifications, might still save the day. After all, he recalled, ‘They promised me a flight if I wouldn’t talk to the press.’ That was probably a pipe dream for the President was angered by the articles featuring Dwight’s pot shots at the Air Force alleging racial discrimination.”

“President Johnson was the wrong man to approach with mewling protestation, breast-beating, and foot-stomping. With LBJ, loyalty was everything. To attack the agency that fed one, in this instance, the Air Force, was a serious breach of loyalty in Johnson’s book. So it was that Captain Dwight and his career went right down the tube. President Johnson was already casting about for his own black astronaut. Dwight was perceived as damaged goods; he had become too closely associated with JFK in the public’s mind.”

“Furthermore, as far as the Air Force was concerned,” Phelps continues, “Dwight knew it was over… The Air Force, although realizing that its efforts to eliminate racism within its ranks weren’t perfect, had been the first military branch to fully integrate after President Truman issued his 1948 executive order to end segregation in the armed forces. Naysayers or not, the service was proud of its record as far as discrimination was concerned. Dwight had sullied the Air Force uniform.”

“Black officers like Col. Daniel ‘Chappie’ James, Jr., who later became America’s first black four-star general, were touting the Air Force and the progress it had made, insisting that excellence of performance was the ultimate guarantor of success in the military.”

Phelps quotes another black legend of American aviation history. “The late John ‘Mr. Death’ Whitehead, a member of the now famous band of African Americans nobody thought would fly during World War II – the Tuskegee Airmen – and a graduate of the experimental test pilots’ school at Edwards long before Dwight ever showed up, suggests that part of Dwight’s problem may well have been ‘his attitude.’ Whitehead said Dwight went about it the wrong way, that he beat himself. ‘Hell,’ Whitehead recalled, ‘Dwight wasn’t the first black man to attend the flight test center schools at Edwards! But we all got through without a problem.’

Ed Dwight resigned from the Air Force in 1966. To this day he refuses to believe, writes Phelps, “that he failed to become an astronaut because his class rank was simply too low. As far as he is concerned, it was racism and JFK’s untimely assassination… Perhaps the saddest commentary on the Dwight Affair may be that Dwight could have been the top man in his class with perhaps a little more effort on his part. The evidence suggests Dwight was certainly capable of it. But perhaps the knowledge that he was the ‘Kennedy boy (who) was going to make it, no matter what’ held him back.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:06 pm

“(Lawrence) proved, finally, what black people in this country have long known – that excellence has no color.”

- Ebony staff writer David Flores, eulogizing the late Major USAF Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 2, 1935, he had received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, in 1956 and a PhD in nuclear chemistry from Ohio State University in 1965. A cadet commander of the Bradley ROTC, he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956. After having received his wings at Webb AFB in Big Spring, Texas, and having completed training as a flight instructor at Craig AFB near Selma, Alabama, he was stationed at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base near Munich, West-Germany, with an assignment as T-33 instructor pilot. When he returned to the U.S. in 1961, many new members of the Germany Air Force had learned their flying skills from him.

According to, “It was at ‘Furstie’ after a fatal accident that he recommended changing the language of instruction from English to German. He made this suggestion on the grounds that flying at incredible speeds left little time for pilots to translate information from the language in which it had been delivered to their native language. Reasoning that if they were instructed in their native language reactions would be more automatic, permitting more rapid responses and perhaps avoiding tragedy.”

By 1967 he had logged over 2,500 flying hours, more than 2,000 of them in jet aircraft. “He entered the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, which led to his PhD,” adds Michael Cassutt in Who’s Who in Space, “and became a nuclear research officer at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.”

Since early 1961 he had submitted applications to NASA and had been rejected several times. But in June 1967, having just graduated from ARPS at Edwards, Major USAF Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., became the first black American selected as an astronaut candidate for the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL). 

Tragically, just a few months later, on December 8, 1967, Lawrence died in an F-104 “Starfighter” crash at Edwards. Michael Cassutt explains, “All MOL pilots, even those who had attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School, were enrolled in a six-month course at Edwards that included ‘Booming and zooming,’ flying zero-G arcs or simulating very high-speed spacecraft landings in a modified F-104. It was while ‘zooming’ that Lawrence crashed, ejecting too low for his parachute to open. Another pilot with him, Major Harvey Royer, ejected and lived.”

“Had he lived he would have been eligible for transfer to NASA as an astronaut in August 1969,” says Cassutt, “and would probably have gone into space aboard the shuttle.” According to J. Alfred Phelps, “NASA probably would have more readily accepted Lawrence. After all the bad press generated by the Dwight Affair it could not have afforded to do otherwise… Robert Lawrence’s death marked the end of minority participation in the astronaut program for a lengthy period,” says Phelps. “More than a decade would pass before NASA again seriously considered minority males and women for employment as astronauts and offered them a chance to make the cherished leap into space.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:07 pm
In January 1978 NASA introduced thirty-five new astronauts to the world, among them Air Force Majors Frederick D. Gregory and Guion S. Bluford, Jr., as well as Physicist Dr. Ronald E. McNair. Phelps writes, “That they were African American signified only snippets of reasons they had been chosen out of thousands to participate in the Space Shuttle program. It had to do with each of them, what they had become as men and as Americans. But because they were seen as America’s first three ‘official’ black astronauts, it was difficult at first to get their fellow countrymen to understand that. In a telephone interview, Fred Gregory said, ‘I would hate to think that I was chosen – or any of the women or minorities were chosen – because of tokenism. I think my qualifications were adequate – super – to be chosen.’

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:08 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:09 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:10 pm
Phelps adds, “Inspired by the trio’s accomplishments, another black man thought to make the grade despite initial doubts He was Marine, a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. A naval aviator with over a hundred missions into North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia… A near-graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, Charles F. Bolden, Jr., had already overcome a boatload of obstacles in his life. Still, he doubted his chances for a career as an astronaut. Until then. According to Bolden, ‘I never had an interest, never had a legitimate interest in being an astronaut as a kid. I just figured that was impossible, so I didn’t even think about it…’ – It was indeed possible, however. Guy Bluford, Ron McNair, and Fred Gregory had already joined the hallowed ranks of U.S. astronauts. In a relatively short time, so would Charles Bolden.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:12 pm
“Thus began the saga of African Americans in the astronaut program,” says Phelps. “Its start would be considered by many as grossly inauspicious. But perhaps that has been the nature of the American experience throughout the twentieth century. The first black to sally forth into the American mainstream always seemed to catch hell. It was no different in the astronaut program. The difference was that many of the first black astronaut-selectees were warriors, fighter and bomber pilots who were trained to fly combat missions in Korea or had participated in air combat in Vietnam while that war still raged. Therein lies a story of minority ascension against the odds and into space itself.”

See also:

Edward J. Dwight, Jr.

Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.,_Jr.

African-American Civil Rights Movement

(J. Alfred Phelps, “They Had a Dream: The Story of African American Astronauts,” Presidio Press 1994; Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space,” Macmillan 1999 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:14 pm
Ebony and Ivory

“Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms… If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”

- Eugene Wesley “Gene” Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek (1921-1991)

(By Mike Mullane)

The first year of our TFNG indoctrination was one of euphoria. At summer’s end the class hosted a party for the entire astronaut corps. The centerpiece of the entertainment was a skit that poked fun of the astronaut selection process, specifically the selection of the female and minority astronauts. The program starred Judy Resnik, Ron McNair, and some forgotten white guy.

A bed sheet was hung from the ceiling in front of a chair. Judy was seated with just her face protruding through a hole cut in the sheet. Behind the sheet Ron stood at her right and extended his arm through another hole. The effect was that Ron’s black arm appeared to be Judy’s. Through a left-side hole, the white TFNG extended his excessively hairy arm as if it were also Judy’s.

Clothing was pinned to the sheet to give the appearance the mutation was dressed. And what a mutation – a woman with one black and one white arm, an affirmative action wet dream. The skit continued as an “astronaut selection board” – fellow TFNGs, of course – interviewed this androgynous creature. All this time, the arm and hand movements, comically uncoordinated, brought howls of laughter. The final question posed was “What makes you qualified to be an astronaut?” With ebony-and-ivory arms waving, Judy replied, “I have some rather unique qualifications.” At that, the laughter hit max-Q.

The skit obviously predated political correctness. For astronauts to perform such satire in today’s America would have Jesse Jackson sprinting to the NASA Administrator’s office with a gaggle of lawyers in tow.

(Mike Mullane, “Riding Rockets,” Scribner 2007 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:15 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:17 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:17 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:19 pm
Creatures of the Night

“I recognized the importance of it, but I didn’t want it to be a distraction for my crew. We were all contributing to history and to our continued exploration of space.”

- Guy Bluford, talking about being America’s first black astronaut

“I’m just personally delighted to be back in line to get another flight on this magnificent flying machine that we have,” Commander Richard Truly said at the outset of the news conference held at Johnson Space Center on April 29, 1982, which was to introduce the then four-man STS-8 crew to the world. They had been officially announced only ten days earlier. “I’m also very honored to fly with three real professionals of the newer group of astronauts that we selected in 1978. They’re three topnotch people; they’ve done extremely important jobs in the first flights, in support of the first flights of the Space Shuttle. And they each well deserved to get an early flight, and I’m pleased to be with them.”

Those feelings were reciprocal, as STS-8 pilot Dan Brandenstein explained several years later, “It was a good crew. Dick Truly had been around a long time and was a good commander and taught us a lot. Everybody had their strengths and their area of expertise, and you focused on those and shared your experience and your wisdom with the other folks, and we got the job done.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:20 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:22 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:23 pm
And that job, due to mission goals and orbital mechanics, included launching and landing the shuttle in the dark – “pretty early in the program to try something like that,” as Brandenstein commented. Only once before NASA had launched a manned mission during the night – and that had been the final moonshot, Apollo 17, in December 1972. So Challenger’s first nocturnal lift-off made the STS-8 crew – joined by six rats, unofficially named Eenie, Meanie, Miney, Moe, Larry and Curley – the Space Shuttle program’s first “Creatures of the Night.”

Apart from being expected to show that they had the “Rat Stuff,” the little “Original Six” rodents also served to generate the kind of puns one might have expected. There was, for instance, the fictitious biography on the astrorats which detailed the diverse histories of such newcomers as Eenie, who was born on a merchant marine ship, graduated from Ratcliffe College with a PhD in animal husbandry and eventually got into the astrorat program after reading about it in the paper.

Then there was Miney, who graduated with honors from Rat Point, his father having been a colonel in the Army’s Rat Patrol. Moe had worked at the Kraft Great American Cheese Research Laboratory before being selected by NASA, while Curly came in with a degree from Ratsselaer Polytechnic, and Meanie was selected by virtue of illustrious studies at Ratre Dame…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:24 pm

STS-8 CDR Richard Harrison “Dick” Truly, Captain USN, was born in Fayette, Mississippi, on November 12, 1937.  He was married to the former Colleen Hanner and had three children – Richard Michael (May 10, 1961), Daniel Bennett (Aug. 9, 1963) and Lee Margaret (Sep. 8, 1964). Dick Truly attended school in Fayette and in Meridian, Mississippi. In 1959 he graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor degree in aeronautical engineering and entered naval flight training at Beeville, Texas. He was assigned to Fighter Squadron 33. Following service as a carrier pilot aboard USS Intrepid and USS Enterprise, having logged more than 300 carrier landings, Truly completed the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards in 1964 and was subsequently assigned there as an instructor.

In 1965 he was assigned to the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program and became a NASA astronaut in September 1969. He was a member of the astronaut support crew and a Capsule Communicator for all three of the manned Skylab missions during 1973/74, as well as for the Apollo Soyuz docking mission in July 1975.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:25 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:26 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:27 pm
Dick Truly and Colonel Joe H. Engle, USAF, were one of the two-man crews that flew Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Test (ALT) flights during the period June through October 1977. This series of critical orbiter flight tests initially involved Boeing 747/orbiter captive-active flights, followed by air-launched, unpowered glide, approach and landing tests. There were three captive tests with the orbiter Enterprise carried atop the Boeing 747 carrier aircraft allowing inflight test and checkout of orbiter systems, and five free flights which permitted extensive evaluations of the orbiter’s subsonic flying qualities and performance characteristics during separation, up-and-away flight, flare, landing and rollout – providing valuable real-time data duplicating the last few minutes of an operational shuttle mission. Truly and Engle flew the second and fourth free flights, with ALT 4 being the first flight in the orbital configuration – with the tail cone removed.

Truly was backup pilot for STS-1, the first orbital flight of the shuttle Columbia, and was the pilot on the second flight, STS-2, launched from Kennedy Space Center on November 12, 1981; Commander for this flight was Joe Engle. Despite a mission shortened from five days to two days because of a failed fuel cell, the crew accomplished more than 90 percent of the objectives set for STS-2 before returning to a landing on the dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base on November 14, 1981.

Major test objectives included the first unloaded test in space of the 50-foot remote manipulator arm designed to remove payloads from the orbiter payload bay, as well as to retrieve satellites for repair or return to Earth. STS-2 demonstrated the orbiter’s capability to support attached payloads and provide a stable platform for the conduct of Earth surveys. Extensive data was obtained for the OSTA-1 payload which was comprised of seven scientific experiments designed to test advanced techniques and instruments to survey Earth from space and gather data on Earth resources and Earth’s environment.

Twenty-nine flight test maneuvers were performed during the entry at speeds from Mach 24 (18,500 mph) to subsonic. These maneuvers were designed to most efficiently extract aerodynamic and thermodynamic data to verify the orbiter performance, stability and control, and heating characteristics during its hypersonic entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

“We are flying the Challenger,” STS-8 Commander Richard Truly remarked, “which makes me happy since I’ve flown the Enterprise and the Columbia – and I now get to fly the Challenger. And I hope they’ll let me keep that tradition up, frankly.” He had accumulated a total of almost 7,000 hours flying time aboard many different types of aircraft. He had been awarded two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, the JSC Superior Achievement Award and Special Achievement Award, the SETP Iven C. Kincheloe Award, the AFA’s David C. Schilling Award, the American Astronomical Society’s Flight Achievement Award, the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, and the AIAA’s Haley Space Flight Award.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:28 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:29 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:31 pm

STS-8 PLT Daniel Charles “Dan” Brandenstein, Commander USN, was born January 17, 1943, in Watertown, Wisconsin, and was married to the former Jane A. Wade of Balsam Lake, Wisconsin; they had a daughter, Adelle (Jan. 7, 1972). He graduated from Watertown High School in 1961. Asked what made him interested in becoming an astronaut, Brandenstein explained, “Well, the history of how I got involved and interested, growing up in high school and the like, there was no space program, so aviation was probably my interest. Although I never did any flying, I was always interested in airplanes. I built model airplanes and the like. And basically it kind of narrowed down to my freshman year in college, kind of had to chart a course through life. Up until that point, it had been a little of this, a little of that.”

“I guess, fortunately for me, it was during the Mercury Program, so now a space program had evolved that I was aware of. Since my interest in aviation was quite strong, it looked like the space program was the ultimate form of aviation. So at that point I thought, well, you know, you might as well shoot for the top of the heap, and I decided I'd consider, would like to be an astronaut. I wasn't sure what it all entailed and what I thought the requirements were. As I said, fortunately there were only seven astronauts at that time. I basically got the biographies of the original seven and just kind of took the common thread of those seven individuals. Basically, they were all military pilots, they were all test pilots, and they all had a degree in science or engineering or something like that.”

“So I was going to school at University of Wisconsin at River Falls, and they didn't have an engineering program, but I pursued a double major in math and physics, which was about as close to engineering as you could get there, and it was things I was really interested in. Through high school and throughout, math and physics were always my favorite courses. I was most interested in those. It also happened to be the path of least resistance through college for me. If I had had a major in history or English, I'd have been dead. So that kind of came together,” said Brandenstein, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1965.

“Then my senior year in college, I started looking at the various military aviation programs. The Air Force sent their recruiters to the campus, and they were good recruiters, but they weren't aviators. They were enlisted professional-type recruiters. Whereas the Navy team that came were actual pilots, and they sat down and they told you flying stories and laid out what it was all about. They impressed upon you that the Air Force lands on three miles of runway and the Navy lands on 750 feet of pitching steel.”

Brandenstein, who entered the Navy in 1965 and was designated a naval aviator in 1967, continued, “So, once again, looking at what looked to be most interesting and most challenging, the naval aspect of aviation caught my fancy, and I went and took the tests and the physicals, and got selected, and right of out college then, went through aviation officer candidate training down in Pensacola, Florida, and got my wings through the Navy flight training program.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:32 pm

“So I basically had one of my Xs in a box as I perceived it. Then my Navy career took me into the A-6 community. I flew about two hundred missions in Vietnam, made two cruises over there off of two different aircraft carriers,” said Brandenstein, talking about his two combat tours aboard USS Constellation and USS Ranger. Looking back at July 1969, he talked about that small step for a man. “I was between my cruises, and I was home visiting my folks. I stayed up, I think, all night or most of the night on the living room floor while everybody else was in bed, watching it on TV. I guess this is maybe a vain attitude, but my initial impression, when Neil stepped on the moon, was that I was hacked off because I wanted to be the first one on the moon.” He laughs, “I got over it; it wasn't a big deal. But that was kind of my initial impression. But it was a tremendous achievement and it just reaffirmed my desire to get involved in the space program.” Brandenstein continued, “The Navy requirement to get into test pilot school was a minimum number of flight hours, so after my second cruise, I had accrued enough hours for that, so I applied for the Navy test pilot school, seeing to get the second X in the box.”

“The first selection I was selected as an alternate, so I was halfway there, I guess. But part of the way the program worked, if you were selected as an alternate, the next time they had a selection, you automatically were reevaluated and then put back in the selection process. And that time I got selected, so then I went to the test pilot school, then continued on for about three and a half years of flight test work,”  says Brandenstein. “That wrapped up in the middle part of the seventies, and the space program was more or less slowing down. Apollo had been stopped. The Skylab was in progress, but that had a questionable future, from what you read in the media.”

“At that point in time, we historically know now that the Shuttle Program was being developed, but it wasn't obvious to me at that point, as I recall. So I kind of thought, well, heck, my chances of being an astronaut are probably kind of slim, because it looks like the program's kind of winding down. So I went back to the fleet and continued my naval career, which I enjoyed very much. It was something that I enjoyed doing and felt a great deal of professional satisfaction doing it.” In 1975 Brandenstein was again assigned to USS Ranger as A-6 test and instructor pilot, cruising in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.

“But then in '77, the call went out for selection for astronauts for the Shuttle Program, so I quick did a little research and said, ‘Wow! There is a chance.’ So the process worked that military folks had to apply through their parent service, so I filled out all the paperwork and sent it in to the Navy, and I passed their screening, and then those names got passed on to NASA. Then in – I think it was August of '77, I went to Houston, in the heat, and went through the week of interviews and the like, and then in January of '78, the word came from Mr. Abbey, the phone call. Actually, I was stationed right up here on Whidbey Island, Washington. In fact, it was early in the morning,” Brandenstein remembered.

“It was one of those things you kind of don't forget. I was in the shower and the phone rang. My wife answered and got me, dripping wet, out of the shower. George, in his typical fashion, started asking about the weather and everything else, you know. I wanted an answer; I don't want to talk about the weather. So ultimately he got around and wanted to know if I was still interested in coming to Houston and being an astronaut. The answer to that was pretty obvious. So then that was the last X in the box, pretty much, at least to be an astronaut. I still hadn't flown. So then in the summer of '78, we moved down to Houston and started our astronaut candidate training.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:34 pm

“Well, obviously our group was all very excited,” Brandenstein remembered. “It was kind of interesting. See, we were the first group that had mission specialists in addition to pilots. Earlier I kind of went through my long-range planning because I'd been interested in it and looked at it since early on, and kind of laid all these milestones that I figured I had to accomplish to get there. But a number of the mission specialists, they weren't pilots and they never had been pilots. I think Sally Ride is one that comes to mind. I mean, she was saying how she was just walking through the Student Union one day and saw a flyer that said NASA was looking for astronauts, and that's really the first time she'd ever thought about it. For a number of the mission specialists, that was their attitude, because they weren't military pilots. Like I say, up until that point to the Shuttle Program that was kind of the Xs you needed in the boxes to be considered.”

“So the wide diversity of backgrounds that we had in that class was unique to NASA, and I personally loved it, because I've always been interested in a lot of things. I mean, I'm fascinated going into a factory where they make bubble gum or you name it, just to see how different machines and different things work. In my lifetime, I took up skiing and I didn't take lessons; I learned to do it through the school of hard knocks. I bought a sailboat and I made some sails because I thought it would be kind of fun to make a sail. So I was always interested in not just what I did, but kind of a wide variety of things.”

“So being now in a group with people that were doctors and scientists and all this was really fascinating to me. There were a lot of neat people there with very interesting backgrounds, that knew a lot about things I didn't have a clue about, so you could learn a lot more. And that was kind of the flavor of the training. The first year of training, they try and give everybody some base line of knowledge that they needed to operate in that office, so we had aerodynamics courses which, for somebody who had been through a test pilot school, was kind of a ‘ho-hum, been there, done that,’ but for a medical doctor, I mean, that was something totally new and different. But then the astronomy courses and the geology courses and the medical-type courses we got, all that was focused on stuff we'd have to know to operate in the office and at least understand and be reasonably cognizant of some of the importance of the various experiments that we would be doing on the various missions and stuff. So I found that real fascinating,” said Brandenstein.

“He's passed away now, but the astronomy course was Professor Smith out of University of Texas, and he was kind of your almost stereotypical crazy professor. I mean, he was just a cloud of chalk dust back and forth across the blackboard as he went on, and we had twelve hours of astronomy. He claimed that he gave us four years of undergraduate and two years of graduate astronomy in twelve hours. And it gave you a good appreciation of what it was all about. It didn't, by any stretch of the imagination, make me an astronomer, but the intent of it was, like I say, to give you an appreciation and give you an understanding, and then also because of the very special instructors they brought in, it gave you a point of contact. So if somewhere later in your career you had a mission that needed that expertise, you had somebody to go up to and get the level of detailed information you needed.”

“The other good thing about the classes, there weren't any written tests. You absorbed as much as you could. There were people in the class that were kind of the interim step. One of the guys I met there in my class turned out to be a good friend to this day, is Steve Hawley. He was an astronomer. I flew A-6s in the Navy, which was an attack airplane, so I don't know how it got around, but we ended up calling him ‘the Attack Astronomer,’ because he'd never flown. The mission specialists flew in the back seat of the T-38s. He really took to flying and really enjoyed it, so somehow during the evolution he got the nickname ‘the Attack Astronomer – A-squared.’ So, you know, he learned about flying and that type of operation, and I learned a little more about astronomy and the like.”

Dan Brandenstein continued, “There were a lot of those interchanges because you had such a diverse group of people. We always joked – and it was that way. I mean, like I explained how they taught you the astronomy, well, everything was pretty much that way. It was just dump data on you faster than you could imagine. A common joke was that training as an astronaut candidate was kind of like drinking water out of a fire hose; it just kept coming and kept coming and kept coming. Like I say, probably the good point of it was you weren't given written tests, so they could just heap as much on you, and you captured what you could. What rolled off your back, you knew where to go recover it.”

“That was – I can't remember, I think it was almost eighteen months that we were in that. I think the first AsCan class lasted that long. Ultimately it got streamlined and reduced (to one year). We had a lot of field trips. We went to all the NASA centers. Basically, being an astronaut, it's not real narrow, highly specialized; it's very diverse. Your missions carry a variety of experiments. So as I came to find out later in my time at NASA, you really look for people that are adaptable and have a more diverse background, almost the better off you are, because the way you operate in the office, you have assigned tasks for six months, nine months, a year, and these are technical tasks that you do when you're not training or flying a mission, and, you know, you get switched to another one, and you try and develop a corps of astronauts that really have a very broad base of experience and knowledge that covers the wide spectrum of the space program.”

“That was part of the reason of going to all the centers, because you got to learn what they did at all the other centers, so you got a better understanding. You went to the contractors, where they were building the shuttle, and go to understand that a little bit more and all that. So it gave you a really good, broad experience base. That's, I think, from my perspective, what I liked about the job. You weren't stuck in a small, narrow area. It kind of goes back to my nature. The Navy is kind of that way, too. They move you around in jobs every nine months or so, and that's what I always liked. I liked new experiences and learning more, and having a more diverse-type job as opposed to a very narrow focused-type job.”

“You got a full set of briefs on each system on the shuttle so you knew how the electrical system worked and how the hydraulic system worked and how the computer, and you got some time in simulators. You didn't get time in the upscale simulators, the moving base or the fixed base. They had what they called single-systems trainers where you kind of go in and you just learn one system at a time. The cockpit didn't move, but it had the basic displays and things. A lot of the switches, in a single-system trainer, a lot of the switches that weren't used in the level of classes you were getting were just pictures of the switches that you needed to operate, to learn the system you were working with, you actually operated.”

“So, yes, you got quite a bit of time doing that. Once again, it was the first time through, and you got a pretty good understanding of it, but it isn't until you really got further down the line in the real mission training that you really get to understand a lot of the subtleties of the shuttle.” Brandenstein continued, “Once you complete your candidate training, then you basically get assigned technical assignments.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:36 pm

“My first technical assignment was on the support crew for STS-1,” said Brandenstein. “They don't even have those anymore. We had support crews up through about the fourth or fifth mission, I think. Basically, they also had prime and backup crews for the first couple of missions. The crews were spending so much time training that what the support crew did – and I think there were about four people on the support crew, if I remember correctly – maybe five or six. I don't even remember for sure. And basically our job, we were just kind of right-hand people for the crew. Part of it was we got to be CapCom. For STS-1, I started out as the backup CapCom for ascent, and Rick Hauck was backup CapCom for entry. I think Sally (Ride) and Jim Buchli were backup CapComs for the on-orbit phase, as I recall. I know Rick and I for sure. I'm not sure about the other two. I think that's where they fit in.”

“In addition to that, all the procedures to fly the mission and stuff were just being developed, so the crew would be over training and we'd be helping with the engineers and whatnot, developing the procedures that they would actually use to fly various parts of the mission. Once again, the support crew job was very diverse. We were CapComs. We were developing procedures.”

Brandenstein revealed, “I was actually probably most excited being the CapCom. Well, what had happened is, in the process of getting ready for STS-1, Ed Gibson, who was the primary CapCom for ascent, retired, so then all the powers-that-be, I guess, put their heads together and decided whether a new guy could be a CapCom on the first mission. Neal Hutchinson was the Flight Director for the first mission, and I think he had a lot of confidence in me and probably had a strong vote.”

“So anyhow, when Ed Gibson retired, as opposed to pulling another experienced astronaut in to be the ascent CapCom, I inherited that position, and Terry Hart moved up to be my backup. So that was kind of a thrill for me. To this day I think I was more excited being CapCom on the first mission than I was actually flying my own mission,” Brandenstein laughed. “I still look back and think about it, listen to the tapes. I mean, I settled down, but you make calls back and forth just to kind of check to make sure everything was working all right, and the first couple, it's real obvious that my calls, I was pretty excited.”

“I never saw a launch until STS-3, because I was CapCom also for ascent on STS-2. I still remember a bunch of the wives went down to the launch of STS-1, my wife being one of them, so all I saw of it was on TV. When she came back about two days later after the launch, it was two days later and she was still ricocheting off the ceiling. In all the years we'd been married, I'd never seen my wife half that excited. She was just something else. ‘You wouldn't believe it. You just can't believe it. What you see on TV is nothing! You ought to be there. You won't believe it.’"

“But I had to wait till STS-3 before I got to see one in person. And it is. I think it's significant that I think it's more exciting watching one as a spectator than being on one. People always look at me like I'm smoking something. But really, I always have explanations. I call them pilot explanations for things. I can explain medical things in pilot talk, and it's probably not right, but it at least is a way of explaining it that satisfies me,” said Brandenstein. “But when you're watching one, you have no real responsibility, and it is noisy. You hear the popping and the cracking and the big long flames shooting out and everything like that, and you have no responsibility. I get a lump in my throat and chills up and down the spine and all that.”

“But when you're on board, you're responsible for that baby, so you're checking instruments and you're making sure everything is working all right. You're not there to take it in; you're there to make it work. That's certainly a different perspective. I mean, don't get me wrong, I would never turn down a launch, the opportunity to go fly, to go watch one, but from a pure spectacle standpoint, the spectator point of view is more thrilling than the flying point of view.”

Brandenstein recalled the moment in April 1982 when he got his first chance to experience that flying point of view. “It always started with, ‘There's a call over at Mr. Abbey's office.’ The first six flights had been assigned, and they were all experienced people that had been around the office a long time. Nobody from our class had flown that. But it was hoping and guessing and rumblings like that, starting with 7, 8, and on, that they'd be picking up some of the new class and stuff. So I got called over one day and they said that I was going to be Dick Truly's pilot and was going to fly STS-8.”

“Well, obviously I’m looking forward to it,” Brandenstein said in July 1983. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for many years, and even more so after I was fortunate enough to be CapCom on the first flight. I envied John and Crip very much, and I’ve envied all the crews that have flown before me. And I’m really looking forward to it and anticipating enjoying it and having a good time and getting the job done.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:37 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:38 pm

STS-8 MS1 Dale Allan Gardner, Lieutenant Commander USN, was born November 8, 1948, in Fairmont, Minnesota, but grew up in Sherburn, Minnesota and Savanna, Illinois – an now considered his hometown to be Clinton, Iowa, where his parents resided. He was married to the former Sue Grace Ticusan of Indianapolis, with whom he had two children – Lisa Amanda (Dec. 18, 1977) and Todd Allan (Dec. 19, 1982).

Gardner graduated as Valedictorian of his class from Savannah Community High School in 1966. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics from the University of Illinois in 1970 upon graduation from the University of Illinois and was assigned to Aviation Officer Candidate School at Pensacola, Florida. Gardner was commissioned an Ensign and was selected as the most promising naval officer from his class. In October 1970 he attended Basic Naval Flight Officer training in Pensacola and graduated with the highest academic average ever achieved in the ten-year history of the VT-10 squadron. He proceeded to the Naval Technical Training Center at Glynco, Georgia, for Advanced Flight Officer training. Gardner was selected a Distinguished Naval Graduate and received his wings on May 5, 1971.

From May 1971 to July 1973 Gardner was assigned to the weapons system test division at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland. Here he was involved in initial F-14A Tomcat developmental test and evaluation as project officer for inertial navigation and avionics systems. Next, being assigned to the first operational F-14 squadron (VF-1) at Naval Air Station Miramar, San Diego, California, he flew Tomcat aircraft and participated in two Western Pacific and Indian Ocean cruises while deployed aboard the USS Enterprise. From 1976 until reporting to the Johnson Space Center in July 1978, Dale Gardner was with the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 4 (VX-4) at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California, where he was involved in the operational test and evaluation of Navy fighter aircraft.

A member of the “TNFG” astronaut group, selected by NASA in January 1978, Gardner completed a one-year training and evaluation period in August 1979, making him eligible for assignment as a mission specialist astronaut. He subsequently served as the Astronaut Project Manager for the flight software in the shuttle onboard computers leading up to the first flight of Columbia in April 1981. He then served as a support crew astronaut for Columbia STS-4 in June/July 1982.

Now, although he knew his dream of flying into space was to become reality, Dale Gardner’s level of anticipation wasn’t as high as one would expect. “From an excitement standpoint,” he said six week before the launch of STS-8, “I don’t think that has got to me yet. We’ve been pretty busy just getting ready for the jobs to be done, and with changing over from the IUS to the RMS, we’ve been very busy making that transition. So, I think maybe in the last few days before the flight, when all that’s behind us, and the vehicle is in front of us, maybe that’ll change. But right now it’s still a lot of work.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:39 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:40 pm

STS-8 MS2 Guion Stewart “Guy” Bluford, Jr. , after completion of his initial astronaut training at Johnson Space Center, had been assigned several tasks in the background as NASA prepared to fly the Space Shuttle for the first time. “My first assignment was to work with Bill Lenoir on the Remote Manipulator System. Bill was working with the Canadians as well as with the JSC Engineering Directorate to understand the operation of the RMS,” Bluford explained later. “This meant not only understanding the mechanical operation of the RMS but also the software and firmware that was used to operate the arm. A lot of time was spent in Toronto, Canada at the SPAR Corporation learning about the RMS. I worked with Bill Lenoir for about six months before I was transferred to support Don Lind in his support of Spacelab 3.”

Said Bluford, “Frequent shifting of jobs among the AsCans was the normal way to expand our knowledge and experience base in the astronaut office. I supported Don Lind for about nine months as we flew around the country talking to Principal Investigators about their experiments. We gave them suggestions on how to improve the design of their experiments in order to maximize the scientific return of their experiments when flown in space. Working with Don Lind gave me insight into payload preparations, Spacelab operations, and how experiments are integrated into the Space Shuttle. As we got closer to flying STS-1, I was sent to work in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory.”
“SAIL was an engineering mockup of all the avionics and electrical components of the Space Shuttle. The SAIL contained a high fidelity Shuttle cockpit that was used to check out the flight procedures of the Space Shuttle. For me this was a great job. I flew various ascent and on-orbit flight scenarios verifying the nominal and off-nominal operations of the Shuttle. I became very familiar with the nominal and off-nominal flight procedures as well as the flight data file. I flew multiple ascents and various ascent abort modes with numerous malfunctions to verify the performance of the flight software. I also flew on-orbit scenarios with simulated payloads, including the RMS. My job was to verify the performance of the flight software in preparation for STS-1.”
“In addition to working in the SAIL,” Guy Bluford added, “I was also assigned to work in the Flight Systems Laboratory (FSL) at the Rockwell International Corporation facility in Downey, California. This facility was used to verify the flight software for deorbit burns, entry, and landing. As part of that job, I was also checked out to fly simulated Shuttle approaches with T-38s on the White Sands Test Facility range in New Mexico. NASA put large speed brakes on the T-38s so as to simulate Shuttle approaches. This was done to help train pilot astronauts. This was an exciting time for me, because it gave me an opportunity to see and verify the flight software for all flight phases of space operations. I would spend a week in Houston flying Shuttle ascents in the SAIL and then the following week I would fly a T-38 out to El Paso, Texas, fly simulated Shuttle approaches on the White Sands Test Facility range, and then fly to Downey, California, to fly Space Shuttle approaches in the FSL. I did this for several years as we prepared for the first four flights of the Space Shuttle.”
Everyone was helping out for STS-1. “Most of the NASA manned space effort at the time was dedicated towards getting the Space Shuttle ready to fly on STS-1,” Bluford explained later. “Before the mission, my job was to help develop and verify the flight software for STS-1. We ran a lot of nominal and off-nominal flight simulations in both the SAIL and FSL in order to fully understand the operation of the flight software. We would then provide that information to the flight test engineers and to John Young and Bob Crippen as they prepared for STS-1. Also, the lessons learned from flying the SAIL and FSL were directly fed back to the flight simulator folks so as to enhance the astronaut training for the first four Space Shuttle crews.”
“During the STS-1 mission, I was assigned to work with Frank Reynolds of ABC News out at Edwards,” said Bluford. “My job was to provide technical support to the network during the final phases of the flight. I went out to Edwards a couple of days before lift-off and followed the mission from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center… I was on the TV set with Frank Reynolds during the entire broadcast coverage of STS-1’s landing. I was out of sight of the TV audience during most of the broadcast. As Frank Reynolds wrapped up the TV coverage of the event, I appeared with Frank on the set and we finished up the broadcast together. It was an exciting day for all of us to see John Young and Bob Crippen bring the vehicle home and confirm that the Shuttle was a safe and viable vehicle to fly. That evening, I got to meet both Chuck Yeager and Dan Rather of NBC News for the first time. I was also on Ted Koppel’s Nightline that evening. There was definitely a lot of celebration that evening among news people and NASA folks with the successful completion of the STS-1 Space Shuttle mission.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:41 pm

And then it was time for Guy Bluford to come to the fore – the boss called him into his office…  “After the normal Monday morning astronaut office meeting, John Young, head of the astronaut office, came up to me and said ‘George Abbey wants to talk with you and you need to go over to George’s Office. Be over there by eleven o’clock.’ John did not indicate what the meeting was about, and so I assumed that Mr. Abbey wanted to talk with me about a new assignment or some aspect of what’s going on at SAIL or FSL.”
“As I was walking over to Mr. Abbey’s office in Building 1, I ran into Dale Gardner. I discovered he was going to the same meeting. I asked Dale, ‘What’s the meeting for?’ He said he didn’t’ know. We both speculated back and forth as to why Mr. Abbey wanted to talk with us as we headed to his office. When we arrived, we found Dan Brandenstein sitting outside of Mr. Abbey’s office. He had been invited to the same meeting and he didn’t know why we were there either.”
“After a few minutes of waiting, the door to Mr. Abbey’s office opened and he motioned for us to come in. He had been having a conversation with Dick Truly in his conference room and the three of us joined both of them. After some small talk, Mr. Abbey said ‘You know, you guys have really been doing a nice job in supporting the Space Shuttle flights; Dan, you have been working on the various flight data file items. Dale, you’ve been working software issues, and Guy, you’ve been performing tests in the SAIL and FSL. I know you guys really enjoy what you’re doing. However, I need some astronauts to fly on STS-8 and I was wondering if you guys were interested in flying on STS-8?’

“We all responded with a resounding ‘Yes.’ We definitely wanted to fly on STS-8. In our excitement, Dan Brandenstein asked who the commander was going to be on the flight. At that moment, Dick Truly looked over at Mr. Abbey and said, ‘George, can I fly on STS-8? Can I fly with these guys on STS-8?’ George sort of looked over at him and said, ‘Yeah, why don’t you fly on STS-8 as well.’ So that was how we were notified that we were going to be the crew on STS-8. It was an exciting moment for all of us as we left Mr. Abbey’s office. Later that day NASA made the announcement for both the STS-7 and STS-8 crews.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:43 pm

“Bluford’s home was usually a very quiet place,” said author J. Alfred Phelps. “It was no different now. One son was away at Texas A&M University; the other was attending high school. Linda and the boys usually took for granted what Guy did for a living. ‘They’re not into aviation and space side. They don’t get all enthusiastic as I do,’ Bluford would say. But the media’s trumpeting got the better of them. Because of ‘the articles in the newspapers and the attention the media gave’ to his impending launch, ‘they got excited because they saw the excitement surrounding my getting ready to fly.’ Not one to ‘take his work home with him,’ he felt and saw that this time they ‘were interested. I know they were excited!’ he said.”

“I would like to have the opportunity to pilot the craft, but I think the role of a mission specialist is also equally important,” Bluford told reporters when being asked about his Air Force background. “And I’m very pleased right now about doing the job that I’m doing and my primary goal is to do the best that I can in the job that I have.” That was vintage Guy Bluford. As J. Alfred Phelps wrote, “He needed to be needed. He unflinchingly faced challenges. He had a sharp, analytical mind, a propensity for conducting exceptionally good research, and possessed an enormous amount of ‘stick-to-itiveness.’ He was a quiet, unassuming guy ‘who could live on bread and water if he had to.’

Like the first U.S. woman in space, Sally Ride, the first African-American spacefarer  to follow in her footsteps was reluctant to assume the title of “historical role model,” as Phelps put it. But Bluford also stated, “I recognize it from a historical point of view and can understand the amount of attention that’s been focused on this particular flight for that reason. But I also anticipate that this will become more routine and. you know, one day there won’t be as much attention paid to it. So I’ve just learned to accept it and recognize that it will eventually fade away.”

Guy Bluford was quite aware of the importance that the Space Shuttle program was representative of the community which supported NASA. Bluford said, “I think that minorities as well as blacks will be able to make as much meaningful contribution to the program as they do to the society that we’re part of.”   

“He is probably the best role model that you could’ve come up with,” former NASA deputy director for academic affairs stated, adding, “with one exception; he doesn’t understand the excitement other people feel about what he has done.” Guy Bluford put it this way: “There’s added attention when you are serving as a vanguard. Alan Shepard probably faced the same situation and many people in other places have faced the same situation. I think it’s a natural thing.”

ABC’s Lynn Sherr had asked him, “Sally said very specifically before she went up that she did feel there was some pressure on her not to ‘mess up,’ as she put it. Do you think that that pressure is on you also as the first American black (astronaut)?” Bluford replied, “I don’t sense it that way. I feel as if I’m a pacesetter, so to speak, but I don’t look upon at it as… that I have to be perfect as well. I recognize the fact that I’m the guy who’s setting the pace for the people who are going to fly behind me, but I don’t feel as if I have to be perfect as well.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:45 pm

STS-8 MS3 William Edgar “Dr. Bill” Thornton, M.D., was born April 14, 1929, in Faison, North Carolina. Called “Moose” because of his 6’1’’ height, he married the former Elizabeth Jennifer Fowler of Hertfordshire, England. Their two sons, William Simon and James Fallon, were born March 15, 1959 and January 4, 1961, respectively. The son of a farmer, William Thornton “was always doing electronics, flying and science even as a child,” lifelong friend Anna Stroud Taylor said in 1984. Eleven years old when his father died, he began doing odd jobs and in high school opened a radio repair shop that later financed his education when he attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) as an Air Force ROTC student. He graduated in 1952 with a B.S. in physics.

During his stint in the Air Force – Thornton served at the Flight Air Test Proving Ground at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida – he patented the first of his 19 inventions – a missile scoring system that determined if planes shooting missiles and bombs at targets had hit them or not. Thornton left the Air Force in 1956 and, according to Michael Cassutt’s Who’s Who in Space, “worked as an electronics engineer, eventually becoming chief engineer of the electronics division of Del Mar Engineering laboratories in Los Angeles. He also organized and headed Del Mar’s avionics research division.”

From 1959 to 1963 – earning a medical doctor’s degree – Thornton attended UNC’s medical school, where he participated in cardiovascular research and invented the first computer for continuous analysis of EKGs. A symposium at the Air Force’s Aerospace Medical Division in San Antonio, Texas, turned Thornton on to space medicine. “Al Shepard had just made his flight and it was too good of a show to miss,” he said later. “Though I didn’t tell anybody, by then I had decided I wanted to get a ride in space myself.” Since NASA at that time had age limits and wasn’t taking on any scientist astronauts, Thornton signed up for the Air Force’s space medical research project in 1964.

“He completed his internship in 1964 at Wilford Hall Air Force Hospital at Lackland AFB, Texas, then returned to active duty,” says Michael Cassutt. “At the Aerospace Medical Division at Brooks AFB, Texas, Thornton became involved in the study of human adaptation to spaceflight. He worked on a program of exercise for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory with Dr. Kenneth Cooper, later known as the ‘father’ of aerobic fitness.”

In August 1967 Thornton became one of a group of eleven scientists admitted to the astronaut corps, “at a time when NASA expected to make several Apollo flights a year both to the Moon and in Earth orbit well into the 1970s,” Cassutt continues. “Shortly after the new scientist astronauts reported, however, NASA’s budget was cut and it was soon apparent that most of the 1967 group would have to wait for a flight, if they got one at all. They dubbed themselves the XS-11, “Excess Eleven.” By 1972 four of them would leave NASA without going into space. Thornton was one of those who stayed, completing Air Force flight training at Reese AFB, Texas, in 1968, to become, at 39, a jet pilot. He would eventually log over 2,500 hours of flying time.”

“If Captain Kirk had wanted the most knowledgeable and dedicated physician in the Universe, perhaps second only to Mr. Spock in intelligence, he would have chosen Dr. Bill for his Star Trek,” said Dr. Tom Moore of his NASA colleague. Noted astronaut Mary Cleave, who had consulted him about improving her grip strength, “He takes out his little computer etchings and starts talking to you about your reach. He’s a doctor, but – let’s face it – he thinks like a physicist.”
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:46 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:47 pm

From July 26 to September 19, 1972, Dr. Thornton was a member of the SMEAT Skylab mission simulation. He later served as support crewmember and CapCom for all three missions aboard the first American space station. “For several months in 1973 and 1974, an improvised vehicle, called Skylab, not only set precedents and records for space travel but also provided data that will be used whenever human beings leave Earth. Much of this data was gathered through the impromptu studies generated by necessity and through joint efforts by astronauts and life scientists. Much of it remains unique,” Dr. Thornton explained. “Up to that time, the longest flight in space had lasted 18 days, and its crew had to be carried from their capsule.”

“As in any first time effort, the learning curve on Skylab was steep and frustrations frequent. Life scientists demonstrated remarkable assurance, reducing diets to 2,000 calories per day. They were so sure of cycle ergometry for adequate exercise, that strength loss was not even measured. Hardware for life sciences gave aerospace contractors and mission planners so much trouble that it was decided to test the flight equipment and procedures in a 56-day, 4-psi chamber simulation called Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMEAT),” said Thornton.

“After many delays Bob Crippen, Karol Bobko and I started our unbroken diet of Skylab food and water. Iced urine and fecal collection (in bright anodized boxes) were carried with us wherever we went for over four months! Daily improvisation was needed to cope with multiple failures and unexpected results, all of which was excellent training for mission support. Most troublesome for me was the repeated bursting on unrefrigerated urine collection bags and the resulting cleanup of the urine volume measuring system, with its multiple sharp edges and points. There were numerous other failures such as the cycle ergometer and our diet – I lost 18 pounds and developed a loathing for the prescribed supplement of sugar drops and cookies.”

Thornton continued, “Many essential changes were made during testing, including total redesign of the urine collection system, but other changes were not made; for example, there was no augmentation of exercise devices or change to our diet. I obtained permission to make pre- and post-strength measurements and used discarded equipment for the task.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:48 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:50 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:51 pm
“Launch of the unmanned Skylab by a two-stage Saturn V rocket produced sound, sight and power of a magnitude no longer seen,” Thornton remembered. “However, there was soon doom and gloom as insulation and a solar array tore away before it reached orbit. Much hectic improvisation followed. Some days later, in the wee hours, I flew a T-38 across the Gulf of Mexico with the last element of a hurriedly improvised solar umbrella to be taken up by the Skylab crew that morning – the first of three crews to visit the space laboratory.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:52 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:53 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:54 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:56 pm
“Action-packed days followed in which the crew – Pete Conrad, Joseph Kerwin and Paul Weitz – cleared debris, extended a solar panel, entered the sun-baked vehicle for brief periods and erected the solar umbrella. In remarkably short time, operations and science observations began. The learning curve was still steep. Change was the order of the day and an unprecedented flow of new information was gathered about Earth, the sun and the human body in a new environment.”

Thornton continued, “For eight hours I capcommed, and for another eight I analyzed data from my experiments. Just prior to return, the flight director approved my request for the crew to take unscheduled mug shots of themselves. These photos clearly showed the effects of massive fluid shifts from the leg into the upper body and thus began an enhancement of data return through simple ad hoc studies.”
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:57 pm
“When the first crew returned after 28 days, many modifications were made to the next flight, including food and exercise. The second crew to visit Skylab – Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma – capitalized on the experience of the first crew and offered to expand their activities! Between and on CapCom shifts, I was able to formulate a number of studies in anthropometrics and fluid shift using onboard gear, said Thornton. “After 56 days, the crew returned on their feet but showed the effects of weightlessness which, without better countermeasures, promised to literally force future crews to their knees on return. Many adjustments were needed, but weight was now considered crucial and only five pounds were available for a crude locomotor exercise device that I constructed.”
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:58 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 05:59 pm

Indeed, Dr. Bill had two fundamental laws of Thornton-dynamics: “Muscle in space is no different from muscle on Earth” and “Use it or lose it.” Both principles underlie his development of the first treadmill used for exercise in space. Thornton argued that the bicycle ergometer did not provide enough force on leg muscles. Whe post-flight tests proved that, despite exercise on the bicycle, leg strength was down 25 percent, he got the go-ahead for a treadmill aboard Skylab 4.

It turned out to be something of a Rube Goldberg contraption, with a tread of kitchen Teflon. “I took a harness that didn’t work on the bycicle ergometer,” he explained, “and hooked heavy rubber bungees (elastic cords) as a substitute for gravity to pull the astronauts down on the device in weightlessness.” With its incline of about 30 degrees, astronauts in cotton stockings felt like “they were climbing an icy hill.” They dubbed it “Thornton’s Revenge.” But, said former astronaut Joseph Kerwin, that third crew came down after 85 days with half the muscle weakness of the first crew. It was a triumph.”

Bill Thornton explained, “The third and final flight culminated in a tremendous return of data, not only that originally scheduled but other, equally important, material based on flight results which greatly extended the planned data return. Increased diet and improved exercise allowed the crew – Gerald Carr, Ed Gibson and Bill Pogue – to walk off with virtually no weight loss after 84 days in flight, and to strut through the next day’s examination. America now owned all endurance records, a mass of unique data and a remarkable lab vehicle in orbit with two spares on the ground.”

“At the end of Skylab, some of us had learned enough to understand the basic effects of weightlessness on humans: fluid shifts; bone, muscle and other losses; neurological adaptations; and what would be required to return people to Earth in functional state after 84 or 168 days of flight. We knew enough to ask the right questions and get the answers for much longer flights. It is hard now to appreciate the expense and hullabaloo surrounding preparations to fly astronauts for 118 days, after having been part of these aggressive flights lasting 28, 56 and 84 days.”

“We all would have benefited greatly if Skylab had continued,” Thornton added. “The backup Skylab could have been upgraded, launched and revisited time and time again. In fact, if only the existing Skylab space station had been maintained, expanded and kept in continuous service, we would now be ready to plan lunar and Mars missions with far more confidence, to say nothing of the unknown scientific returns that would have resulted. Continuation of Skylab would also have yielded additional and valuable ‘lessons learned,’ a continuation of those that did result when Skylab’s limited resources were applied with vigor, determination and imagination.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:00 pm

In 1976 Dr. Bill took a one-year leave of absence from NASA to study internal medicine at UT Medical School in Galveston, Texas. The following year he tried – unsuccessfully – to become one of NASA’s payload specialist candidates for the Spacelab 1 mission. However, in May 1977 he participated in the Spacelab Medical Demonstration Test SMD III, a seven-day ground-based Spacelab life science mission simulation carried out at Johnson Space Center. Thornton, designated Mission Specialist, was joined by Payload Specialists Dr. Carter Alexander from JSC and Dr. Bill A. Williams from NASA Ames. “The three life sciences specialists lived aboard a high-fidelity mockup of the Spacelab module and shuttle orbiter crew compartment,” explained space writer David J. Shayler. “They worked on twenty life sciences experiments from Ames and six from JSC. This was a series of simulations aimed at evaluating the planned Spacelab procedures and mission operations before hardware actually flew in space.” 

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:02 pm
Thornton developed Space Adaptation Syndrome experiments and supported shuttle missions STS-4 thru 7. Finally, in December 1983, six months before the scheduled launch of Challenger, he was called up as a last-minute fifth member of the STS-8 crew – mainly to investigate space sickness. “Historically,” said British author Ben Evans, “astronauts avoided doctors like the plague, remarking that there were only two ways a pilot could emerge from their surgeries: either ‘fine’ or ‘grounded.’ None of the STS-8 astronauts was at risk of being grounded by Thornton, of course…”

In February 1983, even before going on his first trip into Earth orbit, Dr. Bill was also assigned as payload specialist to the Spacelab 3 mission. The prime mover behind NASA’s astronaut fitness program, the man to whom astronauts turned for advice about exercising and injuries, the man know around NASA as a combination of Edison and Einstein, now was set to add to that a touch of Buck Rogers – and at the time he lifted off for the first time, at age 54, became the oldest person ever to fly in space by then. “After, how many years is it now, 17 – and after having made various simulations and being locked up and talking and watching and all the rest,” Thornton said before the launch, “I guess I get tired of being a bridesmaid and feel about as prepared as I’ll ever be for that. Also I have, I think, and unprecedented opportunity here, as a scientist. So needless to say, I’m looking forward to it and ready.”

“Dr. Bill Thornton,” said STS-8 Commander Richard Truly, “is a physician who has been working on the space program for longer than I have. I knew him way back when I was on the MOL crew. In my mind, he is one of, if not the pioneer individual in this country that has thought about and studied the physiology of human beings in zero-gravity.”

(STS-8 crew press briefing, Apr. 29, 1982; STS-8 pre-flight crew press conference, July 13, 1983; JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 16, 1983; People Magazine, Vol. 22, No. 16, Oct. 15, 1984; “The Great Adventure,” Association of Space Explorers, C. Pierson Publishers, Sydney 1994; J. Alfred Phelps, “They Had a Dream,” Presidio Press 1994; Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space,” Macmillan 1999; David J. Shayler, “Patches Worn by Crews for Ground Tests,” Spaceflight, Vol. 41, May 1999; Ben Evans, “Space Shuttle Challenger,” Springer/Praxis 2007; NASA JSC Oral History project interviews with Daniel Brandenstein, Jan. 19, 1999, and Guion Bluford, Aug. 2, 2004; NASA JSC astronaut biographical information – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:03 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:04 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:04 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:06 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:08 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:09 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:11 pm
Eight – The Red-Eye Flight

“If our flight plan looks light it’s very deceiving, because it’s not. It’s several busy days.”

- STS-8 Commander Richard Truly, preflight crew conference on July 13, 1983


“The eighth flight of the orbiter will be scheduled for July 4th of 1983,” STS-8 pilot Dan Brandenstein told reporters in April 1982. “We hope to make it a new milestone of Fourth of July celebrations with a night launch. The mission will also have a night landing. We’ll be going to a 158-mile orbit and we will be scheduled for a three-day mission with the landing also at Kennedy Space Center.”

Mission Specialist Guy Bluford added, “One of the payloads that we’ll be carrying into orbit will be called the TDRS/IUS; it’s going to be a NASA-leased communications satellite which will be essential to being put up. We’ll already have one that’ll already be up, that’s been put up on STS-6, and we’ll be responsible of putting up the second one which will complete our communications to actually run the STS program more effectively.”

“We’ll have one more satellite to take up. In keeping with the international flavor that you’ve heard from the Flight 7 folks we have an Indian satellite called Insat-1B. It’s the sister ship to Insat-1A which NASA launched for India several months ago. And that satellite is up there performing well right now. The Insat is launched, as opposed to TDRS that Guy just described, which is on an IUS interim upper stage… the Insat is launched on a PAM, a Payload Assist Module, which is a spinning device that spins for attitude control. And this will be our first flight that we’ll have launched satellites on two different types of assist modules,” Mission Specialist Dale Gardner explained. “Also, in the (middeck), we’ll be carrying the McDonnell Douglas/Johnson & Johnson Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System – it’s the fourth flight of that device. Dr. Ride told you about the third flight which is taking place on Flight 7. This is a fairly ambitious project by these two contractors. It’s a multi-flight program, and there’ll be even several more flight after we’re through with it on Flight 8.”

Commander Richard Truly pointed out, “that this flight is a good example of what we said we were going to do with the Space Shuttle; and that was provide a transportation system into space – and we’re on this flight… we’re using the shuttle in the way that it’s designed in an operational mode.”   

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:13 pm

That had been the original plan. However, on May 27, 1983, the second Tracking and Data Relay Satellite was officially deleted from the STS-8 flight cargo list. The decision to remove TDRS-B was based on the failure of the Inertial Upper Stage to propel the first TDRS to geosynchronous altitude after deployment from Challenger on April 4 during the STS-6 mission. The malfunctioning IUS forced NASA to delay the launch of TDRS-B until the problems with the upper stage had been identified and cleared.

Therefore, Challenger’s third mission had a sudden weight loss of about 43,100 pounds (19,550 kilograms) with the removal of the TDRS, its IUS upper stage and support equipment. Instead of cancelling the entire mission NASA decided to launch as planned with Insat-1B, a communications and meteorological geosynchronous satellite for the Indian Department of Space. Insat was relocated from the front to the aft bulkhead of Challenger and a so-called Payload Flight Test Article was loaded midway in the payload bay, replacing TDRS-B. PFTA was a large dumbbell-shaped aluminum and stainless steel structure designed to evaluate RMS exercises with a large payload – such as the upcoming Long Duration Exposure Facility platform to be launched in 1984.

Originally planned for STS-11, PFTA was brought forward, with the retention of the RMS, the addition of a Development Flight Instrumentation pallet in front of the PFTA with experiments mounted on it, and the addition of twelve Getaway Special canisters to fill the nearly empty payload bay. Eight GAS cans held specially-stamped postal covers. With additional stowage capacity inside the DFI containers a total of 260,000 commemorative postal covers thus finally found a flight place in the manifest. The CFES apparatus stayed inside the orbiter middeck and six rats were to be carried aboard Challenger in a specially designed cage, called Animal Enclosure Module (AEM). Dr. Bill Thornton, the fifth STS-8 crewmember added in December 1982, would conduct medical tests to collect additional data on several physiological changes that were associated with the Space Adaptation Syndrome (SAS).

Despite criticism for flying the mission with substituted payloads, NASA needed to fulfill the agreement to deploy Insat-1B on time, and test the operational TDRS-A satellite before Columbia STS-9 flew Spacelab 1 in October, for the Spacelab required TDRS communications links during its data-gathering and dumping program. “After the IUS anomaly,” said Richard Truly, “almost every payload combination was considered. And I’m quite sure that in some circles delaying the launch of the Insat may have been a possibility. I think in the final analysis the Space Transportation System feels an obligation to meet its commitments to its customers. And I think keeping the flight pretty much on schedule and flying the Insat was something that was done very wisely and with clear heads on the part of the people who did it.”

“I’ll be honest with you,” the STS-8 CDR said in mid-July 1983, “The last couple of months have been unsettling to me because we had planned to fly the IUS and TDRS and because of the IUS anomaly there was some uncertainty there for a while as to whether we would continue with our manifest or change – or change to what. And my main concern is that I think as a crew we were coasting along in very good shape at the time of STS-6 and I didn’t want that to be changed. And so my personal concern has been to make sure that our course and speed has kind of remained steady. That has taken a little bit of doing for all five of us because we have had to deal with a number of many, many suggestions and possibilities.”

“But I must say right now,” Truly continued, “that with the addition of the RMS and PFTA test payload and other changes that have come to the flight, and the way that these guys have jumped on those required training changes – that has gotten us to the point now, about five or six weeks before the flight, that I think that we’re where we were to start with. We’re comfortable and trained on the new payload. Like every crew we’ve got some last-minute things to do, but I’m very happy.”

Asked if he felt that he’d been given a more challenging mission with the RMS work than he would have had with TDRS/IUS, Mission Specialist Dale Gardner said, “It’s more of a challenge for me only from the standpoint that I’ve had less time to get up to speed on the arm than we had on the IUS. As Dick mentioned, we went through, with STS-6, all of their simulations, we were training along with them because we were a parallel mission, and we were very comfortable at the end of that time. And now, in the last few months, we’ve had to switch over and go to the arm.”

“I’m just the reverse,” Mission Specialist Guy Bluford told reporters at the preflight crew conference. “I lost a set of responsibilities when we lost the TDRS/IUS, so it really hasn’t had any impact on me other than I loosened up my training versus increased it.” Asked about his duties on STS-8, Bluford said, “I’m going to be assisting both Dan and Dick in the ascent and entry phase of the mission, helping them with reference going through their procedures, as well as assisting them in emergencies both during ascent and entry.”

Bluford continued, “On the first day, I’ll be working on the CFES experiment. I’ll have… six and a half hours doing the CFES experiment. On the second day, I’ll be working with Dale with reference to deploying the Insat satellite, and I’ll also be working with Dale on the CFES experiment. On the third, fourth and fifth day, I’ll be just supporting the crew in various functions, taking pictures, working with Bill with reference to his medical stuff, supporting the crew with orbiter systems, follow-up and also RMS activity when needed.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:16 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:18 pm

Challenger’s third flight into space would chalk up another first – the first night launch and landing of the Space Shuttle. “One of the really neat things about it, that was going to be a night launch and a night landing,” said STS-8 pilot Daniel Brandenstein. “What drove that was, we were launching a satellite for India, and to get it in the proper place, you kind of worked the problem backwards. Okay, they want the satellite up here, so then you've got to back down all your orbital mechanics and everything, and basically it meant we had to launch at night.”

During the STS-8 flight plan press briefing, Lead Flight Director Harold Draughon clarified, “It’s driven by the pointing constraints and the positioning constraints on the PAM, on the Insat spacecraft. The control center for that vehicle, for the Insat payload, is in Hassan, India. They want acquisition at Hassan during a very specific part of the transfer orbit, or after the first burn. And that’s because of the way that particular vehicle was designed; it needs a certain amount of handholding, or somebody looking after it during its climb out to apogee.”

The launch of STS-8 was scheduled for Tuesday, August 30, 1983, at 2:15 a.m. EDT from Pad 39A. The launch window on that day extended 34 minutes until 2:49 a.m. EDT. So, Challenger’s third trip into space became NASA’s version of a red-eye flight. “The fact we launched at night meant that we would end up landing at night,” Dan Brandenstein said. Draughon explained, “It has to do with the location of the launch site and the inclination that your launch is, the azimuth that you launch at. And we’re launching at the same azimuth that we always do (28.45 degrees relative to the equator). You can play a little of the games of how… that Mercator, you know, that ol’ ground track  that everybody’s familiar with, you can play a little bit of games of how you start that precession back. It takes 16 revs for that ground track to precess all the way around the Earth and repeat. You can start that process by varying the azimuth that you launch on. – But given that you launch from the same place, there’s not a whole lot more you can do about it, other than vary the altitude. It sets it up.”

“When we did the remanifesting, we could have gone back and elected to not achieve a night landing on Flight 8; we could have avoided a night landing,” Draughon added. “When the IUS was taken off this flight and that opportunity became available, we asked ourselves that and very consciously decided that we have a crew that has been trained for night landing with a control team that’s been peaked up for that. We’re all ready for it and want to go ahead and do it, rather than put it off and then have to get ready for it again, for that first of a kind. We’re all ready to do it now and we think it’s an appropriate time to do it, so we elected to stick with it.” And that meant, after a nominal mission lasting slightly more than 145 hours, touchdown was expected on concrete Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at about 12:25 a.m. PDT on Monday, September 5, 1983.

“The only place that we have a potential for a lighted landing on this flight are for a TAL, if we happen to do a trans-Atlantic landing,” said Harold Draughon. “We will be about five or ten minutes after sunrise at Dakar.” Summing up the STS-8 landing site selection he said, “The primary landing site is Edwards, secondary is Northrup (White Sands, New Mexico), AOA is to Edwards lakebed, AOA weather alternate – if Edwards is bad – is to go to Northrup, and TAL site is Dakar. The thing that drove that site selection is this is the first night landing. The runway selection within the sites is Edwards 17, Edwards 22, which does have a lighted runway, does have the surface lights… Northrup 17 has lights. After exhausting those opportunities, we’d be into a case where we’d want to wave off; and after that, it’s KSC. KSC has lights on both ends of their runway and we’d just take the runway with the headwind.”

Dan Brandenstein later said, “Dick Truly and I had both done night carrier landings, and the way the shuttle flies, approaches the end of the runway, and doing that at night, we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Oooh. This is going to be interesting.’ So we got very much involved in developing a lighting system to enable us to safely land at night. We had other people, and once again it was the job of a technical assignment of somebody in the office, kind of like a support crew. We were out of the support crew business by that time, but the crew didn't have enough time to focus just on that, although we got very much involved because we were obviously the ones doing it first. But Karol Bobko and then Loren Shriver and then Mike Smith were all involved in developing the night lighting system, so we went through a rather long evolution of flood lights and spotlights and flares and whatnot, trying to develop some way to give us the visual cues we needed to make a successful night landing.”

During the STS-8 preflight crew conference Richard Truly had this to say: “We have done a tremendous amount of work in night landing preparation. And I’ll be honest with you: Two years ago, before John and Crip flew the first flight, I thought about night landings; I thought that would be a very difficult thing to develop in a safe manner. We have since then, however, spent the last year in doing flight test against a number of lighting systems, and frankly, I think we were very fortunate. It turned out that one of the least expensive and one of the easiest to set up lighting systems that we looked at turned out to be the best.”

“And that was simply using these powerful search lights that we already have,” said Truly. “They’re the same search lights that light up the pad at night down at the Cape. They’re set up in such a way that they are essentially ground level and are pointing directly down the center of the runway. So even at altitude, as you come around the HAC, or the turning circle, you can see the runway location and direction. And the combination of that lighting with some colored lights that we have to help you get lined up with altitude, and our new format on the heads-up display, has frankly turned out to be what I think is going to be a very routine operation. We are still treating this first night landing purely though as flight test.”

Regarding lighting conditions inside the cockpit Daniel Brandenstein explained, “We have the interior cockpit lights set up such that we can look out and not affecting our night vision and not causing any glare off the windscreens.” He added, “The lighting system on the runway is essentially behind us, so we’re looking, if you will, downstream from the lights. And once you get into the final flare, the night lighting on the scene is almost like daylight, and there’s no problem. We’re not looking at any glare into our eyes.”

For the shuttle’s first return in the cover of darkness, the public would not be allowed into viewing spots near the immediate landing area; NASA did not want “hundreds or even thousands of moving automobiles with headlights” to confuse the pilots’ descending out of total darkness toward the concrete runway at Edwards.

During the preflight crew conference, U.S. Navy Captain Truly was asked to give some kind comparison on the shuttle night landing and an aircraft carrier night landing since some similar lighting systems were used along the way.  “I don’t think there’s any comparison between landing the shuttle at night as far as what I’ve seen landing at night onboard an aircraft carrier,” he replied. “That’s a much more difficult operation.” At least Challenger’s landing target wouldn’t move during final approach. But taking a wave-off, as carrier pilots would describe it, wasn’t an option either.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:20 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:21 pm
The concrete runway at Edwards was the primary target for the orbiter’s first night landing, as Dan Brandenstein explained later. “If we landed on the lakebed with the lights that we had devised to do the night landing, when you land on a lakebed, you kick up a cloud of dust which attenuated the light, and we felt it was safer to take the approach to land on the runway instead of the lakebed.” In case of an RTLS abort situation early into the night launch Commander Dick Truly felt quite confident, because the lighting at the Shuttle Landing Facility was excellent: “It’s very similar to any of our large municipal airports, plus we have the addition of the search lights just as we do at all the sites, and the outer glide slope PAPI lights. Dan and I have done a number of training sessions at the Cape and in the unhoped-for event of having to do a return to (launch) site abort we both feel comfortable in landing there.”

So, why didn’t they use the SLF at the nominal end of mission? “Early in the program,” said Brandenstein, “we were still testing the vehicle. If you had a bad navigation error, you're pretty much limited in what your options are at Kennedy, but at the lakebed you can land this way or that way or just about any way at the lakebed. Now, in a night situation, without having lights, it probably wouldn't have worked. Actually I think we had two runways out there that we could have chosen from… I think we had a set of lights on the lakebed, even though we weren't planning on using it, just as a backup in case we needed it and needed to accept the dust problem.”

Asked why Challenger was not to be escorted by chase planes during the scheduled night landing, pilot Dan Brandenstein said preflight: “The reason we don’t have any planes, PAO or chase planes coming down is the orbiter has no lights on it. So, they couldn’t see us, first of all. Secondly, now that we’re operational, the chase planes for engineering data and double-checking our instruments against theirs are no longer required. And I’m sure the public relations people would like to get what pictures they could of the night landing. But since it’s in the dark and the vehicle has no lights, you probably won’t be able to see it until about 50 or 100 feet above touchdown. There’s just no purpose for them. And as far as we’re concerned, you know, we’re not concerned about not having them there.”

“As a matter of fact it’s a blessing,” Richard Truly added. Precautions taken to a possibility of other aircraft coming into the area were essentially the same as during daylight launch and landing operations, as Daniel Brandenstein explained preflight. “Well, as you know, over the whole United Sates there’s control centers that handle all the traffic, air traffic flying, and they’re all under radar control. And NASA coordinates with the air traffic control system to essentially clear that up. And normally when we’re flying over where the normal airlines are flying, we’re well above the altitude that they fly at. And once we get into the Edwards landing area, that’s a restricted area that is closed to all air traffic exclusive of us when we come in for our landing. So there’s no problem of running into anyone.”

“It’s their problem anyway,” quipped STS-8 commander Dick Truly, “we’re bigger than they are…”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:23 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:23 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:24 pm

Indian National Satellite Insat-1B was the second in a series of the most complex civil operational satellites ever to be launched. Insat’s design combined in one package its three separate missions: Telephone and data communications over India’s million square miles; direct television broadcasting to receivers nationwide, including thousands of remote villages; comprehensive weather services, including continuous observations in both visible and infrared bands, relay of meteorological data from unattended stations, disaster warnings and radio program distribution to communities throughout India.

“As the name implies,” British space writer Ben Evans explained, “Insat-1B was the second in a series of multi-purpose geosynchronous platforms to provide telecommunications, television broadcasting, meteorology and search and rescue services to most of the Indian subcontinent and Indian Ocean. Its predecessor, Insat-1A, was launched atop a Delta rocket (on April 10, 1982) and despite reaching its 35,600 km geosynchronous orbit, successfully deploying a jammed C-band antenna and returning valuable meteorological imagery, it inadvertently exhausted its attitude control propellant. The satellite was abandoned (on September 8, 1982) far short of its advertised seven-year life span, but India’s Department of Space received a $70-million insurance from the debacle.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:26 pm
From its final geosynchronous parking orbit over the equator, at 74 degrees East longitude, the three-in-one satellite provided for over 8,000 two-way long distance telephone circuits, supplementing India’s existing communications system. Accessibility to long-distance telephone would be available to even the remotest part of the country. The system would be tied to 35 satellite Earth stations. The direct broadcast radio and television would be beamed to approximately 100,000 Indian-built receive-only, small S-band Earth terminals 3 to 3.6 meters (10 to 12 feet) in diameter placed in rural communities across the vast country. Social and agricultural education programs were among those planned for broadcast.

Insat’s meteorological capability via the two-channel Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) and Data Collection Platform (DCP) subsystem would benefit many segments of the country’s economy, such as agriculture and aviation. Flood control, irrigation planning and disaster warning were important spin-offs anticipated. The spacecraft would transmit weather photos every half hour, 24 hours a day through the Delhi Telecommunications Earth station to India’s Meteorological Data Utilization Center (MDUC) in New Delhi.

The VHRR data analysis would reveal cloud motion derived winds, sea surface, snow fields, cloud top and larger water body temperatures which were to be merged with other meteorological data. Utilizing four dipole UHF antennas, Insat would receive data collected by up to 800 small unattended land and ocean stations on a random basis three times each hour and retransmit it at C-band to the MDUC in New Delhi.

In 1983 India already was one of the largest and most populous nations on Earth, with a population of 613,000,000 million and a land area of one and a quarter million square miles. In addition, it embraced an enormous diversity of language, culture, and community life. The Indian National Satellite program was a joint venture of India’s Department of Space, called Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the Ministry of Communications, Posts and Telegraph Department, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. ISRO would establish and operate the space segment of the system, while the Ministries of Communications, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and the Information and Broadcasting would establish and operate their respective ground segment facilities. Interagency coordination was managed by the Insat coordination committee.

“Between 1982 and 1990, four Insat-1s surveyed India’s natural resources,” said Ben Evans. “Their data provided estimates of major crops, conducted drought monitoring, assessed the condition of vegetation, mapped areas at risk of flooding and identified new underground water supplies.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:27 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:29 pm
Ford Aerospace and Communications Corporation, Western Development Laboratories Division at Palo Alto, California, built  the $50 million, 1,150 kg cube-shaped Insat-1B for India’s Department of Space. In addition to building the Insat-1 satellites, Ford Aerospace participated in a project with ISRO to design and develop the Mission Control Center at Hassan, India. During the launch and checkout of the Insat-1B satellite, Ford Aerospace personnel were responsible for all operations. In the ensuing three-month period after satellite launch, operational responsibility was to be transferred from Ford Aerospace to ISRO personnel. India was paying NASA approximately $4 million for the launch of Insat-1B.

Insat-1B had twelve transponders, each having the capacity for 1,200 voice/data channels or two television channels at 6/4 GHz. A 1.4-meter (4.5-feet) diameter C-band reflector would receive at 6 GHz and transmit six of the twelve 4 GHz channels. A 1.5 by 1.6 meter (4.9 by 5.2 feet) C/S-band reflector provided the capability for transmitting the direct broadcast signals at 2.5 GHz and the other six telecommunications channels at 4 GHz.

Insat-1B’s attitude control subsystem design was a momentum-bias type with two momentum wheels. A reaction wheel was provided for redundancy in achieving three-axis satellite control. Attitude information was provided by redundant scanning infrared Earth sensors and non-scanning sun sensors which were used both in the transfer orbit and synchronous orbit operations. The subsystem also interfaced with the propulsion subsystem to perform thruster operation of attitude control during acquisition, apogee boost, momentum wheel unloading, and station-keeping maneuvers.

A solar sail extending 12.6 meters (41 feet) from Insat’s main body was used to provide passive compensation of the solar pressure torque about the satellite main body due to the single-wing solar array. The single-wing solar array was used to avoid interference with the radiometer cooler field of view. A body-mounted magnetic torquing coil provided an additional reaction torque for attitude control and momentum wheel speed unloading.

A single 445-Newton (110 pound) thruster was utilized for apogee boost. The thruster utilized hypergolic propellants, nitrogen tetroxide as the oxidizer and monomethyl hydrazine as the fuel. Attitude control and station keeping were accomplished with redundant sets of 22 Newton (5 pound) thrusters; each of the two sets contained six thrusters. Propellant storage consisted of two titanium tanks equipped with surface tension propellant management devices. Both tanks were pressurized with helium and had a capacity for a calculated life of seven years.

A single-wing, five-panel planar solar array of aluminum honeycomb with graphite-epoxy face skins converted solar energy into electrical power. Energy storage for solar eclipse operations were supplied by two 12 ampere-hour, 28-cell-nickel-cadmium batteries. Control of the electrical power subsystem was provided by the power control electronics consisting of the power control unit and sequential shunt unit. A direct-energy transfer dual-bus system provided electrical power.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:30 pm

In the past, NASA always had placed high priority on getting satellites deployed from the shuttle as quickly as possible. What was the thinking, in this flight, behind waiting until Flight Day 2? STS-8 Lead Flight Director Harold Draughon said preflight, “That’s always a debate on how quickly to get those satellites out. There is a certain amount of cleaning up the store that goes on after ascent and breaking out all the things that you need for the normal on-orbit operations.”

“We in operations think that it’s prudent to do a deploy, if it’s a simple one, as early as rev 5,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to plan to do anything earlier than that, because you’re just too caught up in what’s going on during ascent. And usually these things that you’re deploying require a very accurate attitude and position data. There are drifts and what not. There are biases that can come in during ascent that you don’t have time to tie down the orbiter’s position or attitude with IMU alignments until you’ve been on orbit for a while. So, that’s always a trade. You’d like to get it over and done with before something might potentially go wrong with the orbiter. But there’s also a large payoff in performance to the payload if you can give it a very accurate attitude and position knowledge before you deploy it.”

“There is one scenario on this flight,” Draughon added. “We launch with the sunshields open, and after you get on orbit, we open up the payload bay doors and then close the sunshields. If we are unable to close those sunshields, we would probably, in fact, we would make an attempt, and I feel fairly certain that we would successfully deploy the satellite on rev 5.”

To prepare for cargo ejection, the STS-8 flight crew had to verify the spacecraft through a series of checks and configured the payload for deployment. The satellite was spun up to 40 rpm on the cradle’s spin table. Communications and other subsystems were checked by means of an electrical and communications harness to the aft flight deck, and the payload ordnance items were armed. All the checks were performed remotely by the astronauts, and payload data were transmitted from Challenger to the Mission Control Center in Houston for analysis.

Harold Draughon explained, “At minus 70 minutes, you start to power up the pre-deploy PAM checks. You are familiar, from the last flight, on the sunshields, how that works, the sunshield opening at an hour before and Insat activation is at that point. They go to the deploy attitude at minus 30 minutes.” The orbiter was maneuvered into a deployment attitude with the payload bay facing the direction desired for the Payload Assist Module (PAM-D) motor firing. “On the TDRS deploy you wanted to keep the Sun out of the bay,” Draughon said. “This particular vehicle, the deploy attitude for it has the Sun on the payload.”

“The mechanical sequence start, or the spin-up, is at minus 15 minutes,” Draughon explained. They would “go to internal power, start the terminal sequence, arm the PAM safe and arms, which is a mechanical rotation of the pyrotechnics so that they have a continuous power train, and a deployment at T-0.” Ejection would occur, nominally, at a Mission Elapsed Time of one day, one hour and 17 minutes, on the descending node of orbit 17. A Marman clamp was released by explosive bolts, and the spinning payload popped out of the payload bay at approximately 0.9 meters per second (3 feet per second). Fifteen minutes later, Challenger would perform a separation maneuver with 11-foot-per-second delta-V, resulting in a 166 by 160 nautical mile orbit.

At ejection from Challenger’s cargo bay, the Insat-1B spacecraft had completed only the first of several critical launch events. At this point it was in an orbit similar to that of the orbiter, with an attitude of about 160 nautical miles (185 statute miles) and a velocity of about 27,835 kilometers per hour (17,300 mph). To perform its intended communications service, the spacecraft had to be raised to an altitude of about 36,851 kilometers (22,898 statute miles), with a velocity of about 10,941 kilometers per hour (6,800 mph).

The first in a series of major in-orbit events was the firing of the solid-propellant motor aboard the satellite’s Payload Assist Module. At ejection, this motor was armed to automatically fire in 45 minutes. Insat sensors and thrusters automatically maintained the payload’s correct attitude for firing. Meanwhile, Challenger would maintain a protection attitude to keep the bottom of the orbiter at the PAM. The PAM-D motor was to raise the apogee of the orbit to about 35,887 kilometers (22,300 statute miles). Now the spacecraft was in a highly elliptical transfer orbit with a perigee of about 158 nautical miles (182 statute miles). The PAM-D motor casing was jettisoned after firing.

NASA’s responsibility for the launch of the satellite was completed upon Insat-1B/PAM-D ejection from Challenger, except for tracking of the payload until the PAM was fired. The Insat-1B liquid-fueled Apogee Kick Motor (AKM) was fired to raise the perigee of the orbit. This put Insat-1B into a near-circular orbit at near-geosynchronous altitude. This AKM was fired on command from ISRO satellite control in Hassan, India. This was followed by a series of Insat thruster firings to refine the orbit and adjust satellite velocity so that a controlled drift would bring it to its final destination. When the maneuvers were completed, ISRO satellite control conducted a series of on-orbit tests and verification of spacecraft subsystems before service was begun.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:31 pm

The remote Manipulator System was used in STS-8 for unberthing and berthing the PFTA, Payload Flight Test Article, placing it in numerous positions while operating Challenger’s attitude control system in various modes, including free drift, to determine the response in flight, for comparison with ground data and verification of ground computer simulations. This data would be used in determining the response of the RMS as well as the orbiter in handling larger payload in future missions, such as the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), which weighed approximately 9,072 kilograms (20,000 pounds). The PFTA weighed about 3,383 kilograms (7,460 pounds).

“We’re going to be unberthing the Payload Flight Test Article, which is and 8,000-pound, approximately, object,” explained Mission Specialist Dale Gardner. “It’s about 13 feet in diameter, and 15 feet long. It is the next step in a series of tests. As you know, on Flight 7 the SPAS weighed about 3 or 4,000 pounds. We’re now moving up the ladder to about double that weight.”

“The purpose of flying the PFTA,” Gardner said, “is to attempt to verify our ground simulators, our ground computers, which predict how the arm will handle weights. The people have worked out already preflight the response that they think they will get from the arm with this large weight. We will take it up and fly it through identical maneuvers as they put in the computers, come back, compare the numbers. And if everything looks okay, then we are confident we can predict heavier-weight payloads – the next being Flight 13 with the Long Duration Exposure Facility, which I understand weighs a little over 20,000 pounds. We want to make sure that we can predict how those heavy payloads are going to operate on the end of the arm.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:32 pm
The PFTA was attached to Challenger’s cargo bay by four longeron trunnions and one keel trunnion. This was the first demonstration of a five-point payload attachment system. Forward and aft screens of the PFTA simulated a “full-volume” cylindrical payload and were used to demonstrate the ability to unberth/berth the PFTA without direct view of the attachment points.

“That will probably be, from the arm standpoint, the most challenging for Richard and myself,” Gardner described what he called a man/machine interface test. “We are going to attempt to put the PFTA back into the payload bay and bring it out again, using the arm in its most degraded mode - and not only that, but also without any real visual clues from the cockpit, with our eyeballs through the windows. We’ve put up screens on the PFTA to keep Richard and I from seeing the attach points where we need to berth it back in the payload bay. And that is to simulate very large payloads that would be up close to the window such that view wouldn’t be there anyway. And we are then reduced to using TV monitors and other cues, without computer aid, in flying the arm in most degraded mode, which is one joint at a time, and we’re going to attempt to unberth and berth the payload in that configuration... We think that it’s going to take us a while to do it, but that we will be successful in that task.”

There were four grapple fixtures on the PFTA, No. 2 through No. 5, however only No. 2 and No. 5 would be used to provide a different arm geometry and mass property. The majority of the weight of the PFTA was located at the aft end where lead ballast was located. The beams were hollow aluminum and the screens were aluminum. Grapple fixture No. 5 provided the larger moment of inertia. The various tests would determine if the RMS was able to position a payload within 50 millimeters (2 inches) and one degree of accuracy in respect to Challenger’s axes.

“When we start moving heavy objects around with the arm, we can expect to see feedback through the arm into the orbiter,” said Gardner. “Here we go with the famous weight versus mass thing... Weight is actually a characteristic of a body when it’s in a gravity field here on Earth; mass is a property of an object irrespective of whether it’s in a gravity field or not.”

“The easiest example I can probably give you is if I would put an object on the table and then attempt with no friction on the table and I want that object to move horizontally I have to give it a force. I have to push on it to get started and I have to push on it to stop it. And that I have to do whether I’m here on Earth or in space. The difference is here on Earth I need the table to keep it from dropping vertically. In space I don’t have that problem,” said Gardner.

“The amount of force I need to put on that object to start it or stop it is a function of the amount of material in that object – that is the mass of the object. If I have to start and stop a – what we call a heavy object, a massive object, it just takes more force. So, as you can see, what we are faced with here with the arm is, in order to bring this PFTA out of the payload bay and move it around, the arm has to do exactly that same function as I would here by moving an object on the table. It has to get it started by using a force and it has to stop it by using a force. Those forces then feed back into the joints of the arm and can induce oscillations of the arm itself and it’s that type of thing we need to understand before we move onto heavier objects.”

Dale Gardner continued, “PFTA has two different points at which we can grab hold with the arm. One point is very close to the heavy end of the object, and that would be similar to you grabbing a… somebody used an analogy of a sledge hammer, grabbing it by the weighty end of the sledge hammer. And you can do that if you’re strong enough and move it around. That other grapple fixture is very far away from the heavy end of the PFTA,” Gardner explained. “And grabbing it there would be similar to grabbing the sledge hammer one-handed on the handle and now trying to move it around with that heavy end out on the large lever arm. And that, of course, will be a more challenging task for the arm.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:34 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:34 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:36 pm
In detail, the following tests were to be performed by Richard Truly and Dale Gardner using the RMS and PFTA:

- Nominal unberth/berth of the PFTA using the RMS in a six degree-of-freedom mode with closed circuit television and RMS position and altitude data.

- Direct unberth/berth of the PFTA using the RMS one joint at a time with closed circuit television as visual cues only (most degraded mode of operation of RMS).

- Monitor Challenger’s vernier reaction control system/flight control attitude control system during RMS/PFTA operations.

- Gather data on RMS natural frequencies, damping characteristics, and Challenger longeron stiffness during PFTA handling operations and interactions with Challenger’s primary reaction control system in operation.

- Gather dynamic data on the RMS and payload damping to be used in design of large space structures.

- Verification of the ability of the RMS to follow a preprogrammed automatic sequence path and stop at the desired position and attitude.

- Gather data on the effects of loaded RMS dynamic interaction on the orbiter by maneuvering the RMS and observe Challenger’s response while in free drift.

- Confirmation of the control system evaluation with loaded RMS in respect to performance envelopes.

“The RMS testing will take place on two days,” said Dale Gardner, “on Flight Day 3 and on Flight Day 4; we have approximately four and a half hours on the first of those days, and five and a half hours on the second.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:37 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:38 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:39 pm

Nondeployable payloads were retained by passive retention devices, whereas, unberthing and berthing of the PFTA were secured by motor-driven, active retention devices. Payloads were secured in the orbiter payload bay by means of the payload retention system or were equipped with their own unique retention systems. The orbiter payload retention system provided three-axis support for up to five payloads per flight. The payload retention mechanisms secured the payloads during all mission phases and provide for installation and removal of payloads when the orbiter was either horizontal or vertical.

Attachment points in the cargo bay were in 99-millimeter (3.933-inch) increments along the left- and right-side longerons and along the bottom centerline of the bay. Of the potential 172 attach points on the longerons, 48 were unavailable because of the proximity of spacecraft hardware. The remaining 124 could be used for carrier/payload attachment: of these, 16 could be used for deployable payloads. Along the centerline keel, 89 attach points were available, 75 of which could be used for deployable payloads. There were 13 longeron bridges per side and 12 keel bridges available per flight. Only the bridges required for a particular flight were flown. The bridges were not interchangeable because of main frame spacing, varying load capability, and subframe attachments. The longeron bridge fittings were attached to the payload bay frame at the longeron level and at the side of the bay. Keel bridge fittings were attached to the payload bay frame at the bottom of the payload bay.

The payload trunnions were the interfacing portion of the payload with the orbiter retention system. The trunnions that interfaced with the longeron were 82 millimeters (3.25 inches) in diameter and 177.8 or 222.2 millimeters (7 or 8.75 inches) long, depending upon where they were positioned along the payload bay. The keel trunnions were 76.2 millimeters (3 inches) in diameter and varied in length from 101.6 to 292.1 millimeters (4 to 11.5 inches), depending upon where they fitted in the payload bay.

The orbiter/payload attachments were the trunnion/bearing/journal type. The longeron and keel attach fitting had a split, self-aligning bearing for nonrelease-type payloads in which the hinged half was bolted closed. For on-orbit unberth and berthing of the PFTA, the hinged half fitting released or secured the payload by latches that were driven by dual redundant electric motors.

Payload guides and scuff plates were used to assist in unberthing and berthing the PFTA in the cargo bay. The payload was constrained in the x direction by guides and in the y direction by scuff plates and guides. The guides were mounted to the inboard side of the payload latches and interface with the PFTA trunnions and scuff plates. The scuff plates were attached to the PFTA trunnions and interfaced with the PFTA guides.

The guides were V-shaped with one part of the V being 50.8 millimeters (2 inches) taller than the other part. Parts were available to make either the forward or aft guide the tallest. This difference enabled the arm operator monitoring the unberthing or berthing operations through the aft bulkhead TV cameras to better determine when the PFTA trunnion had entered the guide. The top of the tallest portion of the guide was 609.6 millimeters (24 inches) above the centerline off the payload trunnion when it was all the way down in the guide. The top of the guide had a 228.6-millimtere (9-inch) opening. These guides were mounted to the 203.2-millimeter (8-inch) guides that were a part of the longeron payload retention latches.

The payload scuff plates were mounted to the PFTA structure. There were two longeron latches and a keel latch for on-orbit unberthing and berthing of the PFTA. These latches were controlled by dual redundant electric motors with either or both motors releasing or latching the mechanism. The operating time of the latch was 30 seconds with both motors operating, or 60 seconds with one motor operating.

The latch/release switches on the aft flight deck display and control panel station controlled the latches. Each longeron latch had two microswitches sensing the ready-to-latch condition. Only one was required to control the ready-to-latch talkback indicator. Each longeron latch also had two microswitches to indicate latch and two to indicate release. Only one of each was required to control the latch or release talkback indicator. The keel latch also had two microswitches that sensed when the keel latch was closed with the trunnion in it. Only one of the switches was required to operate the talkback indicator on the aft flight deck. The keel latch also had two microswitches that verified if the latch was closed or open; with only one required to control the talkback indicator.

The keel latch centered the PFTA in the yaw direction in the payload bay; therefore the keel latch had to be closed before the longeron latch was closed. The keel latch could float plus or minus 69 millimeters (plus or minus 2.75 inches) in the x direction.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:41 pm

The Development Flight Instrumentation pallet flew on STS-8 minus the instrumentation that had been carried on earlier flights of the orbiter Columbia. In the STS-8 mission, the DFI pallet was used to mount two experiments and two boxes of U.S. Postal Service covers. The two experiments were Evaluation of Oxygen Interaction with Materials (EOIM) and the High-Capacity Heat Pipe Demonstration.

EOIM had been carried on the DFI pallet in Columbia during the STS-3 and STS-5 missions, but had been passive with incident atomic oxygen flux dependent on vehicle attitude. Shadowing by spaceflight hardware in those flights within Columbia’s cargo bay had complicated post-flight analysis and the low values of atomic oxygen fluence made extrapolation of degradation effects for long-duration missions uncertain. Tests during the STS-8 mission would obtain quantitative rates of oxygen interaction with materials used on the orbiter and advanced payloads, such as Space Telescope and Space Station.

Atomic oxygen within the low Earth orbit environment is known to be extremely reactive when in contact with solid surfaces. Chemical changes can occur for spacecraft materials at orbital altitudes which alter optical and electrical properties and in some cases even remove layers of material. If the atoms impinge with kinetic energy speed, chemical reactions are accelerated and the mass loss for many materials becomes more pronounced.

Advanced payloads, such as Space Telescope and Space Station, would use materials which reacted chemically with oxygen. Although the reaction rates were low at altitudes where these spacecraft would operate, long-duration missions could result in significant mass erosion for solar arrays, optical covers, light baffles and thermal control coating films. The objective of the EOIM experiment was to obtain quantitative rates of atomic oxygen interaction with these materials, which were mounted on trays on the DFI with thermal plates that were provided with 28 volts of direct current and controlled by on/off switching by the astronauts.

The second objective of the experiment was to flight test specimens of Advanced Flexible Reusable Surface Insulation and Thermal Protection System tiles in an atomic oxygen environment. AFRSI on Challenger’s OMS pods had failed during the STS-6 mission after entry and the orbiter’s TPS tiles showed significant loss of waterproofing and strength after each shuttle mission. These anomalies were suspected to result from atomic oxygen interacting with waterproofing agents on the AFRSI outer quartz fabric and TPS tile interior. The results of these flight tests and subsequent laboratory test would enable technologists to resolve these issues.

There were two diced Low-temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (LRSI) tiles, 203 by 203 millimeters (8 by 8 inches) and approximately 25.4 millimeters (one inch) thick specimens. There were several AFRSI specimens: two 355 by 431 millimeter (14 by 17 inch) blankets, six 152 by 152 millimeter (6 by 6 inch) blankets, and one segment of AFRSI approximately 0.18 cubic meters squared (two square feet) of outer blanket layer fabric material.

During STS-8, when descending to 224 kilometers (121 nautical miles) for the Atomic Oxygen Interaction, Challenger would be oriented so the DFI experiment trays, AFRSI and TPS tiles were normal to the orbiter’s velocity vector, with the starboard side to the Sun and tail pointed northward. The remotely controlled thermal plates and sample fixtures were actuated after Challenger acquired direct impingement attitude. The specimens were subjected to atomic oxygen bombardment for 26 hours to obtain an atomic oxygen fluence of 1.8 x 10 to the 20th power atoms per square centimeter. Power would be secured to the thermal plates after completion of the exposure period.

Also, five material specimens were placed on the upper arm of the RMS to obtain data of oxygen interaction with materials (surface glow phenomena) during night time passes. Photographs of the phenomenon were to be taken by the astronauts from Challenger’s aft flight deck.

“That’s an experiment that’s being sponsored by a group at JSC, some of the engineering folks here at JSC,” Lead Flight Director Harold Draughon said about EOIM. “And it has grown quite a bit and is a fairly late comer. But it’s one that has a lot of significant, prestigious people in the different universities very interested in it.”

The High-Capacity Heat Pipe Demonstration experiment mounted on the DFI pallet would provide in-orbit demonstration of the thermal performance of this device designed for future spacecraft heat rejection systems. The experiment heater power switches would be turned on from the aft flight deck control station during the tail-to-Sun orbiter attitude and time of operation would be a minimum of 45 minutes and a maximum of two hours.

Last but not least, some of the 260,000 special philatelic covers flown on the STS-8 mission were specially packaged in two large storage boxes mounted on the DFI pallet. The remaining covers were located in eight of the Getaway Special canisters mounted in the payload bay.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:42 pm

Twelve 0.14 cubic meter (5 cubic feet) Getaway Special canisters were aboard Challenger for the STS-8 mission. Four of them were involved with experiments and the remaining eight were used by the U.S. Postal Service for carrying the postal covers. Prior to the STS-8 mission, twelve GAS canisters had been flown, one on STS-4, one on STS-5, three on STS-6 and seven on STS-7. So, with the inclusion of Challenger’s third mission, a total of 24 GAS canisters would have been flown.

G-475 was a follow-on to a similar experiment conducted on STS-6. This experiment was an artificial snow crystal experiment sponsored by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, one of the largest in Japan, with a circulation of eight million. Post-flight investigation of the STS-6 experiment had shown that the temperature of the upper endplate of the GAS canister went down to minus seven degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit), much lower than engineers had expected. The engineers had designed the equipment to warm up the water in two tanks up to 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) to get water vapor enough to make snow crystals. With the colder endplate, and the colder temperatures inside the canister, the water had frozen and the heaters in the water tanks were not able to heat up the water enough to generate water vapor.

For the STS-8 mission, engineers had increased the power of the heaters three-fold. They suspected that the weightlessness in space had resulted in no convection current in the cold chamber, causing the water vapor supplied from the water tanks not to be transported efficiently to the fields of view of the TV cameras in the GAS canister. The engineers had added a small auxiliary fan to stir up the vapor in the cold chambers. The mode of the fan was changed in every snow-making experiment, which was to be repeated for four times.

In the first experiment, the fan would be activated for the first one-third of the full experiment time, and in the second experiment the fan would be activated from the beginning to the end of the run. In the third experiment, the fan would be activated for the latter half of the experiment. For the last run, the fan was to be activated just for a short time at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. Thus, the influence of weightlessness on snow crystal growth could be observed by the investigators.

The experiment had been selected from 17,000 ideas solicited from Asahi Shimbun’s readers. The Idea of the artificial snow had been proposed by two Japanese high school boys, Haruhiko Oda and Toshio Ogawa. The payload was designed by NEC Corporation, which was the leading satellite manufacturer in Japan. Principle Investigator for the experiment was Shigeru Kimura, representing the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

The heart of the experiment consisted of two identical small copper boxes, 38 by 38 by 99 millimeters (1.5 by 1.5 by 3.9 inches) in size. Semiconductor cooling boxes were attached to each box to cool down the inside of the boxes to minus fifteen degrees Celsius (five degrees Fahrenheit). Then water vapor would be supplied from small water tanks which were made of porous sintered metal and stored about twenty grams of water.

When enough vapor was supplied, a very small platinum heater, on which a few milligrams of silver iodine was attached, would be heated up. The small particles of the sublimated silver iodine served as seeds for artificial snow crystals. The crystals formed in the cold chambers would be recorded on videotape with four TV cameras and four video tape recorders in the GAS canister. This experiment desired a Vernier Reaction Control System (VRCS) attitude control period of five hours early in the flight.

G-348 was a similar experiment to the one successfully flown on the Office of Space Sciences’ OSS-1 pallet aboard Columbia STS-3. This Contamination Monitor Package was the first GAS payload mounted on the outside of the canister lid. The CMP experiment was to determine the effect of atomic oxygen within Challenger’s environment. It had been built entirely with recycled or reusable parts. The experiment had been prepared by Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland, and the Principal Investigator was GSFC’s Jack J. Triolo.

As described earlier, the dramatic effect of atomic oxygen seen after most of the past Space Shuttle flights had sparked interest in understanding the mechanisms and the orbital environment itself. The STS-8 altitudes and attitudes provided an opportunity to look at these effects in an accelerated environment. CMP had been designed to measure the atomic oxygen flux in two directions 90 degrees apart in a unique way. The experiment would measure the rate of mass loss of two materials known to readily oxidize – carbon and osmium. The information learned from CMP would not only help future Space Shuttle missions, but also would provide insights to material behavior and environmental effects at higher altitudes for future missions like Space Telescope.

The CMP flown on OSS-1 on STS-3 was used on STS-8 with modifications to fly independently on the top of the GAS canister. Besides being the support structure, the canister provided the electrical power (battery), storage of commands (in a read-only memory) and data storage (tape recorder). As with the OSS-1 flight, the CMP contained four Temperature-controlled Quartz Crystal Microbalances (TQCMs) as its only sensors.

TQCMs are very sensitive instruments which accurately measure mass changes of a crystal. They have traditionally been used to measure mass buildups of contamination of a crystal to determine molecular contamination levels. In this application they were used to measure the mass loss of the carbon and osmium material deliberately deposited before the flight. One sensor was left uncoated as a reference. The uncoated TQCM along with one coated with carbon and another coated with osmium would face out of the payload bay, and the fourth TQCM with carbon would face aft.

The mass loss of carbon and osmium would indicate the atomic oxygen flux as a function of time which could be correlated to altitude, attitude, and direction. Laboratory studies of reaction rates for these coatings would yield absolute rate determination.

G-347 was similar to one flown on the STS-7 mission. The ultraviolet photographic film test package was to evaluate the effect of Challenger’s gaseous environment on UV-sensitive photographic emulsions planned for flights aboard the orbiter, initially in the High-Resolution Telescope and Spectrograph (HRTS) being built by the Naval Research Laboratory for Spacelab 2 and eventually in the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Solar Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope and Spectrograph (SEUTS) planned for a future Space Shuttle flight.

The STS-8 flight was particularly well suited for these kind of investigations due to the mission providing the opportunity to face the instrument in the direction of the velocity vector, producing a ram effect, while Challenger was in sunlight. This would permit better studies into the extent of film degradation due to an ion environment. Laboratory tests had shown that the presence of charged particles produced chemical reactions than could blacken these emulsions, as if they were exposed to light.

Clouds of ions that produced this effect could be produced in space through the action of solar ultraviolet radiation on a residual cloud of gas emanating from the payload or the orbiter. If, in addition, an instrument opening, such as telescope apertures, faced in the direction of motion of the spacecraft, these ions could be scooped up and rammed into the interior portions of an instrument where they could interact with sensitive photographic materials.

Six sets of emulsions would be exposed for varying amounts of time for the experiment. The shortest exposure allowed by the electronics was three minutes. Longer exposures of 9, 27, and 50 minutes would examine the effects of longer duration exposures. The experiment had been prepared by the NAVAL Research Laboratory, with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Principal Investigator was Goddard’s Dr. Werner M. Neupert.

G-346 was CRUX, the Cosmic Ray Upset Experiment to determine how charged particles might upset or change the logic state of a memory cell.  The experiment had been prepared by Goddard Space Flight Center and the Principal Investigator was Goddard’s John W. Adolphsen. This was the first flight of this experiment designed to resolve many of the questions concerning upsets caused by single particles.

An upset or change in logic state can result from a single, highly energetic particle passing through a sensitive volume in a memory cell. In doing so, it deposits or loses energy, and if enough energy is deposited, the memory cell can change state. In some technologies, enough energy can be deposited to cause another effect, called “latchup,” which can result in the device destroying itself by drawing excessive current. Positive determination of the cause of an upset in flight is difficult because of other influences, such as electromagnetic interference, noise on power supply lines, or voltage dropouts, can result in the same device behavior as if induced by cosmic rays.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:43 pm

NASA and the U.S. Postal Service had jointly announced that approximately 260,000 special philatelic covers would be flown on STS-8. The cachet design on the front of each cover was a full color replica of NASA’s crew patch for the STS-8 mission and the back was a cachet of NASA’s 25th anniversary logo. The cacheted covers bore the recently announced $9.35 postage stamp, intended primarily for Express Mail – quite fitting for a Mach 25 delivery by a very special mail truck called Challenger.

The pictorial cancellation on the front of each cover carried the originally scheduled STS-8 launch day of August 14, 1983, which was also the issue date of the stamp. Upon the completion of the flight, the actual date of launch was noted on the cover; another cancellation was applied to each cover, indicating the STS-8 landing date and site.

Following the flight of STS-8, before they were sold, each of the covers was placed in souvenir folders featuring photographs of the Challenger. Each cover was imprinted with a special serial number not to be duplicated. Mail order instructions read as follows:

“Mail orders only for the item (designated as Item Number C572) will be accepted no earlier than the date Challenger returns from its mission. Orders postmarked prior to that date will be returned unopened. Orders and remittance should be sent to: Shuttle Flight Folder, Philatelic Sales Division, Washington, D.C. 20265-9997. Personal checks in the exact amount will be accepted for orders up to the folder limit. Do not send cash or postage stamps. If any covers are still available 30 days after Challenger returns, there will be restrictions on quantities ordered.

Although the covers have been specially packaged to withstand the rigors of space travel, some minor damage may occur. Some covers are extremely tightly bundled and stacked in the two large storage (mail) boxes on the DFI container. The remaining covers are in eight GAS cylindrical canisters that are sealed and pressurized with pure nitrogen. Both containers and canisters will be exposed to the temperature extremes encountered in space when the payload bay doors are opened. Despite all precautions, some of the covers may show evidence of the voyage into space. Because of the limited number of covers, the U.S. Postal Service cannot offer replacements for covers damaged in flight or during processing, but will refund the purchase price upon receipt of the damaged cover.”

The folder was sold for $15.35 each – requests for specific serial numbers were not honored. The proceeds from the sale – exclusive of the postage affixed – were divided equally between NASA and the U.S. Postal Service.

STS-8 was not the first space mail delivery, as National Public Radio’s resident space expert Pat Duggins explained in 2007: “NASA and the U.S. Postal Service cooperated on the stunt – and, in the process, resurrected a ghost from the agency’s Apollo days… Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott, Alfred Worden, and Jim Irwin carried 400 onionskin envelopes to the surface of the Moon. On their return, the agency declared the action improper and impounded the envelopes. Years later, when NASA endorsed the inclusion of the commemorative envelopes on STS-8, one Apollo 15 crewmember asked for the Moon envelopes back and NASA conceded the point. Collectors have been known to pay prices in the five figures for an Apollo 15 envelope, while one of the thousands of STS-8 commemoratives can now be found on eBay for just a few dollars.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:45 pm

The STS-8 flight of Challenger was used as a test flight to establish the ability of the TDRS-A satellite to maintain communications with the orbiter. This was to be the precursor to the use of the TDRS-A operationally for the flight of Columbia STS-9 with Spacelab 1. All modes of TDRS-A communications were to be exercised during the STS-8 mission such as performance navigation and proficiency tests of Challenger’s S-band system and Ku-band system with the relay satellite. “We will be using the TDRS for communications starting on Flight Day 1,” explained Mission Specialist Dale Gardner, “but on Flight Day 5, when the other tasks are complete, then INCO on the ground will start his commands and we’ll test out the different modes of the TDRS.”

STS-8 Lead Flight Director Harold Draughon explained, “A lot of that TDRS interface testing goes on continually (throughout the whole flight) and without any crew involvement at all. A majority of it is that nature. We’re going to check out all the data rates, tape recorder dump capabilities; we’ll be looking at Ku-band and S-band communications with the TDRS. And the only time the crew’s going to get involved is when we have a few very specific tests looking at individual electronic characteristics of that system. Those have to do with acquisition, some of the search patterns that the Ku-band, that steerable antenna on the orbiter does.”

“We’ll have the crew intentionally break lock or we’ll intentionally set the antenna off to the side, where we know it’s pointing at the wrong place, and let it go into a search routine and see if it can find the TDRS satellite,” Draughon said. “On Flight 7, they did do some checkout of the orbiter side of that interface. They put it into search mode. They watched it and it performed, as far as I have been told, it performed well. It went through the search routines that it was supposed to. It has a little routine in there that tells it to turn off the power amplifier, the transmitter, when it’s in the search routine or in any track mode; it goes down and points at the orbiter. And it demonstrated that about 20 times. So, we have some confidence that the orbiter side of the interface is working. There are another group of people that are working on verifying the TDRS and our interface with White Sands to pull off all this testing, and there is a significant amount of it. And that is one of the higher objectives, because of the high requirement for that particular system on Flight 9.”

The Ku-band antenna was a 914 millimeter (36 inch) diameter antenna mounted on the starboard forward portion of Challenger’s payload bay. The Ku-band antenna was stowed in this area and was deployed after payload bay door opening on-orbit. The orbiter Ku-band system operated at the 15,250 MHz to 17,250 MHz portion of the RF spectrum. The Ku-band provided a much higher gain signal with a smaller antenna than the S-band system, which was also used to communicate with the TDRS. But since the S-band did not have a high enough signal gain to handle high data rates, it had to be used in the low-data-rate mode.

In the STS-8 mission the lift-off and ascent phase of the mission would use Challenger’s S-band system through Merritt Island (MILA), Florida, Bermuda (BDA) and Dakar (DKR) ground stations, transmitting/receiving in the high data rate mode. After passing Dakar, Challenger’s S-band system would transmit/receive through TDRS in the low data rate mode until Loss of Signal. Once on orbit Challenger’s Ku-band antenna would transmit/receive through TDRS in the high data rate mode. When not in view of TDRS, Challenger’s S-band system would transmit/receive through the applicable ground station in view in the high data rate mode.

There were times when in view of TDRS-A, that transmission/receiving would be interrupted due to the orbiter blocking the Ku-band antenna view to TDRS because of an attitude requirement or when certain payloads could not allow Ku-band radiation to be hit by the main beam of the Ku-band antenna. The main beam of the Ku-band antenna produced 340 volts per meter at the antenna but decreased in distance, such as to 200 volts per meter 20 meters (65 feet) away from it. Dependent upon the payload, a program – instituted from Mission Control – could be instituted into the Ku-band control system in order to limit the azimuth and elevation angle which would inhibit the Ku-band antenna from directing its beam into the area of that payload. This was referred to as an obscuration zone. In other cases such as the deployment of Insat-1B in STS-8, the Ku-band antenna would be turned off during deployment and turned on after deployment.

In preparation for entry, the Ku-band antenna would be stowed and the payload bay doors were closed. When Challenger was not in view of TDRS-A, the S-band system would transmit/receive in the high data rate mode through the applicable ground station in view. When Challenger was in view of TDRS-A, the S-band system would transmit/receive in the low data rate mode.  During the blackout period of entry, transmission/reception was a question mark. After blackout, Challenger would continue to operate with TDRS-A to as low a view as possible until reaching the Buckhorn (BUC), California, ground station at which time the S-band system would transmit/receive through Buckhorn in the high data rate mode through landing, rollout, and safing at the Edwards Air Force Base, California, landing site.

Asked how much of the TDRS system he did expect to have in operation during those scheduled interface tests, Harold Draughon said in mid-July 1983, “We expect to have the full capability. The last piece that we need, as far as something being accomplished prior to this mission, was the Ku-band antenna that’s on the TDRS to be deployed – and that has been done. In fact it was done some time ago, so that’s been deployed. And I talked to George Harris not too long ago, and they had at least gimbaled that antenna and demonstrated that they can move it around. So the antenna that we will use to communicate with on Ku-band works and can gimbal; we have not flowed data through it yet.”

“There are some other tests that are going to go on before the Flight 8 launch that are going to be kind of paving the way for the Flight 8 inflight demonstration,” said Draughon. “There is a thing called ESTL, where we are going to use a building here at JSC as an emulator of the orbiter, hook our control center – the MCC – up to the regular Goddard network, flow data through the Goddard network, through White Sands, to the TDRS satellite, and then back to the ESTL facility here, which will act like an orbiter and respond to those commands, flow telemetry back to TDRS, back to White Sands through the Goddard network and back to Houston.”

“So, we’re going to compare it,” Draughon added. “There is testing already defined and in place that’s going to demonstrate a full closed-loop capability prior to launch. There is one other test that I think is currently scheduled before the 8 launch, and that is to have TDRS interface with the STS-9 vehicle on the pad, or at the Cape anyway.”

For the STS-8 mission, TDRS-A was positioned in a 22,234 by 22,237 statute-mile orbit with a period of 23 hours and 55 minutes and an inclination of .02 degrees over the equator at 67 degrees West longitude over Brazil. It was referred to as TDRS-East. If the problem with the IUS booster could be corrected in time, NASA tentatively planned to launch TDRS-B on STS-12 in March 1984. The Rockwell International STS-8 press information added:

“Next  year, TDRS-B will be carried into Earth orbit aboard the Space Shuttle and launched from the spacecraft and positioned over the Pacific Ocean at the equator southwest of Hawaii at 171 degrees West longitude and will be referred to TDRS-West. TDRS-C is scheduled to be positioned at the central station as a backup just west of South America over the Pacific Ocean at 79 degrees West longitude. The TDRS satellites are positioned at geosynchronous orbit above the equator at an altitude of 35,880 kilometers (22,300 statute miles). At this altitude, because of the speed of the satellite is the same as the rotational speed of Earth, they remain ‘fixed’ in orbit over one location. The eventual positioning of two TDRS satellites will be 130 degrees apart at geosynchronous orbit – instead of the usual 180 degrees spacing. This 130 degree spacing reduces the ground station to one instead of two if the satellites were space at 180 degrees.”

After completion of the TDRS-8 mission, TDRS-A would be moved to its operational location at 41 degrees West longitude, over the northeast corner of Brazil.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:47 pm

The ISAL experiment attempted to determine the spectral content of the STS-induced atmospheric luminosities which were relevant to many aspects of payload operations. Part one of the two-part experiment would investigate the glow about Challenger’s tail and would include intensity measurements from different combinations of the orbiter’s RCS vernier thruster firings. Part two consisted of five material specimens placed on the upper arm of the RMS to obtain data of oxygen interaction on materials – surface flow phenomena during nighttime passes. Photographs were to be taken from Challenger’s aft flight deck during nighttime passes at 224 kilometers (121 nautical miles) altitude.


On Flight Day 2 a thermal evaluation test of Challenger would begin. “You remember, those of you that were around on Flights 2 and 3,” Harold Draughon explained, “we did a lot of hold attitude testing, a lot of different orientations. We’re coming back now because of some subtle differences between the way the two orbiters were built, and the installation and what not, the way the cabin is thermally insulated from the rest of the vehicle. Our thermal folks wanted more data of this sort to help validate their models. We’re doing that, it’s called a cold canopy test, and it’s a tail-to-Sun, top-to-deep space (attitude), and we’re doing it for around 20 hours or so.”


The Continuous Flow Electrophoresis system (CFES) that had purified mixtures of proteins in cultures on the STS-4, STS-6 and STS-7 flights, would be used in the STS-8 mission with live cells for the first time. A total of six living cell samples would be carried on this flight. Two samples for McDonnell Douglas, under the terms of a new agreement with Washington School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, were pancreas cells to be used in research for purification techniques that were expected to lead to new treatments for diabetes. NASA’s Johnson Space Center was sending two samples of human embryonic kidney cells. Two pituitary cell samples were carried for Pennsylvania State University in conjunction with the NASA project.

The investigators for Washington University were Dr. Paul Lacy and Dr. David Scharp. The NASA JSC investigator was Dr. Dennis Morrison and the investigator for Penn State was Dr. Wesley Humer.

Because of the difficulties in maintaining the viability of live cells, one of the goals in the STS-8 mission was to demonstrate handling techniques for keeping these cells alive before and after separation. “One thing that’s unique about this flight is that these are live samples,” Lead Flight Director Harold Draughon said, “and we do need to run them early in the flight. Samples 1 and 2 require a little longer run time than we normally do. I think they’re on the order of an hour and 50 minutes, or something of that nature, rather than the normal 48 to 51 minutes that you’re probably used to on the last flights. Samples 4 through 6 are run on Flight Day 2.”  The CFES hardware remained the same as in previous flights, except for the addition of a tray on which samples were carried aloft on the surface of micro carrier beads in a fluid compatible with live cells.

Mission Specialist Guion Bluford would transfer the cells to syringes before insertion into the separation chamber. An additional requirement for maintenance of live materials was activation of CFES soon after Challenger had reached orbit. Seven hours of CFES operation was planned on launch day of the flight, followed with another seven hours of operation on the following day. The samples were to be be removed and checked for viability shortly after landing.

The McDonnell Douglas/Washington School of Medicine pancreas cells were used to try to separate insulin-producing cells from dogs in greater quantity and purity than on the ground. Islet cells – which make insulin – separated on Earth and transplanted into four dogs had appeared to cure them of their diabetes, however caution was urged against too much expectation that human transplantation would result in a cure.

Insulin regulates blood sugar levels in the body. In diabetics, the islet cells’ production of Insulin is either diminished or virtually non-existent. Most diabetics must take regular doses of the hormone, orally or by injection, and monitor their food intake carefully. Diabetes causes widespread complications, including heart didease, Kidney disease, blindness and damage to the nervous system. As of 1983, diabetes affected an estimated ten million Americans and was the fifth leading cause of death by disease.

The goal of this experiment in STS-8 was to study insulin-producing cells in their pure form, not to transplant them. Another goal was to separate out the immune cells which cause rejection of transplanted tissue. Scientists hoped this test would lead to permanent transplants of insulin-producing cells for diabetics, so that they could produce sufficient insulin on their own.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:48 pm

This experiment was an inflight engineering test and evaluation of the performance of the incubator hardware and temperature control capability in the microgravity environment.

During STS-8 separation of Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK) cells would be conducted in the CFES experiment. HEK cells after separation must attach to a substrate within 24 hours to survive. Microcarrier beads (coated with collagen, a fibrous protein) are a suitable substrate. In a one-g environment, the cells and beads settle and the cells readily attach. In microgravity, it was not known if there was sufficient time of contact between cells and beads to allow attachment.

The ICAT carry-on incubator was a suitable temperature-controlled container to evaluate the cell attachment mechanics in microgravity. It was 246 by 302 by 83 millimeters (9.7 by 11.9 by 3.3 inches) in size and weighed 3.2 kilograms (7 pounds). The temperature-controlled environment of the incubator was 37 plus or minus 0.5 degrees Celsius (98.6 plus or minus 32.9 degrees Fahrenheit). The incubator required 28 volts direct current power.

On orbit, a crewmember would inject a suspension of beads into each of the four cell culture chambers in the carry-on incubator. Each chamber contained HEK cells. Immediately after this, the crewmember would inject fixative into the first chamber containing cells and beads, making it permanent – which would require ten minutes. At 12, 24, and 36 hours after injection of the beads, fixative would be injected into successive cell-containing chambers, requiring a minimum of two minutes, each.

After landing the carry-on incubator with cells would be delivered to the principal investigator. The objective of this experiment was to determine if cells would attach to microcarrier beads in microgravity, in order to assess cell handling procedure for use in bioprocessing; to test mixing characteristics to fluids, cells and microcarrier beads in future STS flights.


An Animal Enclosure Module with six male albino rats was flown on Challenger’s middeck, mounted among the modular storage lockers. The enclosure provided the capabilities of supplying food and water as well as cycling lights on and off and was provided with the same atmosphere as that of the crew compartment. The test module was to determine qualification of the enclosure for carrying animals aboard the orbiter. “One of the aims of the device, which would fly in support of a student experiment on Challenger’s next mission in early 1984, was to assess how well the AEM contained micro-organisms and prevented ‘leaks’,” explained space writer Ben Evans later. “In fact, STS-8 marked the very first occasion on which a cage of animals had flown in the shuttle’s crew cabin.”

“This is a new biological load that is different from mankind, so the cages are thoroughly tested,” explained Mission Specialist Bill Thornton. “There is previous extensive history of flying rats in the Russian program especially. They have been adequately provided for food, water… They are breathing the same air that we breathe, same temperature. We are cycling their lights on and off to keep them happy and see no reason at all to think that they will have any difficulties other than an exciting ride.”

“We’ll try to bring them to the post-flight press conference,” added STS-8 Commander Truly.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:50 pm

Aboard Challenger, Dr. William Thornton would perform medical measurements and observations throughout the course of mission STS-8 in an effort to better understand the biophysical effects of spaceflight. Thornton’s studies encompassed seven basic disciplines:

- Audiometry; testing of aural sensitivity thresholds
- Biomonitoring; monitoring of crew health and medical status
- Electro-oculography; recording and measuring of electrical signals generated by eye movement
- Kinesymmetry; study of the repeatability of physical motion
- Photography; photo records of leg volume changes, if any
- Plethysmography; volume of limbs measured in circumference
-Tonometry; measurement of external tissue pressure

Thornton would be doing those experiments on his own timeline, as Lead Flight Director Harold Draughon explained: “Sometimes he’s using different crewmen for a particular medical experiment. We know what his general plans are, and we’re careful if he’s planning to use the commander or the pilot in a given timeframe for one of his packages, one of his experiments. We know that and we don’t schedule that particular crewman to do some other activity. But it just gets cumbersome, since the ground is usually not involved in what he is doing, to put it on this piece of paper,” he said, referring to the crew activity plan.

Asked why he hadn’t flown before his colleague, Dr. Norman Thagard, since he had designed many of the experiments and hardware that was used during STS-7, Dr. Thornton quipped, “I’m not privy to the decisions that involve scheduling or I might have flown before… But, seriously, I think it turns out to have been a very opportune schedule, because remember, Norm also had other duties which I had not been trained for. When he first was put onboard, there was a very real possibility of an EVA, so he spent a good bit of his time on EVA. There’s no way that I could have come up to speed for that sort of thing. And as it has in fact turned out, in preparation of the experiments, hardware and so forth, it has been very well that I’ve had this opportunity for as much time as possible. (My duty) is purely medical observer with one or two very small exceptions.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:51 pm
Morton Dean (CBS News): What did you learn from Dr. Thagard from his experiences on the last flight, what do you expect to do that will be different? And we hear that two of the astronauts on the last flight did become ill. Are you going to try any new medical procedures or any new medicine on this flight in an attempt to prevent that from happening?

Thornton: Let me take the last portion of that question first. No counter measures, no new counter measures are really planned on this one. And as to what Dr. Thagard brought back, what with the training work load, I have only had time for a cursory look at the data. But let’s say that it was an unprecedented amount from the cursory look. There are significant, currently significant features present. Most importantly of all, we got the data when we needed it and in a continuous fashion.

Dean: Did you learn anything that would lead to a preventative measure being taken, which will be used on this flight at all?

Thornton: No, not on this one. We are still in the information gathering phase. It is a phased approach that we are taking.

Howard Benedict (AP): Are you planning to do some of the same types of things that Dr. Thagard did, or are you going to do a different series of tests?

Thornton: No, it is basically a continuation of the same series. There simply wasn’t time to develop very much additional. A few items will have become viable. We’re hoping to have an eye/hand tracking task. But very largely it will center around the same kinds of things that Dr. Thagard did.

Jim Slade (Mutual Radio): Dr. Thornton, let me follow that up. Are you the basic client of your investigations here? In other words, are you going to try to make yourself sick as Norm Thagard did, spending most of your time in individual study?

Thornton: Well, I shan’t try to make myself sick; conversely, if it happens, I will take maximum advantage of it, might even consider myself fortunate if I do. And yes, I shall be the subject of my own ministrations here. However, the rest of the crew, at least at this point, has indicated a certain willingness to pitch in as well.

Dave Dooling (Huntsville Times): Dr. Thornton, do you expect that the medical tests that Dr. Thagard ran last flight and that you’ll run this flight will result in any changes in the experiment plans for Spacelab 3 next year?

Thornton: Yes, that’s a distinct possibility, although I think it would be premature at this time. Conversely, Spacelab 3 experiments are reasonably well frozen, but we may still have the opportunity to – if not modify those, I don’t anticipate modification on existing experiments – but nevertheless to possibly add a few small procedures.

Asked what product of his research on STS-8 might be very visible for the public to recognize as a significant contribution to medical science, Dr. Bill replied preflight, “Unfortunately, I think, the product that will be most significant to medical science will be largely invisible to the public and that is our increased knowledge of the nervous system, which to me is simply the most complex mechanism in the Universe and one in medicine which I feel that we know least about.”

“But again,” Thornton added, “the theoretical knowledge that we gain of this, which may translate or may not translate into practical use here on Earth, will unfortunately be largely invisible. But this does not mean, for example, that it’s not important. Look for example at Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood.”


William Harvey and the discovery of the circulation of the blood:

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:53 pm

This experiment was to determine the effectiveness of controlling a crewmember’s body parameters in zero-gravity biofeedback. Four different parameters to be monitored included skin conductance, skin surface temperature, heart rate, and respiration. A microcomputer recorded all data for post-flight analysis. Two or three sessions would be conducted on orbit totaling approximately 45 minutes of crew time. The student experimenter was Wendy A. Angelo of Poughkeepsie, New York, Hyde Park, New York. Her teacher was Mr. Jan L. Stoutenburgh; her sponsor was the Brooks Air Force Base School of Aviation Medicine, Texas.


The RME experiment was designed to measure radiation levels in Challenger’s middeck at various times throughout the flight. Experiment equipment included the Handheld Radiation Monitor (HRM-III), a gamma and electron dosimeter and the Pocket REM Meter (PRM), a neutron and proton dosimeter. The HRM-III would operate four times during the Mission for durations of 55 minutes, while the PRM would operate twice for durations of eight hours.


Two Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) were stored in the airlock of Challenger for the STS-8 mission in the event a contingency EVA, which would be performed by Commander Richard Truly and Mission Specialist Dale Gardner. “The reason that we elected for me to be (one of the EVA crewmen) instead of Dale and Guy was simply training facility time,” Truly explained preflight. “I had already trained for the EVA on STS-2. And we saved ourselves a lot of chamber runs and water tank runs by letting me pick up that chore.”

On STS-2 Truly had performed a rather undesired first: a minimum duration mission, due to trouble with one of Columbia’s fuel cells. The second orbital test flight of the shuttle had to be shortened by three days. “We’ve talked before about priority flight and what the content of that might be, if we get into one of those subsets of failures that I think you’re all familiar with, as far as an IMU failure or those kinds of things, where we get into a situation where the orbiter has a redundancy level that’s less than what we want to fly the full duration flight with,” STS-8 Lead Flight Director Harold Draughon said in July 1983.

“And for each flight we define one of these. For flight 8, the significant things that we think is worth taking some additional risk and going ahead and completing the major subjective are to go ahead and get the Day 2 and Day 3 opportunities for the PAM deploy. And that puts up an umbrella that you can easily get a modified RMS/PFTA checkout, some of the CFES. And then you’d enter on Flight Day 4, the RMS checkout that you would be looking at. There are two grapple fixtures, or places you can grab the PFTA with the arm, and there are some tests that you want attached to each one of those.”

As mentioned above, nominal PFTA work was scheduled on Flight Days 3 and 4. “Flight Day 3 is grapple fixture 2, which is a big one off at about one o’clock on the aft end of it; grapple fixture 5 is one radial down the center of the thing, and we use that on Day 4,” Draughon explained. “To turn the thing loose of the arm, take it off one place and put it on the other one, you put it back in the cradle, put it back in the bay, and latch it down. So the way the tests have been put together is that on Flight Day 3, we do all the grapple fixture 2 work, on Flight Day 4 we do all the grapple fixture 5 work. In the priority flight, since the moments of inertia are in the tests that they want to run, there are some high priorities in each one of those, we redefined a shortened sequence that gets the high priority objectives out of each one of those grapple points. And that’s what you would see done if we got into a shortened RMS/PFTA checkout.”

Although Space Adaptation Syndrome was one major topic of Dr. Bill’s research aboard Challenger, any possible cases of space sickness among the astronauts were not expected to play a role in the successful accomplishment of their mission goals, as Harold Draughon pointed out. “We think the crew will be able, you know, with the number of guys we got onboard we think we’ll be able to execute the timeline on time, as advertised. And we’re doing some cross training, as we do on every flight. Whether it be for space adaptation or whatever reason, if someone is not up to par on a given day, there is always another guy that’s trained to do that job – as in the commander and the pilot, there are two people that are trained on the RMS, there are two people that are trained on the PAM and deploys.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:54 pm

76 Thermal Protection System tiles had to be removed after Challenger’s STS-7 mission due to flight damage. The TPS also underwent re-waterproofing internally, except for diced tiles which were sprayed. The upper surface of the body flap, aft heat shield and aft end of the OMS/RCS were not waterproofed as these areas did not get wet.

On STS-7, there were a total of 50 Advanced Flexible Reusable Surface Insulation (AFRSI) blankets on the OMS pods. Of these 50 blankets, 44 were removed, four blankets were reworked, two blankets were retained as is, and eight new blankets were installed for a total of 14 blankets, for both OMS pods. The remaining area of AFRSI blankets not installed was covered with a total of 170 Low Temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (LRSI) tiles for both OMS pods. Some of the small transition areas from the LRSI tiles to the AFRSI blankets utilized Felt Reusable Surface Insulation (FRSI). Approximately 40 square feet of FRSI was used for both OMS pods.

Before STS-8, four areas of LRSI tiles on Challenger were removed and replaced with AFRSI blankets to establish confidence in locations of AFRSI applications on OV-103 Discovery. The AFRSI test panels were installed on the left-hand side of the forward fuselage, left-hand side of the mid-fuselage and left-hand side of the upper wing. Each test panel location consisted of two AFRSI blankets 304 millimeters (16 inches) in width, one in front of the other, with a total length in flow of the wind of 609 millimeters (24 inches).

The entry profile for STS-8 called for an alpha, i.e. angle of attack, of 40 degrees, which eventually would result in a crossrange of 597 statute miles. “We’re going back to the profile we flew on Flight 6,” Lead Flight Director Draughon told reporters preflight. “The one that was on Flight 7 was a little lower alpha, which gives you some increased crossrange capability (849 statute miles on STS-7). And that was done as a test; there was engineering data they wanted to get there. – As well as gaining you the crossrange that you get with a lower alpha profile, you also pay a penalty in thermal. You run higher temps during entry. Unless you need to do it for some reason, you just wouldn’t do that. So, since we didn’t have a motivation on this flight, we went back to the thermally benign alpha profile for Flight 8.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:55 pm

For STS-8, Challenger had a total lift-off weight of 2,037,400 kilograms (4,491,622 pounds), compared to a STS-7 lift-off weight of 2034,913 kilograms (4,486,141 pounds) – Challenger’s dry weight was 67,113 kilograms (148,200 pounds); total payload weight up was approximately 10,255 kilograms (26,609 pounds), total payload weight down was approximately 8,692 kilograms (19,194 pounds).

Major payload component weights were: Insat-1B/PAM, 3,377 kilograms (7,445 pounds); PAM cradle, 1,102 kilograms (2,243 pounds); PFTA 3,379 kilograms (7,450 pounds); GFI and attached experiments/instruments, 1,570 kilograms (3,330 pounds); 12 GAS canisters and contents, 2,230 kilograms (4,916 pounds); and CFES, 353 kilograms (779 pounds).

During her third launch, Challenger was boosted by high-performance solid rocket motors with lightweight shaved castings, which increased the initial thrust by four percent, adding about 1,360 kilograms (3,000 pounds) to the Space Shuttle’s payload carrying capability. The increase in thrust was achieved by lengthening the exit cone of the solid rocket motors’ nozzles by 254 millimeters (10 inches) and decreasing the booster nozzles throat diameter by 101 millimeters (4 inches) which increased the velocity of the solid fuel gases as they exited through the nozzles.

Also, some of the SRBs propellant inhibitor used in the four motor segments in each booster was omitted, thus causing the propellant to burn faster. These high performance motors would be used on future flights. The shaved lightweight castings had been first used in the STS-6 mission, which reduced the weight of each SRB by 1,814 kilograms (4,000 pounds).

On STS-8, Challenger was attached to a lightweight External Tank (LWT-2), which weighed approximately 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) less than the last heavyweight tank (SWT-6) used in the STS-7 flight. 


What would STS-8 accomplish that made it crucial to the future of the Space Shuttle program? “I guess the thing that has its lead-in to the further flights as much as anything else,” replied Harold Draughon. “It’s nice to get the night landing out of the way right now. We didn’t have to do that on this flight, we still don’t have to do it as far as something we have to accomplish here, because you could just let that driver be a driver in how you plan future flights, and we’ve gotten by up to now without doing that. But it’s something to get under our belts and we want to do that.”

“There are two other things… The RMS is at that evolution of getting ready for LDEF, and after LDEF – I think it weighs a little bit less, but there is the Space Telescope. And I don’t know where that thing is manifested, but it’s another heavy piece that we’re carrying up. So, we need to certify the RMS to handle those heavy payloads.  And it’s not just the weight, but it’s also the performance characteristics, how well you can point them, what kind of rate you can release them with and how steady you can keep them.”

“So, that has some implications,” Draughon continued. “And for the short term, the biggest one that’s a direct serial implication… is the TDRS interface in Flight 9, what that does. The problem that Flight 9 gets is one of all the data they’ve got, and they need the TDRS to get that data down. If you don’t have that, you’re going to have a scheduling problem to redo things at a different time… So, Flight 9 has got the short-term payoff, and I guess the RMS/PFTA is a long haul.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:56 pm

Lead Flight Director for STS-8 was Harold M. Draughon, who had been in the same position on STS-6, Entry Team Flight Director on STS-3 and STS-4, and backup Flight Director on STS-2. His additional responsibilities included prelaunch mission planning and coordination, as well as other leadership and management duties during the on-orbit phase. The Orbit 1 Team Flight Director was Brock Randy Stone, who had been Planning Team Flight Director on STS-6. Ascent and Entry Flight Directors were Jay H. Greene and Gary E. Coen, respectively, both veteran shuttle flight directors.

“Jay Greene is doing ascent for this flight,” Harold Draughon explained preflight. “I’ll be running the Orbit 2 team, which will be mostly centered on the PFTA/RMS activity. Jay is coming back after ascent and not a lot of sleep to run the planning team, and he’ll do that for the remainder of the flight… Randy Stone will be running the Orbit 1 team, or the first half of each crew day. And Randy’s major work assignment this time is going to be the PAM/Insat deploy. And both Randy and I will be dealing with the TDRS checking that we’ll be doing to kind of pave the way for STS-9 and the TDRS satellite interface… And Gary Coen, who’s done entry at least for the last two flights, will be leading that team for entry.”

As with previous shuttle missions, three teams of flight controllers would alternate shifts in the MOCR with a fourth team designated as an offline, on-call, troubleshooting team. The MOCR facility provided centralized control of the spacecraft from launch to landing and was backed up by additional teams operating from nearby staff support rooms in which government and contractor employees monitored data for analysis and evaluation.

The four rows of consoles in the MOCR were grouped with management personnel in the back row; the flight director, planners and communicators in the third row; vehicle systems officers in the second row; and trajectory-oriented and data processing functions in the front row. Specific console positions in the MOCR, their call signs and their functions were:

Flight Director (Flight) – Has overall responsibility for the conduct of the mission:

Jay H. Greene (Ascent/Planning Team), Brock R. Stone (Orbit 1), Harold M. Draughon (Orbit 2), Gary E. Coen (Entry)

Trajectory Officer (Trajectory) – Monitors on-course, on-time, position and velocity information:

Ronald C. Epps (Ascent), James E. l’Anson (Orbit 1), Nicholas E Combs (Orbit 2); Phillip J. Burley (Entry)

Flight Dynamics Officer (FIDO) – Responsible for monitoring powered phase of the mission, orbital events and trajectories from the standpoint of mission success; monitors vehicle energy levels during reentry:

Willis M. Bolt (Ascent), Brian L. Jones (Orbit 1), Bradford H. Sweet (Orbit 2), Edward P. Gonzales (Planning Team), Gregory T. Oliver (Entry)

Guidance Officer (Guidance) – Monitors onboard navigation and onboard guidance software:

J.T Chapman (Ascent/Orbit 1), Gayle K. Weber (Orbit 2), Mason Lancaster (Planning Team), Willard S. Presley (Entry)

Data Processing System Engineer (DPS) – Responsible for data processing hardware and execute software for the vehicle’s five onboard General Purpose Computer systems:

Andrew F. Algate (Ascent/Orbit 1/Entry), Michael Darnell (Orbit 2), Lizabeth A. Cheshire (Planning Team)

Flight Surgeon (Surgeon) – Responsible for advising the flight director of the crew’s health status:

Ellen L. Shulman (Ascent/Orbit 1/Entry), James S. Logan (Orbit 2)

Booster System Engineer (Booster) – Responsible for monitoring the vehicle’s main engine and Solid Rocket Booster propulsion systems during the ascent phase of the flight, and monitoring the purging systems before reentry:

Jerry L. Borrer (Ascent/Orbit 1/Orbit 2/Planning Team), Jenny M. Howard (Entry)

Propulsion Systems Engineer (Prop) – Responsible for the status of the Reaction Control and Orbital maneuvering System engines during all phases of flight:

N. Wayne Hale (Ascent/Orbit 1), William H. Gerstenmaier (Orbit 2), Charles D. Young (Planning Team)

Guidance, Navigation & Control Systems Engineer (GNC) – Responsible for all inertial navigational systems hardware, radio navigation systems hardware, radio navigation aids and digital autopilot systems:

James C. Adamson (Ascent/Orbit 1/Entry), C.K. Alford (Orbit 2), Harold Hardwick (Planning Team)

Environmental, Consumables and Mechanical Systems Engineer (EECOM) – Monitors cryogenics levels for fuel cells and propulsion systems, cooling systems, AC and DC power distribution systems, instrumentation systems, transducers and vehicle lighting systems:

Charles T. Holliman (Ascent/Orbit 1/Entry), R. John Rector (Orbit 2), Jerry D. Pfleeger (Planning Team)

Integrated Communications Systems Engineer (INCO) – Responsible for onboard communications system configuration:

Harold Black (Ascent/Orbit 1/Entry), J.E. Conner (Orbit 2), Roberto P. Moolchan (Planning Team)

Operations Integration Officer (OIO) – Responsible for detailed implementation of mission control procedures and for coordination and controlling the group displays and clocks in the control center:

Wayne B. Boatman (Ascent), Kim W. Anson (Orbit 1/Entry), James E. Wallace (Orbit 2), Wayne B. Boatman (Planning Team)

Flight Activities Officer (FAO) – Responsible for flight crew checklists, procedures and timelines:

Cheevon B. Lau (Ascent/Orbit 1/Entry), Carolynn L. Conley (Orbit 2), Ben E. Ferguson (Planning Team)

Spacecraft Communicator (CapCom) – Responsible for voice contact with the flight crew concerning details of the mission flight plan, flight procedures, mission rules and spacecraft systems:

Bryan D. O’Connor (Ascent/Planning Team), Mary L. Cleave (Orbit 1), Jeffrey A. Hoffman (Orbit 1); John E. Blaha (Orbit 2/Entry), William F. Fisher (Orbit 2), Guy S. Gardner (Entry); also Franklin Chang-Diaz (Orbit 2) and Anna L. Fisher (Orbit 2)

Payload Officer (Payloads) – Coordinates mission experiments:

Robert M. Kelso (Ascent), Michele A. Brekke (Orbit 1), Michael W. Hawes (Orbit 2), Debbie D. Pawkett (Planning Team)

Remote Manipulator System, Mechanical and Upper Stage Systems Officer (RMU) – Monitors mechanical systems such as Auxiliary Power Units, hydraulic systems, payload bay doors, vents and vent doors and upper stage systems:

Albert Y. Ong (Ascent/Orbit 1/Entry), Pramod Kumar (Orbit 2), Mark J. Ferring (Planning Team)

Ground Control (GC) – Responsible for configuring for Acquisition and Loss of Signal and status of ground support equipment:

Robert R. Marriott (Ascent/Orbit 1), Julius M. Conditt (Orbit 2), John H. Wells (Planning Team), C.R. Capps (Entry)

(NASA News release No. 83-020, May 27, 1983; NASA News release No. 83-119, Aug. 1983; Rockwell International STS-8 Press Information, Aug. 1983; STS-8 flight plan briefing transcript, July 12, 1983; STS-8 preflight crew conference transcript, July 13, 1983; JSC Space News Roundup, Jul. 22, 1983; Billie Deason, “Flight Control of STS-8,” NASA News Release No. 83-033, Aug. 25, 1983; Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA SP-4024, Jul. 1989; David Shayler, “Shuttle Challenger,” Prentice Hall Press 1987; Ben Evans, “Space Shuttle Challenger,” Springer/Praxis 2007; Pat Duggins, “Final Countdown,” University Press of Florida 2007; Daniel Brandenstein, JSC Oral History project interview, Jan. 19, 1999 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:58 pm
NASA at 25 / Apollo 17 – Flames Exploding Into the Darkness

“This may be our last, but it will be our best.”

- Motto of the Grumman team supporting the launch of Apollo 17

The first night launch of the Space Shuttle program, Challenger STS-8, was only the second of NASA’s manned missions to be launched in darkness. In 1972, the Kennedy Space Center team had saved its most spectacular lift-off for the last Apollo mission – when another spacecraft called Challenger was launched on the Apollo 17 mission on a dark December night. The last Apollo Moon mission was the first Saturn V launched after dark. As dusk approached on December 6, thousands of cars poured across the causeway leading onto Merritt Island. In front of the headquarters building, children threw footballs while the parents talked and listened for the progress of the countdown. The December weather did justice to the Chamber of Commerce claims; in the mid-80s during the day, the temperature was 72 degrees at launch.

At T minus 3 minutes and 7 seconds, the automatic sequencer took over. This sequencer, the oldest and most reliable piece of automation on LC-39, chose this moment in the launching of the last Apollo to cause trouble. A T minus 30 seconds it went into an automatic cutoff indicating that one of the essential operations leading to the launch of the space vehicle had not been properly completed. Besides halting the countdown, the cutoff started a series of safing procedures, which included the return of swing arm 9 to a standby position.

As Launch Director Walter Kapryan explained in a postlaunch press conference: “At two minutes 47 seconds, the countdown sequencer failed to output the proper command to pressurize the S-IVB LOX tank. The control room monitors noted it and immediately took steps to perform that pressurization manually. This was done, and at the time that we had the cutoff, we were up to pressure and everything was normal. The problem was that since the Terminal Count Sequencer did output the command, the logic circuitry said that we really didn’t complete all of the launch preparation for the S-IVB stage. And we didn’t have an interlock in our countdown circuitry that precludes the retraction of swing arm #1 which occurs at T-30 seconds, and this is the reason for the cutoff. Now, it didn’t take us very long to determine that we should bypass this command failure and go through the pressurization manually and go through the rest of the countdown.”

With the count returned to – and held at – T minus 22 minutes, the launch team installed jumpers that took the countdown around the faulty relays. The fix was verified on Huntsville’s Saturn breadboard, the two centers making good use of the launch information exchange facility. The work took about an hour, and Marshall’s confirmation took somewhat longer. Finally the launch team was satisfied that there was no problem. In Kapryan’s words: “We picked up the count and went on our merry way.”

Apollo 17 lifted off into space at 12:33 a.m., December 7. The flames, exploding into the darkness, made KSC momentarily as light as day. Despite its early hour, the launch attracted nearly 500,000 watchers in the immediate vicinity. Where clouds did not obstruct the view, thousands more saw the ascending Apollo-Saturn from as far away as 800 kilometers. The observers saw a red streak crossing the northern sky, but Tampa was blacked out by a heavy ground fog and much of the Orlando area was under cloud cover.

Apollo 17 LMP Harrison H. Schmitt wrote later, “Billowing flame that seems to rival the Sun, our Saturn rocket pulses the humid December night, spreading a false dawn across central Florida. As far away as North Carolina, spectators spot the bright wake of this unique Apollo night launch. Yet directly atop the five engines that lift Apollo 17, only faint flickers invade the spaceship America, whose cabin I share with Mission Commander Eugene A. Cernan and Command Module Pilot Ronald E. Evans.”

“Our launch has had its brief tense moments. Thirty seconds before takeoff an automatic sequencer discovers what it thinks to be an unpressurized liquid oxygen tank in the Saturn rocket and abruptly stops the countdown. More than two-and-a-half hours drag by before the problem is resolved and our journey begins. Now we feel the battering vibrations of engines shouldering 6 1/2 million pounds into space, feel the gradual weight of acceleration as our race to orbit quickens. These physical sensations and my duties crowd from my consciousness any anticipation of being the first geologist to walk on the Moon.”

“Aloft in America with the lunar module Challenger locked in tandem, we speed toward the intriguing valley of Taurus-Littrow, which lies near the coast of the great frozen ‘sea’ of Serenitatis. Our newly won knowledge of the Moon indicates the site will richly reward those who read the library of the planets. This helps to mitigate the sadness that our visit signals the end of the era of Apollo exploration.”

(Harrison H. Schmitt, “Exploring Taurus-Littrow,” National Geographic, Vol. 144, No. 3, September 1973; Charles D. Benson/William B. Faherty, “Moon Launch,” University Press of Florida, 2001 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 06:59 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:00 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:01 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:02 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:03 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:04 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:05 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:07 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:07 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:08 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:13 pm
Part Two: STS-8 – FAST AND FURIOUS (Launch Preparations)

 Shaping up for Round Three

In order to meet the original mid-August launch date set by flight planners, and make possible a gap of at least 30 days between launches of Missions 8 and 9 to provide sufficient simulator time for the Spacelab crew, NASA adopted a three-shift operation in the OPF and allowed overtime and a non-standard week, in which workers toiled for five days starting and ending on any day according to job specialty, in order to launch STS-8 on time. Eventually, on August 30, 1983, preflight processing for STS-8 would have totaled 53 working days, or 62 calendar days. The previous record had been 60 working days (63 calendar days), achieved on STS-7.

The stacking of the twin Solid Rocket Boosters on MLP-2 began on June 3, 1983 – MLP-1 at that time being occupied by the STS-7 vehicle. SRB stacking was completed on June 20 and was followed by the mating of the External Tank on June 23. Challenger arrived back at the Cape on June 29 following STS-7 and was delivered to the OPF during the following day. For the next 26 days the orbiter was processed for its third mission, the processing crews working round-the-clock shifts, seven days per week – with only Independence Day off. Prior to this, the fastest turnaround in the facility had been 34 days on STS-7.

Regular post-flight maintenance included leak and functional checks of the Main Propulsion System, subsystem checkout and servicing of consumables such as nitrogen, ammonia and potable water.  All 31 anomalies encountered with Challenger during the seventh mission were corrected during her stay in the OPF.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:15 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:15 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:17 pm
A damaged windshield, pockmarked by a miniscule particle of space debris (actually a flake of paint) was replaced. Several landing gear components were replaced. They were damaged or overstressed when small explosives were inadvertently fired putting undue strain on the gear following the orbiter's return to Earth. Following discovery of a main brake mechanism that disintegrated during landing, officials of NASA and B.F. Goodrich, the brakes' manufacturer, decided to replace all four main landing gear brakes. Here’s a short excerpt of the preflight crew conference on July 13, 1983, dealing with the brake failure on STS-7:

Jules Bergman (ABC News): Dick, what about the brakes? I understand that a washer or rivets, I hear both, came loose as they touched down at Edwards at the 2,000-foot mark where Crip was supposed to have set down. And I undertasnd also this has been a repeated failure in both the Columbia and Challenger, and that there were new brakes installed after the Challenger’s first flight. Are you happy with that?

Truly: Jules, you’re ahead of me on information, I think. I was told… I’ll tell you what I know about it. I was told that there was a strong possibility that there was a material incompatibility – a washer, or something to the like, was installed in the brakes; it was of the wrong material and possibly failed, which in that one small failure escalated into a failure of that particular brake. The last time that I talked to somebody about it was about a week ago, and that was not – at that time – that was not the final iron-clad technical solution or explanation to that mechanical failure. And frankly, our training has been such that I know that they are going to have a final answer and I don’t have time to hear all the interim ones. I do not think that is the same failure that has occurred. We have had the brake failures going all the way back to the Enterprise during Approach and Landing Tests, but I do not think that this particular failure was a repeat of an earlier one. But I could be mistaken. I don’t know.

Bergman: The brakes are supposed to be good for five regular landings and one all out max-stop landing, or six, I’m told. Here they failed on the very first landing attempt of a new system. Do you buy that?

Truly: Well, it happened. I mean, I would be much happier had we flown seven flights of the Columbia and Challenger and had no problems – and the same with the APUs. But in fact we did. We’ve got a heavyweight vehicle and a set of wheels and brakes that we’ve got to understand and fix all the technical problems. And I won’t be happy until we have.

Bergman: Do you feel safe…

Truly: Oh, yes.

Bergman: …with brakes that come apart that way?

Truly: Yes. It’s my understanding, even on this flight, I was told again, the analysis of Crip’s landing was that – and he did use very light brakes, the cause of this particular failure was not to do to heavy braking, but I was told that the failure mode here would have… the brakes would not have escalated into wheel failure or something like that, and he would have continued to roll out straight and gotten stopped even with heavier braking.

An onboard computer printout machine and CRT, both of which broke down in space, were swapped for new equipment. Also, according to Brevard County’s Today newspaper, Challenger's space-going toilet was swapped for the toilet which belonged in Discovery, still being constructed in California; an electronic circuit had malfunctioned on Challenger's toilet, or waste management system. “They did have a failure on (STS-7) of a micro switch that turned off one of the slinger motors that’s in the waste management system,” STS-8 Commander Truly explained on July 13, 1983. “Two things have been done. One obviously, the failed micro switch has been replaced and we’re developing an inflight maintenance procedure so that we could go in and either rewire it inflight or fix it ourselves, if that particular failure happens again.” Asked if he did hope that the potty was finally fixed on this flight, Truly added, “Definitely I do.”

Roy Neal (NBC News): Rick, I can give you this report; it’s from the latest status report, and it says, “The Challenger’s potty has been completely tetested successfully.” We thought you’d like to know.

Truly: Thank you very much, Roy. I appreciate the information.

An Auxiliary Power Unit and a hydraulic system pressure accumulator, both of which malfunctioned during Mission 7 were replaced with new units. Alluding to clogged APU oil filters, which had caused a scrubbed first launch attempt of Dick Truly’s first spaceflight as pilot of Columbia STS-2 in November 1981 – and because on STS-8 he again followed in Crip’s footsteps, or rather took his cockpit seat – a reporter asked him, “Did you get a proper oil change slip from Bob Crippen for this flight?” Truly grinned, “Crip did promise me that the oil was changed.”   

During the July 13 preflight briefing, Richard Truly explained, “I think that the Challenger is in good shape. One of the reasons, however, that we’re still working to a working date (August 20, at 2:00 a.m. EST), instead of an announced date, is the fact there are some uncertainties left. As I understand it, the final engineering analysis on that APU anomaly that they had on STS-7 has not been completed. So, the bottom line is that I believe that APU has already been removed and replaced down at the Cape. I have carefully talked to the people about the failures; this particular one didn’t seem to be associated with any previous one that we had had, so it didn’t look like it was suddenly a generic failure that we had not seen in seven consecutive flights with all the other APUs. So, as far as the bird goes, I’m happy.”

(STS-8 preflight crew conference transcript, Jul. 13, 1983; Yacenda, Today, Jul. 27, 1983; NASA News Release No. 83-119, STS-8 Press Kit, August 1983; David Shayler, “Shuttle Challenger,” Prentice Hall Press 1987 – edited)
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:32 pm
The Soviet spacecraft Soyuz T-9, piloted by Commander Vladimir Lyakhov (41) and Flight Engineer Aleksandr Aleksandrov (40), docked with the rear of the orbiting complex Salyut7/Cosmos 1443 at 2:46 p.m. Moscow time today. In April, due to a damaged rendezvous radar antenna and a lack of propellant reserves, the previous mission, Soyuz T-8, had failed to link up with the space station, which has been without a crew since December 1982. Soyuz T-9, with a crew of two rather than the expected three – due to additional propellant load – had lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 1:12 p.m. Moscow time on June 27. They almost did not make it as, for the first time since Soyuz 1, one of the twin solar panels on the spacecraft failed to deploy – although this did not prevent the docking with the Salyut.

According to the Tass news agency, cosmonauts Lyakhov and Aleksandrov entered the station to begin “practicing control of large-size manned complexes.” On reactivating life-support and communications systems, they began unloading the Cosmos 1443 craft. Tass said that the cosmonauts were putting film into cameras and turning on observation instruments, such as an East German MKS-M mass spectrometer, which would photograph and measure “vast tracts of Soviet territory in middle and southern latitudes.” In part the Earth resources surveys were conducted to save Soviet citizens from disaster by warning of the formation of a lake from a melting glacier which threatened to flood several towns beneath.

When the Cosmos 1443 docked automatically March 10 with the Salyut, U.S. space experts said that it would double the size of the 21-ton Salyut and had carried three tons of cargo, such as scientific gear, experiments, and two new EVA space suits. Cosmos had sets of small thrusters generally used to change the orbit of the entire complex, which weighed in total about 50 tons. The Cosmos itself, 43 feet long and 13 feet in diameter with solar-cell panels to generate electricity, consisted of an orbital module and a descent module. The descent module could return to Earth unmanned and land by parachute carrying experimental data and materials no longer needed on the Salyut, giving the same sort of round-trip supply service instead for the U.S. Space Shuttle without being reusable.

 (Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA SP-4024, Jul. 1989; Tim Furniss/David J. Shayler/Michael D. Shayler, “Praxis Manned Spaceflight Log, 1961-2006,” Springer/Praxis 2007 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:35 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:38 pm
NASA has selected Boeing Services International (Cocoa Beach, Florida) for negotiation of a new contract in support of activating Launch Complex 39's Pad B and Mobile Launcher Platform 3 for Space Shuttle operations. The contract period runs from September 1, 1983, through October 31, 1986. Boeing's proposed cost for the contract period was approximately $17.8 million. The pact is for final connection, testing, and verification of piping, electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic and other systems to be used at Pad 39B and on MLP 3. It also covers the fabrication and testing of two Centaur rolling beam access arms which will be deployed from the cargo bay of the shuttle to launch satellites and spacecraft into higher orbits or on escape trajectories. (Tucker, NASA/KSC News Release No. 157-83, Jul. 11, 1983 – edited)

Kennedy Space Center has awarded David Boland, Inc. (Titusville, Florida) a $1,404,000 fixed-price contract to build a multi-function facility in the Vehicle Assembly Building area of Launch Complex 39. Boland, in a period running from July 13, 1983, through January, 1984, will construct a new one-story building, remove, relocate and install existing food service equipment from the Launch Control Center  to the new building, and be responsible for new paving and site drainage work on extension of utilities. The new structure, which is needed to made additional space in the LCC available for operational personnel, will house a cafeteria and a medical dispensary. (Mitchell, NASA/KSC News Release, No. 132-83, Jul. 12, 1983 – edited)

Administrator James M. Beggs said Monday NASA will give the President a proposal for a space station project within a year and hopes to have it operational by 1992. Beggs’ remarks came during the Space Station Symposium earlier this week in Arlington, Virginia. Several hundred representatives from government, industry, foreign nations and the military were there to finalize ideas in preparation for NASA’s formal space station proposal. Beggs said the agency hopes to get start up money from Congress in the Fiscal Year 1985 budget. NASA’s Space Station Task Force has so far developed 48 space science and applications missions, 31 commercial missions and 30 technology developments which could be performed on a space platform.

Presidential Science advisor George Keyworth last week said NASA should prepare a “grand vision” for the future which could include a space station, more lunar exploration and more ambitious manned spaceflight projects. Keyworth, interviewed in Science magazine, said, “I think the country should take a major thrust in space very seriously. We’ve shown that the Space Shuttle works and is reliable. We have the technology to build a space station. It is only an intermediate step in a more ambitious long-range goal of exploring the solar system.” Keyworth compared such a proposal to President Kennedy’s lunar landing initiative in 1961, saying that challenge to the nation was “a brilliant stroke.”

Asked about the shift in Keyworth's thinking, Robert F. Freitag, deputy director of NASA's Space Station Task Force, said: "Support for a station comes about with understanding – when we sit down with people, explain it to them and give them time to think about it; Dr. Keyworth is a good example of that ... He's beginning to see some virtue he didn't see a year ago."

Beggs said he hopes to have an approved space station plan in the next year. “I think we will have an approved program in a really short period of time, if not the end of this year then the first half of next year,” he said. “Without a space station,” Beggs said, “I can envision a much different world several years from now. If the United States does not take this step, we will lose our preeminence in space. The Soviets will not stop, the Europeans will not stop and the Japanese will not stop. There would be no impact at first, but in five years we would begin to fall back, and in 10 to 15 years, we would regret that we didn’t take that next logical step.”

The agency, he said, “has a grand design that has existed since the early Apollo days. It is a step-by-step plan that proceeds from the shuttle to low Earth orbit, to transfer vehicles to carry people th geosynchronous orbit, to a scientific bas on the Moon and further planetary expeditions, and perhaps manned trips to Mars.” (Today, Jul. 18, 1983; JSC Space News Roundup, July 22, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:39 pm
Kennedy Space Center firefighters extinguished a small fire about 10:00 a.m. EST at the Apollo 11 launch tower (LUT-1) workers are disassembling. The fire started when a welder cut through electrical cables and insulation. A NASA spokesman said the blaze was put out in minutes and caused no damage or injuries. The gantry site is being cleared for use as a third shuttle launch platform. (Today, Jul. 20, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:40 pm
Charles D. Walker, an engineer at the McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. in St. Louis, will be the first payload specialist to represent a commercial project when he flies with the Continuous Flow Processing System on STS-12. The device, which has flown three times on the shuttle as part of a joint NASA/McDonnell Douglas/Johnson & Johnson project, will be reconfigured to run 24 hours a day during STS-12. The goal is to produce sufficient material for clinical testing. Walker has been involved with the Electrophoresis Operations in Space project since its inception in 1978. He is the chief test engineer for the project with responsibility for space flight testing and evaluation, and has trained the NASA astronauts who have operated the device on past flights. Walker is an Indiana native and received his bachelor of science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1971. (JSC Space News Roundup, July 22, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:41 pm
Humans who spend their lives in space might live longer than they would on Earth, but they could lose the use of major bones and muscles, according to a report out of the Ames Research Center. Researchers at Ames have found that effects of exposure to micro-gravity are very similar to the effects of aging seen in Earth-bound humans and animals. But they have also concluded that human aging might actually be slowed by 10 to 15 percent because of a reduction in metabolic rates.

Humans in space have experienced an increase in blood pressure and a decrease in cardiac output and respiratory capacity; a decrease in grip strength, body weight and muscle mass; loss of bone minerals and a decreased urinary output of hormones from the adrenal cortex. These changes so far have been reversible, but the effects of spending years in space are as yet unknown, the study says.

Researchers Dr. Jaime Miquel and Dr. Angelos Economos also looked at how the body works to counteract gravity on Earth. About one third of the calories ingested energy to work against the effects of gravity, such as the heart pumping blood “uphill” to the brain. Without gravity, humans should require less calories, they said, and this would reduce metabolic rates. This lowered rate would tend to slow the time-dependent disorganization of cells and organs, the physiological decline we call aging. (JSC Space News Roundup, July 22, 1983)

The European Space Agency and Arianespace, the commercial consortium which markets the Ariane rocket, have signed two separate contracts for the launch of four satellites, including the European Large Telecommunications Satellite, recently christened Olympus. The new contracts guarantee production of the Ariane at least through launch of the L24 mission. Olympus, a large telecommunications platform, will be launched on an Ariane 3, an uprated version of the original rocket, in late 1986. The second contract covers the launch of three weather satellites under the European Meteosat Program in 1987, 1988 and 1990. (JSC Space News Roundup, July 22, 1983)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:42 pm
A score of hot air balloons, the vehicles of the 18th century’s first aviators, will fly pas a Saturn V rocket, the vehicle of the 20th century’s moon-walking astronauts, as disparate images from the world of flight help celebrate a special year in air and space. The Bicentennial Balloon Meet ’83, to be held at JSC August 13 and 14, will help commemorate the dual anniversaries of the first manned flight in 1783 and 25 years of space exploration. The meet also will benefit the United Cerebral Palsy campaign.

JSC Director Gerald Griffin called the balloon meet a fitting tribute to human innovation and ingenuity, linking 200 years of progress in aviation to the 25th anniversary of U.S. space exploration. “We hope the event will provide a visual reminder of how the first tentative steps into a new realm with new technology have led us to unimagined progress for the benefit of mankind,” he said.

Between 50 and 100 balloonists will take to the skies in three ascensions from the 550-acre field adjacent to the Rocket Park at JSC. America’s official balloon for the 200th anniversary of manned flight, the “Freedom,” will participate in the event. The U.S. Congress has designed 1983 as the Air and Space Bicentennial, marking man’s first flight in  hot air balloon in France in November 1783. President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush are honorary chairmen of the U.S. Air and Space Bicentennial Committee, which has sanctioned the JSC meet as an official bicentennial event.

Sponsors plan three balloon launches during the weekend, two on Saturday at dawn and dusk and one at dawn Sunday. Balloon entries will be sponsored by local and national corporations and individuals, with proceeds from entry fees benefitting United Cerebral Palsy. U-Tote’M, a national contributor to the campaign, will spearhead fundraising activities. Individual balloonists enter at a nominal fee and may carry a sponsor’s banner. Sponsorships range from $250 to $2,500. (JSC Space News Roundup, July 22, 1983)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:42 pm
Reports from Tass on the flight of the Salyut 7/Soyuz T-9/Cosmos 1443 complex included “an unpleasant surprise” when a micrometeorite struck one of the windows with quite a loud crack, leaving a four-millimeter at diameter crater on the pane. “Luckily,” the report added, “the windows have double panes, each 14mm thick. That is why nothing terrible has happened.”

The incident had “amazingly coincided” with a preplanned exercise in “urgent escape from the station,” a mock evacuation exercise. Journalists could not help asking how long it would take for the crew to abandon station. Deputy flight director Victor Blagov said that the “minimum required time is 15 minutes, but we consider 90 minutes, that is one orbit, to be standard time” during which the crew could take all steps needed for an emergency mothballing of the station and enter the return module. The cosmonauts could “spend several days there in absolute safety,” Blagov added, but if necessary they could “splash down in the reentry vehicle in the ocean, or touch down in one of the reserve landing ranges in the USA, France, and other countries. There is an international convention on that score.” (Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA SP-4024, Jul. 1989 – edited)

A new generation of AT&T Telstar satellites was launched into orbit aboard a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral at 6:49 p.m. EST. The liftoff was delayed 28 minutes due to problems with a tracking radar at the Antigua ground station in the Caribbean. Uncertain weather at the launch site, including winds, heavy shower activity, and airborne hail contributed to the delay. NASA launched into a transfer orbit with 37,516-kilometer apogee, 185-kilometer perigee, 23 degree inclination, and 664-minute period, preparatory to moving it to geosynchronous station at 96° W over the Pacific, just west of the Galapagos. Telestar-3A was the first of a new series of three domestic communications satellites offering AT&T long-lines customers television, phone, and data service over the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico; it had 24 transponders and six spares, each able to relay a color-television signal at 60 million bits per second or up to 3,900 two-way phone calls. (Yacenda, Today, Jul. 29, 1983; Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA SP-4024, Jul. 1989 – edited)

NASA officials canceled a tentative August 20 launch of the eighth shuttle mission, but did not decide on a new date for the lift-off. Estimates put the date between August 23 and August 30. Continuing difficulties with the $100 million Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) accounted for the delay, according to NASA spokesman David Garrett at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Today, Jul. 29, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:44 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:45 pm
Out and About

Meanwhile the payloads had begun arriving at KSC for installation on Challenger following her second mission. The Indian National Satellite Insat-1B had arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 2. The satellite had been mated to its PAM-D upper stage and installed in its support cradle at Area 60-A facilities on Cape Canaveral AFS. On July 19 the Insat/PAM combination was moved to the Vertical Processing Facility, where the satellite underwent a checkout program to verify all orbiter-to-payload interfaces, as they were to be operated inflight, in the Cargo Integrated Test Equipment stand.

The Getaway Special experiments arrived at the Cape on various dates, were checked and mounted inside their respective GAS canisters, all twelve being mounted inside Challenger’s payload bay during July 15 and 16. The PFTA payload and Development Flight Instrumentation pallet arrived on July 12, and were stored in the OPF until installation in the spacecraft on July 21.
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:46 pm
On July 26, at 1:28 p.m. EST, Challenger was backed out of the OPF hangar and arrived inside the Vehicle Assembly Building about fifteen minutes later. Carrying almost all its STS-8 payload – including the same RMS arm used on Flight 7 – the orbiter was mated to the ET/SRB combination on that same day. The Shuttle Interface Test, designed to verify electrical, mechanical and data paths between mated shuttle elements, was performed on July 29-30.
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:47 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:48 pm
On August 1, Challenger's scheduled rollout from the VAB to the launch pad early in the morning was delayed a day because of bad weather. KSC spokesman Jim Ball explained, "Meteorologists were predicting a high probability of thunderstorms and lightning. We decided to play it safe. We have plenty of time." Preparations were on schedule, he added. The launch date was officially rescheduled to Tuesday, August 30. Eventually the rollout did begin just after midnight on August 2, 1983, and was completed shortly after dawn. For the next 28 days Challenger sat on Pad 39A, nose pointed skywards as the final preparations for the spacecraft’s third launch continued.

(Sheal, Today, Aug. 1, 1983; Yacenda, Today, Aug. 2, 1983; NASA News Release No. 83-119, STS-8 Press Kit, August 1983; David Shayler, “Shuttle Challenger,” Prentice Hall Press 1987 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:49 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:50 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:51 pm
The STS-8 crew – Truly, Brandenstein, Gardner, Bluford, and Thornton – took part in a successful Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test at Kennedy Space Center, said Rocky Raab, NASA spokesman. This was designed as a final demonstration of vehicle, flight software and flight crew readiness for launch. The simulated launch - scheduled for 10:00 p.m. EST – failed to occur. "The ground launch computers detected something that wasn't correct and the computers aboard the orbiter stopped the countdown at about 13 seconds. We're still analyzing it, but it's happened before," said Raab.

At a brief pad-side meeting with the media, crewmen gave every assurance they were ready for their flight and admitted some disappointment in the 10-day launch delay. Guion Bluford, first American black space traveler, told reporters he had gotten "pretty used to" being asked similar questions by reporters. "I give them the same answers," he quipped. "I'm looking forward to flying." Commander Truly said there was some chance the mission might be extended an extra sixth-day, to allow more time for checking out TDRS - the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite. Mission Specialist Gardner said TDRS engineers were "catching up" with the problems that have delayed checkout of the satellite. (Yacenda, Today, Aug. 5, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:53 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:54 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:55 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:57 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 07:59 pm
Launch dates for STS-8 and STS-9 have been pushed back to August 30 and October 28, respectively, to allow extra time for ground verification testing of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-A). Although the satellite itself so far has performed nominally, important ground tests of the system are as much as 20 days behind schedule, and both shuttle flights require that most of the tests be completed.

The decision to delay the first Spacelab flight on STS-9 by about one month was reached jointly by NASA and the European Space Agency. The joint NASA-ESA mission was originally scheduled for September 30. Proper checkout and operation of the TDRS satellite is essential for the Spacelab mission due to the enormous amount of scientific data that is to be transmitted through the satellite to ground stations. Some of the experiments aboard require specific alignments of the Sun, Earth and Moon, and the next acceptable alignment beyond September 30 occur in late October.

The planned STS-8 launch time August 30 is now 2:15 a.m. EDT, rather than the 2:21 a.m. launch time scheduled for an earlier launch date. Tests with the TDRS will be interspersed throughout the mission. Program officials said the scheduled five-day flight may be extended an additional day, if necessary, to allow for a more complete checkout of the TDRS satellite. Plans call for regular air-to-ground communication through the TDRS on STS-8 as soon as Challenger passes Dakar on the first orbit. Nominal TDRS-A coverage begins at about the mid-Pacific Ocean and ends near where the Indian Ocean Station coverage begins on the east coast of Africa.

Problems with ground checkout of the TDRS began in July when a software anomaly occurred in ground computers. Two additional days were lost later in the month when a power failure caused two emergency generators at the White Sands ground station to come online and one caught fire. A major element of the checkout still to be completed is the tracking test of the Ku-band antennas on the TDRS. The antennas must track other satellites, as well as shuttle orbiters, for nominal operations. (Space News Roundup, Aug. 5, 1983 – edited)

At Kennedy Space Center, two tornadoes were seen touching down at 3:00 p.m. EST, northwest of the Vehicle Assembly Building, a spokesman for the KSC Fire Department said. The twisters were traveling southeast, but dissipated before hitting any structures, he safd. (Crook, Today, Aug. 8, 1983)

Today the Insat-1B/PAM cargo was delivered to the Payload Changeout Room at Launch Pad 39A. Tomorrow, the satellite will be transferred into Challenger’s cargo bay. This will be followed by a series of electrical interface checks to make sure the payload is properly linked to the spaceship. (NASA News Release No. 83-119, STS-8 Press Kit, August 1983 – edited)

STS-8 astronauts Guion "Guy" Bluford and Dale Gardner were at Kennedy Space Center today to participate in tests involving the mission's primary cargo, an Indian multipurpose communication and weather satellite. The two mission specialists will be responsible for deploying the Insat spacecraft from Challenger's cargo bay on the second day of the five-day mission.

KSC spokeswoman Weida Tucker said launch engineers activated the spaceplane's electrical power in the morning for the Cargo Interface Tests which verify electrical and mechanical hookups between the orbiter and the satellite. Preparations for next week's loading of hypergolic-reactant fuels onto the orbiter were proceeding smoothly and should be completed tomorrow, Tucker said. Large tanks used to store liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen on the Fixed Service Structure at Pad 39A, where the shuttle was moved last week already have been readied, Tucker said. (Yacenda, Today, Aug. 12, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:01 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:03 pm
Riding the Winds in the JSC Balloon Meet


It is a singular type of flight, the most basic if for no other reason than man flew this way first for more than a century before progressing to other, quicker means. It is a type of flight where people hanging out clothes and swimming in lakes and doing other things on the surface can become part of the experience as they wave and yell up to the gondola, rather than appearing as small dots as they whiz in and out of your view and are gone. It is a type of flight where you watch the grass and the dust, the treetops and the clouds, to see how they interact with the wind, because they can give you clues as to what lies ahead. Ballooning is also a type of flight which has changed very little since it was first practiced exactly 200 years ago in France.

Celebrating that anniversary and NASA’s own 25th anniversary was the impetus behind a weekend of ballooning at JSC, during a surprisingly clear two days shoehorned in between a week of heavy rains and Hurricane Alicia. They came from all over the country, the drawing card a chance to fly out of a space center with a Moon rocket as the backdrop. And fly they did. Some 47 balloons, pilots and crews began gathering at the Nassau Bay Hilton on Friday, August 12, while rain was still pounding the area and the launching field at JSC was a muddy lake. But that afternoon, an alternate plan – and a very unusual one for balloon meets – was put into effect by the meet organizers and Center Operations.

When Saturday morning, August 13, dawned bright and clear, the balloon crews were already lined up long Avenue E, laying out the balloon envelopes in what space was available and inflating them for the 7:00 a.m. CDT ascension. All but one of the balloons got off the ground during that first ascent with several thousand spectators watching, and the meet organizers heaved a collective sigh of relief as the pack quietly floated northward. Two more ascents followed during the weekend, and it was all very unusual because balloons almost never line up side by side for launch, and it is even rarer for them to fly out of a federal reservation into heavily travelled skies with a military airfield and three commercial airports only a few miles away.


For John Bagwell, pilot of the American Express balloon Blue Chip 1, one of several balloons which carried members of JSC’s astronaut corps along as passengers, it was a new experience, but with the added flavor of rockets, astronauts and the space program. “Every time I fly it is a new experience,” he said, “but this is something unique.”

Balloon pilots are a careful but relaxed group. There are no checklists and detailed weather briefings and countless hours of training, learning exactly how a vehicle will respond. Flight instruction for balloons is about ten hours for a private license and 35 hours for a commercial license. Flying a balloon revolves largely around sensation and observation.

“To know when to do something,” Bagwell said, “you have to feel it. The balloon becomes a part of you and you talk to it. Each balloon feels different, and when you are flying you have to allow for events 10 or 15 seconds ahead, because that’s how long it takes for heat to rise to the top of the envelope. When you get into the clouds, it is very moist and wet and very quiet. You feel like you are part of it, and you move along with them. It’s hard to describe, but it’s very much like being a cloud.”

(JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 2, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:05 pm
Space agency officials decided on a one-day extension of the eighth Space Shuttle mission, scheduled for launch on August 30; the flight will last six days. The new schedule announced by NASA calls for a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, during the shuttle's 98th revolution around the Earth. This would be the first shuttle flight to both take off and land at night.

Meanwhile, the European-built Spacelab began its trip to Columbia's cargo bay by being hoisted from its cradles in the Operations and Checkout Building. The 21 1/2-ton orbiting laboratory was placed into a payload transport canister in preparation for tomorrow’s transfer to the Columbia. Four members of the six-person STS-9 crew took part in fire training exercises at the space center. Mission Commander John Young, Pilot Brewster Shaw, and Mission Specialists Owen Garriott and Robert Parker took turns running an armored personnel vehicle through grass and swamps practicing what they would do to escape a blast if things go wrong at launch. Later the astronauts observed the results when hypergolic reactants - used for some propulsion systems aboard the shuttle - come in contact with one another. (Yacenda, Today, Aug. 16, 1983 – edited)
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:06 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:07 pm
The installation of Europe's orbiting scientific laboratory - Spacelab - was completed at 12:51 p.m. EST. The process began shortly before 9:00 a.m. More than four dozen contractor and NASA personnel took part in the installation process. Alan Thirkettle, resident manager of the European Space Agency's KSC office, said the loading operation went well, but that he had tired of watching the lab lowered "one millimeter at a time" into the orbiter's cargo bay. With the completion of installation, NASA assumed responsibility for Spacelab for the duration of the mission. (Yacenda, Today, Aug. 17, 1983 – edited)
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:09 pm
The Tracking and data Relay Satellite successfully transmitted several scenes relayed from the Thematic Mapper aboard Landsat 4, in a confirmation of both the TM itself and the tracking satellite’s Ku-band capability. Landsat 4 was selected as the test spacecraft because it uses the Ku-band for transmission of the high-bit-rate TM data, and because it has been unable to transmit those scenes since its direct downlink X-band system failed earlier this year.

During portions of the data transmission August 17, the bit error rate was zero. Overall, the system performance exceeded by a wide margin the specifications established for the data transmission from Landsat 4 through TDRS to the Goddard Landsat ground station. The performance is regarded as somewhat exceptional due to the multiple data paths used – from Landsat through TDRS to White Sands ground station to a domestic communications satellite and finally to Goddard, all at 85 million bits per second. (JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 2, 1983 – edited)

SATCOM II-R, RCA's latest telecommunication satellite, was formally unveiled at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The RCA spacecraft, scheduled for launch on September 8, will replace the older SATCOM II satellite which began service in March 1976; the newer satellite has a longer design life - 10 years - and the capacity to carry more fuel which is necessary to keep it at its assigned station in space, said Bill Paulme, RCA Launch Manager. (Yacenda, Today, Aug. 18, 1983)

For the second successive day, Hurricane Alicia tore through Texas and prevented STS-9 Commander John Young, Pilot Brewster Shaw and Mission Specialist John Parker from flying out of Houston to join fellow crew members Owen Garriott and Byron Lichtenberg for major tests planned at Kennedy Space Center.

Meanwhile, technicians have begun installation and checkout of the two spacesuits that are to fly aboard Challenger. Shuttle vehicle ordnance activities at Pad 39A, such as power-on stray voltage checks and resistance checks of firing circuits, were picked up on August 13. Two days later pad crews started loading hypergolic propellants into the vehicle. Today Pressurization of the OMS and RCS propellant and helium tanks was conducted; this will be followed by the completion of closeout of OMS and RCS systems by August 20. The period from August 20 to 24 is reserved as contingency time before major clearance of pad activities will resume. (Yacenda, Today, Aug. 19, 1983; NASA News Release No. 83-119, STS-8 Press Kit, August 1983; David Shayler, “Shuttle Challenger,” Prentice Hall Press 1987 – edited)

Hurricane Alicia hits Johnson Space Center


From the beginning, the Johnson Space Center was designed to withstand a direct hit by a hurricane, and Alicia provided the first test of that design since construction began some 20 years ago. No major structural damage was inflicted on any building on site, but six buildings – 9, 9A, 31, 36, 44 and 49 – did have roof damage and some water inside. The Center lost around 150 trees, a number of light poles and signs, and all told the damage cost is expected to exceed $250,000. “In general, we came through rather fortunately,” said Director of Center Operations Kenneth Gilbreath. “No one was hurt, there was no critical equipment damage and we do not foresee any mission impact.”

“I thought the buildings weathered the storm very well,” said Associate Director Henry Clements. “We were very fortunate, and Center Ops had a very good preparation plan in place which served us well.” In the aftermath of the storm, ground crews did yeoman service repairing and cleaning up the damage. “I’ve lived in Texas all my life and have been through several storms,” said Duane Marburger, Project Manager for Chemical and Vegetation Control (CVC), “and so I expected it to be bad out here. But when I came out Thursday afternoon, I was shocked. It looked like we’d never get done.”

Crews had to cut up and haul off some 150 trees, but Marburger said they are in the process of saving another 300, both large and small. “It will take the better part of the year to get the site back in shape,” he said, “but as far as the initial cleanup goes, we’ve accomplished in about a week what I thought would take a month to do.”

Especially hard hit was the Gilruth Recreation Center area and the area near the astronaut jogging track. The Rec Center was scheduled to resume softball games on fields one, three and four this week, but play on field two will not be possible for some time, according to Exchange Operations Manager Wally Grimes. Since several light poles were either destroyed or damaged, there will be no night games for from three to six week, he said. The fence around the tennis courts was completely flattened, and some roof damage was done to the main Rec Center building and the picnic pavilion. Total damage at the Rec Center grounds is estimated to be around $30.000, he said. The astronaut jogging track, in that it is covered with several trees, will also be closed indefinitely, Marburger said.


During the storm, a hurricane rideout team kept tabs on the Center from a command post on the second floor of Building 30, which is sometimes cited as one of the safest buildings in Harris County in terms of strength and ability to withstand severe weather. The Center was officially in Level II emergency preparations when the site was closed at noon Wednesday, August 17.

JSC goes to Level II preparations when an emergency situation is imminent. A command post is activated, general site cleanup is performed, standby generators are serviced and readied, emergency vehicles are fueled, loose material is removed from building roofs, all exterior water taps are turned off, bike racks and tour signs are removed and stored, and other general preparations of that type are begun. During Level III, the condition the Center was in when Alicia hit, final preparations are made, the rideout teams are on station and all the hatches generally are battened down for the big blow.

During the first hours of the storm, JSC became a haven for about 100 refugees from high water and wind and water damage. Most all of the people who came to JSC for shelter were housed in the auditorium of Building 30, except for a few animals who slept in Building 420.


Drawing any connections between Hurricane Alicia and the night landing of STS-8 might seem difficult at first, but for those who stood in the partially wrecked Taft Broadcasting Building last week blow drying television equipment, the connections were all too clear. Taft has one of the most visible roles to play in shuttle missions in that it provides all the closed circuit television during flights, processes the television signals from space and maintains a large $6.5 million inventory of video-related equipment. In the aftermath of Hurricane Alicia, a great deal of that equipment was surrounded by two inches of water.

In her own ineffable way, Alicia spared some buildings, merely chewed on others and in some cases very nearly totaled the rest. Taft had been I its new quarters at 912 and 914 Gemini for about one month (elements of Ford Aerospace having vacated to move into their new building) when Alicia hit. A large portion of the roof was blown off during the storm, sub-ceilings collapsed into offices and work rooms, large quantities of paperwork were drenched, repair tools and spare parts were soaked and many expensive electronic items in that equipment inventory were rained on.

This was during the worst hours of the storm early Thursday, August 18. The next morning, Taft was scheduled to air freight some 1,300 pounds of critical equipment to the Dryden Flight Research Facility to support STS-8 landing video. This shipment comprised 41 pieces of equipment, including color television cameras, monitors, recorders, mixing boards and all of the miscellaneous items necessary for a large scale TV production. Luckily, it had been packed up for shipment before the storm hit.


Under the cover of an angry blue gray sky – most of the roof being nonexistent – a number of Taft employees, with their own serious problems at home, were called in to begin the recovery. The Dryden shipment was unpacked, laid out and checked. Where necessary, Taft personnel stood over the equipment with blow dryers to get the moisture out of the delicate electronics. It was then packed up again and loaded into a van for safekeeping.

At the same time, those sub-ceilings which looked threatening were pulled down, essential pieces of paper were laid out to dry, and pieces of equipment and work benches were moved into the few dry spots in the building. At the same time, Taft had to send 17 people to Dryden to begin preparations for mission support. Thursday was also pay day. On Friday, August 19, with two inches of water on the floor, payroll checks, per diem checks, credit cards and airline tickets were issued.

“A lot of our equipment was under a wooden sub-ceiling that we put up ourselves,” said Lawrence Henry, Taft’s Deputy Project Manager. “It was more protected, and we were lucky in that respect. The biggest loss right now seems to be in paperwork, repair tools and small pieces of equipment. We were fortunate not to have any major equipment losses.”

By Monday, August 22, Taft had split up and moved into tight quarters on the site, in Buildings 8, 17, and 420. The organization will have to operate like that for several weeks at least, until the buildings on Gemini are repaired. “Thak goodness we had someplace to go,” Henry said. “Of course, everbody had their own problems at home, and that made it much more difficult. They all really pitched in and got the job done,” he said.

(JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 2, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:11 pm
Kennedy Space Center awarded a $10.9 million contract to Saver Mechanical Inc. (Jacksonville, Florida) for construction work on the second Space Shuttle launch pad, 39B, including installation of an oxygen vent arm, a hydrogen intake unit, an access platform, and more than 70 panels provided by other contractors. Saver's contract runs through February 1985. (Defense Daily, Aug 19, 1983)

The latest plans for a presidential visit in Brevard County call for Ronald Reagan to visit KSC on Labor Day, September 5, KSC sources said. The invitation to the President and First Lady came from NASA Administrator James M. Beggs. Reagan was last scheduled to visit the space center for the first scheduled landing of the Challenger at KSC on June 24, but neither the visit nor the landing took place as planned. (Yacenda, Today, Aug 20, 1983 – edited)

Two teams, led by Rockwell International and Lockheed Corp., have responded to NASA and KSC's requests for proposals in a competition for the $6 billion Shuttle Processing Contract (SPC). Rockwell's team includes fellow incumbents Boeing, Martin Marietta and USBI plus United Airlines. The Lockheed team includes Grumman Aerospace Corp., Morton Thiokol, Inc. - the team's only incumbent - and Pan American World Airways. Lockheed's completed response to the RFP fills 12 ring-type binders and weighs 30 pounds. At the effort's peak, about 175 Lockheed people worked on the SPC proposal. (Hodges and Yacenda, Today, Aug. 21, 1983 – edited)

Columbia, America's first Space Shuttle, will be retired from service for two years because of B-1 strategic bomber/orbiter production at Rockwell International affecting Columbia modifications and a need to cannibalize Columbia parts for orbiter production and flight operations. NASA had decided not to fly the spacecraft between Spacelab 1 and the modification period but, instead, will place Columbia in storage for 14 months before modifications begin. (Craig Covault, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Aug. 22, 1983)

A study commissioned by the National Park Service and written by Tampa-based Florida Land Design and Engineering Company outlined seven options for continued public access to Playalinda Beach. These include:

1. Maintaining the status quo with NASA continuing to close sections of the Canaveral National Seashore beach and security checks of beachgoers whenever the shuttle is on its launch pad;
2. Creating a shuttle bus service for beachgoers;
3. Continuing use of SR 402 with increased shuttle security;
4. Building a new road along an existing railroad bed;
5. Moving the railroad and using the existing bed for a road;
6. Building a pontoon bridge well north of the existing road;
7. Building a bridge across Mosquito Lagoon to Max Hoeck Creek.

(Heller, Today, Aug. 22, 1983)

August 23: THE RETURN OF COSMOS 1443
During the month of August, Tass reported that the cosmonauts on the Salyut 7/Soyuz T-9/Cosmos 1443 complex were working on a “new and unusual mission” to determine the ways in which man affects Earth’s environment. The Soviet Union had established about ten biospheres in its territory, and space photography would allow experts to assess the state of the flora and fauna there. The Soviets were emphasizing environmental issues, as provided in the USSR constitution, and space surveys were helping to detect sources of environmental pollution and mapping ways to improve land reclamation or bring water to desert areas.

The crew had loaded Cosmos 1443 with half a ton of excess material for the return to Earth, including photographic films and some instruments (including a nonworking air regenerator and a defunct memory unit of the autonomous navigation system) that would be examined for effects of space. Cosmos 1443 undocked August 14 at 6:04 p.m. Moscow time and, while flying autonomously, ejected its descent capsule, which soft-landed 100 kilometers southeast of Arkalyk on August 23 with 350 kilograms of cargo. The major part of Cosmos would be destroyed during reentry on September 19. Soyuz T-9 had been flown from the back of Salyut to the front to prepare for the arrival of Progress 17, which was launched August 17 at 4:08 p.m. Moscow time and docked August 19 at 5:47 p.m. Moscow time. (Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA SP-4024, Jul. 1989 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:13 pm
Tropical Storm Barry - packing 55 mph winds – closed in on Brevard County with the center only 90 miles due east of Melbourne at midnight. The storm threatened an 8-day delay in the Aug. 30 launch. Basing their calculations on forecasts that Barry wouldn't achieve full hurricane strength even if it struck Cape Canaveral, NASA officials decided the shuttle should be kept on its pad, several hundred yards from the ocean. NASA Launch and Landing Director Al O'Hara, meeting with other key members of the shuttle launch team at 6:00 p.m. EST, decided forecasts weren't bad enough to justify removing Challenger and forcing a launch delay. Precautionary measures taken earlier in the day called for a team of up to 150 workers to comb the launch pad area, removing any debris and unneeded equipment that could pose a danger to the shuttle. (Yacenda, Today, Aug. 25, 1983 – edited)
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:14 pm
Tropical Depression Barry, formerly Tropical Storm Barry, turned into little more than cool, rainy wind at KSC. The eye of the storm passed 45 miles south of the space center, crossing Florida on a track from Melbourne to Tampa. "We suffered no damage. We did get some rain, very light rain. It was a little breezier than usual," said KSC spokesman Jim Ball. (Crossing the Gulf of Mexico, Barry reorganized into a tropical storm on August 27 and became a hurricane about 75 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas, on August 28. The Category 1 hurricane, packing winds of up to 80 mph, made landfall 35 miles southeast of Brownsville and quickly dissipated the following day over northern Mexico.)

KSC officials ordered Challenger's cargo bay doors re-opened as concerns arose about four electrical connectors in one of the main power lines to the Payload Assist Module attached to India's multipurpose satellite. A special "pull test" revealed the four connections to be tight and the cargo bay doors will sealed again tomorrow night. A final functional check of the range safety and SRB ignition safe and arm devices was performed. Servicing of orbiter fuel cell storage tanks is scheduled for tomorrow. This is done as late in the processing as possible in order to maximize the amount of reactants onboard since the mission was extended one day.

(Yacenda, Today, Aug. 26 and 27, 1983; NASA News Release No. 83-119, STS-8 Press Kit, August 1983; David Shayler, “Shuttle Challenger,” Prentice Hall Press 1987; John M. Williams/Iver W. Duedall, “Florida Hurricanes and Tropical Storms,” University Press of Florida, 1997; Wikipedia “Hurricane Barry” – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:16 pm
NASA said that the orbiting infrared telescope IRAS had completed its primary objective at 12:30 p.m. EDT by conducting an all-sky survey and giving an opportunity for double confirmation of sources. Survey data had a few “holes” because of Sun-Earth-Moon observation constraints and an anomaly that occurred early in June. NASA had begun another survey to fill in the gaps and confirm earlier observations. The JSC Space News Update reported on the possible discovery of a new solar system by the telescope:

NASA’s Infrared Astronomical Satellite IRAS has discovered a shell or ring of large particles surrounding Vega, the third-brightest star in the sky. The material could be a solar system at a different stage of development than our own. Because of Vega’s relative youth (it is less than a billion years old; the Sun is 4.6 billion years old), the material around it cannot have reached the same stage of evolution as our solar system. The discovery, however, does provide the first direct evidence that solid objects of substantial size exist around a star other than the Sun.

The orbiting telescope detected faint heat emissions from solid particles around the star. The particles are probably left over from Vega’s formation, and may resemble objects found in our solar system such as asteroids, meteorites and other debris. They could range from the size of buckshot to the size of an asteroid.

The discovery offers the first scientific opportunity to study what may be an early solar system accreting from stellar debris – as our solar system is believed to have formed. It is not possible to precisely determine the mass of material around Vega, but IRAS scientists estimate it could be comparable in mass to that of all the planets and other matter in our solar system, excluding the Sun.

Vega, also called Alpha Lyrae, is the brightest star in the constellation “The Lyre.” It is located in our galaxy about 26 light years or about 150 million million miles from Earth. Vega is one of the most-studied stars in the sky, and is a standard against which other stars’ brightness and spectra are measured by astronomers. Like the Sun, Vega is an ordinary, main sequence star. It is about twice the size of the Sun, and about 60 times more luminous.

Working with telescope data at the IRAS tracking and data acquisition center at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Chilton, England, IRAS scientists Dr. H.H. Aumann of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Dr. Fred Gillett of Kitt Peak National Observatory studied Vega as a source for calibrating the telescope. They discovered that Vega appeared very much brighter and larger in infrared light than expected from IRAS observations of other, similar stars. The two scientists soon determined that the radiation is coming from an extended region around the star stretching some 80 astronomical units (or approximately 7.4 billion miles) out from the star.

IRAS measured the material to be at a temperature of about 90 degrees Kelvin, or minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately the temperature of particles in the innermost rings of Saturn. From theoretical considerations, the two scientists determined that the material must be much larger than cosmic dust grains, because such small particles would have already been gravitationally drawn back into the star, leaving intermediate- and large-scale debris in orbit around Vega. If the leftover material is evolving like our solar system, it may have coalesced into planets or small bodies.

Composition of the particles is still an open question, though they presumably consist of cosmically abundant hydrogen-based molecules. Our planetary system is thought to have developed about 4.5 billion years ago shortly after the Sun formed and rings of leftover material – lumps of solid material and gases – collected together into planets. The same events may be occurring or may have occurred around Vega.

The IRAS telescope is schedule to operate through January 1984. Until then, IRAS scientists intend to use available telescope time to search for other stars like Vega that exhibit excess emissions of heat, to help determine how many stars are surrounded by similar systems.

While the ultrasensitive IRAS telescope, which measures heat radiation emitted by celestial objects, is able to resolve the sphere or ring around Vega, it cannot determine the size of the individual particles within it. Follow-up studies from infrared, optical and other telescopes will gather information on the distribution and composition of the material, and determine whether it exists within a sphere or ring-like system.

(Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA SP-4024, Jul. 1989; JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 2, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:20 pm
A Real Conferencing of Education and Enlightenment

(By J. Alfred Phelps)

Putting an African American into space for the first time was a happening worthy of note, thought Dr. Curtis M. Graves, NASA’s Deputy Director for Academic Affairs, What he was about to do in relation to the coming Challenger flight with Guy Bluford aboard was nothing new for him. He’d done it before, inviting famous and interesting Americans down to the Cape to witness a shuttle launch. Graves called the “educational conferences.” Fifty educators from around the country had come for the first shuttle launch. Four hundred were on hand for Sally Ride’s historical foray into space. Now, he intended to invite two hundred or more black Americans to witness Bluford’s historical launch.

Graves’ motive, however, involved much more than Bluford’s flight. He envisioned a real conferencing of education and enlightenment. He would invite the cream of America’s black educators and professionals. The superstars of science and the arts. The unsung NASA employees whose names nobody knew, but who, through daily, skilled contributions, helped support the entire space program. People who had been “doing this stuff for years.”

At least two months before the launch, Graves and his staff combed and culled appropriate directories and lists. They made myriad telephone calls: to the presidents of all the black colleges and universities, to the presidents of all the black fraternities and sororities, to famous performers in the arts and sciences.

They invited NASA’s “hidden” treasures, civilians who worked in support of all the astronauts: Dr. Julian Earles, of the Lewis Research Center; Dr. Christine Dorten, of the Langley Center; Dr. Patricia Corwing, a psychologist at the Ames Research Center; Dr. Robert Shurney, a contributor to studies in weightlessness and design criteria for Moon vehicles.

They also invited such African-American notables as John Jacob, president of the National Urban League; Dr. Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women; Dr. William “Bill” Cosby, of television fame; Hortense Canady, national president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority; Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame; C. Alfred Anderson, “the father of black aviation,” the man primarily responsible for training many of the now-famous Tuskegee Airmen. Presidents of black colleges and universities, members of school boards across the country, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus from the nation’s capital.

More than 250 talented black Americans would be present for the launch. Two jetliners were contracted to fly them and many others down from Washington, D.C. In all, Graves said, “there would be about a million people, including three or four thousand certified media” observers watching the beginning of Guy Bluford’s journey into space.

(J. Alfred Phelps, “They Had a Dream,” Presidio Press 1994)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:23 pm
Ready to Go Fly


“About a week to ten days before flight, we went into quarantine and began to shift our circadian rhythm,” Guy Bluford explained later. “This would be the first of three times I would have to shift my circadian rhythm by twelve hours in preparation for flight. It took us about a week to get comfortable with living at night and sleeping in the daytime. Some of the crew members slept at home while others slept in crew quarters at JSC. We ate food prepared by the food people on the Center and we practiced in the simulators at night.”

According to Harold Draughon, one of the STS-8 flight directors, the astronauts “started adjusting their circadian rhythm two weekends before launch. And those days that we’ve been running simulations with them from that time on, our teams have come in and done simulations at three and four o’clock in the morning to be during their workday.”

Witnessed by NASA well-wishers and media representatives, the five Challenger astronauts, Guy Bluford being accompanied by Group 9 fellow-astronaut Michael J. Smith, arrived aboard three T-38 jets at Kennedy Space Center at 7:25 a.m. EDT on August 27, 1983. Traditionally, they had short messages for the assembled crowd at the Shuttle Landing Facility, and STS-8 Commander Richard Truly started with a comparison of watch times…

Truly: We’re really proud to be here, we’re ready to go fly. We’ve changed our working hours around; for us it’s about 4 o’clock in the afternoon right now, even if the Sun is coming up. But I’m particularly glad to be back here for another flight. This is the shortest turnaround for the Challenger, and I think they probably could have even made it a little sooner. The crew’s ready and we’re happy to be down here. – Let me introduce Dan Brandenstein, the pilot…

Brandenstein: Obviously, it’s my special pleasure to be here also. We certainly appreciate everyone not inviting Barry to come and visit here, and send him over to the Gulf; and he’s probably heading over to Houston now to give us our second hurricane in a row. But we’re here and so we don’t care what happens back there anymore. It’s great to be here again and see you could all make it today.

Gardner: Hi, I’m Dale Gardner. I’m sure happy to be here. We went down here a couple of weeks ago for a practice and I’m looking forward to doing it for real this time. I hope everything goes well Monday night… Next is Guy Bluford, MS2…

Bluford: It’s good to be back at the Cape again and, like everybody else on the team, we’re anxious to fly, we’re ready to fly and we’re looking forward to a good mission starting Tuesday morning… The fifth man on the team is Bill Thornton…

Thornton: Bill Thornton, MS3. Thank you very much for being here. It’s a great day – I’m glad I lived long enough to see it. Thank you again!

Dr. Bill had waited 16 years for this moment, so of course he was more than ready for his first trip into orbit – and in the meantime he obviously hadn’t lost his sense of humor. And even at age 54 he still had the “Right Stuff,” as he had explained in a prelaunch interview with ABC’s Jules Bergman. “A lot of old concepts are being put to rest,” Thornton said. “There are 20-year-olds that, if I may use the word, are wrecks in contrast to some very active 60-year-olds shall we say. And that’s what it means to me, that we simply recognize the fact that it is really performance and not calendar years that count.”

“The day we did that interview,” Bergman said, “Bill Thornton had been in the simulator until 9:00 p.m., then he came out and ran at the gym until midnight, had gone home, gotten a fast five-hour sleep, then gotten up to do the interviews with Lynn and myself and the rest of the newsmen. Two years ago, by the way, that man Dr. Bill Thornton,” added Bergman, “was asked to resign by NASA officials here (at JSC), who I will not name. He refused.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:26 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:28 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:30 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:32 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:33 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:35 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:36 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:37 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:39 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:40 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/23/2015 08:43 pm

The Countdown to the third Challenger mission was picked up at 3:00 p.m. EDT on August 27 with a call-to-stations at LCC’s Firing Room 1. Experts predicted excellent conditions for the August 30 night launch of the Challenger. "From what it looks like right now, we ought to have a pretty nice day," said Bob Gill, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Daytona, Florida. Although he said there was a chance for afternoon and evening thunderstorms, they shouldn't interfere with the lift-off.

Well, things eventually turned out quite different , but even one day before launch, NASA Launch Director Al O’Hara was still predicting "the best weather we've ever had" for a shuttle launch, with generally clear skies, gentle breezes and temperatures in the mid-70s all forecast for the start of Challenger's STS-8 mission. NASA Test Director Bob Henschel would say there were "no significant problems" in prelaunch preparations. He would characterize the countdown as the smoothest ever for a shuttle launch.

NASA officials said observers across four states and in two island nations would be able to catch a glimpse of Challenger's night launch on August 30 at 2:15 a.m. EST. The liftoff should be visible for up to 450 miles. Noting the "possibility of mid-air collisions" in the scramble for airspace to view the takeoff, NASA said every restricted area associated with KSC "will be activated for the launch. The more prudent pilot may wish to remain grounded during the shuttle launch rather than risk the chance of a collision or a violation of federal aviation regulations." NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone said.

Arnold Richman, chief of KSC's visitors Services Branch, expected a healthy turnout for the launch of America's first black astronaut aboard Challenger. A stream of invited guests and media people prepared to converge on the Kennedy Space Center to witness the historic lift-off. Preparation for the special banquet, briefings, and speeches moved apace. "We'll probably have about 40,000 John Q. Publics out here with car passes," said Richman, "and about 3,500 at the main VIP site, plus another 2,500 at the other VIP site." The U.S. President would definitely not be among them, although Republican sources in Washington said President Reagan would definitely visit Kennedy Space Center on Labor Day and the Florida GOP chairman, Henry Saylor, said he'd also bet the President would come to KSC.


At T minus two days and counting, planes, buses, and automobiles began disgorging invited guests. Dr. Graves’ public relations show was on target. An all-day briefing by the NASA ”superstars” nobody had heard about before consumed their first day. That evening, the astronauts themselves conducted mission-specific briefings, describing some of the things they would be doing on this mission. The next day, guests toured the space center, then attended a NASA-sponsored banquet featuring budding astronaut Fred Gregory as guest speaker.

“During the last few days in quarantine at the Cape, we relaxed and did some last minute reviews of flight procedures,” Guy Bluford remembered. “The families came down to the Cape several days before launch and we spent some time with them at the KSC Beach House. Because of the interest shown by the public, NASA leased an airplane to fly dignitaries to the Cape to witness the launch. A party was held for the invited guests and dignitaries the evening before the launch, and my son ran around and took pictures of some of those who attended the party.”

Sally Ride, who had been aboard Challenger STS-7 only two and a half months earlier, was also present at the Cape and told reporters that she was eager to get back in space and would have loved to be part of the current flight. "I'm looking forward to the second flight - whenever that is - even more than the first flight," she said. "It's a great way to spend a week."

Ride's husband, astronaut Steve Hawley, and America’s second woman astronaut, Judy Resnik, was scheduled to launch aboard the new orbiter Discovery in the spring of 1984. "I talked to Judy quite a bit, but one of the things we learned on the flight is there's no particular advice that I need to give her," Ride said. "We didn't have any problem either associated with me being female or being a mixed crew. I came back and told her that and that didn't surprise her."

Sally Ride talked to Guy Bluford about some of the challenges she had encountered as a celebrity. “We talked about the mechanics of scheduling, speaking engagements, and other public appearances,” she told reporters. “I’m not sure our experiences are going to be the same.” Actually, Guy was glad Sally Ride had gone into space before him. It suited him just fine. “Let her carry the spear and get the attention,” he remarked. That relieves me. I’m very excited about flying the shuttle,” he said at a Johnson Space Center press conference. “I’m not as hyped up about being the first black.”

(Transcript of STS-8 crew comments during KSC arrival, Aug. 27, 1983; STS-8 2:00 p.m. CDT change-of-shift briefing, Aug. 30, 1983; Delaney/Thomas/Yacenda, Today, Aug. 28, 1983; Yacenda/Clark, Today, Aug. 29, 1983; Jean/Fisher, The Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 29, 1983; AP/Today, Aug. 30, 1983; Jules Bergman, ABC live coverage on Aug. 30, 1983; J. Alfred Phelps, “They Had a Dream,” Presidio Press 1994; Guy Bluford, JSC Oral History Project interview, Aug. 4, 2004 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:16 pm

“I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north – an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal…”

- Ezekiel 1:4, Holy Bible, New International Version

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

- John 1:5, Holy Bible, New International Version

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:17 pm

A slowly moving cold frontal system, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the northeastern U.S. coastline and extending as a trough line through southern Georgia and westward along the Gulf coast, produced numerous thunderstorm activities along and in advance of this instability line. The front, with a low aloft over the eastern section of the Florida peninsula, helped produce the thunderstorm activity that prevailed along the eastern and southern Florida coastline throughout the evening countdown period.

Flight Director Jay Greene said during the change-of-shift briefing at Johnson Space Center on Tuesday morning, August 30, 1983, “I guess you know the most exciting thing that happened on the shift was the weather watch prior to launch. We took over and the weather radar was all greens and yellows and reds, and it appeared to be getting worse for most of the night.” At KSC, Director of Shuttle Management Operations Thomas Utsman put it this way: “We only had a couple problems – one was a ground heater, the rest were weather, weather and weather.”

Cloudiness increased throughout the evening of August 29, with the first thunder being reported at 8:57 p.m. EDT with frequent cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning being observed. By 10:40 p.m. EDT the sky was overcast with a thunderstorm rain shower overhead. At 11:03 p.m. EDT heavy rain showers from the thunderstorm existed with frequent lightning and a sharp atmospheric pressure rise was reported. The rain showers became light by 11:13 p.m. EDT with decreasing thunderstorm activity. The meteorological instrumentation located at Launch Complex 39A camera site 3, on the SE perimeter of the pad, failed within three hours of lift-off – possibly due to the thunderstorm/electrical activity present within this time interval. At about the same time a weather balloon launched by the Prelaunch Wind Loads Monitoring Team was lost in a thunderstorm. 

The rain came, beating and swirling about the orbiter on the launch pad as it pointed majestically toward the sky. For eighteen hours the rain slashed and sluiced in the wind. Thunder rumbled grotesquely. Lightning crackled and scorched. Prevailing winds swept clouds into the Atlantic, leaving the air damp and hot. A few miles away, luminous alligator eyes searched the liquid turf for unwary prey down on the Banana River.

Local authorities found it difficult to estimate crowd size for the STS-8 lift-off, but stated it appeared to be less than the quarter-million of earlier turnouts. Overall, law enforcement officers throughout Brevard County reported much less disruption over previous launches. Titusville desk officer William Lowe said he normally gets 100 calls from people asking for directions. He said he only got two calls on August 29. Florida Marine Patrol officials said boaters were behaving well on the river.
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:19 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:20 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:21 pm
Meanwhile, in the Operations & Checkout Building, the five Challenger astronauts had been awakened at about 10:00 p.m. EDT and were now sitting at the breakfast table – at least for them it was breakfast…

PAO (Mark Hess): This is shuttle launch control, T minus three hours and holding. We’ve joined the flight crew for the STS-8 mission who are now in the process of eating their prelaunch breakfast. The crew will have a wide variety of items to choose from. During the week they’ve been eating everything from cereal, to bacon and eggs, to just fruit or muffins… Generally, we have more people join the crew for their traditional prelaunch breakfast, but for those of us on normal schedules eleven o’clock is a little late for eggs and cereal. The crew has been on this particular schedule for about ten days to get their body clocks used to getting up late at night and going to bed in the middle of the day.
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:26 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:28 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:29 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:32 pm
PAO: Those that are seated with the crew, those that we can identify, include what are called the “C-squared,” or “Cape Crusaders” – essentially the support astronauts that come down to Kennedy and help process the vehicle during the flow. And we have the commander of the STS-7 flight, Bob Crippen, who will also be flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft. In the foreground there are two cakes – one with the official STS-8 crew patch, the other with an unofficial version designed by pilot Dan Brandenstein. That patch depicts Dick Truly, steely-eyed and bespectacled veteran of STS-2, and now commander of STS-8, leading four space rookies only slightly awed by their participation in the shuttle program’s first night launch and landing.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:36 pm
PAO: Back in the firing room things are quiet, the closeout crew continuing their efforts to get Challenger ready for the crew’s boarding. The ice inspection team meanwhile has completed their survey of the External Tank and is returning to the firing room. T minus three hours and holding, this is shuttle launch control.

At age 27, Mark Hess was the youngest person to serve as KSC PAO, the official "voice" of a major launch. The UCF graduate was the link with the firing room for hundreds of news media representatives, thousands of spectators and millions of television viewers.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:39 pm

PAO: This is shuttle launch control, T minus two hours 30 minutes 20 seconds and counting; members of the STS-8 flight crew now departing their crew quarters, getting ready to come down the corridor that will take them to the elevator that will take them down to the first floor of the O&C Building where they’ll climb in the astronaut van and of course that will make their way out to the launch pad 39A. Along with the flight crew George Abbey, the Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center and as well as Paul Weitz, who was commander of the STS-6 mission, and also some members of the closeout crew, primarily the suit technicians that will help put the crew in their flight harnesses, which they wear during the ascent into orbit. The crew will be making its way out to the pad; STS-8 flow director Bob Sieck has been in touch with the flight crew, appraised them of the weather situation; he did mention that the weather probably at the O&C Building is even worse than it is at the pad at the present time, because the system is moving to the south. And the latest report from the… Major Green from the Cape weather office is that according to their radar and field mills the worse of the lightning activity is over, although there’ll be the potential for some lightning in this area for about the next 15 minutes.      

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:42 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:45 pm
PAO: A view now of the ramp leading from the first floor of the Operations & Checkout Building, where the crew will come down that ramp and get into the astronaut van that will take them to the launch pad. Dale Gardner, leading the other members of the STS-8 crew out… They’re of course checking for rain… and members of the press corps, which is at Kennedy Space Center to cover the first night launch and landing in the Space Shuttle program. You can see very clearly that we are having a pretty good thunderstorm over the launch pad, in the area of the launch pad at this time. And the door to the astronaut van now closed and the crew very shortly will be making its way to the launch pad. They will make one last check before they get to the pad. Now we do have communications with the driver of the Winnebago, or recreational vehicle which in this case is serving as the astronaut van. The size of the crew has dictated that we use larger vehicles for taking them out to the launch pad. And at that time we’ll give them a final indication as to what it looks like the weather is out at the launch pad; but chances are that we will allow them to go ahead and proceed to the pad area, at which time they could wait such as at the base of the Fixed Servicing Structure for a final clearance to go ahead and board the shuttle orbiter Challenger. So the STS-8 flight crew has departed the O&C Building and very shortly will be making their way into the vehicle…  

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:46 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:47 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:56 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 08:58 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:04 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:06 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:07 pm
 “As we climbed into the van that evening, I noticed it was raining,” Guy Bluford later was stating the obvious… Actually, at that time it had been raining cats and dogs! “There was lightning in the area and there was some concern by the Launch Control Center about our safety as we proceeded out to the launch pad. Dick Truly discussed the safety and weather issues with LCC, while we rode out to the pad. Finally, LCC left it up to Dick to decide if it was safe for the crew to go to the pad. Dick made the decision for us to proceed and we went out to Space Shuttle Challenger.”

“The crew was told they could ‘man’ the shuttle if they wanted to,” veteran astronaut John Young in his 2012 autobiography Forever Young criticized that kind of decision making process, “a risky decision and not one that should ever have been left for the crew to make.”

Although photographs seem to suggest otherwise, neither Pad 39A, nor Challenger herself were hit by lightning that day. No surges were observed by vehicle instrumentation. No current was detected in the stainless-steel cables attached to lightning rod atop the Fixed Service Structure.  Perimeter TV cameras and electric field measurements didn’t indicate any close strikes whatsoever.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:09 pm

Dr. Graves’ invited guests arrive aboard four buses and filed into the bleachers from which they would view the launch. Rain pelted; umbrellas glistened under the floodlights. Plastic coverings, raincoats, and newspapers protected coiffed hair. Shoulders bowed against the wind-driven dampness as would-be onlookers wondered if this launch would be scrubbed. Some thought of leaving. It was a chance they couldn’t take. There could be a miracle and they’d miss the show! The wives of all the astronauts were taken to the top of the tall VAB, “out of the way of the press, in case something happened.” Bluford’s wife and two sons looked out toward Launch Pad 39A, their hearts fluttering a bit.

“My family escort was Jim F. Buchli, who did an excellent job supporting my family,” Guy Bluford said. “I was most concerned about my wife who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa. Jim did a great job in handling my wife’s night blindness situation and made sure that she had a good view of the launch. Ron McNair called me the evening before launch and wished me well on my mission. I greatly appreciated his comments and encouragement.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:11 pm
“As we climbed into the vehicle and completed our preflight checks with the Launch Control Center, the rains began to subside and the clouds began to clear away,” Guy Bluford explained. “Our launch window extended 34 minutes from 2:15 a.m. EDT until 2:49 a.m. EDT.”

Occasional lightning was reported at 12:10 a.m. EDT on August 30. By 12:45 a.m. EDT light rain showers were still occurring with the thunderstorms having moved south out of the launch complex area. Light rain showers with no lightning became light rain by 1:15 a.m. EDT, and all precipitation ceased by 1:50 a.m. EDT.  The overcast skies prevailed in the launch area.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:13 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:14 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:15 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:16 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:18 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:20 pm
Meanwhile, out in the California desert, things were looking pretty well in case Challenger had to return to Earth early. “It’s been dark here for over two hours tonight,” newsman John Goodman told CBS News correspondent Reid Collins, who was located at KSC, at around 1:30 a.m. EDT. “Technicians are now standing by should the shuttle be forced to return after once around; they will deploy along a concrete runway that will be used for the landing in about half an hour; those runway lights are now on. The winds here in the Mojave Desert are mild this evening, the only clouds are scattered and above one mile.”   

As the scheduled lift-off time, 2:15 a.m. EDT, approached, the cloud cover above Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility gave poor visibility for RTLS, in case that should become necessary. So it didn’t come unexpected that the scheduled 10-minute hold at T minus 9 minutes was extended while everybody was waiting for Cape Weather to give a go for launch. Launch Director Al O’Hara later said, “We made a decision then to go down to the 9-minute hold, even though we were very pessimistic. We said, ‘Well, it’s just a few more minutes; let’s give it one more shot.’ But at the same time we were getting ready for a scrub.” The crowd in the bleachers and members of the assembled media held their breaths.

PAO: We would expect that as we enter this hold at the T minus 9 minute mark, based on the recommendation of the Air Force (weather) officer, that we will probably not attempt to launch at 2:15 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, which was our original T-0, but will instead possibly hold for as much as we can with the window, the 34-minute window…

(PAO live commentary transcript and CBS News coverage, Aug. 30, 1983; Mingle & Heller, Today, Aug. 30, 1983; UPI, The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 1, 1983; “Atmospheric Environment for Space Shuttle STS-8 Launch,” NASA TM-82560, Jan. 1984; J. Alfred Phelps, “They Had a Dream,” Presidio Press 1994; John Young/James Hansen, “Forever Young,” University Press of Florida 2012; KSC PAO commentary transcript, Aug. 29, 1983; Guy Bluford, JSC Oral History Project interview, Aug. 4, 2004 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:21 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:22 pm
Tuesday, August 30, 1983 (Launch Day) – Rumble, Young Man, Rumble!

“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!”

Abraham “Bram” Stoker, “Dracula” (1897) … BTW, Irish author Bram Stoker was born November 8, 1847 – ha, there’s another Scorpio!   ;D

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:24 pm

Lynn Sherr (ABC/KSC): Earlier today they predicted the weather would be bad during the afternoon and would be perfect at launch time. What’s happened is there are two different storm systems that have moved in. The weather forecasters were sure that at least one of them would be totally gone; it does seem to have happened, but another one may be moving in and the cloud cover may just be too much. At the moment that hold that they entered into… it’s meant to be a ten-minute hold, there is a chance they will hold it even longer to see if Challenger can wait a little bit until the cloud cover goes so it could go  up on time. Gene, how does it feel to you at this point?

Eugene Cernan (ABC/KSC): Lynn, we’ve had a spectacular night already with that lightning array. I hope it will be more spectacular with the launch of Challenger… As we saw streaks of lightning, the last time I saw that was on Apollo 12, and it was not a good omen.

Sherr: That of course was after Apollo 12 had lifted off; Challenger is safely on the pad and as far as we know has certainly not touched by the lightning yet.

Cernan: It’s my feeling right now, Lynn, with the synopsis of weather we’ve just seen, that they’re holding as a precautionary… they might hold as a precautionary measure, but we will see a launch tonight. I think the weather is gonna hold off long enough. The lightning is gone, the thunderstorms are gone. We’re simply concerned about the height of the clouds above the ground and the visibility – how far the pilots could see in the case they have to come back here and abort.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:25 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:31 pm
PAO: The latest word that we have from Bob Crippen, flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft in the vicinity of the pad, however, is that the conditions have improved. There is no precipitation in the immediate vicinity and the layer of clouds that they had the most concern for, at the 9,000-foot level, also has no precipitation in it. However, they do expect that they probably will stay in this hold at the T minus 9 minute mark in order for all of the mission managers here to get a final go as far as weather is concerned.  

Sherr: And while we sit here and wait to see exactly what’s gonna happen, we have been joined by an astronaut who recently flew on yet another mission, she of course the first American woman to go into space, Sally Ride. Sally, thanks for coming along. You’re the person that was in that place at T minus 9 minutes only two months ago. Give us a sense of what’s going on right now.  

Ride: Well, actually the T minus 9 point was kind of a turnover for me. At T minus 9 what you really want to do is concentrate on what’s about to happen to you. And I found before T minus 9 I was doing a lot of little things that really didn’t matter, like adjusting pencils and writing on my knee board, anything to keep myself busy. And at T minus 9, when the clock started counting, all of a sudden, we were all part of the shuttle. You can feel it and you can hear it and you really know that you don’t have a lot of control of what’s about to happen.

Sherr: Let’s listen in now to the voice of shuttle control, launch control…

PAO: … of range operations, which basically ensures us that the Eastern Test Range and all of its contingency sites are ready to support a launch this morning. Again, everything here the vehicle is in good shape, waiting only now on a final weather clearance for launch. The STA, with pilot Bob Crippen aboard, is flying around the shuttle landing strip, making approaches to both ends of the runway, to give us some indication of how clear the pilot’s line of sight would be in the event of a Return To Launch Site abort. We’ll continue to monitor the status and await further words from pilot Bob Crippen on the status of this morning’s launch. We’re at T minus 9 hours (minutes) and holding; this is shuttle launch control.

Sherr: Sally Ride, now that everything is wonderful except for the weather they’ve got this 34-minute window give or take. Could they hold at this point for half an hour, do you expect?

Ride: I think that at the T minus 9 minute point they can hold for the full duration of the window, about 34 minutes.

Sherr: You were sitting in the shuttle in the same seat that Guy Bluford is occupying, if I’m not mistaken, and acting as flight engineer going up. What’s so special about that on a mission like this?

Ride: Well, that’s a special seat; it’s, you know, you’re really part of the launch team, you’re part of the ascent team. You have control over the checklist and you’ve got a lot of duties to do.

Sherr: Okay. Well, we will be waiting and watching with you. If you have any inside information to give us, needless to say, we would be happy… oh, let me just ask you, Bob Crippen, of course, flying the weather plane – he was your commander. What is he looking for specifically? It’s cloud cover, I assume, for the most part…

Ride: Yes, primarily the cloud cover and the visibility. And he’s the one that makes the call on the weather; if the weather looks good to him from a pilot’s point of view coming towards the runway then he’ll give the go for launch.

Sherr: It’s as simple as can he see the runway lights and can he get back here?

Ride: That’s right.

Sherr: Okay. Sally Ride, thank you. I hope we’ll have a good launch to watch together.

Ride: So do I.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:32 pm

Sherr: This is of course a night launch, if it does go off on time, and if it does go off tonight, and even if it doesn’t it’s still a night launch. And it is not the first night launch in NASA’s history. You saw at the beginning of this broadcast a night launch that occurred a little over ten years ago. And there’s a fellow that was suiting up for that night launch. That was Apollo 17 and an astronaut by the name of Gene Cernan. I… Gene Cernan?

Cernan: You slipped one in on me, Lynn… That is a long time ago. But it just brings back memories, being here tonight watching the spotlights on that shuttle. We’re in for a spectacular sight; there’s no question in my mind that it’s going and I think we all will be awestruck – especially me, I’ve never seen a night launch.

Sherr: You know, I am told obviously the shuttle’s windows are much bigger than were your windows on Apollo. So, they’re gonna be able to see more than you would have seen.

Cernan: Well, they are much bigger and are much closer to the flame pattern. We were way on the top of the stack. We had several of our windows – all but one of them, as a matter of fact, were covered up to protect us against the winds and the vibrations of launch.

Sherr: And NASA has told us that on this launch, this is based on your launch, at this launch as a result of the flames from the solids and the main engines that people up to 450 miles away will be able to see the launch after it gets up to about 20 or so miles up.

Cernan: I think that’s true. I think you’ll see people from Miami to South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, see this launch. The one thing that no one really thought about is what the crew’s going to see, because you know they launch in darkness. And for Dick Truly, he has seen a sunrise, Sally has seen a sunrise around the Earth – but the other four crewmembers never have. And one of the things, the first thing that they’re going to see when they get into space, there is a sunrise in front of them. It will be a spectacular sight for them.

Sherr: They said they didn’t feel cheated that they weren’t going to get the spectacular view of Florida that everybody else has gotten when they went up. I suspect they’ll see something a lot better.    

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:35 pm
PAO: Officials here in the firing room are discussing their options. However, chances are they would be able to resume the countdown; it just depends on where it could be picked up at the next even minutes, taking into consideration that the engineer back at the GLS console needs 20, 30 seconds to a minute in order to put his program in the proper configuration. So, we have received somewhat of a clearance as far as the Air Force weather office is concerned, however, managers here are still discussing the options. We have people involved from Headquarters, the Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, all very heavily involved in discussions about being able to resume the count this morning for the lift-off of STS-8. Conditions have improved somewhat over the past few minutes. Weather reconnaissance flights conducted by pilot Bob Crippen show no precipitation; that’s particularly important in that layer of clouds at about the 9,000-foot level. We’ll continue to stand by and await word from the Mission Management Team as to our ability to resume the countdown for the launch of STS-8. T minus 9 minutes and holding, this is shuttle launch control.    

Ted Koppel (ABC/Washington D.C.): There we have moderately optimistic word from shuttle launch control; the indication being that if the launch team, the management team can get it all together in the next couple of minutes probably the launch, or the countdown, will resume very shortly… This is a launch of several firsts – the first nighttime launch, the launch with the oldest astronaut onboard, a 54-year-old, and of course the first time that a black American astronaut goes into space…

Sherr: …Well, that of course is Guy Bluford, Lt-Col. Guy Bluford, who is sitting there in the flight engineer seat as Challenger is waiting on the pad while the people on the ground decide whether or not this spaceship can be launched, and whether the weather is clearing enough in order to get off within the next, oh, 25 or 30 minutes. Guy Bluford incidentally acknowledges a debt to some of the black airmen who flew before him, the fellows who made it possible for blacks to fly at all. And of course tonight it’s a big honor for NASA that three of the original black pilots, who were called the Tuskegee Airmen because they trained down there at Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama, they are here tonight as special VIP guests: George Roberts, Lemuel Custis and Charles DeBow were three of the first five who ever flew off that airstrip and they’re here tonight to watch their colleague Guy Bluford go up in space. So this is indeed a very special moment for them. Also here tonight is Barbara Lawrence. Barbara Lawrence is the widow of Major Robert Lawrence, who was in fact the first black astronaut in this country. Major Robert Lawrence was an Air Force astronaut selected in 1967 who unfortunately was killed in an aircraft accident before he ever got a chance to fly. So, there are plenty of people paying tribute to Guy Bluford on this occasion.

The three Tuskegee Airmen on hand to watch Challenger launch that night were retired U.S. Army pilots who had graduated in the Army's segregated training program at the Alabama College in March 1942. Bluford was honored to be the first black American chosen to venture into space, but – according to J. Alfred Phelps – that fact was not uppermost in his mind. Instead, he thought of the enormity of leaving planet Earth. Of flying higher into the firmament than most men had ever been.

Fear was not an issue; there was no time for that. “It was,” Bluford recalled, “like preparing for an exam. You study as much as you can, the better prepared you are, the less frightened you are about taking the exam.” – The exam grew closer.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:39 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:41 pm

“Bob Crippen was flying the STA and confirmed that here was a little precipitation and that it was dissipating rapidly,” explained Flight Director Jay Greene. “We had a 34-minute launch window available to us and the Cape, in conjunction with all the players in the game, opted to use that launch window to take what was an acceptable situation and turn it into a much better situation.” Eventually they would be 17 minutes late, resulting in a new launch time of 0632 UT. “It was half the launch window,” said Greene. “We had enough time to work with if any problems developed after the time that we picked up the count.” Of course, delaying the launch affected the rest of the crew’s mission schedule. Flight Director Greene explained that everything would be staggered 17 minutes, even the scheduled landing on Labor Day, “because the landing is an Earth-relative problem; as long as you stay on the pad, you’re rotating with the Earth and the whole problem just shifts by whatever the delta T and the lift-off time is.”

J. Alfred Phelps wrote, “It seemed almost miraculous. Visibility was tolerable. The countdown was about to be resumed. Invited guests and members of the media peered from under dripping umbrellas and sodden, makeshift coverings, their hair matted. Launch pad 39A glistened under powerful searchlights. The 154-foot-high External Tank seemed somehow larger, its 28.6-foot diameter fatter. The two 150-foot Solid Rocket Boosters flanking the ET seemed to glow, providing their assent to the coming test. The orbiter, its nose pointed toward the heavens, shone with an unearthly whiteness.”

PAO: We will resume the countdown at 0623, 23 minutes after the hour, which will be 2:23 this morning, giving us a launch at 2:32 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Sherr: He was trying to figure out. Okay, that’s good news. The weather cleared enough for an attempt to…

PAO: Countdown clock will start at T minus 9 minutes in thirty seconds…

Cernan: It’s just within the minute now.

Sherr: Okay, we’re gonna resume the count and pick up the count within a minute.

Launch Director Al O’Hara praised the agility of his launch team. “I was very pleased with the reaction of the test team to the hold. Whenever you extend a hold at 9 minutes like that, there could be a letdown. And we all knew that the weather was very marginal. But the team, of course, they were on their toes. And when we got the go ahead to pick up from the Mission Management Team, talking to Bob Crippen who was flying the STA, we passed it on to the team, and they quickly picked up the count. So it was a very smooth operation. In fact, with the exception of weather, it was probably the smoothest we’ve had.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:43 pm
PAO: We do have a message from the White House that was sent by President Reagan to the flight crew for this morning’s launch. It reads, “Recently NASA’s orbiting infrared observatory made a stunning discovery, and it’s found that the star Vega some 26 light years from Earth is circled by an enormous ring, or shell of particles that could be building blocks of a solar system.”

Sherr: Okay, that is indeed good news, Gene Cernan. The count will resume, the weather has cleared.

PAO: T minus 9 minutes and counting…

Cernan: Lynn, there was never any doubt in your mind, was it?

Sherr: And there it goes; the clock is moving.

PAO: Continuing with that statement, “We now have the first direct evidence that solid objects of substantial size exist around a star other than our Sun. This breakthrough provides mankind with new insights into the mystery and immensity of the cosmos that we are only beginning to understand. Twenty-five years into the space age, our quest to explore the unknown goes on. The 8th mission of the Space Shuttle paves a new path to greater knowledge of our Earth and of the Universe that surrounds us.”

“Also with this effort we acknowledge finally the first ascent of a black American into space. Challenger’s mission will continue to expand the shuttle’s capabilities to do things we have never before done in orbit and it will mark the shuttle’s first night launch and landing. I believe that we are truly on the threshold of a new freedom, the potential to probe the solar system with greater ease, less risk and thus the ability to use space to enhance the wellbeing of all people.”

“On the eve of this great adventure, Nancy and I send our best wishes for a safe and productive mission to Commander Dick Truly and his crew, Dan Brandenstein, Dale Gardner, Guy Bluford, and Bill Thornton. Good luck and may God go with you.” Signed – Ronald Reagan… T minus 7 minutes 50 seconds and counting, everything continuing to go well toward the launch of STS-8…

Sherr: Okay, Mark Hess reading that letter from President Reagan; I’m sure the crew was interested, but more interested, Gene, in the news that they are indeed gonna launch.

Cernan: I know that they appreciated that message from the President. At this time, as Sally indicated earlier, you know, the crew and the spacecraft all become one. From that 9 minute time on down you know you’re going unless, of course, you have some final little glitch at the end.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:45 pm
PAO: T minus 7 minutes 30 seconds, we will get a go from the ground launch sequencer top start the retraction of the orbiter access arm, the walkway used by the astronauts to climb in the vehicle. The arm can be put back in place within about 15 to 20 seconds if an emergency arises and the crew must evacuate the pad… The white room now going back away from the vehicle…

Sherr: Of course now, if they must stop now and recycle they could not go in 24 hours; it will take much more time. There goes the arm, being pulled back.

Cernan: We’re looking at the white room, where they enter into the hatch of the spacecraft, being pulled back. And they are now really becoming now an independent vehicle that will go into space.

PAO: T minus 7 minutes and counting… T minus 6 minutes 43 seconds and counting…

Cernan: You know, night launches are not just something that is being done to be spectacular. A lot of people asked, “Why do we go to the Moon on Apollo 17 at night?” There was a purpose for it; we could only land at a particular place in the month of December on the Moon if we went at night. In the shuttle it’s certainly that way in this particular case to launch an Indian satellite at a particular time in space…

Sherr: And also, according to General Abrahamson today, to get this behind them, so that they can plan future night launches if the weather forces them to do that.

Cernan: But it also means now that the shuttle truly now does not depend on landing at daytime at sites around the world in the future; it can land at nighttime anytime from one coast to the other coast of this country, and it truly makes the shuttle a very, very versatile vehicle.  

PAO: T minus 6 minutes 30 seconds and counting, ground launch sequencer now in total control of the countdown. It will remain in control until T minus 31 seconds, when control is passed to the onboard flight control system. T minus 6 minutes 15 seconds and counting…

Sherr: I hope all the people who live in the southern states, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, all of Florida and the Bahamas can stand outside now. I hate to send you away from your television sets, but you might be able to see it…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:46 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:48 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:49 pm

PAO: T minus 6 minutes and counting… Orbiter Test Conductor giving pilot Brandenstein a go to perform the Auxiliary Power Unit prestart; Brandenstein will configure switches in the cockpit with the APUs in the ready-to-start configuration. Brandenstein reports the APU prestart is complete. They will be activated at the T minus 5 minute mark. T minus 5 minutes 30 seconds and counting… Mission Control has transmitted the signal to start the flight recorders. These two recorders will collect measurements of shuttle systems performance during flight and will be played back for evaluation after the mission… Houston flight confirms recorders are on. T minus 5 minutes 4 seconds and counting…

Cernan: You know, night launches… I talked to Dick and Dan about their training; they feel that they’re very well capable and qualified to make this launch and the landing – but nighttime, it does take a dimension away from you.

Sherr: What about the landing, Gene? What’s the difference with the landing?

Cernan: Well, you know, you see a lot less. They depend a lot more on instrumentation; a lot of their landmarks are gone. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be done – it’s done every day…

Sherr: They of course maintain that they are not the least bit frightened, they are not the least bit apprehensive. They’ve done this practice so many times.

Cernan: Astronauts are never frightened, Lynn, you know that! – A little apprehensive at times, but never frightened.      

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:51 pm
PAO: T minus 5 minutes and counting… We have a go for APU start. Brandenstein now flipping the three remaining switches in the cockpit to start the three Auxiliary Power Units… APU activation is complete, hydraulic pressure reported to be normal.

Cernan: We are now within five minutes. You can hear the excitement aboard among the crewmembers, and you can certainly understand that.

PAO: This now limits our unplanned hold capability to seven minutes if we should run into a problem between now and T minus 31 seconds when primary control of the countdown is turned over to Challenger’s onboard computers.

Sherr: And we should point out that T minus 31 seconds was a very key moment for Richard Truly the first time he went up. The clock stopped there and they had to go away and come back again before they could go up.

PAO: T minus 4 minutes 30 seconds and counting, SRB and External Tank safe and arm devices have been armed, and inhibit will remain on the S&A until T minus 10 seconds when the range safety destruct system is activated… Main fuel valve heaters on the three shuttle main engines have been turned on in preparation for engine start… Commander Truly reports reconfiguration complete.

Cernan: Lynn, as we wait for the spectacular sight of the sky lighting up, I can only repeat what someone said to me one time. He said, “The night launch of Apollo17 was like the Universe lit up from without.” Now, that’s hard to understand perhaps, and that’s what I’m waiting for as I watch Shuttle 8, the Challenger to go…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:53 pm
PAO: T minus 4 minutes and counting… the crew has been asked to close the visors on their launch and entry helmets; final purge sequence of the main engines now underway… T minus 3 minutes 50 seconds and counting, orbiter aerosurface test is underway, the orbiter’s flight control surfaces now being moved through a preprogrammed pattern to verify they are ready for launch… T minus 3 minutes 35 seconds and counting… T minus 3 minutes 30 seconds, orbiter ground support equipment power bus has been turned off; the vehicle is now on internal power, running off its onboard fuel cells fed by ground reactants through the T-0 umbilicals…

T minus 3 minutes 10 seconds, engine gimbal checks are complete; the shuttle main engines have been placed in the start position. T minus 3 minutes and counting… T minus 2 minutes 55 seconds, External Tank liquid oxygen pressurization has started. Purging of the shuttle main engines is terminated. Minus 2 minutes 43 seconds and counting, retraction has started on the gaseous oxygen vent hood; the ground launch sequencer will make the final check to make sure the vent arm is fully retracted at T minus 37 seconds. T minus 2 minutes 20 seconds, fuel cell ground supplies have been terminated; Challenger now running off its onboard fuel cell reactants… T minus 2 minutes 10 seconds and counting… T minus 2 minutes and counting, coming up on liquid hydrogen pressurization… T minus 1 minute 57 seconds, liquid hydrogen replenish has been terminated. LH2 pressurization to flight level underway; vehicle now completely isolated from ground loading equipment…

NASA’s STS-8 Mission Report later explained, “Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellant loading was completed satisfactorily. Purge requirements prior to and during loading were met. Aft compartment hazardous gas concentrations were well within limits. Pressurization was performed as planned and pre-pressurization levels were reached within predicted times. Ullage pressures were maintained within the required control bands.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:55 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:56 pm

Cernan: The crew now is truly very active. Everything is happening automatically through the ground computers. But the three men up in the upper deck who are actually now going to monitor and take over all the control systems if they must, if need it to get into orbit or bring it back here in case of an emergency, are truly very busy…

Sherr: Of course, the one man doing nothing right now is Dr. William Thornton. He is on the middeck area, he’s got his sensors attached, he’s gonna lie back and enjoy the view…

Cernan: He indicated that to make this a truly accomplishing flight for him he wanted to get sick and find out why. I guarantee you, though, these guys are in for a thrill, because their entrance into space will be noted by a sunrise over Africa, and jolly how I can empathize with them.

PAO: T minus 1 minute 43 seconds and counting, less than two minutes away now from a spectacular predawn lift-off of STS-8 and its five-man crew.

“And as we view this sight,” CBS correspondent Reid Collins observed from his vantage point at Kennedy Space Center’s press site, “we can see the search lights that play upon the sides of the huge launch vehicle and the orange tank that supplies it with fuel – one of those Fritz Lang sorts of movie scenes one would think.” Of course, Reid Collins was referring to “Frau im Mond” (“Woman in the Moon”), a 1929 German movie, in which Austrian director Fritz Lang (1890-1976), also famous for “Die Nibelungen” (”The Nibelungs”), a series of two 1924 silent fantasy movies, and the 1927 expressionist epic science fiction drama “Metropolis,” actually invented the countdown to increase the tension prior to launch of his Moon rocket. “If I count 1… 2… 3… 4… 10… 50… 100… the public won’t know when the rocket gets going,” Lang explained in an interview. “But, if I count backwards… 3… 2… 1… zero – then they’ll understand.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 09:59 pm
PAO: At T minus 1 minute the ground launch sequencer will verify the shuttle main engines are ready to start. T minus 1 minute and 20 seconds and counting… T minus 1 minute 15 seconds, liquid hydrogen tank now at flight pressure…

Sherr: We are told it’s gonna be almost like daylight here, almost like sunlight. There’s about a quarter Moon that is a bit hidden.    

PAO: T minus 1 minute and counting, sound suppression water system now on; pre-lift-off water will be released at T minus 16 seconds… T minus 50 seconds and counting, hydrogen burn igniters have been armed… T minus 45 seconds and counting, Solid Rocket Booster Development Flight Instrumentation recorders going to the record mode; Main Propulsion System liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen outboard fill valves have been closed… T minus 35 seconds and counting…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:02 pm
PAO: T minus 31… we have a go for auto sequence start; Challenger’s four redundant computers now assuming primary control of critical vehicle functions from now through lift-off… T minus 20 seconds and counting, SRB engine nozzle gimbal profile now underway…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:06 pm
PAO: T minus 11… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… We have engine start… 2… 1… We have ignition and we have lift-off. Lift-off, 32 minutes after the hour and the shuttle has cleared the tower…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:07 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:19 pm

According to J. Alfred Phelps, the roar shook houses miles away. Flames flashed and blazed into huge, wedge-shaped deflectors, sending searing exhaust from the Solid Rocket Boosters into a 42-foot trench underneath the launch pad, roaring out the sides, white smoke and brilliant orange flames billowing into the air. The temperature around the launch pad soared to 6,000 degrees F, as the “rain birds” strategically placed around it disgorged 300,000 gallons of water onto the pad in thirty seconds, cushioning the shuttle from acoustic energy damage generated by the powerful boosters.

Night turned into momentary day as someone observed that, even though it was 2:32 a.m., they could read their newspapers in the monumental glow. Birds, thinking themselves ensconced for the night, took momentary flight, silhouetted against the bright fire. Some died, killed by the sheer level of noise, wrote Phelps. “Ooohs” and “aaaaahs” soughed through the crowds on the ground. Some wept. Others cheered as the orbiter leapt into space, grudgingly at first, then headed out over the Atlantic, a fitting denouement to a brilliant spectacle. “Rocket dawn” dappled the clouds orange, as the orbiter zoomed through and the color suffused.

“The ride into orbit was really exciting,” Guy Bluford said later. “We had darkened the cockpit to prepare for lift-off; however, when the SRBs ignited, they turned night into day inside the cockpit.” During their training the STS-8 crew had concentrated on flying night launches and night landings in a darkened Space Shuttle simulator. “We learned to set our light levels low enough in the cockpit so that we could maintain our night vision, and I had a special lamp mounted on the back of my seat so that I could read the checklist in the dark,” Bluford explained. “The only thing that wasn’t simulated in our launch simulations was the lighting associated with the Solid Rocket Boosters ignition and the lighting associated with the firing of the pyros for SRB and External Tank separation. No one seemed to notice this omission until after we flew… Whatever night vision we had hoped to maintain we lost right away at lift-off. The ride up on the SRBs was noisy and bumpy as Challenger lifted off and rotated to align us to a 28.45-degree inclination. The orbiter pitched down as we headed down range, upside down.”

“What amazed me,” Bluford recalled, “was that the shuttle flew just like the simulator said it was going to fly. The only differences were the motion, the vibration, and the noise. You don’t get those in the simulator. When I felt the movement and heard the noise, I thought, ‘Hey, this thing really does take off and roar!’ ” It was an understatement, for the solid-fuel rockets exerted 5.3 million pounds of thrust in four-hundredths of a second, lighting the entire circle of the sky.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:20 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:27 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:28 pm
Reid Collins (CBS/KSC): And we have motion, and we have lift-off. And she has cleared the tower, I can tell only, because all I can see is a bright glare, a flame.

Truly: Roll program.

CapCom (Bryan O’Connor): Roger, roll.

PAO (Jack Riley): Houston confirms good roll program. Standing by for main engine throttle down to control structural loads on Challenger during max-Q, the period of maximum aerodynamic pressure…

Collins: She’s into the pitch program, into the roll program now, 17 seconds aloft. It is so bright that all we can see is the flame and the strange reflection off of all of the clouds here. It’s a glow that stretches from the (source) down to the ground; she’s illuminating herself, illuminating the Cape (inaudible)…

PAO: 30 seconds elapsed, altitude one mile and a half. Throttles coming down to 69 percent...

Collins: …suddenly people begin to appear, you can see people in the reflected glow as she approaches 42 seconds into the flight. The pitch program is completed, she’s pitching over to 88 degrees; they’ve rolled around to 120 degrees, now they’re on their backs…

PAO: 50 seconds…

Collins: Nearly a minute into the flight it looks good. We’ll be listening to reports from Mission Control in Houston which now has control of this flight, the eighth flight, the night flight…

PAO: Altitude six miles, downrange three miles.

Collins: The voice of Jack Riley…

PAO: Main engine throttle is going back to 100 percent. Challenger is go at throttle up.

Shuttle 8 was flying the new high-performance SRB motors which provided an additional 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) payload capability compared with the motors used on the first seven missions. With both burn rate and nozzle modifications providing greater ascent capabilities, the vehicle could use just 100 percent throttle rather than the 104 percent of Challenger’s previous missions despite the vehicle’s lighter weight.

“One thing to note on this launch,” Ascent Flight Director Jay Greene explained, “we have added some software to the onboard computers that compensate for any deviations in the thrust that we get out of the Solid Rocket Boosters. And the way we compensate is that we have a thrust bucket that controls the loading on the vehicle as we go through max-Q, and we adjust that thrust bucket, either higher or lower to compensate for any deviations in the SRBs. We were planning for 70 percent thrust bucket; we hit about 69 percent in the thrust bucket, which says that if anything we were slightly hot on SRB performance, so we let off on the mains to compensate that.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:29 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:46 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:47 pm
CapCom: Challenger, Houston, you’re go at throttle up.

Truly: Roger, Houston. We’re looking at the Moon, directly at it.

CapCom: Roger that.

Collins: They can see the Moon; they’re above the cloud decks now – a quarter Moon up there.

“The ascent is, you know, really pretty neat. You get a lot of shaking and stuff, but, like I say, you're pretty focused on keeping track of the vehicle,” said Dan Brandenstein. “You peek out the window once or twice and you can kind of see the sky go from blue to black and whatnot. But since we launch at night, obviously it was black all the time.”

PAO: One minute 30 seconds, velocity is 3700 feet per second, altitude twelve and a half miles, downrange nine miles. All three main engines still at 100 percent...

Collins: They’re actually flying into daylight. In about six minutes they should reach sunrise… successfully through max-Q, the maximum aerodynamic pressure; they throttled back through that; now they’re up to 104 percent of power... Just a faint glow to the naked eye… tremendous amount of cloud cover here.

PAO: Standing by for Solid Rocket Booster separation.

Collins: Should have it now. The solids have done…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 10:48 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
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Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:02 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:03 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:04 pm
“Bill Thornton sat alone in the darkened, locker-studded middeck,” said British space writer Ben Evans. “From his vantage point, the 54-year-old physician had little to see: the only window was a small circular one in the side hatch, although, craning his neck, he could see upwards into the flight deck and through the overhead windows. At the instant of ignition, he recalled years later, the sensation was similar to ‘taking a fast ride on the London Underground.’ From his perspective, Thornton added, all was dark during the first two minutes of ascent, but as soon as Challenger shed her twin SRBs, the entire cockpit was eerily lit up.”

Truly: SRB sep is complete, Houston.

CapCom: Roger.

PAO: Confirm SRB separation; guidance has confirmed… has converged.

CapCom: Challenger, your first stage performance was nominal.

Truly: Oh, boy, Bryan, you should have seen it from here; it was daylight almost all the way up.

CapCom: Wow, I bet it was.

Collins: Daylight in the cockpit – that’s one thing they wanted to find out about, how bright it would be, the reflected light of those solids.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, you have two-engine TAL capability.

Truly: Roger, Houston, two-engine TAL capability.

Collins: They could get on to Dakar…

PAO: Challenger now capable to trans-Atlantic abort to Dakar, Senegal, on Africa’s west coast if one of the main engines fails.

Collins: Nothing has failed so far, except the weather which failed us just for a few moments there and caused the delay.  

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:05 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:06 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:07 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:09 pm

“Obviously Dick Truly and I were up front, watching the instruments and everything like that, and we had Guy Bluford and Dale Gardner behind, the mission specialists,” STS-8 pilot Dan Brandenstein introduced an inside story of the ascent into orbit. “You have the overhead windows kind of like a sun roof on the shuttle, and those guys, Dale in particular, was looking back over his head, and he could look out the window and he could look back at the ground. At night he could see how it lit everything up. During first stage it's really bright, because you have the Solid Rocket Boosters going. In fact, from the front cockpit looking out, it looks like you're inside of a fire looking out, because you don't really see the flame, but you saw the reflection and the light.”

“But we weren't very far into the launch, and Dale says, ‘Dan, how do the engines look?’ You know, the instrumentation on the engines, are they running all right? I said, ‘Yes, look fine.’ Thirty seconds later, he says, ‘Dan, how do the engines look?’ ‘Fine.’ A minute later, ‘Dan, how do the engines look?’ ‘Fine.’I don't know how many times this happened. This happened, going up, a whole bunch of times. Once again, we didn't have a lot of time to chitchat about it, you know, so finally after we kind of got all settled down on orbit, I said, ‘What was going on?’ He said, ‘I was looking out the window,’ and when you watch a shuttle launch, the flame from the engine is real solid. It comes out of the nozzle and it just sits there. It's got a shape and it just kind of goes.”

Brandenstein explained, “During all these engine tests before the first flight, you'd have an engine running on the test stand and the flame would be real solid, and then all of a sudden the flame would kind of flutter and the engine would blow up. And that was usually an indication that something was wrong, and it shortly followed that the engine blew up. Well, as you get higher in altitude and from the perspective he had, the flames from the engines he saw were fluttering, so his connection was, well, when the flames flutter, the engine blows up. So that was his concern.”

“You just have a different perspective as you get higher in altitude. The air pressure goes way down and you get into a vacuum, so basically what holds your flame real tight is the atmospheric pressure factors in that. Well, you get outside atmosphere pressure, they expand and they flutter a little bit more. Once again, from his perspective, from the inside looking back out at it, the flames were fluttering and he was concerned about that.”

And while the fluttering exhaust from Challenger’s main engines may have given Dale Gardner some heart palpitations, the “Guy” sitting next to him obviously was enjoying the ride. Ben Evans wrote, “After the mission, as the five astronauts listened back on their cockpit intercom tapes from Challenger’s ascent, they were puzzled to hear someone chuckling all the way into orbit. It was Bluford. Years later, in an April 2003 interview, he remembered being so excited by the whole event that his only feeling at the time was not fear, but sheer elation.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:10 pm

PAO: Three minutes elapsed; velocity 6500 feet per second, altitude is 40 miles, downrange 68 miles.

Collins: Up until four minutes and five seconds it would be possible to get back here in the event of an early mission abort…

PAO: Flight Director Jay Greene taking a status before Challenger reaches the negative return point, getting a go from all flight controllers. Three minutes, 45 seconds, velocity 7700 feet per second, altitude 49 miles, downrange 112 miles… At four minutes Challenger is go…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, negative return.

Truly: Roger, negative return.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, press to MECO.

Truly: Press to MECO. We’ll see you on Labor Day.

CapCom: Roger that.

Collins: …and the primary landing site at the end of the mission on Labor Day morning is Edwards Air Force Base in California. Newsman John Goodman has been out there. John, what’s the scene out there now?

John Goodman (CBS/EAFB): Despite the bad weather at the Cape, Reid, the weather is so clear across the Mojave Desert lightning from a thunderstorm over the Colorado River some 300 miles away is easily seen. The lights along the runway that would be used for an emergency landing have been on for over an hour. Because of the glow from those lights Challenger would not be visible until about 200 feet or just seconds from touchdown. The desert winds out here are mild and warm. There are some scattered clouds at about 6,000 feet and the temperature, Reid, is 79 degrees.

Collins: That’s the situation at the other end of the country, where there is a landing field lighted; there’s another one at White Sands available also, and the landing strip here at Kennedy is lighted also. But they’ve gone beyond the range from which they could return here. Next stop would be Dakar, Senegal; there is no reason to even consider a stop however, because everything has been going fine. Shuttle mission No. 8, the night flight is underway…

PAO: Challenger no longer capable of returning to the launch site. Press to MECO call tells spacecraft commander Dick Truly that Challenger can now continue uphill if one main engine failed. Four minutes, 40 seconds, all three engines still solid at 100 percent. Velocity is 9700 feet per second, altitude 55 nautical miles, downrange 185 miles… Five minutes 15 seconds, Challenger still go, velocity 11,000 feet per second, altitude is 57 nautical miles, Challenger is 236 miles downrange.

Truly: Okay, Houston, onboard (garble) everything is looking good. We can see the stars real brightly and we are seeing little flashes of light which I guess are reflections off the bottom of the tank.

CapCom: Roger.

Truly: We are looking straight up at the (garble).

CapCom: Roger that… Challenger, Houston, you have single-engine TAL capability.

Truly: Roger, Houston, single-engine TAL capability.

PAO: Challenger now capable of reaching Dakar Airport if two engines fail. Six minutes 10 seconds elapsed, velocity 13,750 feet per second, altitude 58 miles, downrange 336 miles; predicting Main Engine Cut-Off for eight minutes 42 seconds.

“The plots in the MOCR plotted right up to ground track as well as you can hope for,” Jay Greene said later, describing Challenger’s ascent as flawless. “Essentially we had a perfectly nominal first stage and second stage. The times that we planned preflight, we tracked through the flight, and we were running maybe 3 to 4 seconds late over the estimated times that we came out preflight.”

Collins: They’re flying on, on toward MECO, the Main Engine Cut-Off. We’ll be following the flight now with the voice of Mission Control in Houston, Texas, Jack Riley. They have seen some sights inside the cockpit they didn’t expect to see. It was bright as daylight in there as they rode up to the Moon, the quarter Moon shining above them, and now they should be actually in daylight themselves; they have beaten us to the dawn.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, you are single-engine press to MECO.

Truly: Roger, Houston, single-engine press to MECO.

PAO: That call tells the crew to press on even if two main engines shut down early. Seven minutes five seconds elapsed, velocity six, 17,000 feet per second, altitude’s 58 nautical miles, downrange 459 nautical miles.

Collins: They’ll be throttling back now to keep the 3-g limit; they don’t want to push themselves any farther.

PAO: All three engines still at 100 percent.

Collins: In any second now they should be throttling down just a little bit to maintain the limits. Dr. Thornton, at 54 the oldest American, perhaps the oldest of any person to go in space…

PAO: Flight Director Greene taking a status check, getting a go from all controllers. Seven minutes 45 seconds elapsed, velocity 20,380 feet per second, altitude’s 56, 58 nautical miles, downrange 580 miles.

Collins: He is talking of nautical miles all the time; you can add fifteen percent to that is you want to get statute miles.

PAO: All three engines now into 3-g throttling, maintaining 3 g’s on the vehicle.

Truly: Okay, we’re throttling, Houston, and still looking good; we’re still seeing the reflections off the tank.

CapCom: Roger.

Collins: They have throttled down a bit.

PAO: 23,000 feet per second velocity, altitude’s 58 and a half miles, downrange 681 miles. Eight minutes 30 seconds elapsed; MECO is still predicted for 8:42.

Truly: MECO, Houston.

CapCom: Roger, MECO.

PAO: MECO is right on the second.

Collins: Main Engine Cut-Off. Now they have to get rid of the big External Tank, do an OMS burn to get them a little bit higher; they’ll do a second OMS burn to circularize their orbit at 184 statute miles.

PAO: Flight Dynamics Officer Willis Bolt says Main Engine Cut-Off was nominal.

Truly: (garble)

CapCom: Roger, tank.

“It looked like we were inside a ball of flame for about fifteen seconds, and it looked like the fire was never going to stop,” Mission Specialist Dale Gardner later recalled the moment of ET separation.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:11 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:12 pm
Collins: It’s estimated that was worth about half a Sun out there as far as luminosity was concerned when the solids ignited.

Truly: Okay, Houston, targets look nominal onboard.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, APU shutdown on time; OMS-1 will be nominal.

Truly: Roger. And we’re maneuvering to burn attitude.

CapCom: Roger.

PAO: External Tank has separated; OMS-1 will be nominal, 238 feet per second, a burn time of two minutes 25 seconds, targeting for an orbit of 160 by 52 nautical miles with the OMS-1 burn.

Sherr: Gene, was it as good as being inside one?

Cernan: Nothing, nothing – daytime or nighttime – is as good as being inside one! But it was very nostalgic for me to watch this, and I’m happy for those guys. And I still have to say again, one of the most exciting moments they’ll have is about five to fifteen minutes away when they’ll see that first sunrise. There’s three new guys – four new guys.

Sherr: Well, I think we all had a great sight. It was a pretty show, as NASA promised us. The best news, of course, is that everything so far is happening on time. The External Tank separated okay; it will now fall to the ocean and disintegrate.  And we’ll stick around and wait for the next one.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:13 pm
Regarding the External Tank, NASA’s October 1983 STS-8 Mission Report stated, “All prelaunch requirements were met. ET separation and entry were as predicted and impact was within the footprint. During ascent, between 223 seconds and 421 seconds elapsed time, the ET liquid hydrogen pressure sensor No. 1 indicated a constant pressure of 32.7 psi. Pressure sensor No. 3 indicated a constant pressure of 32.8 psi, while pressure sensor No. 2 indicated a pressure that ramped from 32.4 to 32.8 psi. Overall ET ullage pressure, however, was maintained within the required control band (32 to 34 psi), and MPS performance was not affected. The TPS experienced only minor ice/frost buildup in waived areas.”

“During post-flight inspection, it was found that the right aft ET attach bolt hole plugger was jammed partially open by part of a frangible nut and a firing line connector. The purpose of the hole plugger is to minimize loss of debris through the aft attach bolt hole at ET separation. The probability of debris jamming the ET doors is remote with the hole pluggers reducing this probability even further. However, they are not a guarantee against the loss of debris. The ET door mechanisms are designed to be jam-resistant and the doors can be recycled, if necessary, during the closing sequence. The ET door mechanisms operation was nominal for the STS-8 mission.”

Looking at the performance of the Main Propulsion System, the report added, “The engine start buildups and transitions to main stage were normal. Mixture ratio and thrust values from the flight indicate repeatable engine performance. Power level throttling operation appeared normal. Engine shutdown was satisfactory with MECO occurring approximately 0.1 second earlier than predicted.”

“The post-flight SSME inspection uncovered a failed liquid oxygen supply line to the ASI (Augmented Spark Igniter) of the fuel preburner on SSME No. 1. A 1/2-inch 300-degree section of the supply line stubout tube ruptured and/or is missing. Some bulging of the supply line above the failed section was noted. Data analysis shows the failure occurred during the engine shutdown transient. Line deformation has been noted on previous flights of existing engines.”

Shortly after MECO, at 1:45 a.m. CDT, Water Spray Boilers 2 and 3 experienced a momentary “overcool.” The temperature drop on WSB 3 was more pronounced than that on WSB 2. The lubrication oil temperature of both units recovered to normal, but the unit 3 recovery was slower than unit 2. The lubrication oil control loop temperatures remained in the normal range for the remainder of the mission. Post-flight inspection revealed that the WSB 3 orifice was missing and the orifices on WSBs 1 and 2 were loose.


“Subjectively, I did think that the ascent ride on the Challenger was a little smoother than on Columbia,” STS-8 Commander Richard Truly said postflight. “But on the other hand, since it was my second time, maybe that was just a feeling I had.”

From the ground, the launch, a magnificent sight in daylight, had been awe-inspiring at night. In downtown Miami, 200 miles to the south, people on the roof of a five-story building had seen the shuttle as a small red-orange glow. More than 100 hopeful viewers had gathered on lawn chairs and blankets in Jacksonville Beach, 150 miles north of the Cape. Observers from as far away as the Bahamas reported catching a glimpse of the shuttle's fiery exhaust; people in North Carolina also saw it light their sky.

That first Space Shuttle nighttime lift-off had been also quite an experience for those watching from directly below, of course, from Kennedy Space Center’s press and VIP viewing sites. “This has to be one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen!” exulted John Jacob, president of the National Urban League. Former pro-basketball star Wilt Chamberlain said, “I think it was fantastic. Awesome is the word!” Barbara Lawrence, wife of astronaut-designee Robert Lawrence, killed in the 1967 air crash, reminisced: “I would have hoped that had Bob lived, this would have happened a long time ago!”

Collins: It was perhaps one of the more sensational sights that the part of this country has ever seen. My colleague Bill Lynch is with me here. And Bill, I’d like you to get your impressions of it. That’s something you don’t see everyday…

Bill Lynch (CBS/KSC): Reid, I’ve never seen anything like that. I’m a space rookie in terms of being an eyewitness to a launch. The thing that impresses you most is the tremendous glow, the burning sensation, the rising sun off that pad. And then thirty seconds later, when the shock waves, and the vibration and the overpressure in the air hit you, it’s quite a sensation. I moved, actually vibrated for a full twenty seconds…

PAO: Challenger is in the burn attitude now.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, 30 seconds to LOS. Configure LOS; we’ll see you at Dakar at 1-8.

Truly: Roger. Okay, Houston, we see the OMS-1 burn is off to a nominal start.

CapCom: Roger.

PAO: We confirm ignition on both engines and the burn looks good. This is Shuttle Control, Bermuda has Loss of Signal, the OMS-1 burn in progress at LOS, about a minute to go in the burn at that time, was proceeding nominally. Acquisition at Dakar in five minutes; at a Mission Elapsed Time of twelve minutes 40 seconds, this is Shuttle Control, Houston.

Guy Bluford explained, “We made two Orbital Maneuvering System burns, one at ten minutes, 19 seconds into the flight and the other at 44 minutes, 49 seconds into the flight. This put us into an orbit of 160 nautical miles above the Earth.”

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, it is 17 minutes elapsed time, Challenger about 20 seconds away from acquisition at Dakar.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you at Dakar for six and a half minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. OMS-1 went nominal. We’re looking at the first sunrise. It’s absolutely beautiful. And we’re set up for the gimbal check.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:15 pm
“It was a great trip,” Bluford said. “I still remember seeing the African coast and the Sahara desert coming up over the horizon. It was a beautiful sight.”

“Well, the first impression is still probably the biggest,” recalled Dan Brandenstein. “We launched at night, and then we were crossing Africa when we had… I saw my first sunrise on orbit. And to this day, that is the ‘Wow!’ of my space flight career. Sunrises and sunsets from orbit are just phenomenal, and obviously the first one just knocked my socks off. It's just so different. Well, it happens relatively quickly because you're going so fast, and you just get this vivid spectrum forming at the horizon. When the Sun finally pops up, I mean, it's just so bright. It's not attenuated by smog, clouds, or anything, you know. It's really quite something.”

Truly: Okay, Houston, CDR. We’ve completed that; we are on page 3-8. I’m safe in the seat. We’re beginning to get out of the seats. I’m going… Dan and I will remain on comm and not take off the helmets until after LOS.

CapCom: Roger.

Guy Bluford later recalled, “I unstrapped from my seat and started floating on the top of the cockpit. I remember saying to myself ‘Oh, my goodness, zero-g!’ And like all the other astronauts before me, I fumbled around in zero-g for quite a while before I got my space legs. However, it was a great feeling, and I knew right away that I was going to enjoy this experience. We finally completed all of our ascent checks, configured the Orbiter for on-orbit operations, and then had lunch. For the next six days we were busy accomplishing the planned timeline and enjoying the view out the window. For the rookie astronauts, it was a fabulous adventure.”

The rookie astronaut in the pilot’s seat added, “Even after you're on orbit, you're floating around and that's neat, and you're getting to see the view and that's neat, but, still, after you get up, you've got an awful lot to do in a very short time, getting the vehicle prepared to operate on orbit. And there are checkpoints. If you don't get things done or something doesn't work right, you have to turn right around and come back, you know. So you're pretty much focused for about the first four hours up there, of getting that all done.”

“Once that was done,” Dan Brandenstein continued, “well, then you look out the window a little bit more. I remember when the real work of the day was pretty much over and it was time to go to sleep, which you didn't, you looked out the window and stuff. Then you'd kind of sit back and replay the launch in your mind and try and do it a little bit more from a spectator's standpoint. You realize that was really pretty neat.”

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, 30 seconds to LOS, configure LOS. We’ll see you at Botswana at 0 plus 35.

Truly: Roger, Bryan, we’ll see you at Botswana. We are looking straight down at the Earth, but it’s very cloudy.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control at 25 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. Dakar has LOS; next station is Botswana in nine and a half minutes. At LOS, the crew was starting to get out of the seats and Challenger was in attitude for the OMS-2 burn, which will occur at about 44 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, about 19 1/2 minutes from now. The OMS-2 burn will be nominal, a delta V, change in velocity of 194.7 feet per second, a burn time of one minute 57 seconds. Challenger’s current orbit is 160 by 52 nautical miles. OMS-2 will circularize the orbit at 160 nautical miles. At 26 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, this is Shuttle Control, Houston.

Flight Director Jay Greene later told the assembled news people at JSC, “We got the OMS-1 burn off, the OMS-2 burn off on time. Delta Vs of those, if anybody’s interested, was 237 for the OMS-1 burn and 197 for the OMS-2 burn.” Challenger’s orbital period was one hour, 30 minutes, 36 seconds. At 51 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, when Challenger came into range of the Yarragadee tracking station over Australia, Commander Truly reported, “The OMS-2 burn went nominally, residuals were almost zero. We’ve completed the ascent checklist.” Everything onboard was going well. When Challenger reached Hawaii about 26 minutes later she was in proper attitude for payload bay door opening.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:17 pm

Collins: It was a strange sight, because it was so dark before; and then all of a sudden you began, as if a half a Sun had risen, all of a sudden you could see people out there, all in this rosy glow of reflected light. I think the atmosphere has something also to do with it in containing that amount of luminosity, because – a  we’ve noted – there was a lot of cloud cover around; it was as if it was going up against a grey blanket, a shroud for a background.  

Lynch: Especially since you could not see the spacecraft itself so much as the fiery emission.

Collins: It was obliterated entirely by the flame, and this has been characteristic of the solid rockets. The hydrogen that the main engines burn is almost invisible as far as flame is concerned. But now it’s quiet out there; now there is an eerie sort of silence as many of the hundreds of news people begin to gather their cameras and get ready to fight their back from the Cape, or back to the press office to get some of the statistics and the figures and the rest of it.

But the essential thing, I think, is that five men have managed to cram themselves inside a spacecraft right on time, and in the middle of a tremendous thunderstorm – there was lightning all around, Bill – and under conditions in which I suppose most people, most pilots wouldn’t even like to take a plane off the ground; and yet, it cleared just enough, NASA’s weather people were just bright enough –  about fifteen minutes off – but correct enough to assess this multi-million dollar flight could be made on the night on which they’d planned it.

Lynch: It came right in the middle of that 34-minute window beyond which they would not be able to deploy a satellite over the Indian subcontinent at about this time tomorrow.

Collins: So, things have gone reasonably well, will be on the timeline just that far behind everything now because of the late lift-off, so everybody will have to adjust his sights about 15 minutes, or 17 minutes actually. But again, it shows that the entire orchestration seems to work in a rather marvelous technological fashion. And you have five fragile men up in a cockpit preparing to go to work. And as they mentioned, as Truly mentioned to the ground, it was quite bright in there; they got a lot of that reflected light, too. Then they saw the Moon and now they see the Sun. So, time for them has accelerated considerably as we wait here.

Lynch: It has indeed. They are just at the beginning of their workday. They slept late, had breakfast at about ten o’clock tonight, and they will be working right through the morning hours as in our time zone.

Collins: It’s a long first day. Well, it’s been a first though. The first night lift-off, the oldest man to go into space, Dr. Thornton, the first black astronaut to achieve orbit, Mr. Bluford; and they and their companions are well underway now in lightness over Africa while we sit here in the dark and just wonder at the miracle of it all. For Bill Lynch, I’m Reid Collins, CBS News. And we have had the flight of Shuttle 8, the night flight. This is Reid Collins saying goodnight from the Kennedy Space Center.  

(KSC and JSC PAO commentary, JSC change-of-shift press briefing transcripts, Aug. 30, 1983; ABC/CBS live coverage, Aug. 30, 1983; Yacenda, Today, Aug. 30, 1983; Platt, Hess and Salamon, Today, Aug. 31, 1983; AP/European Stars and Stripes, Aug. 31, 1983; “Truly to assume Navy post,” JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 16, 1983; STS-8 National Space Transportation Systems Program Mission Report, JSC-19278, October 1983; David Shayler, “Shuttle Challenger,” Prentice Hall Press 1987; J. Alfred Phelps, “They Had a Dream,” Presidio Press 1994; Daniel Brandenstein, JSC NASA Oral History Project interview, Jan. 19, 1999; Guion Bluford, JSC NASA Oral History Project interview, Aug. 2, 2004; Ben Evans, “Space Shuttle Challenger,” Springer/Praxis 2007 – edited)

STS-8 Launch Multi-View

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:18 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/24/2015 11:18 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:01 pm
Tuesday, August 30, 1983 (Flight Day 1) – Float Like a Butterfly

“You figure out what you can do at zero-g, and it’s fascinating. I mean, it doesn’t take much to get things floating across the room… I like to walk on the walls and ceilings and all that sort of stuff. Zero-g is nifty. It’s like you’re a kid who’s just picked up a new toy. You’re fascinated with this new toy. And you play with it for awhile; zero-g is the same way… It’s really great!”

- Guion Bluford, MS2 Challenger STS-8


Truly: And Houston, Challenger, we’re ready to do the doors on your go.

CapCom: Roger. You’re go to open the doors.

Truly: Roger.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. In 30 seconds we’ll be handing over to TDRS, and if that’s not successful, we’ll pick you up at Goldstone at 1 plus 29.

Truly: Roger, Houston. And we’re getting ready to do doors.

CapCom: Roger. Challenger, Houston with you on TDRS…Challenger, Houston with you on TDRS…

Truly: Houston, Challenger, loud and clear. How do you read the CDR?

CapCom: Roger, loud and clear also.

Truly: And the starboard door is almost all the way open.

CapCom: Roger, copy.

“The highlight of the shift has got to be that first TDRS pass,” said Flight Director Jay Greene. “They said we were going to go from Hawaii to the TDRS, and sure enough we had a 30 second LOS period to accomplish the handover, and once we did, the comm was as good as any comm that we’ve had during the program.”

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with a question on the TV cameras.

Truly: Stand by one. Okay, Houston, the port doors are coming open now; it’s still in the auto sequence.

CapCom: Roger.

Truly: And go ahead with your question on the TV.

CapCom: Roger. We don’t show the TV’s getting powered up properly. We were wondering if you could select one of the payload bay cameras, see if you can get it on your monitor.

Truly: Wilco. Any desire on which one?

CapCom: The A camera would be good.

Dick Truly got all payload bay cameras activated; the selected camera A was operating normally on flight deck monitor one and was put on the downlink. At 3:00 a.m. CDT, approximately two minutes after the automatic payload bay door open sequence had been initiated, the starboard payload bay door motor one door-open discrete indicated open while other instrumentation showed that the motor control relay was still powering the motor and driving the torque limiter. The motor control relay remained energized until the relay-open command was turned off at the completion of the payload bay door automatic open sequence.

Dan Brandenstein commented, “The starboard forward and aft bulkhead latches were on time. The starboard door looked open on time, but it – before we got an open indication on the CRT – it took a minute plus 55. It looked all the way open, it was just sitting out there, but it took like two more times to get the indication. Then the port latches worked nominal and the port door worked nominal with a total elapsed time of four minutes and 15 seconds for the whole procedure.”

The starboard payload bay door opening was nominal in all respects. The door opening time verified two-motor nominal operation. The motor one open status indication was be intermittent and reading low during the remainder of the mission. Both motors one and two open status were required to be high to satisfy the automatic door close sequence. Therefore, the payload bay doors would be manually closed by the crew during entry preparations.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:02 pm
PAO: We have TV now from the payload bay camera.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, we’re getting some good pictures of the payload bay and the American flag on the front of the PFTA.

Truly: Outstanding. And it sounds like this comm is… sounds loud and clear. You’re a little less volume than we were over the previous site, but it’s very clear.

CapCom: Roger. You’re loud and clear also.

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. Go ahead.

Bluford: I’m just doing a voice check for MS2. Read you loud and clear.

CapCom: You’re loud and clear also, Guy.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:04 pm
Truly: Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead… CDR, Houston, go ahead.

Brandenstein: Roger, stand by a second Houston; he’s firing up his wireless.

CapCom: Copy.

Truly: Houston, CDR. Let me try again.

CapCom: Roger, you’re loud and clear. And Challenger, Houston (garble)…

Brandenstein: …Okay, thank you. And the CDR seems to be transmitting but not receiving; we’ll work it out.

CapCom: Roger.

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. Go ahead.

Bluford: During the post insertion sunshield closing and the payload recorder config, when we check that payload panel talkback it’s reading barber pole not gray.

CapCom: Roger, copy.

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Roger. Go ahead, Guy.

Bluford: Do you want us to continue with the closing of the sunshield, or do you want us to hold up here?

CapCom: Roger. Stand by for a second.

Bluford: Roger, standing by. We’ll hold up on the sunshield closing.

CapCom: And stand by one on the sunshield closing; we’re going to send a command and try to fix the recorder.

Bluford: Rog. We’ve also noticed that we’ve lost power on CCTV. Would you check on that? And we’ve got gray on the payload recorder panel, (garble) control talkback.

CapCom: Roger, copy. Stand by.

Bluford: And also, did you command the CCTVs off?

CapCom: Roger, that’s affirmative. We did… And Challenger, Houston. We’d like you to go ahead and turn the TVs back on and go ahead with the sunshield closing.

Bluford: We’re going to go to panel on the TVs and we’re going to turn them back on.

CapCom: Roger, that’s correct.

Bluford: Houston, we’re getting ready to close the sunshield.

CapCom: Roger, copy.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, the payloads officer reports the sunshield is closed.

Truly: Houston, CDR.

CapCom: CDR, Houston, go.

Truly: Roger, I’m assuming I was off comm just a few minutes trying to solve the WCCU thing. I’m assuming you’re through with spec 1 on CRT 1?

CapCom: That’s affirmative; we’re through with the CRTs.

Truly: Okay. I’m getting ready to do the bubble 11 on page 1-11 – the star trackers.

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Rog. Go ahead, Guy.

Bluford: We’re in the health check here and we’re getting ready to go external power. We’d like to know if you want us to go now while we have AOS.

CapCom: Roger. We’re ready for external power.

Bluford: Do you have enough time for that? – Okay, go external power.

CapCom: Roger. And Challenger, Houston. We’ll be using the GNC spec 1 you have on CRT 2, if you just leave that there for us.

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Go ahead.

Bluford: Got external power on and spacecraft looks good.

CapCom: Roger, we see that.

Truly: And Houston, CDR, as you can…

CapCom: And CDR, Houston, you cut out.

Truly: Houston, CDR. How do you read?

CapCom: You’re loud and clear now, Richard.

Truly: Okay. I did two self tests on the minus-y to get it to pass; it did pass on the second one, so that’s complete.

CapCom: Okay, copy.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:06 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:07 pm
Brandenstein: And Houston, PLT, with the wireless comm check.

CapCom: You’re loud and clear, Dan.

Truly: Okay, Houston. Star tracker test went well; the doors opened in eight seconds, so we’re way…

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. Be advised we’ve lost the downlink through TDRS. If you can hear me, we’ve still got the uplink… Challenger, Houston, how do you read?

Truly: Challenger, Houston, we can read you.

CapCom: Right. We’ve lost TDRS lock momentarily; I’m just UHF only this time. – Richard, copied your star tracker doors opened okay. And if there’s any more, it was cut out.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, communications with Challenger through UHF at Ascension at the present time. Both telemetry and voice communications have been through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite since Loss of Signal at Hawaii. We have momentarily lost the downlink on TDRS, but within the Ascension acquisition, and we’re going UHF there.

During the 5:30 a.m. CDT press briefing Flight Director Greene explained, “We lost downlink, I believe it was something like ten minutes early in the pass. And the guys were looking at the cause of that. It might have been an attitude problem, but they’ll be analyzing that. 40 out of 52 minutes isn’t bad for the first wack at it.”

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Roger. Go ahead.

Bluford: Rog. We’re complete with the health check and we’re ready to go back to internal power. Are you ready for us?

CapCom: Stand by one.

Bluford: You… Okay.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. We’re about to go UHF LOS: see you at Botswana in three minutes.

Bluford: Alright. Going internal power.

CapCom: You’re go for internal power, Guy.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control at two hours, five minutes Mission Elapsed Time. We’ll have UHF communications again in two minutes at Botswana.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:09 pm

When Challenger came into range of Botswana at 3:39 a.m. CDT, the crew received their final go for orbit operations. All activities aboard the spacecraft were proceeding according to the timeline – with a scheduled fuel cell purge getting started by Dan Brandenstein just three minutes after AOS. The PAM sunshields had been closed and the Insat-1B satellite had gone through its health check without a hitch. Dale Gardner was getting ready to activate the RMS and unstow the Manipulator Positioning Mechanism (MPM), while Guy Bluford was preparing the first run of the CFES, doing a systems check.

“We had a failure of a forward MPM deploy microswitch,” Crystal Team Flight Director Hal Draughon said during the 2:00 p.m. press briefing. “On the three pedestals on the RMS, there are two microswitches… They do nothing other than monitor the position. One of them failed open; the other one is correctly indicating the position. If neither of them worked, it would not be a problem. It’s merely an indicator of where the thing is – and you can look out the window to determine that.” – The sensor continued to indicate “stowed” when the MPM was deployed. On Flight Day 4, however, the indication would be normal during MPM deployment.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:10 pm
And then the most significant failure of the flight occurred at 4:08 a.m. CDT when the hydraulic system No. 2 circulation pump failed to start. A second attempt to start after switching to the alternate dc bus (main C) also resulted in a failure to start. The circ pump exhibited an elevated temperature and an excessive current draw during startup attempts. Challenger came into range of Guam at 4:14 a.m. CDT.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control at two hours 41 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. Guam will acquire Challenger in about 40 seconds.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you through Guam for three minutes.

Truly: Okay, Houston, read you loud and clear.

CapCom: Roger, you’re loud and clear also.

Brandenstein: And Houston, got a question for you. Well, we are… okay, I was getting ready to do the APU hydraulic thermal conditioning enable and checked all the switches for the circ pumps and the right power source, and went to circ pump number 2. And I didn’t get any pressure increase (garble) 4 psi, then got a down arrow with the hydraulic message. And we tried an alternate which is, I believe, Charlie… that’s true, main Charlie… and still no joy. So we decided to leave it right there and let you take a look at it.

CapCom: Roger, thank you, Dan. We’ll take a look at it.

Brandenstein: The procedures are 1-2 in the orbit ops checklist.

CapCom: Okay. Challenger, Houston, Dan, Do you have a time on that, that we could look at playback?

Brandenstein: Okay, let me call the (garble) summary and get the first message.

CapCom: Roger. We’ve got that here, Dan.

Brandenstein: Okay, it started about 2:36.

CapCom: Copy, 2 plus 36.

Harold Draughon said, “The only real problem, real failure that we’ve had so far is the hydraulic circ pump in No. 2. It looks as though that pump has actually failed. It’s somewhere in the dc/ac converter lock in that particular unit. The system would be required… the main purpose of the circulation pump is to circulate fluid down through the landing gear area of the vehicle for thermal management when you’re flying some real cold attitudes as some missions dictate.”

“This particular mission has a cold canopy, what’s called a cold canopy test on it, where we fly with the tail of the vehicle towards the Sun, doing one revolution per orbit, or roll,” Draughon continued. “We flew an attitude similar to that on STS-3 for longer than we plan to fly it on this flight, and we know from past experience that it’s not going to be a problem. We do not have to have the circ pump for this flight, so, that’s not a concern to us.” The power to the pump was removed for the remainder of the flight and there was no effect to the mission.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:12 pm

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s back with you through MILA for seven minutes.

Gardner: Hello, Houston, Challenger, MS1 here.

CapCom: Loud and clear, Dale.

Gardner: I know you haven’t heard from me, but I’ve been pretty busy, just got my WCCU on and everything’s going fine. Guy is busy calling up some numbers on the CFES that we’ll be passing down to you in a second. Dr. Bill is busy doing his stuff and Dan and Dick are upstairs, where it’s real dark and I can’t tell you what they’re doing.

CapCom: 10-4.

Truly: Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Roger. Go ahead, Dick.

Truly: Okay, we got a good alignment. I’ll give you the numbers when we get through messing with the COAS cal; we’re just fiddling with the lighting, trying to make sure we’re looking at the right star.

CapCom: Okay, we’ve got the numbers down here, Dick.

Truly: Okay. Stand by.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. The Emerald Team will be handing over to the Crystal Team at this time. Thanks for the good work.

Truly: Roger, Houston. And the only thing that I’m really sorry with you team is that  we haven’t had time to describe the way we saw the ascent, because it was an absolutely incredible sight. And before it gets too dim in our minds, I want to tell you about it…

PAO: …Mission Control Houston, handover from Merritt Island Launch Area ground station to TDRS tracking satellite…

CapCom: …Stand by. Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS MILA. We’ll try to pick you up here with the TDRS; if we don’t get you, we’ll see you at Ascension at 3 plus 31.

Truly: Okay. And Houston, roger… This is really funny, just as we started to take the COAS cal, a shower of ice particles that is coming out from the area of the engine bells in the aft was starting out. And we did get it, but the star is dimmer than every piece of ice out there, except that it’s inertial and all of them are moving.

Flight Director Draughon said, “We did a COAS cal; a COAS (Course Optical Alignment Sight) calibration is a procedure that we go through to check the optical alignment, or the physical alignment of an optical sighting device to use as a backup to the star trackers. That went very well.” But Commander Truly obviously wasn’t satisfied with the results.

Truly: Okay, let’s talk briefly about the COAS cal. Did you copy my last transmission about all the ice?

CapCom: Roger, we did.

Truly: Okay, we got a mark, we updated. The original delta bias was 0.7; I repeated the mark and have a delta bias of .14. And remembering the STS-7 events that Crip did, would you like me to repeat it again? We’re in daylight now, but I believe I can do it real quick. So my question is, do you want me to do it by the book? And that is, repeat step 3 and see if we can get the delta bias less than .12.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, we would like you to do that.

Truly: Wilco… Houston, CDR. Now the Sun is just too far up and it’s too bright for me to get another mark. So I guess if you like, we’ll go back to ZLV and you can schedule the COAS cal at your convenience.

CapCom: Roger. Stand by one, Richard, and I’ll get back to you.

Truly: Okay, I’m going to be unable to complete it with the lighting the way it is now.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, you are go for going back to ZLV.

Truly: Wilco. And John, understand you do not need any information about the IMU alignment. Is that correct?

CapCom: That’s affirmative, Richard.

A little bit later, shortly before Challenger was going LOS at Botswana and while  Richard Truly was going down into the middeck for his scheduled doctor’s appointment with Dr. Bill, CapCom John Blaha said, “Just for your information, you will not have to repeat the COAS cal. GNC has looked at the data and you look good. And further more just for your information, the attitude published in the CAP for the IMU align was not correct, but your IMUs look good and your COAS cal is good.”

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston. CDR answered, you probably didn’t hear him. Understand we won’t have to do a COAS cal.

CapCom: That’s affirmative, Dan. And there was a wrong attitude on your IMU align published in the CAP.

Brandenstein: You bet, we found it.

CapCom: Roger, good catch on you guys part. And we’re going LOS Botswana here in 20 seconds. We’ll see you at Guam at 4 plus 15, Dan.

Brandenstein: See you there.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Botswana, and also shortly prior to that, Loss of Signal through the TDRS satellite. Having a little intermittent loss of data through TDRS, comes back again, likely because of divergence in attitude on the antenna alignment on the orbiter.

At 5:46 a.m. CDT, on Orbit 4 of STS-8, Challenger came into range of the Guam tracking station. And Commander Truly was still thinking about the COAS calibration. “John, that COAS cal was so darn rushed that sometime later on in the mission, if things get quiet and we’ve got a chance to do another one, if it didn’t use too much gas after an IMU align or something, I’d kind of like to do it because we were coming up on sunset there and I just didn’t really get to evaluate it very much although it went okay. And just as I was getting ready to do the marks this huge beautiful shower of ice came up and I could barely see the star.”

CapCom: Roger, we understand, Richard. And we’ll put it in the timeline for you… Challenger, Houston, we’re going to be going LOS here at Guam in 50 seconds. And just a note for you: On the CAP, on page 4-2, we’re going to be delaying our call for the APU, shutting it off. We want to let it go for awhile; we’ll let you know in a couple of revs when that will be.

Brandenstein: Okay, copy.

CapCom: And we’ll see you in Hawaii, Dan, in eight minutes.

Brandenstein: See you there.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:13 pm

When Challenger came into range over Hawaii for a seven-minute comm pass, just before getting into continued contact with TDRS, pilot Dan Brandenstein radioed down, “And for your info, Houston, I think Guy’s working CFES and the rest of us are chowing down.” The astronauts were having lunch – some ready-to-eat sandwiches which had been prepared and packed preflight. “Well, bagging those sandwiches was a darn good idea because you don’t have to mess around with setting up any food trays and stuff, and you get done in a hurry and stay ahead,” said Brandenstein. In order to handle the many tasks scheduled during the early phase of their mission, the STS-8 crew had decided not to fuss around with the food warmer.

While he and Dan Brandenstein were enjoying their sandwiches on the flight deck, Commander Richard Truly felt like talking about their night launch impressions earlier. “It might be a good time for each of us to tell you what we saw out the windows during ascent while it’s fresh on our minds,” he told CapCom John Blaha.

“Right after lift-off, as a matter of fact when the main engines started, I could see the reflections from the main engine exhaust all over the tower,” recounted Truly. “And then it became much, much, much brighter when the solids lit. And as soon as we were away from the tower and began to rise, the entire front windows, it looked like you were driving through a fog bank, except there was an internal orange light source within the fog bank. In other words, you couldn’t see anything because of the light. And that continued, it got brighter and brighter and continued all the way through the SRB burn, although toward the end of this SRB burn it did diminish somewhat. And then, at SRB separation, the light from the separation motors was about 500 times more than I remember on STS-2.”

“Then throughout the second stage – I’m not sure how to describe it – but I continued to see what looked like flashes of light that I assumed was reflected the main engines off the External Tank and that continued all the way through second stage right up to MECO. At MECO for a few seconds everything went black, but then, when tank separation occurred – whereas in the daylight the only indication we ever had was the lights went out – we were just, it seemed like surrounded by flames until the z-translation was complete.”

Dan Brandenstein added, “I was pretty busy looking at things in the cockpit, but once we got up and away a little bit it was like looking as you described it, the fog situation. And the SRB sep was like the inside of a bonfire. That was a real experience, and we saw the same thing reflecting off the tank and the main engines all the way up to MECO.”

“At any rate,” Truly said, “I guess my point is that on night launches, whereas in the daytime you have to watch for the red lights to go out to know that the tank is separated, not to worry at night you’re going to know about it because, as Dan says, it looks like you’re in the middle of a bonfire… The vibration seemed to be on the first stage a little bit less than I remember, although that very well might be explained just because I’d thought about it previously. I did feel some vibrations all the way through second stage that I don’t remember from the Columbia, although they were very, very low-level and no, no bother at all… And finally one last thing, because of the lighting conditions we never had an opportunity to see any debris at all during ascent.”

CapCom: Thank you very much for all the good words on that ascent. Sounds like you guys had quite a fiery ride.

Truly: (Garble) Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Roger, go ahead, Richard.

Truly: John, where are we right now?

CapCom: Roger, you’re coming over the coast of Mexico.

Truly: Well, I’ll tell you what. It’s getting wet down there. ‘Cause you know on STS-2 we had a hard time finding thunderstorms, and I bet you that Dan and I are looking at fifty right now.

CapCom: Roger, understand.

Truly: Just that area that we just passed over, oh, in the last 30 seconds as a matter of fact, directly below us now is a large area of very active lightning and thunderstorm activity.

CapCom: Okay, thank you very much, Richard.

Truly: Must be about daybreak in Houston, isn’t it, John, ‘cause the Sun just came up on us.

CapCom: Roger. We don’t have any windows, Richard.

Truly: Oh, yes.

CapCom: And Richard, likely it looks like you could be looking at Barry down there.

Truly: By golly, you know, it might be. You might plot it, but I just happened to glance out the window and the lights were on in the cockpit. So we real quick turned out the flight deck lights and we’re just looking straight down, vertically on a huge cluster of thunderstorms. Like I say, I bet there were fifty there in the field of view in this window.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:15 pm
As Challenger passed over the Botswana tracking station a little later, MS1 Dale Gardner added to his crewmates’ descriptions of the fiery ride into orbit earlier in the day. “It was pretty surprising. I looked back for ignition of the SSMEs and for the SRBs, and darn near blinded myself. I looked back forward again and sometime around SRB sep looked back, and it looked like we were just totally enveloped in a ball of flames. I guess it was the light reflecting off around us and like we were in the center. Later on, at six or seven minutes, I again turned around and looked back and was really surprised. I didn’t expect to see much, but saw quite a bit, as a matter of fact. Just the main engines themselves were making a much brighter orange flame than I ever expected, and it was pulsating almost as if an engine were running back there unstable. And, in fact, I asked Dan if all the engines looked okay. And the flame was, I would say, going out at least 45, 50 degrees half coned all around the vehicle and pulsating: The last thing I remember was ET sep, which was the biggest surprise of all. It looked like we were inside a ball of flame for about 15 seconds there. In fact, that looked like it was never going to stop. That really surprised us… It was quite a ride. I guess the bottom line is, you’ve already figured out from the three of us talking, that the night situation is really different from a visual standpoint, based upon what Dick has seen before and what we’ve all heard from the other folks. It’s a whole different ballgame.”
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:17 pm

At 7:23 a.m. CDT Challenger flew into range of the Guam tracking station, and the crew was in the process of the ISAL tail glow experiment. Meanwhile, the wireless comm system aboard Challenger was still making trouble.

Truly: Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Roger. Go ahead, Richard… Challenger, Houston, go ahead.

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston. CDR is apparently having a little trouble with his WCCU again. He was just trying to check out his comm. Apparently you can hear him, but he can’t hear you.

CapCom: Understand, Dan.

Brandenstein: And Houston, we just completed trying to get through some of that glow experiment. That camera rig in the window doesn’t work real good. You can’t  aim it right enough. And we spent a lot of time trying to get the tail aimed in the camera right. So, I think between now and the next time we’re going to try this, which is our extra day, we’re going to try and invent something better to hold that camera, so we can aim it up high enough to get the tail and be ready to go. We didn’t get completely through the sequence.

CapCom: Okay. We copy that, Dan, and understand you’ll try to work up a better way of putting the camera so you can get a better picture if we do the experiment again.

Brandenstein: Right. We’re going to sit down and write so we can remember exactly what we did and debrief this good. And in the meantime, between now and when we do it next time, we’re going to try and come up with a better idea so we can be ready to go and not waste our time just trying to get it aimed up and in position.

CapCom: Okay, sounds real good, Dan.

“There’s a glow phenomenon that’s been observed on some flights, and this particular experiment calls for us to mount some cameras in the aft windows and take some pictures at the appropriate lighting conditions,” explained Flight Director Draughon. “There were some difficulties with mounting the cameras to get a low enough look angle on the tail to get the pictures exactly like we wanted. And we will be looking at a different way to attach those cameras to the aft windows prior to a repeat that’s already scheduled for that activity on Flight Day 6.”

Earlier, while setting up the instrumentation for that particular experiment, the astronauts already had hit another hurdle when they got a moisture buildup in the center of both aft windows. “In W9 it looks like a moisture circle of about two inches diameter, and in W10, it looks like a moisture circle of about three to four inches diameter,” they had radioed down to Mission Control.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, when you have a moment, we’re just kind of interested in the moisture on the aft windows and whether or not that blocked any of the filming of the tail glow experiment.

Brandenstein: Negative, Houston. It was pretty much dissipated by the time we were ready to do the glow, although on W10 where I was setting up, I did take a Kleenex and wiped it off to get ahead of it, because I wanted to get the window shade with the camera peeking through it set up. But on the other window it was gone by the time we were ready to do it, so it was up there for awhile and then disappeared.

CapCom: Okay, Dan. Thank you very much for that.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:18 pm

“Just a note for you,” CapCom John Blaha told the Challenger crew, “you guys are really doing good today. You’re on top of everything. We appreciate that.” And yet, Commander Truly was still troubleshooting problems with the wireless comm system.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. I have a little mal procedure we would like you to run on the Commander’s comm problem when you’re ready to copy.

Brandenstein: Okay. Dick is not hearing you. What would you like us to do, John?

CapCom: Okay, we have a little test procedure that we would like to call up to him or Dan, so that you can do it at your convenience. When you’re ready to copy the procedure, I’ll give it up to you.

Brandenstein: Okay, stand by… Okay, John, give Richard a short count to see if he can hear you on his speaker here. He wants to copy it himself.

CapCom: Okay. Testing 1… 2… 3… 3… 2… 1…

Truly: Okay, I can barely hear you, John. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay, Richard, and we’re reading you loud and clear. What we would like you to do – again, you can do this when you’re out of comm with us, you can do it at any time you want and then report the results back to us – is position yourself so you can see both the wall unit and the leg unit LEDs… and when you’re ready, I’ll give you the second step.

Brandenstein: Okay, John, he’s all off comm. He’s going to come up and tie into a leg unit and… on HIU (Headset Interface Unit) I mean, so he can really talk to you, and then you can talk about it.

CapCom: Roger. I understand, Dan.

Truly: Houston, CDR. How do you read?

CapCom: Roger. Loud and clear, Richard.

Truly: …Okay. I’m reading you loud and clear also. I think my problem may be in the very lightweight headset. I’ll  swap that out and I’ve been trying to troubleshoot to see what part of my equipment the problem has been in. But at any tae, right now I am reading you loud and clear.

CapCom: Roger. I understand, Richard. What we have is a little procedure to try and help you out with troubleshooting that, and I have a couple of steps here. First, if you could position yourself so that you can see both your wall unit and your leg unit LEDs.

Truly: …Okay. Go ahead.

CapCom: Step 2 – Have another crewmember give a test count.

Truly: Okay.

CapCom: Step 3 – During the test count, see whether or not you can see the LED on the wall unit or the leg unit, and then tell us what you saw.

Truly: Well, since it’s going to be awhile before I do this test, tell me the options of what I might see. Are you talking about a blinking red light or something?

CapCom: That’s affirmative, Richard. We’re talking about whether or not you see the blinking red light on your wall unit and the leg unit during the test… If you see both units flicker, the problem is in the headset. If you see both units don’t flicker, the problem is in the wall unit. If you se the wall unit flicker but not the leg unit, the problem is in the leg unit and vice versa for the other possibility.

Truly: Roger, John. Let me read it back to you. If both of them blink simultaneously while the other person is giving me the count, it’s the headset. If both are steady, it’s the wall unit. If it’s the wall unit flickering only, it’s the leg unit that’s bad and vice versa.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. That’s a good readback except I mistakenly told you the vice versa. The vice versa is not correct.

Truly: Okay. So if the wall unit flickers only, it’s the leg unit, period.

CapCom: That’s correct, and that’s a good readback.

Truly: Okay, that sounds like a good procedure. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s going to be a little while before I can get to it, but I will – because Dale and I are starting the RMS activation. I mean the RMS work.

CapCom: Roger, we understand. And that sounds like a good plan to us.

During the afternoon press briefing at JSC, Flight Director Draughon was able to report success on the wireless troubleshooting. “The Commander had a comm problem in one of his mike sets, and we have isolated that just before they went to bed. There’s a unit on the wall in these wireless headsets that’s used to communicate, or broadcast from the wall unit to a unit that’s strapped to his leg. That interfaces to one that’s down, and either Richard will change it out tonight, which is what I suspect he’ll do, or he’ll get up early tomorrow and change it out so he can get on the wireless intercom system.”

Truly’s leg unit was transmitting okay. The failure isolation procedure showed that his wall unit “A” was not transmitting properly; substitution of “E” wall and leg units restored communications. Postflight, the crew reported that the “D” leg unit had loud continuous static in the walkie-talkie mode, but worked fine when hooked up to the wall unit. The “B” leg unit had static when away from the flight deck, where the wall unit was located. The “E” unit was intermittent and noisy on the middeck. The “C” unit had no problem and the crew used two WCCUs in the walkie-talkie mode, one on the flight deck, and the other on the middeck for the latter part of the flight.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:20 pm

Challenger was passing the Botswana tracking station when MS2 Guy Bluford went on the air, briefly giving a status report on his CFES activities, while up on the flight deck Commander Richard Truly and MS1 Dale Gardner were busy testing the RMS arm.

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Roger, go ahead.

Bluford: Okay, we’re through with sample 1, and we’re getting ready to start sample 2. MET for sample 2 is 0 days, 6 hours and why don’t you make it 59 minutes.

CapCom: Roger, copy that, Guy. Thanks a lot.

Truly: Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Roger, go ahead, Richard.

Truly: Okay, the RMS testing is going well. We’re on page 2-4. We’ve tested the end effector both in prime and backup. Dale is now doing the phasing checks, using backup on all joints.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Richard. Thanks.

Later on Flight Day 1, Commander Truly described some dynamics he had observed during RMS testing: “The thing that I don’t recall from STS-2, that I may have just forgotten, is a hesitation in the elbow joint… I had forgotten about the fact that the drop switch has to be made very firmly to each, the plus and minus position. And so for a while we thought we weren’t getting commands out. But actually it’s the mechanical switch that’s not like the simulator. But the thing that we saw, that I didn’t recall, was the fact that when Dale was driving the elbow joint in course rate, it would drive for maybe two or three seconds and then it would actually stop for a sec or so, and then it would pick up and move again for two or three seconds and the slow down and almost stop, and just like that, as he moved it”

“Well, the elbow was the one that was most noticeable,” added Dale Gardner. “I think we might have seen a little bit of it in shoulder pitch, but it certainly wasn’t the dramatic start/stop that Richard described from the elbow pitch. And it was in single drive.”

Flight Director Draughon said, “The crew did report that it looked like the elbow joint on the RMS was a bit sluggish. We suspect what their scenario was described as is the elbow would drive for a little bit and then stop, and then drive a little bit and then stop, and then drive a little bit and stop – something along that nature while the switch was always held in the single mode, which is the elbow joint selected.”

“That particular switch,” Draughon explained, “takes about a seven pound force to make, and we strongly suspect that even though the crewman thinks he had that switch pushed all the way up, that just by any relaxation at all he really would not be electrically making that switch and so he was losing the drive command. Looking at the data on the ground, we can see when the drive commands in the actual position deviate, and they never did deviate. At the time when it stopped, the drive command was going away, too. And we suspect it was merely the strong force required on that switch was just dropping off. He was just not maintaining the right tension on the switch.”

The “switch problem” wasn’t expected to affect the upcoming PFTA maneuvers, as Hal Draughon pointed out, “We’ll merely point that out to the crew and they’ll just have to… you know, in one-g it’s kind of easy to push seven pounds on something, but once you get weightless, you gotta butt up with your shoes against something to push against and maintain a seven pound force push-on switch… We think that that’s probably what’s going on. If that is the problem, and we have diagnosed it correctly, it will not be a problem to the PFTA testing.”

Meanwhile, Dale Gardner had discovered another minor glitch during RMS testing. “Okay, we have a repeat of something that happened on STS-2. It must be Truly’s fault! – When we first came back to the RMS panel back earlier on, I didn’t mention it, but the isol 4 PDI, or not PDI, just the light on the matrix there had popped out. Must have done it during ascent. We pushed it back in and tested it. It’s okay.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:20 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:22 pm

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you at IOS. How do you read?

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear.

CapCom: Okay, Richard. We’re with you for another two minutes. We’ve had some linkup problems.

Truly: Okay. Dale and I have completed, or Dale has completed the RMS checkout, and we’re just at the top of page 3-2 to start the RMS power down.

CapCom: Roger. Copy that.

Truly: Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Roger, go ahead, Richard.

Truly: Roger, John. I’ve been on and off comm although I’m in the same configuration that you saw me earlier. Has one of the guys reported the little Christmas tree of ice over the… to the right side of the tail, like on STS-2?

CapCom: Roger, I’ll try to get that answer for you, Richard. Right now we’re 30 seconds LOS. I’ll see you at Guam at 7 plus 29.

Truly: I don’t need the answer, but at any rate, there was a little Christmas tree of ice coming out of one of the vents just to the right side of the tail, at the base of the tail on STS-2, and on other flights too, I think, and it’s out there now.

CapCom: Roger, we understand. Then that’s correct; we have seen those on other flights.

Truly: Okay. See you later.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston. Loss of Signal at Indian Ocean Station; Guam in 17 minutes and following that at Hawaii a television pass – a combination of cabin TV as well as floodlighted payload bay television. The crew of Challenger was winding down their testing of the Remote Manipulator System at LOS Indian Ocean Station. The checkout of the remote arm is on schedule and proceeding on time, as are all other flight plan activities. And They’re a little ahead of time on sample number 2 for the CFES experiment. Returning in 16 minutes at Guam, Mission Control Houston at 7 hours 12 minutes elapsed time.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:23 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:24 pm

When Challenger came into range of Guam for four minutes at about 9:00 a.m. CDT, Richard Truly reported, “We just completed the power down. We encountered no failures. We did see a couple of dynamic things that I wanted t ask about when we get a second here, but we have completed the power down and the arm is back in and rolled in.” In preparation for the upcoming TV pass set to commence at AOS Hawaii, he confirmed, “The payload bay lights are on we’re all set up.”

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Guam, seven minutes across to Hawaii and TDRS satellite relay again, and a TV pass with a mix of cabin activities as well as the payload bay cameras with a floodlighted payload bay. Commander Dick Truly reported that they had the remote arm stowed in its cradle, having completed the RMS power down checklist, and a brief exercise with the arm to make sure all of its joints and tendons work. Hawaii upcoming in a little over five minutes, at 7 days (hours, of course) 35 minutes, Mission Control Houston…

The orbiter reached the Hawaiian Islands and the TV event started on time, as CapCom John Blaha confirmed, “Challenger, Houston’s with you at Hawaii with good video… We’re seeing Richard and Bill on the middeck.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:25 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:27 pm
Gardner: Okay, let me tell you what we got down there. The flight deck camera is also available. That’s the one looking over towards the CFES and we have the payload bay cameras all up and ready for you to look at those if you want.

CapCom: Roger, we copy. Thank you, Dale…

Gardner: …Okay, John. We’re all going to wander down towards the middeck so you can see our smiling faces.

CapCom: Roger that. And it looks like Richard’s trying to give us a demonstration.

Brandenstein: Richard’s doing a doctor appointment. What he’s doing is measuring him. Okay, there comes Guy down the port interdeck access. You can see that we’ve all grown some white spots on our foreheads.

CapCom: Roger. We can see that.

Brandenstein: And for those of you who don’t know what those are, those are part of Dr. Bill’s experiments. There are three electrodes, one in the middle of the forehead and one by the right eye and the left eye which he wires us up when we do our EOG eye movement, so he can record that stuff on his recorders. – And that measuring device that you saw Richard working, I just got off of that and I’m already growing an inch on this mission. So you get the Rockets ready with a contract for when I get back.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that, Dan.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:28 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:30 pm
Gardner: Okay, in the background behind Guy you can see the CFES. He’s right in the middle of sample 1… number 2; everything’s been going really well on that. And also on the left… you can see we have the hatch open and Dr. Bill has set up his doctor office and put the shingle up on the airlock.

CapCom: Roger, we can see that, Dale. And we have a good picture of Guy right now… Dale, if you have a minute, if you’re up on the flight deck, are you there?

Brandenstein: John, I’m up on the flight deck. Dale’s on his way down. Richard just came up; he’s off comm. He also wants a Rocket contract – he grew an inch, too.

CapCom: Okay. Dan, if you could call up spec 216 for us, we’d like to check something on our data, and give us a readout of the backup self test go whether there’s an asterisk or not.

Brandenstein: Okay, spec 216, just a second. – Okay, what you’re seeing now is Richard going sailing through the middeck and Dale is getting ready to do his measurements. – Okay, I got 216 up now. What did you want me to check?

CapCom: A readup… a readout of the backup self test go up in the upper left-hand corner, whether or not there is an asterisk, Dan.

Brandenstein: Yes, self test go, primary has an asterisk and so does backup.

CapCom: Roger. Thank you very much, Dan. That’s all we need.

Brandenstein: Okay, thanks for the help. That’s about all I know about that system.
Gardner: Boy, John, you’re really digging deep when you ask the PLT to look at a (garble) display.

CapCom: Roger. It’s a good picture of you, Dale.

Gardner: (Garble) Houston time?

CapCom: Roger, Dale. You’re not coming through real clearly. Say again.

Gardner: Just asking what Houston time was, John.

CapCom: Oh, it’s 9:15 in the morning.

Gardner: And here’s a close-up over the patch for those of you that haven’t seen it.

CapCom: That STS-8 patch really looks good, Dale.

Gardner: Now Dr. Bill’s going to smile for you.

CapCom: Right. He looks great.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:31 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:32 pm
Gardner: I’ll tell you what, you ought to see this middeck (garble) never seen before… Okay. Watch Dr. Bill. He’s heading into his office now. If you get mad at him, we’ll put him in there and close the hatch.

CapCom: Roger. That really is super.

Gardner: (Garble) this is the last member of our crew that you haven’t seen so far. He’s the one with the wild hair.

CapCom: That looks good, Dan.

Gardner: And he’s showing you how he can eat a carrot, flying upside down or something. – There goes the carrot… the carrot just hit panel ML86V.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:34 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:35 pm
CapCom: Okay, Challenger, Houston. We’ve gone ahead and switched the camera to the payload bay now.

Gardner: Couldn’t stand us anymore, huh?

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:37 pm

“During this just completed orbit we heard a new call sign for the first time, one of the CapComs,” Houston PAO said shortly after 10:00 a.m. CDT, as the Challenger was about 18 minutes from Guam AOS and the five astronauts were winding down their first day in space. “The crew referred to him as Fish, and that, of course, refers to Dr. Bill Fisher. This is his first time out as CapCom. He’s backup CapCom on the Orbit 1 team.” – Here’s some of the “Fish” talk, wrapping up several items before the crew’s first sleep period aboard Challenger was set to commence.

CapCom (Bill Fisher): And Challenger, Houston. When you’re ready, we have some questions for you on the tail glow experiment that came earlier.

Gardner: Okay, stand by. We need to get Dan on here.

CapCom: Roger.

Brandenstein: (Garble) for your questions.

CapCom: Okay, Dan. When you talked about the aiming problem that you had with the camera, was this caused by the window mount position or by window cover interference?

Brandenstein: Bill, you’re breaking up. Start your question from scratch again, please.

CapCom: Roger. In reference to the glow experiment, was the intensifier aiming problem caused by the camera mount position of window cover interference?

Brandenstein: (Garble)

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. How do you copy?

Brandenstein: We got you loud and clear now.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. Did you copy my first question on the glow experiment?

Brandenstein: No, Fish, you cut out and we haven’t heard anything from you for about a minute or so, when you cut out just as you started talking.

CapCom: Roger. We’ve had some intermittent uplink and downlink problems with TDRS. The question number one is, was your intensifier aiming problem that you talked about caused by the camera mount position or by interference with the window cover?

Brandenstein: Well, I think it’s a portion of both. To tilt it up to get the picture you want, you stretch it against the top of the hood that goes into the window. And, if fact, we had to rip it up from the bottom and put a couple of layers of tape down to keep the light out. And that is partially caused by the fact that the camera mount – you can’t drop it low enough, it doesn’t go but about a half degree or so below horizontal. And those two things combined, trying to get the light leaks patched and get a reasonable aim on the picture, took up most of our pass. You can’t do anything like practice aiming it or anything until you turn the intensifier on, which you can’t do until you get into the dark.

CapCom: Roger, Dan, we understand. In view of that, on page 3-2 of the orbit ops checklist, can you give me an idea of which photos you were able to obtain?

Brandenstein: Okay. Let me get that page out. I had it a second, but it floated away.

CapCom: Roger. We’ll stand by.

Gardner: Fish, while he’s doing that, where are we now? Are we coming up on South America?

CapCom: You’re ways off. Looks like you’re about ten minutes off from the coast.

Gardner: Okay, thank you.

Brandenstein: Okay, Fish, on page flight supplement 3-2 we marched through the sequence (garble) where we just changed the shutter speed; then we got down and we got the jet firings, but I think we got a little mixed up in there, but we made it all the way through the jet firing. And then… we didn’t have time to go back through them because we were coming… out of the window. So then we tried to go and get some of the shopping list, the star photos… and by the time we tried to get the camera aimed even higher, which was almost impossible, we were into daylight. So we couldn’t do anything, so we shut it off.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. We copy.

Brandenstein: And I think our next time we’re going to do this, that actual tail one, is on the extension day, the Day 6. So we’re going to, in our free time, sit down and try to invent a better way of mounting that camera in the window and maybe do a little better.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. We concur.

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Go ahead.

Bluford: Okay, Fish. With reference to CFES, we’re in the collection mode on sample 2. We’ve inserted the collector and the sep voltage is 256. And we’ve got 81 minutes to go in the collect mode, or block X.

CapCom: Roger, Guy. We copy… And Challenger, Houston, for Guy. I have a message for you on the CFES.

Bluford: Go ahead, Fish.

CapCom: Yeah. In reference to the questions you had earlier about the sample pump forward indication after your full sample injection, it looks like that the beads within the syringe that act as sample stirrers may have interfered with plunger travel in your syringe. And that would have happened at the end of sample infusion. And we think what this may have done is prevent the operation of the limit switch. So what happens here is the pump motor continues in a forward mode, the mechanical clutch will stop the plunger motion during this time, but the motor will continue until auto reverse occurs. And the message you would get at that time would be remove collector message. And we would expect that this situation may occur on all subsequent samples, but it should not affect nominal CFES ops.

Gardner: Fish, I only caught the last part of that. So you say we can essentially ignore that situation if it occurs in the remaining samples?

CapCom: Roger, Dale. You can ignore that and you might expect it to occur on your subsequent CFES operations.

Gardner: Okay, great. That’s good news. We were worried something might be wrong there. Thanks a lot.

CapCom: Roger, Dale.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:38 pm

“The crew has done a cursory survey of the vehicle as far as tile damage is concerned,” Hal Draughon said during the afternoon briefing. “That’s something that we always try to get accomplished on Flight Day 1. And they have seen very minimal damage on this particular ascent.”

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Indian Ocean for eight minutes…

Truly: …Roger, Fish. I haven’t had time today to make a really careful assessment to see if there was any tile damage during the ascent. We briefly looked and there’s certainly nothing to be concerned about. There are two white tiles on the right-hand OMS pod that have a dimple in them. Dan and I are looking at them. I would guess it’s a surface dimple that’s maybe a quarter of an inch deep; the color is white throughout. And I guess the diameter is – looks like ovals really – maybe an inch high and an inch and a half wide.

We’ve looked briefly around the windows up in the cabin and there’s one or two very miniscule chips of tile that are… have just chipped off. But essentially, what we can see is in great shape and when we can either have time tomorrow to let you look at these OMS pods on TV or something, you can conclude the same thing for yourself. The same thing, I think, and we’ll be sure to take some pictures for the postflight.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. That sounds good to us.

Truly: But in summary, it is very close to zero damage at all. We did notice there is some smearing on the windows and we’ll try to document that. And as usual we picked up some crud at SRB sep on all the front windows. But in general, no problems.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. That’s real good news.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:39 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:42 pm
Truly: Also, we’ve been able to see the ice crystals on the edge of the center engine. All day long, we’ve seen various chunks – not chunks, but pieces of ice come off at various times and fly formation with us for awhile. The elevons have been – except for the left outboard – the elevons have been fairly close to fair all day. The left outboard seems to have drifted almost full up, or three quarters up, I would say.

CapCom: Roger. We copy that.

Truly: Okay. Also, Fish, we haven’t, again we haven’t had a whole of time except in just spurts to look out the window and take pictures, but we have… we saw the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe in between OMS-1 and OMS-2, and we’ve seen a number of ocean features, including eddies and internal waves, and taken a few pictures of those. And just generally, a great time is being had by all.

CapCom: Well, it sure looked like it on the TV pass. I wish I could be there with you.

Truly: You bet. Well, it is a lot of fun and it’s been a good day so far. And I am getting ready to start this manual cabin atmosphere management, if you want to get EECOM to keep me honest.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. We’ll watch it down here… Challenger, Houston, we’re 30 seconds LOS. We’ll see you next at Guam at 9 plus 08.

Truly: Roger.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:43 pm
Those “spurts to look out the window” obviously were enough to mess up the inside of the glass panes… “Okay, we do have a question for you, Fish,” Challenger’s pilot could be heard asking, “We’ve gotten a few fingerprints and bumped our heads on the windows, and got some greasy kind of stuff smudges on them, and we’re wondering did you remind us what the approved cleaning method for the interior windows is?” – After a short while, Bill Fisher replied, “Dan, you can go ahead and use alcohol wipes to clean them off.”

Postflight examination of the windows revealed a 0.0073-inch deep pit in window No. 4. The pit was located midway between the top and bottom and 5 inches from the center post. Each orbiter window was composed of three panes; the outer pane was 0.061-inch thick fused silica and was used for thermal protection. The two inner panes provided cabin-pressure integrity. A stress analysis was made and the results indicate the window was satisfactory for approximately 20 more missions with the existing pit. The pit had probably been caused by a meteoroid impact. Loss of the outer thermal pane would not have resulted in loss of cabin pressure. The pit did not adversely affect the structural integrity of the window to the extent that removal and replacement was required.


During the Guam pass starting at 10:40 a.m. CDT, Richard Truly stopped in the middle of the cabin atmosphere management procedure in order to get another shot at the COAS calibration. Daniel Brandenstein reported a good alignment of the Inertial Measurement Units. Following another Hawaii pass and after comm was picked up by TDRS again, Brandenstein told Bill Fisher that he earlier in the day had activated the first of four samples on the ICAT incubator experiment at 7:27 MET, fixing it five minutes later; and he was prepared to do number 2 at 10:00 MET. Meanwhile, on the CFES, Guy Bluford reported that he had finished up sample 2 and closed down the unit for the evening.

Bluford: I started sample 2 at six hours and 58 minutes, and ended sample 2 at nine hours and 43 minutes.

CapCom: Roger, Guy. And also the original time you began running the CFES?
Bluford: Rog. I started – hold just a moment. Okay, we started at one hour and 30 minutes, right on time.

CapCom: Right.

Bluford: Negative – sorry, sorry. Three hours and a minute, Fish. Sorry.

CapCom: Roger. We copy, three hours, one minute for your CFES initiation.

Bluford: That’s affirmative.

During the afternoon Flight Director Draughon summed up the Flight Day 1 performance of the CFES electrophoresis experiment, “Everything went well. There were a couple of nuisance message that came up on the control hardware that’s used for that unit. They amounted to some buffers that were overflowed with messages; the system is built to house a certain amount of messages, and since it was near a deadband and cycling in and out of bounds, it was continually reading into the registers and filled it up, and we got a message because of that. I think there were three different parameters that acted like that. They were no concern at all.”

“On the sample 2, there was a small incidence. The fixative that’s injected into the sample after it’s been processed, after the needle syringe was extracted, some of the fixative did flow back out of the container and was mopped up by Brandenstein,“ Hal Draughon reported. “But that’s the only leakage problem that I’m aware of. – So, those two, first two highest priority samples were done as scheduled today and the system is secured now.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:44 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:45 pm

At 11:49 a.m. CDT, Challenger flew over the Indian Ocean Station, making the final four-minute call there on Flight Day 1; the following pass over Guam, on orbit number eight at 12:13 p.m. CDT, was expected to be the final contact between Mission Control and the spacecraft before the crew went into their scheduled eight-hour sleep period.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you through Guam for five minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. Read you loud and clear.

Brandenstein: Yeah, Fish, if you don’t have anything for us, we are reading you loud and clear. The good doctor has a few words to pass.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. We’re looking forward to hearing from him.

Brandenstein: He’ll be with you in just a second.

CapCom: And Dan, we were wondering if the doctor was in.

Brandenstein: He’s been in all day. I tell you, he’s been working harder than anybody, Bill.

CapCom: It looked like he was working pretty hard on the TV.

Brandenstein: We had to drag him kicking and screaming up to the flight deck to talk to you. And now it’s dark out, so we’re going to have to hold him up here until it becomes daylight so you can see something.

And so Dr. Bill talked to – yes, another Dr. Bill, William F. Fisher, MD: “ERGs (electroretinogram) were routine on two subjects. We have done ERGs and I apologize that I don’t have the exact time, but we’ve done the ERGs, two each at approximately the end of the first pass. We did another at 3:00. We did another at 8:24. Did another one at 8:41 start, 8:50 end. We’ve gotten an evoke potential. We have heights. We’ve had continuous monitoring of EOG (electrooculogram), blood pressure and EKG (or ECG, electrocardiogram) on every subject, physicals on everyone and threshold audiometry. With any luck, we’ll get a couple of others. We’ve also had complete urine sampling. And there have been a lot of odds and ends.”

CapCom: Roger, Bill. Sounds like you’re gaining a tremendous amount of information, and gathering all kinds of data. It really sounds like things are going well. And I hope everything continues going that smoothly for you.

Thornton: Things are going very well. And the most important part, really, is being here and not just the data we’re getting.

CapCom: Roger that, Bill.

“There have been no requests for any Private Medical Conferences from this crew on this flight,” Flight Director Hal Draughon told reporters during the afternoon of Flight Day 1. Of course, with Dr. Thornton right among the troops up there, there probably wasn’t much need for PMCs with the ground. “That’s the only way I could have heard about it. That’s the only way anybody could have heard about it, if they request a Private Medical Conference,” said Draughon.

“I'd never been seasick, airsick, or anything a day in my life, and some of the experiments they had you do on the ground, I mean, they were kind of prepping you,” STS-8 pilot Dan Brandenstein later shared his personal experience with getting sick in space – or, as a matter of fact, on the ground. “I don't understand half those medical experiments. It's kind of the lab rat comes to mind, and you're it. But they put us in a spinning chair and put a blindfold on us. They spun the chair and then they had you move your head down, up, right, left, down, up, right, left. Like I say, I was convinced I could never get motion sickness, and, man, in about thirty seconds, I was a sick puppy.”

“So at that point, all of a sudden I started saying, ‘Well, gee, am I really going to get sick on orbit?’ Because I was convinced I wasn't going to get sick. I thought it was mind over matter. I always thought these guys decided they were going to – everybody was saying they were getting sick, so everybody launching thought they were going to get sick, so they got sick, you know. And so I went into this chair thinking, ‘Well, I'm not going to get sick,’ and, man, I got sick, so my ‘mind over matter’ theory kind of got shot out of the water,” confessed the STS-8 pilot.

“We went on the KC-135. It never bothered me. That was great. We went on through forty-four parabolas a couple of times, you know, and it was fine once again. A lot of people have trouble with that, but, like I said, I never had troubles with anything. That's why that spinning chair kind of threw me for a loop, because I didn't figure I'd have trouble with that either. I was wrong.”

“Fortunately, when it came flight time, I'm one of the lucky ones that I did a back flip out of my seat when I got on orbit and never looked back, and never had a hiccup in any of my missions or anything,” said Brandenstein. “So watching some of the people that did get sick, it's a lot more fun not being sick. It certainly makes your mission more enjoyable if you don't have to deal with that.”

“But at that point in time, they were trying to decide what made people sick and how to prevent it, and it turned out, after a while they quit trying, and there was no correlation. I mean, we did all this weird stuff and none of it correlated. Some guys that could ride that spinning chair on the ground till the motor burned up didn't get sick, you know, and they got in orbit and ten minutes later they were sick as could be. So basically, I guess, once again in my pilot explanation, they couldn't find any correlation, so they just quit trying.”

Brandenstein continued, “Ultimately, quite a bit later – in fact, I don't think we figured it out or found the solution until after – I think it was after the Challenger (STS 51-L), until we started flying again. But they did find a medicine that if you give somebody a shot, from the time they tried it until the time I left in '92, it worked on everybody except one person. There was only one person that it didn't work on. Usually in about fifteen minutes, you give them a shot of something called Phenergan. They found that apparently they use it in hospitals with people that have had chemotherapy and get sick, and it helps them. So somebody said, ‘Why don't we try this.’ I mean, as soon as somebody would start getting a symptom of space sickness, you'd give them a shot, and in about fifteen minutes they'd be as good as new and were good as new the rest of the flight. So it was really a great find and it made everybody’s that did get sick missions a lot more enjoyable. As I say, there was only one person that I know of that it didn't work on. I don't know why, but people have different metabolisms or something.”

Asked if anybody had taken a look to see how the other six crewmembers – those with long tails – were adapting, Flight Director Draughon confessed that they hadn’t thought about that. “I know there hasn’t been any dialogue on air-to-ground with regard to the rats yet.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:46 pm
CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. Just like to know if you folks have done the LiOH changeout.

Brandenstein: Not yet, Houston. We’re going to save that to just before bedtime.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. We are 45 seconds LOS. Dan, I copied your last transmission on the LiOH cartridge; and just a reminder for you to keep an eye on the cabin regs. And for Richard, every one of your COAS alignments has been within acceptable ranges. Just wanted to let you know that…

Truly: Well, Fish, that makes me feel better and I’ll have some (garble).

CapCom: Okay, Richard. If there’s nothing else, you guys have a good night’s sleep, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Truly: Roger, Fish. I didn’t realize that this is our very last pass. We found that the alpha wall unit was bad.

CapCom: Roger. We copy the alpha wall unit was bad.

Truly: That’s correct. That was a good troubleshooting procedure.

CapCom: Okay, Rich, we will have Santiago if you need to talk to us. But unless we have something, we don’t plan to call you back.

Truly: Okay. I’ll tell you what – why don’t you give us an AOS call there, but don’t plan a whole bunch of mission (garble) and we’ll let you know where we are. We’re going to go ahead and change out the LiOH cartridge now. We don’t mind if you call us. We’re not going to be asleep.

CapCom: Wilco, Richard.

PAO: Mission Control Houston; Loss of Signal at Guam, likely the final pass with any extensive communications for the evening. Mission Specialist 3, Dr. Bill Thornton, covered many of the measurements he had made on his fellow crewmates during the day… and it sounded like he had a rather full day of patients. Santiago, Chile, the next station in 30 minutes. Also, Dick Truly discovered that the trouble with his wireless microphone had been in the wall unit, and he’s changing that out. Perhaps that will correct the difficulty he has had with the wireless microphone. At ten hours, 50 minutes, this is Mission Control, Houston.

Early on during STS-8 the astronauts reported eye and throat irritation during LiOH canister changeout. The irritant was not visible, but was assumed to be dust. The effect of the irritation was hacking and coughing. For the remainder of the flight the crew used some quarantine masks that were onboard, and wore them each time a filter was changed.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:48 pm

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you through Ascension, UHF only, for eight minutes.

Gardner: Okay, Fish. We got you.

CapCom: Okay. And we’ve got you loud and clear. Sorry about not calling you at Santiago, but we had a little configuration problem.

Gardner: Okay, I understand. And Fish, you’re breaking up here a little bit, too. We understood what you said, but we had to fill in the words.

CapCom: Dale, you got a pretty bad echo. Can you speak a little slower?

Gardner: Fish, I was just saying that you were breaking up badly.

CapCom: Roger. You were too, although I heard you on that last transmission clearly. How me?

Gardner: That last one from you was clear also. Okay. And Fish, Dick just passed up that we’ve changed out the LiOH canister, and he just got through putting the temperature controller to full hot.

CapCom: Roger, Dale. We copy that… And Challenger, Houston. On panel C3, we’ve got a switch for you.

Gardner: Okay. Dick’s right there. Go ahead.

CapCom: Roger. We would like you to manually select lower right aft.

Gardner: Okay.

Truly: Hey, Houston, we are on lower right aft. And when we got there, we got an antenna message.

CapCom: Roger. We copy that, Richard… Challenger, Houston.

Truly: Roger, Houston. Go ahead.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. Sorry to be talking to you this late, but we’re having some questions about our antenna and we’d like you to configure to (garble)… prior to going LOS here. And if you could perform on page 2-2 of the orbit pocket checklist under the comm lost procedure, step number 3, beginning (garble)…

Truly: Okay, you want us to do just step 3, or all the way to the bottom?

CapCom: Just step 3, Richard.

Truly: Okay, that’s in work. No problem.

CapCom: Okay. And you guys have a good night.

Truly: Okay. I’m heading back and we’ll do step 3 right now.

CapCom: Roger.

Truly: And Houston, where do you want – what position do you want the antenna switch on C3 left in?

CapCom: Richard, we’d like you to go back to GPC on the antenna switch.

Truly: (Garble)… Roger.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. We’re about 30 seconds LOS. Have a good night. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.

Truly: Yes. See you in the morning… I don’t see how it could be more fun than today was. But, boy, I don’t know what the launch looked like from the ground, but it was spectacular from the cockpit.

CapCom: It caught the attention of a few folks on the ground too, Richard.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston. The handover of the flight control teams here in Mission Control is essentially complete, and the offgoing flight director, Harold Draughon, will be expected to be available for his press conference in about half an hour in Room 135 of Building 2 here at the Johnson Space Center. Crew is in their scheduled sleep period, but they were quite active until recently, or at least through our last communication. There was some troubleshooting of a communications problem. Unsure at this time as to what the nature of that is – whether it’s a configuration of antennas, or some difficulty in relaying a signal through the TDRS to the spacecraft…

Challenger is on orbit number 9, and the crew is expected to be getting to sleep fairly soon. They have… the next big activity of the mission will be the deployment of the Insat satellite, and that’s only 13 hours away. That will be at approximately one day, one hour, 17 minutes and two seconds Mission Elapsed Time – predicted to be two seconds off of the published crew activity plan time. The spacecraft is in a 161 by 160 nautical mile orbit, taking an hour and a half to circle the Earth. Had a fairly busy day today, and they have completed the electrophoresis samples number 1 and 2. Some problems in positioning the camera used for the tail glow experiment, but all in all, everything has gone very well today. No major problems in work and very few really even of the minor nature. We’re at 12 hours and two minutes Mission Elapsed Time (1:34 p.m. CDT). This is Mission Control Houston.

At about 12:54 p.m. CDT, a lower-right S-band quad antenna position miscompare alarm had occurred on system 2 when the GPC selected the aft beam mode. Additionally, telemetry indicated no aft/forward selection.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. No reply required. We’re going to switch NSPs, troubleshooting a comm problem.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, 12 hours 25 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. During the last pass over the Guam station, the CapCom Bryan O’Connor notified the crew that the ground was commanding a change in the communication system switching the Network Signal Processors. And that is part of the troubleshooting activity going on relative to the communication system, and it required no action on part of the crew.

During the 2:00 p.m. CDT press briefing, off-going Flight Director Hal Draughon had this to say about the antenna adjustments: “It started on the last pass on my shift and what went on there at Santiago and then Ascension was that there was a reduced level of RF signal being received at the orbiter from TDRS and we were not locking up on what we call the forward link; that’s the link from the control center forward to the orbiter. You will hear that term from now on, the forward link and the return link. The forward link receive signal strength was not what we thought it ought to be, and we were not locking up on it onboard.”

“That being the case, we could not have the crew reconfigure the orbiter to communicate via GSTDN (Ground Station Tracking Data Network) tracking station, on a different tracking station until we got to one with UHF communication – that was Santiago. When we got to Santiago, we called them and had them go to GSTDN mode, and we acquired them and got data and got communications with them.”

“I left between there and Guam,” reported Draughon, “so I don’t know what they found out at Guam. The speculation when I left there was that perhaps we had a problem in one of the antenna select modules onboard that’s used to select the appropriate omni antenna, or the one that’s most favorable to TDRS, or whatever else you’re trying to point at.”

After switching to the system 1 electronics, the miscompare was still present. Since communications through TDRS were maintained with system 2 on the aft beam, the coaxial relay had transferred RF power output from the forward beam to the aft beam position. The coaxial relay position talkback microswitch was suspect since it is actuated by the same electromechanical mechanism as the coaxial contacts. The alarm was inhibited. There was no effect on system 2 antenna beam switching for the remainder of the flight. Loss of the lower right S-band quad antenna beam position talkback indication had no impact on communications or flight operations.

Postflight analysis of the antenna-to-TDRS look angles confirmed that the beam switching coaxial relay contacts were proper when commanded to the aft position at the time of the anomaly. The probable cause of the antenna beam position miscompare was a failed position talkback microswitch inside the coaxial relay. All S-band quad antennas on Challenger were scheduled to be removed and replaced before STS-11. The anomalous S-band antenna was returned to the vendor for failure analysis. As it turned out he problem in the antenna switch had been caused by excessive heat buildup in the switch because it was not sealed and arcing occurred. From now on the switches were sealed with RTV.

Regarding the ongoing testing of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system, Draughon said, “The TDRS has been operating in an omni antenna off the orbiter, low-bit-rate fashion since launch; it has been working well. There have been a couple of instances where there were ground hardware problems in communicating via TDRS, but… the testing to date has been, I think, very, very successful.” Draughon pointed out that they hadn’t had much chance to get experience operating the brand new and major complicated TDRS system before the launch of STS-8. “The two or three times it has gone down, it has not restored quite as quickly as our regular network would come back, but we have never lost a complete pass yet. We lost about 18 minutes out of one pass when our computer at White Sands went down. It has been working all along and we’re really satisfied.”

“We were going to try, when I left over there, the plan was to try a low frequency test around rev 9 or 10, and then high-bit-rate off the omnis on rev 11, I believe,” Draughon added. “The omnis are S-band. The Ku-band won’t be deployed until the PAM is deployed; there is a direct conflict in Ku radiation while the Insat vehicle is still onboard. You could do it if you could absolutely guarantee that the Ku-band antenna would never paint the inside vehicle, but they cannot tolerate Ku-band signals as strong as what that antenna puts out. So we thought it a prudent thing to not deploy that antenna and activate it until after the PAM is gone; and we’ve got plenty of time after the PAM deploy to completely check out the Ku-band operation.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:50 pm

PAO: Mission Control Houston at 15 hours 37 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, flight of shuttle, Flight No. 8. Challenger is currently out over the South Pacific, crew is still in their scheduled sleep period and things are relative quiet here in Mission Control. Principle activity has been to prepare the teleprinter messages to uplink to the crew, so they will have them for their review early in the morning, describing any changes to the preflight published timeline.

Crew faces a fairly busy day when they get up in about three and a half hours. After allowing them some time to prepare and consume breakfast, they will be getting ready – first order of business to deploy the Indian National Satellite. That is a communications and weather satellite for the government of India, the Insat-1B, and it will be placed in geosynchronous orbit about 22,500 miles above the Indian continent. That activity begins right about 24 hours into the mission; that’s approximately eight hours or so from this time.

That will begin with the checkout of the orbiter, all systems onboard the orbiter that support the deployment of that satellite. And then, about 15 minutes later, they will check the Payload Assist Module and the Insat satellite. At about 30 minutes after that, or about one day 47 minutes into the flight, the pilot and Commander Richard Truly will begin maneuvering the spacecraft to its deploy attitude at which the satellite will be pointed in the right direction for its ejection from the cargo bay.

…Crew also, when their day begins, will at some point during the day activate the Getaway Special canisters number 346, 348, and 475. The 346 canister is an investigation into how cosmic rays in space will strike and interface with computer circuits on the shuttle. These cosmic rays can impact the delicate electronic circuits and cause memory loss in some circuits. Experiment Getaway Special No. 348 is a study of the erosion effects of atomic oxygen on carbon and osmium samples. And experiment No. 475 is a repeat of the artificial snow experiment which was initially flown on Shuttle Flight 6 by Asahi Shimbun, which is the largest Japanese newspaper in Tokyo. They have made some modifications to their experiment – which did not work on STS-6 – and hope to create snow in space and observe how the crystals form in a weightless environment.

Additional samples on the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis system will be run. Those will be four sets of samples that are scheduled to be run tomorrow. And, that will represent the major portion of activity for that experiment.

Flight controllers here in Mission Control have been, and are currently reviewing some of the television that came down from the spacecraft today. They saw a replay of the launch a little bit ago and are now reviewing the television from the orbiter middeck crew activities during the day. We are considering canceling the change-of-shift press conference for the off-going overnight planning team of flight controllers here in Mission Control. Really no significant activities tonight. Spacecraft systems have been operating quite well. The crew appears to be asleep and everything is going quite smoothly at the present time. So when this team gets off the shift they would have normally had a 10:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time press conference. We are planning on cancelling that unless other conditions should cause us to bring that back. We will make a further announcement later on this evening as to whether we will hold that press conference. At 15 hours 43 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, this is Mission Control Houston.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:51 pm
PAO: Mission Control Houston, at 17 hours 35 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. Mission Control is acquiring spacecraft data through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite. And there was an indication recently that not too long ago one of the crewmembers turned on one of the CRTs, that is one of the three television screen displays in the cockpit and that we don’t have an indication of what the reason for that was at the present time.

About an hour and 45 minutes ago, there was a fault message which simply says “antenna.” The communications officers are looking at why that message might have been generated; it’s similar to three earlier messages that we got from the spacecraft data system earlier in the evening relating to the communication system problem. The problem that the ground controllers have been looking at seems to be one of low strength of signal or no signal coming into the antennas that are supposed to be receiving data through the Tracking Data and Relay Satellite.

They believe that that involves a small electronics piece that decides which antenna is the appropriate one on the orbiter to be selected to receive the best signal from the satellite, at least in one of the redundant systems, one that had been used. And they are continuing to think on that one and determine if that is indeed the probable cause of those antenna messages getting on the fault summary chart.

Everything else appears to be going well onboard the spacecraft. Still in an approximately 160 nautical mile circular orbit, Challenger is on the last portion of orbit No. 12 out over the Pacific Ocean, just to the west of South America. And we’ll be starting orbit No. 13 in about ten minutes or so.

Teleprinter messages have been prepared to be uplinked to the crew and those will be going up shortly, describing any changes in their flight activity plan for tomorrow. They have about an hour and 20 minutes remaining in their scheduled sleep period. And after they get up and have breakfast, they will begin making preparations for the deployment of the Indian National Satellite. And that will come at about one day, one hour and 17 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, or about eight hours from now, a little bit less. At 17 hours 38 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, This is Mission Control Houston.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:52 pm
PAO: This is Mission Control, 18 (hours) into the flight of STS-8. Challenger, on orbit 13, has just passed into the range of the Dakar tracking station. The spacecraft has been within the view of the Tracking Data and Relay Satellite, and we’ve had a constant stream of data from the vehicle since it got within the range of that satellite, its Acquisition of Signal as it comes around from the Western Pacific region, it picks up about 170 degrees west longitude. Data down from the spacecraft looks good; we see no new additional fault messages other than that one at about two or so hours ago, two or more hours ago on the antenna, which is, again, part of the communications system anomaly that flight controllers here have been looking at all evening.

Again, that doesn’t appear to be anything serious, but periodically we get some indication that it looks like a piece of electronics gear that selects which of the antennas onboard is the best to receive signal; it does not always properly select the right one. It will then give us a fault message from time to time.

The spacecraft is in a approximately 160, 161 by 159 nautical mile orbit. The crew has about an hour left in their scheduled sleep period, and we’re about an hour away from the beginning of handover to the next flight control team. That will be the Orbit 1 team with Flight Director Randy Stone. They will be working on the deployment of the Indian National Satellite – that deployment to take place in about seven hours. At 18 hours three minutes Mission Elapsed Time, this is Mission Control Houston.

(JSC PAO commentary and change-of-shift press briefing transcripts, Aug. 30, 1983; STS-8 National Space Transportation Systems Program Mission Report, JSC-19278, October 1983; IFA STS-8-V-07; Daniel Brandenstein, NASA JSC Oral History Project interview, Jan. 19, 1999; Guion Bluford, NASA JSC Oral History Project interview, Aug. 4, 2004 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:54 pm
Wednesday, August 31, 1983 (Flight Day 2) – Perfect Record

“Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.”

- Werner Herzog, German film director and producer (born 1942)


“That’s the spirit,” STS-8 Commander Richard Truly reacted to this morning’s wakeup music, his alma mater Georgia Tech’s fight song White & Gold. “We’ll roust everybody up and we’re beginning to move.”

PAO: Just got communication through the western edge of the range of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite; data is good and they’re getting high data rate on S-band. They are very pleased with that, the comm people are. It’s 19 hours and two minutes into the eighth flight of the Space Shuttle. This is Mission Control.

Orbit 1 Flight Director Randy Stone explained during the 6:00 a.m. CDT press briefing, “We ran a test early on my shift today where we tried to use the high data rate portion of the S-band channel in TDRS. It was the first time we had attempted to do the high data rate on S-band and we got it in a complete pas about 40 minutes of TDRS high data rate. And it was a pleasant surprise to most people on the ground. TDRS is advertised in the S-band mode to work well on low data rate but only marginally in the high data rate on S-band, and it worked flawlessly for an entire pas during the test. We plan to do that again, I believe, tonight during the crew sleep period,” said Stone. “And if we have the same level of success, we’ll start using the high data rate mode of the S-band when the Ku-band is not available to us.”

PAO: Mission Control Houston. The crew of Challenger is up and reviewing their teleprinter messages this morning. The handover now preceding between the planning team, Flight Director Jay Greene, and the Orbit 1 team of Randy Stone. And we will be starting the day’s activities here shortly, moving into the scheduled deployment of the Indian National Satellite at about one day, one hour and 17 minutes into the flight.

Everything looks very clean onboard the Challenger, the flight controllers here in Mission Control who are participating in the handover reporting to the oncoming shift that in most cases there are very few things that require any attention as they begin their new shift here. Just a reminder that we have cancelled the previously scheduled 10:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time change-of-shift press conference that would have been with the off-going Flight Director Jay Greene; we will not hold that unless between now and then some great circumstances should change our minds; but we certainly intend to cancel that briefing, and as everything appears to be oing smoothly at the present time, we don’t anticipate rescheduling that. At 19 hours and 30 minutes into the flight of STS-8, this is Mission Control.

CapCom (Jeff Hoffman): Challenger, Houston, with you through IOS for about eight minutes, and Orbit 1 team is on, wishes you a good day.

Brandenstein: Well, good morning, Houston. And we’re looking forward to a good day, and we’re doing our post-sleep activities and are getting squared away around here.

CapCom: Okay, well, when you have some time out from your post-sleep activities, we’ve got a few notes for you – nothing real hurry, so let us know when you want to talk about them.

Brandenstein: Okay. It’ll probably a few minutes; we’ll give you a call.

CapCom: Okay, talk to you then.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at 19 hours 58 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, that communication occurred through Indian Ocean Station, between Challenger pilot Dan Brandenstein and the Capsule Communicator Jeff Hoffman. The vehicle is on orbit 14, and the crew’s reported its post-sleep activity in progress. The time bracket for this activity and the summary timeline is notably longer than that reflected in the past missions since that time that activity now encompasses such items as meal preparation, which was previously shredded out from post-sleep activity; but now that term embraces a variety of activities formally listed separately. The Orbit 1 team under Flight Director Randy Stone has assumed control of the mission here in the Mission Control Center. The debriefing has been completed and was notably free of subjects. And the handover was a pleasant experience of not having too many to work as these two teams exchanged console positions. Mission Elapsed Time 19 hours 59 minutes (Aug. 30, 1983, 21:31 p.m. CDT), this is Mission Control Houston.

Primary task of Flight Day 2, of course, was the deployment of Insat 1-B, expected at one day, one hour, 16 minutes and 54 seconds Mission Elapsed Time. The other major event of the day was the conclusion of CFES activities, processing the final samples. Meanwhile, Dr. Bill Thornton would perform a host of medical Detailed Secondary Objectives throughout the day.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:56 pm

During the comm passes at Yarragadee, followed by Orroral, Australia, starting at 21:44 p.m. CDT, several routine tasks were discussed, such as an upcoming water dump at 21 hours MET, a fuel cell purge, an IMU alignment and some details about the handling of the next CFES samples. Meanwhile, Commander Truly was experiencing some difficulties with his WCCU comm unit again.

Truly: Jeff, are you hearing a bad squeal when I transmit?

CapCom: Yes, we hear a pretty bad squeal. How are we coming through?

Truly: You’re loud and clear. Let me change the batteries on this WCCU and get back to you.

CapCom: Okay.

PAO: This is Mission Control, at 20 hours, 38 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (22:10 p.m. CDT). We’re communicating with the vehicle now through the TDRS system. Mission Commander Dick Truly still experiencing some trouble with his wireless communications unit. That squealing is an indication of something problematically in his unit exclusively. There have not been any feedback problems with any of the other four crewmembers, so Commander Truly is changing the batteries in his wireless comm unit in the hope of alleviating that problem. Challenger on orbit 15…

Truly: Houston, Challenger, how do you read?

CapCom: You sound a little bit better now, Dick.

Truly: Okay, Jeff, I’ve still got a squeal, so I guess that wasn’t it. But I’m ready to read you the IMU data.

CapCom: Okay, yes, I guess I spoke prematurely when I said you sounded better, because the second time you talked the squeal was just as bad as the first time.

Brandenstein: Okay, Houston, this is a replacement for the CDR; hopefully my comm is a little better. The IMU alignment minus-y star ID is number 20, minus-z is 51, angle error was zero decimal 01, delta angles 01, delta x plus decimal 07, y is minus decimal 03, z is minus decimal 01. For number 2 it’s minus decimal 11, plus decimal 03, minus decimal 02. For number 3, plus decimal 08, minus decimal 0 niner, plus decimal 08; and the execution time was 20 hours 33 minutes and 48 seconds.

CapCom: Okay, Dan, we copy all that. INCO had a question: Are there any speakers on down there? We’re trying to figure out whether it’s a feedback coming into Dick’s comm there.

Truly: (Garble) the upstairs one isn’t on, and I’m not getting any feedback. But we can go down and check.

CapCom: Okay.

Truly: Houston, CDR. The speaker was on – it’s now off, and obviously I still have the squeal.

CapCom: I’ll confirm your squeal, that’s for sure. Dick, the guys down here are going to think about that a little bit and see if we can come up with something for you to try.

Truly: Roger.

Brandenstein: Houston, Challenger, you still there?

CapCom: We’re with you.

Brandenstein: Okay, while INCO is perplexing over Richard’s WCCU, I’ll just tell you what, with mine every time I go down in the middeck I get a tremendous squeal into my ear and I’m still using it. It works great on the flight deck, but for some reason on the middeck it’s pretty much useless; so I just take my headset off when I go down there, but it’ll give you something to think about.

CapCom: Okay, INCO’s scratching his head about that.

Brandenstein: Okay, that’s probably all that’s required. I can operate just fine the way it is.

CapCom: Okay.

Truly: Houston, Challenger, how do you read?

CapCom: Very loud and very clear. Sounds good.

Truly: Roger. The problem was in that the, you know, these antennas are color-coded to match these leg devices, and the color code was incorrect. And so I am now matched up with an antenna that seems not to squeal with this leg unit.

CapCom: Okay, well, I think you probably saved INCO a lot of trouble trying to synch that out.

Truly: Okay. To tell you the honest truth, I’m still not satisfied with it because even though I do not have a squeal, I do have in my own side tone a continual squelch that’s kind of irritating. So later on in the day I’m going to try another unit if I can; but right now, at least it’s loud and clear for you, so I can operate this way just fine.

CapCom: Okay, that sounds good… Challenger, Houston, we have switched from TDRS over to MILA.

Truly: Okay, Houston, read you loud and clear through MILA.

Brandenstein: And Houston, Challenger, I’m starting the manual fuel cell purge right now.

CapCom: Okay, Dan.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:57 pm
Shortly after that, Brandenstein reported that an alarm had sounded on the orbiter’s Primary Cooling System (PCS). After Challenger had been picked up by the Dakar tracking station at 22:44 p.m. CDT, Jeff Hoffman asked if anybody had been doing any manual adjustments at the time of the PPO2 sensor alarm. “Negative,” Truly replied. “We have not done the manual management procedure this morning because you called up and deleted it. The only thing that we have done this morning was we closed the 14.7 cabin reg inlet, which apparently I should have closed pre-sleep last night. Onboard, the indication is that the PPO2 sensors Alpha and Charlie both agree and read about 3.2, but Bravo for some reason crept up to above 3.4. So, other than closing that one valve this morning, that’s the only thing I’ve done with it.”

PAO: This is Shuttle Mission Control at 21 hours 19 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (22:51 p.m. CDT). Activity onboard the vehicle and communications now beginning to pick up as we come out of the post-sleep activity period and begin the day’s events. The PCS alarm… may have been a spurious alarm and the flight control team was just checking with the crew activities to see if there were any actions onboard Challenger which may have prompted that alarm.

The TMBU that CapCom communicator Jeff Hoffman referred to is a Table Maintenance Buffer Update which is uplinked to the onboard computers to prevent alarms from being triggered by temperatures in the APU system. A circ pump failure in the APU hydraulic system is going to cause temperature spikes, and in a much as we’re aware of the problem with that system, there’s no need to have alarms constantly flag us as those temperatures fluctuate. Accordingly the temperature alarm levels will be adjusted by that Table Maintenance Buffer Update.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 08:59 pm

CapCom (Mary Cleave): Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Yarragadee for eight minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear. – Hi, Mary, how are you doing?

CapCom: Fine, thanks, Dick. How are you?

Truly: Shoot, we’ve never had so much fun in all our (garble).

CapCom: I believe that.

Truly: And Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead, Dick.

Truly: Roger. Just thought we’d bring you up to date. We think we’re pretty much up to speed. The one thing we have not gotten around to doing this morning is taking a look at the cabin fan filters, and Dan and I are going to do that here. It’s been a little bit busy downstairs with us trying to set up cameras and so forth ahead of time for the deploy, but we’ll get to that; other than that I think we’ve done everything that we know of that’s in the checklist.

CapCom: We concur with that. You look good to us, Dick.

Truly: Okay… And Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead… Go ahead, CDR.

Truly: Roger. While we have a second here, I thought I would let you know that during the evening last night Dan and I woke up for a rev or so in the middle of the night, and the thing that made me wide awake was I looked out the top window and saw two active volcanoes on. And the time was about 15:29 MET (5:01 p.m. CDT). I’m fairly certain it was in the vicinity of New Guinea and we… it was the middle of the night and all the other guys were sleeping, so I did not photograph those. However, later on while we were up, we did get a lot of photography, or a lot of observations of the South Pacific and the South Pacific Islands.

CapCom: That must be really fine to be able to see those things from up there.

Truly: Unbelievable… We also got our look at the southern portion of the Great Barrier Reef, although again we took a couple of pictures that I couldn’t stand not to take. But we didn’t take a lot because we didn’t want to wake folks up.

CapCom: One note which we did have just to remind you about with volcanoes is to look around for any discolored water in the vicinity and photograph that if possible.

Truly: Roger that.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:01 pm
CapCom: Challenger, Houston, in about 30 seconds we’ll have a minute break between Yarragadee and Orroral… Challenger, Houston, back with you through Orroral for three minutes...

Truly: Roger, Houston, and we think we’re looking straight down at the great sandy desert of Australia. Whatever it is, it is beautiful and we’re taking a couple of pictures.

CapCom: I’ve spent some time there myself. It is beautiful. Challenger, we’re LOS in 30 seconds; we’ll pick you up through TDRS at 22:12 (11:44 p.m. CDT)… Challenger, Houston’s with you through TDRS.

Truly: Roger, Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. We see tank bravo and water at zero percent, so it’s okay to stop the water dump anytime.

Truly: Roger… Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead. Go ahead, Dick.

Truly: We’re getting ready to clean the cabin fan filters real quick and the cabin fan is going to go off momentarily, and that’s the reason why.

CapCom: Okay, thanks for the warning.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, 22 hours 25 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. We have an advisory by Mission Commander Dick Truly as a courtesy to the flight control team to warn them ahead of time that the cabin fan was going to be inactivated while they clean some filters. Of course, if the control team had to…

Gardner: MS1. What site would you like this PAM ASE thermal test over?

CapCom: Stand by. We’re thinking about doing it over MILA. We’ll start the MILA pass at 22:32 (12:04 a.m. CDT), and we’ll give you a call when we’re configured to get the data.

Gardner: Okay. We’ll have the SCA (Sequence Control Assembly) powered up and Guy will be standing by to do the item 1.

CapCom: Okay, that’s good.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston again, continuing that advisory by Dick Truly as a courtesy to the flight control team. If the flight controllers had to observe that cabin fan spontaneously stopping without any warning, it would have been the source for some rather extreme concern here in the control center. Mission Specialist Dale Gardner asking for the control team’s preference for a site over which to perform checkout of the Airborne Support Equipment of the Payload Assist Module. That will represent the leading edge of deployment preparations this morning, the thermal testing to be performed on the checklist by Mission Specialist Guy Bluford. And Mission Specialist Dale Gardner will be doing some TV setup and the preparation to make a video tape record of that deployment sequence. And determination will be to have that deployment thermal check of the Airborne Support Equipment performed as we overfly MILA so that the flight control team here and the payload operations control center and the Insat satellite control center at Hassan can watch the data. Mission Elapsed Time 22 hours 28 minutes; this is Mission Control Houston.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:03 pm
CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you through the States.

Truly: Roger, Houston, and the cabin fan is back up to the setting it was; the filter was not terribly dirty – not with the trouble it took to get to it. Dr. Bill had his EOG chair taped to the floor right on top of it, so since we took the trouble to undo all that, we went ahead and cleaned it anyway.

CapCom: Okay. Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS in 20 seconds in about two minutes; we’ll pick you up again at MILA.

When Challenger came into range of the Merritt Island Launch Area tracking station, temperature data of the PAM module thermal test was downlinked. A short time later, Payloads Officer Mike Brekke indicated that all the temperatures being observed were within normal ranges and data verified that the PAM would be within thermal tolerances for the deployment.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston at 23 hours six minutes (12:38 a.m. CDT) into the flight of STS-8. It’s fairly quiet onboard the vehicle with not a lot of air-to-ground transmission as the crew is involved in a variety of activities. Commander Dick Truly is performing some medical DTOs, DSOs, Detailed Secondary Objectives, with Dr. Bill Thornton in the middeck of the vehicle, one of those being the visual acuity test where some measurements are made of focusing ability, using a target pasted to the wall of the middeck.

Pilot Dan Brandenstein is setting up some 16 mm cameras out the port window… I’m sorry, out the aft windows of the aft flight deck to document the PAM deployment sequence later this morning. Mission Specialist Dale Gardner is similarly setting up TV cameras for some downlink video which we’ll be getting, illustrating some of the Insat checkout procedures. The deployment will not be downlinked live. (Garble) acquire video tape of that event and downplay it… downlink it later in the mission this morning for replay around three o’clock Central Time.

And Mission Specialist Guy Bluford has been performing the thermal tests of the Payload Assist Module. All those temperatures were within normal constraint ranging at various locations on the PAM from 66 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and all those were certainly within acceptable limits. Guy Bluford will be loading the pulse code modulator master unit with some orbit operations software, and soon the crew will dedicate itself to a review of deployment procedures in advance of entering the deployment and checkout activities prior to the PAM deployment. And we’re now AOS through Indian Ocean Station at 23 hours nine minutes, this is Shuttle Mission Control.

…This is Mission Control at 23 hours 15 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (12:47 a.m. CDT). The FDO, Flight Dynamics Officer Brian Jones has just reported to the Flight Director Randy Stone that the preliminary deploy PAD (Preliminary Advisory Data) issued earlier will be unchanged, and that will in fact be the actual deploy time. So the expected deploy time for Insat will be one day, one hour, 16 minutes, 54 seconds Mission Elapsed Time. We’re currently LOS; we’ll acquire again in about seven minutes through Yarragadee. This is Mission Control Houston.

During the Yarragadee pass, CapCom Jeff Hoffman asked if the Challenger astronauts would like their sep PAD for the post-deploy separation OMS burn now or following the upcoming AOS over Hawaii. “Okay, Jeff, we have three books out with three pencils poised over them. Go ahead,” was the reply – showing again that the STS-8 crew was pretty much up to speed. 

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston at 23 hours 32 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (1:04 a.m. CDT). We have a LOS period of about 20 minutes now before we reacquire through Hawaii on orbit 17. Challenger right now over the heart of Australia, and the crew is presently reviewing its deploy procedures. The crew assignments for pre-deploy through deploy are to be as follows: Mission Commander Dick Truly will be at the aft starboard station, the maneuver station; Pilot Dan Brandenstein will be in the forward right seat; Mission Specialist Dale Gardner will be in the forward left seat, normally the commander’s seat; and Mission Specialist Guy Bluford will be at the aft crew station, at the port or payloads station.

In preparation for the OMS separation maneuver the Commander Dick Truly and Mission Specialist Dale Gardner will exchange positions and Truly will get into the commander’s seat and Dale Gardner will go to the aft starboard station. During that most recent, CapCom Jeff Hoffman advised the crew of a TIG, or ignition time for the separation burn. – Let me repeat all those numbers here: The deploy time for Insat is to be one day, one hours, 16 minutes, 54 seconds; Time of Ignition for the OMS separation burn is scheduled for one day, one hour, 31 minutes, 54 seconds. At Mission Elapsed Time 23 hours 34 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:05 pm

“Relative to the deployment,” Payloads Officer Rob Kelso said during the morning press briefing at JSC, “we had just a super day today. All the activities for the deployment went on schedule right on down the line – the whole step of the way. The deploy scenario for this particular satellite was somewhat different than we have used in the previous four communications satellites we’ve launched from the shuttle. If you remember on the past four satellites we would open the sunshield just prior to entering mechanical sequence about deploy minus 15 minutes. For Insat we backed that procedure up to roughly deploy minus 70 to deploy minus an hour. Today at deploy minus 70 we performed the backup and prime sequence control assembly checks onboard the spacecraft, and as soon as that was completed, we opened up the PAM sunshield. That was done right over the stateside pass.”

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you through Buckhorn…

PAO: …This is Mission Control Houston; STS-8 is now in its second day, Mission Elapsed Time one day, zero hours, zero minutes. This is Mission Control, standing by for downlink TV and we’re waiting for the crew to configure the elbow camera for the best views of the pre-deploy checkout.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston.

Gardner: Go ahead, Houston.

CapCom: We’re all set up to receive some TV here. INCO would like you to configure the elbow camera.

Gardner: Okay. We have it all aimed already; I did that previously, Jeff.

CapCom: Okay, that sounds good.

Gardner: You want to do it here you say, at Buckhorn?

CapCom: While we’re over Goldstone, yes; and Goldstone is configured for TV.

Gardner: I need to get some payload bay lights on for you then. Stand by.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:11 pm
PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, one day, zero hours, three minutes. We’ll have TV momentarily. That’s Mission Specialist Dale Gardner at the aft crew station.

CapCom: Okay, Challenger, we see a picture coming down from inside the cabin. Looks like you guys are all in full control there.

Gardner: Just waiting for the lights to come up a little brighter, and I’ll give you the elbow, Jeff.

CapCom: Okay, looking forward to seeing it.

Gardner: Okay, there you go. You are seeing by the edge of the PFTA and just seeing the port side of the movable part of the sunshield and a little bit of the port of the stationary part of the sunshield.

CapCom: Looks like a strange bit of modern architecture.

Gardner: You got to get used to it looking at it at this angle.

Gardner: And here’s the other guys working hard up front. How is that picture now, Jeff? Can you see Guy and Dan?

CapCom: Both of them are in there, working hard. No rest for the weary.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, a brief keyhole here in TV coverage and we’ll pick up again through…

CapCom: We’re handing over right now; we’re seeing some vertical color bars. I assume that’s not what you guys are doing up there.

Indeed, the crew was busy verifying the flight control worthiness of the Payload Assist Module mounted to the Insat. “Okay, Houston, both gimbal checks looked good onboard,” reported Commander Truly. CapCom Jeff Hoffman agreed, “Okay, Dick, we’ve been watching from down here and everything looks good to us with the gimbals.”

Gardner: And Jeff, Guy is on the bottom of page 3-6.

CapCom: Okay, we’re watching.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, looking at the aft crew station once again, we can see Mission Specialist Dale Gardner to the right of the screen, standing by for the views of opening of the sunshield which should occur momentarily.

Gardner: Okay, we’re going to 3-7A, Insat activation.

CapCom: With you.

PAO: This portion of verification intended to affirm the satellite’s capability to receive and transmit signals.

Gardner: Okay, Houston, here we go with opening the sunshield.

CapCom: We’re watching.

Gardner: Movement.

PAO: This view being provided by the shoulder camera, elbow camera on the Remote Manipulator System, and it is sort of a side look at the payload bay.

Gardner: Movement stopped.

PAO: Sunshield now open.

Gardner: Hey, Houston, looks like we got two micro switches indicating open.

CapCom: We confirm it. That’s what we see down here… Looks like you’ve moved out of range of MILA. We’ve lost the picture; we’re still with you through Bermuda for another three minutes.

Truly: Understand, Houston, and we’re putting external power on the Insat right now.

CapCom: Okay, we’re watching the data down here.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, we’re now less than one hour away from scheduled deploy of Insat, and Mission Elapsed Time is one day, zero hours, 17 minutes.

Truly: Well, Jeff, Guy is doing good work today; the satellite’s on and we’re flowing data.

CapCom: Sounds good. Challenger, we’re 30 seconds LOS; we’ll speak to you through Dakar in about four minutes, that’s 0-23.

Truly: Roger, I understand, Houston. And we just turned the batteries on and the TWTs (Traveling Wave Tubes, specialized vacuum tubes used to amplify RF signals in the microwave range, especially in satellite systems) have just come on.

“The crew then performed the spacecraft power up to a full deploy configuration,” Payloads Officer Rob Kelso said later that morning. “This included the comm system of the spacecraft with its transmitters, and this allowed the control center here in Houston, as well as the remote facility in Hassan, to look at the spacecraft telemetry and system configuration before we got further in close to the deploy time. The crew reported, when the sunshield was open, that the spacecraft looked very clean and the data onboard the orbiter, as well as the data on the ground indicated the spacecraft was in good configuration.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:12 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:13 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:16 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:17 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:18 pm

PAO: At this point in the payload checkout procedure virtually all the activities are performed by the crew onboard, with the Mission Control team and the Payload Operations Center here in Houston, as well as the Insat satellite control facility in Hassan, India. Our monitoring of checkouts preparatory to cargo ejection of the orbiter flight crew verifies the spacecraft through a series of checks before they configure that payload for deployment. The satellite will be spun up to a rate of about 40 rpm; 40 revolutions per minute is nominal, but anything between 36 and 44 rpm is acceptable.

Communications in other subsystems will be checked by means of an electrical and communications harness to the flight crew cabin. Payload ordinance items will then be armed and all the checks performed remotely from the flight crew cabin. Payload data are transmitted from the orbiter to Mission Control Center here in Houston for analysis and verification and in about ten minutes from now the Mission Control team and Payload Operations Center will verify the validity of that data and give the crew a go or no-go for deploy. That deploy will occur nominally in about 55 minutes from now.

There will be a final pre-injection sequence that lasts about 30 minutes; the orbiter will be maneuvered into a deployment attitude, the payload bay will be facing away from the surface of the Earth, the bottom of the Space Shuttle will be toward Earth, and the nose of the orbiter will be facing the velocity vector. We’re just about a minute and a half away from Acquisition of Signal through Dakar; at one day, zero hours, 22 minutes, This is Mission Control Houston…

This is Mission Control Houston. Payloads Officer Rob Kelso has reported to the Flight Director Randy Stone that he has been advised by the mission, the satellite control facility in Hassan that they got a good stream of data during that test, that most recent test, and they will be looking for transmitters on when we acquire at Dakar.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:19 pm
CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Dakar for eight minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, read you loud and clear. We got the transmitters on and the satellite still looks good.

CapCom: Good news.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston. In about five minutes NASA Select will feature playback of the Insat pre-deploy video. And we’re standing by for some good news to uplink to the vehicle about a go for deployment.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:23 pm
Based upon the spacecraft configuration, Dr. Vasantha Sastry, Deputy Director from the Indian Department of Space, located in the Payload Operations Control Center in Houston, gave Payloads Officer Rob Kelso his go for deploy of Insat.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, at this time the PAM, the Insat and the ground network are all go.

Truly: Understand, Houston, copy. We’re go for deploy.

CapCom: You are go.

Truly: Roger, Houston. Thanks a lot, that’s good news.

Gardner: Okay, Jeff, we got a little light in the bay now and I can see the satellite a little more clearly. The C-band antenna, which is on the top, looks in good shape. I can see the VHR radiometer over on the port side. It looks to be in good shape. And I can see the solar array hinge points on the forward and over on the starboard side. Everything looks in good shape, Insat looks fine.

CapCom: Well, we enjoy that vicariously through your words. Thanks.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, the crew given a go for deploy at Mission Elapsed Time one day, zero hours, 28 minutes – that based on an advisory from the Payloads Officer Rob Kelso that he was informed by the Payload Operation Control Center in Houston and by the Insat satellite control facility in Hassan, India, that the transmitter data and ground support network and all elements participating in supporting deployment are receiving very positive indications from the vehicle and all their data that systems are performing nominally and are in good shape for deployment. And deployment would occur nominally 45 minutes from now. And 15 minutes later, the orbiter would perform a separation burn, the burn of the OMS engines. On orbit 17 at Mission Elapsed Time one day, zero hours, 31 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston.

Gardner: Jeff, are you going to be looking at us any more with these flight ddeck cameras, or can we go ahead and turn them off?

CapCom: We have no more TV passes between now and the deploy.

Gardner: Okay, we’ll secure those then. Thank you.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, NASA Select TV is now providing a playback of the pre-deploy video. And in a few more minutes, the Challenger will perform an automatic maneuver to the deploy attitude. This will be the fifth deployment of a satellite using the Payload Assist Module from the Space Shuttle. The Payload Assist Module has been in use since late 1980 in a variety of unmanned expendable launch vehicles. The first two supported the Space Transportation System on STS-5, when the Satellite Business System and Anik communications satellites were launched from the spaceship Columbia on November 11 and November 12, respectively, last year; and earlier this year, the Challenger launched another Anik and the Indonesian satellite Palapa on June 18 and 19 of this year. Mission Elapsed Time one day, zero hours, 35 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston.

This is Mission Control Houston. Flight Director Randy Stone just checked with all console positions here and asked for a go/no go vote for deploy and received an unanimous go from all positions. Mission Elapsed Time one day, zero hours, 40 minutes, and deployment scheduled to occur in approximately 36 minutes... This is Mission Control Houston. We’re expecting to give the crew a go for deployment during this pass. Although there will only be a voice pass available through Yarragadee and Yarragadee will be the last…

CapCom: Challenger, we’re going off TDRS in 30 seconds; we’ll still be with you through Botswana. And you are still go – PAM, Insat and ground.

Bluford: Understand, we’re still go; things look good onboard. We’ll see you later.

CapCom: Great.

PAO: That communication from Mission Specialist Guy Bluford; we’re about three and a half minutes away from LOS through Botswana and then we will reacquire voice only through the ground station at Yarragadee. The Yarragadee pass will be the last voice contact we have with the Challenger crew prior to deployment. Mission Elapsed Time now one day, zero hours, 43 minutes (2:15 a.m. CDT), this is Mission Control.

Acquisition of Signal at Yarragadee, Australia, was expected at 2:31 a.m. CDT. “Over the Yarragadee pass, which was a UHF site only without data to the remote POC or the control center, we gave the crew a final go for deployment, based upon the network configuration for Insat to support the transfer orbit operations of the satellite,” said Rob Kelso. “At deploy minus 15 minutes we entered the mechanical sequence of the spacecraft and spun it up to 40 rpm. And the crew reported that was a very smooth operation.”

PAO: …The sequence of events immediately prior to deployment will be as follows: The Insat mission control center in Hassan, India, will give the Mission Control Center in Houston a final go for deploy. The Mission Control Center will of course relay that advisory to the crew. At Mission Elapsed Time one day, one hour, one minute, the crew will begin a mechanical sequence start… They will initiate spinup of the spacecraft; a nominal spin rate of 40 revolutions per minute is expected; anything between 36 and 44 rpm is acceptable. Prior to these events, Mission Commander Dick Truly will have initiated an automatic maneuver sequence to place Challenger in the deployment attitude.

The payload will be placed on internal power at one day, one hour, 11 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. At one day, one hour, 13 minutes Mission Elapsed Time we’ll initiate terminal sequence start and be looking forward to deployment at one day, one hour, 16 minutes, 54 seconds Mission Elapsed Time. Terminal sequence start occurs as follows: Mission Specialist Guy Bluford will initiate that terminal sequence start by some keystrokes on that, on the computer at the commander’s position, the forward left front seat in Challenger. And subsequently he will, that will occur about three minutes before deployment, subsequently he will do a prearm keystroke sequence.

Meanwhile, Mission Specialist Dale Gardner will arm the Payload Assist Module from his position at the aft port payload station. At his position in the commander’s seat Mission Specialist Guy Bluford will then perform some keystrokes to arm and fire the deploy sequence. At the aft crew station Dale Gardner will then take some actions to deactivate the ASE, Airborne Support Equipment and PAM heaters. The crew will then change positions and prepare for the separation burn of the Orbital Maneuvering System.

The payload dialog continues to indicate nominal functions, all the participants and all the systems, the ground network, the spacecraft and the Payload Assist Module are all go for deployment; Mission Control teams and all the players here are ready to support and looking forward to deployment 20 minutes from now. Mission Elapsed Time presently one day zero hours 55 minutes and AOS through Yarragadee in about three minutes… This is Mission Control Houston; we’re less than a minute away from Acquisition of Signal and Payloads Officer Rob Kelso has just advised the Flight Director that the mission, satellite control facility at Hassan and the Payload Operations Center here in Houston are both go for deploy. And we should have voice momentarily at Mission Elapsed Time one day, zero hours, 59 minutes, This is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you for, through Yarragadee for eight minutes. The PAM, the Insat and the network are still go. And we’ll just stand by now and be quiet and listen to anything you want to say to us.

And the crew had a lot of good news to report. Mission Commander Richard Truly said the orbiter was in deploy attitude now, and Dale Gardner confirmed mechanical sequence start; The starboard restraint had been removed one minute and twenty seconds after mechanical sequence start, followed by the port restraint 48 seconds later. Two minutes and 52 seconds after mechanical sequence start the Insat/PAM combo started rotating inside the Pacman cradle. “Great,” replied Jeff Hoffman. “It may be a lot easier than in the sims, But I bet the visual is a lot better.”

Gardner: Okay, Jeff. I can see all sides of the spacecraft now rotating by; both solar panels, the C/S-band antenna, and the solar cell DHR (Directional Hemisphere Reflectance) sides all look good.

CapCom: Thanks for the report.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston. Payloads Officer Bob Kelso shown in the center of the screen on NASA Select now; just verified that the mechanical sequence start appears to have been completed up to the point where the satellite goes on internal power.

CapCom: Challenger, we are 45 seconds to LOS, hope everything continues as well as it has gone so far. Have a real good deploy and we’ll look forward to talking to you at Hawaii 1 plus 24 (1:56 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Copy, Houston. And right now we’re still looking good in the cockpit and understand we’re go for deploy.

CapCom: Right. You are go for deploy and have a good one.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:26 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:29 pm

Eight minutes before reacquisition of signal over the Hawaiian Islands, ejection of Insat-1B from Challenger’s payload bay occurred on orbit 17 at 2:48 a.m. CDT, Mission Elapsed Time one day, one hour, 16 minutes, 54 seconds. In Greenwich Mean Time that was 243:07:48:54, 9:48 a.m. CEST, or Central European Summer Time. Relative to Challenger’s position over the Central Pacific, that was just about at sunset.

Released by explosive bolts, the Insat/PAM payload, which was spinning using centrifugal force to stabilize itself, popped out of the payload bay by a series of springs and separated from the orbiter at a rate of approximately three feet per second. “Deployment from the shuttle was so precise,” British space writer Ben Evans explained, “within a tenth of a degree, that it saved Insat some 230 kg of station-keeping propellant which might otherwise have been needed had it been launched aboard an expendable rocket.”

“The accuracy at deployment,” said Flight Director Randy Stone, “the attitude accuracy was within… I think the biggest inaccuracy in any access was nine hundredths of a degree from the preplanned deployment attitude. The down track error or uncertainty in the state vector at the time of deployment was in the area of 5000 feet, and that’s fairly typical of vector accuracy that we can build here on the ground. That equates to about two tenths of a second of error in the orbiter position at the time of deployment. And we have a window of about plus or minus 10 seconds for deployment accuracy. So you can get a feel for how accurate we were today – two tenth of a second versus a 20 second total window for the deployment. And it was completely nominal and as good as we can expect to do any deployment.”

PAO: This is Shuttle Mission Control at one day, one hour, 17 minutes. Nominal deployment of the Insat should have occurred just about a minute ago, and assuming all events occurred on schedule the crew should now be repositioning themselves for preparation of an OMS burn, which is to occur roughly 14 minutes from now.

Prior to the 85-second PAM perigee burn, which was to occur at Mission Elapsed Time one day, two hours, two minutes, Challenger was scheduled to move to an attitude that was intended to protect the windows from erosion by the PAM exhaust plume. The orbiter would fly nose forward with the payload bay away from the Earth; the PAM would be ahead of and slightly below Challenger, with the orbiter pitched up 50 degrees to a common line of sight. The OMS-3 burn, set to occur in sight of the ground station at Hawaii, was expected to last about six seconds, changing velocity by 11 feet per second and producing an orbit measuring approximately 166 by 160 nautical miles.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:34 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:35 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:37 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:38 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:40 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:41 pm
CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Hawaii for about eight minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. We’re happy to let you know that Insat was deployed on time with no anomalies, and the satellite looked good.

CapCom: Well, that’s excellent. Good show. You guys have maintained the shuttle’s perfect record. Do you have a report for us?

Brandenstein: Roger. Attitudes first, the current was roll 4, correction 345.07, pitch 72.79, yaw 335.30, rates in roll zero, and pitch minus .002, and yaw plus .004.

CapCom: That was rock solid then. Real good.

Truly: And Houston, CDR. We are targeted for the burn; we’re sitting at burn attitude. You can take a look. – And Jeff, you can report to the spacecraft folks that the spacecraft was alive and well when it left, because at a minute and 20 seconds I saw the automatic rotation control system come on and I saw a couple of jets fire; so it was looking good.

CapCom: Okay. That’s good news. I guess that’s the first time we’ve been able to see something like that. That’s real, very good.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:43 pm
The astronauts had been able to see the four roll jets beginning to fire as the active rotation control system on Insat was activated roughly a minute and 25 seconds after the satellite had left the orbiter. These were five-pound jets on the spacecraft to maintain its control during the PAM coast leading to the injection burn.

Truly: Also, we had, we had no vibration in the vehicle that we could sense during the spin. But we had a real good clunk that we all felt through the orbiter’s structure right at deploy.

CapCom: Okay. That’s interesting… Okay, and from down here things look good for your burn.

After the short six-second OMS-3 burn at 243:08:03:54.2 GMT, 3:03 a.m. CDT, Mission Control Propulsion Systems Engineer Wayne Hale reported both engines looked good and nominal, which was immediately confirmed by the Challenger crew, just before they went LOS at Hawaii, “Okay, Houston, the burn looked nominal to us… and the satellite from the aft was spectacular to look at it.” When Challenger came into range of the Buckhorn over the continental United States, there was additional good news, “… and the post-burn gimbal check looked good on both engines.”

At 3:34 a.m. CDT, the PAM-D fired to lift Insat to geosynchronous transfer orbit with a 35,600 kilometer apogee. “The spacecraft was acquired over Hassan at GMT of 243:08:56 (3:56 a.m. CDT), which indicated we had a good PAM injection burn,” said Payloads Officer Rob Kelso. “Following acquisition at Hassan, a ground command from that tracking site was sent up to the spacecraft to separate it from the PAM expendable vehicle. That was completed at 09:11 GMT (4:11 a.m. CDT). Insat was commanded to a three-axis stabilization, a despin, and a sun acquisition mode at 4:22 a.m. CDT. The C-band antenna was deployed on Insat-1B at 4:30 a.m. CDT, and the solar arrays were deployed at 4:41 a.m CDT.

During the change-of-shift briefing at Johnson Space Center at 6:00 a.m. CDT, Indian Department of Space Project Director Dr. Vasantha Sastry was full of praise. “Truly, it should be thanks to NASA. It was an excellent deployment. Everything was nominal, McDonnell Douglas performed extremely well, and we believe everything must be nominal, as we could acquire the spacecraft on the spot as it was expected by the MCF at Hassan.” Dr. Vasantha explained the Insat went into a quiescent period in preparation for the first apogee burn, coming up about 16 hours after the deployment from Challenger. “We are waiting for it, and everything looks very good at this moment.”

Obviously being a satisfied customer, Dr. Vasantha confirmed that the backup satellite, Insat-1C, also was going to be deployed from the shuttle. “The contract for the backup satellite was awarded in fact in June of 1983, about three months ago. The satellite itself is planned to be launched by the shuttle, in present plan, in February of ‘86.” (Note: Insat-1C was launched aboard an Ariane 3 on July 21, 1988)


The initial review of video coverage of the Insat-1B deployment sequence indicated that an unidentifiable object appeared to come from the payload bay during that sequence. The object appeared to be traveling at several times the deployed payload speed relative to the orbiter and it seemed to contact the satellite.

As a result, a detailed inspection of the payload bay was conducted immediately after the payload bay doors were opened during post-landing operations. The inspection consisted of a six-hour TV scan of the bay and a detailed visual inspection by a team composed of NASA, contractor, and vendor personnel. No pieces of the orbiter or the ASE (Airborne Support Equipment) were identified as missing.

Concurrent with the effort discussed in the previous paragraph, an extensive video and film review was conducted. The 16 mm hand-held camera film did not show the object seen in the video coverage. The 70 mm still picture taken in sequence as the payload was deployed also did not show any loose objects leaving the payload bay. The results of the detailed video review were as follows:

1. The object appeared to be irregularly shaped and tumbling as it moved through the TV camera field of view.
2. The entire path of the object is consistent with the operation of the camera and the optical characteristics of the lens, i.e., tilting during the initial 1.6 seconds of the 5-second period when the particle was in the field of view, no camera control changes during the next 2.4 seconds, and then zooming in during the final 1.0 second.
3. There is no evidence from the video that the particle struck the Insat.
4. The particle most likely passed between the TV camera (located on the forward bulkhead, starboard side) and the INSAT when the Insat was approximately 56 feet above the payload bay.

The most probable explanation of these events is that the object was a particle moving between the TV camera and the satellite. The particle appeared to move in a curved path because of the characteristics of the lens used on the video camera. A particle to the left of center and moving away from the camera would appear to curve toward the center of the picture - concave to the left. The apparent change in the direction of the object as it appeared to pass the payload was verified as being caused by zooming of the lens.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:45 pm

Shortly after the successful deployment of Insat, while crossing the continental U.S., the Challenger crew went ahead with their next tasks for the day, or as Mission Specialist Dale Gardner put it, “Not wanting to rest on our laurels, we’re down in the middeck getting ready to get the CFES started.” Jeff Hoffman replied, “Okay, you guys are keeping busy. Great.”

Truly: And Houston, CDR. I’m about to start up the FES for the CFES operation for EECOM’s benefit.

CapCom: Okay, thanks for letting us know.

Gardner: MS1.

CapCom: Go ahead.

Gardner: Okay, Jeff. You can pass on to the CFES people that the system’s status check on sample #3 started on one day, one hour, 43 minutes (3:15 a.m. CDT).

CapCom: Okay, that was system status check on sample #1, did you say?

Gardner: No, one and two were yesterday; I’m starting out with #3 today, Jeff.

At 3:46 a.m. CDT, Challenger was picked up by the Botswana tracking station for another eight minutes. And while busy with the third CFES sample, Mission Specialist Dale Gardner of course was still interested in the fate of the Insat-1B satellite that had been released from the orbiter just about an hour earlier.

Gardner: Jeff, any word on the Insat PKM?

CapCom: Stand by. They’re anticipating a fair amount of time, probably an hour or so, before we get a report on acquisition of that. But we’ll let you know as soon as we get the information.

Gardner: Okay, Jeff, thanks a lot.

CapCom: Also at some point I have a flight note on the heat pipe experiment that’s coming up in about one and a half orbits, and there’s no rush on that. But anytime you want to take that we can talk about it.

Truly: Roger, let’s wait until Dan is available.

CapCom: Okay, fine.

Truly: Say, Jeff, where are we right now?

CapCom: Let’s see. We’re talking to you through Botswana; you’re right over the sort of central part of the southern tip of Africa.

Truly: Roger. Thank you.

CapCom: And Dick, I also have a note for you here concerning the COAS calibration, if you have a minute to talk.

Truly: You bet. Go ahead.

CapCom: First of all, I can let you know the data that you got on Flight Day 1 from the COAS calibration was good, but you had mentioned something about a feeling of having less than desired vehicle response, or control in one of the axes. In reviewing the data they found that the sensor switch on the rear panel A6 was in the minus-x position instead of the minus-z position, and therefore the roll in the yaw axis got switched. And it would be possible to repeat a COAS calibration later in the flight if you felt it was worthwhile, but I repeat, the data that you got on Flight Day 1 was good.

Truly: Roger, understand and I appreciate it. That probably does explain it, and I don’t think it’s necessary to repeat it. It would just make me feel good and no sense (garble) for that if we understand it. I appreciate it.

CapCom: Okay, we’ll pass that on.

Brandenstein: And Jeff, any word you got on the heat pipe, I’m ready to copy now.

CapCom: Okay. I guess you, you reported… I’m not certain who it was, since it was in the other shift, but there was a report that when you got at sunrise, one of the strips had turned from black to brown, one of the bottom strips. There’s a couple of things on that. First of all, we want to know if it’s possible to identify which of the bottom strips had done that. And second of all the request was that before you start the evaluation here, before turning on any of the heaters, that you observe the heat pipes and give a description of the colors, and specifically to see if, if this phenomenon is observed again when you come out from the darkness into the sunlight.

Brandenstein: Okay, Jeff. Well, I’ll go down and check with Dale and show him this diagram, so I get specifically (garble). He’s the only one that saw it, and I’ve looked at it, I haven’t seen it since then.

CapCom: Okay, it’s going to be orbit 20 at about 05 hours today, I guess that it’s called for in the CAP. And I guess anytime you get a chance to look at it at any sunrise, it would be interesting to get information, if you see any of the tapes that are not black.

Gardner: Okay, Jeff. Dan showed me the diagram. It was the bottom tape on both of the horizontal tapes on both the evaporator and the condenser, and it was only that sunrise right after I came up to the flight deck after payload bay door opening. We’ve never seen it since then. So, I think it was just some thermal condition that happened in the payload bay before the doors were open and then right afterwards.

CapCom: Okay, thanks. I’m sure the experimenter will appreciate the information.

At 4:07 a.m. CDT, Challenger approached the Australian continent again. CapCom Jeff Hoffman had some good news to tell, but somehow he seemed not to be able to get through to the astronauts.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Yarragadee for six minutes… Challenger, Houston, how do you read? …Challenger, Houston, how do you read? …Challenger, Houston, how do you read? Challenger, Houston, voice check… Challenger, Houston, voice check…

Truly: Roger, Houston. Read you loud and clear.

CapCom: Okay, good. We were having a little trouble reaching you. Some good news for you: Hassan has acquired the spacecraft and they’re preparing for the spacecraft/PAM separation. So, it looks like the burn went real well.

Truly: Outstanding. We’re glad to hear that.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:47 pm
During the following Guam pass, Jeff Hoffman was able to relay the next batch of good news, “Hassan has confirmed a successful PAM/spacecraft separation. So it looks like it’s on its way.” – “Outstanding, super,” was the reaction from orbit. Meanwhile, Mission Specialist Guy Bluford was preparing a VTR replay; downlink television of material recorded previously, showing the Insat deployment and some OMS-3 burn scenes selected by the crew, was transmitted to Mission Control shortly after Acquisition of Signal through Hawaii at 4:32 a.m. CDT.

Over the continental United States, Mission Specialist Dale Gardner gave a progress report on the CFES experiment, “…I’m doing the prep on the sample 3 bravo. And just for your info, it looks like the kidney cells are… I was able to get them stirred up into a very homogeneous solution. They were not very unhomogeneous to start with, but it looks real good and we’ll be putting them in in a few seconds.”

CapCom: Sounds like things are going real well.

Gardner: Maybe that word is not “unhomogeneous,” I don’t know.

CapCom: Well, if it’s one solid mass, then it’s homogeneous.

Gardner: Okay, Jeff, we’re starting the changeout portion of sample 3 at time one day, three hours, 18 minutes (4:50 a.m. CDT).

CapCom: We copy, Dale… Challenger, we’re LOS 30 seconds; talk to you through Ascension at 3 plus 39.

Truly: Roger, Houston. And I’m going to be passing on a question from Bill Thornton about the microbiological automatic timer for the PI, I think his name is Dwayne Pearson, when we get to Ascension.

CapCom: Okay. That was the microbiological what, Dick?

Truly: The microbiological sampling DSO, a question about its automatic timer. It does not appear to be working and Bill needs some instructions about the sample time.

CapCom: Okay, we’ll see if we can have some support for you.

Truly: Roger. He intends to do it manually. He thought it was for eight minutes; the timer had been set for ten minutes. He would like for Dwayne Pearson to confirm the sample time.

CapCom: Alright. We’ll see what we can find out.

Truly: Thanks a lot, Jeff.

And so, when Challenger started the seven-minute passage over the Ascension tracking station at 5:11 a.m. CDT, Truly again broached the subject. “And Jeff, right at the tail end of that other pass, I was passing on a thing from Bill Thornton. He’s been busy downstairs with Dan and Dale on that CFES sample preparation and asked me to pass on that request. Did you get all of it?”

CapCom: We did. We have somebody standing by who will hopefully be able to discuss it. We understood that Bill was going to come online and talk about it a little bit.

Truly: Well, as I say, he’s downstairs busy in the midst of preparation and they can’t stop. But let me repeat what he asked me to pass on to you. He said that the automatic timer for the microbiological sampling was not working. It ran for several minutes past the time it was set for and did not cut off. He had understood that the sample time was eight minutes; he may be mistaken, but the timer had been set for ten minutes. He told me he intends to manually do the sampling and requested a confirmation as to the sample time.

CapCom: Okay, I think we understand the question completely, and I guess all I can tell you now is they’re trying to raise somebody that could answer the question for you; and right now we do not have any answer. I’m sorry.

Truly: Okay, no problem, Jeff. I was just… we were so close to LOS I wasn’t sure that you got it. But that’s what he passed on to me, and maybe later, if there’s any more questions, I’m sure he’ll be available to talk. Bill has been extremely busy both these two days and has not even been on comm down there, working full time.

CapCom: Having a good time, I hope.

Truly: Oh, yes. He’s having the time of his life.

CapCom: Great. Good to hear it… Challenger, LOS in 30 seconds; we’ll talk to you at Botswana at 3 plus 50.

When Challenger came into view of the southwest coast of Africa during the next eight-minute passage of the Botswana ground station at 5:22 a.m. CDT, Commander Truly did a little sightseeing, spotting the red linear sand dunes of Namibia’s Kalahari Desert. Meanwhile, with a change of shifts coming up at Mission Control, Orbit 1 CapCom Jeff Hoffman said his goodbyes for the day. “Challenger, we’re going LOS in about 30 seconds; we’ll talk to you through Guam next at four hours, 2 minutes. I should say that the Orbit 2 team is going to talk to you, because Orbit 1 is going to go off now and probably go home and go to bed; it’s 5:30 in the morning. It’s been nice working with you.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:48 pm
Off-going Flight Director Randy Stone was very pleased with the day’s events so far. “The Challenger is performing extremely well. The crew has been operating today ahead of schedule all day on all of the activities that we had planned in the flight plan, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of the vehicle and the crew today... I believe the crew is operating at a high efficiency. Dick Truly told us this morning that Dr. Bill has been so busy down with his equipment and running his experiments that he hasn’t even put on his headset yet today, and that he is doing fine and staying on schedule with the things he wanted to accomplish today.”

Asked by a journalist “if he had packed a deck of cards or anything” as a contingency plan to wisely use the time gained by the crew’s efficiency, Randy Stone explained, “No, we always carry a shopping list of items that were unable to be scheduled in the flight plan, because when we start packing in activities into the CAP we fill it as full as we think the crew can accomplish without making them feel like they’re behind all the time. And as we get ahead, we do pull out these shopping list items and accomplish them. And I suspect that we will be able to do some of those shopping list things that are unscheduled this far.”

During the 6:00 a.m. change-of-shift briefing, Stone added, “It’s a pleasure to come to one of these press conferences and not have to tell you about a whole bunch of problems on the vehicle; and that’s where I am today. There are very, very few problems on the vehicle. We talked about the one circ pump problem from yesterday; it is still with us. We will not use hydraulic system 2 circ pump for the remainder of the mission. It’s absolutely no impact to any of the planned objectives of this flight, and that is the only significant failure that we have had to date.”


Challenger came into range of the Guam tracking station on orbit 20 at 5:34 a.m. CDT and Flight Director Harold Draughon’s Crystal Team was ready for action, starting with a solution to Dr. Bill’s problem discussed earlier.

CapCom (Bill Fisher): Challenger, Houston, Crystal Team with you through Guam for seven and a half minutes.

Truly: Roger that. How you all doing?

CapCom: Doing fine, Richard. When you have a minute I have an answer to the question you folks had on the medical DSO.

Truly: Okay. Bill is not on comm. Could you give it to me and let me pass it to him?

CapCom: Roger. It appears that the ten-minute timer doesn’t really bare a relation to the amount of each sample; each sample is supposed to have been worked on for two minutes per sample.

Truly: Okay. Understand if Bill does it manually, the sample should be two minutes per sample…

CapCom: That’s a roger.

Truly: Okay, let me pass that on to Bill, and if he’s got any questions, Fish, I’ll get him on the hook and let him talk to you.

CapCom: Okay… Challenger, Houston.

Gardner: Hey, Fish, a couple of words on CFES.

CapCom: Okay, go ahead.

Gardner: Okay. First of all, the same situation that occurred yesterday was the sample pump staying in forward and not stopping halfway through the collection is occurring today as you all predicted. We’re pressing on as you suggested and just to keep you up to date with where I’m at, we are now 18 minutes to go in the 50-minute collect on sample 3.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, we copy. Also, when you folks have a moment, we have some comm configuration switches for you.

Truly: Okay, this is a good time, Fish. Go ahead.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. When we left you last night, we configured over to STADAN (Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network) coverage just before we put you to bed. And we would like to undo that and put us back in the operational mode for… for our standard TDRS data transmissions; and we’d like you, on panel A1L, if you’d turn to the on-orbit configuration, specifically the S-band FM mode rotary switch to TDRS data. The NSP (Network Signal Processor) data rate switches, both of them to low, and finally the two coding switches to on.

Truly: Okay, those switches have been set. (…) And Houston, CDR, be advised the TACAN nav test has been started, and I’ll be doing that for the next several hours. If you see me out of sync, it’s an awful easy procedure to get ot of synch, so please let me know.

CapCom: Roger. We’ll do that, Richard.

Truly: Okay. And Bill is busy right now in the middle of another med experiment, and so I couldn’t pass on that information to him. But as soon as I can I will and he’ll… and if there’s any problem I’ll get him to talk to you.

“The collection of some TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation) data is a continuing experiment that we discussed with you on some previous flights,” said Flight Director Hal Draughon, “and that is one of gathering TACAN sensor data to determine how it might be used for on-orbit navigation or area navigation in later flights… The other items that were going on as far as testing is concerned,” he added during the 2:00 p.m. CDT press briefing at Johnson Space Center, “is the Ku-band that has been a continuing activity all day today… As soon as the (Insat) deploy was over, or very shortly after that, the Ku-band antenna was deployed. We got our first data via Ku on that rev, and two revs later we fired up the TV for the first time on Ku-band, and immediately locked right up. And if any of you have seen it, you are aware it’s a spectacular picture. It’s very high quality, even better than what you’re normally accustomed to with the STADAN link, which is good quality TV.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:50 pm

“The heat pipe experiment,” said Harold Draughon said during the afternoon, “there has been quite a lot of dialogue today with regard to the heat pipe; on a number of occasions we asked the crew to comment on the color samples that are visible to them out the aft windows. They did that and have been collecting the photographic data that will be analyzed post-flight. In a general sense, it appears that the heat pipe experiment is working as designed. It’s temperatures are perhaps running a little hotter, or a little higher than had been anticipated, but it is working, and it’s not become saturated. We think we’re getting good data off of that.”

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. Just a note for you. We have locked up on the Ku-band for the first time.

Truly: Roger. Good work.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. We’re with you through TDRS again. How copy?

Truly: Roger. Loud and clear.

CapCom: Okay, Richard, we’ve got you loud and clear, too… Challenger, Houston, a note for Richard on the TACAN test. We need you to go with the station 106.

Truly: Just in the process of doing that, Fish… Roger. thanks for the catch. I was – for some reason I did not hear the time tone when I had set it, but we’re in 106 now.

CapCom: Roger.

Brandenstein: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. Go ahead.

Brandenstein: Okay, Fish. On the heat pipe experiment, the best I can tell, Guy is looking at the CAP and planning on starting it at 5 plus 15, and would you verify that he expects sunset at about 5 plus 50, that’s what it looks like in the CAP.

CapCom: Stand by on that, Dan. Just a note for you, as part of our TDRS testing there will be some periods coming up when we go in and out and have intermittent comm with you.

Brandenstein: Okay.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, for Dan. It appears that sunset will be about 5:51, five-five-one (7:23 a.m. CDT).

Brandenstein: Roger. Thanks.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Botswana for eight minutes.

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston. Loud and clear. And Fish, we fired up the heat pipe on time at one day, five hours and 15 minutes (6:47 a.m. CDT) and we’re twelve minutes into the run now. And we have the evaporator, the second tape is up to blue, tape number 2, and the condenser, tape number 1, is just about all blue. It starts changing color and the left and progresses down towards the right. It changes pretty much all the same time, but it becomes a little more obvious on the left end first.

CapCom: Roger, Dan, and we expect you to keep a close eye on those colors.

Brandenstein: We’re doing it by committee.

CapCom: Roger that.

Brandenstein: And the committee has three, so there’s always a tiebreaker. (…) And Fish, on the heat pipe, on the condenser the vertical tapes, tape 1, also turned blue and there’s very little gradient with them. So it’s pretty much and even temperature distribution over the whole condenser.

CapCom: Roger, Dan, we’re looking forward to seeing those pictures.

When Challenger came into range of the Indian Ocean Station for a short four-minute pass at 7:08 a.m. CDT, Brandenstein continued his color studies. “And Fish, on the heat pipe. Looks like it is pretty well stabilized out now with the third – one evaporator blue – getting ready to turn. And it looks like it’s about on a borderline between the third and the fourth tape. And on the condenser the second tape is very blue, and the third one is brown. It’s been that way for quite awhile now...”

PAO: Mission Control, Houston, Loss of Signal at Indian Ocean Station. Guam will acquire Challenger in approximately 17 minutes. Earlier in this 20th orbit, the first lockup with Ku-band on the TDRS through Challenger and the White Sands tracking station was accomplished. The first of many such tests that will be run over the next three or four days to bring out the TDRS tracking satellite in its various modes. At one day, five hours, 42 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (7:14 a.m. CDT), this is Mission Control Houston.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:51 pm

The first of Challenger's two Solid Rocket Boosters was reported in port at Cape Canaveral today at 8:10 a.m. EDT; the second followed 50 minutes later. Yesterday they had fallen within eight miles of the recovery ships, 150 miles offshore from the Cape. Kathy Mason, a spokeswoman for United Space Boosters, said that despite the dark, workers from the ships UTC Freedom and UTC Liberty had located the spent casings of the solid booster rockets by radar just eight minutes after the 2:32 a.m. EDT lift-off, or about six minutes after they separated from the External Tank and parachuted into the water. Within an hour, she said, the retrieval ships had spotted the boosters and crews had marked the tips in the water with lights. These strobe lights used for the first time on this flight helped guide the ships to the spent rocket casings. Using a new type of plug, divers were able to drain sea water from the casings prior to towing them. Recovery operations yesterday began at sunrise, and by 7:50 a.m. EDT, the boosters were being towed back to Port Canaveral.

Initially, no damage to the boosters was reported. The STS-8 NSTS Program Mission Report stated: “The performance of the SRMs (Solid Rocket Motors) was well within the specification limits. The evaluation shows that head pressures were higher than predicted by approximately 1.0 percent on the left SRM and 0.6 percent on the right SRM between 5 and 20 seconds. The propellant burn rate on both SRMs was as predicted. The action time was very close to predicted for both motors.”

“The deceleration subsystems on both SRMs performed satisfactorily and all parachutes were recovered. However, one of the redundant reefing line cutters from one main parachute did not function because of a lanyard failure. This did not impact the operation of the parachute. The left-hand flashing light failed prior to water impact and the right-hand light began flashing intermittently 26 hours after water impact. This did not adversely affect recovery operations.”

It was not until September 27, 1983, over three weeks after the safe return of the Challenger crew, that indications of a potentially disastrous SRB malfunction came to light, forcing a launch delay of the STS-9/Spacelab 1 mission. More about that will follow later in Part Four of this STS-8 mission report.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:52 pm

“We had two so-called anomalies,” Crystal Team Flight Director Draughon reported later that Wednesday, “one was in the hydraulic system number 1. We had the accumulator pressure in system 1 show a fairly record drop.” – The accumulator pressure had dropped below the FDA (Fault Detection and Annunciation) limit of 1930 psi. – “It started outside of a station contact. When we got to (Guam), the crew reported they had received an onboard message with that pressure decrease and had gone into the malfunction procedure that they have onboard for just such an occasion, and had brought on the circ pump.”

Draughon said, “The circ pump is a small pump that is used generally to circulate fluid, hydraulic fluid in the loops to get even temperature distribution throughout when were off for a long period of time on orbit. Another thing you can use it for is to keep pressure up in the loop if you ever happen to have a system leak. There is a particular circuit in that system that tries to equalize or to control the flow of fluid with the circulation pump to keep the particular pressure up that is used reference the accumulator and reservoirs to each other to keep ahead of the main pumps. A valve in that circuit, we think, was leaking at about 2500 psi; when it decayed down to around 2304 psi it started a rather rapid decrease and Truly brought on the circ pump and pumped it back up.”

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Guam for six minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, and I’d like to talk to you about APU hydraulics.

CapCom: Roger. Go ahead.

Truly: Okay, we got a spec 86 message at a time of one day, five hours and 47 minutes and 11 seconds (7:19 a.m. CDT). When I called up spec 86, hydraulic accumulator, hydraulic accumulator pressure on system 1 was dropping very rapidly and was – I don’t know exactly the number – but it was, if I recall it, 1700 and something. And thinking that I remembered that the limit was higher than that, I went ahead and turned on hydraulic circ pump number 1 and then went to the pocket checklist, and sure enough it said don’t let it get below 1930 psi, I think. We then went into the mal. I guess the circ pump stayed on probably a minute or so while I was getting out the mal and it said to turn it off in… on page 113 of the mal block 2. I did turn it off, and at that point Dan and I saw that the accumulator pressure now is holding steady at about 2280, Coming out  of there, there’s no particular… there’s no exact answer for this, because the accumulator pressure never increased above 2500 psi. So, right now the system is stable. We, it did… the pressure was decreasing very rapidly and I’m afraid I can’t add anymore light to it than that.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. We’ll take a look at that and we’ll get back to you.

Truly: Okay, and if… if you’re recording data and want to go back and look at it the time, again, was one day, five hours, 47 minutes and 11 seconds when we got the alert. I don’t know how much before that it started down.

CapCom: Roger.

Truly: And Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Houston. Go ahead, Richard.

Truly: It’s been now… the circ pump has been turned off now for several minutes. Right after we turned it off the pressure was 2288 and it’s dropped a couple of counts since then.

CapCom: Roger. We copy that and we’re looking at it right now.

Truly: Okiedoke.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we’re 30 seconds LOS; we’ll see you at Hawaii in seven minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. We’ll see you then.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:53 pm
After seven minutes of silence over the Pacific Ocean, communications with Challenger was reestablished on orbit 21 at 7:44 a.m. CDT, when the orbiter came into range of the Hawaiian Islands. Mission Commander Truly gave the latest update on the hydraulic pressure situation: “About a minute ago, a minute and a half ago, the hydraulic accumulator pressure on number 1 dropped again.” This time the pressure had dropped to 1920 PSI and the circulation pump was turned back on. “First time,” explained Hal Draughon later, “it didn’t go all the way back up to what we normally pump it back up to. It decayed down once again. And when we got over a tracking station, we wanted to get an accurate leak rate, which you can’t do as good a job with the circ pump running. So we had them secure the circ pump so we could watch it.”

Truly: The reservoir quantity has been steady about 65 percent the whole time.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, we copy. And we’d like you now to turn the circ pump number 1 off.

Truly: Okay, it’s off now.

CapCom: (…) Roger, Richard. We’ll keep an eye on this, and if we see a need for you to turn the circ pump back on we’ll tell you. But if you get an FDA related to the decreasing pressure, we would like for you to go ahead and turn circ pump 1 back on.

Truly: Okay. I promise I’ll do it. The only thing that concerns me about it, Fish, is that both times – by the time we got the tone, the pressure had already plummeted. And if, if four of us had been down below or didn’t hear it, or something, I’m not… I have no idea how low it would go.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that, Richard. We’re 45 seconds LOS and hope to have TDRS handover shortly afterwards.

Truly: Okiedoke. But we’ll keep a close eye.

CapCom: Roger.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, handover in progress from the Hawaii ground station S-band to S-band on the TDRS satellite. However, even prior to Hawaii LOS we had a good solid lockup on Ku-band television, which is continuing at this time from payload bay cameras aboard Challenger.


And while Mission Controllers were marveling at the superb TV downlink from orbit and was trying to come up with a solution for the hydraulic accumulator pressure drop, they hadn’t forgotten about the heat pipe and CapCom Bill Fisher was asking for more, uhm, colorful comments by the “committee”…

CapCom: …Also can you give us a little status on the heat pipe?

Brandenstein: Yeah, I sure can. Just before we went into darkness, the setting Sun over the longeron hit it from behind and kind of… well, you’re going to have to look at the picture; it would take me a week to explain it. But different areas went different colors (…) It was pretty hard to see it with just the bulkhead light, but it appeared to kind of hold that state through the dark pass. But when we came up into light, the Sun hit it on the face and now it looks just like you expect it to look. The center of the number 3 tape, on both the evaporator and condenser, are blue, and everything else is black and white.

CapCom: Roger, Dan, we copy black and white.

Brandenstein: That’s right.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Botswana for seven minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear. How me?

CapCom: You’re loud and clear, Richard.

Truly: Roger, that’s good news.

Gardner: Houston, MS1.

CapCom: Go ahead, MS1.

Gardner: Okay, Fish. The changeout time for sample #5 is one day, six hours, 52 minutes.

CapCom: Roger. One day, six hours, 53 minutes, Dale… And Challenger, Houston. We’d like you to give us a spec 86 accumulator 1 pressure please.

Brandenstein: Stand by. Okay, spec 86 accumulator 1 pressure is 2368.

CapCom: Roger, Dan, 2368.

Gardner: And Fish, we’ve tidied up down here in the middeck and the camera is… the TV camera id mounted and we’re all set for that.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, I understand… Challenger, Houston, for Dan.

Brandenstein: Go ahead.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. The heat pipe is at a peak in its cycle right now, and we’d like for you to tell us if, when you look out there, if you see anything other than black on the heat pipe.

Brandenstein: Roger. The center number 3 is blue on the evaporator, number 3 is blue on the condenser, and 4 and 5 on the condenser have a couple of other extraneous colors on them. There’s a couple patches that have a little blue and green.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. Have you had a chance to get a vote on that?

Brandenstein: Yeah, the vote is coming up right here.

Bluford: MS2 agrees.

CapCom: Roger, MS2.

Bluford: I’d say magenta.

Brandenstein: And Fish, I clicked off with frame number 7, so you should have a picture of what we were just telling you about.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. We copy frame number 7 will show this peak in the cycle.

Brandenstein: Fish, it looks like the right end of the condenser is where we have the extraneous colors and also the vertical bars, where only number 2 is blue on the right and where the other vertical bar number 3 is blue.

CapCom: Okay, Dan. We copy that. Thank you.

Brandenstein: We’re going to set it up again for the upcoming night cycle. And like I say, we got seven frames left.

CapCom: Roger, Dan, we concur. Challenger, Houston. We’re about 30 seconds from a short LOS. We’ll see you in about a minute and a half at Indian Ocean.

Following a nine-minute passage of the Indian Ocean Station, Challenger went off the air for another 17 minutes at 8:52 a.m. CDT, with the next acquisition expected over Guam. The systems people at Mission Control were still trying to sort out what had caused the accumulator pressure in hydraulic system 1 to suddenly drop down below the redline limits. They were trying to figure out a timeline by which the crew could cycle the circ pump at some interval to keep pressure up to the nominal value. “That particular system is not critical to the mission,” said the Houston PAO. “Still it’s one of the things that systems engineers like to understand. The best way to understand it is to play with it a little.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:55 pm

“We had a little more excitement during this last AOS,” reported Richard Truly when Challenger had been reacquired by the Guam tracking station. “At a time of about 7:25 (8:57 a.m. CDT) we got a fire a fire klaxon, and there were sirens, and we hustled up and had an av-bay 1, a single av-bay 1 light.” Smoke detector 1B in avionics bay 1 had triggered the alarm circuit which had given a smoke alarm. “It turned out that a sensor bravo av-bay 1 was very high and when Dan saw it, it was decreasing rapidly. We reset the sensor, did a circuit test. The sensor did not appear to fail during the circuit test.”

“It’s much like the ones that you by and use in your house,” Flight Director Harold Draughon explained later. “I think it detects ionized particles, things that are byproducts of combustion, and it will detect things that you can’t see or smell or sense, well ahead of what you can perceive.” The detector 1B particle concentration level was peaked at 3000 micrograms per cubic meter, which was above the alarm level of 2000 micrograms per cubic meter. However, since the redundant smoke detector 1A in the same avionics bay did not also trigger an alarm, and all nine smoke detectors in the crew compartment tested good, it was concluded that detector 1B outputs were false.

“So just before sleep tonight,” said Hal Draughon, “we pulled the circuit breaker that powers that particular sensor again to make sure that we don’t get any inappropriate alarms tonight off that element. If anything should go wrong in av-bay 1, the alpha, the A-sensor is still active and online, and would alert the crew, in which case they would do the normal procedures, which are to dump a fire extinguisher into that bay.”

When the 1B unit was powered up the next day, two additional alarms occurred. Although detector 1B successfully passed an inflight self-test that verified the electronics and the air pump were operating properly, a problem could still have existed in the sensor head. The detector was powered down for the remainder of the flight and there were no further false alarms. Smoke detector 1B had previously been installed on Columbia and had exhibited the same anomalous indications during integrated tests prior to STS-1. The unit had been removed, reworked, reacceptance tested and then installed on Challenger.

“We’re pulling together all the data that we can find,” Draughon said during the afternoon change-of-shift briefing. “There is some potential that there’s some outgassing going on in that bay in some piece of hardware. In the little bit of time that we had before I left over there, we did determine that there was indeed one box, one electronics box in that particular bay that was new. Potentially, there’s some small matter of outgassing from having a new box onboard. That’s pure speculation.”

The most probable cause of the false alarms on smoke detector 1B was trapped contamination (liquid) inside the test or reference chambers of the detector sensor head. There was no known electronics failure mode which could have caused the indicated response. When detector 1B was removed, replaced and returned to the vendor after STS-8, further analysis disclosed a cracked solder joint and a loosely staked collector plate at its attach point.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:56 pm
PAO: Mission Control Houston, Los of Signal at Hawaii. We had hoped to have another lockup with the S-band side of the TDRS satellite. However, it appears that the prime ground computer at White Sands has gone belly up momentarily. So while that’s being sorted out, we have an LOS here between Hawaii and Santiago lasting 19 minutes. At day one, seven hours 30, 57 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston...

“The results have been great,” Hal Draughon said about the TDRS qualification tests when he spoke to reporters during the afternoon briefing at JSC. “The kinds of problems we’re having are hardware outages in general, and when the hardware doesn’t work, then you don’t get any testing done. We have not had the class of failures where you run the test and the data is degraded and the data is marginal and the pictures are poor quality; we don’t have that.”

Draughon continued, “We’ve had cases where power amplifiers are broken or computers are down, those kinds of things. Or the software at a particular center would not acknowledge a message to configure something, so we couldn’t test at all. Those were the kinds of things – and they’re maturity things… We do have a problem at White Sands at the ground station there. It evidently has some sort of a software problem in the way that it is integrating state vectors and keeping track of where to point things. And the way they fix that is to take their system down and reinitiate it and bring it back up again. And that takes on the order of an hour every time we have to do that.”

“It’s happened three times when I was on shift, said Draughon. “But we’re getting a significant amount of testing done, and as far as the planned detailed test objectives, I think we’re pretty much on schedule… There were 19 very specific orders with a fine test that we wanted to get accomplished on this flight. And we’re well into that list and in fact, I think we’re just about right on. We may be one test down, but not much more than that. And I think we’ll make that up as time goes on.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:57 pm

CapCom (John Blaha): Challenger, Houston’s with you at Santiago for five minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. How you doing, John?

CapCom: Real good, Richard. Looks like ya’ll been having a great day today.

Truly: Well, it’s been kind of busy. We sure enjoyed the sight of that Insat getting off successfully.

CapCom: Roger, that. Really looked good, Richard.

Truly: I completed the TACAN test after LOS and I think completed enough procedures so you can check the configuration if you like.

CapCom: Roger, understand. And we’ll check it, Richard. Looks good.

Brandenstein: And Houston, Challenger, after one day, eight hours and five minutes, the incubator is complete.

CapCom: Roger, understand, Dan. Good show.

Brandenstein: And Houston, also the heat pipe was terminated at one day, seven hours and 45 minutes. So we got two hours and 30 minutes, including two night passes on it.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. That’s really great news to the Payload folks… And Challenger, Houston. When you have a moment, I have a flight note for you.

Truly: Roger. Go ahead.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. Because of tonight’s tail-Sun attitude, we would like to leave the Freon flow prop valves and the payload heat exchange to aid in the cabin temperature control. Therefore, this evening when you get to the CFES closure, we would like you to delete the FES (Flash Evaporator System) deactivation.

Truly: Okay, understand. Delete the FES deactivation after the CFES is complete tonight. But I… Did you say something about the cabin manual control? I didn’t  hear that.

CapCom: Negative, just… No, that’s why we’re doing it, Richard. Because we’re going to the tail-Sun, we’d like to leave the Freon flow prop valves and payload heat exchanger in the position which they are in.

Truly: Roger, understand. We’ll delete the FES deactivation after the CFES is complete.

CapCom: Roger that. Good read back… Challenger, Houston, we’re going to be going LOS Santiago. See you at Botswana at 8 plus 38 (10:10 a.m. CDT)… Challenger, Houston’s with you at Botswana for one minute.

Truly: Roger, Houston. The IMU align is complete and I’ll give you the data when we have a longer pass. And the way I read your message, you’d like me to remain in IMU align attitude until we go to the tail-Sun attitude. Is that correct – rather than going back to PLB?

CapCom: Stay in this attitude through the conference, Richard. That’s correct.

Truly: Roger, understand.

CapCom: And Challenger, we’re going to be going LOS here in 30 seconds. We’ll see you at Indian Ocean at 8 plus 46 (10:18 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Okay, John, we’ll see you at Indian Ocean Station.

Gardner: John, before you go over the hill, changeout on sample 6 began at one day, eight hours, 36 minutes.

CapCom: Roger, copy… Challenger, Houston’s with you at IOS for eight minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. Read you loud and clear… Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Roger, go ahead.

Truly: John, I wonder if I could pass on a minor schedule change request for tomorrow morning’s flight plan for you to consider.

CapCom: Yes, sir, ready to copy.

Truly: Roger, we were originally settled, set up to do the TV 04, which is a demonstration of some of Bill’s things. And we had hoped, what we hoped to do was to demonstrate some of the more visible things that Bill’s been doing. But, unfortunately, it requires some on-orbit preparation, and some of them, he’s been so busy in the last couple of days, that he himself has not even tried out. And I was wondering if I could request that we delay a day or two on that particular TV. If you’d like to go ahead and schedule us to set up a cabin TV, any way you’d like it, and show some internal TV, that’s certainly okay. But if we could delay that particular one till a later day, I’d appreciate it.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, we will work that.

Truly: Okay, thanks a million. Appreciate it.

CapCom: Yes, sir… Challenger, Houston, when you’re ready, I’ll just give you a brief summary of where we think we are with the hydraulic system 1 problem you had earlier.

Brandenstein: Okay, Houston, just a second. Let me grab a piece of paper and I’ll be ready.

CapCom: Okay, standing by.

Brandenstein: Okay, Houston. Go ahead.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. What we think it is likely is an unloader valve, or a check valve leak. It’s an internal leak, so not losing any fluid. We think the pressure has definitely stayed stable for the past rev, and as a result at the current time there’s no need to run the circ pump anymore. We’d like to have you put circ pump 1 back to GPC and we’ll continue to watch it for you.

Brandenstein: Okay, circ pump number 1 is in GPC.

CapCom: Roger that.

Hydraulic system 1 accumulator pressure stabilized for the remainder of the mission at about 2350 psi. The relating post-flight IFA report reads, “Contamination in the unloader valve is the most probable cause for the decrease in hydraulic system 1 accumulator pressure. The contamination cleared after the last pressure cycle and the bootstrap system operated normally for the remainder of the mission. STS-2 had excessive pressure decay on accumulator 3 probably caused by contamination. OV-102 had no problem maintaining accumulator pressure on all 3 hydraulic systems during STS-3 through 5 and no corrective action is required for STS-9. Proper operation of the OV-099 hydraulic system 1 unloader valve will be verified by cycling the valve prior to STS-11. The addition of filters upstream of the priority valve and the unloader valve is being evaluated.”

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. We’re going LOS here in 30 seconds. Just for your information, the conference will start at AOS Hawaii, which is 9 plus 25, and that will last for four and a half minutes. We will see you at Guam at 9 plus 14 (10:46 a.m. CDT).

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston, we copy that. Thank you.

CapCom: See you later, Dan.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 09:59 pm

PAO: This is Mission Control, Houston, a little over a minute now until acquisition of Challenger through the Guam station. At the following pass at Hawaii, the flight crew aboard Challenger will be talking with President Ronald Reagan from the ranch in Santa Barbara. This Hawaii pass will be roughly four and a half minutes with a slight break in the middle for what’s called a keyhole. Earlier in this orbit the CapCom passed to the crew the supposition that the hydraulic system number 1 problem was likely in an unloader valve, or some other internal valve in that hydraulic system, because the valve apparently has resealed with the turning on the pumps and has been pressured then stable for one entire orbit. So, they’re just going to watch it for awhile.

Bluford: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Roger, Challenger, Houston. [/i]

Bluford: Roger, we’re in the… we’ve just inserted the collector for sample 6 and the flow sep reading is 252 volts.

CapCom: Roger, copy that, Guy. Thanks a lot… And Challenger, Houston, we have a new state vector onboard.

Truly: Roger, John. I was watching the uplink and figured that’s what you all were doing. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

CapCom: Yes, sir… And Challenger, Houston, we’re going to be going LOS in 45 seconds. And Guy, if you could send us the sep voltage for sample 6 please?

Bluford: The sep’s what I had read out to you, and that was 252 volts.

CapCom: Roger. I’m sorry, Guy. I meant sample 5.

Bluford: Roger. For sample 5 it’s 255 volts.

CapCom: Roger, copy. Thank you… We’re going LOS in 30 seconds. We will see you at Hawaii at 9 plus 25 (10:57 a.m. CDT / 8:57 a.m. PDT).

Truly: Roger, Houston. See you at 9 plus 25.

Incidentally, as described in the Time magazine article “Atrocity in the Skies,” at about this time, on August 31, 1983, around 11:00 a.m. CDT, Soviet radar had locked on a white Boeing 747-200B jumbo jet, trimmed in red and blue and bearing Korean Air Lines' sleek symbolic bird on its tail, cruising southwestward over the Bering Sea en route from Anchorage, Alaska, to Seoul, South Korea. They would follow the plane for the next two and a half fateful hours. Whether he knew it or not, Captain Chun Byung In, a veteran of 10,547 flying hours, and the other 268 innocent travelers on Flight KAL 007 soon were in trouble, having passed those lines, invisible in the sky but so clearly etched on maps, that mark forbidden airspace.

As always, U.S. and Japanese intelligence stations were in effect watching the Soviets as they watched the jumbo jet. The stations did so by recording the radio communications between the Soviet radar operators, probably located in northern Kamchatka, and their superiors along the military chain of command. It would be many hours later before those tapes would be examined and their significance determined.

Challenger, now on orbit 23, was approaching the Hawaiian Islands and the five astronauts began tidying up the middeck somewhat and assembling in front of the middeck TV camera; on Rancho del Cielo, his ranch near Santa Barbara, California, U.S. President Ronald Reagan was getting ready for a short phone call up to low Earth orbit. Little did he, or anybody else for that matter, know at this moment that within the next 24 hours his California vacation would be cut short by a serious diplomatic confrontation with the Soviet Union. It was the calm before the storm…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at Hawaii. The President is on the line.

Truly: Roger, Houston.

CapCom: Ranch, Houston, we’re ready to proceed.

Rancho del Cielo: Houston, Ranch, roger. You ready for the President?

CapCom: Affirmative.

Rancho del Cielo: Stand by… This is the Ranch; the President is on the line.

Reagan: Commander Truly?

Truly: Yes, sir, Mr. President.

Reagan: Well, you know, I can’t help but ask, since I’m sitting in California, just about where in the world are you now?

Truly: We’re over Hawaii, sir.

Reagan: Over Hawaii and coming this way.

Truly: Yes, sir, coming your way at about 160 miles up.

Reagan: In about twenty minutes you should be here. – Well, listen, congratulations on a successful and a spectacular night launch. Every one of these launches of the shuttle is a spectacular and noteworthy event, but this one has certainly its share of firsts. I know it was touch and go with the weather, but you were launched right on schedule, and I think about 250 million Americans breathed a great sigh of relief.

But you’ve got a lot of firsts there. And Guy, congratulations. You, I think, are paving the way for many others, and you’re making it plain that we are in an era of brotherhood here in our land. And you will serve as a role model for so many others, and be so inspirational that I can’t help but express my gratitude to you. And then Bill, at 54, is the oldest astronaut to ever fly in space. You have an especially warm place in my heart. It makes me think that maybe someday I might be able to go along.

I know this has been a busy day, with the successful deployment early this morning of the Indian National Satellite, which I understand will bring a broad range of communication and weather resources to the people of India and serves as a good example of international cooperation in space. But on behalf of all our people, I want to thank you all for your courage, your commitment to space research. You’ve set a fine example for all our young people, who represent our hope for the future.

Now, I know that this call came… I caught you on your way to your bunks for some well-deserved sleep, so I better cut this short. I just wanted to let you know that we’re looking forward to another successful mission and to your safe landing here in California on Labor Day. God bless all of you.

Truly: Mr. President, thank you so much. We appreciate your taking the time to call us. And we’re very pleased and proud to be here. And thank you for calling, very much.

Reagan: Well, it’s my pleasure, and I know I’m speaking on behalf of all your fellow countrymen when I say good flying and a happy landing on Labor Day here, here in the U.S:A. Again, God bless you. Carry on.

Truly: Thank you, Mr. President.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we’re going to try to pick you up with TDRS. If we lose you, we’ll see you at Santiago at 9 plus 52 (11:24 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, John. Thanks a lot.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. You guys really are neat housekeepers.

Truly: (Laughter) I put it back the way it was.

CapCom: We saw you standing on it all.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 10:01 pm

“The CFES team and the sample PIs haven’t had much to do on the console throughout the flight, because they think that you all have been doing such a super job. And they’d like to pass along to you thanks for the great job you have been doing, which has allowed them a lot of free time,” CapCom John Blaha told pilot Dan Brandenstein while discussing some scheduled pre-sleep activities. Commenting on CFES experiment, Flight Director Hal Draughon said, “It did go very smoothly.”

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Challenger ending orbit number 23 as it crosses the equator in a few minutes, 30 minutes away from Guam, which will be likely the last voice contact between the crew and Mission Control prior to their sleep period, which according to the timeline starts at 11 hours into Day 2. The hydraulic system 1 accumulator pressure onboard reading is 2344 psi, which appears to be stable. (…) Returning in 30 minutes at Guam, this is Mission Control Houston at one day, ten hours 19 minutes Elapsed Time (11:51 a.m. CDT)…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at Guam for six minutes.

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston. We terminated that supply water dump. Temperatures got up to 300 and nothing’s started to dump yet.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Dan.

Brandenstein: And then we went down and had supper; so we haven’t done anything more about it.

CapCom: Roger that. We’re working on something for you, Dan. (…) Reference your accumulator pressure that you had on system 1. We went a rev and didn’t see any change. We have now seen a decrease a little bit, so we want to pump it up so that you won’t get an alarm tonight. Therefore, if you would – we would like you to turn on circ pump number 1 for one minute and then put it back to GPC.

Brandenstein: Roger, circ pump on for one minute and then back to GPC.

CapCom: And don’t do that, Dan. Break – break. We have just sent a TMBU up to do that for you.

Brandenstein: Okay, thank you.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. We would like you to get into configuration for the water dump please, so that we can see the data.

Brandenstein: Okay, I’ll go through and set up for it again.

CapCom: And Dan, when you get all ready, if you could just give us a mark when you start to dump on tank bravo, please.

Brandenstein: Okay.

CapCom: (…) And Challenger, Houston, we’re going to go LOS here in ten seconds. We will probably have to give you a call at either TDRS or Santiago at 11 plus 27 (12:59 p.m. CDT).

Brandenstein: Roger. I just opened the valves and I got it open on (garble) and the dump valve.

CapCom: Roger. We copy, Dan.

Brandenstein: But I have no indication of a dump yet.

CapCom: Roger, understand.

About 34 hours into the mission, Dan Brandenstein had tried to dump supply water tank B, but quantity did not decrease. The data were reviewed during the time of the attempted water dump. The line heater and the nozzle heaters were functioning normally. The nozzle temperature was increasing and the line temperature was normal. The discrete data for the tank B outlet valve, the dump isolation valve, and the dump valve indicated that the crew had followed the correct procedure. The design of the solenoid valve was examined and it was determined that an incorrect valve talkback was not possible, since the actuated portion of the valve also contacted the talkback microswitch.

When the tank B water dump was repeated there were no further problems. During the remainder of the mission, eight water dumps were performed; all were completed successfully with no anomalies. The problem most likely was caused by ice in the nozzle area which stopped flow until it was melted. Alternate dump procedures had existed in the unlikely event the dump nozzle would not have cleared.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Guam. Some final tidying up of the sleep configuration for the spacecraft, primarily putting the hydraulic circ pump number 1 on the General Purpose Computer management overnight to keep that system pressurized so that it does not set off alarms that  will wake the crew. One more pass upcoming in which the CapCom will converse with the crew, Santiago in 29 minutes. Challenger nearing the end of orbit 23; as it crosses the equator, a new orbit count starts. At one day, ten hours 58 minutes (12:30 p.m. CDT), this is Mission Control Houston… This is Mission Control in Houston, forty seconds away from acquisition through Santiago, Chile, tracking station. Flight Director Harold Draughon is polling all of his operators here in the room for a go-for-sleep to the crew, which will be passed up at Santiago, and perhaps this will be the final pass before sleep. We should have acquisition through Santiago at this time.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you at Santiago for three minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. Loud and clear. How us?

CapCom: Loud and clear, Richard. And I have two notes for you we’d like you to copy.

Truly: Roger. Stand by… Okay, Houston, we got the water dump going and we redid the (attitude correction roll) maneuver. However, the maneuver, the maneuver rate didn’t quite get me there on time; I started about one minute late. Go ahead and read your notes.

CapCom: Okay, we copy, and your water dump does look good to us, too. We concur.  Richard, reference to the av-bay 1 sensor warning you received earlier today – to avoid a false alarm this evening, we would like you to go ahead and pull the circuit breaker on 015, row Charlie, smoke detection, bay 1 Bravo and 3 Alpha.

Truly: Roger. I understand to pull the breaker on 015, row Charlie to prevent another false alarm on av-bay 1.

CapCom: Roger that. This disables the 1B and 3A sensors. You still have the 1A and 3B sensors; and if you get an alarm this evening, we would like you to follow the normal procedures per the cue card.

Truly: Roger, understand.

“Normal procedures per the cue card” actually meant dumping a fire extinguisher into that avionics bay. Flight Director Harold Draughon explained, “Normal procedure, if you get an alarm, and you can’t conclude that it is a false alarm, is to dump a fire extinguisher. Then there’s quite a lot of equipment in each of the the av bays. The extinguishers do not damage the hardware. They are quite useful, and in fact, early on – the early flights – the procedures were even more geared or leaned a little more towards, with not a whole lot of cause, sometimes the procedures would have you to fire an extinguisher into the bay. We’ve backed off that a little bit, but when you’re down to one sensor, if you’ve got one, that’s what you would do, because you’ve got no way of sorting out a failed sensor.”

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, you guys really did a great job today with the Insat deploy, the heat pipe, TACAN testing, Ku-band, CFES, incubator, and all the good work Dr. Bill is doing. So a big round of applause from us down here.

Truly: Well, thank you, John. And sorry about the mistake on the roll maneuver right at the end of the day. But we sure enjoyed the day and really enjoyed deploying that Insat.

CapCom: Roger, no sweat. You guys really did great. We’ll see you again tomorrow.

Truly: You bet. See you later.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, just a reminder. We still see the TV’s powered up.

Truly: Roger. In our checklist, the TV cameras were powered up because of the –ZLV, I mean, the solar-inertial attitude. Over.

CapCom: We concur, Richard. Our mistake… We are going LOS 10 seconds. Have a good night’s sleep.

Truly: Okay, John. See you later.

PAO: …Mission Control Houston, no communication with the spacecraft on that last pass over Ascension, Challenger now on start of orbit 25 now, coming up over Africa at the present time. The change of shift here in Mission Control is underway; on-going and off-going flight control teams have tagged up with each other, and that’s about completed. They reviewed the activities of the day, and it was a very successful day, commencing with the deployment of the Insat, the Indian National Satellite, on time and right according to plan. The Apogee Kick Motor of that satellite is due to be started at about 7:25 in the morning; that will circularize the orbit of that satellite at geosynchronous attitude. All of the runs of the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System were completed, as well as the incubator operations, and that closes out both of those experiments for the flight. The group A of Getaway Specials was activated on schedule and the heat pipe operations test was going well.

Vehicle systems continue to look good at the present time: a few minor glitches during the day, most of which cleared themselves up. A drop in the hydraulic pressure which flight controllers believe was a valve that may have gotten temporarily clogged with some debris and they recycled that by turning on the circ pump, circulation pump and that appeared to free that. They had the conversation with President Reagan a few hours ago. And they are now about an hour into their scheduled sleep period. We don’t expect to hear from them again tonight. At one day, 11 hours, 54 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (1:26 p.m. CDT), this is Mission Control Houston.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 10:07 pm

1:26 p.m. CDT / 2:26 p.m. EDT – Here now a slightly edited version of how Time magazine described the tragic events happening right at that time in the early morning hours of September 1, 1983, over Sakhalin Island:

Korean Airlines Flight 007 first crossed the Kamchatka Peninsula, then the Sea of Okhotsk and the island of Sakhalin. Unless it changed course, the airliner apparently would have approached the area around Vladivostok on the Soviet mainland. This cold and bleak region is ordinarily off limits to foreigners.

The Soviets have military reasons for their sensitivity. Kamchatka is the site of Soviet missile-testing facilities and early-warning radar systems. The port of Petropavlovsk is home base for some 90 nuclear-powered submarines. The Soviets hope to turn the Sea of Okhotsk, between the peninsula and the mainland, into a private sheltered lake for submarines armed with missiles that could strike the continental U.S. The southern half of Sakhalin bristles with at least six Soviet airfields and is merely 27 miles across the Strait of Soya from Japan's Hokkaido Island. The strait is a choke point for Soviet naval vessels moving from the Sea of Japan into the North Pacific. Vladivostok and Sovetskaya-Gavan are the main bases for the 820 ships of the Soviet Pacific fleet.

The Soviets scrambled MiG-23s, their widely deployed supersonic jet fighter, and Sukhoi-15s, a slightly older but nonetheless lethal interceptor, to follow the 747. Japanese and American intelligence sources later figured that at least eight of the single-seat fighters pursued the relatively slow-moving airliner.

The Soviets had every right of international law to send fighters up to inspect the intruder. Common sense, however, suggests that even the most expert observer flying some six miles high in the dim predawn light is not likely to see anything that U.S. surveillance satellites have not repeatedly scrutinized and photographed in far greater detail.

But rationality did not prevail. At 2:12 p.m. EDT (3:12 in the morning in Japan), a Soviet pilot told his ground station that he was close enough to see the Korean airliner. Three minutes later, Captain Chun, apparently unaware of his hostile company, routinely asked air controllers in Tokyo, who had taken over supervision of the flight from Anchorage, for permission to climb to 35,000 feet. Permission was given.

Six minutes later, a Soviet flyer radioed that the 747 was just short of that altitude, at 10,000 meters (33,300 feet). About the same time, Japanese radar operators in Hokkaido noted that, although Flight 007 had just reported its position as 115 miles south of Hokkaido, they found no corresponding radar blip there. They did spot one 115 miles north of the island.

Was Captain Chun aware that he was off course? Apparently not. Had he seen the interceptors trailing him? Unlikely, since he almost certainly would have informed the Tokyo controllers of his unwelcome escort. Not once did he indicate that he was in an unusual situation. If all was considered normal aboard the 747, the attendants would now be serving breakfast to the awakening passengers. There would be grapefruit and beef brochette for the high-fare travelers, a croissant and Spanish omelet for the others.

But in the reddening skies over the southern coast of Sakhalin, a chain of events began unfolding that was far from normal. Japanese radar operators saw the blip of an unidentified plane close in rapidly on another blip they now knew represented the Korean airliner. The two symbols merged. The time was 2:25 p.m. EDT.

Then, at 2:26 p.m. EDT, the whirling tape recorders, probably at the Japanese Defense Agency's massive radar installation in the otherwise sleepy town of Wakkanai on Hokkaido's northern tip, caught the incriminating conversations between a single Soviet fighter pilot and his unemotional commander on the ground. U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz curtly paraphrased these exchanges at his initial Washington press conference on September 1, 1983, "The Soviet pilot reported that he fired a missile and the target was destroyed."

Indeed it was. But Flight 007, in what must have been an interminable and terrifying descent for its travelers, seemed to die slowly. At 2:27 p.m. EDT the crew tried, finally, to signal its distress. "Korean Air 007," began the voice. But only an unintelligible garble of sounds followed. Three minutes later, radar showed that the airliner had fallen to 5,000 meters (16,400 feet), halfway to the sea. Within another two minutes, a second Soviet plane showed up at the same site on radar screens. At 2:38 p.m. EDT, twelve minutes after being hit, Flight 007 dropped off the screens.

Near the island of Moneron, 30 miles off the Sakhalin coast, Japanese fishermen heard at least two thunderous noises from the sky above them. They reported seeing a fiery flash denoting what one called "some awful explosion." It was an explosion that would soon echo, in disbelieving protest, around the world.

At Kimpo Airport in Seoul, friends and families awaiting Flight 007 endured a roller-coaster of worry, falsely raised joy and final sorrow. They waited for five agonizing hours for some word of the missing plane's fate. Rumors filled the vacuum. The 747 had been hijacked. No, it had been forced to land on Soviet soil. Then official confirmation. A Korean Airlines spokesman said on the PA system that the airliner was safely down on Sakhalin. Everyone should leave telephone numbers and await word on the reunion. Cheers filled the terminal. Another thirteen hours passed before the reality came from distant Washington.

For a more detailed, updated sequence of events see:

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/27/2015 10:10 pm

“The shift was one of those shifts where you have to really look to find things to do,” said Planning shift Flight Director Jay Greene. “We’re responsible for taking the things that went wrong on the day before and factoring them into the crew plan for the next day. We put out a little CAP summary that details the changes to the flight plan that the crew is carrying onboard. I think we made one, two changes of any significance.”

“The crew is not quite ready for the show, the TV show that’s scheduled for early tomorrow morning, and so we have deleted that and we talked about postponing it for a few days. And the second thing we did was we determined that it wasn’t necessary to go though the IMU alignment procedure that’s scheduled for the normal morning period, and we’re going to do what’s known as a star of opportunity align, no particular alignment maneuver, just pick up stars as they are accumulated in the star tracker,” Greene said.

“Bottom line on tomorrow’s flight plan is, we’re flying essentially the flight plan that’s… not essentially, we’re flying the flight plan that is published in the Crew Activity Plan with virtually no changes at all.”

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at one day, 17 hours, four minutes Mission Elapsed Time (6:36 p.m. CDT). Challenger is on orbit number 28, now over the Indian Ocean, and the crew has about two hours remaining in the sleep period. Not much activity here this evening in Mission Control; the flight controllers have completed reviewing the teleprinter messages. We have been without data coming down from the spacecraft for a short period of time; the ground station, the TDRS ground station at White Sands, New Mexico, has been having some difficulties this evening with their computer programs and managing testing of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, which we were going to use on this last pass and were unable to make use of that.

We anticipate having that in about 25 minutes. Until that time we would have no data coming down from the spacecraft at this point anyway as there’s very few passes over the ground space tracking network. At this time of night, or this point in the crew day, as the ground track precesses westward during the day we get to a point where there are very little opportunities to pass over a ground station and have data or voice with the spacecraft. We do expect to come within range of the TDRS system in about 25 minutes and we should be back on getting data from that satellite at that time. This is Mission Control Houston.

Flight Director Jay Greene explained, “During the night we tried to press on with our TDRS testing; towards the beginning of the night period we got one, I think maybe two passes of TDRS data. During that period we did manage to accomplish one of the Detailed Test Objectives that was scheduled for tonight, and that was a low data rate pass on TDRS with a systems configuration that I am not intimately familiar with.”

“Later in the night we experienced some difficulty primarily with the White Sands ground station, and that virtually ended any TDRS activity we hoped to accomplish during the night. The result of that was that we went for a period of about three hours with no telemetry,” said Greene. “By itself, three hours may seem like a lot. What it boils down to is, I think, there was one, maybe two ground stations during that period that we flew over that on a non-TDRS flight we would have had contact with. And on this flight, because we were configured in a TDRS mode, we didn’t. We always had the opportunity as we passed over UHF stations to wake the crew up and fix the configuration. Because the vehicle is in such good shape and because the onboard monitoring systems are set to protect the crew from any malfunctions that could occur, we opted to let the crew sleep and rest up for tomorrow as best they could.”

“Towards the end of the shift, when it came time to uplink our teleprinter messages, which are any CAP updates or procedural changes for the next day – since the teleprinter activity normally wakes the crew anyway – we opted at that time to call the crew on UHF over Bermuda,” Greene told reporters. “And I believe that was at one day, 18 hours, somewhere right around there, four minutes, somewhere in there. And we used that UHF substation to ask the crew to reconfigure into a ground STDN mode, ground comm mode. They did, we regained comm and the vehicle is in perfect shape.”

CapCom (Bryan O’Connor): Challenger, Houston, no reply required. We have lost S-band data and voice. We would like you to do the comm lost procedure in the orbit pocket checklist, page 2-2, comm lost multi-panels, step 3. Over.

Truly: Houston, Challenger, say again, please.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. Sorry to get you up, but we have been without S-band data and comm for several hours and we need you to regain it for us onboard on page 2-2 of the orbit pocket checklist, comm lost multi-panels, step 3.

Truly: Thank you, Bryan. No problem.

PAO: …This is Mission Control Houston at one day, 18 hours, 32 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. Just for clarification on what we talked about a little earlier, on the lack of data coming down from the spacecraft earlier this evening and the difficulties with the ground station working with the Tracking Data Relay Satellite.

There was an approximately three-hour period from Mission Elapsed Time one day, 15 hours, ten minutes to one day, 18 hours and four minutes (4:42 to 7:36 p.m. CDT), where there was no data received from the orbiter. That was the result of a situation in which the orbiter comm system had been configured to operate with the Tracking Data Relay Satellite to allow the ground station at White Sands to conduct some testing through the TDRS with the orbiter.

As it turned out the White Sands station developed some software problem and was unable to use the TDRS with the orbiter and that left the spacecraft, the Challenger in a situation where the ground could not command a switch back to the use of the ground stations so that the flight controllers here in Mission Control could get data coming down from the spacecraft and continue to monitor the onboard systems as they usually do.

The only way to get around that was to wake the crew up, or at least one of the crewmembers up to throw some switches on the panels up there, and allow the use of ground stations. That permitted them then to see the data coming down from the spacecraft as we normally would pre-TDRS, passing over ground stations once in a while during this point in the flight path. So again, that problem would really relate to the fact that without the White Sands Facility being able to use the TDRS with the orbiter, it was impossible to get the data without a special switch being thrown, or a series of switches on the orbiter.

It had been debated a little earlier whether or not it was worth waking of the crew or worth waking one member of the crew at least, to do that switch; but because it had been about three hours since they had seen any of the systems data from Challenger, they decided – again, fairly near the end of the crew’s sleep period – to  go ahead, wake someone up and have them throw that switch. That would enable them at some point to go ahead and send up the teleprinter messages which they were working on over the Dakar pass recently and have those available for the crew when they get up and stirring around, and to go ahead and take a look at their spacecraft data.

The three-hour gap there is no worse than you might experience under the old system of ground stations, where during the night you might encounter only one ground station during a one-and-a-half-hour revolution of the Earth. And if you would have had some problem with that ground station, therefore leaving you for about three hours then without data as well, they did always have, when they were over a ground station, have a capability to communicate via UHF voice communication with the spacecraft. And that is what they used to wake someone and have them throw the switch…

… Mission Control Houston, one day, 18 hours, 39 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (8:11 p.m. CDT). The communications people reported that the teleprinter messages that were sent up recently over the Dakar pass did get up and those are onboard now for the crew when they decide to read them. During the Dakar pass, the data was looked at here in Mission Control, coming down from the spacecraft, and all systems onboard the Challenger appear to be in good shape. And the Flight Director indicates that he believes the crew is probably gone back to sleep; we don’t have any other indications of activity. They have about twenty minutes remaining before they are supposed to be awake and if we let them go past the ground station pass at Orroral in about 13 1/2 minutes, we wouldn’t be hearing from them until the MILA station over the U.S. in 49 minutes. This is Mission Control.

(JSC PAO commentary / Air-to-ground and change-of-shift press briefing transcripts, Aug. 31, 1983; "Boosters Heading for Port," Today, Aug. 31, 1983; Yacenda, Today, Sep. 1, 1983; STS-8 National Space Transportation Systems Program Mission Report, JSC-19278, October 1983; IFA STS-8-V-08, IFA STS-8-V-09, IFA STS-8-V-18 and STS-8-V-28; David Shayler, “Shuttle Challenger,” Prentice Hall Press 1987; Ben Evans, “Space Shuttle Challenger,” Springer/Praxis 2007; Talbott / Hannifin / Magnuson / Doerner / Kern, “Atrocity in the Skies,” Time, Sep. 12, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:17 pm
Thursday, September 1, 1983 (Flight Day 3) – Pumping Iron Challenge

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.”

- Cavett Robert (1907-1997)… uhm, yes, he was born Nov. 14, 1907  ;)
Founder of the NSA – no, not the spy guys, but the “National Speakers Association”

 “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

- Desmond Tutu (born 1931), South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop


At 8:25 p.m. CDT, the Houston PAO announced, “Standing by for acquisition through Orroral in eastern Australia, where we expect to proceed with the wakeup call for the crew.” This was followed by the University of Illinois Fight Song, played for MS1 Dale Gardner.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, good morning.

Gardner: A great song.

CapCom: Yes, that really sounded good, didn’t it?

Gardner: (Garble) thought it was static, but I understood it clearly.

CapCom: Well, Dale, that’s funny. That’s the same words I got down here.

Asked if the little manual business earlier on did help the comm, CapCom Bryan O’Connor confirmed, “It sure did. We got data right away and that helped out quite a bit.” He then had some notes for Commander Dick Truly: “Okay, these things apply to post-sleep activities, or things fairly early in the day, and then we plan just to stand by and not talk to you much more through your post-sleep.”

“First of all,” he continued, “dump supply water tank bravo to five percent; it should take about 30 minutes. And then, due to the dump problem we had yesterday, we would like you to perform the post-dump procedures, dump termination per page 5-3, except leave the supply water dump isol valve open, talkback open. Rationale is this will protect the water crosstie capability in the event of inability to dump water later.”

 “…Also we would like you to push in the circuit breaker for the smoke detector that we had you pull last night – that’s main bravo smoke detector bay 1, bravo 3 alpha to open, or to close rather. And just a note for a little later on,” O’Connor added, “we are deleting the TV and also the planned IMU align and you can refer to message number 20 alpha at your convenience this morning for the IMU procedure this morning. That’s all I’ve got.”

Truly: Okay, Bryan, I already read the message and I believe I got all your early morning instructions. How much time do we have left in the pass?

CapCom: Okay, we’re going LOS right now and we’ll see you over the States at 18:30, make that 19:30 (9:02 p.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Bryan. And I’d like to thank you for waking us up just in time to see a beautiful nighttime view of the Nile River Valley in the Middle East with all the lights, and also a real nice Australia pass.

CapCom: That’s super and that stateside pass is at 19:30; see you there.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, one day, 19 hours Mission Elapsed Time, Challenger passing out of the range of the tracking station at Orroral and eastern Australia. Mission Control played the Illinois Fight Song for Mission Specialist Dale Gardner; that’s his alma mater. Commander Richard Truly reported that he received the teleprinter message and has been reading it and passed his appreciation for slightly an early wakeup this morning, which enabled him to get a good view over the Middle East and the Nile River Valley and a nice pass over Australia.

We will be using only the ground stations for about the next six hours today. The White Sands facility will be using, or doing some testing with the Tracking Data Relay Satellite, involving a test facility here in Houston, a ground communication test facility. That’ll be going on for about the next six hours, so we will be communicating in our normal mode of using the ground stations. We’re about 28 minutes from reacquiring and that will be through the MILA station over the U.S. on orbit 30. This is Mission Control Houston.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:19 pm
And so the crew was getting ready to have some breakfast, while also performing the typical early morning housekeeping activities aboard the Space Shuttle, like IMU alignments, water dumps, fuel cell purges, that sort of thing. Commander Truly reported that this morning’s supply water dump went off on the first try “like a champ.” Meanwhile, when he reset the circuit breaker on the smoke sensor in avionics bay 1, he got the alarm again.

“And one more piece of information,” said Truly. “When we pushed in the alarm circuit breaker, after a few seconds we got a repeat on the av-bay 1 sensor bravo exactly like yesterday; circuit test turned out exactly the same. But since then it has not triggered again and I’m leaving the circuit breaker closed until we can talk about it.” Mission Control told Truly to leave the smoke detector circuit breaker in. “The data shows that that sensor is jumping around just a little bit,” said Bryan O’Connor. “We don’t see anything from the other sensors, and we’ll keep an eye on them.”

At 9:17 p.m. CDT, Challenger was picked up over the Dakar and Madrid tracking stations for another five minutes. The astronauts were advised to terminate the supply water dump. Houston also requested another circ pump cycle. “We didn’t have time to tell you over the States, but we wanted you to cycle those circ pumps 1 and 3 so that we could see the data during a cycle, and that’s the reason we asked you to do it at that time.”

Truly: And Bryan, I understand from the mission summary message that we got good high data rates through the TDRS S-band yesterday?

CapCom: That’s affirm. People were a little bit surprised here, it worked out real good. Especially the STS-9 folks, they are real happy with that.

Just before Challenger went LOS Dakar, with the next acquisition expected at IOS at 9:36 p.m. CDT, Commander Truly reported, “The post-sleep stuff except for eating breakfast is complete, except for the IMU align. And I’ll wait for your call on that.”

PAO: This is Mission Control at one day, 19 hours, 56 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, passed out of range of the tracking station through Dakar and we’ll be picking up in about seven and a half minutes over Indian Ocean Station. We are announcing our intention that we are cancelling the change-of-shift conference, which would have been at 10:00 p.m. with the off-going Flight Director Jay Greene. There appears to be no compelling reason to hold that press conference at this time, and we are cancelling that. We’ll be picking up over the Indian Ocean Station in about seven minutes. This is Mission Control Houston…

This is Mission Control Houston, one day, 20 hours, two minutes Mission Elapsed Time (9:34 p.m. CDT. We are going to reverse ourselves here momentarily; apparently there is some interest been given in having that press conference, so we are going to go ahead and have one at approximately 10:00, and that’s Central Time. So in about half an hour we will have Flight Director Jay Greene over in Room 135, Building 2, and we will be available for the press at that time. This is Mission Control.


CapCom (Mary Cleave): Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Indian Ocean for eight minutes.

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston. Read you loud and clear.

CapCom: Roger, Dan, you are loud and clear also and I got one flight note for you on your IMU align with a star of opportunity this morning when you are ready to copy.

Brandenstein: Stand by just a second… Okay, Houston, I guess I’ll write on this paper. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay, Dan, this morning we noticed that items 2 and 3, stars 40 and 14 that are in your table, now are good and we would like you to align with those stars via message TPR-20 alpha.

Brandenstein: Mary, if you could just stand by a second. You came in pretty broken that time. We are using the mike; let me (garble) and I’ll ask you again.

CapCom: Okay, I’ll say it again when you get ready for it…

Truly: …And Houston, CDR. Try again on IMUs.

CapCom: Okay, Richard, in your star table right now, you have item 2 star 40, item 3 star 14; they are good and we would like you to align using those two stars via teleprinter message 20-alpha.

Truly: Roger, Mary. You came through loud and clear that time. Got it. Thanks.

CapCom: You are welcome…

Truly: …Houston, the align is in progress. Do you need the numbers?

CapCom: Thanks, Richard, but we’ve got them here.

Truly: Okiedoke.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston. We are 30 seconds LOS, talk to you again through Yarragadee at 20:20 (9:52 p.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Houston, we’ll see you there. There sure is a lot of ocean in the world. We’re just fascinated looking at all of these beautiful clouds.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:21 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:23 pm
CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Yarragadee for about ten minutes.

Gardner: Okay, Mary, loud and clear.

CapCom: You are loud and clear too, Dale.

Gardner: Everybody’s downstairs shaving and getting cleaned up. (Garble) first up this morning.

CapCom: That sounds like a good idea.

“Everybody’s downstairs shaving…” – By the way, you’ve probably heard of the “Cola Wars;” but during summer of 1983 there happened to be another space-related conflict, kind of a, well, let’s call it “Razor Fight!”

On September 12, 1983, Space Business News reported, “The astronauts on STS-8 used Remington shavers instead of the Norelcos the STS-7 crew took along. Remington complained to the Federal Trade Commission this summer that Norelco made inaccurate statements in a June 20 news release apparently indicating the astronauts had endorsed Norelco’s shaver. NASA said its astronauts cannot endorse any commercial products; the agency said it picked the Norelco shaver for STS-7 because it fit conveniently into the astronauts’ personal kits. Remington filed suit against Norelco parent North American Phillips, but the matter was settled out of court July 26. Neither NASA nor Remington offered an explanation of why Remington shavers were picked for STS-8…”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:23 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:26 pm
Gardner: Mary, have you sent up a vector yet this morning? I’m… we need to know if we need to reprogram our little computers here.

CapCom: We’ll check on that, just a second, Dale… Challenger, Houston, this is Houston. Dale, we have not put in a new state vector this morning; you’re still running on the one that was put in last night, and it’s holding real well.

Gardner: Okay, thanks, Mary. – Okay, and for GNC, the item is done and the star trackers are back on track.

CapCom: We copy that… Challenger, this is Houston. We’re ten seconds from handing over, over Australia, to Orroral; we’ll lose you for about twenty seconds and we’ll pick you up for another five minutes.

Gardner: See you there.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston. We’re back with you, now through Orroral for five minutes.

Gardner: We got you, Mary. And Mary, you can ignore the S76 comm message; I was just fooling with VTR.

CapCom: Okay, Dale, we’ll do that, thanks for the info. (…) Challenger, this is Houston; we’re 30 seconds LOS. We’ll talk to you again through MILA at 21:04 (10:36 p.m. CDT).

Gardner: Good bye.

CapCom: Bye, bye, Dale.

PAO: …This is Shuttle Mission Control, at one day, 21 hours, one minute Mission Elapsed Time, just about three minutes away from Acquisition of Signal through MILA after an LOS of about 30 minute duration with the TDRS down for the time being. This has been one of the longer LOS periods so far during STS-8 and already the TDRS testing appears to have spoiled us for the frequency of contact that we have been enjoying over the past nearly two full days of this mission.

The Mission Control Team here in the control center has been watching playback of some of the video acquired earlier in the day from Challenger, including the replay of the deployment sequence of the Insat and other on-orbit video, including the telephone conversation with the President of the United States, which occurred just before the sleep period begin on Wednesday. And we’re about two minutes away from voice contact at one day, 21 hours, three minutes Mission Elapsed Time, this is Shuttle Mission Control.


During the 5:15 a.m. early-morning press briefing at Johnson Space Center, Flight Director Randy Stone told reporters, “When Dale Gardner checked the TV cameras this morning, one of the cameras – camera delta, it’s the one on the forward right hand side of the vehicle in the payload bay – it wouldn’t downlink a picture. This is no impact to the mission; it’s not one of the cameras we use for data takes during the RMS testing. But it is the color camera with the wide-angle lens that gives you some of the neat views to the tail of the orbiter from just a PAO sense.”

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you over the States for thirteen minutes.

Gardner: Okay, Mary, loud and clear.

CapCom: You’re loud and clear too, Dale.

Gardner: And the breakfast menu this morning is cereal, coffee, eggs and some orange juice – and Bill Thornton was the cook.

CapCom: Sounds good to us. We’re thinking about a burrito run.

Gardner: That doesn’t sound good right now… except for Brandenstein. He’s yelling up from the middeck that that does sound good. – Mary, one more thing. While we were over the Pacific there coming towards MILA, I tried turning on… Well, the cameras were all on, but I brought them all up on the monitors just to see how they made it through the night. And, unfortunately, one did not make it through the night so good: camera delta, which is our only wide-angle color. I get no picture on it. I secured it about fifteen minutes ago, just to leave it off for awhile. And in a little bit here, I’ll turn it on, and we’ll see if we got a picture back. But it doesn’t look too good.

CapCom: Okay, Dale. We copy that.

Gardner: And Houston, Challenger. I just powered camera D back on and still no joy. Just have a totally gray picture on the monitor; all the rest of the cameras appear to be working properly.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that.

Gardner: And Mary, yes, you probably guessed – I tried everything, you know, opening the iris, closing the iris manually, hitting all the buttons. It does tilt and pan okay. I’ve put camera C on it so I can see it, and camera D does move around, but just no picture.

CapCom: Okay, Dale, we copy that, and INCO will look at it for you… And Challenger, this is Houston. We have a smoke detector test we’d like for you to run when you’re ready to copy.

Truly: Okay, Mary. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay. We’d like you to perform a smoke detector test on the system A sensors. And if av-bay 1 alpha sensor tests good, then we’d like you to go to panel 15, row Charlie and take smoke detector bay 1 bravo/3alpha, the circuit breaker to open.

Truly: Okay, I’ll sure do that. And we did, I forgot to tell you, but during LOS we did get one more trip of 1 bravo, so I would like to do that, if we could, and I’ll check alpha.

CapCom: Okay, Dick, we copy that.

Truly: Houston, the A sensors check okay; so I’m going to pull the circuit breakers.

CapCom: Okay, Richard, we concur with that… Challenger, this is Houston, we’re 20 seconds LOS. We’ll talk to you again through Dakar in about five minutes at 21 plus 20 (10:52 p.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Houston, we’ll see you at Dakar and we’re about halfway through breakfast. Everything is going real fine onboard this morning.

CapCom: Sounds real good.

Truly: See you there.

CapCom: Bye, bye.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at one day, 21 hours, 17 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. Mission Specialist Dale Gardner during that pass reported the failure of the video camera D, delta. It’s a wide-angle color camera mounted on the forward bulkhead, looking aft on the starboard side of the vehicle. The suspicion is that the temperature extremes experienced during the tail-Sun attitude overnight may have promoted the demise of that unit, but the INCO here is looking at possible ways of trying to recover that unit. Brief LOS of about two more minutes remaining before we reacquire through Dakar; this is Mission Control Houston.

“We completed the cold canopy test that you may have heard about that we started last night,” Flight Director Randy Stone said, “we have been running for about fifteen hours, fourteen, fifteen hours with the orbiter’s tail pointed to the Sun to give the forward part of the orbiter a deep space looking angle to cool off the cockpit area. It’s a rerun of the test we ran on Orbiter 102. There had been some changes in the thermal structure of the vehicle and we wanted to verify the predicted data on the forward part of the vehicle in this cold environment.”

Asked if anything came out of the cold canopy test that surprised him at all, Flight Director Stone replied, “No. No surprises whatsoever. There were no problems on the orbiter in this cold attitude. The canopy area of the cockpit at last report was down up to about minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It could have gone as los as 150 degrees before we would have aborted out of that cold attitude and minus 80 was about what had been predicted by the math model. So we feel comfortable that we were predicting the vehicle response, at least for this attitude, quite accurately.”

Regarding the failed payload bay camera delta, ground commands and inflight troubleshooting did not restore the picture and the camera was not used for the remainder of the mission. During post-flight failure analysis Camera D was found to have a failure in the video preamp circuitry on the A9 board.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:27 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:28 pm

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston at one day, 22 hours, 33 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (12:05 a.m. CDT); we are about a minute away from Acquisition of Signal through Buckhorn after another fairly long LOS period of about 34 minutes. Challenger on orbit 32, Commander Dick Truly doing some exercise on the treadmill at this time, Pilot Dan Brandenstein is scheduled to be doing some activity for the getaway specials. Mission Specialist Dale Gardner will be setting up some TV to cover the PFTA testing and Mission Specialist Guy Bluford would be working with Dr. Bill Thornton on some biofeedback experiments. And we should have voice momentarily. This is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you over the States for about eighteen minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear.

CapCom: Loud and clear too, Richard.

Truly: Mary, where are we right now?

CapCom: You are right over northern Mexico, northwestern Mexico.

Truly: Nice and clear night. We see a lot of cities below us. The reason I had to ask you is because we’ve got the lights turned off in the flight deck. It looks like three or four hundred miles to the north is a large area of thunderstorm activity.

CapCom: We copy that.

Truly: Roger, Houston. We’re… looking out the aft windows right across the OMS pods straight down at large cities and going right down a whole series of towns and cities we can see every street.

CapCom: Copy that, Dick.

Truly: And down in this part it’s real clear; there is an occasional thunder bumper or two, but it’s real pretty.

CapCom: Sounds real nice.

Truly: Sure beats working for a living, Mary.

CapCom: Looking forward to it.

Truly: And Mary, I know Jeff is not going to believe this, but we just had a jet fire in the aft, one of the verniers firing in the aft, and the whole right side of the tail and the right side of the OMS pods looks like it’s glowed for a second, or glowed for several seconds.

CapCom: Sounds like good fireworks. And Jeff believes it.

Truly: At this point, we’re essentially – the port side of the vehicle is into the velocity vector.

CapCom: We copy.

Truly: Now we are getting down to the area that’s getting wet. There’s a lot of thunderstorms right below us.

CapCom: Looks like you are right over the Cape now.

Truly: You’re kidding me… Okay, now I’m oriented. We can – the entire state of Florida is just dry land, right? We can see A1A and we can see all the eastern seaboard, although up around the Carolinas and up north it’s beginning to get cloudy. I guess the biggest thing, we didn’t realize it because we hadn’t looked at the map, but I guess the biggest and clearest city that we saw was probably New Orleans.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that… Dale, this is Houston. We have looked at the camera delta over Goldstone and have found that we can concur there are problems with the camera. Hopefully we’ll be able to check it again when we go to a warmer attitude and maybe it will work then.

Truly: Roger, Mary. Dale is coming to the phone.

Gardner: Okay, Mary, copy. Thank you.

CapCom: You’re welcome… Challenger, this is Houston. We are 30 seconds LOS; we’ll talk to you again through Dakar at 22:56 then. Thanks for the tour of the Gulf.

Truly: You bet, Mary. See you later.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:30 pm

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston at one day, 23 hours, six minutes Mission Elapsed Time (12:38 a.m. CDT), about ten more minutes before we acquire signal again through Botswana. A variety of activities going on onboard the Challenger right now, principally aimed at setting up cameras and preparing for RMS, Remote Manipulator System operations and exercises with the Payload Flight Test Article. And all the activity will begin approximately in fifty minutes from now, and the onset of the PFTA testing will certainly usher in a more active period of dialogue and exchange of information between the ground and the spaceship. Challenger on orbit 32, Mission Elapsed Time one day, 23 hours, seven minutes, this is Mission Control Houston…

… This is Mission Control Houston at one day, 23 hours, 41 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (1:13 a.m. CDT). Well be out of touch with the crew for seventeen minutes, reacquiring through Hawaii. During this orbit we’ll be in quite a bit of voice contact with Challenger as the crew begins to prepare for the RMS operations and PFTA testing. We go in rapid succession up through ground station coverage from Hawaii to Buckhorn to MILA, Bermuda, Dakar and Ascension Island tracking stations and quickly into Botswana and through Yarragadee, so we’ll have a great deal of voice contact. During the run up and test portion of the PFTA activities this morning. This is Mission Control…

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Hawaii for seven minutes.

Gardner: Loud and clear, Mary. We just started page 1-2 of the RMS checklist.

CapCom: You’re loud and clear too, Dale, and looks like you’re right on schedule.

Gardner: Actually we’ve finished 1-2; we’re just getting ready to deploy the RMS (garble) 1-3.

CapCom: We copy that.

PAO: …This is Mission Control Houston. Data indicates that the Challenger is in the minus ZLV attitude free drift for PFTA testing and the crew affirming that Richard Truly and Dale Gardner had begun the RMS power up activities prior to PFTA testing. Challenger now in its second day in space, in its third day in space, Mission Elapsed Time two days, zero hours, zero minutes. RMU systems officer here in the control center verified that the Remote Manipulator System has been released and deployed based on data he’s looking at, at his console. RMU systems officer monitoring his data and affirming to the flight director that the crew is moving briskly through the RMS checklist operations…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:32 pm
PAO: This is Shuttle Mission Control, at two days, zero hours, five minutes Mission Elapsed Time; we’ve had Loss of Signal through Hawaii and we’ll pick them up again through Buckhorn in about two and a half minutes. There will of course be two segments of PFTA operations; today’s exercise will involve grappling with fixture number 2 on the Payload Flight Test Article, and tomorrow morning, on Flight Day 3 at Mission Elapsed Time of three days, two hours, 20 minutes, the Remote Manipulator System will be exercised and will grapple with fixture number 5.

The Remote Manipulator System will be used in unberthing and berthing the Payload Flight Test Article and they will place it in numerous positions while operating Challenger’s attitude control system in various modes, including free drift, as its in now, to determine the response in flight. And those responses will be used in comparison with ground data; and that‘s a verification of ground computer simulations and engineering models. The data will be used in determining the response of the RMS system, as well of the orbiter in the handling of larger payloads for future missions, such as the Long Duration Exposure Facility and the Solar Maximum Mission that will be flown, a Solar Max satellite mission which will be flown on STS-13. The Payload Flight Test Article weighs in at about 7,460 pounds. We’re just 30 seconds away from Acquisition of Signal on orbit 33 at Mission Elapsed Time two days, zero hours, eight minutes, this is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you over the States for 19 minutes… Copy that, Richard?

Truly: (Garble) grapple fixture 2 (garble) in the darkness. It works like a champ.

CapCom: That sounds great.

Truly: Okay, Houston, we got a good capture with the bottom of 1-2, and also we’re in the darkness, so we did not use the 16mm, so I put it on the VTR.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, we copy that and we concur.

PAO: Mission Commander Richard Truly advising the flight control team that the Remote Manipulator System grapple fixture has captured fixture number 2 on the Payload Flight Test Article and that the mechanical arm, or the manipulator system was rigidized. Richard Truly, of course, performed RMS operations also during STS-2 when he was pilot of Columbia.

Truly: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Go ahead, Challenger, Houston here.

Truly: Roger. Right now I’m looking straight down at the Gulf Freeway, the center of Houston, Galveston, Clear Lake, the Johnson Space Center. Looks beautiful, even Seabrook.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that. It may be a little wet.

Truly: Well, I tell you, it sure looks pretty. Tonight we can see all along the Texas coast.

CapCom: Well, I’m sure some folks are out in their backyards trying to see you too, Richard.

Truly: Well, tell them to look straight up. And, incidentally, as we understand August 30th we were a little busy because we lifted off early that morning, but 147 years ago Houston was founded and we’d like to wish the city a happy birthday. We’re proud to live there and it’s home of the space program – and we’re looking right at you.

CapCom: Thanks, and all the folks in the MOCR would like to join you too.

Truly: You bet.

The City of Houston was founded on August 30, 1836, just a few months after the end of the Texas War of Independence, and named for General Sam Houston, who had defeated Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. In the following Treaty of Velasco Mexico granted Texas its independence. Sam Houston subsequently was elected President of the Republic of Texas.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at two days, zero hours, 19 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (1:51 a.m. CDT), and some wishes come down from the Mission Commander Dick Truly; the spaceship Challenger was about 75 nautical miles south of the City of Houston and 164 nautical miles above it…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:34 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:35 pm

“The primary objectives of today’s flight plan is to do the first five hours of testing with the Remote Manipulator System and the Payload Flight Test Article,” said Orbit 1 Flight Director Randy Stone during the 5:15 a.m. CDT change-of-shift briefing. “On schedule this morning we unberthed the PFTA with the RMS and have been running a number of tests with the arm and the PFTA. The purpose of these tests is to qualify the arm for operating with heavy, heavy, heavier payloads than we’ve operated with to date.”

PAO: …This is Mission Control. The RMU systems officer reports that his data shows the payload latches have been activated, indicating that the PFTA will soon be freed from the payload bay. The RMU systems officer is responsible for the Remote Manipulator System, for mechanical systems and for upper stage systems during the mission. And in as much as the PFTA testing is aimed principally at testing the Remote Manipulator System, he will be a prominent figure in this exercise. The RMU systems officer for the Orbit 1 team presently on duty in the Control Center is Albert Ong; he will be watching telemetry downlink data to monitor the performance of the Remote Manipulator System throughout this test phase.

Truly: Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead, CDR. This is Houston.

Truly: Okay. All the retention latches are released; the times on 1 and 4 and 2 and 3 were between 20 and 22 and 24 seconds; the keel took 27 seconds. When we released the keel we got the ready to latches on 3; 4 and 5 went from grey to barber pole. It looks like the aft end popped out just a bit off the latches.

CapCom: Roger. We copy that.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, Mission Elapsed Time two days, zero hours, 25 minutes (1:57 a.m. CDT).We have almost constant ground station coverage during this testing with very small gaps in between as the flight path of the Challenger catches most of the ground stations in North America, in the South Atlantic, South Africa, Australia and South Pacific during these passes. So we’ll have a very good coverage, lots of data and probably a substantial amount of air-to-ground transmission. Challenger is in free drift at the moment, indicating that there are no firings of the Reaction Control System jets. There will be some induced firings later on in this testing to evaluate the interaction of the arm and that 8,000-pound payload and the relationship of that mass to the orbiter itself; but for this early part of testing the vehicle will be in free drift.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston. We are 30 seconds LOS; we’ll talk to you in about five minutes through Dakar at zero plus 33.

Truly: Roger. See you there. We’re about five inches out of the latches.

CapCom: Copy that.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, Dick Truly advising that the PFTA is in the progress of being unberthed; nominal unberthing using that six degrees of freedom mode should take about fifteen minutes duration; power up is about ten minutes. Once it has been unberthed, the arm will be configured in a perpendicular posture relative to the vehicle. And there will be a 30-minute test of interaction of the flight control system and the RMS using vernier Reaction Control System jets. We’re about three and a half minutes away from reacquisition through Dakar, Mission Elapsed Time is presently two days, zero hours, 30 minutes. This is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Dakar for 11 minutes.

Gardner: Okay, Mary, great timing. We’re just on the top of page FF2-2 and we have a note written in here that says, let MCC know that we are here so they can send up some (garble) commands.

CapCom: Okay, Dale, we copy that. And that’s configured now, Dale.

Gardner: Thank you.

CapCom: Our pleasure.

Gardner: And we are sitting up here with the PFTA at minus 600 inches of Z, came right out of the guide, no problem at all; only had to make a few corrections other than just the z input.

CapCom: We copy that. Sounds good… Challenger, this is Houston. We’re 30 seconds LOS, talk to you in about four minutes through Botswana at 00 plus 48.

Gardner: Okay, you probably saw we’re at configuration A and just going to the top of page FF2-3.

CapCom: We copy that. You’re just chugging along.

PAO: This is Shuttle Mission Control at two days, zero hours, 44 minutes. We’ve had LOS. The PFTA exercise is a function that the Challenger crew does pretty much unilaterally, and not a lot of interaction with the flight control team. So long as operations remain nominal, and there will be no need for a terrific lot of dialogue between the astronauts and the Mission Control team. And certainly to this point, the function of the, (garble) functions have been indeed nominal. We reacquire signal again in three minutes through Botswana. This is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Botswana for seven minutes.

Truly: Roger, Mary, loud and clear. We’re just completing step one on page 2-3.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, and you are loud and clear too, and we copy… Challenger, this is Houston. We’re 30 seconds LOS; we’ll talk to you again through Yarragadee in about twelve minutes at 1 plus 08 (2:40 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Okay, Mary.

CapCom: …Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Yarragadee for seven minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, we are on the top of page 2-5 and we are talking about the DAP here for just a second.

CapCom: We copy that.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston at two days, one hour, ten minutes Mission Elapsed Time. The DAP question Commander Dick Truly referred to pertains of the Digital Auto Pilot and the question may have something to do with some uncertainty as to the software configuration of that unit to do with some uncertainty as to the software configuration of that unit during the testing. Standing by to see whether the crew is going to need assistance from the air-to-ground control team in sorting out that question or whether they will solve that onboard. We’re over the ground station at Yarragadee; we get voice only through Yarragadee and no data to reflect the progress of the crew as they proceed though the checklist and the RMS PFTA interaction testing so we will have to rely on their vocal update as to how they are doing. This is Mission Control Houston.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:36 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:38 pm

“The two tests that were run on my shift this morning were one with the interaction between the arm and the orbiter, where we wiggle the arm and see what it does to the orbiter,” said Flight Director Randy Stone, “and with the information we gain from these types of tests will be able to determine the performance of the arm and the orbiter control system when dealing with much heavier payloads in the future.” – And so, “wiggle and watch” was the motto – not only regarding the PFTA activity, but also INCO’s continuing attempts of reviving payload bay camera delta.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston. We’re twenty seconds LOS; talk to you through Guam at one plus 22 in about seven minutes.

Gardner: Okay, we’re in the two-minute wait on page FS2-5.

CapCom: Okay, Dale, we copy that.

PAO: This is Shuttle Mission Control at two days, one hour, 16 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (2:48 a.m. CDT). Mission Specialist Dale Gardner referring the flight control team to their position and the checkout procedure of the documents they’re using is from the Flight Data File. It’s the PDRS (Payload Deployment and Retrieval System) operation checklist, the STS-8 flight supplement. They are on page FS2-5, having to do with the I-load sensitivity test, where the Digital Auto Pilot sends certain commands to fire selective verniers and do so at measured intervals of five seconds. The two-minute wait that Dale Gardner reported is the conclusion of that test, where they are taking time to assure that any motion induced by those fires, firings is dampened out and that the vehicle Remote Manipulator System and the PFTA have ceased any motion that was induced by those RCS firings.

The next test objective on completion of the I-load test will have to do with simulated deployment – let me amend that – that has to do with the Long Duration Exposure Facility. At the conclusion of this test actually the crew goes on to the noon meal. The testing of the PRCS (Primary Reaction Control System) is done principally by Dick Truly and Dale Gardner. As they’re doing that, those activities, pilot Dan Brandenstein is performing some vehicle maintenance activities and inputting keystrokes into the orbiter’s General Purpose Computers. Mission Specialist Guy Bluford has been doing some medical DSOs and performing meal preparation, which is scheduled to go on throughout the remainder of orbit 35 and up until Mission Elapsed Time of two days and three hours, at which time RMS testing resumes – that’s according to the nominal timeline; we would rather expect that the crew is going to be a little ahead of that. We’ll acquire signal again through Guam in about two minutes. At Mission Elapsed Time two days, one hours, 20 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston.

During the short Guam pass, Mary Cleave informed the astronauts of INCO’s troubleshooting efforts, “No crew action required, but we’re going to do some ground troubleshooting of camera delta over Hawaii. Looking at the data now we think that it’s a stuck lens problem.” – “We hope you’re right,” said Dick Truly, “and just let us know if we can help.”

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston. We’ll get voice and data through Hawaii in eight minutes (at 3:05 a.m. CDT). Mission Commander Dick Truly referencing their position in the PDRS checklist, where they have proceeded on to RMS PRCS interaction testing that was scheduled for after the meal time; so it’s clear that the crew is going to press on and move well ahead of the timeline as it appears in the Crew Activity Plan. Suspicion of the INCO here is that the failed delta Camera may be a thermal problem having to do with the lens while the ship was in the tail-Sun attitude and suspects that they may be able to remedy that by some commands that he proposes to uplink to that system through Hawaii in the upcoming pass. Mission Elapsed Time two days, one hour, 26 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Hawaii for five minutes.

Gardner: Okay, we’re just finishing up with test number one on page 4-3.

CapCom: We copy that, Dale. (…) Challenger, this is Houston. We’re 30 seconds LOS; we’ll talk to you again through the States after a couple minutes at 1 plus 43 (3:15 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Mary, and we’re setting up on page 4-4.

CapCom: We copy that, Richard.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston at two days, one hour, 42 minutes Mission Elapsed. We are about a minute away from reacquisition of signal and the INCO has reported no joy in his attempts to recover camera delta. Although he feels very strong that it’s a lens problem and that it may be solvable, and will continue to look for a remedy. We’ll expect voice contact with the Challenger again in just less than a minute.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you over the States for seventeen minutes… Challenger, this is Houston, you are broken and unreadable. Say again… Challenger, Houston, negative for your… you’re unreadable. Stand by… Challenger, this is Houston, comm check… Challenger, this is Houston, comm check… Challenger, this is Houston with a comm check…

Gardner: Houston, Challenger, how do you copy?

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston. Dale, we read you loud and clear. How me?

Gardner: Okay, I’m on a HIU real quick; we just lost a battery on the WCCU we’re using; we’ll switch it out and be back with you in a second.

CapCom: Roger that.

Gardner: And Mary, we’re in the first two-minute pause of test one on 4-5.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, we copy that.

Gardner: And everything has been going nominally so far during some of these interaction tests. We’ve seen some movement, some wiggle of the PDRS PFTA combination, but it hasn’t been probably as large as I might have expected with the thing sticking up straight over the top of the cabin like it is.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that, Dale.

Gardner: And Mary, these two-minute waits are almost as fun as they were in the simulator.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, we copy that.

Gardner: Actually when we are in daylight, they are kind of nice because when ZLV, we look down at the Earth through the overhead windows; but on the dark side here, there is not much to see.

CapCom: Roger. It must be a little more realistic than the sim, right?

Gardner: That’s true… Okay, Mary, comm check with the new WCCU battery.

CapCom: And your comm check is loud and clear.

Gardner: Okay, that was the problem. We’re back in business.

CapCom: Well, that’s good news. (…) Dan, this is Houston, all the ECLS component checkout looks good to us, including the cabin fans. They look okay.

Brandenstein: Okay, thank you.

Truly: Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead, Richard. This is Houston.

Truly: Roger. Just for time planning. What we’re, Dan and I are planning on doing is completing the procedures on 4-5, which should put us a little bit ahead here. And then we are going to take a short break and I’m going to go back to ZLV on verniers, and we’re going to get a bite to eat and then we’ll get right back with it.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. Looks like you are right on schedule to us and your plans sound fine.

Truly: Okay, I just had a great ham and cheese sandwich, but I had to eat in serial instead of in parallel: First the bread, then the ham, then the cheese.

CapCom: We thought the bread came last.

Truly: It depends on what you have in your hand and when you start, I guess.

CapCom: Yes, sir… Challenger, this is Houston. We’re 30 seconds LOS; we’ll talk to you again through Ascension in 13 minutes at 2 plus 13 (3:45 a.m. CDT).

Gardner: Okay, and we’re on test three on 4-5.

CapCom: Okay, Dale. We copy that.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:39 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:40 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:41 pm

Just for the fun of it – let’s talk about slug, as they did during the 5:15 a.m. CDT press briefing at Johnson Space Center. Wonder what a shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc has to do with the RMS/PFTA tests performed during mission STS-8? Well, it started with AP correspondent Paul Recer, asking Flight Director Randy Stone: “I wanted to ask you about the Payload Flight Test Article. The press kit has an inertial mass unit of 64,000 slug feet squared. I understand the slug, but I don’t understand the feet squared.”

“Well, I’m not a physicist,” said Stone, “but, you understand, the slug is the mass of the vehicle and the feet squared is a function of the – and I’m going to use another word that you are going to ask me what it means, probably, is the inertia of the object that you are dealing with. And it has to do with once you put something into motion, how hard it is to stop it and how hard it is to start it into motion. It’s just the units we use for inertia.”

Recer: I understand the slug is 14.59 kilograms, okay, but the…

Stone: You remember it better than I do. I didn’t remember that.

Recer: Alright, the square feet is what I don’t understand in your expression here. Is that a function of motion? In other words…

Stone: No. It’s a function of how far it is from… Well, I guess I’d better not try to explain it since I’m not sure I understand, exactly, the units of that measurement. But the PFTA article is designed so we can pick it up in a couple of different places, which changes its inertia. It’s difficult to start its motion and stop its motion. If you want a physics discussion on the units, I’ll get somebody that’s certainly more qualified than I am to talk about it.

Recer: Is that a function of torque associated with the location of the center of gravity?

Stone: It’s the moment that you… yes. It’s where the center of gravity is and where the grapple points are on the fixture. We can actually change the inertia by grappling it in different places and changing the CG with respect to the arm, or the RMS.

Recer: In an attempt to convert this to my somewhat pedestrian intellect, can you express it terms we might understand the value of the force that the arm is imparting to move this test article? In other words, do it in pounds, the amount of force used to move the object in orbit. How many pounds would that same amount of force lift one foot on Earth, for instance?

Stone: I can’t answer that, Paul. I don’t know the answer to that.

PAO: Craig, can you answer that?

Covault: I can’t understand the question.

PAO: Did you have a question? Did you have a question, Craig? Craig Covault... If Craig can’t answer it, then…

Stone: Then I guess I’m covered.

PAO: Yes, you could say anything and get away with it.

So, Aviation Week’s veteran space expert Craig Covault refused to get into the slug thing… He was more inclined to talk about… rats? Really?

Covault: I thought they were scheduled to bring the rats out this morning. I was asleep. Did they bring the cage out and shake it hard, or do anything like that?

Stone: Not to my knowledge, Craig. I don’t think the… there is some TV scheduled of the enclosure later in the flight, but it wasn’t this morning.

Shake the rat cage? – Now, come on. You shouldn’t do that! …Then Carlos Byars (Houston Chronicle) returned to the slug topic, starting, “Yes, talking about the slug…” – and got interrupted by Randy Stone, who quipped, “It’s not a slimy little creature that crawls around.”

Byars: Yes, I know. It has to do with moments of acceleration and that sort of good stuff. But like Paul, I have a problem of trying to translate it into something my readers can read, and, of course, the arm is designed to handle much larger payloads. With the test on the arm that you’re doing with the test article now, how does that fit into the scheme? How does that compare with what you might have to handle with one of your larger scheduled payloads?

Stone: The PFTA article is kind of an intermediate step in testing the arm. It is considerably heavier than the previously payloads that we have manipulated. The purpose of manipulating a heavy article like the PFTA is to understand the arm dynamics when you start moving this payload. When you stop the arm, put the brakes on the arm, it actually moves on a little bit further than where you stop it, and then it moves back. And with the data we’re gaining from this waste test article, we can extrapolate up to the 20,000 pound-plus payloads that could be flown and the arm could be required to move around.

Covault: Has there been any difficulty at all so far that’s shown up on your printouts down there? From what we’ve seen on TV, everything seems to be going just as slick as can be.

Stone: It came out of the latches very smoothly this morning. It’s very easy to move around. The tests that have been going on, we put it in various positions, various arm positions, and fired jets on the orbiter to actually impart a torque to the whole system, and then watched the reaction of the arm. And there has been… you could see the motion on TV, but it’s been very slight and about what was predicted.

Recer: What is the maximum mass that the craft could handle with that arm? Is that limited by the mass of the spacecraft itself, or is it somewhat smaller than that?

Stone: I believe the largest-weight payload that the arm is designed for is 30,000 pounds, but I’d have to verify that number for you. I’m not absolutely positive that 30,000 pounds is right. And of course, the orbiter can lift more than 30,000, so I believe it’s an arm limitation and not an orbiter performance limitation.

Recer: This 64,000 slug feet squared, is that based on the attach point 5?

Stone: I think it is, Paul. Yes, sir.

Recer: Well then, with attach point 3, the inertia would be less.

Stone: The inertia would be less. Yes, sir. The attach point 5 is right on the end, so it puts the most mass the furthest away from the end effector.

So, what exactly was the definition of slug again?

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:43 pm

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Ascension Island acquisition in a few seconds momentarily, the crew taking a meal break in the midst of the Payload Flight Test Article activities with the remote arm. We have acquisition at this time through Ascension.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Ascension for seven minutes.

Truly: Stand by for just one second… Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead, Richard, Houston.

Truly: Okay, we are on page 4-5; we are in step 5 and just did the first tail up, and there was a plus pitch. We repeated step 4; and the reason was when I fired the first pulse, I’ve been watching the RCS command lights and in addition to the low pulse that I got, a yaw jet also fired and we weren’t sure if that would mess up the data for that test. So we went ahead and tried that minus the second pulse after two minutes to kill the regs and then went around the little circle again and just repeated test four from the start. So we are in test five now on 4-5.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that. You’re moving right along.

Truly: Rog. And after test number six, we’re going to be heading back to ZLV and take a little bit of a break.

CapCom: Roger, another ham and cheese sandwich in serial.

Truly: No, not cereal; we had that for breakfast.

CapCom: Ouch… Challenger, this is Houston.

Truly: Okay, Houston, we just fired the first pulse on step 6.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Richard, and we’ve seen an OMS crossfeed lines temperature decreasing and we suspect you’re going to get an S89 thermal OMS message. And when you do, we’d like for you to go to A14 and take the RCS OMS heater crossfeed A auto and B off.

Truly: Wilco, will do. What time is it in Houston, Mary?

CapCom: Richard, it’s almost four o’clock in the morning here, and we’re 40 seconds LOS. We’ll talk to you again through Botswana at 2:23 (3:55 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Okay, we’ll see you at Botswana.

When Challenger flew over South Africa, Mission Specialist Dale Gardner radioed, “Mary, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the… there’s a great National Geographic special about the desert in Namibia, and we’re right over it.” He added, “I hate to admit it, but we just… we weren’t eating. We’ll skip eating just for the view we got across South Africa, and then the currents just to the east of it.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:46 pm
PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Botswana, the crew taking a little sightseeing break when they were scheduled to have their lunch. As they skimmed across the south part of Africa, observing sand dune ridges in Namibia and also the very colored currents offshore. Next station is Guam in 22 minutes. The checkout of the RMS operations using the Payload Flight Test Article still has several more hours to run, for power down at roughly seven hours into this date, some five hours from now. At two days, two hours, 33 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston.

(…)This is Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Guam, reacquisition through Hawaii in six minutes (4:41 a.m. CDT), continuing on across the States, Buckhorn and Merritt Island Launch Area station coverage for a television pass showing the Remote Manipulator System with the large dumbbell attached, with the Payload Flight Test Article. Returning in five minutes at Hawaii, this is Mission Control…

CapCom (John Blaha): Challenger, Houston’s with you at Hawaii for seven and a half minutes.

Gardner: Okay, we’re with you and the TV’s are on. I think we have the elbow cameras set up for you first; that might be a good view. And you, you… INCO can control any camera he wants except for B; we’re using that one for data. And flight deck camera is set up also.

CapCom: Roger, we understand, Dale. Thank you.

Gardner: Tell us when you have a picture.

CapCom: We have a picture right now, Dale. We’re looking at you through the overhead windows. How are you doing?

Gardner: Pretty good, John. How are you guys down there?

CapCom: Really great.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:47 pm
Gardner: This little walkie-talkie we have set up, we talk through this; and then we just listen through the speaker that’s right here between Richard and myself.

CapCom: Sounds like a good innovation.

Gardner: Okay. And we’re just getting ready to start test number one on 5-5.

CapCom: Understand.

Gardner: INCO, if you want to see the PFTA, just select the camera C; it’s already aimed at it.

CapCom: We have a nice view of the PFTA now, Dale. Thanks for the suggestion.

Gardner: Roger. And you can look at camera B also; just don’t do any panning or tilting on it. It’s zoomed in on the end effector, to the wiggles when we put in these pulses.

CapCom: Roger, we copy.

Gardner: And John, we’re sorry this isn’t a dayside pass; this view is much prettier looking down at the Earth below it.

CapCom: Roger that.

Gardner: Okay. If you just stay right on that camera B, Richard’s going to put in the next pulse in about 10 or 15 seconds here.

CapCom: Okay, we had it for a minute; right now we don’t; now we’re back with it, Dale.

Gardner: Okay, here comes the pulse. Stand by. It’ll be a plus roll port wing down. There it is, and I think you saw the picture move.

CapCom: Roger that. We saw it, Dale.

Gardner: And John, we are now watching our little egg timer which is counting down the two minutes in this test.

CapCom: Okay.

Gardner: INCO is doing pretty good with those pans and tilts.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we’re about fifty seconds to LOS now.

Gardner: Okay.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS in fifteen seconds; we’ll see you at Buckhorn in a couple of minutes.

Gardner: Roger, John, see you then...

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:49 pm
CapCom: …Challenger, Houston’s with you at Goldstone for five and a half minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. Loud and clear.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, we’re having a little difficulty focusing camera Charlie. If you could do that for us, we would appreciate it.

Truly: Well, as a matter of fact, we’ve had some trouble focusing it all the way into infinity, in getting a sharp focus at infinity ourselves. Our focus will drive in and out, but it will not quite get there when you need to have it focused at infinity. We did, I don’t know if you copied, we did get a camera overtemp on camera Bravo. We turned it off and are going to record the tests on camera Charlie and let camera Bravo cool down. Maybe that’s the problem. I don’t know.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that, Richard. And just for your information, your OMS crossfeed heater line is now working properly.

Truly: Roger that.

Zoom control on camera C was not consistent and its focus was fuzzy; payload bay camera A had a similar focus problem. In addition to that, on several occasions “Charlie” did not respond to any commands after power up, however, recycling the power to the camera regained command capability. A similar problem had been experienced with this camera during preflight checkout. Postflight analysis revealed that the lens assemblies on cameras A and C had experienced high motor drive side loads due to excessive load torque. The negator springs had been improperly positioned causing the excessive load torque and making the zoom, focus and iris difficult to operate.

NASA’s STS-8 inflight anomaly report states, “The number of leaves in the negator spring had been reduced by a change about one and a half years ago to insure proper load torque. This change will be incorporated in the lens assemblies from cameras A and C on OV-099. Old negator springs are installed on the lens assemblies for OV-102 (STS-9), but all have flown on at least one previous flight without a problem. New negator springs will be installed at the vendor on an as available basis.”

CapCom: And I have another note of information for you. You can assume no TDRS for the rest of the day. We’ll only be working GSTDN until we tell you otherwise; and unless the TDRS comes back, we won’t be doing any of the interaction steps in the CAP.

Truly: Roger, John, understand. And just keep us advised. Thanks for telling us.

CapCom: Roger that.

“The TDRS testing has been suspended at least here temporarily,” Flight Director Randy Stone said at the 5:15 a.m. CDT press briefing. “We had no TDRS testing on my shift today, due to White Sands ground problems. When I left the control center I checked with the ground controller, and White Sands is up with an interface to the Goddard network. And we hope to be able to try to reestablish an interface between the orbiter and TDRS later on today in Harold Draughon’s shift. We hope that comes to pass. It has not been an orbiter or a satellite problem; it has been strictly a ground systems problem at White Sands.”

“As far as we have lost today with respect to TDRS,” Stone explained, “we have not had any communications with the TDRS satellite through my entire shift; so that’s about nine hours. And I think Jay Greene’s shift lost TDRS about three hours into his shift… The tests that we’ve lost today have really been minimal, because we had not scheduled any TDRS testing during the RMS activities, because we wanted to guarantee ourselves high data rate over the ground STDN sites. So we are not losing any test time today; we’re just losing that experience base of being able to normally operate with TDRS.”

“If I’m counting up my tests right on my little cheat sheet here,” said Stone, “we’ve accomplished, I think, eleven of the nineteen tests that were scheduled – and that would leave eight to go. Not all of those were as high a priority as others. In fact, we had pared down that list of nineteen to, oh I don’t know, twelve or thirteen before the flight just to make sure that we had plenty of time to accomplish the high priority ones. And as things were going so well the first two days of the flight with TDRS, we put those ones that we’d scrubbed out back into the list. So we’re actually very close to, you know, completing the original pared down list.”

“The list of things we have accomplished on TDRS is much larger than the things we have not accomplished,” Stone continued. “We’re comfortable with the S-band system on TDRS and we have demonstrated the Ku-band link on both high and low data rate, and we have dumped the OPS recorders through the TDRS. So the big milestones for going and doing STS-9 are really accomplished through TDRS… We have not demonstrated the Text and Graphics System that is only available through the Ku-band and the TDRS; that’s one thing we’d like to do because it has a very high resolution text and graphics, and we plan to use it extensively during STS-9 as a flight planning or replanning tool to pass messages, much like we do with the teleprinter before TDRS… I feel certain that we’ll be able to accomplish these tests before the end of STS-8.”

Truly: And Houston, we are complete with the (garble) test. We’re moving on to the auto sequencing now.

CapCom: Roger that, Richard. Thanks a lot… Challenger, Houston, if you could check that the flight deck camera is on we would appreciate it, so we can get a last view of you here before you go over the hill.

Gardner: Roger, Houston, it’s on.

CapCom: Thank you. And we’re getting a good view of you here, Richard and Dale, doing your testing activity.

Gardner: Okay, and we’re on page 7-3. I’m just driving the shoulder yaw to minus 60 there in the middle of the page, in single.

CapCom: Okay, we’re following you, Dale. Thanks.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:50 pm

“During the Hawaii and stateside pass we had live TV of the Payload Flight Test Article extended out on the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System,” commented the PAO, “and Challenger has demonstrated that it can bench press 8500 pounds without benefit of steroids.”

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at Ascension for five and a half minutes.

Truly: Roger, John, loud and clear… And Houston, CDR, we are on the way to .5 in the auto sequence on page 7-5.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that, Richard. You guys are really moving along and doing a good job.

Truly: Well, the RMS is doing a super job. We haven’t had a hiccup yet out of it. Incidentally, we’re recording this on camera Alpha and we’ve got the other payload bay cameras off.

CapCom: Okay, we copy.

Truly: Roger… John, it’s a shame you haven’t seen or heard more from Bill in the last couple of days; but I assure you, he’s been working harder than anybody down there on his stuff in the middeck. And almost everybody that’s absent from the conversation is down there helping him get measurements.

CapCom: That’s affirm, Dick.

Truly: I’m going to get him up here and gray tape him in a chair so he can look out the window a little bit.

CapCom: Roger. Sounds like a good idea… Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS in twenty seconds. We’ll see you at Botswana in five minutes.

Gardner: Okay, John. We just flew by point 7 on the way to the last point, number 8.

CapCom: Okay, thanks a lot, Dale… Challenger, Houston’s with you at Botswana for seven minutes.

Gardner: Roger, John… Okay, John, I’ve had some intermittent problem here with camera Charlie. We had it off there for awhile while we used the Alpha only. When I turned it back on, none of the (garble) buttons would response whatsoever. I cycled it off and back on, and now it appears to be working normally. Did the Flight 7 guys have something similar to this?

CapCom: Stand by one, Dale. I’ll try to get you an answer.

Gardner: Okay.

Truly: Houston, CDR. You still with us?

CapCom: Roger, still with you.

Truly: Okay. Dale is setting up for the nominal berth.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that… Challenger, Houston. We’re going LOS in 25 seconds. We’ll see you at Guam at 4 plus 31 (6:03 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Houston.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, we have acquisition through Guam.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at Guam for seven minutes.

Gardner: Roger, John, we did the nominal berth and we’re letting it sit there while we return to minus ZLV since we’re quite a bit ahead here.

CapCom: Roger that, Dale.

Gardner: And as you might have expected, the nominal berth was no problem at all. It took quite a bit less time than what we had programmed. They just walked right down in there.

CapCom: Okay.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:51 pm
CapCom: Challenger, Houston. Just for your information, we’re going to try to acquire with TDRS again after Buckhorn. We think we have our ground station problem solved…

PAO: …Mission Control Houston, about 40 seconds away from reacquisition through Hawaii on orbit 36. There’s some likelihood that the tracking satellite system may be up and running, and we may attempt to go on the TDRS satellite just prior to Loss of Signal at Buckhorn; and Buckhorn has acquisition in about ten minutes. (…) Loss of Signal at Hawaii, Buckhorn reacquisition in about two minutes, and apparently we’re now locked up on the forward link of the Ku-band with the TDRS satellite. And four pages of text are going to be sent up on the Text and Graphics System, or TAGS as it’s called, so the crew can check for quality of reproduction in that system. Standing by for reacquisition through Buckhorn – final contact with the stateside ground stations for the day…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at Buckhorn for three minutes. (…) And Challenger, Houston, we’re showing camera A at 44 degrees right now. If you’re not using it, you may power it off.

Truly: Roger. Thank you.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS in twenty seconds. We’ll see you with TDRS, if it is linked up; if not, Botswana, 5 plus 36 (7:18 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger. And Dale is just out of the latches on the direct drive unberth.

CapCom: Okay.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, we’re getting now through the TDRS satellite on the Ku-band circuit – live television from Challenger. We now have S-band contact. We have voice through TDRS with the Challenger.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston…

Truly: Did you just see the sunrise on TV, John?

CapCom: Roger that, Richard.

Truly: John, I’m not sure which TV you’re watching, but we’re about three feet out, Dale is about three feet out above the guides and going to move it up in preparation for the direct drive unberth.

CapCom: Roger that, Richard. And we’re looking at the Charlie camera, and it’s just a beautiful definition that we have with the TDRS.

Truly: Super. That’s great. Dale is using a MUX (multiplexer) camera down around the trunnions and the elbow camera to watch the close trunnion. And we’ve got the flight deck camera back on also; so if you want Dan to tilt them, you’re welcome to switch in between any of them. The only two cameras we have off are Alpha and Delta.

CapCom: We copy that, Richard.

Gardner: Houston, MS1.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, go.

Gardner: Okay, John. We have the PFTA sitting, oh I don’t know, ten or twelve feet above the longerons. I just did the direct drive unberth. I don’t think it took, what, maybe ten minutes maximum, probably less than that. It flew very well in direct. Some oscillation using certain joints, but it was very easy to let those damp out and keep going; amazingly enough that it flew not too much different than the MDF (Manipulator Development Facility) ops.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that. And just clarify for us that it’s your intention to continue on with the control system eval.

Gardner: That’s affirmative. We’re going to the control system evaluation now.

CapCom: Ten-four.

Flight Director Hal Draughon later described, “In general, there were two basic kinds of tests that we were doing. One was checking interaction – well, the whole thing was checking interaction between the two units, either the RMS and the orbiter, and how they excite each other. One, you do things with the orbiter, and see how that’s reflected into the orbiter itself. There were a number of test runs today and no surprises at all. The crew did note some of the dynamics that we had anticipated and reported those. The data was gathered on some sensors, body sensors onboard, and will be reviewed postflight. The intent in collecting this data is to go in and update the models of the RMS, so that we can analyze and simulate more accurately the dynamics and response characteristics of the arm as we handle higher-weight payloads that are programmed in future flights.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:52 pm

Gardner: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Roger, Challenger, Houston.

Gardner: Yes. Did INCO just send up some TV commands per chance?

CapCom: Stand by one, Dale. We’ll wait for INCO… And Dale, we have done nothing other than select cameras for downlink.

Gardner: Okay. One of my monitors just did something funny. It went blank and then went over to a MUX picture, and then went blank and then came back to my, to my selection. And I just didn’t know what was causing it.

CapCom: Understand. And Dale, a correction on my last comment: We think likely we did cause your problem because we selected MUX.

Gardner: Okay, no problem. Just wanted to make sure it wasn’t something onboard.

CapCom: Roger. We won’t do that again.

Truly: And Houston, CDR. We just completed, or we’re waiting for the time to run out at the end of test four on page 3-3 and the flight deck camera is on.

CapCom: Roger, we understand, Richard. Thanks a lot. And we’re getting a good picture of you all on the flight deck right now, Richard.

Gardner: You have the lights – the lights may not be optimum, John, here. We got the Sun coming in through some of our overhead and aft windows, so…

CapCom: Roger, we understand, Dale. But it’s actually coming, looking pretty good…

Truly: …Houston, we’ve cornered the Doctor on the flight deck.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that…  And we have an excellent picture here of the Doctor on the flight deck, Richard.

Truly: Doc’s super. I figured you all thought he was lost; but he’s still here.

CapCom: …You really look good, Bill.

Truly: And you might notice that Bill is still in the same clothes that he wore for launch.

CapCom: Roger, we saw that. And we’re still standing by for whenever you want to send it to us, Bill – the summary and the times of your activities today.

Truly: Roger, Houston. He’s still busy, but he’ll be putting it together later on this afternoon and giving it to you.

CapCom: We understand.

At the 5:15 a.m. CDT briefing Flight Director Randy Stone had explained why the public, as well as ground controllers at Mission Control, hadn’t seen or heard much of Dr. Bill so far. “I believe all of us expected about what’s going on with Dr. Thornton. He is trained to do this solo. There’s very little ground support required for the testing that he’s doing. And in fact he is the PI, if you will, on many of these experiments that he is conducting; so there’s very little ground interface – and that’s what we expected; that he would be off doing it very independent of the control center and we’d get status periodically.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:53 pm
Gardner: And Houston, for your information, we’re seeing, oh, some slight oscillations at the end of each of these control systems evals, but it seems to damp out fairly nicely.

CapCom: We copy, Dale.

Gardner: And we’re just returning to the IC at the end of step 2 on page 3-5.

CapCom: Roger, thanks. (…) Challenger, Houston’s with you at IOS for seven minutes.

Gardner: Okay, John, we’re all clear and we’re just starting test number four on 3-5.

CapCom: Okay, and we’re following you.

Gardner: Okay, Houston, we’re on page 3-6, doing that operator command and the PFTA is heading on over the starboard wing – just like our little picture at the bottom of the page.

CapCom: Roger. We’re looking at it with you, Dale… Challenger, Houston, did you call?

Truly: Roger. We just looked in the TAGS mailbox, and we got a… we have three sheets of paper in there. One is marked 1 of 4, which is a standard test pattern. One is marked 2 of 4, which is a summary CAP page, looks like. Then we’ve got a blank sheet of paper, and no fourth sheet of paper. The quality on the first two is excellent.

CapCom: Okay, thank you for the report. We’ll retransmit those again at a later time. We’re going LOS here in fifteen seconds. See you at Guam at 6 plus 09 (7:41 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Houston. And if you crank up any more television today, we’ll show you the picture of these TAGS messages, and you can see that the quality is excellent.

CapCom: Roger that, Richard.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Indian Ocean Station on the tail end of orbit 36, and we’re fifteen minutes from reacquisition at Guam. The TDRS satellite system apparently worked throughout most of that pass from LOS at Buckhorn and all the way over to where the spacecraft goes over the hill from the line of sight from TDRS. We had good solid television on the KU-band, and good S-band communications and data. We’ll return at Guam acquisition, and at day two, five hours, 55 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston...

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at Guam for five minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear… Houston, we’re on page 3-9, right in the middle of the page which is single draft, back to the IC.

CapCom: Okay, we see that, Richard. Thanks a lot.

Truly: You bet.

Gardner: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, go.

Gardner: Yeah, John, we just did the direct shoulder pitch drive test on the bottom of 3-9; and the guys that do the computer analysis were pretty close. For the first ten seconds of holding in the direct command, the arm didn’t move, and then it slowly picked up at its rate during the remaining twenty seconds of the drive.

CapCom: Roger, copy. For the first ten seconds it didn’t move, Dale, then it picked up the rate.

Gardner: That’s affirmative. Not perceptively, anyway.

CapCom: Roger… We’re thirty seconds to LOS. We’ll see you at Hawaii in seven minutes.

Truly: Roger, John, we’ll see you at Hawaii, and Dale’s on 3-10.

CapCom: Okay, and thanks for the update.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, LOS Guam, Hawaii in six minutes on orbit 37, tests still underway of the interaction between the orbiter and the Payload Flight Test Article, PFTA, out on the end of the 50-foot remote arm. At two days, six hours, 13 minutes… 15 minutes (7:47 a.m. CDT), this is Mission Control.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:56 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 08:58 pm

PAO: Mission Control Houston, acquisition through Hawaii at this time, anticipating reacquisition also through the TDRS satellite, either near or at Hawaii Loss of Signal.

CapCom: Houston’s with you at Hawaii for eight minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. (Garble)

CapCom: Okay, Richard, I’m barely reading you. There’s a loud squeal in the background.

Gardner: John, how do you copy on this one?

CapCom: Reading you loud and clear, Dale.

Gardner: Okay.

Gardner: Okay, John, first an update. We’re on FS 10-2, proceeding to the above first position. Also, to continue our camera loads here, it appears we’ve lost partial film on camera Charlie. We can zoom it all the way in, but when we zoom out, it stops at about halfway; it appears to us, and we tried it several times, and it won’t zoom out past that point.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that, Dale. (…) Richard, if you were trying to transmit again, we had a loud squeal in the background again as you transmitted… Challenger, Houston, we are going to be going LOS here at Hawaii in 45 seconds. We’d like you to take the encryption select switch on A1L to T/R, and we are going to be trying to pick up TDRS. If we lose you on this pass, we’ll see you at Santiago at 6 plus 50 (8:22 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, John.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal through Hawaii on orbit 37. The activities with the Payload Flight Test Article and the RMS system are continuing with the direct drive berthing. We’re starting to get TDRS S-band at this time, so we should have AOS shortly.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at TDRS. How do you read?

Gardner: Okay, we have you, John. And we’re on the direct… I’m sorry I cut you off. We’re on the direct berthing, we’re about two feet above the longerons coming down – slowly…

CapCom: Okay, we copy and we read you loud and clear… Challenger, Houston. We would like you to go back on A1L and put the encryption mode switch to ALL please… Challenger, Houston. Did you copy?

Brandenstein: Houston, Challenger. How do you read?

CapCom: Roger, reading you loud and clear, Dan. We would like you to go back on A1L and put the encryption mode switch to ALL.

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston, we heard you all the times and it’s been done.

CapCom: Okay, thanks, Dan. It’s just part of the test we’re trying to run… Challenger, Houston. We currently like the data on stars 13 and 26. You can go ahead and torque them… And if you do that, that will suffice for your evening IMU alignment. We won’t have to do one later.

Truly: Houston, how do you read the CDR?

CapCom: Roger, loud and clear, Richard.

Truly: (Garble) we’ve made several radio checks and the first transmission we’ve heard…

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, if you hear. We had lost contact with TDRS for awhile; that was why we were not responding likely. But now we seem to have good comm again. How do you read?

Truly: Read you loud and clear now. So, say again about the IMUs and anything else you need to tell us about.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. We have a good lockup on the stars 13 and 26 right now, and we would like you to go ahead torque them; and if we do this successfully, this will suffice for or IMU align this evening.

Truly: Roger, understand.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. If you could just confirm for us that you put the encryption mode to the ALL position and that you’re back out of it now?

Truly: Okay. I put it in the ALL, and I have left it in ALL since I hadn’t heard from you since. Do you want it back in SELECT?

CapCom: Stand by one, Richard.

Truly: And Houston, I’m not sure…

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, we would like you to put the… return the mode switch to SELECT now.

Truly: Wilco.

CapCom: And Richard, did you ask anything else there in the last couple of minutes? We were dropping in and out with contact.

Truly: Negative. And I have taken the two star trackers to (garble).

CapCom: Okay, I copy that. And Richard, just for some clarification, you did the right thing with leaving that in the ALL position all that time; and it was right to wait for a voice call before you put it back to SELECT as you did… Challenger, Houston, we would like you to go to the track mode.

Truly: Roger… Houston, CDR. Are you reading me?

CapCom: Roger, loud and clear, Richard.

Truly: Houston, CDR. Do you need me to read you the torquing angles on the IMUs?

CapCom: Negative. We got that, Richard. Thank you.

During the afternoon briefing, Aviation Week’s Craig Covault asked Flight Director Hal Draughon to comment on the TDRS and orbiter encryption features. Draughon explained, “Through TDRS, the only thing we’re doing is checking them out, making sure they are operational. We have plans to put the encryption gear online for pre-tests… just to verify that it works and that we can do all the things we do while in that mode and by doing all things we do, I mean conduct our normal business: flow data, send commands, send text traffic, that kind of things, to have voice going through the crypto gear. And that is all it is; it is a demo. Once we’re in it, verify it, we come right back out of it. The flight is not being flown in an encrypted mode.”

“When you’re using TDRS routinely for civil flights,” Covault followed up, “will you be using encryption on it, or will encryption just be used for the military flights?” Draughon admitted to be “a little bit uninformed in this area,” but he confirmed, “The current ground rule is that we don’t operate encrypted, except when we have to. But I think that’s being debated and there’s some consideration being given to, perhaps, flying encrypted all the time.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:00 pm
Gardner: (Garble) depending on the situation. Do you want us to go ahead and just try to close with the brakes on?

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, stand by… Challenger, Houston. How do you read us now?

Gardner: Reading you loud and clear.

CapCom: Dale, we lost you for a minute. You can go ahead and latch with the brakes on.

Truly: Roger, understand we’re cleared to latch with the brakes on and with a four ready to latches.

CapCom: Roger, good read back, Richard… Challenger, Houston. After the latch, we would like you to go ahead and take the brakes off, and then go to the test mode before end effector release.

Truly: Roger, John, understand brakes off and then test mode before end effector release, and we’ve got latches one, two, three and four latched.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Richard. And after the end effector release, then go back to the normal procedure on 10-4.

Truly: Roger, stand by.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. We’re going LOS here for one minute. We’ll see you at Indian Ocean…

Truly: Roger.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you at Indian Ocean for seven minutes, and we’d like you to get the encryption select switch back to BYPASS, please.

Truly: Okay, back to BYPASS. And Houston, CDR. How do you read us?

CapCom: Roger, we’re reading you loud and clear now, Richard.

Truly: Roger, John. During the last pass, I’m not sure, we heard you make you LOS call and for about five minutes prior to that, I had called several times and did not get a response and thought we were LOS.

CapCom: Understand. There could have been some problems, Richard, with the handover from TDRS to the Botswana STDN.

Truly: Roger, no problem. I just wanted you to be aware of it. And the PFTA is latched. We’re doing the nominal berth.

CapCom: We understand.

Truly: We’re doing the RMS power down, which is a nominal berth.

CapCom: Roger, we understand, Richard… And Challenger, Houston, if you would, if you could check whether or not you have the TAGS message T-24, entitled Proposed CAP Update, onboard.

Truly: Stand by one… Houston, CDR. We did get messages Tango-24, two pages, proposed flight pages 5 and 6. Is that what you were referring to?

CapCom: Roger that, Richard. And we’re going to be going LOS here in 30 seconds, but if you could look at it at Guam, we’d like to talk about where we could potentially place TV 04; we currently are thinking, maybe, rev 69 and 81…

“We’ve just continued on the same kinds of things we were doing yesterday,” Flight Director Harold Draughon commented on the day’s trials of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite. “The Ku-band has been exercised some more. The two new elements… one you specifically knew of, that has been checked out is the TAGS system, which is the Text and Graphics System. It gives you a hard copy very similar to what you get off of a Xerox machine… It really does look like it just came off a repro machine down the hall, a very high quality repro product.”

“We have sent some of those up. A couple of them did not work, and some of them did and were very high quality. The ones that didn’t work were because they were transmitted at times when the communications link was poor. And we are going to monitor that activity a little closer in the future to make sure that that’s exactly what was going on, but I know for a fact that we know when they were transmitted and I know what the comm was,” said Draughon. “At that time, we were having dropouts with White Sands. We will send all five of those test messages again just to verify that they all can be done correctly.”

“The next five or six revs at least, the team has decided to go back to a, what you’d call an ops normal mode on the TDRS interface and TDRS usage. We pushed the system, and I believe rightfully so, for the last ten or twelve hours, and went ahead and tried all the different modes that we had planned on TDRS. And when all the hardware and all the systems were up, as I said yesterday, the TDRS gave us the kind of circuit margins, the kind of video that we all thought it would. We do continue to have the kinds of problems that I discussed yesterday, the very same nature happened again today; and those are that the ground strings at White Sands at times go down, don’t operate. Either they don’t go to the correct mode, or they don’t acknowledge requests to go to a particular mode, or they don’t integrate just right.”

Draughon continued, “And therefore, we don’t point antennas precisely where they ought to be pointed. Those kinds of things are still happening. I don’t expect that we will resolve those problems during this flight. I do expect that we will resolve most, if not all of them, before Flight 9. But we need to continue to gather this data that we are gathering now so that we know what kind of problems to work on, and we’re doing that.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:02 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:03 pm

“All of this afternoon’s activity was centered around the RMS operations,” Flight Director Harold Draughon said during the 2:00 p.m. CDT change-of-shift press conference. “All of those operations were completely successful, and we finished them almost exactly on schedule.” The arm operations had extended over a total time period of about five and a half hours.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Indian Ocean Station, at the onset of orbit number 38, Guam nineteen minutes away. Meanwhile, the Insat tracking station, or ground operations in India confirm that Insat-1B’s first Apogee Kick Motor burn was on time this morning at 7:46 Central Daylight Time, Thursday, with a burn time of 25 minutes, 42 seconds. The second burn will be Friday morning at 9:39 Central, one day earlier than planned. We have no numbers on the current orbit for Insat. As those come in, we’ll pass them along. Repeat again, the first of two Apogee Kick Motor burns was run successfully, on time by the Indian government ground station. Next acquisition of Challenger will be at Guam in some 18 minutes at day two, seven hours, 30 minutes (9:02 a.m. CDT), Mission Control Houston… Mission Control Houston, we have acquisition through Guam, orbit 38.

CapCom (Bill Fisher): Challenger, Houston’s with you through Guam for a minute. How copy?

Truly: Loud and clear. How me?

CapCom: We’ve got you loud and clear, Richard.

Truly: Roger. You were a little (garble) going over the hill. I understand you wanted me to take a look at this rough end of the mission summary and comment on the placement of TV 04. Is that correct?

CapCom: That’s affirm, Richard.

Truly: Rog. I think your plan is a great one.

CapCom: Okay, I guess 69 looks good to you.

Truly: Yeah. I’m sorry we couldn’t have done it when it was originally scheduled, but it just wouldn’t have been appropriate, I don’t think, under the circumstances. Rev 69 looks good to us.

CapCom: Okay, Richard. We’ll proceed with rev 69 then.

Truly: And Fish, one question I did have is, at some point, we’d like to know how long the pass is, and if it’s on TDRS, if we might like it to be a little bit longer than the normal seven or eight minutes that are scheduled for STDN.

CapCom: Right now it’s scheduled for Hawaii, Richard, but we’ll get the details on that and get back with you.

Truly: Okiedoke. No problem, and I appreciate you sending it up. I do have one question. Are we going to shift-over from the teleprinter to the TDRS for paper communications from here on?

CapCom: Roger, Richard. If TDRS Ku stays up, we’ll plan to do that shortly. We’re about 30 seconds LOS now, and we’ll see you at Hawaii at 7 plus 57 (9:29 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Okay. We’ll see you then.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Guam, next station Hawaii in eight minutes…  At two days, seven hours, 49 minutes, Mission Control Houston… Mission Control Houston, acquisition at Hawaii…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you through Hawaii for seven minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear.

CapCom: Roger. And just a note for you, Richard, and for the rest of the crew… Insat had a successful AKM burn this morning, and I have another question for you when you guys have a minute.

Truly: Sure, go ahead.

CapCom: Roger. On STS-2, Richard, when you had a chance to first use the arm, you didn’t really have a payload on it. Wonder if you could comment on any differences you might have noticed between the way the arm behaved on STS-2 and on PFTA exercises you’ve just completed.

Truly: One of the things that we were going to do later on this evening was to have Dale kind of give a qualitative debrief of his flying today. He did it all and I assisted him. I guess my memory would be best, my comments would be valid only, I guess, in the unloaded mode, and frankly, I don’t recall the arm being quite as lightly (garble) as I’ve seen it in the unloaded mode; and I did not remember the elbow operating, as I asked yesterday, unloaded, and that is when you command an elbow in a positive direction, occasionally it moves, and then slows down, and moves again. – The arm, however, all day today was operating very smoothly. I’ll leave it to Dale to describe the dynamics to you. But boy, it sure is a fine piece of machinery, and it worked like a champ today.

CapCom: Roger, that’s good to hear. And we’ll stand by for Dale’s comments at his convenience.

Truly: Okay. It won’t be this pass because we need to talk about it a little bit, but sometime later on this evening. How long is your team on, Fish?

CapCom: Richard, we’re on about another three hours.

Truly: Oh, okay. Well, we’ll certainly get to… Dale and I will talk and I’ll get him to do that before long, and sometime later on this evening, Bill Thornton is planning on giving you another medical measurement summary. And if there’s anything else we need to talk about, just let us know and we’ll be glad to.

CapCom: Roger, We copy that, and we’ll look forward to Bill’s observations.

Truly: You bet.

Thornton: Houston, MS3.

CapCom: Roger, go ahead.

Thornton: Yes, Fish, why don’t we run through it, since I didn’t give you one yesterday (garble). I think I gave all the times that were needed for the data. I addition, we did tape dump all the monitoring that had been previously done, did physicals, heights, leg plethysmography, physical acuities, five sets of eye/hand coordination; air samples were taken, the animals were monitored, and the last piece of downlink data that they have to worry about is 01, that’s day one, eleven hours and 36 minutes.

(Garble) we’ve got additional leg plethysmography, additional heights; I did Wendy Angelo’s biofeedback – the first one this afternoon. We’ve done threshold audiometry, we’ve done audiometric evoke potentials, did the ophtalmoscopy and ran into a couple of problems. We’ve had to make some repairs to our little refrigerator, and then had to abort the linear threshold sensitivity this afternoon because we’ve apparently lost the onboard graphic recorder, the direct write-in recorder, and I’ll fall back and pick that up. In addition, we’ve checked out a number of other items which we will be using tomorrow, the VOR turntable and gyroscopes, and some items such as that. Then there is a whole rash of details that I’ve been doing. Do you have any questions or comments?

CapCom: No questions, Bill. That about covers it. Sounds like you’ve gathered enough data to keep you busy for at least two or three weeks after you get back.

Dr. Bill Thornton also took the opportunity to thank all those people on the ground that had done “a fine job” on getting the data-gathering hardware together. “I sure appreciate the meticulous attention to detail. It pays off in flight,” he said.

“We saw him twice today,” Flight Director Hal Draughon commented on the rare appearances of the spacecraft’s local physician. “Bill doesn’t stay on the comm a whole lot, as you probably all noticed. Twice today, once when we were doing some TV work, Bill was up in the flight station, and again later in the day. Towards the middle of the afternoon, we had asked him to give us a status report on where he stands on all the experiments since it is not possible for us to follow that activity on the ground very well. He did that.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:04 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:05 pm
And then, after Loss of Signal at Hawaii and subsequent lockup on TDRS, it was Dale Gardner’s turn to sum up a busy day’s events.

Gardner: Okay, the first thing that Richard and I want to pass on is a crew note to all the folks that worked on the checklist. You guys probably saw from your own data, we started essentially right on time to the minute, and we finished one minute and 30 seconds prior to what the checklist said, which I think was two days, seven hours and 30 minutes. The flow through the checklist went very well. We made a couple of little mistakes which you helped us correct, but we expected that with the long flow that we had.

The performance of the arm was excellent. With the PFTA on there in both the auto and the manual augmented modes, movement was very smooth. There was probably some dynamics there, but it was practically unnoticeable once you started flying it around and got a feel of it. In signal in direct, it was a little bit different. The dynamics were very noticeable, especially in direct; large observations occurred after fairly large inputs. I guess the direct berthing would be the best way to describe that. The dynamics were, surprisingly enough, very much similar to the MDF. We put in a… when you put in a shoulder pitch or an elbow pitch down, you’d have to sit and wait sometimes between maybe 15, 20, 30 seconds to let the oscillation stop to see what you had gained, and then decide on your next move.

The hardest part of the direct berth was that it is like in the MDF. Once you’re down in the vicinity of the ready to latch switches, it becomes very confusing because you’ll get one or two ready to latches. Then they will trip out and you’ll get a couple more, and you end up having to go down in, come back out, and go down in making multiple attempts to try to get all the roll and pitch errors out and finally get the four ready to latches. We told you what happened on several occasions when we got four ready to latches; I then took the brakes off and the PFTA would visibly rise up out of the guides an inch or two, and we’d lose the ready to latches. And we did as you suggested and with the brakes on just went ahead and latched. That worked perfectly okay. And then we left the arm post-latch in the PFTA. That’s about all I can think of. If you have any more questions, I’ll be glad to answer them.

CapCom: Roger, Dale. We’ll look around the room here and see if any questions develop. I guess you guys have another chance tomorrow to come closer to finishing on time instead of a minute and a half early.

Flight Director Harold Draughon later explained that the crew did not report any sense of movement inside the orbiter while the RMS was handling PFTA. “They did make note of cases where there was dynamic motion going on after you’d make a particular set of inputs to the arm with this payload attached to it, and then stop that motion; and they’d talked about the oscillation, and the size, and how long it took to damp it out. And, in fact, on a couple of occasions, we happened to have the TV on and you could see that motion, that oscillation in real time on the ground. That is exactly the kind of data that we were after.”

Draughon was surprised that the dynamics seen in orbit were quite similar to those experienced during Manipulator Development Facility simulations on the ground. “I think, maybe there were some people that weren’t, but I was, and most of the other people I’ve talked to were surprised that it was that kind of correlation… That one (MDF) has got wires supporting, counter-balancing right over the bay, and you get away from there and the thing is not a true, it’s not truly offloading what you’re trying to do there. You wouldn’t think it was a good simulation from that standpoint, but – in this case – it turned out to be.”

Obviously, Huntsville Times science writer Dave Dooling had those funny STS-3 home videos in mind when he asked, “Harold, during the PFTA operations, was there any effort to have crewmen do a Gordon Fullerton number and bounce around in the middeck and see if that caused any additional wiggle at the end of the RMS?”

“No, we did not,” replied Draughon. “And on the other side of the coin, we also didn’t invoke any restraints on what the crew could do. There are tests where sometimes we do ask the crew to be fairly stable and not be ricocheting around. The kinds of masses, the kind of dynamics you’d have to have to mess up these tests, you’d need something heavier than that. With a payload this heavy on the arm, you’re not going to disturb it with a person rattling around inside the cockpit.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:06 pm
Gardner: Hey, Fish, adding one more to our list of camera lows, we’ve had some sort of problem with the elbow camera also. Richard and I can’t really tell what it is. It doesn’t appear to want to focus, focus or zoom properly. You can get a picture in there that’s somewhat usable, but it’s blurry and it’s hard for us to tell if it’s just a focus problem. It almost looks like the camera somehow looked at the Sun or something, and it’s just not quite operating properly now. We’ll try to look at it again tomorrow and describe it better.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, we copy.

Truly: One additional clue on the elbow camera. It may be that it has been on for some period of time. However, we had not been using it and when it came time to select it and use it again – when I first tried to focus it, I actually thought I was looking at some kind of weird VTR playback or something, because there were large bright and dark images on it and it looked like they were… it looked like it was looking at a bright object, and then very close to that, something like a wavy cable or something was in front of the lens. It was very unfocused. However, I was able to eyeball directly at the camera, and that obviously was not the case. So I pointed it down in the payload bay where there were no lights, and it improved somewhat. However, as Dale said, we were never able again to get a sharp focus on it.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. We’ll see if we can find some answers to that and get back with you.

Truly: Okay. Dale asked me to mention to you that he did try camera Delta again later in the day after it had warmed up, with no further success.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Richard. Camera Delta still down.

Truly: Roger that.

Unlike camera Delta, the elbow TV camera continued to be used throughout the mission in the degraded condition, which actually wasn’t a great concern regarding RMS operations, as Flight Director Draughon explained, “There’s three different cameras that, as long as we don’t lose all three of them, we can handle the visual aids that you need to redock.” After the mission, the camera and lens assembly were removed and returned to the vendor for failure analysis. A visual inspection at KSC verified that there was a loose piece within the lens itself. The vendor found a ring loose inside the zoom barrel of the lens. The ring had been improperly staked during assembly of the lens at the vendor.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, some follow up on your RMS comments.

Truly: Stand by… Fish, Dale is listening. He and Thornton are doing something. Go ahead.

CapCom: Roger. Number one, could you comment on the end effector motion that occurred on payload release?

Truly: Stand by. Hey, Fish, I think it would be more convenient if we just put off your questions to Dale for about another five or ten minutes, or so.

CapCom: Roger. Just one other reminder for tomorrow’s activities: We’d like you to latch the keel pin first.

Truly: Rog. We caught that mistake in the middle of making it, and I meant to mention it to you and didn’t. Sorry about that.

Gardner: And Houston, MS1. I’m free of Doctor Thornton now. Could you give me those questions again?

CapCom: Roger, Dale. There was just one. We wondered if you could comment on any end effector motion that might have occurred on payload release.

Gardner: Oh, well, as soon as I got the open talkback, I just pulled back on the THC (Translational Hand Controller), and looking at the monitor, or the wrist camera, and looking at the motions through the B camera, we saw nothing, no sideways or up and down motion whatsoever. It appeared to have come off the grapple fixture completely unloaded and just moved straight back away.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, we copy. And that was all we had from down here.
Gardner: Okay.

Truly: …And Houston, do you have instructions on the supply water dump this evening? We were thinking if you did, we’d get started with it so if we had a similar problem, as we did last night, we could get on it a little earlier.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. Are you ready to copy?

Truly: You bet.

CapCom: Okay. There are three actions on your pre-sleep activities. The first one will be, we want you to dump water tank Bravo to 25 percent. And secondly, for your cabin repress, we’d like to use N2; therefore we’d like you to go to MO 10W and take the 14.7 cabin reg inlet system 1 valve to open, and you’ll plan on closing this pre-sleep.

Brandenstein: Okay, we copy. Dump supply water to 25 percent and open 14.7 cabin reg number 1 until we go to sleep.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. You’ll open it now and close it pre-sleep; and there’ll be no cryo heater reconfiguration required tonight.

Brandenstein: Roger. No cryo heater reconfig required. Thank you.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, we’d like to know also if you received the TAGS message number 13, all four copies. We sent it up a second time.

Truly: Stand by, we’ll check… Fish, we, in the TAGS, we just checked, we have five black pages, and one excellent page of the test pattern.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. We’ll try that again tonight. We have nothing more for you, if you folks want to go ahead and go to bed; you’ve had a superb day. You really stayed on the timeline and everything’s looking good down here. We don’t plan on calling you, but you can call us at Guam, 9 plus 22 (10:54 a.m. CDT). Have a good night.

Truly: Okay. Feel free to call us in the next couple of passes if you have anything, because we’ll be here, and we’re preparing supper now. Like to pass on to the team what a great support job you did; you made it very easy today. Are the… I do have one question. We had a question for the Earth obs people, if they’re working today, or tonight, or whatever time it is.

CapCom: We’re going LOS, Richard. You can go ahead and call it down next pass at Guam, 9 plus 22.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Indian Ocean Station, following one TDRS pass that was sort of in and out of lock during part of that time. The Challenger crew was given a go for sleep on orbit early, if they so chose. They apparently are preparing their evening meal after a fairly busy day of extensive exercise of the Remote Manipulator Arm and the Payload Flight Test Article. Next station Guam, in approximately eighteen minutes. This is Mission Control, day two, nine hours, four minutes.

At Guam, Richard Truly got a chance to pass along his question to those Earth observations people down in Houston. “In North Central Australia, inland, I guess, perhaps fifty miles or so, is a large field of fault lines that are crisscrossed that, I would guess, are many, many square miles in area. All the faults are parallel to each other along each line, except that two lines of faults; almost looks like somebody took a stick and just drew straight lines in the sand and then ninety degrees, or maybe seventy degrees to that, drew another straight line across. I wonder if you could ask if we could have the identification of that site, or that feature…”

Obviously, the astronauts had been looking that patch of impressive fault lines at Arnhem Land. “We’ll get to work on it and get back with you as we have a good answer,” replied Bill Fisher, and then quipped, “In the meantime, you might check your fault summary page.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:08 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:09 pm

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal through Hawaii; no verbal contact with the crew in the midst of their evening meal, evening for them, on the red-eye special, as it’s being called in some circles. Next station, on the hour, will be at Ascension. The crew had a go for sleep about one orbit early, as compared to the original timeline. At two days, nine hours, 41 minutes, Mission Control Houston…

(…) Acquisition through Ascension Island in thirty seconds, probably the final call of the day, spacecraft cleaned up and straightened up for sleep period. Just a few more housekeeping chores with the different systems configurations, a few points to be passed up here by the CapCom on this pass. Otherwise, they are go for sleep.

(…) Challenger about to pass within range of Ascension Island tracking station. We’re not expecting any communication with the crew at this time. We have some indications they have been powering down their CRTs for sleep. They did that some time ago and we’re not expecting to talk to them on this pass; they should be into their sleep period. Our change-of-shift press conference is due to begin in about ten minutes with off-going Flight Director Harold Draughon. Two days, eleven hours, 49 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (1:21 p.m. CDT).

(…) Mission Control Houston, two days, twelve hours, 43 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (2:15 p.m. CDT); on that pass just completed over the Guam tracking station we received data from the spacecraft, and all systems continue to look good at this time.

(…) Mission Control Houston, two days, fifteen hours, ten minutes Mission Elapsed Time (4:42 p.m. CDT), Challenger passing over the Dakar tracking station on orbit number 43. Data coming down from the spacecraft at the present time and everything looks good onboard the spacecraft… We have had some use of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite on the previous orbit and got data from Challenger during that time and also uplinked some of the teleprinter message that they have been preparing overnight for the crew’s morning reading pleasure.

(…) Mission Control Houston, two days, 16 hours, 46 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (6:18 p.m. CDT); Challenger, on orbit 44, is passing over Dakar tracking station and data coming down from the spacecraft appears good. All systems onboard Challenger look good at this time. The crew still has about an hour and 45 minutes in their scheduled sleep period. We have already uplinked some of the teleprinter messages this evening that have been prepared on the planning team, and the rest of them will be going up about the time of crew wakeup over the next Dakar pass. We’ve periodically had use of the TDRS satellite during the evening for data; some occasionally reoccurring difficulties through the White Sands station have prevented the continuous use of that satellite, but from time to time we have had it available.

(…) This is Mission Control Houston, at two days, 17 hours, 47 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (7:17 p.m. CDT); Challenger, on the last leg of orbit number 44 over the South Pacific, is now within range of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, and we are making use of that satellite at the present time. Data is coming down from the TDRS or through the TDRS from the spacecraft, and we will be uplinking some messages to the crew for them to have to read as they get up in about 40 minutes or so. We have no indication from the data that the crew is awake yet, so we’re assuming they’re still getting their rest and probably would not hear from them until at the earliest, I suppose, the Indian Ocean Station in about fifty minutes.

(…) We’d like to make the announcement at his time that we are planning to cancel the change-of-shift press conference that would normally have been held about 9:30 this evening for the off-going planning team Flight Director Jay Greene. There’s been very little activity in Mission Control this evening other than the preparation of the teleprinter messages, minor adjustments to tomorrow’s flight plan, and we see no reason to hold a press conference…

(JSC PAO commentary / Air-to-ground and change-of-shift press briefing transcripts, Aug. 31 and Sep. 1, 1983; Space Business News, Sep. 12, 1983; STS-8 National Space Transportation Systems Program Mission Report, JSC-19278, October 1983; IFA STS-8-V-10, IFA STS-8-V-12 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:11 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:13 pm
Anger, Disbelief, and Profound Sadness

“No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

-  Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, British author (1948-2015)

According to Time magazine, on September 1, 1983, at 7:10 a.m. PDT (10:10 a.m. EDT), Presidential Counselor Edwin Meese put in an urgent call to Ronald Reagan, who was vacationing at his ranch in the hills near Santa Barbara, California. The mystery of a missing South Korean jetliner that had strayed over Soviet territory, said Meese, had been solved: Seventeen hours earlier Korean Air Lines Flight 007 had been cold-bloodedly blasted out of the skies by a missile-firing Soviet interceptor, with an all but certain loss of 269 lives.

At 2:33 p.m. PDT, during a press briefing at the Sheraton Santa Barbara Hotel in Santa Barbara, California, Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speakes read a statement by President Reagan:

“I speak for all Americans and for the people everywhere who cherish civilized values in protesting the Soviet attack on an unarmed civilian passenger plane. Words can scarcely express our revulsion at this horrifying act of violence.

The United States joins with other members of the international community in demanding a full explanation for this appalling and wanton misdeed. The Soviet statements to this moment have totally failed to explain how or why this tragedy has occurred. Indeed, the whole incident appears to be inexplicable to civilized people everywhere.

Mrs. Reagan and I want to express our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims. Our prayers are with them in this time of bereavement, and they have my personal assurance that I will make every effort to get to the bottom of this tragedy. I have ordered the flags of the United States flown at half staff at all Federal installations and U.S. military bases around the world.”

Stunned by both the senselessness of the attack and the Soviets' blatant lack of repentance, Reagan loosed a withering diplomatic barrage in Moscow's direction. First he directed Secretary of State George Shultz to go on television with a documentary account of the last hours and minutes of Flight 007. “The United States reacts with revulsion to this attack,” said Shultz. “Loss of life appears to be heavy. We can see no excuse whatsoever for this appalling act.”

His anger and the world's outrage were augmented beyond the deed itself by Moscow's sullen and specious responses to the unequivocal evidence of what had happened. After remaining virtually silent on the matter for almost two days, the Soviet Union finally issued a labored account of an "unidentified plane" that had "rudely violated the state border and intruded deep into the Soviet Union's airspace." TASS admitted that Soviet interceptors had "fired warning shots and tracer shells along the flying route of the plane," but refused to acknowledge shooting it down.

TASS implied that the U.S. had planned the course deviations that took Flight 007 into Soviet territory, since "relevant U.S. services followed the flight throughout its duration in the most attentive manner." Hinting that the jetliner was on a spy mission, it added, "So one may ask that if it were an ordinary flight of a civil aircraft… then why were there not taken any steps from the American side to end the gross violation of the airspace of the U.S.S.R.?" TASS said that “leading circles" in the Soviet Union express "regret" over the loss of life, but the news agency dismissed the worldwide uproar over the attack as mere "hullabaloo."

Shultz's reply was quick, angry and scornful: "No cover up, however brazen or elaborate, can absolve the Soviet Union of its responsibility to explain its behavior."

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:15 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:16 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:18 pm
Then in the space of a few hours President Reagan announced not once but twice that he was cutting short his California holiday – first by two days, then by three – as his determination to confer personally with the National Security Council in Washington grew more urgent. Just before boarding Air Force One for the trip back to Washington on September 2, 1983, at 12:53 p.m. PDT, at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, California, a grim Reagan mounted an outdoor podium and read an extraordinary statement:

“…In the wake of the barbaric act committed yesterday by the Soviet regime against a commercial jetliner, the United States and many other countries of the world made clear and compelling statements that expressed not only our outrage, but also our demand for a truthful accounting of the facts.

Our first emotions are anger, disbelief, and profound sadness. While events in Afghanistan and elsewhere have left few illusions about the willingness of the Soviet Union to advance its interests through violence and intimidation, all of us had hoped that certain irreducible standards of civilized behavior, nonetheless, obtained. But this event shocks the sensibilities of people everywhere. The tradition in a civilized world has always been to offer help to mariners and pilots who are lost or in distress on the sea or in the air. Where human life is valued, extraordinary efforts are extended to preserve and protect it, and it’s essential that as civilized societies, we ask searching questions about the nature of regimes where such standards do not apply.

Beyond these emotions the world notes the stark contrast that exists between Soviet words and deeds. What can we think of a regime that so broadly trumpets its vision of peace and global disarmament and yet so callously and quickly commits a terrorist act to sacrifice the lives of innocent human beings? What could be said about Soviet credibility when they so flagrantly lie about such a heinous act? What can be the scope of legitimate and mutual discourse with a state whose values permit such atrocities? And what are we to make of a regime which establishes one set of standards for itself and another for the rest of humankind?

We’ve joined in the call for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting today. The brutality of this act should not be compounded through silence or the cynical distortion of the evidence now at hand. And tonight I will be meeting with my advisers to conduct a formal review of this matter, and this weekend I shall be meeting with the congressional leadership.

To the families of all those on the ill-fated aircraft, we send our deepest sympathy, and I hope they know our prayers are with them all.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:19 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:20 pm
As the President flew back to Washington, a high-level task force assembled at the State Department to ponder appropriate U.S. countermeasures. There was general agreement that the Administration should not do yet another about-face on the grain deal, since Reagan had criticized President Jimmy Carter's embargo and a second one would virtually eliminate the U.S. as a credible trading partner. The various courses of action considered ranged from U.S. support of expected retaliation by airline pilots all the way up to a postponement of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) talks, scheduled to resume the following week in Geneva. Above all else, State Department officials urged a retaliation that would be joined by other nations.

No final decisions were made at Friday night's two-hour NSC session, but the President appeared to be leaning toward finding ways of punishing the Soviets in the field in which they transgressed – civil aviation… Said one State Department official, referring to the Soviet national airline: "We want to do something that will affect the relations of Aeroflot to the rest of the world." One possibility: ground crews at international airports could refuse to clean Aeroflot cabins, stock its planes or refuel its empty tanks, effectively grounding the carrier outside of the Soviet Union.

The prospects for a more radical move, like pulling out of the INF negotiations, seemed never to have been seriously considered. "I would not look for us to discontinue our discussions because the stakes are too high," said a senior Administration official. "We would not be serving our own country or the world at large should we stop our efforts to achieve arms reductions." Such an approach would be in keeping with the Administration's "two track" policy toward the Soviets, challenging them when U.S. interests require it, seeking agreements when mutual interests are served.

At an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council the U.S. acting permanent representative, Charles Lichenstein, said, "Let us call the crime for what it is, wanton, calculated, deliberate murder." While the Soviet delegate, Richard S. Ovinnikov stared icily into space, Lichenstein spelled out what "we might expect a normal, civilized government" to do in the event of a tragedy like that of Flight 007, including the admission of responsibility and the undertaking of steps to ensure that it never happens again. For its part, the Soviet Union is simply "lying - openly, brazenly and knowingly. It is the face of a ruthless totalitarian state." Ovinnikov, declaring the session "unjustifiable," proceeded to read the TASS account of the episode to delegates.

In a Time magazine interview, President Reagan spoke of his first impulse after having learned that the Soviets had shot down the Korean Airliner. “Even though I've never been naive about the Soviet Union or its philosophy, it was still difficult to believe that anyone would do that, but there was the evidence. It was shock. It was revulsion. It was horror. It was anger.”

“Obviously you are tempted to think about vengeance, but there is no way you can avenge such a thing. It is very difficult to find anything you can do that matches the enormity of what they have done,” said Reagan. “You find that there is a great limit on what you can do. You can do some things for short-term public relations advantage and show your own feelings about this. But what you have to look for is what you can do, first of all, to get restitution for the families of the victims, and what you can do to see that this never happens again.”

Despite the chorus of condemnations, U.S. diplomatic contacts with the Soviets continued. On Wednesday, September 14, 1983, U.S. and Soviet negotiators Paul Nitze and Yuli Kvitsinsky arrived in Geneva to resume negotiations aimed at limiting intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe. Kvitsinsky brushed aside questions about the downing of the Korean airliner as "not pertinent" to the missile talks. Nitze said that "if the Soviets are prepared to address the basic issues (of the missile bargaining) squarely and honestly, I have the flexibility for real progress."

In the waters of the Sea of Japan, Soviet ships and aircraft warned outsiders away from their search of the area where the plane went down. The U.S. moved five F-15 jet fighters from Okinawa to northern Japan, but did not send them into the area. The U.S. Air Force also dispatched at least one AWACS surveillance plane to Hokkaido. In the tense situation, both superpowers raised their alert status in the region, but no one wanted to provoke yet another air tragedy.

(Talbott / Hannifin / Magnuson / Doerner / Kern, “Atrocity in the Skies,” Time, Sep. 12, 1983; Lawrence I. Barrett interview with President Reagan, Time, Sep. 19, 1983; “Turning on the Heat,” Time, Sep. 19, 1983 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:22 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:23 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:24 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:26 pm
Friday, September 2, 1983 (Flight Day 4) – Another Challenging Workout

“There is a wide yawning black infinity. In every direction the extension is endless; the sensation of depth is overwhelming. And the darkness is immortal. Where light exists, it is pure, blazing, fierce; but light exists almost nowhere, and the blackness itself is also pure and blazing and fierce. But most of all, there is very nearly nothing in the dark; except for little bits here and there, often associated with the light, this infinite receptacle is empty. This picture is strangely frightening. It should be familiar. It is our Universe.”

- Carl Sagan (1934-1996)


When Mission Control sent the wakeup call on the morning of Flight Day 4, it was Guy Bluford’s turn to “get the Lion’s share,” meaning being roused by his alma mater’s fight song. “Fight for her honor, Fight, and Victory again…” – that “Nittany Lion” magic obviously worked well, both in space and on the ground…

CapCom (Bryan O’Connor): Good morning, Challenger.

Bluford: Good morning, Houston. Really enjoyed that Nittany fight song.

CapCom: Yes, that’s a real rouser. It woke us up down here, too.

Bluford: Think you played the right one at the right time.

CapCom: Well, Guy, we’ve got about four minutes on this pass at Dakar, and we’d like to pass a couple of notes to you if you can copy.

Truly: Okay, stand by just one second… Okay, Bryan. Shoot.

CapCom: Okay, sir. First just a reminder. Perform the manual cabin atmosphere management per orbit ops checklist, page 5-10, dump the water tank Bravo to ten percent – should take about thirty minutes. And early this morning we tried out the TAGS. We consider TAGS to be in the experimental mode right now; we’re not ready to transition 100 percent over to TAGS. And whenever you can this morning, we’d like you to tell us one, did it wake anybody? And two, what message numbers did you get from the TAGS over?

Truly: Okay, the noise doesn’t seem to be a problem. I have, or whatever I received in the TAGS this morning, just a couple of minutes ago, was 17 blank pages. So there’s something amiss somewhere, so I’d suggest we keep trying and we’ll keep reporting to you what we have.

CapCom: Roger.

Truly: In general, the pages we have gotten, Bryan, have been either excellent or blank, and I have saved them and sometime today, if you’d like to see them on the, you know, on the TV, I’ll be glad to show them to you, but we’ve had a number of blank pages.

CapCom: Okay… Challenger, Houston, we have less than a minute to LOS. We’ll be transitioning to the TDRS and we’ll give you a call when we’re up TDRS.

Truly: Roger, Bryan, we’ll see you there.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, two days, 18 hours, 24 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (7:56 p.m. CDT). Heard from the crew the first time this morning over the just completed Dakar pass, and the ground played up the Penn State fight song, Guy Bluford’s alma mater; he thanked them for that on the air-to-ground. Commander Dick Truly reported that they received 17 blank pages on Text and…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you on TDRS.

Truly: Roger, Houston, you’re loud – a tiny bit of an echo.

CapCom: Roger, you’re loud with an echo as well.

Truly: Okay.

PAO: We have acquisition through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite for voice at this time.

Truly: Houston, everybody is up and about and cleaning up, and we’ll be preparing breakfast in a little bit. One of the things we’re planning working on this morning is a good look at the various filters. There’s a small buildup in the air, small lint particles and so forth, and so we’re going to have a good filter cleaning this morning and we’ll let you know how it goes.

PAO: This is Mission Control. As were reporting earlier, Dick Truly noted that he got 17 blank pages on the Text and Graphics System. That’s a new system going up this time to provide a hardcopy that operates via telemetry; it ultimately would be a replacement for the old teleprinter, and they can transmit not only text, but also maps and photographs and other similar type materials. That system is in an experimental phase right now, since we’re just flying that – and they had some very good luck with it in the last couple of days, and this morning they apparently didn’t have quite such good luck. We were getting some communication there, as soon as we left Dakar, through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, although there was quite a strong echo in both the voice coming down from the spacecraft, and as Dick Truly reported, communications with Mission Control here going up to the spacecraft. We may hear from them again shortly as we’re still in communication range of the Tracking an Data Relay Satellite. And then we pass over the Indian Ocean Station. This is Mission Control.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS in the next few seconds; we’ll see you at Indian Ocean at 18:38 (8:10 p.m. CDT).

PAO: …Mission Control Houston, standing by for acquisition through Indian Ocean Station.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston standing by; Indian Ocean for seven minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear. The Sun is just about to come up here shortly. I wanted to pass on to you how well your teleprinter messages so far have been in the mornings; they’re all clear, easy to read and easy to incorporate. And better yet, you’re giving us time to do that; so it really is working well and I certainly appreciate it.

CapCom: Roger, thanks for the words, Dick. And I’ll pass that on to the FAOs.

Truly: Well, they sure deserve a hand for that kind of work that they have been doing so far at least. And as far as visually… during the night, we had a couple of spectacular night passes with the cockpit lights out over Africa and the Middle East and Nile River Valley and up at Israel and Jordan and all the way across Saudi Arabia and on down to India. It’s really pretty.

CapCom: Well, I wish we could see the same view.

Brandenstein: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Go ahead.

Brandenstein: Roger. On the water dump termination, do you want to leave the supply water dump isol valve open? And when you answer this, answer it possibly for the rest of the flight and then I won’t ask you every time I dump water.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston. Dan, the answer to that is we’re going to keep that valve open until entry day.

Brandenstein: Okay, fine. Thanks a lot.

Truly: Houston, CDR… The IMU alignment this morning, I’m assuming you want to do the roll star track align as printed, is that correct?

CapCom: Roger, Richard, that’s affirmative. And we’re going LOS. We’ll see you over Yarragadee at 18 plus 54 (8:26 p.m. CDT).

Truly: Super. See you there.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, two days, 18 hours, 46 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (8:18 p.m. CDT), we have Loss of Signal through Indian Ocean Station. The crew going through their morning routine, preparing for the alignment of the Inertial Measurement Units, housekeeping sort of a thing that they do to help the orbiter avionics know where the spacecraft is.

We are announcing that the scheduled change-of-shift press conference with the off-going Flight Director Jay Greene for the planning team, regularly scheduled for 9:30 p.m. this evening, has been canceled. There’s been no problems surfacing during the night; the activity centered around routine preparation of the teleprinter messages and updates of Crew Activity Plans for this flight day. Repeating, that press conference with the off-going Flight Director scheduled for 9:30 Central Time has been cancelled. This is Mission Control Houston…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:28 pm
PAO: Mission Control Houston, standing by for acquisition through Yarragadee.

Brandenstein: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Go ahead.

Brandenstein: Roger. I was getting ready to do the Ku-band antenna cabling positioning; thought I’d check with you, make sure it’s not going to louse up any of your tests or anything.

CapCom: Stand by… Challenger, Houston. Dan, you’re clear to press on with the Ku-band antenna cabling positioning. And we’ve got you for another seven minutes here at Yarragadee… Challenger, Houston. Did you copy my last?

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston. We copied and it’s in work.

CapCom: Okay.

Truly: Houston, we got your message about the weather system over Australia, and we’re going to try and get a few cloud photos. Luckily the northwest part of Australia has been essentially cloud-free here in the last few days; absolutely unbelievable, unbelievable to look at the mountains.

CapCom: Okay, Richard. We’re looking forward to seeing those pictures…. Challenger, Houston, we lost you for about 30 seconds there going from Yarragadee to Orroral; we’re back with you now for five minutes.

Truly: Roger. We’re still looking down at Australia.

CapCom: Roger… Challenger, Houston, got a question for you on the TAGS, if you can handle that.

Truly: Roger, go ahead.

CapCom: We’ve looked at the TAGS down here and we can’t figure out if – that there’s anything we did to cause the pages to be blank. And when you’ve got a chance sometime this morning, we’d appreciate it if you’d check your brightness, color and contrast controls, see if they’re all set to normal up there and report any deviations to us.

Truly: Okay, we’ll sure do it. When the mission started, I did check them and they were, if I remember right, they were… the little rotaries were straight up. But at any rate, whatever they were, it was per the… the way that little picture in the checklist showed. We’ll check them again this morning.

CapCom: Roger.

Truly: Let’s see. Guy just went down and the three rotary controls are all normal; they’re at twelve o’clock.

CapCom: Roger. Thank you…

PAO: …Mission Control Houston, two days, 19 hours, eight minutes Mission Elapsed Time (8:40 p.m. CDT), Challenger passing out of the range of the Orroral tracking station, eastern Australia, last quarter of orbit number 45. We’ll pick up again in about nine minutes through the Tracking Data Relay Satellite, assuming it’s up and operational. Flight controllers asked the crew to check the configuration of the switches on their Text and Graphics System on that last pass. Much of the information that they were sending up as part of the testing of that system did not get through this morning; some had got through earlier, but the last several pages did not come through the system properly and they asked them to look and see if the switches were all in the right place on that system.

One of the first things the crew will get into this morning after their post-sleep activity which includes meals and all that sort of things is to maneuver the orbiter to its attitude for the Orbital maneuvering system burn. There’ll be two of those OMS engine burns to lower the Challenger’s orbit, bringing it down from about 160 nautical mile orbit down to about 120. That will be done in two stages; the purpose of that is to facilitate conducting of an experiment on the interaction of oxygen molecules with materials; there are some materials carried in Get-Away Special canisters in the payload bay, and those will be exposed to space. The orbiter will point its payload bay doors, the open doors along the velocity vector, or the flight path of the shuttle, and at that attitude they will be ramming those few oxygen molecules that are there into the open cargo bay. And part of that test is to see how the oxygen erodes those materials in the cargo bay there, set up for that experimental purpose…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:29 pm

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you on TDRS for 50 minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston.

CapCom: And we have you loud and clear and we’re standing by.

Truly: And Houston, CDR, wonder if I could, while it’s fresh on Dan’s and my mind, I wonder if I could pass on some vis ops info for you.

CapCom: Roger. We’re ready to copy.

Truly: Okay, just as we went feet wet off the east Australia coast, we entered, we saw a bunch of ocean glitter and it ended up on three different cassettes and different lenses. I had one cassette with 100mm lens that I got a couple of shots off and ran out of film on that cassette; and we put some more on a different camera that happened to have a 50mm lens on it, which we had there for the weather. And then, by that time we got a new cassette on the one with the 100mm and finished it there. So, the patterns on those three which I think were numbered 36, 37, or 8, and 39, something like all go together.

CapCom: Okay, that sounds great, Richard. I think Bob Stevenson will be real happy with that.

Truly: Yes, we’re going to try to make today “Glitter Day.”

CapCom: Okay.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:31 pm
“Robert Stevenson, the father of space oceanography, was selected in 1982 to be the first oceanographer in space,” Michael Cassutt tells us in Who’s Who in Space. “Just months before his scheduled assignment to shuttle mission 41-G, however, he withdrew from the consideration and was replaced by his colleague Paul Scully-Power. (Stevenson’s wife was dying of cancer and he felt he could not devote any time to training.)”

“Beginning with the Gemini 12 crew of James Lovell and Edwin Aldrin in 1966, Stevenson (and later, Scully-Power) instructed every American astronaut crew in oceanography. When payload specialist flight opportunities became available in 1982, astronaut Richard Truly suggested that Stevenson and Scully-Power be included in the crews of STS-7 and STS-8, a suggestion that was quickly approved.”

These oceanographer assignments had to be postponed when the need arose to fly medical doctors on those two missions in order to study SAS. “Stevenson’s assignments bounced from mission 51-I to 61-B to 61-C to 51-L,” explains Cassutt, “and at the time of the Challenger disaster in January 1986, he was in the process of being assigned to mission 61-K, the Spacelab Earth Observation Mission (…) then scheduled for August 1986.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:32 pm
In 1999, Robert Everett Stevenson (1921-2001) was interviewed by Carol Butler for the JSC NASA Oral History Project. Here now is a slightly edited excerpt, dealing with Commander Truly’s observations during STS-8 and how Stevenson learned about them:

When Dick Truly and those guys flew on STS-8, it was in 1983. It was going to be – although Sally and Rick Hauck and John Fabian, I think it was, and those guys on STS-7 did have some reasonable good sunlight to look at sun glitter in the Southern Hemisphere, they weren't going to have it as good as Dick Truly. You remember Truly launched at night, I think, and they were going to land – it was going to be the first night landing…

But anyway, those guys are going to have good light in the Southern Hemisphere, and in 1983, yes, that was an international assembly in Hamburg, Germany, and I was there. Paul couldn't get to the assembly, but after the assembly I was going to meet him in New London, Connecticut, because we were trying to set up some – what was the name of the new shuttle? One of the new shuttles was going to be… Discovery. Right. See, Discovery was a British ship, went to the Antarctic, was Shackleton's ship. The Brits, then, when they built one of their first big oceanographic research vessels after World War II, they named it Discovery. And there's now a Discovery III. They're beautiful ships. I don't know what they do with it now.

But anyway, so we wanted to get as many artifacts as we could from the ship Discovery for the launch, for the crew to carry something in space that had been on the HMS Discovery. So we did. We got a telescope that the captain had used… But also Royal Dalton agreed to remake dishes – the ship Discovery had these beautiful Royal Dalton chinaware for the whole ship's company that was designed specifically for the ship, with the ship's crest on it and the British crown on it and all this sort of thing. It was beautiful stuff. There were about three pieces still around. The old Discovery is still in the Thames Estuary, in their area where they have a theme park, or whatever they call it. You can go there and look at it.

Paul was there, back in New London, and I was in Hamburg, and Dick Truly and those guys are up in space. Paul and I were going to meet in New London and get that stuff going, and also we were doing some programs with the British ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) people. So I got back to the hotel one afternoon, and there was a phone message for me. This was back in '83, and it was a small hotel in Hamburg, and they weren't speaking a lot of English, and my German was about good enough to order a beer and that was it. No, it was better than that. But anyway, so there's a phone message, and the guy finally got it across to me that this phone message had come from Houston.

So I took the message, and it says, "Call," and the number was the number of CapCom. I thought, "What is this?" So I called. Of course, by this time, of course, it's nighttime there, so the crew was asleep. Anyway, the CapCom was there. CapCom was Bill Fisher. Phone rang, he picked it up, and I said, "This is Bob Stevenson."
"Oh, Bob, hi. How are you? Where are you?"
I said, "I'm in Hamburg."
He said, "Oh."
I said, "Who's this?" Those days, didn't have satellite sort of stuff.
He says, "This is Bill Fisher."
I said, "Bill, what's happening?"
He said, "Well, you got a message from the Commander."
I said, "You mean from Truly?"
He said, "Yeah."
I said, "What did he say?"
He said, "All right, I'll read it." He says, "Tell those damn oceanographers why aren't they here, that there are eddies, spiral eddies, as far as I can see either side of the flight path, from the western southern part of the Indian Ocean all the way past New Zealand." And he said, "On the first day there was nothing, and now for five days in a row we've seen this stuff." And that was it.

So I immediately called Paul. Of course, it was night-time over in New London. We'd seen these isolated spirals. Sally and John Fabian had seen these down in the southern Indian Ocean. They were going the other way. So that was a big step, because we thought they were only going to be things that would go counterclockwise, because if they went the opposite way in the Southern Hemisphere, it meant that they were influenced by the Coriolis influence of the rotation of the Earth. In fluid dynamic theory, features that small were not influenced by Coriolis, so if they weren't influenced, therefore they did not conform to the linear theory of dynamics in the ocean. They were non-linear. Of course, then and even now, nobody can solve a non-linear equation. But anyway, so we were kind of excited about that.

But then along comes Truly, and he sees these things for five days in a row, covering
6,000 miles of ocean, and he says, "As far as I can see from either side," and, of course, he had photographs. It was unbelievable when we got them. It was just staggering. So that was a big step. We didn't really know what to do with it, because, well, of course, most of the oceanographers, nearly all the oceanographers who looked at it said, well, it's the wind. The wind is blowing across the sea, and that's turbulence in the lower layers of the atmosphere and it's making those things.

At that time we didn't have any photography or observations that showed anything but the spirals, and we didn't have any that showed any ship wakes going through them. So we had no way of telling them, no, it ain't that, except that both of us being physical oceanographers, we felt that it was ocean dynamics, not the atmosphere. In those days, people were trying to model the ocean just as they still are trying to model the ocean, and so anything like that wasn't possibly going to fit in their model, because in those days the points in the ocean that they could handle in the model were 1,000 kilometers apart, and then later they could get them down to maybe 500. Now they can get them down to maybe 10, but, even so, they're not going to handle that kind of stuff. But in those days, to think of that sort of thing, "Forget it, you know. I don't want to hear about it."

So, anyway, that was a big step forward, major step forward, in what we then began to think about, well, we'd better do this on a more systematic way. But it was strictly an observation, because Dick Truly was interested, you see. When he got back, that's when he said, "Look, I don't care what you guys say. You guys have got to fly." George had said earlier that he wanted to fly us back in '82, but then the space sickness thing came up and headquarters said, "No, you've got to put some doctors up there." So Norm Thagard went on 7 and Bill Thornton went on 8, and so on. But then Truly said, "No, no, there's too much going on in the ocean, and, sure, we can see it, but we don't really know what to look for. We don't know how." So, anyway, that's kind of how it all started.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:34 pm

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, two days, 19 hours, 25 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (8:57 p.m. CDT). We’re experiencing intermittent lock on the downlink on TDRS.

CapCom (Jeff Hoffman): Challenger, Houston, we’re back with you throughout the S-band TDRS and the Orbit 1 team is here with you. Good morning.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, two days, 19 hours, 32 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (9:04 p.m. CDT). Handover in the Mission Control operations room has been completed. There will be no change-of-shift news briefing; on-coming Flight Director is Randy Stone. CapComs are…

CapCom: Voice check.

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston. Reading you loud and clear.

CapCom: Okay. We’ve been sort of slipping in and out of lock. I hope we’ll hold you for awhile. Orbit 1 team is taking over and we’d all like to wish you a good morning. And Dan, the last time when we lost lock, you had just started to say something to Bryan and got cut out.

Brandenstein: Oh, we were, huh?

CapCom: Yes. It’s been about five minutes since we’ve heard anything from you, so I don’t know what you were trying to say then or if you want to try to go through it again.

Brandenstein: Last thing I can recall we were talking about the TAGS paper message that you folks sent. And it was a blank piece of paper.

CapCom: Okay. We’ll let the people know.

Brandenstein: How’s the weather in Houston today – tonight?

CapCom: Somebody’s going to look out the window.

Brandenstein: You’re going to have to cut a hole in the roof. That’s the second time we’ve asked and you guys haven’t had the answer.

CapCom: Well, they told us always to ask for an out-the-window report, right, before you come in.

Brandenstein: Roger.

CapCom: No, basically, when we came in this evening it was pretty nice outside; had a nice sunset and was reasonably clear.

Brandenstein: That’s good. You’ll be happy to hear we haven’t  had any rain up here the whole mission. That is except when Gardner forgets to put the needle down on the water dispenser.

CapCom: Some things just don’t require any… any comments, do they?

PAO: …Two days, 19 hours, 38 minutes, Challenger is on orbit 46, about to be acquired through the Merritt Island, Florida, tracking station. (…) This is Shuttle Control; Bermuda has Loss of Signal, Dakar is next in just over three minutes. Challenger Commander Dick Truly reported during this pass that the troubleshooting activities are underway now on camera Delta, the forward starboard television camera in the payload bay which has failed. He said he would report the outcome of that troubleshooting as soon as it was completed. We’ll stand by for acquisition through Dakar at two days, 19 hours, 52 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (9:24 p.m. CDT).

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you through Dakar, six minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. And we’ve got one star, star 45 in the table.

CapCom: Okay, star 45 in the table. And I have a message for you on the circ pumps.

Brandenstein: Okay, go ahead.

CapCom: The circ pumps have been operating for the past twelve hours and the accumulator pressure has remained stable. It may be that the leak has stopped; anyway, we would like to check that. So here’s what we’d like you to do. On panel R2, could you turn off hydraulic circulation pumps 1 and 3? Then we’ll watch the accumulator pressure for a while. If the accumulator pressure should decay, in either system below 1930 psi – and that’s the FDA limit, on R2 turn on the affected circ pump back on, that’s to on for five minutes. And after that, turn hydraulic circ pumps 1 and 3 to the GPC position. And that will return us to the current configuration of the five-minute on and 60-minute off duty cycles.

Brandenstein: Roger, understand.

Truly: Houston, CDR, got a question on the IMU align procedure, the way I read it. It says between 25 and 30 minutes after start, which is where we are now, to go back to A-auto vern, whether we’re in verniers or in the normal jets; and we’re presently heads up and on the verniers. Is that, do you still want me to go back to auto?

CapCom: Stand by, Dick.

Truly: Okay. And we just got another star on the table, star 37 with an angle error of .01.

CapCom: Okay. That was star 37, angle error .01.

Gardner: And Houston, MS1. I’ve got a CCTV camera report here for you if you want it.

CapCom: Okay, Dale.

Gardner: Okay. I think Dick already mentioned we tried your trick on camera Delta – no joy. I think you’re right about the iris being closed. I put it up on the one monitor and then put another color camera on another monitor and closed its iris manually, and the two pictures look exactly the same. So I think the Delta is closed, stuck closed. I just tried the elbow camera; it seems to be working better now. I’m able to focus properly and it looks like it’s back in business. Camera Charlie, I cycled in – zoomed in and out several times and finally it looked like it broke free and I’m now able to zoom in and out all the way; so it looks like at least temporarily it’s back in business also.

CapCom: Okay. So to recap the video situation then, camera Delta is still out and you believe the iris is stuck closed. The elbow camera you are able to get a better focus with it today, and camera Charlie now is free and zoomed.

Gardner: Apparently so.

CapCom: Okay. Well, be thankful for little things, I guess.

Gardner: Yes. One out’s better than three out.

CapCom: Sure, any day.

Gardner: It was starting to get right interesting yesterday – it was the direct berth when those cameras started to go.

CapCom: It just makes you work a little harder. We’re going LOS…

Gardner: Hey, Jeff, there is one thing that you might pass on to the team that does the RMS stuff this afternoon. I forgot to mention to them yesterday, the first, right after we’d done the direct berth and had it down and had four ready to latches, and the checklist called then for us to take the brakes off and go into test mode for the… for latching it up. When I took the brake switch to off, I got an RMS master alarm with no caution light with… on the RMS panel. Of course, I through the brakes right back on. I think we had a message PDRS control; you might look back at the data and see, by the time we got to spec 96 though, there were no indications of any problem, and thereafter each time that we took the brake switch from on to off, that problem did not occur. So we had some kind of transient there and I really don’t know what it was.

CapCom: Okay. I guess the RMS people can think about that and we’ll let you know if they come up with anything… Another message now, or answer to your question on the DAP (Digital Auto Pilot).

Brandenstein: Go ahead.

CapCom: You can go to auto on the DAP and that should take you around continuing the roll until you get to LVLH (Local Vertical/Local Horizontal).

Brandenstein: Richard says, roger.

Lockup with TDRS was again intermittent; there were several short comm dropouts – which also meant trouble for Houston’s periodical attempts to make use of the TAGS aboard Challenger. Shortly before going LOS TDRS at two days, 20 hours, seven minutes Mission Elapsed Time (9:39 p.m. CDT), Jeffrey Hoffman asked, “About a little over five minutes ago we sent up another TAGS test message. Did you receive it?” The crew confirmed that they had received three blank sheets of paper. “Well,” Hoffman replied dryly, “if you guys need any extra paper, you’ve got it now.” – Be thankful for little things…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:35 pm

At 9:45 p.m. CDT, when Challenger was picked up at Indian Ocean Station, Commander Truly reported they all had been down below on the middeck, changing LiOH canisters and also solving a problem they had experienced with the treadmill. “The treadmill makes a good bit of noise as you walk on it,” he said. “Actually the noise is made because the door to the LiOH compartment is a tad loose, and between that and the foot connection between the treadmill and the door just kind of make it rattle around a bit, and we were fixing that up.”

At 10:01 p.m. CDT the orbiter reached the Australian continent and came into range of the Yarragadee and Orroral tracking stations. Jeff Hoffman announced, “We have some OMS PADs,” meaning Preliminary Advisory Data on the two upcoming Orbital Maneuvering System burns. “I’ve got two PADs for you, so get out two sheets.” What followed was several minutes of technical terms and numbers read back and forth between Mission Control and Challenger.

CapCom: We think there is a strong chance we will not be able to uplink the targets for that burn, so you should expect to enter them manually.

Truly: Okay. And we’ll check up on you anyhow.

CapCom: Challenger, 30 seconds LOS; we’ll pick you up through TDRS in about twelve minutes at 20 plus 54 (10:26 p.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Houston, we’ll see you then.

CapCom: And you might want to know the burritos have just come in.

Truly: You’re breaking my heart.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, Loss of Signal through Orroral. Challenger will be acquired on TDRS in just over eleven minutes. During this pass over Australia through Yarragadee and Orroral, CapCom Jeff Hoffman passed up the PADs for OMS burns 4 and 5 – those maneuvers designed to circularize the orbit at 121 nautical miles, the altitude selected for the oxygen interaction on materials experiment. Ignition time for OMS number 4 will be two days, 21 hours, 56 minutes (11:28 p.m. CDT), 27.8 seconds. Both engines will be used, change in velocity will be 66.7 feet per second, duration of the burn 38 seconds, resulting orbit 168 by 121 nautical miles. OMS number 5 will also use both engines, ignition time two days, 22 hours 41 minutes (12:13 a.m. CDT), 24.6 seconds. The delta V of 83.3 feet per second, duration of the burn 47 seconds, resulting orbit 121 nautical miles circular. Challenger’s current orbit is 168 by 159 nautical miles…

When Challenger locked up with TDRS again, CapCom Jeff Hoffman went on the air in another attempt of following the Text and Graphic System’s paper trail…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, could you go down and check the TAGS again? We’re still trying.

Brandenstein: Roger, Houston. Guy’s checking it right now… Okay, Houston, we just checked it and unfortunately we have two more blank sheets of paper.

CapCom: Ah, but those are mode three blank sheets of paper; before you only had mode one blank sheets of paper.

Brandenstein: Well, that’s good to know. We’re going to have a real raft of paper airplanes up here before long.

CapCom: How do the paper airplanes fly in zero-g?

Brandenstein: We’re still evaluating that.

CapCom: I’m sure the SETP (Society of Experimental Test Pilots) will be very anxious to find out.

Brandenstein: No doubt.

An inflight test later in the mission indicated that the developer on the TAGS was operative, but image data could not be produced. So the unit was turned off for good and, since the teleprinter was available, there was no mission impact. Postflight, the cause of the problem would be traced to the failure of an integrated circuit in the video processor.

Brandenstein: Hey, Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Go ahead, Dan.

Brandenstein: Roger. We copied your message this morning on circ pumps 1 and 2, and it looks like the helium pressure on system, correction, that was 1 and 3; it looks like the accumulator pressure on system 2 is about 54 psi above the alarm, and I was wondering what the current status of circ pump number 2 is.

CapCom: Stand by… Challenger, Houston, on the circ pumps. System 2 pump is officially declared dead and not to be used. The pressure limit for the FDA (Fault Detection Annunciation) has been lowered to 1650, so you’re still 334 psi away from that.

Brandenstein: Okay, thanks a lot. Looks like Florida’s cloudy today – tonight.

CapCom: Yes. We’ve got a weather map down here, and it shows a lot of clouds all over there. Edwards is pretty clear though.

Brandenstein: Tell you what, there’s a lot of thunderstorm activity out over the Gulf to the east of Florida. I’m sorry, out in the Atlantis. And from here it looks like most of the eastern seaboard is cloudy. We can see the city lights under the clouds, but not a lot of them.

CapCom: Yes, we’re looking at our weather map here and see pretty much the same thing. But I’d sure like your view right now.

Brandenstein: You bet.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:38 pm
CapCom: Challenger, Houston. We lost you through TDRS for a bit, but we’ve got you back now through Dakar.

Truly: Roger, Houston. And we just started our maneuver to the burn attitude.

CapCom: Okay, we’ll be watching you… Challenger, Houston.

Truly: Roger, Jeff. Go ahead.

CapCom: Two things. We see a cabin PPO2 alarm; EECOM wants you to know it looks like a noisy transducer and no action. And while we’ve got you, we’ll let you know that we’re looking at your targets, your vector and the gimbal check – they all look good for the burn. And we’ll check with you one more time through IOS.

Truly: Okay, Jeff, we sure appreciate you all watching. And yes, we noticed that PPO2 B seemed to rise after I completed the cabin management a while ago. Thanks a lot and we’ll see you later.

CapCom: Right.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, two days, 21 hours, 49 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (11:21 p.m. CDT). We’ve had LOS through TDRS; the Indian Ocean Station will lock on to the Challenger in about 30 seconds. (…) This is Shuttle Control. Challenger is at proper attitude for the OMS-4 burn. Ignition time for that time is just after LOS at this station.

CapCom: Challenger, we’re going LOS. Have a good burn. We’ll talk to you through Yarragadee.

Truly: Roger, Jeff, we’ll be right there.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:41 pm
PAO: This is Shuttle Control. Indian Ocean Station has Loss of Signal. Challenger’s next acquisition will be through Yarragadee in just under nine minutes. We’ll get a report at Yarragadee on the OMS-4 burn, which should have just started. At two days, 21 hours, 56 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (11:28 p.m. CDT), this is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you through Yarragadee for eight minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston. The burn went off on time; the residuals were approximately zero. Nominal burn. We’ve loaded the targets for the second burn and we’re on the way there now.

CapCom: That’s good to hear. Thanks.

Truly: Houston, Challenger, do you read?

CapCom: Loud and clear.

Truly: Roger. Burn was on time and residuals were zero. Nominal burn.

CapCom: Okay. – We actually heard you the first time. Did you not get my call?

Truly: Negative.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston.

Truly: Go ahead.

CapCom: Not too long after the next burn you’ve got a Ku test in the CAP, and we’ve got a change, slight change in the procedure which I would like to give you on page 2-7 of orbit ops. I’ll stand by.

Truly: Okay, stand by… Okay, Jeff, we’re looking at it. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay. It’s in the setup part, section 1, the second line. The Ku, where it now says “auto track,” the Ku should be set to “manual slew.” And then the second line from the bottom of the setup, where it says “check track,” delete that line. And that’s all.

Truly: Okay. Section 1 setup, second line, KU should be set to manual slew, and the next to last line, the… should delete the line that says “check track, talkback barber pole.”

CapCom: That’s correct.

Truly: Okay, thanks, Jeff.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, going LOS in 25 seconds, pick you up through Hawaii at 22 plus 34 (12:06 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Houston. Hawaii at 22:34.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control. Yarragadee has Loss of Signal. Commander Dick Truly reporting a good OMS-4 burn during this pass at Yarragadee. Next station will be Hawaii in just over nineteen minutes; Challenger now getting configured for the OMS-5 burn, which is scheduled for 22 hours, 41 minutes – 24.6 seconds. That burn designed to circularize the orbit at 121 nautical miles. (…) This is Shuttle Control at two days, 22 hours, 33 minutes Mission Elapsed Time; we’re standing by for acquisition through Hawaii…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Hawaii for a minute.

Truly: Roger, Houston, understand. And we’re (garble) burn attitude.

CapCom: We see that in our data. Thanks. Challenger, Houston, we see your targets and attitudes; everything looks good for the burn.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, two days, 22 hours, 39 minutes Mission Elapsed Time; Challenger operating on S-band through TDRS now, one minute, 48 seconds away from the OMS-5 burn.

Truly: Okay. Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead, Dick… Dick, we lost you just after you called; we’re back with you.

Truly: Roger, we’re ten seconds to the burn (garble).

PAO: Good burn on both engines in progress.

Truly: Houston, Challenger, burn is complete; the residuals are near zero, and it was on time.

CapCom: Well, we were watching, and it sure looked good to us. We managed to follow you with the Ku-band all the way.

Truly: …Houston, CDR, how do you read?

CapCom: Loud and clear, although we’ve been in and out as far as TDRS for a little while. But we’ve got you now… Challenger, Houston, we’re with you UHF through Goldstone, and we’ve been hearing you, but I think you have not been hearing us.

Truly: Roger, Houston, and we’re getting into the Ku-band manual acquisition test.

CapCom: Okay. I’ve got a message for you on that. There’s one more addition to what I gave you before on page 2-7, and that is when you actually get down to the test part before Ku search to search, you’ve got to take the Ku and put it back to “auto track.” We apologize for that. In the first set of procedures we gave you…

Truly: Roger, understand the step, insert a step before the Ku search and that is take the Ku to “auto track.”

CapCom: That’s correct. The reason we changed the auto track to manual at the top was that if it happens to be locked already, and you’re in the auto track position, then you are not able to manually slew. But when you actually do the search, you want to be in auto track… Challenger, Houston.

Truly: Go ahead, Houston.

CapCom: If you haven’t already done it, we would like you to delay the Ku-band manual acquisition test. We’re having problems with the TDRS coverage and we’d like to be able to watch you do it. And we will give you a call when we’re ready.

Truly: Okay, Jeff, we have just completed step 1, the setup. Would you like us to back out of this, or remain in our present configuration?

CapCom: No, that sounds optimum. If you just hold what you’ve got, then you’ll be ready to go with the actual test part as soon as we give you a call.

Truly: Okay, we’re sitting on page 2-7 then, and we have completed step 1 – and that’s where we’re sitting.

CapCom: Okay. And I hope we get to you as soon as possible.

Truly: Okay.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, two days, 22 hours, 58 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (12:39 a.m. CDT). Challenger’s current orbit is 121.9 nautical miles by 120.7 nautical miles; the period is one hour, 29 minutes, five seconds.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:42 pm

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we’re30 seconds LOS Bermuda. If we don’t get back on TDRS, we’ll speak to you at Dakar in five minutes, and we’re still waiting on the Ku-band manual acquisition test.

Truly: Roger, Houston.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control. Bermuda has Loss of Signal; we expect to lock up momentarily on TDRS.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston. We’ve only got you through TDRS, and we’re go for the Ku-band manual acquisition test… Challenger, Houston, how do you copy?

Truly: Roger, Houston, we’ll be with you in just a second. We were just cleaning the cabin fan filters, and that’s why you see the alert.

CapCom: Okay. Thanks for letting us know. And we just wanted to check that we did indeed have comm.

Truly: Roger, we have you loud and clear… Houston, CDR. The first attempt appeared successful. We purposely were near the limit of the five degrees as printed in the checklist between command and actual; we’re going to slew it off and repeat it.

CapCom: Thanks, Dick. And it looked good down here; we’ll watch for your second.

Truly: Houston, Challenger, it looks like it works like a champ.

CapCom: Well, we saw the second one and INCO seems pretty happy.

Truly: Okay. If that’s okay, then we’ll leave it in this configuration and… or whatever configuration you tell us to put it in, and go back to cleaning the cabin fan.

CapCom: INCO’s happy, configuration looks good, Dick. So press on with whatever else.

Truly: Okiedoke. See you later.

CapCom: …Challenger, Houston, on your cabin fan.

Gardner: Say again, Jeff?

CapCom: We’re going to be losing TDRS coverage in a little over a minute and EECOM would sleep a lot better if he knew that your cabin fan were back on.

Gardner: Oh, yeah. We got it back on about two minutes ago.

CapCom: Okay, thanks, Dale.

Gardner: It’s been on now for a couple of minutes and the fan filters were really not that dirty.

CapCom: Okay, it turned out we had some static data there; but thanks for letting us know.

Gardner: Roger.

When Challenger was picked up through Yarragadee at 1:12 a.m. CDT, the crew gave a progress report on their cleaning efforts the cabin and IMU fans, as well as the DEU filters. “Okay, sounds like a regular spring cleaning,” commented Jeff Hoffman.

CapCom: Dan, when you’ve got a minute, I’ve got something for you on the PPO2 system regarding the alarm that you got a little while ago.

Brandenstein: Roger, go ahead.

CapCom: In the manual cabin atmosphere management you were using the procedure on 5-10 of the orbit ops checklist. And EECOM suggests that if you go to the reset caution and warning limits at the bottom, that you’ll avoid any more PPO2 alarms. And specifically that means a 3.6 limit for the PPO2.

Brandenstein: Roger. And the thing had really become a nuisance. We planned to go ahead and do it anyhow, but we’ll take care of that shortly.

CapCom: Yes, I don’t think there’s any great rush on that. Also he had a question: When you did get the PPO2 alarm earlier this morning, had you done anything shortly before that in terms of changing around the temperature setting on the temperature controller down under the middeck floor?

Brandenstein: Jeff, we did. I’m not… I’m not sure that I recall exactly in what order we did it. I did set the… I did change the temperature setting since it was a little warm in the cabin. But I thought it was after we had the PPO2 alarm.

CapCom: The reason I asked is apparently there’s been some indication in the past that some of those sensors are fairly temperature sensitive and a change in the temperature can trigger them, and that’s why they wanted to know… Challenger, Houston, I’ve got a message for you regarding the upcoming Ku-band roll maneuver.

Truly: Roger, go ahead.

CapCom: In order to accomplish the test, it’s going to be necessary to start that as soon as possible after TDRS AOS; our current estimate of that is 00:07 is the AOS TDRS. Even if we should lose voice communication during that time, INCO would like you to proceed and do the entire test.

Truly: Okay, even if we’re no comm at 00:07, we’ll start the maneuver.

CapCom: That’s correct, Dick… Challenger, Houston, also just so you know what we’re doing: We intend to turn on one of the payload bay cameras while you are doing that roll test just so we can get some spectacular views of your elevon rolls.

Truly: Roger, Houston, we’ll be looking for it.

CapCom: Challenger, we’re going LOS twenty seconds, and hopefully we’ll be talking to you through TDRS.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control. Yarragadee has LOS; next acquisition Hawaii in about 18 minutes, with TDRS acquisition about a minute after that. At two days, 23 hours, 48 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, This is Shuttle Control Houston… This is Shuttle Control at three days, zero hours, nine minutes Mission Elapsed Time (1:41a.m. CDT); we’re waiting to lock up on TDRS at Hawaii.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you through Hawaii, UHF at the moment.

Truly: Roger, Houston. We started the roll maneuver at 00 plus 07.

CapCom: Okay, thanks.

Truly: And incidentally, I’m looking out the left side window and see a bunch of lights, which I assume is one of (garble).

CapCom: While we’re on the subject of looking out the window. I’ve got a couple of Earth obs notes if you’ve something to write with.

Truly: Okay, stand by just one second… Okay, Dan’s ready to copy.

CapCom: Okay, the two things are, that first of all there’s a tropical storm with the name of Ellen at 8 degrees north, 142 east. It is a little bit west of a point halfway between Guam and New Guinea, and that ought to be visible just before you get to your next sunset – that’s on… going into orbit 50. And the suggestion is that you try to photograph the storm while you’re approaching it to get the cloud structures using a 100mm lens, at exposure ranging from F5.6 to F8.0.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:44 pm
Truly: Roger, we copy. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay. And the second is a reminder that the second-best view that you’re likely to get of Henderson Island during the entire flight is going to come up later today on rev 56.

Truly: Okay. Thank you very much. We’ll try to get it again. We have gotten that site twice; unfortunately there’s a good deal of cloud cover there, and both times, oh, I’d say half the Island was covered in clouds. But we’ve seen it twice.

CapCom: I think that’s why the suggestion was to try it again. And, you know, just keep taking pictures and hope for a break.

Truly: You bet.

CapCom: We’re going LOS Hawaii on UHF and we’ll pick you up at Goldstone at about five minutes.

Truly: Roger.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:46 pm

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Goldstone, UHF.

Truly: Roger, Jeff, loud and clear.

CapCom: I just want to let Dale know, if he wants to discuss that RMS master alarm at some point, we have some information on it. It’s nothing that’s going to affect your operations, so it’s really your call if you want to talk about it.

Truly: Okay, thanks a lot. Dale is busy doing something else, and… well, he took a break here; he’s listening. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay. Apparently this is referred to as the “ghost alarm,” and it was seen on STS-7. What happens is in direct drive the joint angles, when the brakes are on, the joint angles are not updated. As soon as you take the brakes to off, software performs a consistency check using the last joint angles that it had, and if you have moved any of the joints while you were in direct drive with the brakes on, then the consistency check is going to fail and it will give you a control error, a master alarm and a message. As soon as you cycle the brake switch on and off again, the GPC is going to see this as recycling the brakes and it resets and it reinitializes the angles, and the consistency check and the errors are all going to be set to off, and you won’t get any further master alarms. That’s probably what happened.

Truly: Okay, Jeff, we understand. I think I’ve seen or heard something similar to that before we launched, but also you have a real bad echo now… Houston, CDR…

CapCom: Go ahead, Challenger… Challenger, Houston…

Truly: Houston, CDR, on… in the orbit ops checklist page 1-4 on step 1, I thought I’d give you the times just so that if my arithmetic is wrong, you can disagree with me. I started the first roll at 07 minutes after this hour. I’ve got to start… the next maneuver is set up with a start time of three days, zero hours, 31 minutes and zero seconds, and I intend to do the stop item 21 at three days, zero hours, 55 minutes, that’s 55 minutes and zero seconds.

CapCom: Okay, Dick, thanks for the times. One note on the comm. We’re talking steadily with UHF, and when the TDRS sometimes comes in and out, we have a TDRS on top of the UHF; that’s what gives us that echo…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:48 pm
PAO: This is Shuttle Control, three days, zero hours, 47 minutes (2:19 a.m. CDT); we’re getting a picture now from the payload bay cameras; Challenger still performing the Ku-band roll test; Challenger currently over the South Atlantic Ocean… This is Shuttle Control, three days, zero hours, 59 minutes Mission Elapsed Time; Challenger has Loss of Signal with TDRS, still in acquisition at, UHF acquisition at Botswana for another two minutes (…) This is Shuttle Control, Challenger has flown out of range of Botswana now. Yarragadee will be the next station in about thirteen and a half minutes. At three days, one hour, two minutes Mission Elapsed Time, this is Shuttle Control Houston.

“We did a number of DTOs, or Detailed Test Objectives with the TDRS satellite, which we accomplished successfully today,” Flight Director Randy Stone explained. “We did a maneuver with the orbiter, rolling maneuver to test the performance of the orbiter antennas as it rolled past the TDRS line of sight; that test was accomplished on orbit 49. We also did some manual acquisition of the TDRS satellite with the crewmen manipulating the Ku-band antenna in the orbiter, moving it off the nominal line of sight to the TDRS, and then letting it reacquire. And those tests went very well.”

PAO: This is Shuttle Control at three days, one hour, eight minutes Mission Elapsed Time (2:40 a.m. CDT). The Payloads officer has received an Insat report from the tracking station at Hassan, India. Insat is in an orbit of 20,044 nautical miles by 4,133.7 nautical miles; the second Apogee Kick Motor firing has been changed to a Greenwich Mean Time of day 245, time 14:30 GMT.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you through Yarragadee for four minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear… Houston, CDR.

CapCom: Go ahead, Dick.

Truly: Roger. I went ahead and did the roll maneuver for the common track in the blind and never heard anything during the test. How did it come out?

CapCom: Stand by… Dick, INCO says they’re going to have to get most of their data off the recorder, but the little bit they saw makes it look like they got the data they needed and everybody thanks you.

Truly: Well, we sure hope so.

CapCom: We’re going LOS here in thirty seconds, pick you up at Guam at 1 plus 28 (3:00 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Okay. We’ll be on the lookout for the storm.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, Yarragadee has Loss of Signal, next acquisition through Guam in just over eight minutes. Challenger will begin orbit number 50 just prior to Guam acquisition…

After leaving Guam, followed by seven minutes of silent passage over the Pacific Ocean, at 3:11 a.m. CDT Challenger made contact with the Hawaiian Islands tracking station. CapCom Jeff Hoffman radioed, “And for your information, we’ve just sent up on the teleprinter some entry weather, and also world news which you might be interested in.” Flight Director Randy Stone confirmed later that the astronauts were told about the Korean Airlines incident. “We gave the crew a summary of the world news today, and that was of course on everybody’s list of news items, and that went up to the crew today.” During the noon press conference, Crystal Team Flight Director Harold Draughon was asked if there had been any comment from the crew that had not been heard by the public regarding KAL 007. He replied, “No, there have been no transmissions from the crew on this flight that have not been heard by the public.”

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, Hawaii has LOS; acquisition with TDRS is underway now. Here in the Mission Control Center, a shift handover is taking place. There’s a change-of-shift briefing with Flight Director Randy Stone; it is scheduled for 4:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time in the JSC news center, room 135…

“The TDRS coverage that we were getting today on my shift was much better than yesterday, since we had no successful passes with TDRS yesterday on the Orbit 1 shift,” said Randy Stone. “We have had comm every pass, every line-of-sight time with the TDRS satellite all morning today. We’ve had some dropouts of the data, but in general the communications with the satellite had been very good.”

Was there any doubt in anybody’s mind that TDRS was going to be really ready for STS-9 and Spacelab? “Well, of course we all believe that it is,” said Stone. “We’re making progress just in the last couple of days on solving the problems that we’ve had with the TDRS system. Of course, it’s not my judgment to decide whether we’re ready to fly for the next flight or not, but I would believe, from what I have seen to date, that we will solve the problems and be ready to fly for STS-9 as scheduled.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:50 pm

“The shift that I covered was, essentially, from the crew’s… noonday meal to putting them to bed,” Orbit 2 Flight Director Harold Draughon said at the end of Flight Day 4. “And the primary activity this afternoon was… very similar to yesterday’s test sequence; and it was dedicated to the use of the RMS and handling the PFTA, the Payload Flight Test Article, running through a number of maneuvers with that payload on the arm, and putting the arm in particular configurations, and firing certain attitude jets to gather interaction data between the arm and the orbiter.” He added, “The difference in today’s testing and what we did yesterday was in the point at which we grappled the PFTA. Today, we were on grapple fixture 5, which is the actual grapple fixture on that unit.”

CapCom (Bill Fisher): Challenger, Houston, Crystal Team with you through TDRS. How copy?

Truly: Roger. Loud and clear. How us?

CapCom: Got you guys loud and clear, too. How’s it going?

Truly: Well, we’re just… we’re in position to capture on grapple fixture 5 – so far so good.

CapCom: Roger. And just to let you know, we have low, low bit data rate down here, so we don’t have a good insight into what you’re doing.

Truly: Okay, we’ll keep you informed. The power up went nominally, the approach to the grapple was very quick and easy on Dale’s part, and we’re just about to capture right now.

CapCom: Roger.

Truly: Okay, got a good capture and we’re…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, with you through Botswana for five minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear – and we’re releasing the keel latch.

CapCom: Roger.

Brandenstein: Hey, Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Houston, go ahead.

Brandenstein: Roger. Earlier today they told us to be on the lookout for tropical storm, I believe it was Ellen, south of Guam. And on that particular approach we did see it and got some pictures of it. It wasn’t real obvious coming from west, but once you got to the south around to the east, the circulation was pretty obvious and it looked like it covered quite an expansive area.

CapCom: Roger, Dan, we’ll look forward to seeing those pictures.

Truly: Houston, CDR. We’re unberthing the PFTA (garble)…

CapCom: Roger, we copy.

Truly: And Houston, Dale says this is a piece of cake; we’re 500 inches in Z.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, we copy. We’re 30 seconds LOS; see you at Guam 3 plus 00.

Truly: Roger, see you at Guam.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Botswana, Challenger crew currently involved in the second day of testing the remote manipulator arm using the high mast object as a test load. Next station is Guam in 24 minutes, at which time we’ll return. At day three, two hours, 35 minutes (4:07 a.m. CDT), Mission Control Houston…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:51 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:52 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:53 pm
PAO: This is Mission Control Houston; Challenger is now in acquisition through Guam.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, Guam for seven minutes.

Gardner: Loud and clear, and we’re just up at top of page 2-8.

CapCom: Roger.

Gardner: And Houston, Challenger, at time MET three days, two hours, 58 minutes we went over a volcano that was erupting.

CapCom: Roger, Dale. We copy that.

Gardner: It was a small single island from what we could see there were a lot of clouds around it, so we didn’t know quite where we were. But we got some pictures and maybe you can figure it out by the time.

CapCom: Roger, we’ll see what we can learn about it and get back with you.

Gardner: And are we still going to have TV at Hawaii coming up here?

CapCom: Roger that, Dale, we’re looking forward to it.

Gardner: Okay, we’ve got the camera in the aft flight deck. And one more thing I’d like you to look at, we’re still having problems it turns out with the elbow camera. I have it turned on and pointed down towards the PFTA. During this pass you might direct it for the downlink and look at it yourself and see what you can see. We noticed that, as hard as it is to believe, that we think there’s a wire, a cable loose inside the lens, because every once in a while you can see this black wire like shadow floating through the lens, and the picture is very blurry, and it kinda bounces around even though the camera is sitting steady.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, we’ll take a look at it.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:54 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:55 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:56 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:57 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 09:58 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:00 pm
When Challenger came into range of Hawaii, Gardner reported, “That was the elbow camera you were looking at there first. We now think the lens may be loose inside there or something. We can see the whole, what we thought was the cable, the whole ring floating around in the field of view.” Flight controllers were enjoying some excellent TV shots of the flight deck and the PFTA grapple fixture 5; shortly before the orbiter locked up to TDRS, they also noticed that Dale Gardner performed a rather strange experiment with his feet while doing the orbital weightlifting.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, just a quick question for Dale. During the LOS, when we still had TV, we… it looked like you were able to run the RMS with your feet. Is that correct?

Gardner: Well, I was checking out the Lenoir theory that your toes are more useful than your fingers... Actually, normally the way I do it is I have my hands up (garble) of the RMS and my toes back on the keyboard for CRT 1, typing in the next (garble) positions.

CapCom: Roger, Dale. Does that explain some of the problems we’ve had with the DAP?

Gardner: No, no, no. I leave the DAP setup to the PLT and the CDR. You can see them both looking at CRT 4 now.

CapCom: Yeah, roger, we see that.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:01 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:02 pm
“All of the testing went exactly as planned,” Flight Director Draughon later summed up the RMS/PFTA maneuvers. “It couldn’t have been more perfect. The times are the thing that we sometimes get a little concerned about, because it’s hard to simulate those activities here, in one-g. But, we came out very close even on the time allocations that we had made. We do have two or three things that we call shopping list tests that we would have worked in had we gotten done a little bit early. Since we did not, we’ve made some plans to pick those up on the extra flight day that was recently added to this particular flight.”

“The things we are going to do there are two direct mode checks that we just didn’t have time to plan in the original flight, and a thing called an auto sequence with an unloaded arm, and that’s a set of calibration data that we use to just judge the repeatability of the system each time we use it,” said Draughon. “In addition to that we… would use the arm to go out and, in essence, do a survey of the orbiter… This particular orbiter doesn’t have hardly any tile damage at all. I think, I told you about the two little indentations on the right OMS pod and a couple of chips that are off up in the front.”

“The reason for doing this particular test is really to determine what… kind of views we can get with the RMS for future applications, whether it would be looking at a payload that has some strange structure or shape, or looking at some part of the orbiter that for some unforeseen reason we might need to. We have constructed those kinds of views on ground computers, but we have never had the time to go check them out and see exactly what, how much you can see with these oblique views on orbit. If we have some time left over tomorrow, we will do that.”

Asked what type of RMS inspection scenes were planned – maybe hook shots over the side, or underneath the orbiter’s nose – Hal Draughon explained, “Those are the ones that I would guess. We started building a set of “what would you like to see” from a number of different parties, you know, that have vested interests in that. I received two lists from two separate camps before I left over there. And Jay Greene, on the planning shift, will be dealing with that trough tonight, putting together that menu or that shopping list for tomorrow. I suspect that there will be things like forward of the wings, looking back into the wing glove area, those kinds of things. But he’s going to put together a prioritized set, and depending on how much time we have left after doing the things the program had already approved for this flight, we’ll go get as many of them as we can.”

Meanwhile, Commander Richard Truly reported some anomaly that could be easily seen front the rear windows of the flight deck. “On one of the GAS cans on the starboard side, and it’s the first one after the heat pipe experiment,… there are pieces of what appear to be blue thermal tape on top of them, and one of these pieces of tape has curled up. It’s still attached on one end, but it’s essentially curled up. It looks to me like probably a thermal effect, and I don’t know if it has any impact or not. All the others we’ve looked at closely and they are still bonded on.”

“It is one of the cans that contain some of the envelopes,” said Flight Director Harold Draughon. “That tape is something that’s used on this system in covering it up when they’re transporting them and, evidentially, a couple of these pieces of tape didn’t get removed… There’s actually no impact from that.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:04 pm

Truly: Let me pass another thing that has happened. The last couple of nights, as a matter of fact, I think each night that we’ve been up here, sometimes early in the morning prior to wakeup by a couple or three hours, we have heard a constant key, or occasional key in what we have thought was UHF. And just a few minutes ago, we heard the same thing where apparently there was an open key for several seconds, and then it would close, and then open again. And finally, we heard a controller, I think, talking; it was a woman controller. The latitude was about 90 east and the longitude was about 9 north. – No big deal, but I though you ought to know about it… And I cannot pin down, during our sleep period, exactly when the interference was, but I kind of think it was the same, because it sounded the same. And my guess was, it was a few hours prior to our wakeup.

“Just a nuisance thing, the Commander reported, as we were coming up on Hawaii on one rev,” said Hal Draughon, “he heard some, a lady traffic controller, we think, talking on UHF about three minutes prior to Hawaii, that would be west of Hawaii… We have not tried yet to isolate exactly where, terrestrially that is, but it’s, evidentially, UHF in origin, and it’s something we’re flying over.” He added, ”We’ve had occurrences like that on other flights that most of you might remember.”

PAO: Mission Control Houston. After a couple orbits of being out of action, the TDRS ground station currently is receiving Ku-band television from Challenger near the end of the TDRS coverage area.

CapCom (John Blaha): Challenger, Houston, we’re up with you at TDRS.

Gardner: Okay, John, we just put the PFTA in the bay and Richard is fastening down the latches.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Dale, and we have a nice TV picture again from camera Charlie.

Gardner: Okay.

CapCom: It looks real pretty over the South Atlantic today.

Truly: Roger, Houston. And I heard all of your calls at Santiago and answered them. But apparently you weren’t hearing me.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. It was a ground configuration problem… Challenger, Houston, recycling the vent valve in the WMS (Waste Management System) didn’t do it. We would like you to go ahead and close the vacuum vent valve.

Truly: Wilco.

Throughout the flight, a higher than normal collector pressure was observed in the Waste Management System when the system was vented to the vacuum of space. This corresponded to a cabin leak rate which varied from one to two pounds per hour. The crew was able to manually control the cabin pressure at the desired level; consequently, this leak did not impact the overall flight accomplishments.

“We had a repeat of the incident… having to do with the gate valve and the Waste Management System,” said Flight Director Draughon. “This is a particular valve in the system that – the way the problem manifests itself is that you can get, we think we’re getting some dirt, trash, what have you, on a seal in the Waste Management System, and we’re getting a certain amount of leakage of cabin air down through that system.”

Truly: And the vacuum vent valve is closed.

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, we had intended to tell you to go ahead and pump it (cabin pressure) up per the normal procedure. But if you’re happy to continue having reset your caution and warning as you have, that’s fine with us, and you can go ahead and wait until this evening and then pump it per the normal procedure.

Truly: Okay… We’re just getting to the end of our RMS work and what I propose is we get the RMS all put to bed and then do it… early in the pre-sleep.

CapCom: Roger, we concur, Richard.

Truly: (…) We were just wondering if we could recycle the gate valve and then hopefully get back to the nominal configuration with the vent valve open. That is, after we have the cabin repress done.

CapCom: Stand by one, Richard… Roger, Richard, you have a go to cycle it again. We won’t know the results until you open the vent valve.

Truly: Roger. I’ll tell you what. We will finish this cabin repress procedure that we’re in. Then we will recycle the gate valve. And it appears to us that it has been cycled properly. We’ll go ahead and reopen the vacuum vent valve and watch it and let you look at it when we come AOS. How’s that?

CapCom: Roger, Richard, that’s a good plan.

On cycling the WMS gate valve, Hal Draughon explained, “You can think of it as jiggling the handle in your bathroom at home if you want to; it’s about as scientific as the fix is. We recycled the system and it cleared yesterday. Today, we tried that once and it didn’t. We repeated it and it cleared the second time.”

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, we were in the wrong DAP here for awhile. As a result, as soon as we get to darkness, we would like you to initiate your IMU roll alignment in whatever attitude that you are at. (…) And we’re going LOS here in ten seconds. We will see you at Hawaii at 7 plus 57 (9:29 a.m. CDT).

PAO: Mission Control, Houston, Loss of Signal at Indian Ocean Station, RMS tucked into its cradle and stowed, and the Payload Flight Test Article also in its trunnions and latched in tight, completing a second day of testing with the remote manipulator arm. (…) Hawaii upcoming in 29 minutes, this is Mission Control, day three, seven hours, 27 minutes.

“We tried, for the first time on this flight, what’s called a IMU roll align,” said Harold Draughon, “and that is a new concept in aligning the inertial platforms on the orbiter, where we get in a particular attitude and go into a certain, just pure body roll and let the star trackers scan the celestial sphere and pick up stars of opportunity. We have a star table with 50 stars predefined in it; if a pair of those stars is detected by the star trackers, we can take the angular data from those measurements. If they meet a certain separation criteria and use, they’ll still have the platforms, and it alleviates us having to go to particular attitudes and sight on particular stars. That’s something that will have a payoff on future flights, on us (no longer) having to make special maneuvers, and will, potentially, free up some more crew time to do experiments.”

Truly: …We had the roll star track align that was initiated from the LVLH attitude and, very quickly here, we’re going to go to A auto vern.

CapCom: Roger that.

Truly: Also, we got the limits set, I think, in the C&W, and we got the cabin pumped up. We cycled the gate valve and opened the vacuum vent. I checked the DPDT (Double-Pole Double-Throw switch) prior to… and after opening the vacuum vent, and as far as I can tell, it is closed; however EECOM, I’m sure, has better data than I do.

CapCom: …And Richard, to answer your question, your WCS configuration looks good and your cabin press is good…

“In fact, after we cycled the (gate) valve the second time today, it locked up solid and was not leaking any more than it had,” Flight Director Draughon said. “There’s always a little bit of spec leakage in that system, but it was back to, essentially, the leakage values that we had had on the first two days of the flight, before the first incidence.”

CapCom: And I have another note for you, Richard, reference your WMS.

Truly: Roger. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay, Richard, basically, you have the option whether or not to go ahead with a little cleaning procedure I’m going to suggest to you here. If you want to do it tonight, you can. If you don’t, you don’t have to. In any event, whether you do or don’t do the procedure, we want you to definitely leave the vacuum vent valve closed for this evening’s sleep period. And your vacuum vent (garble)…

Truly: Roger, understand, John. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay. And your vacuum vent is open right now. What we would… if you want to do the cleaning procedure this evening, what you can do is use the personal hygiene hose to clean the (garble), and then you can use a wet wipe and the personal hygiene hose to clean the O-ring in the gate valve area, and then go ahead and cycle the gate valve a few times to dislodge the debris around the O-ring. Then, when you’re finished with all of that, close the vacuum vent valve.

Truly: Roger. We’ll elect to close the vacuum valve and probably not do that tonight.

CapCom: Roger that. (…) And just for your information, Richard, since you’ve elected to go ahead and use the… just go ahead and close the vacuum vent valve for the evening, just be advised, you can go ahead and use the system per the normal procedure, except leave the vacuum vent valve closed.

Truly: Roger. Understand.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:06 pm

“We started the EOIM experiment just before the crew went to bed,” reported Crystal Team Flight Director Hal Draughon. “This morning, in the crew’s life, we dropped the orbit down to around 120 circular. The reason for that was to get down where the oxygen molecules are more concentrated at the lower altitude to gather data in this oxygen interaction experiment. We entered that attitude at the completion of the RMS test… Those samples are mounted along the minus-Z axis, or straight up out of the payload bay, and… the way you run this particular experiment is, you fly with the payload bay forward, ramming those samples into the velocity vector, or into oxygen molecules that might reside on your flight path; so, that data collection has just started.”

Truly: John, this EOIM attitude is unbelievable. I’m sitting up in the CDR’s seat, and I feel like I’m gonna fall straight down.

“The plan for this particular flight is to collect the EOIM data at 120 miles circular,” said Hal Draughon and explained, “You’ve got to determine whether you want to talk about circular orbits or elliptical orbits… And then you’ve got to determine how long it is you want to stay there… and where you’re doing the deorbit burn, when the actual perigee that’s in front of you keeps decreasing until it actually goes negative and you’re going to land on the Earth, or run into it. Hopefully, land.”

“Above 80 (miles), if we have a significant problem (on deorbit), we pull the plug and stop and reassess it and see what we can do to get a better posture. (Before STS-1), that particular number was picked because it was high enough that there was not so much drag at those perigees that it would impede our ability to navigate while going through those 80-mile perigees. And it was one that (on elliptical orbits) gave us at least a minimum of 32 or 36 hours orbital lifetime, before gravity would pull you in.”

Draughon continued, “If you want to talk about circular orbits, you wouldn’t be comfortable at 80 miles. You’d be in hours as far as lifetime is concerned. If you think back to what you’ve already been told with regard to ATO orbits coming off ascent, when you’re trying to just get on orbit as cheap as you can, the thing we go for is 105 miles circular. That’s about where you’re comfortable. You can fly a day or two there, and probably a little longer, but it’s not something you’d want to – you probably couldn’t stay a week and wouldn’t want to try. So, you can draw your own conclusions from those kinds of boundaries.”

CapCom: Challenger, Houston with you for a last couple of messages before we stop talking to you tonight.

Truly: Roger. Stand by… Roger, John. Go ahead.

CapCom: Okay, Richard. First of all, just to let you know, your configuration for sleep looks really good to us, except for the water dump and the normal pre-sleep activities which you will be doing in the next hour or so. Secondly, if you hear the teleprinter running during the next rev, we will be uplinking the final details of the two star tracker tests you will be doing tomorrow, just in case you want to look at them this evening. You don’t have to – your choice. And a final note, the entire MOCR team certainly passes on congratulations to everyone up there for the super work you all are doing today. You’re really staying with the timeline, and keeping up with everything that we’re asking you to do. So, congratulations for a job well done again.

Truly: Well, thank you, John. I would appreciate it if you would send those star tracker details up and we will look at them this evening.

“In the morning, we’re planning to do two tests with the star trackers,” said Hal Draughon. “These tests both have implications towards the star trackers’ use on the upcoming rendezvous missions, both 11 and 13 Solar Max. The first one is to get into a particular Sun and orbiter geometry, Sun angle geometry, to look at how many false locks one might expect in the exact geometry when we will be depending on star trackers for data on the Solar Max rendezvous mission.”

“The other one is to look onto a star at a certain number of degrees above the Earth’s horizon, and then track that star down to the horizon and see how close to the horizon we can track it,” Draughon said. “It has implications on how far you can take marks on a star and how long your data arcs would be, when the stars become unusable. So, those two tests were not originally on this flight, and we added them onto the flight when the extra day became available.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:07 pm

Truly: I was under the impression we would have another pass or two, and I had told… I mentioned to Bill that, and he was planning on giving you a summary, but I don’t think he’s prepared right this moment.

CapCom: Roger. And Richard, we are going to be listening to you and hanging right with you. So, whenever you want to do that, that’s fine with us. We just won’t call you.    

Truly: Okay. How long do we have on this TDRS pass?

CapCom: Roger. We still have six minutes. And if you want, I’ll check in with you with AOS/LOS calls.

Truly: Yeah, I wish you would for at least another 45 minutes or an hour.

CapCom: Yes, sir. I will do that, Richard, until you tell me that you all are ready to stop.

Truly: Okay, super. Thanks a lot.

CapCom: Yes, sir… Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS TDRS. A reminder to put your encryption select to BYPASS. We will see you at Guam at 9 plus 20 (10:52 a.m. CDT).

Truly: See you then.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal through the Tracking Data Relay Satellite on orbit 54, just starting across the equator to begin orbit 55, where orbit counts begin. Next station, in 28 minutes, is Guam. We’re likely to have a report from Dr. Bill Thornton, just prior to the beginning of the sleep period, on some of his medical experiments. Commander Dick Truly asked that MCC stay in contact with the crew, even though at this time they should be in their late pre-sleep period. At three days, eight hours, 52 minutes Elapsed Time, Mission Control Houston… Mission Control Houston, we have acquisition through Guam for about four minutes.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at Guam for four minutes. And just a reminder to put the star trackers back to track mode… Challenger, Houston, we’d like you to verify that you have the encryption select switch in BYPASS… Challenger, Houston’s with you at Guam for three and a half minutes. Just a reminder to put the star trackers to the track mode and verify that the encryption select switch is in BYPASS… Challenger, Houston. How do you read?

Truly: Houston, Challenger, loud and clear. How are we?

CapCom: Roger, Richard, you’re loud and clear. We’re with you at Guam for two minutes. Just a reminder to put the star trackers to the track mode and verify that the encryption select switch is in the BYPASS.

Truly: Wilco… And Houston, Challenger, every time… in this attitude, we’re sitting out here watching the tops of the OMS pods glow like a firecracker, particularly after each jet firing. That’s visually…

CapCom: Roger, we copy that, Richard.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:08 pm
Truly: And John, how long is it till next pass?

CapCom: Roger, we have 55 seconds left on this pass.

Truly: I see. How long is it till the next pass?

CapCom: Roger, the next one would be Santiago at 9 plus 57 or TDRS in twelve minutes.

Truly: Okay. Call us when we go TDRS and Bill will give you his report.

CapCom: Roger, that… And Richard, if you could verify for us, please, and cycle if you have to, the encryption select switch to BYPASS.

Truly: Okay, it was there, but I took it to T/R (Transmit/Receive) and back to BYPASS.

CapCom: Thank you. We show it clear now, Richard… And we’re going LOS. I’ll give you a call with TDRS in fifteen minutes.

Truly: Okay, see you then.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, Loss of Signal at Guam, next acquisition station is Santiago in 32 minutes. However, we may get TDRS lockup in perhaps fifteen minutes. Bill Thornton still prepared to do an overview of his medical experiments during the day. We’ll return at whichever site comes up first. This is Mission Control Houston…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at TDRS.

Truly: Okay, John, and if you stand by, I’ll get Dr. Bill up here to give you his report… Houston, do you copy Challenger?

CapCom: Roger, loud and clear.

Truly: Here’s Bill.

Thornton: Houston, MS3, radio check.

CapCom: Reading you loud and clear, Dr. Bill.

Thornton: Okay, John. You might pass the following along, that the fluid study was continued, including sample collection and processing fairly routinely. We did pre- and post-sleep leg volumes on everyone, threshold audiometry on most of the crew. We did three audio-evoked potentials, one visual-evoked potential, three EOGs. I’ll give you, I’ll repeat the times on those which I passed down earlier. Checked out the gyroscopes successfully, quite successfully; continued a study on GI (abdominal) sounds and motility, did visual acuities and heights and physicals. All of the equipment is working, working quite well, except for that one graphic recorder, which just plain failed; the paper drive failed completely on it. So, I am having to do some things in the blind… Stand by one, and I’ll give you times on the EOGs that should have been dumped down.

CapCom: Okay, Bill, we’re standing by.

Thornton: Okay. The start time on the first one was day o2, 20 hours, 40 minutes. It was finished at 56 minutes. The second one, the start time was two days, 21 hours, 15 minutes. Finish time was 30 minutes. The third one was day two, 22 hours, three minutes start time. Finish time was nine minutes. I guess we did four. The last one was… three days, six hours, eight minutes was the start time. And the finish time was six hours 20 minutes. And some of these things had some new data in it, which they haven’t seen before; so, don’t let them get upset or disturbed over it.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that, Bill… And Bill, do you have any other thing to report?

Thornton: No. I think that’s it.

CapCom: Okay. We really appreciate the detail of your summary to us. And folks down here are real pleased with all of that. Just one question from us: Do you have any comment at all on the animals?

Thornton: John, the first day, they were all asking for their money back on the tickets, but they seem to have settled in rather nicely since that time. All of them are in excellent condition as far as can be ascertained, eating well, and as far as I can tell, they’re giving all indications of being healthy animals.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Bill. Thank you very much for that qualitative assessment…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:10 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:12 pm

CapCom: And Challenger, Houston, we’re interested in whether or not you have received the star tracker procedures messages yet.

Truly: Roger, John. We heard the teleprinter clicking. Dale is going down there to check. Is it possible on such short notice for you to schedule a very short VTR dump? I was serious about the glow on the tail when the… when we were in darkness, we could see the OMS pods and tail glowing slightly and when the aft vernier jets fired to maintain attitude, this very brilliant glow appeared and a residual glow lasted for some time – or for, oh, died off over a period of a minute or so… and we put one of them on video tape. We can do more later, but we could easily play it to you now or shortly.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, start the tape. We’re ready to receive.

Truly: Okay. We weren’t prepared for quite such a quick acceptance. If you’ll give us a minute or two, we’ll get prepared and we’ll show it to you.

CapCom: Okay. We’ll stand by to look for it.

Truly: Incidentally, the Moon was up by the time that we recorded this short tape, so you will see some reflection of the Moon, but – and later on we will, or sometime during the flight, we will get other tapes in complete darkness.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Richard.

Truly: And Houston, Challenger, we do have the messages onboard for the star tracker.

CapCom: Okay. Thanks a lot, Richard. And we’ll continue to stand by for whenever you want to send us the TV picture.

Truly: Okay, John. I think we’re set up for a VTR dump. Here goes…

CapCom: And we’re going to go ahead and power down the TAGS.

Gardner: Okay, John, are you getting the picture? It should be very faint. It’s camera A, which is a color camera looking back into the dark payload bay.

CapCom: Roger, we’re getting a bright picture here. Stand by one, Dale… Our reception isn’t real good, but we see it.

Gardner: Okay, that’s a good picture. You’ll see a change here in a bit when the jets fire.

CapCom: Okay.

Gardner: Oh, John, we may have gone by it. Let me rewind real quick and try again.

CapCom: Okay.

Gardner: It’s okay. This will catch it up at the very end of the PFTA berthing. Here we go. It’ll be in about 15 or 20 seconds now.

CapCom: Okay. We’re watching for it.

Gardner: Is it firing?

CapCom: Boy, we see it, Dale. That’s…

Gardner: Watch the glow.

CapCom: Wow, that’s something else.

Gardner: And, of course, John, you know with the eyeball it’s much more impressive than that. The glow lasts much longer than what you’re seeing on the video here.

CapCom: Right. I’ll bet it was.

Gardner: We’ll try to catch some more in some dark passes.

CapCom: And Dale, could you just tell us what kind of firing that was again?

Gardner: It was a vernier jet firing, one of the aft vernier jets. We were in the EOIM attitude going payload bay forward, nose toward the Earth, and the tail up towards deep space, and that was just your normal type of vernier firing.

CapCom: Okay. Thanks a lot for the good report. A lot of people down here are very happy to see that… And just a note for you all, if you could just confirm on the WCS and make sure that you get the vacuum vent down to closed; we’re showing it’s open. And another note, the second burn of the apogee burn of Insat looked real good and the satellite is almost stationary now.

Truly: Okay. That’s real good news, and we have the vacuum vent switch on our list for pre-sleep. We’ll get it, John. Thank you.

CapCom: Okay.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at three days, nine hours, 49 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (11:21 a.m. CDT); the Flight Director Jay Greene and the Planning Team have arrived in the Mission Control Center and are now conducting the handover in relief of the Harold Draughon team. That bit of unscheduled downlink television through the TDRS system has been recorded and will be replayed via NASA Select later in the day today. It showed rather graphically and clearly the glow phenomenon which the crew had described. There have, of course, been earlier reports of the glow phenomenon on surfaces of the orbiter while in space, and those have been recorded on still photography, still photographs prior to now. This is the first time we’ve been able to see it in such dimension that it’s visible on video, and also the first time that it’s been correlated to an engine firing. The glow very dramatically enhanced following the firing of some aft vernier jets and gradually subsided at the termination of those jet firings...

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:14 pm
Truly: Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Yes, sir. Go ahead.

Truly: Roger, John. The vacuum vent valve is closed and I guess I’d just as soon knock off the comm for this evening unless you… something comes up that we needed; and we got a couple of things to do before we go to bed. And we will see you in the morning.

CapCom: Yes, sir, we copy that. And just a reminder for you to turn off the HRM; and we will see you in the morning.

Truly: Roger that. See you tomorrow.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at Mission Elapsed Time of three days, nine hours, 51 minutes (11:23 a.m. CDT). That was apparently the last downlink audio with the crew today, as we enter their sleep period just a few minutes late. Challenger on orbit 55, just approaching the coast of South America… Playback of that unscheduled downlink television is planned to occur at approximately 11:35 a.m. Central Daylight Time this morning…

Gardner: …Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Roger, Challenger. Houston.

Gardner: One more question, John. We’re just getting ready to do the Ku-band antenna cable reposition, and we noticed you’re tracking, so we can’t do that. You want us to skip it tonight, or what do you want us to do here?

CapCom: Stand by, Dale. We’ll be with you in about a minute or a minute and a half, Dale, with an answer… Basically we’re going to want you to do it…

Gardner: Okay, there’s no problem.

CapCom: We’re going to want you to do it, but we’re going to tell you when we want you.

Gardner: Okay, just give us a call.

CapCom: …Okay, you can take it and do it now, Dale.

Gardner: Okay, thanks.

CapCom: Roger. See you. Goodnight.

Gardner: Talk to you tomorrow.

PAO: This is Shuttle Mission Control at three days, nine hours, 56 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (11:28 a.m. CDT), we are about twenty minutes into the crew’s sleep period, but that last exchange of air-to-ground had to do with some antenna configuration based on the control center’s use of the TDRS and some instructions for the crew and their activity plan to do some antenna configurations and the conflict associated with those. And they obviously did resolve that and the crew should be entering its sleep period about now. (…) A reminder that the change-of-shift briefing with STS-8 Lead Flight Director Harold Draughon and Robert Aller, the TDRS program manager, will occur in approximately five minutes, at twelve o’clock noon Central Daylight Time, in the Building 2 news center, that’s Johnson Space Center, Houston…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:16 pm

“I might say it’s a pleasure to be here five months afterwards,” said Robert Aller, NASA HQ Director of TDRS Systems, having joined Flight Director Harold Draughon for the high noon press briefing at Johnson Space Center. The last time I was in this room was April 5, I believe. We had just detached from a spinning IUS and stabilized. We’ve come a long way and it’s a real pleasure to be here talking about the TDRS system operating with the shuttle.”

“I did have some points I’d like to make up front and I remind everyone that this mission was an engineering test mission for TDRS – not a network support mission. And from that perspective, our view of the results to date with our tests, our specific test – so called DTOs, as well as the experience we’ve gained in our operational loop that includes not only White Sands, but, of course, Goddard and the Network Control Center, and here at Houston. The interface of that team with STS-8 is really the biggest thing we have to resolve for operating TDRS, and that has come along very well during this mission. And, of course, the only way we can really operate that team is when we have the shuttle in flight.”

“The mandatory systems objectives for TDRS that we wish to achieve with the orbiter prior to Spacelab have been successfully accomplished in the last two or three days. The one that we were most interested in, from our own point of view, was the auto track. The auto track is a system that automatically points our K-band antenna, which is a narrow beam antenna, to the shuttle. We have not exercised that totally satisfactorily. Prior to this, we had attempted to use it on our Landsat exercises and it was not totally successful then. It has been operating well since we initiated the operation on Wednesday in the first K-band pass; so we are very pleased with that.”

“System stability was another concern we had going into the exercise. We of course still have those concerns. However, we feel the stability of our system has improved daily. And since our major difficulty that occurred Wednesday, we feel the system stability problem has been improved tremendously.”

Morton Dean (CBS): Based on your experience during the past week with TDRS, are you satisfied that you will be ready for the Spacelab, or do you wish you had more time? And do you think you’re in the process of recommending a delay in the scheduled launch till you, perhaps, get a better pack on what’s going on, or perhaps more experience with another test flight?

Draughon: I’ll answer that first. In my opinion, we have learned a great deal on this flight, and from here on out really is pulling together the team in an operational sense, for Spacelab, and in my opinion, over the next sixty days, we’re going to be able to do that.

Dean: Saying you’ll be ready for when Spacelab as now scheduled?

Draughon: Yes, sir.

Dave Dooling (Huntsville Times): Okay, this is for Bob. Do you foresee any impact on future Spacelab missions? When do you anticipate TDRS 2 and 3 getting up? And would you feel comfortable on flying it on any substitute vehicle for IUS?

Aller: Well, our present schedule on the IUS is in the late spring or early summer of next year. I think the firmness of that schedule is very much dependent on the tests that are being run this fall on the IUS by the Air Force. I think their recovery plan is pretty well in hand at this point. I think they not only understand the failure, but the cause of the failure, and I think until we get through those tests, the schedule will have softness in it. We, as you probably know, have looked at other alternatives for the IUS in that we need to get 2 and 3 in flight, and we prefer staying with the IUS. That’s our prime vehicle, and it has a lot of capability – capability we need for our mission, and I think that’s the vehicle we will use. We will continue at a lower level, of course, to look at alternatives to the IUS.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:17 pm

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston; Mission Elapsed Time is three days, 11 hours, 31 minutes (1:03 p.m. CDT). We’ve just acquired signal through the ground station at Santiago, Chile, and, of course, there will be no dialogue with the crew with as much as we’re almost two hours into the sleep period. But the flight control team, nevertheless, continues to look at data to assure the onboard systems are performing as expected.

Challenger on orbit 56, data shows apogee 120.4 nautical miles, perigee 119.3 nautical miles, orbital period of one hour and 29 minutes and two seconds, altitude… latitude is presently 27.0 degrees south latitude, 79.4 degree west longitude, relative velocity 286,131 feet per second, temperature in the flight deck is 80 degrees and humidity at 26 percent. And clearly no voice downlink from the crew. Everything, apparently, quiet and the crew is passing an uninterrupted night…

This is Mission Control Houston at three days, 12 hours, 32 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (2:04 p.m. CDT), about five hours remaining of the sleep period. Everything is still quiet onboard Challenger. The vehicle is on orbit 57, just passing over Guam, and the control team is getting data takes from downlink telemetry; and all systems onboard the vehicle continue to be healthy…

This is Mission Control Houston, at three days, 13 hours, 30 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (3:02 p.m. CDT). Challenger is sweeping across North Africa on a trajectory that will carry it almost directly over the Aswan Dam on orbit 58, having just completed a pass over the ground station at Dakar. Data continues to show that the onboard systems are functioning nominally. No caution and warning alarms have occurred to disturb the crew’s sleep; sleep period is about half over at this point…

This is Mission Control Houston at three days, 14 hours, 28 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (4:00 p.m. CDT); Challenger over the South Pacific presently on orbit number 59. Everything is quiet onboard the vehicle. We’re in the middle of a fairly long Loss of Signal period and won’t acquire data again for another 26 minutes until we pass through the tracking site at Dakar. The crew has three hours 15 minutes remaining in the sleep period and everything appears to be quiet onboard the vehicle…

(…) This is Mission Control Houston at three days, 16 hours, 53 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (6:25 p.m. CDT), Challenger on orbit 60. Just slightly less than an hour remaining on the crew’s sleep period, and they’ve passé an apparently uninterrupted night. There’s no record of any caution and warning alarms having occurred during the night to interrupt their sleep period. Our intention is to cancel the scheduled nine o’clock shift briefing with Flight Director Jay Greene. If any news media feel that they take exception and do wish to talk to the Flight Director, they should advise the Johnson news room at the earliest opportunity – the news room at Johnson Space Center…

This is Mission Control Houston, three days, 17 hours, 33 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (7:05 p.m. CDT), just slightly over ten minutes remaining in the crew’s sleep period. The vehicle is on orbit 61 in the South Pacific presently. There will be an AOS through the Merritt Island land station in about 19 minutes, so we may get some air-to-ground transmission and a wakeup call at that point. Our intention once again is to cancel the scheduled nine o’clock change-of-shift briefing with Flight Director Jay Greene due to the absence of issues or significant activities on his shift. Any news media representatives, however, who take exception to that plan should please notify the Johnson Space Center news room at extension 483-5111 at their earliest opportunity. At Mission Elapsed Time three days, 17 hours, 34 minutes, this is Mission Control Houston.

(JSC PAO commentary / Air-to-ground and change-of-shift press briefing transcripts, Sep. 2, 1983; STS-8 NSTS Program Mission Report, JSC-19278, Oct. 1983; Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space,” Macmillan 1999; Robert Stevenson, JSC NASA Oral History Project interview, May 13, 1999 – edited)

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:19 pm
Saturday, September 3, 1983 (Flight Day 5) – The Extra Day

“Let me think what flight day Sunday is; today is Flight Day 4; that’ll be Flight Day 6. That’ll be almost identical to the Flight Day 5 that’s in the published Crew Activity Plan. We’re inserting the extra day, or the sixth day into the flight; (Saturday) will be that extra day that we’re putting into the flight plan, and the Flight Day 6 will be what has been the Flight Day 5 flight plan all along.”

- Randy Stone, STS-8 Flight Director, Sep. 2, 1983, 4:00 a.m. CDT change-of-shift briefing


PAO: This is Mission Control Houston at three days, 17 hours, 55 minutes (7:27 p.m. CDT), anticipating AOS through Merritt Island land station in just a few seconds and crew sleep period has expired, so we rather expect a wakeup call here momentarily.

CapCom (Bryan O’Connor): Challenger, Houston on UHF… Challenger, Houston on UHF.

Truly: Loud and clear, Houston. How me?

CapCom: Roger. Got you loud and clear. We had no luck with TDRS this pass and we also have been having a problem with S-band GSTDN over MILA, Bermuda. We’ve got a minute and a half to go UHF here, and I’ve got a couple of notes when you are ready to copy.

Truly: Roger, Bryan, go ahead.

CapCom: Post-sleep activity, first perform manual cabin atmosphere management by repressing with N2 per the orbit ops checklist, page 5-10. Reminder, do not perform N2 repress concurrent with WCS use. Second, on panel R1, O2 cryo tank heaters A and B2 to OFF, and the H2 tank 3 heaters A and B2 to OFF. And finally, dump tank Bravo to ten percent, should take about 38 minutes. Over.

Truly: Okay, page 5-10, repress with N2 is not compatible with WCS operations; tank 3 heaters are OFF and dump tank Bravo to ten percent.

CapCom: Roger. And we just got data back… and good morning to you.

Truly: Good morning, Bryan. We’ve been… Dan and I have been up a few minutes and the other guys; we’re getting them up now.

CapCom: Okay. And Challenger, Houston, we’re about to go LOS. We’ll see you next at Dakar at 18:06 (7:38 p.m. CDT).

Truly: Wilco. Dakar at 18:06; see you there.
PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at three days, 18 hours, one minute Mission Elapsed Time. The S-band downlink from the vehicle wasn’t received initially through the MILA station, because the ground had neglected to command the power amplifiers onboard Challenger to an ON position, which would enable that downlink; and that’s been remedied and the wakeup call was acknowledged by UHF by Mission Commander Richard Truly. That command was sent through the Bermuda station and downlink data was received immediately thereafter. And we have four minutes remaining until we reacquire signal and that acquisition will be through Madrid… This is Mission Control Houston. The next acquisition signal will be through Dakar and it will occur in about two and a half minutes. It’s an extremely low elevation pass though – maximum elevation during the pass is 1.4 degrees over the horizon. So the planning team INCO is not anticipating a very strong signal to the vehicle through this pass. Mission Elapsed Time is presently three days, 18 hours, four minutes, this is Mission Control Houston… This is Mission Control Houston, about 30 seconds away from AOS through Dakar, and in absence of any outcry of concern to the contrary, the scheduled 9:00 change-of-shift briefing with Flight Director Jay Greene will be cancelled in as much as there have been no significant events or incidents through the evening and through his planning shift. Flight Director Randy Stone and the Orbit 1 team of flight controllers have arrived in Mission Control and are tagging up with the off-going flight controllers and preparing for handover. Mission Elapsed Time three days, 18 hours, six minutes, and we should be getting voice momentarily through Dakar. This is Mission Control…

CapCom: Good morning, Dr. Thornton.

Brandenstein: Dr. Thornton passes his good morning; he’s already hard at work in his office.

CapCom: Roger that, we figured… And Challenger, Houston, this Dakar pass is low elevation; we’ve got you for about two minutes.

Brandenstein: Okay. Well, we don’t have anything for you and we’re just starting into post-sleep procedures.

CapCom: Roger, Dan. We don’t have anything; we’ll just stand by… Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS. We’ll see you next at Indian Ocean at 18:24 (7:56 p.m. CDT).

Brandenstein: See you there.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at three days, 18 hours, 11 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. The wakeup call this morning was the University of North Carolina fight song. This was in honor of one of its alumni, Dr. Bill Thornton… Let’s see, we’ve Los of Signal through Dakar, and we will acquire in about thirteen and a half minutes through Indian Ocean. This is Mission Control Houston…

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:22 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:27 pm
While Jay Greene’s off-going planning shift sent up some additional teleprinter messages, including updated world news, the astronauts were still impressed with their low-attitude view and preparing for another round of tail glow photography. “This particular attitude looking out these top windows is really spectacular,” said Commander Truly, “and when we go back in it tonight, I’d like you to tell the Earth obs people that we are planning on putting a couple of these Australian passes on TV. It’s severe clear most of western and southern Australia.”

“We were kind of expecting prelaunch that, on this extra day, we were going to do some tail glow,” said Challenger pilot Dan Brandenstein. “It was so spectacular last night and, in fact, because we were expecting some, we brought an extra roll of film. So I just took inventory. I have three rolls of glow experiment film left, and I was wondering if during the day you guys could maybe work up a little bit of a plan for tonight after we go into the EOIM attitude that we could just set that camera up and try and invent a better way of positioning it, and then just every time we come into night, we could do some tail glow pictures.” 

CapCom: Okay, we’re about to go LOS; we’ll see you at TDRS at 19:03 (8:35 p.m. CDT), and if that doesn’t work, MILA at 19:23 (8:55 p.m. CDT).

Brandenstein: Okay, we’ll be ready.

CapCom: And the next people you’ll talk to will be the Orbit 1 Team. Have a good day.

Brandenstein: Bryan, I’d like to commend your shift to all the guys that have been working on it. The way that you guys have got us started every morning has been absolutely outstanding and we really appreciate it.

CapCom: Okay. I guess you’re not holding the fact that it took us seven tries to get the music up this morning against us.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:28 pm

PAO: Mission Control Houston, we have Loss of Signal through Orroral. We’ll pick up the spacecraft again in about eleven minutes when we get within the range of the Tracking Data Relay Satellite; that comes about on this pass at about 168 degrees west longitude on the last part of orbit number 61. And the crew is reviewing their teleprinter messages, getting ready for the day’s activities. The Payloads officer here in Mission Control reports that the second firing of the Apogee Kick Motor on the Insat, that is the final burn of that rocket motor to circularize the orbit of the Indian national Satellite, was successful. That occurred about eleven hours ago; that was a 24-minute and 45-second long burn. In about another twelve hours, twelve and a half hours the controllers at the payloads command center in India for the satellite will deploy the solar array on the satellite to its full up position, and it should be in business once it drifts to its final location… Mission Control Houston, three days, 19 hours, 17 minutes Mission Elapsed Time – Challenger on orbit 62. We did not end up getting use of the TDRS this time, White Sands having a ground problem. We will acquire over the MILA station in about six and a half minutes. This is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom (Mary Cleave): Challenger, this is Houston, with you over the States for ten minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear.

CapCom: You’re loud and clear too, Richard. Good morning.

Truly: Good morning, Mary. How are ya’ll doing this morning? Or is it this morning?

CapCom: We’ll, now it’s the morning. We’ve all switched over and we’re doing real well. Sounds like you are too.

Truly: You bet. We just started the roll star track align from the EOIM attitude and everything’s looking good onboard. We’re just getting ready to eat a little breakfast.

CapCom: Well, have a good breakfast; and we’ll try not to bother you.

Truly: Okay, things are going good onboard this morning. We’re all set. – Hey, Mary, what time is it in Houston?

CapCom: It’s 20:58 local.

Truly: Okay, thanks.

CapCom: And for Dan, we have a… Jeff has a little discussion set up on the glow photography, and any time he’s ready today, Jeff will do a data dump with him.

Truly: Okay, he said he’d catch him after breakfast if that’s alright.

CapCom: That’s fine, anytime he’s ready.

Truly: Houston, CDR. Looks like PPO2 sensor Bravo is acting up again and it’s just bumping the 3.6 limit.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. EECOM confirms that, but he thinks it’ll settle out.

Truly: Okay, we’ll just keep an eye on it and not do anything… Houston, CDR.

CapCom: This is Houston. Go ahead.

Truly: Yes. Just thought I’d make the comment to you, that as we’re in this roll star tracker alignment, the glow – even though there are no jets firing right now – off in the flight deck and looking at the tail of the orbiter, the glow is moving around as the velocity (garble) moves around. It’s unlike the glow that we saw when we were in the EOIM attitude.

CapCom: That sounds amazing.

Truly: It really is and it’s easily visible to the naked eye.

CapCom: Okay, Richard, we copy that. Thanks.

PAO: (…) Mission Control Houston, three days, 19 hours, 35 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. Challenger is out of range of the Bermuda tracking station. We’ll be picking up again in about four minutes and 45 seconds through the Dakar station. We still do not have use of the Tracking Data Relay Satellite due to ground station problems at White Sands. During their recent pass over part of the tracking stations in the continental United States, the crew reported that they were about to have breakfast. Commander Dick Truly made some observations on the tail glow. Previous crews doing photography out the back window reported a glow around the orbiter’s vertical tail fin and it was determined that that was due to the impact of random oxygen molecules, that even up at the altitudes that the orbiter flies are a few oxygen molecules floating around up there and when they strike the surface of the vehicle at the speeds that it is going, that they cause a glow. Up at the higher orbits that’s not normally visible to the naked eye, and they record that on film with the long exposures; but the orbiter is now at an orbit of actually less than 120 nautical miles. Normally the spacecraft in the recent missions have been flying at about 160 nautical miles and we reduced the orbit specifically yesterday to take advantage of the greater abundance of some oxygen molecules at this altitude for a materials test in the cargo bay. Truly reported that the tail glow was visible, even to the naked eye, quite easily visible at this altitude, because of the greater abundance of the oxygen molecules there… We’ll be picking up in about two and a half minutes through the Dakar station. One quarter of the way through orbit 62 on this, the fifth flight day, that is of Space Shuttle flight 6.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:29 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:31 pm
PAO: This is Mission Control Houston. We had a short period of time where we had contact with the spacecraft through the use of the Tracking Data Relay Satellite. We’ve now passed out of the range of the eastern end of the reach of that satellite and Challenger will be communicating to Mission Control through the Indian Ocean Station in about two and a half minutes. At three days, 19 hours, 55 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (9:27 p.m. CDT), this is Mission Control Houston… Mission Control standing by for acquisition through Indian Ocean Station…

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Indie for six minutes.

Truly: Roger, Mary.

CapCom: (…) And Challenger, Houston, we see stars 43 and 37 in your table and they’re good. So you are go to do your align at any time at your convenience.

Truly: Okay, Mary. Thanks very much. These star trackers are really working 100 percent, aren’t they?

CapCom: Well, they seem to be looking real good.

Gardner: Mary, reading the morning mail here, I see that under failures, impacts, etc., you have end effector snares out of the grooves. Did you guys see that last night when you were using camera B to look into the end effector, or how do we know that?

CapCom: I think we’ve been noticing that for a couple of days, but we’ll check on that and get an answer for you, Dale.

Gardner: Okay. No hurry.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston. We’re 30 seconds LOS; we’ll talk to you again through Yarragadee at 20:14 (9:46 p.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger. And the alignment is in work.

CapCom: We copy that, Richard.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, three days 20 hours, six minutes Mission Elapsed Time. Challenger is out of range of the tracking station at Indian Ocean Station and we’ll be picking up again in about seven minutes over Yarragadee in Western Australia. The crew is beginning to get into their business activities this morning, having had breakfast. Mission Control CapCom Mary Cleave passed up word to the crew that they have two stars available to allow their star trackers to work with, part of the navigation system on the orbiter. These star trackers are essentially optical devices that lock onto stars. They try to pick two stars ideally 90 degrees apart. And those are used for determining the attitude of the orbiter measuring the angles between those two stars. And then that information is used for the Inertial Measure Units which also help to determine orbiter position. The ground also passed up word for Dr. Bill Thornton on where they believe some of his medical equipment is stowed away. There are quite a number of stowage lockers on the orbiter in the middeck area, quite a lot of equipment stowed in those and everything from clothing to food to supplies, flight data file books, experimental equipment; and it’s very easy to see how it would be difficult to find some things if you didn’t know exactly where to look for it

 (…) Mission Control Houston, three days, 20 hours, 22 minutes Mission Elapsed Time; Challenger in the gap between Yarragadee and Orroral on orbit 62. During conversation with the crew there, the CapCom Mary Cleave relayed the message that a particular piece of equipment that Dr. Bill Thornton was looking for, had not been placed onboard. Sometime before the flight, someone remarked that given that the second Tracking Data Relay Satellite that was originally part of the cargo of this flight was deleted and its 47,000 pound weight no longer onboard, that would make room for 47,000 pounds of Dr. Bill Thornton’s medical equipment. Apparently he has quite a bit onboard, but this one piece didn’t make it. (…) This is Mission Control; we’re getting data through the Tracking Data Relay Satellite.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston for Dale. The RMU has a little note for you; he says you still have two snares out of the groove on the RMS, and it has not changed since Flight Day 2. They were able to take a good look at it yesterday through camera Bravo.

Gardner: Roger, thank you, Mary… Also, Mary, we ended up cleaning the WCS this morning, and the vacuum vent is open.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:32 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:32 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:33 pm

PAO: Mission Control Houston, three days, 20 hours, 56 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (10:28 p.m. CDT); we’re still getting data and voice through the Tracking Data Relay Satellite and we are about to pass over the ground stations through the continental United States very shortly, although we’ll continue to maintain the link with the TDRS. The commander and the pilot very shortly will be engaged in the test of the star tracker referred as the star tracker acquisition test. As we mentioned earlier these… two star trackers in the forward area of the orbiter… are used to lock on to star pairs for navigation purposes. It helps the orbiter avionics know where the vehicle is in combination with the Inertial Measurement Units that are also part of the navigation system. Following that test, shortly thereafter, will be the star tracker horizon limit test. That test is designed to demonstrate the ability of the star trackers to track a star closer than twenty degrees to a sunlit Earth horizon. The crew is fairly quiet this morning, just going about their duties…

(…) Mission Control Houston, three days, 21 hours, 19 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (10:51 p.m. CDT); we’re still getting data through the Tracking Data Relay Satellite and have our voice communications through that system as well; Challenger on orbit number 63 out over the western edge of Africa at the present time. A few minutes ago we had a report from Dr. Bill Thornton, asking to relay a message to one of the research physicians here on the ground with reference to a contact lens he was having difficulty with. The lens is not a prescription-type lens for Dr. Thornton, but it is a specially designed lens with markings on it which is to be used in a Spacelab experiment coming up on STS-9; and that lens will help in recording eye movements. That is the rotation of the eye within the socket, part of the Spacelab experiments coming up in October, late November. And Dr. Thornton is assisting in checking out that lens. He reported he is having difficulty getting it in place.

(…) We have lost our lock, communications link to the Tracking Data Relay Satellite just a few moments ago. So we don’t have our connection to the orbiter at this time. We may or may not get that back before we have Loss of Signal in about seven and a half minutes as we get out of the range of the Tracking Data Relay Satellite. We would then pick up again over the Indian Ocean Station in about twelve minutes from now. This is Mission Control… Mission Control, three days, 21 hours, 23 minutes (10:55 p.m. CDT), and we have reacquired through the Tracking Data Relay Satellite again.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with some discussion about your cycling the gate valve again.

Gardner: Roger. Here’s Dale again.

CapCom: Yes, the cabin…

Gardner: Go ahead, Mary.

CapCom: Okay, Dale. The cabin is still losing pressure at a rate of about two to three pounds per hour, and the IFM you performed this morning didn’t seem to help, but cycling the gate valve yesterday did. So we would like you to go ahead and cycle that gate valve again.

Gardner: Okay. We’ll do it right now.

CapCom: Thanks. (…) We’ll lose you through TDRS and pick you up through Indie at 21:34 (11:06 p.m. CDT), about four minutes from now.

Cycling the gate valve on the orbiter’s potty did help the situation a lot, as EECOM confirmed the leak rate seemed to be declining. “There is a valve there that vents that facility to space,” explained the PAO. “It has a small leak in it characterized by the flight control personnel as just a nuisance. It’s a kind of thing that has been seen on earlier orbiter flights, and it is believed to be a contaminated O-ring on that valve. There is absolutely no mission impact to it, and it is something that could be entirely isolated by closing another valve. But they have elected to go ahead and leave it open. It prevents any odors from the WCS area finding their way back into the cabin. And that’s such a minor leak that they just elected to go ahead and leave it leaking and add a couple of pounds, small amounts of extra nitrogen or oxygen to the cabin before sleep time in the evenings.”

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Indie for two minutes.

Truly: Houston, loud and clear. How us?

CapCom: You’re loud and clear too, Richard.

Truly: We just started to maneuver to the star track test attitude.

CapCom: Roger, we see that.

Brandenstein: And Mary, while we are waiting for this maneuver to complete, we can copy the information you have on the tail glow that you said you’ve (garble).

CapCom: Okay, Dan, we’ll get Jeff on the line and let him talk to you about… And Dan, we’re 30 seconds LOS, so we’ll probably hold up on that discussion till we get to Yarragadee at 21:48 (11:20 p.m. CDT), if that’s okay.

Brandenstein: Okay. Well, we’ll probably be in the midst of that star tracker test, so we’ll let you know when we’ve got the time and we’ll catch you in a little bit. We’ve got until tonight anyhow.

CapCom: Okay, sounds good to us. See you at Yarragadee, 21:48.

When Challenger came into range of Yarragadee, Richard Truly reported his observations so far on the star tracker test. “Okay, we’re in attitude. I’ll tell you a little bit about that in a second. We’ve gotten two stars so far. When the asterisk appears on the star presence, I did item 8 execute, however, the asterisk did not disappear immediately. And I expected that it would. However, the second star I did the item 8 execute and just went ahead and sat there, and after a few seconds it did disappear. But it did not disappear when I did the item 8… The star, as the star rises, it’s acquired by the Z-tracker, and whether I do the item 8 or not, it rises through the angular cone of the tracker and then goes away as it disappears.”

“At any rate we so far got two stars,” he continued. “And another piece of information for GNC, we started the maneuver at a time of 35 minutes after the hour, and it was showing us arriving at this attitude a little bit late. So I jacked up the maneuver rate in the A1 DAP to .3 degrees per second to complete the maneuver. Dan and I got that about one minute late and we’ve now readjusted the maneuver rate back in DAP A1 to the nominal 0.2.”

Truly: …And we have our third star now, and I’ve already done the item 8 execute, and the asterisk has not gone away yet.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, three days, 21 hours, 55 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (11:27 p.m. CDT), Challenger out of range of the Yarragadee station and, at the present time, directly over the central portion of Australia. We won’t be hearing from the spacecraft again for about another 18 minutes until we pick up with the Tracking Data Relay Satellite, if we get it on orbit number 64. Shortly thereafter we acquire over the Hawaii station, if we should happen to miss Tracking Data Relay Satellite lockup. Commander Dick Truly on that last pass discussing his activities with the star tracker testing that is underway. This is Mission Control Houston.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through TDRS.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear.

CapCom: You’re loud and clear too, Richard.

Truly: Okay, Mary, we now have a star and an asterisk, and this is the sixth star we’ve got a star presence for during the test so far. And we’re timing the… I did item 8 again, the star presence asterisk remained and we’re timing to see how long it does remain, and it just went out.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that.

Truly: And that star presence asterisk lasted two minutes and 14 seconds.

CapCom: Two minutes and 14 seconds.

Truly: And Mary, I guess my definition of sunset is when the Sun stops striking the orbiter.

CapCom: That sounds good to us, Richard.

Truly: And I don’t know, it’s kind of a slow process… but it’s getting ready to happen – just the tippy top of the tail is in the sunlight.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that. And Richard, this is Houston, the GNC guys are pretty sure that you’re getting good data, even though that item 8 holding on to is a bug that was not expected; and they would like you to go ahead and keep pursuing the test.

Truly: Okay, if I remember right – I’m in the back now, looking aft – but the CAP said terminate at sunset, correct?

CapCom: That’s affirmative, Richard.

Truly: Houston, CDR, we’ve just had sunset and we have the maneuver typed in for the next test.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that, Richard.

Flight Director Hal Draughon later told reporters, “We put the trackers, looking at a particular direction, particular Sun lighting condition, open them up to the wide field of view and see how many times we get a false lock from debris or whatever that’s floating around the bay when you’re not precisely pointing them at a target, a navigation star. What happened on this morning’s test was that there was a bright object, a very bright object, in the field of view of the star trackers.”

“And the plan had been to let the vehicle fly with the field of view wide open, let it acquire lock on a false target, or a piece of debris. We can then, by crew input, break lock on that target and then let it fly around until it picks up another target and see how many, how often that happened to get a population count of sorts on that stuff,” he said. “There was one article that was so bright that every time we’d break lock, it would immediately reacquire it, so it pretty much washed out the test.”

PAO: This is Mission Control. The crew is maneuvering the spacecraft to the proper attitude for the star tracker horizon limit test. That test is to demonstrate the ability of the star tracker to track a star closer than 20 degrees to the sunlit Earth horizon. That experiment, those star trackers are used as part of the navigation system onboard the orbiter. We’re still receiving our data and voice through the Tracking Data Relay satellite, although we’re coming up over the ground stations for the continental U.S. on orbit number 64. We’re also about three hours away from a scheduled in-orbit press conference with the crew and members of the news media. That will take place on orbit number 66, and if we have the Tracking Data Relay Satellite at that time, we’ll be using that satellite for the press conference. If not, we’ll be using the ground station passes. Three days, 22 hours, 26 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (11:58 p.m. CDT), this is Mission Control Houston…

Brandenstein: (…) Well, hello Houston, we’re right above you.

CapCom: Hello, Challenger, we’re waving.

Brandenstein: You bet. You got a thunderstorm out around Daisette somewhere, but the city looks clear. We can see all the freeways. [/i]

CapCom: Would you like to give us a midnight traffic report?

Brandenstein: Things are looking slow on the Gulf Freeway tonight.

CapCom: Roger that.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, three days, 22 hours…

Brandenstein: Houston, Challenger, looks like we’re going right over the Cape now – a nice, clear night for landing down there, too.

CapCom: Thanks, Dan, and we’ll check with our weatherman.

Brandenstein: Don’t believe me, huh?

CapCom: He might be hiding right now.

PAO: (…) The crew is still proceeding with their star tracker tests. We have been locked up on the Tracking Data Relay Satellite for the last fifteen minutes or so, and have good contact for the S-band and the Ku-band systems. We’re at three days, 22 hours, 37 minutes into the flight of STS-8. (…) We’re looking at some television coming down from the orbiter courtesy of the TDRS Ku-band system. We were not planning on getting some television, but the crew had the cameras turned on. There we go, we have some tail glow caused by RCS firings there, out the rear of the orbiter. (…) Challenger is in darkness, however, and you can only barely make out any features of the spacecraft and what Richard Truly described as probably a planet in the background. A little earlier we had a faint outline around the tail, the vertical tail and the OMS pods due to the oxygen interaction, but the orbiter’s attitude has shifted slightly and the oxygen molecules are no longer striking that surface and causing the tail glow. However, the Challenger is about five and a half minutes (…) away from daylight terminator, where they will be seeing a sunrise. If the camera is still operating at that time – we still have TDRS Ku-band – we may get something at that point. Dick Truly pointing the camera in a different direction at the present time. (…) Crew attempting to point one camera in the direction of sunrise and we should be getting a good picture of sunrise from 120 nautical miles up in space.

Brandenstein: Okay, Houston, there it is from Charlie.

CapCom: Thanks, Dan.

Brandenstein: And I seriously doubt that TV can do it justice.

PAO: (…) We’re getting some pictures of a sunrise from space, the camera looking out over the starboard wing of the orbiter. (…) Three days, 23 hours Mission Elapsed Time (12:32 a.m. CDT), Challenger passing over the sunlit portion of the Earth now and about to cross the western coast of Africa. (…) We’re looking at some of the samples of the material mounted in the cargo bay for the oxygen interaction test. This material is exposed to the oxygen molecules impacting them at this lower shuttle orbital altitude. The test was set up to observe the erosion effects on that material from the oxygen, and the pilot, Dan Brandenstein, noted that some of this material had changed color. The shuttle is out over southern Africa at this time and we’re just a couple of minutes away from losing contact with Tracking Data Relay Satellite. We should still have voice through Botswana station if we switch over to that in about a minute and a half.

Brandenstein: Houston, we’re going to leave the cameras set where they are now. We got to go back and get ready for this next test.

CapCom: Okay, Dan, thanks for the show. We really appreciated it, had a good time.

Gardner: And Mary, camera Charlie has a good view of the ground on it.

CapCom: Okay, thanks.

PAO: Mission Control, we’ve just lost our connection with the Tracking Data Relay Satellite now passing beyond its range, still have voice capability through the Botswana station.

CapCom: And Dale, this is Houston. Thanks for the offer, but we have just handed over to Botswana, and we’re now AOS over Botswana for another three minutes.

Gardner: Okay, too bad.

Truly: And Houston, we started the horizon limit test on time. Got a star presence in the minus-z tracker, but so far no track ID. And we’re in star track and we just put star 52 into the table.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that.

Truly: Okay, Houston, CDR. The Z tracker is just continually putting star 52 into the table. It’s taking about eight to ten seconds, and I’m continuing to clear it, if that’s what you’d like me to do.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, we copy and that’s affirmative. We’d like you to continue to clear it.

Truly: Okay, we’ll do this right up to the end of test time.

CapCom: And Challenger, this is Houston. We’re 30 seconds LOS and we’ll talk to you through Yarragadee at 23 plus 22 (12:54 a.m. CDT). [/i]

Truly: Okay, and it just went into the table the eighth time.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that.

“We ended up, if my count is right,” Truly reported over Yarragadee about thirteen minutes later, “the star went into the table about fifteen times. It was taking generally eight to ten seconds from the time we cleared the table until it acquired and put it back in. Until we got to about 23 hours and 10 minutes, and then it would get a star presence for a few seconds, it would get a track ID for a couple of seconds, but I guess it was just too low and it wouldn’t, it stopped taking them. And so by 23:11 at the end of test time, it had not gone in the table for a little over a minute. So, as far as I could tell, it looked like it should be some good data. I don’t know what the conclusions would be.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:35 pm

Now that they had completed the star tracker horizon limit test and the orbiter was maneuvering to the proper attitude for further Ku-band testing, the crew appeared to be a little bit ahead of the timeline. Having locked up to TDRS again, they started the Ku-band common track first pitch maneuver on time. Meanwhile, Mary Cleave had an update on the leaky shuttle potty. “We’d like you to know that that WCS leak through the gate valve is down to 1.2 pounds per hours since you cycled the gate valve. But in order to avoid an alarm due in about the same time, one rev from now, we’d like you to do a manual cabin repress at this time, using orbit ops checklist 5-10… and we would like to use the procedure as written. That uses O2 and N2.”

PAO: This is Mission Control, four days, zero hours, seven minutes Mission Elapsed Time (1:39 a.m. CDT); we have acquisition through MILA.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through MILA.

Truly: Roger.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston. We’ll be handing over to TDRS in ten seconds.

Truly: Roger.

CapCom: And Challenger, this is Houston; we’re back with you through TDRS now… Challenger, this is Houston, and we can see that cabin repress is complete and it all looks good to us now.

Truly: Say again please, Mary.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. The EECOM says your cabin press looks good now.

Truly: Okay, we had completed the procedure, and then the WCS was used shortly after that, and we did trigger one more alarm. But it looks good to me, too.

CapCom: Okay, we copy that… Challenger, this is Houston.

Truly: Roger, Houston, do you see that L3D got deselected to leak.

CapCom: Roger, we see that and we’d like you to press on and leave that deselected at this time.

Truly: Roger, I concur… Houston, CDR.

CapCom: CDR, this is Houston. Go ahead.

Truly: Roger. I’m sure this is no news to PROP, but on page 10-10 in the mal book, we end up in step 31, sorry, block 31.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that… Challenger, this is Houston.

Truly: Go ahead, Mary.

CapCom: Yes, on that L3D alarm that you got in the deselect, talking about page 10-10, block 31. After looking at that, (garble) PROP would like you to know that he thinks that it is a real very small fuel leak, and the fuel injector temp is hanging right around 20, 21, which is the limit.

Truly: Okay, we understand. Thank you… Houston, Challenger.

CapCom: Go ahead, Challenger. Houston here.

Truly: Roger. We terminated the pitching for the Ku-band test at 37 minutes and now we’ve set up to initiate going to the optimum Ku-attitude at 45.

CapCom: Roger, we copy that… And Challenger, INCO wants you to know that we got some good data during that test. So thanks a lot.

Truly: Good show. It sounds like the TDRS is working real well.

CapCom: Roger that.

Truly: Plus we enjoyed doing acrobatics on orbit.

CapCom: Sounds like a lot of fun.

Truly: You bet.

CapCom: (…) And Challenger, this is Houston. We’re 30 seconds LOS and we’ll talk to you again through Yarragadee at 00:57 (2:29 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, see you there.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, four days, zero hours, 44 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (2:16 a.m. CDT), Challenger out of range of the Botswana tracking station in southern Africa, orbit number 65. During that last pass we had some conversation with the crew over one of the Reaction Control systems jets that was deselected. The propulsion officer in Mission Control was watching that during our acquisition through TDRS, noting that the temperature was going down on that jet, indicating that it may have a very small fuel leak. So that one was turned off and they don’t expect any impact from that.

Shortly after 1:00 a.m. CDT, the down-firing left jet manifold 3, RCS thruster L3D fuel injector temperature had dropped below the RM (Redundancy Management) deselection temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit and the thruster was deselected for the remainder of the flight. “The way the software works if you get a leak,” described Flight Director Harold Draughon, “the fuel or oxidizer boiling off creates a cold condition in the jet. The computer will detect that and automatically deselect it. It is a priority 1 jet, which means it was the one that the DAP would normally use, but no more value than any other one. It just happens to be the one we call number one. That jet has been deselected and is of no consequence.”

So there was no mission impact, and – as Draughon pointed out – there was no concern whatsoever regarding a safe return of the vehicle. “It is a down-firing jet, so you’ve got two others on that side, three on the other side. We don’t need them after we establish attitude right after EI (Entry Interface), so those pitch jets get deselected early in entry anyway.” Postflight failure analysis of the L3D jet would reveal minor seal damage due to contamination.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:35 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:37 pm

PAO: Challenger out of range of the Yarragadee station, about seven minutes away, seven and a half minutes away from the Guam tracking station (AOS 2:40 a.m. CDT), and we’re about twenty minutes, a little bit around twenty minutes away from the start of the crew inflight press conference. Just a reminder, the participants in that press conference, the six media representatives, will be in room 135 of Building 2. And only those representatives, along with the television equipment and cameras, will be permitted in that room for the press conference. The room itself will be closed to general traffic for this event.

The chosen few assembled in room 135 included UPI science writer Al Rossiter, Jr. (1936-2013), AP aerospace writer Howard Benedict (1928-2005), ABC News correspondent Lynn Sherr, NBC News aerospace specialist Roy Neal (1921-2003), CBS News correspondent Morton Dean, and CNN medical expert Gary Switzer.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Guam for five minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear. I’d like to… give me a second, I’m going to set up the conference communications configuration onboard and give you a call.

CapCom: Okay, Richard, we’re standing by.

Gardner: Okay, Mary, comm check from the middeck.

CapCom: Roger, Dale. You’re loud and clear. How me?

Gardner: Okay, have you the same. Thanks a lot.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston. We’re 30 seconds LOS. We’ll talk to you through Hawaii at 1 plus 21 (2:53 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Roger, Houston, you’re loud and clear; we’ll see you there.

PAO: Mission Control Houston, four days, one hour, 13 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (2:45 a.m. CDT), Challenger passing out of range of the Guam Station. We’ll be picking up over Hawaii in about seven and a half minutes or so for the start of the inflight press conference. This is Mission Control Houston…

And what was to happen now – a twenty-plus minute uninterrupted TV press briefing from low Earth orbit – wouldn’t have been possible without the TDRS system, but Crystal Team Flight Director Harold Draughon later explained, “We did have an alternate plan that we had worked out in a great deal of detail with our PAO folks here to do this thing via the tracking stations, because before the flight we didn’t know how well the TDRSS was going to work. And we did have a detailed flow on how to do the handovers and what stations to use – and it involved the same rev, but using Hawaii, Goldstone, MILA, which are the stations… that have TV capability. It would not have been as long a session as we wound up getting, but it would have been an adequate one.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:38 pm
PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, four days, one hour, 20 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, Challenger coming up on Hawaii station in about 45 seconds for the start of our crew inflight press conference. This is Mission Control.

CapCom: Challenger, this is Houston, with you through Hawaii for six minutes, with PAO standing by.

Truly: Roger, Houston, read you loud and clear. How me?

CapCom: You’re loud and clear too, Richard.

Rossiter: Captain Truly, this is Al Rossiter of United Press International. You’ve completed about two thirds of your flight now. What is your assessment of the mission accomplishment so far?

Truly: Al, so far I would say that the flight has been extremely successful. We’ve had a great time watching the fireworks on the night launch, the CFES operation and the Insat deploy; and the words we’vee heard from Mission Control on Insat are that it’s working very well. The TDRS testing is gone well. I’m very happy about it. How’s it look down there?

Rossiter: It looks great so far. Colonel Bluford, President Reagan on Wednesday congratulated you for paving the way for other blacks in space. You didn’t have a chance to respond then. What would you like to say about your flight? What is its significance as far as blacks are concerned?

Bluford: Well, I assume, the flight, I think, is just going to be one of many flights in which black Americans are going to be flying in space. We have two black Americans that are going to be flying next year; there will be many more black Americans flying in the future.

Rossiter: Dr. Thornton, have there been any crewmen who have had symptoms of space sickness, and if so, can you tell me how many and to what extent?

Thornton: There have been, in a crew this size, the usual range of symptoms that occur during adaptation…

Rossiter: Dr. Thornton, could you repeat that? We lost…

Thornton: …but as far as going into exact details, if you consulted me in my office, why, I think this would be enough said.

Rossiter: I’m… I’m sorry, I think we lost part of your answer. The initial part, could you repeat that please, sir?

Thornton: Yes. I said that we have seen a variety, a range of symptoms of adaptation, and that’s fortunately what I came to study. And as far as going into exact details, I still consider myself a physician.

Benedict: Commander Truly, this is Howard Benedict, Associated Press. On Tuesday, you lifted off on the first night launch in the shuttle program, and that was a spectacular sight. Now, on Monday morning, you are to make the first night landing. Does that give you any concern?

Truly: Howard, Dan and I have trained and tested and taken a look at the night landings and the night landing systems for almost a year. And with the weather predictions that we’ve seen from Edwards, no, we’re not concerned. We’re looking forward to the landing, but I just as well would postpone it two or three days and stay up here.

Benedict: Dr. Thornton, has your research up there uncovered any clues about what causes motion sickness?

Thornton: I would say that I learned more in the first hour and a half on orbit here than I had by all of the literature research that I’d done and all the active work in the past year. I would say, yes.

Benedict: Okay, for Guy Bluford. In one of the papers today there was an editorial cartoon, showing a young black boy with a vision of you, Guy Bluford, floating in space, and they have borrowed the caption from Martin Luther King. It said, “I have a dream.” What message do you, as first black American in space, have for black youths who might aspire to become astronauts?

Bluford: I think that this is to show that that possibility does exist an that that dream can be fulfilled, and that there are many opportunities for other blacks to fly in space as well as mine.

Benedict: Now I have one for Dale Gardner. For two days now you have been testing the remote arm, lifting a four-ton package around the bay. Do you feel it is, this arm now is qualified to lift a ten-ton package on the thirteenth flight next year, and also rescue a satellite as planned?

Gardner: Well, this 8,000-pound payload was an easy step up from the 3,000 pounds that we had on STS-7. The guys on the ground will have to take this data and put it into computers and do predictions as to how a 20,000 pound payload will handle. But if the step from this one to that one is as easy as this last step, I don’t think they’ll have any problems. It flew very nicely and the Canadians ought to be very proud of that piece of space hardware. It really works nice.

CapCom: Okay, Dick, we’re about a minute and a half LOS. We’re going to hand over to TDRS; we should pick you up pretty rapidly after that.

Truly: Okay, Mary, we’ll see you at AOS TDRS.

CapCom: See you there… Challenger, this is Houston, with you through TDRS with PAO standing by.

Gardner: Loud and clear, Mary.

CapCom: You’re loud and clear too, Dale.

Sherr: Commander Truly, this is Lynn Sherr from ABC News. In view of your participation on the task force that recommended it as possible and desirable to fly private citizens on future shuttle flights, I’m wondering, as commander of this mission, how would you have liked having a passenger onboard?

Truly: Hi, Lynn, how are you doing? Yes, I did participate in that and I do think in the future we can safely and easily fly private citizens in space, with the proper introduction and preparation. I don’t think on this flight we would have had any problem with one; as a matter of fact, this probably would have been a nice one to have a passenger, a citizen with us.

Sherr: Would there have been any aspect in your estimation that a private citizen could not have handled?

Truly: No, I don’t think so.

Sherr: I wonder if I could direct the same question to Dr. Thornton. From what you have seen, Dr. Thornton, of the reaction of the other crewmembers and from your own tests, do you believe that a private citizen would have behaved any differently?

Thornton: No, I don’t see absolutely no contrary indications to flying private citizen in reasonable health.

Sherr: This is for Dan Brandenstein. Dan, before the launch, you described yourself as a pretty easy going and unroughable guy, you also said that it took a lot to get you worked up. I’m wondering if there’s anything on this mission, including ascent, that has changed that image of yourself?

Brandenstein: That puts me on the spot. Well, I don’t know. It was mighty exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever been excited as I was on that ascent. That was a real thrilling ride, and I think equally as thrilling was the first sunrise on orbit. It was just a fantastic view that is pretty hard to describe.

Sherr: This is for Dale Gardner. Dale, I’m wondering, from your perspective at some 138 miles above us, earlier much higher, does it change your outlook on live? What is it that you are thinking as you are floating above us at that orbit?

Gardner: About the next meal. – Not really. The view of the Earth is fantastic. Up to this point, of course, I’ve seen all of the continents mostly on maps, and it’s really quite a sight to go flying over them at 300 miles a minute and to see all those sites that had previously been on paper before your eyes. It’s a beautiful world down there, not only the land, but the oceans. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget it for the rest of my life.

Sherr: This is for Guy Bluford. Colonel Bluford, before you went up you talked about the fact that you realized you would be a pacesetter, but you didn’t think you had to be perfect. It seems to us that your launch of the satellite was indeed perfect. I wonder of you could access your own performance, so far.

Bluford: Sounds like a loaded question. I’ve been very pleased with the way things have gone on the mission, not only with my own performance, but with the performance of the total crew. I think as a total crew, we’ve done a rather spectacular job.

Sherr: And finally, for Commander Truly again. It looked at one point as if the PFTA might have been positioned in the figure of an “8.” Could that have been possible?

Truly: No, the arm doesn’t have quite enough joints for an “8.”

Sherr: And the PFTA didn’t help you at all. Commander Truly, one more. You all have talked about the routine aspect of shuttle flights. Does this press conference, as you orbit some 140 miles above us, feel routine to you?

Truly: No, I don’t think this is a routine press conference. We didn’t have any problem at all in doing it and talking to you. But no, I don’t think it’s routine. But I think it’ll probably happen more and I hope it allows people in America to share, you know, with the few of us that can see the Earth, a little bit of it.

Neal: Well, Dick, so do we. This is Roy Neal of NBC News. My first question is for Dr. Bill. Dr. Thornton, as the oldest astronaut to fly, I wonder if you could give us a little analysis on whether or not space flying really is for older folks, the way John Young would have us believe.

Thornton: Well, we certainly don’t stop life just because we have a few years; it amounts to the condition of the individual and that sort of thing. And as far as John and I are concerned, we’re still somewhere about 30, and I would think that most of, a large part of America is in the same situation. Seriously, we should not count physical conditions by the number of years, but look at the physiological age and the capacities of an individual.

Neal: I noticed that old man Dale Gardner was shaking his head affirmatively by the way. Now, here’s one again for Dr. Thornton and for Colonel Bluford, and in that order, please. Dr. Bill, after being up there flying around inside Challenger and looking outside at all the clouds and the cities down below, I wonder what you see other than just a picture postcard? What do you see when you see the Earth?

Thornton: Frankly, I see it as a pretty humbling experience when you stop and think that this may be the only spot that supports life for at least five light years and maybe more. It is a very unique spot indeed and I think one that deserves very careful assessment of our responsibilities to it.

Neal: Guy?

Bluford: For me, I see a beautiful world, one that has supported us not only on the planet itself, but it also is supporting us in space, and I hope that our contributions will make that world even more beautiful as the years continue on.

Neal: Okay, my next question is addressed to Dick Truly and to Dan Brandenstein as pilots. Here on Earth, we’ve been very concerned for the last couple of days about some Russian jets, which shot down a Korean commercial airliner with 269 people onboard. Now, as pilots, have you been too cut off there in space to follow events here? I know this was sent up to you on your morning newspaper, your teleprinter. But have you been too cut off, or do you have some thoughts on this situation?

Truly: Well, I think the situation is absolutely ridiculous and terrible, although I know nothing about it other than the short news summary that was sent to us last night – which incidentally, Roy, I requested because without some news you can get cut off. I’m sure you remember back in Skylab we used to send the crews news every evening, and I think that’s a good idea. We enjoyed looking at those news summaries, but that certainly was the most disheartening one of them all. Here’s Dan.

Neal: Dan, how about you?

Brandenstein: Well, I pretty much have to voice the same opinion that Richard did. I guess I can’t possibly understand a single reason for shooting down a commercial airliner, regardless of where or when it is. But once again, we don’t have all the facts and, you know, you can’t make a final judgment until you know all the facts.

Neal: And finally for you, Guy. When you get back to Philadelphia, what are you going to tell all those folks?

Bluford: That flying in space really is a lot of fun and working in zero-g is really a piece of cake. And the view out there is really spectacular.

Dean: Good morning everybody, this is Morton Dean from CBS. I wonder if anyone of you would be willing to raise his hand and say, “Yes, I suffered from the dreaded Space Adaptation Syndrome”… Do you want me to repeat that question?       :)

Thornton: No, Roy, we’ll wait and let you come experience it for yourself… Sorry, Morton. We’ll let you experience it for yourself; then you can give a better first hand report.

Dean: Well, that’s a deal. But let me pick up on that, Dr. Thornton. I know that you have addressed yourself to it before, but have you learned anything that would leave you to say that you’re on your way to solving that problem?

Thornton: Oh, I think certainly my colleagues would take me to task if I were to be so bold as that. But again, I would emphasize that this is the place to study the problem and again, I would say I think I learned more in the first hour and a half than I have in all the previous years that I put in on it. And I would certainly hope that we have… that I will be able to add something to the solution of the problem, because I’m convinced that it is very solvable. (…) And it’s a very transient thing and it’s not the dreaded thing that people might talk about sometimes.

Dean: Commander Truly, having two celebrities onboard – Bluford the first American black and Thornton the oldest astronaut yet to fly – was it a difficult crew to handle?

Truly: Morton, you have to watch this crew every minute…      :)

Dean: What about how habitable the spacecraft is with five men onboard… and no shower onboard? How was it to live for the five of you?

Truly: Frankly, I think a crew of five on the Space Shuttle is a good size. We’ve stayed out of each other’s way most of the time, we’ve done our job and we’ve also had plenty of time to fix meals and visit with each other. And, of course, with five people you always have at least one person that can take off and really enjoy it and work on the fun things of spaceflight. So, I think this is about the right size. And frankly, I was thinking on that first day, after about five hours, all five of us have been working every minute, and now I look back on Flight 2 with Joe Engle and I don’t see how those two-man flights got it all done. It’s… there’s a lot to be done up here.

Dean: Let me ask this of Guy Bluford. Did you find that it was totally impersonal to be up there, or is there a place to hide and be by yourself with your own thoughts? I think we’re missing the best part of this.     :)

Bluford: I think there’s a place to sort of hide and be by yourself. You can go up against the window and watch the world go by, so to speak, and reflect on how lucky you are to be here, and how beautiful the view is. So there are times in the flight where you can reflect on the experience that you are having.

Dean: And Dean, rather quickly, what will you remember most about this trip?

Brandenstein: Well, it’s awful hard to forget that launch.

Dean: Okay, thank you very much.

Switzer: Dr. Thornton, this is Gary Switzer at Cable News Network. You said earlier that a range of symptoms of the space sickness syndrome had been seen. Without getting to graphic and without violating the confidence, which I know you don’t want to do of your patients up there, can you give us a description of that range of symptoms? What kinds of things did you see?

Thornton: I can cover the Space Adaptation Syndrome, can cover obviously all the way from upset stomach to a drowsiness, malaise to just a slight giddiness.

Switzer: Well, after your several days of data gathering here you said even in the first hour and a half you had more valuable study than much of the time you spent here on Earth studying the problem. Are you at a point yet where you can even speculate about the leading cause, or causes of the syndrome?

Thornton: No, I think it would be very premature at this time. I’m sure I’d be taken to task by my colleagues for speculation at this point. On the other hand, I have absolutely no reason to think that it won’t become a problem of the past just as in the early days the weight losses that were of great concern, which turned out to be a simple enough thing, or the problem of what, the static hypertension when we return, are pretty much things of the past. I think that this will also follow the same course.

Switzer: A final question for you, Dr. Bill. Not to belabor your age anymore, but at age 54 and being the oldest in space yet, have you seen any changes in yourself in blood pressure, or at any of the other things you are monitoring, that you didn’t see in the others, didn’t hear from others in the past, or that Dr. Thagard on the last flight didn’t report?

Thornton: Oh, I don’t believe so. Richard, did you? Does anyone notice anything? No, actually my physiological reactions and all seem to fall pretty much within the normal range. Again, I would encourage people to count age by physiology, rather than by simple chronology.

Switzer: There is one last question for you, Dr. Bill, that I don’t think any of us would want you to get by without answering – and that is: How are the rats today?

Thornton: Oh, I think, let’s just say that the first day, it was obviously a new experience for them. But like the rest of us, they have settled in quite nicely, feeding, grooming, and such as that – doing well.

Switzer: Commander Truly, before the launch, you acknowledged that the mission may lack pizzazz in the public’s perception, but you said that you didn’t share that view. I’m wondering, now in the light of that earlier perception, what you would say to people who look at this mission that way. Perhaps, what accomplishments are you most proud of?

Truly: Frankly, I think, you know this mission was… we did have to change our manifest at very short notice a few months before the flight. And I think it’s a great credit to the maturity of the Space Shuttle program that we could meet our commitments to our customer, the Indian National Satellite, and change the manifest to a payload that we were going to fly anyway; that we had a crew that could get trained in just a short period of time, so we could essentially fly on time. And I think the news story would frankly be much closer to the front pages had we not been able to do this. So I think frankly, it’s been a well-planned, even though it was a late-planned mission by necessity, and so far it’s really gone very well.

Rossiter: Dick Truly, this is Al Rossiter, Jr. again. You’re scheduled to land in the dark early Monday morning. Will the lack of daylight make this a more difficult landing than your first flight?

Truly: We’ve certainly approached the first night flight with a great deal of care, just as in all test flying you do. But we have developed a night landing system. That, in consonance with good weather and with the heads-up display, as far as doing it the first time, I think, Dan and I are quite ready to do it and I don’t frankly think it’s going to be more difficult than a day landing.

Rossiter: Guy Bluford, you spent much of your first day in flight operating the electrophoresis biological processing experiment. How did the living cells appear to separate? Did the experiment seem to operate as planned?

Bluford: Yes. I think the whole operation, both the first and second day, worked out very well. We had very few problems with the CFES equipment, and as I said, we pumped out two samples on the first day and four samples on the second day, and the whole operation went very smoothly.

Rossiter: Dick Truly again. There appeared to have been very few problems on this flight. Does this, in your view, make it the most trouble-free shuttle mission so far?

Truly: I don’t know. I haven’t counted them up. We certainly haven’t had a lot of major problems, but I was thinking just this morning how different this was from Flight 2 – with regard to the scramble that that was, it was a different kind of flight. But, I tell you, this is the way to fly in space. Where you have several people on the crew, a spacecraft that’s cooperating, you can get the job done and have time to do some of those extra things that you wouldn’t get to do otherwise.

Rossiter: Dr. Thornton again. Could I return to space motion sickness just for a moment? Does it appear that there might be ways to prevent the development of these symptoms in the first place?

Thornton: Once again, I won’t speculate, but I certainly have every confidence that as time goes on, hopefully from some of the results of this flight and others which will follow, that once again we will be able to immoderate most of the unpleasant symptoms that do develop.

Benedict: Commander Truly, this is Howard Benedict of AP again. It’s been a very successful flight. Could you kind of assess how does it advance the overall goals of the Space Shuttle program and some of the things you’ve done?

Truly: You are referring to the shuttle program in general, or this flight? I’m sorry.

Benedict: No, the shuttle program in general.

Truly: Well, it was only a year and a half ago that I flew on the second flight. At that time we were worried that, frankly, if you remember those days, we were worried about the safety of the vehicle, the thermal protection system, the engines, those kinds of things. And we have graduated in a little over a year and a half to a system that’s routinely, we think, deploying satellites, meeting our commitments to the customers. And I think in this short period of time, for a vehicle this complicated, that’s amazing. You have to really remember that this press conference is coming from space in the most complicated machine in the world, and while we all have been down here for how many minutes, it runs itself. We really have made great strides, I think. And I think it’s a great future for America in space.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:40 pm
Closing out the 24-minute on-orbit press conference, Howard Benedict asked the astronauts if they were anxious to come home on Monday, or would rather stay up a little while. Their unanimous vote was to stay, “as long as the food holds out,” Dale Gardner added. Indeed, the crew now was looking forward toward having their midday meal. In the meantime, CapCom Jeff Hoffman talked to Dan Brandenstein about the tail glow phenomenon and how best to observe and document it.

“I did notice last night a couple of things, preliminary observations that I made last night about it,” said Brandenstein, “and that is that the glow never completely goes away when you are dark adapted. We had all the lights off in the cockpit, and we were in the EOIM attitude, and I could see the glow on the wings and on the OMS pods and on the tail. I could not, however, and I wondered about that and still do, I could not see any glow from anywhere in the payload bay, when I tried that.”

Hoffman replied, “You are probably in the best position of anybody to determine what the interesting things are that you can observe. And that’s just the sort of information which experimenters are going to need in the future.”

PAO: Mission Control Houston, four days, two hours, 17 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (3:49 a.m. CDT), Challenger out of range of the Botswana station. We’ll be picking up in 24 minutes through the Guam station, have a rather long Loss of Signal period here. At the end of orbit 66, this is Mission Control… This is Mission Control Houston, at four days, two hours, 33 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (4:05 a.m. CDT). We intend to cancel the change-of-shift press conference for the off-going Flight Director Randy Stone, having made a survey and found little interest at this time, and we have just completed a press conference on orbit with the crew from the spacecraft. So we are cancelling the change-of-shift press conference that would have been held at approximately 5:00 a.m. this morning…

Regarding the crew’s earlier unanimous vote to stay just a little bit longer, Mary Cleave, just before handing over to the Crystal Team, informed Commander Truly, “The Prop still does think that that’s a very small fuel leak that’s caused the deselective L3D, and also your RCS redline is 37 extension days, so that’s quite a lot there…”

Truly: Okay. And we have enough food for about 30 days, so we’ll see you October 1st.

CapCom: Roger that. I understand Dale wants to come back before he starves… Challenger, this is Houston, we’re 50 seconds LOS out of Hawaii before we turn over to TDRS, but we’d just like to say bye. We’re looking forward to seeing you. I’m afraid that we’re going to make the assumption you can’t extend for 37 days. Next Orbit 1  shift is going to be handled by the Entry Team, and so Randy and the rest of the guys on Orbit 1 and Jeff and I would really like to say it’s been fun working with you.

Truly: Well, we sure had a good time too, Mary. Thanks a lot and we’ll see you down on the ground.

CapCom: See you there.

Truly: Thanks a million, Mary. Ya’ll did a super job. Appreciate it.

CapCom: Thanks.

But wait a minute… 37 extra days of RCS consumables? “You heard it right,” Flight Director Hal Draughon confirmed during the 12:30 p.m. CDT change-of-shift briefing. “You got to keep in mind the OMS RCS loading for this particular flight was originally defined, manifested to support the Insat plus the IUS/TDRS configuration. And most of that fuel, there was no incentive to take that fuel off the vehicle after that large payload was taken off. We still had a respectable ascent margin. So why load it and leave it on the ground. You put it onboard, and if you have a leak on orbit, you got the stuff in the other tanks.”

Craig Covault (Aviation Week): With your current OMS RCS load, do you anticipate a forward RCS burn of some amount of time before entry that might give them a pretty good light show out the front?

Draughon: I think there’s going to be a forward RCS dump after the normal sequence, deorbit forward dump kind of thing. Not a two-stage deorbit, but a forward dump of significant magnitude, yes – a 1,000 pounds.

Covault: Is that, I remember that they had a pretty good one on STS-2. Would this be as good? What I’m thinking of is, if they’re going to be able to really have a good light show out forward of them during that RCS dump, as Truly and Engle reported post Mission 2.

Draughon: (…) I don’t know how much of that they’re going to dump; I’m sure there’s going to be enough of it that there will be plenty of lights out front. Right now there’s about 1,200 pounds excess forward RCS fuel, I do know that.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:42 pm

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, Hawaii has Loss of Signal. Here in the Mission Control Center a handover has taken place; the Orbit 2 team has come on duty with Flight Director Harold Draughon. CapComs are John Blaha and Bill Fisher.

CapCom (John Blaha): Challenger, Houston, the Crystal Team’s with you at TDRS.

Gardner: Hi, John, how’s it going?

CapCom: Going real good. You guys sure did a good job during the conference.

Gardner: It was fun; we enjoyed it. Comm through TDRS was great and we’re glad the picture was okay, too.

CapCom: Roger that, Dale.

Gardner: And Richard’s doing the grapple today. He’s about… has about ten inches to go coming on in.

CapCom: Roger. We’re watching.

“This afternoon’s activity centered mostly on the RMS activity and that was in picking up those shopping list items that I talked to you about yesterday,” Harold Draughon said during the 12:30 p.m. CDT change-of-shift press briefing at Johnson Space Center. “Specifically they involved… what we call a direct drive unberthing and berthing of the payload… where the crew controls the arm with the hand controls, without any augmentation or help from the computers.”

“It’s by far the most demanding task that you can do,” he explained, “but it has a virtue of requiring the least amount of hardware. So that particular control mode can tolerate a lot of failures. And it was our desire to find out how well the crew would handle that mode. We also suspected it might be somewhat crewman-dependent, and you might see us run that same test again someday, if we find ourselves with the arm onboard and some time in the timeline to do that, just to see what the variation is between crewmen.”

Truly: Houston, CDR. Dale’s out of the latches on the direct drive unberth.

CapCom: Roger, Richard. And we’re watching that with a very clear picture.

Truly: Boy, when you’re dark-adapted, the sunrise is piercing!

CapCom: Roger that.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, four days, three hours, 25 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (4:57 a.m. CDT), Challenger is into daylight now over South America on orbit number 67. The crew is conducting a test with the RMS and PFTA; we’re continuing to get television through TDRS of this activity. At last report spacecraft commander Dick Truly was at the controls of the RMS…

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, be advised we’re going into a scan limit; we may lose TDRS. If we do, we’ll see you at Botswana at 3 plus 44 (5:16 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Okay, John, see you there. As you can see, we’re unberthed and Dale is getting ready to do the direct drive berth.

CapCom: Roger that.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, Challenger crossing the African coast now, approaching the limits of TDRS coverage, about a minute and a half to LOS TDRS… This is Shuttle Control, four days, three hours, 49 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. We’ve had LOS TDRS; Challenger is still in acquisition, UHF acquisition at Botswana for another minute and a half.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we’re going LOS Botswana in 25 seconds. See you at Indian Ocean for a short pass in five minutes.

Truly: Things are going slow but sure.

CapCom: Roger. And if we don’t get you at Indian Ocean, we’ll see you at Guam at 4 plus 17 (5:49 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Okay.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control; Challenger is out of range at Botswana. We really don’t expect to pick them up at the Indian Ocean Station during that very low-elevation pass on this orbit (garble) of that pass would be 22 seconds; so more than likely the next tracking station to see Challenger will be Guam in about 25 minutes. We had television reception through TDRS virtually fulltime from Hawaii to Africa on this orbit 67. As the crew utilizes the Remote Manipulator System with the PFTA, grapple was done by spacecraft commander Dick Truly and then Mission Specialist Dale Gardner took over the controls of the RMS. (…) This is Shuttle Control, four days, four hours, 16 minutes Mission Elapsed Time. Challenger will be within range of the Guam tracking station in about thirty seconds.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston’s with you at Guam for four minutes.

Truly: Roger, Houston, loud and clear. And Dale is in between the trunnions, still going down, but still has a few inches to go… very slow.

CapCom: Understand, Richard.

Truly: And John, the thing that we are finding is that there’s a lot of very low damp, almost undamped oscillations in Y. So, after a couple of inputs, we just have to wait for them to slowly damp out, so that we can start again. They go almost from trunnion to trunnion. And these are very slow inputs on Dale’s part.

CapCom: Roger, we copy, Richard. Thanks.

After a short struggle to get all five latches tightened down, the PFTA was safely secured inside Challenger’s payload bay again. “Okay, here we go,” said Dale Gardner, “that was a good call, and 1 and 4 started tightening down, 3 came back in, we have five grays right now.”

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:43 pm
Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:44 pm
Truly: Going to test mode now to lift the arm. Okay, Houston, Dale is ungrappled and it looked like there were barely any loads at all on it. We were… we recorded it on the wrist camera, and it came straight out.

CapCom: Roger that, Richard. Thanks.

Truly: And Houston, we’re going to go back to ZLV.

CapCom: Roger that.

Gardner: And Houston, Challenger. You still with us?

CapCom: Roger, still with you, Dale.

Gardner: Okay, John, we’ve started the unloaded auto sequence. I don’t know if you guys timed the direct berthing. I think it was something around an hour. I don’t think I wrote down the start time, but it was the best part of an hour.

CapCom: Roger, Dale. And we’ll confirm that in the transcript; you called out when you were starting the berth maneuver.

Gardner: Okay. And as Richard mentioned, the main problem of course were oscillations, just sitting there waiting for them to cancel out, so we could tell what our attitude in XYZ were. The other part was, of course, without the elbow camera we had no way of really telling that, and we had to use some tricks and fish around, and try to find the guides. It took a little while. We did not use any digitals by the way. It was just cameras B and C and what we could see with our eyes.

CapCom: Roger, Dale, we copy. And we show one hour and ten minutes and understand your comments.

Gardner: Okay.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, Challenger coming into sunrise now.

CapCom: Challenger, Houston, we are receiving a beautiful picture of your sunrise down here. Thanks a lot.

Truly: Yes, we see you watching that.

CapCom: I bet you do. This TDRS is really a neat thing.

Truly: Bet you a nickel your TV is not a pretty as our window view, John.

CapCom: Roger, Richard, but it’s a lot better than it was before we had the TDRS.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, four days, four hours, 57 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (6:29 a.m. CDT), Challenger crossing the west coast of South America now on orbit 68.

Flight Director Harold Draughon explained, “And then we did the auto mode evaluation, which is an unloaded arm going through a particular predescribed set of sequences, a set that’s been done a number of times on other flights and in the test rigs, and it’s used for validating simulator models and those kinds of things.”

“Following that, we did an exterior survey of the orbiter.” Draughon pointed out that eight different visual inspection modes using the RMS had been defined and catalogued before the shuttle’s maiden flight, STS-1, and had been carried in the flight data files ever since. “We had picked three of them to run, depending on how much time we had at the end of the other activity today.”

“We had time to do just the first one, which was to look in front of the port wing, I believe. But anyway… you take the RMS and essentially try to look at the undercarriage, look at the underside of it,” said Draughon. “From the stuff I saw it’s quite clear that that is a very useful piece of data to know. We had some concerns about the oblique angle that you’re operating from, whether or not you could really see much under the bottom of the vehicle. Turns out you can see quite well, The resolution is extremely well and it may turn out to be sensitive to the lighting configuration. But the lighting situation that we had today, you had a lot of detail in looking at the tiles on the bottom of the vehicle. And it all looked in good shape.”

Draughon explained why the other two surveys were cancelled. “The thing they were competing with was the TV 04 pass, which was a show and tell by Dr. Thornton on the kinds of things that he has been doing on this flight. And we really thought that the general public and the press would be more interested in seeing a show of that to get a better idea, better grasp of what he is doing, since the air-to-ground dialogue really doesn’t give you a lot of insight that.”

CapCom: Okay, Richard, the upcoming Hawaii TV pass will be on schedule. The basic plan will be to TV through Hawaii and during the pass, about two to three minutes in the pass, we will hand over to TDRS. Total TV time available will be about 27 minutes. We would like you to continue your RMS testing in the order you have on your message, and at 5 plus 30 we would like you to start berthing and powering down. If some activities don’t get completed, that’s okay with us. What we’re trying to do here is protect about 20 minutes for you to get ready for Dr. Bill’s TV show. If you have any other changes to that, we would go along with your suggestions.

Truly: Roger, John. I think that is fine with us. We are, we’ve completed the unloaded auto sequence, and we’ve gone ahead, and we’re in the midst, as a matter of fact we’ve almost completed exterior survey Juliet, which I think you’ll enjoy later on, if we get a chance to downlink it to you. Since it’s about 5:20 now, I don’t know whether, as a matter of fact, I don’t think we’ll have time to do another survey. So we’ll either have to miss out on surveys Bravo and Charlie, or reschedule it tomorrow maybe, or whatever you’d like to do.

CapCom: We understand, Richard. And that’s fine with us to go ahead and berth the arm.

Truly: Okay. And sometime this evening you might make plans to, if you’d like, to look at this survey. It really is a very capable look at the bottom.

CapCom: Roger, we would like to and will.

Truly: Okay, super. We’ll work till 5:30 and go ahead and berth, and then be ready for the Hawaii pass. What time is Hawaii AOS?

CapCom: Yes, sir. Hawaii is 6 plus 04 (7:36 a.m. CDT).

Truly: Super plan, John. Thanks a lot. Appreciate your updating us.

CapCom: Yes, sir. And Challenger, Houston. We’re going to be going LOS in ten seconds; we’ll see you at Indian Ocean in two minutes.

Truly: Roger, John. And we’re zoomed in on the words that say “United States” underneath the radiator. We’re at the bottom of page 5-28, backing out for the berth.

CapCom: Yes, sir.

Title: Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
Post by: Ares67 on 05/30/2015 10:45 pm

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, at four days, five hours, 26 minutes Mission Elapsed Time (6:58 a.m. CDT). The Indian Ocean Station will pick Challenger up in about 45 seconds; crew in the process now of securing the RMS operations and preparing for a biomedical TV pass scheduled to begin at Hawaii.

CapCom: (…) And Challenger, Houston, I have a flight note for you if somebody is ready to copy, reference the WMS.

Truly: Stand by.

Flight controllers were still working on the problem with the orbiter’s Waste Management System and the resulting cabin air leakage. “That leak is still going on,” said Harold Draughon. “We ran a little test today to try to see if it was indeed in the gate valve.”

Truly: Roger, John, go ahead.

CapCom: Okay, Richard, basically what we have here is a plan to see if we can isolate that slight leak a little bit. And to do that, we would like you to first place the foot platform in the lowest position. Second, cut a three inch square from a plastic cover off of any FDF book. Third, using gray tape, seal the cover over the WCS vent screen opening – and that’s the opening that’s behind the outboard foot platform, on the upper right side of the WCS front face.

Truly: Okay. Well, I didn’t write it down. Let me go look at it and make sure I know what you’re talking about. Hang on.

CapCom: Roger.

Truly: Okay, yes, there’s a little circular screen on the outboard side of the foot restraint, I understand.

CapCom: Okay. Fourth, verify that the WCS vacuum valve is open and notify us when that procedure is complete. If this works, we’ll give you another procedure to work with it. If it doesn’t, we’ll go back to the procedure you have been using today. And don’t let this interfere with your TV pass coming up. We’ll see you at Hawaii at 6 plus 04.

Truly: Super, John, we’ll see you at Hawaii.

CapCom: Roger that.

PAO: This is Shuttle Control, the Indian Ocean Station has Loss of Signal with Challenger, next acquisition Hawaii in 29 and a half minutes. At four days, five hours, 34 minutes Mission Elapsed Time, this is Shuttle Control Houston… This is Shuttle control, four days, s