NASA Shuttle Specific Sections => Shuttle History - Pre-RTF => Topic started by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:09 PM

Title: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:09 PM
So, how do I approach this one?

“I’m confused.
In June, the fuel leaks in Atlantis and Columbia are related, NASA says. Then, the leaks are deemed totally unrelated – just a coincidence. Just like a string of bad luck. Now they are back to being related, caused by contamination…

I’m confused.
After Columbia’s September 5 scrub, NASA says they think the leak in the aft compartment is not a new leak – it was leaking all along. But it was not related to earlier leaks. They say a pump in the aft engine compartment probably was to blame. So they changed out the pump… and find it wasn’t leaking. So then they say a Teflon engine seal, damaged after Columbia’s last flight, is to blame.

I’m confused.
First, NASA says that September 14 was the cutoff date for launching Columbia. After that, the priority must shift to Discovery and its Ulysses solar probe, which must meet a tight launch window extending from October 5 through October 23. The next thing I know, Columbia is set for a September 18 launch… That is because NASA has already conceded it can’t meet the opening of the Ulysses window.

I’m confused.
I would have assumed that NASA could not meet the opening of the Ulysses window because of a coolant leak discovered aboard Discovery. But NASA says Discovery can safely fly without fixing the small leak. In any case, Discovery cannot be launched before October 8-9, perhaps a few days later, NASA says.

A few days later? Only a few days would be left before Ulysses would have to be postponed for 13 months… I’m confused – how did we suddenly arrive in a position of endangering the Ulysses launch?”

- Dixon P. Otto, “What’s so confusing?” – Countdown, October 1990


Discovery STS-41 was a mission carrying a firm deadline. The main payload, the Ulysses Sun probe, had to be deployed between October 5 and 23, 1990, in order to send it on a trajectory for Jupiter, reaching the planet in February 1992. The gas giant’s gravity would alter the probe’s course and send it out of the ecliptic, enabling “Brave Ulysses” to view the Sun’s unseen South Pole for the first time in May 1994. In case this odyssey didn’t start during the October launch window, Ulysses would have to gather dust for 13 months before Jupiter was aligned correctly for another attempt.

But, complicating things a bit more, STS-41 was only one of three flights being prepared during the long hot summer of 1990, with Columbia and Atlantis experiencing several schedule slips. Discovery eventually performed two consecutive shuttle missions – i.e. the Hubble deployment in April, and the Ulysses release in October. The 36th Space Shuttle mission was to have been flown by Columbia STS-35 in May, then Atlantis STS-38 in July. The baton was passed on to Columbia again in September, and then to Discovery in October.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:11 PM

“Look! It’s moving. It’s alive!”

- Dr. Henry Frankenstein, “Frankenstein,” Universal Pictures, 1931

Hi, everybody… yes, I’m alive! Having been rather quiet for some time now (I’ve had  a lot of other important stuff on my mind recently) I’m back again at NSF and will pick up where I left off last year, telling you about Space Shuttle history. And I hope to come up with these mission reports on a more regular basis again… we’ll see.

But looking back at the long hot summer of 1990, the imminent question was: How do I approach this complicated situation – telling you about launch preparations for three orbiters in the right order and also adding all the other related stuff…”Ares-style,” you know, quotes and other fun things included… without getting confused like Dixon P. Otto. Well, here’s the result:

Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses will focus on Discovery and her mission to launch Ulysses, giving only a glimpse into the technical trouble experienced by her sister ships. As a bonus, since we’ve been celebrating 15 years of continuous crewed ISS operations last November, at the end of this thread you will find a look into the state of the original Space Station Freedom 26 years ago.

The next shuttle history report, Atlantis STS-38 – Roundtrip Ticket, will tell the Atlantis’ side of the shuttle launch drought during 1990. It’ll also include the first flight of the Pegasus and other U.S. ELV launches, the return to flight of Ariane, and – since we’re talking about a military mission – “Desert Shield” will also be mentioned.

And finally, Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity, will focus on the whole range of problems leading up to what eventually became the final Space Shuttle mission of 1990 and also continue the story of Soviet Mir space station operations.

Although he may have been confused at times, Mr. Otto’s outstanding Countdown magazine has been an important source of information guiding me through this latest effort to cover the history of the Space Shuttle program. So, once again you’re invited to join me on another trip back in time – to the age when we were able to see these magnificent flying machines ascend into Earth orbit... uhm… or, sometimes, at least trying very hard to get off the ground...


- Oliver, aka Ares67

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:14 PM

“There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas…”

- Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses” (written in 1833)

PART ONE: A New Odyssey – STS-41 Crew and Mission Overview

PART TWO: Between Scylla and Charybdis – STS-41 Launch Preparations

PART THREE: Perfection Itself – STS-41 Daily Flight Log

Saturday, October 6, 1990 (Launch Day) – Thus, then, the ship sped on her way

Saturday, October 6, 1990 (Flight Day 1) – Then send him away…

Sunday, October 7, 1990 (Flight Day 2) – Sailing along, sailing along

Monday, October 8, 1990 (Flight Day 3) – Hearing the Sirens’ Voices

Tuesday, October 9, 1990 (Flight Day 4) – Towards the Shores of Ithaca

Wednesday, October 10, 1990 (Landing Day) – Homeward you think we must be sailing

The Best Orbital Complex … or just too complex?

The state of Freedom Station – 1990

Ulysses, by Jove!
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:18 PM

The STS-41 crew patch, designed by the five astronauts, depicts the Space Shuttle orbiting Earth after deployment of its primary payload – the Ulysses probe. The orbiter is shown passing over the southeastern United States, representative of its 28-degree inclination orbit. Ulysses, the solar exploration space probe, will be the fastest man-made object in the Universe, travelling at 30 miles per second and is represented by the streaking silver teardrop passing over the Sun.

Ulysses’ path is depicted by the bright red spiral originating from the shuttle cargo bay. The path will extend around Jupiter where Ulysses will receive a gravitational direction change that will put it in a polar trajectory around the Sun. The three-legged trajectory, extending out the payload bay, is symbolic of the astronaut logo and is ion honor of those who have given their lives in the conquest of space. The five stars separating the astronauts’ surnames, four golden and a silver one, represent the number 41 and also each of the crew members.

(Description on STS-41 decal – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:20 PM
PART ONE: A New Odyssey – STS-41 Crew and Mission Overview


“We can be heroes, forever and ever
What’d you say?”

- David Bowie (1947 – 2016), with Brian Eno, “Heroes,” RCA Records 1977


“Any Space Shuttle mission obviously is a good one when you are an astronaut, but this one is especially exciting because we’re going to be able to deploy something of significance like the Ulysses,” said Thomas Akers, one of three rookies on the STS-41 crew. The all-military crew featured the first flight by an astronaut from the Coast Guard, Bruce Melnick. “It’s the Coast Guard’s bicentennial year, so this is a good time for me to fly,” he said.

The only veteran mission specialist, William Shepherd, served as MS2, riding the seat at the shoulders of the pilots and acting as flight engineer during launch and landing. In case an emergency space walk was needed, Melnick and Akers were trained to make it. Akers’ prime duty involved deploying the Ulysses. “From that point on, I’m going to try to spend as much time as I can looking out the windows and taking pictures,” he said.

The flight did not end with landing for Robert Cabana. “When this flight is history and Ulysses is speeding its way to the Sun, I hope I can share some of my experiences with America’s youth. I hope I can help motivate them towards a greater interest in math and science and maybe spur them towards careers in science and engineering,” he said.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: eric z on 10/01/2016 06:23 PM
 I greatly miss "Countdown" magazine! Was really proud they published one of my first letters-to-the-editor submissions; pro-moon base-of course! ;D  Looking forward to reading this thread...Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:23 PM
CDR Richard Noel Richards, Captain USN, was born August 24, 1946, in Key West, Florida, and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri in 1969, and a Master of Science in aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida in 1970.

„Back at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, where I did my undergraduate work, I had an ROTC scholarship there,” said Richards, “I’d already sort of committed that I was going to do four years in the Navy. And at the time, that was the Vietnam War going on, so the draft was in vogue, so any young male at that point knew he had to deal with that. So I just decided to deal with it upfront and get some part of my college paid for. And my dad was a Navy guy as well, too, so I was sort of predisposed to joining the service… My dad was a submariner all of his life, and so I had to rebel a little bit, so even though I was going back in the Navy, I decided that this aviation thing looked like a fun thing. I’d never flown an airplane before in my life and so decided to go do that,” said Richards.

Michael Cassutt summed up Dick Richard’s career in Who’s Who in Space, “He was commissioned in the Navy after graduation from Missouri and underwent pilot training, winning his wings in 1969. From 1970 to 1973 he was an A-4 Skyhawk and F-4 Phantom pilot with Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 33 in Norfolk, Virginia, then served aboard the carriers USS America and USS Saratoga with Flight Squadron 103. In March 1976 he entered the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, and after graduation remained at Pax River as a test pilot until 1980, working on the first carrier catapults and landings of the F-18A Hornet.”

Dick Richards said, “I think John Young showed up at the Naval Test Pilot School at about ’78, somewhere in that range, saying that NASA was, after a long delay, was going to start interviewing for a new cadre of astronauts called Shuttle astronauts, and they’d be interested in anybody interested in it that’s got test piloting background to apply for it. So I applied for that. That was probably more like ’77. I applied for that and came down here to Houston to interview in 1978 and went through all the process and so forth, got fairly close, I was told, but was not selected in the ’78 group but got enough encouragement to try to reapply.”
“I was then posted to go back to another shore-based squadron, VF-102, aboard… I think it was the USS Independence,” Richard explained. “About that time, I’d already applied to the second round of the astronaut selection… George Abbey was running all that business then. And managed to get selected, and just as I was about ready to step foot on the USS Independence, George called and rescued me from another year and a half overseas and said, “How would you like to come to Houston, go fly the Space Shuttle,” and that was a fairly easy decision.”

“Richards was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in May 1980,” wrote Cassutt. “He worked as deputy chief of aircraft operations and also managed the inflight refueling of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in addition to serving as a  shuttle CapCom from April 1984 to September 1985.He was scheduled to be pilot aboard shuttle mission 61-E, the Spacelab Astro 1 intended to observe Halley’s Comet in March 1986.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:27 PM
When Richards flew his first mission as pilot of Columbia STS-28, in August 1989, he was the last member of the 1980 astronaut class to do so. “That was nine years between the time I reported to the Astronaut Office to the time that I flew for the first time,” he later explained. “And I remember in the Astronaut Office, we’d had a whole bunch of people being selected to the astronaut office at this point. They were up to the class of ’85 or maybe even ’87 at this point. So we had a whole bunch of astronauts that had not flown, and so when we did our debrief I said, ‘I was the plank holder. I was the longest guy that had waited at that particular point, nine years.’ And I remember making the speech. I said, ‘Well, I hope I’m the last guy that has to spend nine and a half years here between the time he walks in the door and he flies.’

“And I guess management felt like they owed it to me to make it up to me, so they had turned me around and got me ready for my first command on STS-41 right away. And so I don’t recall spending a lot of time before I was announced that I’d be the commander of STS-41, and we weren’t that far from flight at that point. So I think my memory was we went right back into training at that point. NASA was pretty good to me about that.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:28 PM
Comparing his role as pilot on Columbia STS-28 with his role as commander of Discovery STS-41, Richards said, “I was more in charge of making sure the crew was trained and trying to think about the big picture rather than just my role there…The pilot I had was Bob Cabana, who was a new guy. It was going to be his first flight, so I’d just gone through that so I was interested to try to make Bob as comfortable as possible.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:30 PM
PLT Robert Donald Cabana, Lieutenant Colonel USMC, was born January 23, 1949 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduation from Washburn High School in Minneapolis in 1967, he attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics in 1971.

According to Michael Cassutt, “After graduation Cabana became a Marine bombardier and navigator for A-6 aircraft and was based in North Carolina and Japan. Returning to the U.S. in 1975, he became a pilot, then was assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point, North Carolina, for four years. He attended the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, in 1981.”

There Cabana served as the A-6 program manager, X-29 Advanced Technology Demonstrator project officer, and as test pilot for flight systems and ordinance separation testing on A-6 and A-4 aircraft. He was serving with Marine Aircraft Group 12 in Iwakuni, Japan, when he was selected as astronaut in June 1985. He received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his duties as Deputy Chief of Aircraft Operations at Johnson Space Center and was lead astronaut in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). Cabana logged more than 3,700 hours in 32 different types of aircraft.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:31 PM
In a 2006 interview for the JSC Oral History Project, STS-41 Commander Dick Richard had this to say about his right-hand man in the cockpit, “Bob is basically one of the nicest guys I’ve ever run across, still one of the nicest guys over there. I think the Johnson Space Center people probably love him. I just got on him more to be hard, be more of a hard-ass than what he was doing, because Bob was, ‘Well, this is okay. This is okay.’ And I said, ‘No, it’s not. We’ve got all these contractors out there. We pay them a lot of money. Make them go do it right.’
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:33 PM
MS1 Bruce Edward Melnick, Commander USCG, “was born December5, 1949, in New York City, and grew up in Clearwater, Florida, graduating from high school there in 1967,” wrote Michael Cassutt. “He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1967 and 1968, then went on to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where in 1971 he was named to the NCAA Academic All-American football team.”

Melnick received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering (cum laud) from the Coast Guard Academy in 1972 and a Master of Science degree in aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida in 1975. According to Who’s Who in Space, “Following graduation from the Coast Guard Academy Melnick spent sixteen months as a deck watch officer aboard the cutter Steadfast, homeport St. Petersburg, Florida. Sent to Navy flight training at Pensacola, he won his wings in 1974 and also worked on his master’s degree.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:34 PM
“For the next seven years he was a Coast Guard rescue pilot based at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Sitka, Alaska. In 1982 he was assigned to the Aircraft Program Office in Grand Prairie, Texas, to conduct acceptance tests of the Coast Guard’s new HH-65A Dolphin helicopter,” Cassutt wrote. “At the time of his selection as an astronaut candidate in June 1987 he was operations officer at the Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Michigan.”

Melnick’s initially was assigned to the astronaut support personnel team at Kennedy Space Center, the “Cape Crusaders,” and also represented the astronaut office in the assembly and checkout of the new orbiter Endeavour. Selected for the STS-41 mission in October 1989, he and fellow crewmember Tom Akers were the first representatives of the astronaut class of 87 to fly into space.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:39 PM
MS2 William McMichael Shepherd, Captain USN, was born July 26, 1949, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. His father was a World War II Navy veteran and aerospace engineer, and Shepherd enjoyed growing up around boats and water. Towards the end of his high school education he had already decided upon a career in the Navy. He planned on becoming a naval aviator like his father, but did not pass the eye exam. So he became a diver instead.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:40 PM
In 1971 he graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering. He later received additional degrees in ocean and mechanical engineering. Michael Cassutt wrote, “Following graduation from Annapolis, Shepherd underwent basic underwater demolition/SEAL training prior to being assigned as platoon commander for Underwater Demolition Team Eleven in San Diego. In 1973 he served as platoon commander for SEAL Team One during deployments to the Western Pacific and Alaska.”

“From 1975 to 1978 he was a graduate student at MIT. He then became team operations officer for SEAL Team Two at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia, followed by a tour with the Naval Military Personnel Command in Washington, D.C. At the time of his selection by NASA he was commanding officer of Special Boat Unit 20 at Little Creek.”.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:41 PM
“I worked as a SEAL for 13 years before going to NASA,” said Shepherd. “When NASA started making the shuttle program happen, it was clear that astronauts would do more than just flying. I applied to NASA, and it took me two go-arounds to get there, but finally in 1984 I was selected as one of the 17 people in the tenth group of astronauts. I don’t really know why NASA picked me. I went to MIT for three years for the graduate program; it included ship design, and that really turned out to be propitious. I do think that NASA is particularly good about not picking everybody from exactly the same mould, and that is one of its strengths.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:42 PM
Having qualified as a Space Shuttle mission specialist in 1985, Bill Shepherd initially had served with the astronaut support team at KSC before receiving his first flight assignment – Atlantis STS-27, a Department of Defense mission which launched December 2, 1988.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:43 PM
MS3 Thomas Dale Akers, Major USAF, was born May 20, 1951, in St Louis, Missouri. After graduation from high school in 1969 he attended the University of Missouri at Rolla, where he earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in applied mathematics in 1973 and 1975 respectively. “While he was a college student, Akers spent his summers working as a national park ranger at Alley Springs, Missouri,” wrote Michael Cassutt. “After graduation from Rolla, he became the principal of his hometown high school in Eminence.”

“He joined the Air Force in 1979 and upon completion of officer training school, was assigned to the 4484th Fighter Weapons Squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida, as a data analyst working with air-to-air missiles. In 1982 he was selected to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, where he completed the flight test engineer course.”

“He returned to Eglin in 1983 and was assigned to the Armaments Division, where he worked on weapons development and also flew F-4 and T-38 aircraft with the 3247 th Test Squadron. At the time of his selection by NASA he was executive officer to the Armament Division’s Deputy Commander for Research, Development and Acquisition.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:44 PM
Tom Akers, recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, and Achievement Medal, was one of 13 astronaut candidates selected by NASA in 1987. His initial assignments in the astronaut office included shuttle software development and the integration of new computer hardware for future shuttle missions. In September 1989 he received his first ticket into space – and the job to send Ulysses on its long odyssey around the Sun.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:45 PM

 “So Bill and I, with our one great one-flight experience, were the veterans, and the rest of us were rookies,” Dick Richards said. “I was struck by how new this particular crew was. I had had the luxury of nine years getting ready to go fly. They didn’t have that much time. And so I decided to do a little crash course in systems knowledge, and I sort of came out and decided that they would start giving lectures on systems from their perspective. So we’d do that once a week, that sort of thing. Popular with some people, not so popular with others.”

Richards added, “So we spent a lot of time, I spent a lot of time, worrying about their systems knowledge and ship basics because of the lack of their shelf life. Turned out to be they were great. By the time we got done on that crew, we knew that vehicle backwards and forwards. My contribution to that was probably small. It was just that they were… I had a very smart, capable bunch of people… and they were all military background, just like I was so, so we didn’t have to spend a lot of time talking to each other, because we could look at each other and we’d understand where we wanted to go with things. So we were pretty good, and that’s what I spent most of my time worrying about.”

(Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, October 1990; Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space – The International Space Station Edition,” Macmillan 1999; Francis French, “Beyond where the sky meets the dawn,” Spaceflight, Vol. 44, Oct. 2002; Richard Richards, JSC Oral History Project interview, Jan 26, 2006 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:47 PM

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:48 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:48 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:50 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:53 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:54 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:55 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:56 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 06:58 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:00 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:00 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:03 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:07 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:07 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:08 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:09 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:12 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:14 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:16 PM
Mission STS-41 – Everything that is done under the Sun

“It’s taken years to get there, but this international project is finally about to have its day in the Sun.”

- Nicholas Booth, author of “Ulysses – The Long and Winding Road,” 1990


On the surface, STS-41 appears as a standard shuttle mission: a four-day duration (spread over five flight days), standard satellite deploy involving the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) used on many previous flights, nine secondary payloads and a five-member crew.

However, no shuttle mission is “standard,” especially one which is to christen the Ulysses solar-polar probe as the fastest man-made object in the Universe. To do so, launch of Discovery has to make a short window to send the probe on the proper course. The launch period extends only from October 5 through October 23, with the last day presenting just a five-minute launch opportunity.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:18 PM
Mission Commander Dick Richards thinks Discovery is able to make her short window on the Sun. He calls the orbiter a “tight” ship, meaning that it has displayed no tendencies during her last flight, STS-31 in April 1990, to the kinds of leaks that have plagued Columbia and Atlantis all summer. “Discovery had a very tight flight on STS-31, came back in great shape,” he says.  “We have every reason to expect we’re going to have an October flight.

Yet Richards also calls the 19-day launch window tight. “It it was an ideal world, we would have liked to have had about a three-month window to get Ulysses off. This is pretty tight, so we don’t have a lot of room to maneuver as far as handling malfunctions.”

If the window is missed, Ulysses will have to wait 13 months until the planets are again in proper position. “If we can’t do it, we’ll just have to make that painful decision to wait until the Earth spins around thirteen months from now,” Richards says.

The small 807-pound probe, in order to lift itself above the ecliptic plane upon which the planets orbit and gain a view of the Sun’s poles, has to fly directly to Jupiter and gain a gravity assist sling-shot from the giant planet. To achieve enough kick to reach Jupiter, a modified IUS will be used.

The two-stage IUS will be topped with a Payload Assist Module (PAM) upper stage in a combination never before flown together. Ulysses is attached to the IUS at a maximum of eight points. They provide substantial load-carrying capability while minimizing thermal transfer across the interface. Power and data transmission to the spacecraft are provided by several IUS interface connectors.

Built by Boeing Aerospace Co. for the U.S, Air Force, the IUS has been used alone to boost the Magellan and Galileo interplanetary explorers. The PAM booster, built by Mc Donnell Douglas Space Systems Co., has been the first upper stage to be flown on the shuttle and was used on many pre-Challenger flights to boost communications satellites into higher orbits. Having been used on the shuttle as well as on expendable launch vehicles, PAMs have successfully placed over 40 satellites in orbit. A mission-specific modified version, the PAM-S, will be attached to Ulysses. Spacecraft and upper stages altogether weigh about 38,600 pounds.

Ulysses will be the third interplanetary probe launched on the shuttle, preceded by the Magellan Venus radar mapper on STS-30 in May 1989 and the Galileo spacecraft launched aboard STS-34 in October 1989, at this time headed toward Earth on a roundabout route to Jupiter.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:20 PM

Discovery, making her 11th flight, will be launched at a 28.5-degree inclination into a 160-nautical mile orbit, later to be changed into 177 by 160 miles, 160 by 156 and finally 157 by 156 nautical miles. Total weight at lift-off is approximately 4,523,894 pound, whereby Discovery, including her 48,812 pound payload, weighs 293,019 pounds. For an October 5 launch, the window opens at 7:35 a.m. EDT and extends for two hours and 22 minutes. By October 8, the window, shifting about a minute a day, opens at 7:38 a.m. and lasts for two hours five minutes.

The ascent profile for this mission is a direct insertion. Only one Orbital Maneuvering System thrusting maneuver, referred to as OMS-2, is used to achieve insertion into orbit. This direct-insertion profile lofts the trajectory to provide the earliest opportunity for orbit in the event of a problem with a Space Shuttle Main Engine. The OMS-1 thrusting maneuver after MECO plus approximately two minutes is eliminated in this direct-insertion ascent profile; it is replaced by a five-foot-per-second RCS maneuver to facilitate the Main Propulsion System propellant dump.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:21 PM

The solar cells typically used on near-Earth spacecraft cannot provide enough power for Ulysses when it is out near Jupiter, where sunlight is only four percent as strong as it is on Earth. Thus, the spacecraft derives its power from a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. It is not a nuclear reactor, but simply a quantity of safely encapsulated plutonium dioxide that decays over a period of time. This decay releases heat, which is converted into electricity by thermocouples. The generator delivers about 290 watts of power in this manner. Similar power supplies have been used successfully on two Pioneer deep space probes, both Voyager spacecraft and the Galileo mission to Jupiter.

It’s the second time an RTG will be launched aboard the shuttle. Galileo, which uses two RTGs, was subject to various protests by environmental groups during its 1989 launch. The groups feared an accident could have released plutonium. Milt Heflin, who is lead flight director for STS-41, was flight director for Galileo’s deployment. “I characterized the RTGs then as doggone tough, and I haven’t changed my mind,” he says.

“I don’t have any worries about the RTG. I never have had any worries about the RTGs,” he says. Every member of the flight crew has also expressed confidence saying that they will have their families on hand for Discovery’s launch. “Quite frankly, I haven’t spent too much time worrying about the RTG situation,” says Dick Richards. “My family is going to be down there in Florida, standing underneath Discovery, waving goodbye as we go off the launch pad. So, I don’t have any problems with the RTG and am confident that the system doesn’t provide any hazard to anyone on the ground.”

This is echoed by Mission Specialist Tom Akers, who says that the Ulysses RTG would survive a Challenger-like accident. “We have looked at the statistics and the studies and our conclusion is that it’s definitely as safe as it can be and we’re not worried about it. The three people I think the most of – my wife and two kids – are going to be as close as anybody to the shuttle” when it’s launched, Akers says.

Any discussion involving nuclear issues tends to be obfuscated by emotions and exaggeration, and Ulysses is no exception. One NASA scientist, when pressed, declared, “I can understand the protestors’ concern. Our government hasn’t exactly made a name for itself on the nuclear issue.”

But in fact, the space agency has extensively tested the protective casings for RTGs, assessing their integrity in all kinds of accident scenarios. NASA studies state the chance of a plutonium release during launch is one in six million and one in 4,200 during deployment. NASA Ulysses Manager Willis Meeks says that the worst case scenario is that an accident might cause about 300 to 400 additional cancer deaths in the world population of four billion people in the next 50 years. The consensus among most informed reviewers is that the threat from the RTGs is negligibly small. And, grumbles an impatient ESA project manager Derek Eaton, “The analyses have cost as much as the spacecraft.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:27 PM

“Every one of us has a job to do to get Ulysses deployed successfully.”

- Thomas Akers, Mission Specialist STS-41

Two hours into the mission, the crew will begin checkout of Ulysses and the upper stages. Three centers are involved with the checks. In addition to Houston, the Ulysses Payload Operations Control Center (UPOCC, pronounced “U-pock”) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, oversees the spacecraft. The Consolidated Space Test Center (CSTC, pronounced “C-stick”) at the Onizuka Air Force Station in Sunnyvale, California, handles checkout for the IUS.

Standard IUS/spacecraft checks, as performed on past missions, will last about four hours. “The four-hour period is very busy, and we have a lot of work to do,” Heflin says. “We also have some fall backs in case we get into any problems.”

For example, normal commands to the IUS are sent from CSTC through the orbiter, and this link will be tested. I addition, a “direct check” will be made where the Sunnyvale center sends a command directly to the IUS from a ground station. Direct commanding will be used as a backup in case the orbiter link to the IUS fails.

A crucial set of navigation alignments will be made just prior to deployment of Ulysses. The spacecraft attempts to reach a 100-mile-wide window that is 500 million miles away. “As an analogy, since I play golf, if you equate that 100-mile window to a 4.5-inch golf course hole, we’re trying to make a 360-mile hole in one,” Mission Commander Dick Richards says.

“We are planning a series of maneuvers that Bob will be doing prior to deployment where we wil actually maneuver to different attitudes. Those attitudes will be measured by the ground and then compared with the attitude Ulysses’ Inertial Upper Stage shows to make its attitude reading matches the actual attitude of the orbiter,” he says. “It will probably be one of the more critical points of the deployment.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:30 PM

Mission Specialist Tom Akers will perform the deploy duty, assisted by Bruce Melnick. To allow direct communication with Earth during systems checkout, they will tilt the IUS/Ulysses to 29 degrees. The crew will receive a go for deploy at five hours 41 minutes into the flight. They will raise the doughnut-shaped tilt table holding the Ulysses stack to 58 degrees above the level of the payload bay a couple of minutes later.

The orbiter’s RCS thrusters are inhibited, and the Super Zip ordnance separation device physically separates the IUS and spacecraft combination from the tilt table. Compressed springs provide the force to jettison the stack from the orbiter payload bay. The Ulysses stack will shove off from the cradle six hours two minutes into the flight while the orbiter is over the Pacific approaching the west coast of the U.S. The tilt table is lowered to minus six degrees after deployment. Approximately fifteen minutes after the stack has been released, Discovery’s OMS engines are ignited to separate her from the IUS/Ulysses combination.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:31 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:32 PM
“We will throw the switches that deploy the satellite, and it will be pushed out of the payload bay on springs at about five to six inches per second,” Akers says. “At that point, Shep has already set up all the cameras that are going to take the pictures of the deploy.”

“That’s a very standard deploy for us with IUS flights,” Heflin says. “It is no different than what we did for Magellan and Galileo.” The difference surfaces when the Ulysses stack begins the first of three solid rocket burns 65 minutes after deployment. “From the time that the first stage ignites until the last burn is a very short amount of time,” Heflin says.

The first IUS stage will fire for two minutes 30 seconds as the spacecraft passes over the Indian Ocean. Less than two minutes later, the second stage of the IUS will fire for one minute 47 seconds. Less than two minutes exist between the end of the second IUS burn and the PAM ignition. During that time, the PAM, which achieves stabilization revolving like a phonograph record, has to be spun up to 70 rpm.

“The PAM is spun up much like we used to do when we were deploying satellites from the orbiter,” Heflin says. The third engine will fire for one minute 30 seconds. Less than ten minutes later, the spacecraft will be “despun” to about seven rpm and the PAM detached – Time: Seven hours 24 minutes into the flight.

“II would characterize it as a pretty sporty way of getting Ulysses on its way,” Heflin says. “It will become the fastest spacecraft to date. It travels at a speed that would take it something less than 45 minutes to circle the Earth if it were still in orbit.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:33 PM

Having completed the Ulysses deployment, the crew will then settle into the routine of operating their nine secondary payloads as well as performing medical checks and taking Earth photographs. Two of the secondaries are located in the cargo bay:

The Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment will make the second of its yearly flights, having first flown on STS-34 in October 1989. The system, contained in two garbage-can-size canisters mounted on the sidewall of the payload bay, measures the ozone in the upper atmosphere. The readings will be taken at the same time and location as readings by similar sensors aboard the NOAA-9 and Nimbus 7 weather satellites.

“With those calibrations, we’ll be able to get a better feel for how the ozone layer is deteriorating around the Earth,” says Melnick, who, assisted by Akers, will be responsible for operation of the experiment.

The long-flying sensors aboard the weather satellites can degrade over time. The finely-tuned shuttle sensor will be compared against them to calibrate the on-going satellite readings. Such calibrations using the shuttle will be made each year.

Intelsat Solar Array Coupon (ISAC) is a recently added experiment which could yield valuable information for the planned rescue mission of a stranded Intelsat VI satellite. The Intelsat was not designed for low Earth orbit, where atomic oxygen in the upper traces of the atmosphere can erode materials. Samples of material like that on the satellite solar arrays have been attached to “witness plate” on the orbiter’s Remote Manipulator System robot arm.

“We’re going to take the arm and put it out over the side and basically put those witness plates into the wind (into the velocity vector, the direction the shuttle was travelling, so that the atomic oxygen would strike them),” says Heflin. The arm will be positioned over the orbiter’s side for just over 24 hours beginning on Flight Day 2 at about one day, four hours into the mission.

Just a day “in the wind,” although no real wind exists, is expected to be enough to yield data on how well Intelsat materials hold up to erosion from atomic oxygen. “It was never really designed to be living where it’s at right now. The question is how long can it stay there and then be reboosted to a useful life,” says Shepherd, who will operate the RMS along with Akers.

A rescue mission to reboost the Intelsat is scheduled for the first flight of Endeavour in early 1992. “The primary purpose of this experiment is to provide confidence that the satellite will be in good shape when we go fix it,” Dick Richards says.

Six experiments are stowed in the middeck:

- One experiment continues plant growth studies begun on previous shuttle flights. The Chromosome and Plant Cell Division Experiment (CHROMEX-2) studies plant root growth, root tip chromosome partitioning and root tip cell division patterns in microgravity. Shepherd, backed by Cabana, will oversee the experiment during the flight.

- Another experiment looks towards the testing equipment for the coming space station era. The Voice Command System (VCS) features a voice recognition device which allows voice control of a system. For its first trial, Shepherd and Melnick will attempt to use the system to control the shuttle’s closed circuit television system. They will select, pan, and tilt the cameras by voice.

- “An interesting experiment involves creating a controlled fire onboard,” says Richards. The Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE) utilizes a combustion chamber to collect data on the spread of fire over the surfaces of fuels – small filaments of paper – in microgravity, with the aim of improving spacecraft fire safety. The fires will only last seven seconds in a sealed chamber. Photographs will record the spread of the flames and the heating patterns. Melnick, assisted by Akers, will run the tests.

- Another experiment also continues research begun on previous shuttle missions. Investigation into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP) will test ways of producing better membranes used as fine filters in medical and other commercial applications. The pores of membranes formed by a chemical process in weightlessness are expected to be more uniform than possible on Earth. A similar project, by Battelle Lab’s Advanced Materials Center, flew aboard STS-31 in April 1990.

- Another experiment actually houses the majority of the STS-41 crew (in numbers) – 16 laboratory rats sealed in a middeck locker. The Physiological Systems Experiment (PSE) will determine the effects of a “proprietary,” meaning a commercial trade secret, protein on the rats’ physiological systems in microgravity.

- As with all shuttle flights, radiation monitoring tests are continuing, although not with the “phantom head” flown on several flights. Radiation Monitoring Experiment RME-III was designed to measure gamma radiation in the shuttle’s crew module. “We’re always looking for some improved radiation monitoring equipment,” Heflin says.

As with any shuttle flight, Discovery also carries a long list of Detailed Supplementary Objectives (DSOs) and Detailed Test Objectives (DTOs). The seven medical DSOs will deal with monitoring the fluid shift that occurrs to the upper body in weightlessness, continuing the study of Space Adaptation Syndrome.

Earth observation and photography also fall under the DSO listing. “I hope we can document changes in our environment and eventually help understand how we can make Earth a safer, cleaner place for all of us to live,” Cabana says.

Most of the DTOs will deal with gathering engineering data on shuttle performance. One DTO has the crew dump propellants through the Reaction Control System jets in the shuttle’s nose as it enters the atmosphere. The fuel will be expended through opposing side jets in a test to see if the forward weight of the shuttle can be lowered, thereby helping to establish a favorable center of gravity (CG) for landing. Such a CG is presumed to be needed during emergency landings resulting from launch aborts.

“The factor here is that you want to be able to get the CG moved aft – not have a forward CG. That would make the vehicle fly better and also you don’t like to land with a lot of hypergolics (highly toxic RCS fuel) onboard from a safety standpoint,” Cabana says.

Three dumps will be made – when Discovery ias flying at Mach 12, then Mach 6, and finally Mach 4. Similar tests had been planned during Columbia’s 61-C mission in 1986, but had to be cancelled after launch when engineers discovered that the orbiter was equipped with old design jets that could have exploded under the conditions of the dump.

Discovery is equipped with different jets. “We’ve got safety built into it. We can terminate the dump at any time, and we’ll be watching our propellant as it depletes,” Cabana says.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:35 PM

STS-41 is scheduled to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The carbon-carbon brakes, flown for the first time on Discovery during STS-31, will undergo additional testing. During STS-31, the new brakes were used on the long lakebed and were only applied at speeds under 137 miles per hour. For this flight, a normal braking profile will be used, with landing on the concrete runway and the brakes applied beginning at 160 miles per hour. These brake and landing gear modifications will eventually allow NASA to resume end-of-mission landings at Kennedy Space Center.

Landing is expected on orbit 66 after a flight of four days, two hours, seven minutes. With an October 5 launch, touchdown will occur at 6:44 a.m. PDT, at dawn over the desert.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:36 PM

Flight Day One

Launch and Ascent
Post-insertion checkout
Pre-deploy checkout
Ulysses/IUS deploy
SSBUV outgassing

Flight Day Two

Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) calibration test
Ulysses/IUS backup deploy opportunity
RMS powerup and checkout
SSBUV Earth views
VCS test #1

Flight Day Three

SSBUV Earth views
VCS test #2

Flight Day Four

SSBUV Earth views
VCS test #3
FCS checkout
RCS hotfire
Cabin stow

Flight Day Five

CHROMEX-2 status
PSE status
SSBUV Earth views
SSBUV deactivation
Deorbit preparation
Deorbit burn

(JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 14, 1990; Rockwell International, STS-41 Press Information, October 1990; NASA STS-41 Press Kit, October 1990; Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, October 1990; Nicholas Booth, “Ulysses – The Long and Winding Road,” Final Frontier, Sep./Oct. 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC related events for 1990, KHR-15, Mar. 1991 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:39 PM
Ulysses – The Road of Trials

“If any god has marked me out again
for shipwreck, my tough heart can undergo it.
What hardship have I not long since endured
at sea, in battle! Let the trial come.”

- Homer, “The Odyssey,” Book V


Ulysses is an international project to place a spacecraft in polar regions around the Sun. Until 1984, the Ulysses project was called the International Solar Polar Mission (ISPM). Although the name described the mission’s objectives, project officials believed it brought little romance to an undertaking they considered exciting. As a result, project officials choose a new name.

Professor Bruno Bertotti of the University of Pavia, Italy, principal investigator of the gravitational-wave experiment aboard the spacecraft, suggested “Ulysses” and cited the 26th canto of Dante’s inferno, referring not only to the adventurous trip of the mythological Greek hero after the Trojan War, but also to a most remarkable late Medieval tradition in which the spirit and the driving motives of all human explorations of unknown regions are forcefully presented.

Dante’s story says that Ulysses, after his return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, and to his kingdom in Ithaca, became bored with everyday life and the troublesome duties a s a king; with his old shipmates, he decided to start on a new journey to explore that part of the world which lay beyond the Pillars of Hercules, i.e. the Strait of Gibraltar, at that time completely unknown and unexplored.

As Dante says, there is indeed a “mondo sanza gente,” an uninhabited world beyond the Sun where there are no planets, no possibility of life, no familiar features. According to Dante, Ulysses’ crew mutinied out of fear and he exhorted them to continue “to follow after knowledge and excellence.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:42 PM

The Ulysses project is a cooperative endeavor between the European Space Agency and NASA. A contractor team led by Dornier GmbH, Federal Republic of Germany, designed and built the spacecraft. Subcontractors included firms in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The project has undergone as many twists and delays encountered by projects such as the Galileo Jupiter probe and the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1974, NASA and the European Space Research Organization (ESA’s forerunner) conducted a project definition study of an out-of-ecliptic solar probe, called International Solar Polar Mission, in which they would each develop a spacecraft – to a different design – to make simultaneous close passes over opposite poles of the Sun.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:43 PM
Development began as soon as the agreement had been signed in March 1978. According to the September 1980 Space Shuttle Flight Assignment Manifest, the NASA Solar Polar probe was scheduled to be launched on STS-35, then OV-104 Atlantis’ maiden voyage, in March 1985, followed by the ESA Solar Polar probe aboard Challenger STS-36 in April 1985. Both spacecraft were to be mounted to a three-stage planetary variant of the IUS. To achieve the desired high-inclination solar orbits, they were to make a detour via Jupiter. The two spacecraft were to fly in formation until they were through the asteroid belt, then they were to slowly diverge in order to make opposing polar passes of the giant planet so that the resulting gravitational slingshots would hurl one above, and the other below the ecliptic plane to facilitate simultaneous study of both of the Sun’s poles.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:44 PM
Delays and cost overruns with the Space Shuttle and the knife-wielding propensity of David Stockman ensured that this happy state of collaboration across the Atlantic soon was shattered. Looking back at those years ISPM seems a case history in how not to organize an international project. The fact that the solar polar mission still exists at all is a triumph in the face of adversity.

Ask Derek Eaton, the man most people cite as the mission’s motivating force, and the only one who has remained with the project since its inception. The British-born project manager for ESA has spent more than fifteen years of his career devoted to the solar probe. He bears the mien of someone who has learned the value and virtue of patience. “The main lesson I’ve learned,” he says today, “is that there’s no such thing as guarantees. Space is a risky business – you have to accept that.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:45 PM
The cancellation of the three-stage IUS in December 1980 meant that the ISPM spacecraft would have to be reduced to fit the capabilities of the two-stage IUS, but the policy switch to the Centaur in January 1981 suddenly reversed this. The plan was to dispatch Galileo and ISPM on Centaurs, and to do this in the same 1985 window. The sting in the tail came a few months later, when Congress axed the U.S. spacecraft from NASA’s budget, causing uproar in the international space community.

The way in which NASA pulled out of the deal still rankles some European project people, who tell apocryphal versions of the story in bars or under cover of darkness. Neither ESA nor NASA officials will be drawn into the fray, but what happened was something like this: Early in 1981, the Administrator of NASA telephoned the Director General of ESA to say, in effect: The budget make-up is in, and it’s bad news, I’m afraid. We’re going to have to cancel our half of ISPM. We’re holding a press conference in an hour.”

And that was it. One NASA manager reflects: “Unilateral decisions and collaborative projects don’t really mix. We had absolutely no idea what we were letting ourselves in for.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:48 PM
ESA decided to continue. Still miffed, European managers scored a minor victory in 1984 by unilaterally renaming the project. A number of ESA people had always hated the NASA title of “Solar Polar,” which Eaton would say is better suited to an ice cream. Professor Bertotti’s proposal of “Ulysses” seemed apt, “as the whole project had become a bit of an odyssey,” an ESA scientist says. The name was duly announced to the press in Europe before NASA could weigh in with its own candidate, and “Ulysses” it became.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:51 PM

Since that nadir in the early 1980s, relations between the two agencies have improved. “We realize that the European system works differently – not better, just different,” says JPL project official Ed Massey. Derek Eaton, too, seems more tractable. “I’ve been critical of NASA in the past. But those criticisms are the sorts you’d reserve for any bureaucracy.”

Ulysses was now scheduled for a shuttle launch in May 1986. At that time, like Galileo, it would have used the hydrogen-fueled Centaur stage for the boost to Jupiter. If Challenger had not been lost, her next payload on mission 61-F would have been Ulysses. In the aftermath of the loss of Challenger, use of the Centaur was banned from the shuttle for safety reasons and the planetary probes were forced to switch to less efficient solid motor upper stages.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:57 PM
Both Galileo and Ulysses were reassigned to June 1987, but it soon became clear that the shuttle would not return to service in time to meet that window. Furthermore, it was decided that trying to ge two shuttles off the ground in the space of a fortnight would be too heavy an operational load. NASA and ESA reached an agreement in April 1987: Galileo would take the 1989 window, and Ulysses was to follow a year later.

Derek Eaton’s single-mindedness has ensured that the spacecraft will be ready despite its many journeys through Europe, out to Cape Canaveral, back to Europe and back to the Cape again. When the spacecraft was removed from its transport/storage container in May 1989 for reintegration and recertification (the scientific experiment payload had been pulled from the spacecraft during its storage period, along with many of the subsystems), he stated, “Ulysses was in good shape when it was brought out from the container. We found it is as magnetically ‘clean’ as when we tested it in 1985.”

Ulysses is not as badly affected as Galileo by the cancellation of the Centaur and the plan to run the SSMEs at less than peak thrust. At 370 kilograms, it is 15 percent of Galileo’s mass. However, even though it has been designed for the capabilities of the planetary-IUS, it is too heavy for the two-stage variant to dispatch on the necessary high-speed trajectory to Jupiter. It is so lightweight though, that it was possible to install a 2,200-kilogram PAM-S to help accelerate the spacecraft away from the Earth, once the IUS has achieved escape velocity.

The initial plan has been for NASA’s spacecraft to carry a camera to record the solar disk and the corona, but this could not be transferred, because it would have made the remaining spacecraft too large for even the enhanced IUS, so Ulysses has no imaging capability. So, in purely PR terms, Ulysses will be hamstrung by its lack of cameras or any other imaging instruments. Anyone who’s witnessed a Voyager press conference has noted the general fidgeting and cumulative exodus of reporters during presentations on so-called “fields and particles” experiments. “Fundamental science isn’t necessarily sexy,” says David Dale, head of scientific projects at ESA. Another of the instruments developed for the NASA spacecraft was repackaged and included on the Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX) satellite to be launched in 1992.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:57 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:58 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 07:59 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:02 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:05 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:05 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:06 PM

Ironically, Derek Eaton won’t be at the Cape in October to witness the launch of Discovery in person. “I’ve always said that the role of the project manager is in operations control,” he says. “The day before the launch I’ll travel to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If there are any nasty decisions to be made, I want to make them with my JPL counterpart.”

The ESA/NASA team will manage the mission from the Ulysses Payload Operations Center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, with ESA handling the spacecraft on-orbit operations and JPL overseeing tracking through the Deep Space Network and ground operations in Pasadena. In addition to the launch on Space Shuttle Discovery, NASA is responsible for the Inertial Upper Stage built for the U.S. Air Force by Being Aerospace & Electronics Co. and the PAM-S upper stage built by McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Co. NASA also provides the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, which was built for the U.S. Department of Energy by the General Electric Co. Overall program costs, through end of mission, are estimated at $500 million for NASA and $250 million for ESA.

The instruments aboard the Ulysses spacecraft have been provided by scientific teams in both Europe and the United States. Willis Meeks of JPL is the U.S. project manager. Dr. Edward J. Smith of JPL is the U.S. project scientist. The U.S. program manager is Robert Murray of NASA Headquarters, and the U.S. program scientist I Dr. J. David Bohlin, also of NASA Headquarters. The U.S. portion of the Ulysses mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Office of Space Science and Application. Derek Eaton is ESA project manager, Dr. Klaus-Peter Wenzel is ESA project scientist. ESA’s share of the Ulysses project is headquartered at Noordwijk, the Netherlands, at the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC). John Conway is NASA’s director of payload management an KSC.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:08 PM

In preparing for the Ulysses launch, the STS-41 crew obviously did enjoy working with the ESA people. “They were a great bunch, German contractors, as I recall, with a lot of Dutch project management there,” Commander Dick Richards recalls. “It was my first with European culture ...  At four-thirty, end of the day, the German crew …  they would all of sudden, they would open up their cooler and there they’d have kegs of beer, German beer there, and we’d all sit around there and sit next to Ulysses, toasting Ulysses and having beer. We didn’t do that here in the United States, and so that culture was different. I kind of liked it,” Richards added laughing, “and we got along great with them.”

(Rockwell International, STS-41 Press Information, October 1990; Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, October 1990; Nicholas Booth, “Ulysses – The Long and Winding Road,” Final Frontier, Sep./Oct. 1990; Aviation Week & Space Technology, Nov. 6, 1989; David M. Harland, “The Space Shuttle,” Wiley/Praxis 1998; Richard Richards, JSC Oral History Project interview, Jan. 26, 2006 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:12 PM
Ulysses – The True Hero of the Story

“As you set out for Ithaca
Hope the voyage is a long one,
Full of adventure, full of discovery”

- C.P. Cavafy, “Ithaca”


Previous studies of the Sun’s environment have been made by spacecraft operating in or near to the ecliptic – the imaginary extension of the Sun’s equator around which all the planets orbit. They have revealed that interplanetary space is not empty but filled with continuously expanding solar atmosphere – called the solar wind – as well as dust, energetic particles of both solar and galactic origin, and magnetic fields and waves. The Sun should prove to be a different animal at the polar regions.

Despite the Sun’s proximity, scientists are wholly ignorant of many aspects of our neighboring star because we have a limited view of it. Our observations of the Sun are limited to within ten degrees of the ecliptic plane. “It’s like trying to study the weather if you could only make measurements near the equator,” says Edward Smith, the Ulysses project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“Ulysses is a mission bound to a region of space never explored before, namely the region above the poles of the Sun… Ulysses will take us a step further, it will take us into the third dimension of the Sun’s environment,” says Klaus-Peter Wenzel, project scientist for the European Space Agency. “It’s new science. Investigating this major difference between the equatorial regions and the high latitude regions is one of the prime goals of the mission. We are going to map the outflow of the solar wind, the magnetic field, over the whole region of latitudes,” says Wenzel.

“The Sun’s outer atmosphere is an extended region beyond the Sun, continually blowing out into the solar system,” says Ed Smith. Even our view of this solar wind is complicated by our position. Because the wind is electrically charged, the Sun’s extensive magnetic field causes the plasma to rotate with it. As a result, the solar wind is sprayed out like water from a garden sprinkler, trapped by the Sun’s magnetic field lines into a spiral pattern.

“Over the poles, the solar wind goes out radially, and the magnetic field is also flowing along the radial lines. This parallel flow is a totally different situation than the mess we are in in the ecliptic plane. At the ecliptic, the magnetic field is tightly wound, and the solar wind still goes out radially… producing very complex shocks and interactions. It’s very difficult to understand. We are trying to get into an environment that is much cleaner, so we can really understand what is going on,” says Wenzel.

The fields around the poles are even thought to allow cosmic waves access our solar system, which Ulysses will investigate. Cosmic rays, containing heavy elements, are produced by incredible galactic events, such as the death of a star. Many of these rays bombarding our solar system may be from the earliest days of the Universe, but the magnetic forces within our solar system at the ecliptic make it nearly impossible to clearly study these emissions.

Ulysses also will give us a close look at a typical star – our Sun. The center of the Sun forms a nuclear reactor, fusing protons of hydrogen atoms, converting the hydrogen to helium. That process releases large amounts of energy that disperses through layers of the Sun until reaching the photosphere, the visible surface region. Here sunspots occur, which are strong magnetic fields that appear as dark spots because they are much cooler than the surrounding region. The next layer is the chromospheres, where solar eruptions begin, climbing more than 370,000 miles into space.

The chromosphere is also a transition layer leading to the Sun’s most outermost layer, the corona. Ulysses will focus on the corona and the photosphere, areas most tied with solar activities leading to effects found in the heliosphere – the region of space beyond the corona. “What we will learn about the Sun, our star, and its environment is certainly applicable to other stars, and what we will learn from here is certainly relevant to many other astrophysical environments,” Wenzel says.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:13 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:14 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:15 PM

Ulysses’ systems and scientific instruments are contained within a main spacecraft bus measuring 10.5 by 10.8 by 6.9 feet. The basic spacecraft is an aluminum box-like structure with two overhanging “balconies.” Mounted on the structure are most of the sensors, the hydrazine propellant tank for the trajectory and attitude control system, and all the electronic units for the scientific instruments and the spacecraft subsystems.

Magnetic and gamma-ray sensors are located on an 18-foot radial boom to keep them away from interference originating in the spacecraft. Three antennas, including a 24.3-foot axial boom and two radial wire booms measuring 238 feet tip to tip, will investigate plasma waves and traveling solar radio bursts.

Communication with Earth is maintained via a 5.4-foot-diameter parabolic high-gain antenna. The spin-stabilized spacecraft will keep the centerline of this antenna pointing continuously toward Earth. Normally, NASA’s Deep Space Network will track Ulysses only about eight hours per day, which means the spacecraft must store data for later transmission interleaved with its real-time data transmissions.

The spacecraft is built to be autonomous for reconfiguration in case of failures. It is even programmed to search for and reacquire Earth if no commands are received. This provision is included because of the limited period of tracking and the long signal travel time between Earth and Ulysses. At the farthest point, radio signals need 50 minutes to reach Ulysses. The same period will be required for a confirmation signal to Earth.

The requirements met by the Ulysses spacecraft and its experiment instrumentation concerning accuracy of measurements and freedom from electromagnetic and mechanical disturbances represent a further step in the high standards of performance achieved by earlier spacecraft like GOES and ISEE-B.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:20 PM

Throughout the Ulysses mission, tracking and data acquisition will be performed through NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN). The DSN includes antenna complexes at Goldstone, in California's Mojave Desert; near Madrid, Spain; and at Tidbinbilla, near Canberra, Australia. The complexes are spaced approximately 120 degrees apart in longitude around the globe so that, as the Earth turns, a given spacecraft will nearly always be in view of one of the DSN complexes.

Each complex is equipped with a 230-foot-diameter antenna; two 112-foot antennas; and an 85-foot antenna. Each antenna transmits and receives. The receiving systems include low-noise amplifiers. Transmitters on the 230-foot antennas are rated at 100 kilowatts of power, while the 112-and 85-foot antennas have 20-kilowatt transmitters. Each antenna station also is equipped with data handling and interstation communication equipment.

Mission plans call for a 112-foot antenna to be used both to transmit to and receive from Ulysses. To conserve antenna coverage during periods of high demand on the DSN, ground teams can switch to the 230-foot antennas for communication with Ulysses; the larger antennas permit a higher data rate, so four hours of antenna coverage each 48 hours is sufficient.

Data streams received from Ulysses at the DSN station are processed and transmitted to the Mission Control and Computing Center at JPL in Pasadena, Calif. Data are transmitted to Pasadena from the various DSN stations by a combination of land lines, ground microwave links and Earth-orbiting communications satellites.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:22 PM

Of the 807 pounds of Ulysses’ total weight, some 180 pounds are devoted to nine sophisticated instrument packages. In addition, the spacecraft radio will be used to conduct a pair of experiments beyond its function of communicating with earth, bringing the total number of experiments to eleven.

Solar Wind Plasma Experiment – A plasma experiment will detect and analyze particles in the solar wind with the goal of determining variations in the particles from the equator to the poles. The plasma experiment will determine just how the solar wind changes on two fronts: distance from the Sun and distance from the ecliptic plane. The experiment, which will measure the temperature, density and speed of ions and electrons, acts like a space version of a weather station. It will measure the solar wind after it leaves the corona, noting local changes in the number of particles and their energy as the solar winds blows past Ulysses while it travels along its flight path.

Scientists know little about the speed, density, direction and temperature of plasmas in the solar wind at high latitudes. If the solar wind at the poles originates from the coronal holes there, then it would be free of many of the complications associated with coronal holes near the equator. Near the equator, when quiet regions of the corona pass a given location, low-energy particles stream forth. When the coronal holes move past the same site, high-speed particles pour out and overtake the slower, low-energy particles. Thus, scientists who have measured the solar wind are confused by the alternating slow and fast streams.

At the poles, however, effects of the collisions between slow and fast streams may be absent. The plasma instrument should be able to measure how the properties of the solar wind differ between low and high latitudes and should be able to trace the solar wind back to its place of origin more easily at the poles than at the equator. The solar wind plasma instrument will observe particles in the energy range from one electron volt to 35,000 electron volts.

The entire experiment weighs 15 pounds and requires a total power of 5.5 watts. Dr. Samuel J. Bame of the Los Alamos National Laboratory is principal investigator.

Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer (SWICS) – This spectrometer is expected to provide unique information on conditions and processes in the region of the corona where the solar wind is accelerated. The instrument will study composition and temperatures of heavy ions in the solar wind. The solar wind contains electrons, protons, alpha particles (the nuclei of helium atoms) and heavy ions such as oxygen, silicon and iron. The relative amounts of all those materials are not well understood but are expected to differ under differing local conditions and because of changes in the corona, where the materials formed. An important measure is their degree of ionization; differing degrees of ionization are a result of differing temperatures at the source.

Temperatures in the corona vary depending on the state of the magnetic fields in the photosphere beneath. High temperatures create mixtures of ions that are different at different heights. Each mixture is then locked into the solar wind; it does not change as it leaves the corona. The SWICS measures the mixtures and temperatures of ions as they strike the spacecraft. Once scientists have determined those temperatures, they should be able to find the location in the corona of the coronal heating processes and the extent and causes of variations in composition of the Sun’s atmosphere.

The SWICS instrument weighs a total of twelve pounds and uses four watts of power. Dr. George Gloeckler of the University of Maryland and Dr. Johannes Geiss of the University of Bern, Switzerland, are co-principal investigators.

Magnetic Field Experiment (MFE) – A pair of magnetometers, each suited to a different purpose, is carried aboard Ulysses. The entire package weighs 11 pounds and uses 5.1 watts of power. Like a spaceborne explorer, MFE will map the heliospheric magnetic field as the spacecraft travels through it. Use of the magnetometers will allow the investigators to monitor changes in the magnetic field at the spacecraft. A vector-helium magnetometer will measure slight fields; near Jupiter, a flux-gate magnetometer will measure the planet’s intense magnetic field. Still more important, the two magnetometers will measure the magnetic fields above the Sun’s poles.

Since the magnetic field lines are borne outward across space on the wings of the solar wind, knowledge of the shape and structure of the field lines at high latitudes is important to those who are studying the solar wind and the energetic, charged particles. If the solar wind is simple above the poles, it should be possible to infer the character of magnetic fields at the Sun’s polar caps. Very little is known about the fields there (such as their strength), because it is nearly impossible to observe them from the lower latitudes where all earlier spacecraft have flown.

The magnetometer team is interested in particle streams riding the solar wind outward from the Sun. Do the magnetic field lines near the poles cause clouds of plasma to act differently from those nearer the equator? For example, the field lines at the poles are expected to arrange themselves nearly parallel to the flow of the solar wind; thus, the plasma clouds are not kept distinct and separate as they are at the equator, where the field lines are perpendicular to the flow.

Dr. Andre Balogh of Imperial College, London, is the principal investigator on the magnetometer experiment and has provided the flux-gate magnetometer. Dr. Edward J. Smith of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the U.S. project scientist and a co-investigator on the magnetic-fields team, provided the vector-helium magnetometer.

Energetic Particle and Neutral Interstellar Gas Experiment – This experiments consists of two separate instruments, weighing a total of ten pounds and drawing four watts of power. It has two tasks: to detect and measure ions in the solar wind that are in the medium-energy range and to detect helium atoms entering the solar system from interstellar space. While the high temperatures in the Sun’s corona accelerate the solar wind’s low-energy particles, the medium- and high-energy particle achieve energies that are much too great to have been caused by such relatively simple heating processes.

No one knows what processes cause the acceleration of the medium- and high-energy particles. In addition, once the particles with medium and high energy are accelerated, they appear to be stored temporarily in the corona, to be released sometime later along the magnetic field lines. Physicists observe solar flares where the particles originate, but they do not always see the particles arrive at Earth at the time they should.

The structures in the corona where the storage and acceleration processes are believed to occur are likely to extend to high solar latitudes during the period of maximum solar activity – just as Ulysses is flying over the Sun’s poles. The Energetic Particle Composition (EPAC) instrument will detect the particles of medium energy in an effort to understand the processes of the coronal-storage phenomenon and how that storage depends on the particles’ energy. The instrument will also study how solar latitude affects the paths along which the particles move through the heliosphere.

GAS, the other instrument allied with the energetic particle detector, will search for neutral helium – atoms that have no net electric charge – coming from the Milky Way. Interstellar hydrogen and helium gas exists throughout the Milky Way, perhaps as both a remnant and a source of the star-formation process. The solar system moves through that gas as it orbits the center of the galaxy.

Neutral helium is extremely difficult to detect. However, the hydrogen is even more difficult to see in the inner heliosphere, since a helium atom is four times more massive and holds onto its electrons with a stronger force. Since it has no electric charge to trap it in the Sun’s magnetic field lines, the helium falls directly in towards the Sun, drawn by gravity.

The helium atoms, therefore, penetrate deeper into the solar system – to about the Earth’s distance – than the hydrogen atoms before they are ionized and carried outward again by the solar wind. The interstellar helium can’t be detected until the Sun’s gravity gives it  enough speed, and that doesn’t occur until it is between 1.2 and one Astronomical Unit from the Sun. Therefore, the helium-detection portion of the experiment will operate only during the first 70 to 100 days of the flight.

Dr. Erhardt Keppler of the Max-Planck-Intitut für Aeronomie in West Germany is principal investigator of the EPAC energetic particle detection experiment. Dr, Helmut Rosenbauer, also of the Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie, is principal investigator of the GAS interstellar neutral helium experiment.

Heliospheric Instrument for Spectral Composition and Anisotropy at Low Energies (HI-SCALE) – This instrument will study interplanetary ions and electrons with a wide range of energies, from high-energy particles in the solar wind to particles with extremely high energies – the Sun’s equivalent to cosmic rays. Scientists hope to understand the mechanisms that release solar-flare particles and the dynamic phenomena that are associated with the solar cycle’s maximum activity.

The instrument will use the flow of high-energy particles from eruptive processes on the Sun to study structural changes in the corona and in the magnetic field lines. They can do this because the Sun’s high-energy particles travel paths that reveal the field lines carried by the solar wind. The structures are expected to change as the spacecraft flies ever farther from the ecliptic plane. Interactions between the particles and waves that move through the solar wind also may be responsible for the enrgy imparted to particles in the solar wind and, therefore, could explain their speeds.

Scientists on the HI-SCALE team will also try to measure the composition of low-energy nuclei from the Sun, both in the ecliptic plane and at high solar latitudes, since these nuclei should give information on the Sun’s composition. The instrument should also provide clues about how the masses of individual particles influence the acceleration caused by electromagnetic forces. Dr. Louis Lanzerotti of Bell Laboratories is principal investigator.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:23 PM
Investigation of Cosmic Rays and Solar Particles – A cosmic ray and solar particle investigation will search for particles in the Milky Way galaxy. Team members hope to sample these objects in near-pristine condition, unaltered by the Sun’s magnetic field lines near the ecliptic plane. Specific goals include an understanding of acceleration and movement of charged particles in interplanetary space – primarily the cosmic rays that originate beyond the solar system.

Most important, what are cosmic rays like before they enter the solar system? How do galactic cosmic rays change? And from measurements of particles not accessible in the plane of the ecliptic, they hope to determine how and where cosmic rays originate, what forces act on them, and how they travel through the Milky Way.

The experiment can distinguish between the different elements present in cosmic rays. It can identify such heavy particles as hydrogen nuclei, helium nuclei, oxygen and nitrogen. The physicists on this team also hope to determine individual isotopes of each element, which would tell them about how the cosmic rays were created. The experiment consists of two telescopes weighing a total of 33 pounds, excluding RTG shielding, and its total power consumption is 14.8 watts. Dr. John Simpson of the University of Chicago’s Enrico Fermi Institute is principal investigator.

Unified Radio and Plasma Wave Experiment – The Sun  is a mighty broadcaster of radio signals that move across the solar system at the speed of light. High-energy electrons that move outward as the result of solar eruptions also produce low-frequency waves of energy. Ulysses’ unified radio and plasma wave experiment has two objectives: The first is to determine the direction and polarization of radio sources flowing outward from the Sun, and the second is a detailed study of waves in the solar wind – waves associated with local variations in the properties of clouds of plasma that move through the interplanetary medium.

The unified radio and plasma wave experiment is both a remote-sensing and a local-measurement instrument. It senses the longer radio frequencies that originate at great distances and the shorter plasma wave frequencies as they move past the spacecraft.

Scientists on this team, along with colleagues on others, are seeking to understand the basic physics of plasmas – clouds of particles that have lost one or more of their electrons and thus have been electrically charged. Electrons that move with the plasma cloud follow magnetic field lines of the heliosphere, emitting electromagnetic waves. Both ions and electrons in streams off plasma interact with the solar wind to create plasma waves.

Scientists want to know three things about the waves: What is their source? How do they interact with the solar wind? And how do various kinds of waves depend on the medium through which they move?

The radio and plasma wave experiment consists of two wire booms which form a dipole antenna, the same type as used with many common home stereo receivers. The antennas are contained on drums prior to deployment. Dr. R.G. Stone of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is principal investigator.

Solar X-Ray and Cosmic Gamma-Ray Bursts – Almost all solar flares produce high-energy charged particles that, for the most part, are protons or electrons. The electrons are constrained to spiral in the strong magnetic fields of the flare region, and the “braking” they experience gives rise to the so-called “Bremsstrahlung” radiation in the X-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The division between the X-ray region and the gamma-ray region is somewhat arbitrary and, indeed, the same instrumentation is capable of measuring in both regions. A rough guide might be to consider X-rays as arising from relatively low energy atomic processes, while gamma rays come mainly from high-energy reactions involving nuclei.

A single device on Ulysses, the solar X-ray and cosmic gamma-ray bursts experiment, will detect these particles in two rather different investigations. The first, the solar flare X-ray portion of the experiment, will work in conjunction with other spacecraft in the ecliptic plane, such as Galileo, which will be en route to Jupiter. It will measure the directionality of X-rays from solar flares; this information could be used to determine how the electrons that produced the X-rays were moving in the magnetic fields of the parent flare.

The second investigation will also require observation by other spacecraft. In 1973, mysterious short bursts of gamma radiation were detected arriving from interstellar space. The origin of these high-energy gamma rays is still unknown, and their discovery has given rise to much exciting speculation about a birthplace in neutron stars, in black holes or in supernova explosions. When a gamma ray is detected at the Ulysses spacecraft and almost simultaneously at another spacecraft, the small difference in arrival times will be used to pinpoint the source of the radiation.

The entire experiment package weighs about four pounds and requires 2.6 watts. Dr. Kevin Hurley of the Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, France, and the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Michael Sommer of the Max-Planck-Intitut für Extraterrestrische Physik, West Germany, are co-principal investigators.

Dust Particle Experiment (DUST) – One Ulysses experiment will measure the dust particles that move through the solar system. The dust probably originated in several different ways: Some may be left over from the creation of the solar system. Some has undoubtedly been left behind by comets streaking past the Sun. Still other dust may have come from collisions of great boulders in the asteroid belt. Finally, some probably comes into the solar system from interstellar space.

Dust particles in space are extremely tiny, about the size of the particles in cigarette smoke. Two basic forces act on the dust particles at the same time: gravity and solar radiation. Depending on their sizes, the individual particles can be drawn inward toward the Sun by gravity or forced outward by the pressure of solar radiation. Still other dust particles are just passing through, on their way from interstellar space through the solar system and out again.

The Ulysses DUST experiment aims to measure the speed and flight direction of particles. It will measure the electric charges they acquire as they fly through the solar wind and it will attempt to determine if the dust exists in greater amounts at higher latitudes than in the ecliptic plane. DUST uses a detector 105 times more sensitive than earlier experiments to directly measure the dust in the heliosphere. The sensor weighs eight pounds and draws 2.2 watts of power. Dr. Eberhard Grün of the Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik in West Germany is the principal investigator.

Solar Corona Experiment (SCE) – Twice during the Ulysses mission, the spacecraft and the Earth will be on opposite sides of the Sun. The first such orientation will occur about ten months after launch and the second will be about one year later. During these opportunities, scientists will use radio signals going to and from Ulysses to measure the density of electrons along the path the radio signals take from Earth to the spacecraft and back as they pass the Sun. SCE will measure the velocity, density and turbulence of the plasma near the Sun’s corona.

Since interplanetary space is not a perfect vacuum, the radio signals’ speed will be slightly by the material they pass through. Therefore, the frequency of the signals will change slightly as they pass through the Sun’s corona. Part of that shift is caused by relative motions of the spacecraft and Earth. Yet another part is caused by the electrons in the signals’ path. In addition, irregularities in electron density make the radio waves scintillate, or twinkle, just as starlight does, and that scintillation is a measure of the number of electrons near the corona. The unique thing about Ulysses’ measurements is that they will count the electrons as they stream from a region of the Sun that has never been seen before – the high solar latitudes. Dr. Hans Volland of Bonn University, West Germany, is the principal investigator.

Gravitational Wave Experiment (GWE) – Ulysses may provide evidence in support of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravitation – the Theory of General Relativity. Relativity predicts the presence of gravitational waves. They are ripples in Einstein’s space-time caused by matter of mass in motion. Particularly strong waves could be produced by cataclysmic events involving vast amounts of matter in quasars and the centers of exploding galaxies. An example of such an event would be the collapse into a black hole of matter equivalent to 100 million times the Sun’s mass. Current astronomical observations appear to lend credence to the existence of such objects in the centers of galaxies. Gravitational waves would travel out from such events through space at the speed of light and disturb the position of any object that they pass.

Thus, gravitational waves are similar in many ways to radio waves: an essential difference is that radio waves are created by moving electrical charges, while gravitational waves are created by moving masses. And radio waves are many time stronger than gravitational waves. Gravitational waves would cause extremely tiny changes in a local gravity field and would be extraordinarily difficult to detect. Although experiments are under way to search for them, the consensus is than none has been detected as yet.

If a gravitational wave were to pass through the solar system while Ulysses is out at the distance of Jupiter, the wave would alter the distance between Ulysses and the Deep Space Network antenna that is tracking it by less than one centimeter across 746 million kilometers. Thus, those changes in distance cannot be measured directly.
However, by using the Deep Space Network’s hydrogen-maser clocks, scientists can measure tiny changes – called Doppler shifts – in the frequency of radio signals making the roundtrip between Earth antennas and the spacecraft. Those minute changes are measured against the network’s extremely accurate clocks. This study will be conducted following the Jupiter encounter, during second opposition. Professor Bruno Bertotti of the University of Pavia, Italy, is principal investigator.

Interdisciplinary topics – In addition to the eleven experiments described above, investigation teams will study two more topics:

- Directional discontinuities.  The solar-wind plasma is not homogenous but consists of adjacent regions in which the plasma and magnetic field are different.  These regions are separated by thin surfaces, called discontinuities, across which the properties change abruptly.  Ulysses measurements will be compared with theoretical models developed by a team led by Dr. Joseph Lemaire of the Institut d'Aeronomie Spatiale de Belgique, Belgium.

- Mass loss and ion composition.  This team will combine measurements of the solar wind and magnetic field to study the mass and angular momentum lost by the sun in the equatorial and polar regions.  A second problem which will be studied is the dependence of the solar wind composition on solar latitude.  This team is led by Dr. Giancarlo Noci of the Istituto di Astronomia, Italy.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists who are not attached to any of the experiment teams has perhaps the most challenging task of all: they will work to construct a complete and coherent model of the heliosphere from the data furnished by all of Ulysses’ instruments.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:24 PM

A first inflight checkout of Ulysses’ onboard systems and experiments begins two days after launch from Discovery and lasts seven days. During the 16-month journey to Jupiter, course adjustments will be performed and scientific investigations can begin. Travelling at better than nine miles per second, the spacecraft will reach Jupiter in February 1992. The criticality of its trajectory cannot be overstressed: Its aim point at Jupiter is a moving target some 100 miles wide and nearly 500 million miles away. Ulysses will pass the gas giant at a distance of five Jovian radii and traverse an area of the planet’s magnetosphere not traveled by earlier probes.

In this regard, NASA’s ability is preeminent: JPL navigation engineers have perfected such games of cosmic billiards with the Pioneers and Voyagers. “To those guys, the gravity assist is not too difficult a task,” says Derek Eaton. Ulysses will also broach Jupiter’s lethal radiation belts, and as a precaution, the spacecraft’s systems have been hardened against radiation.

As it flies past the planet at approximately 30 degrees Jovian latitude, the gravity of Jupiter will bend Ulysses’ path so that the spacecraft dives downward, out of the ecliptic on a southerly trajectory. In May 1994, Ulysses will be ready to begin the first high latitude polar pass as it reaches 70 degrees south solar latitude. Ulysses will spend about four months south of that latitude at a distance of about 200 million miles from the Sun – the prime observational phase of the mission.

During this phase, Ulysses’ distance from the Sun will range from about 1.4 to 2.3 Astronomical Units (an AU is the average distance between the Sun and Earth, roughly 93 million miles). As the solar probe continues on its orbit around the Sun, its flight path will take it from a maximum distance from the Sun of 5.4 Astronomical Units, or about 500 million miles, to the closest approach of 1.3 AU, or about 120 million miles. In February 1995, Ulysses will cross the Sun’s equator and begin a four-month pass of the Sun’s northern polar region in May 1995.

Having observed the Sun above 70 degrees latitude during a total of about nine solar rotations, the mission is scheduled to conclude on September 30, 1995, although the spacecraft will continue in a stable polar orbit around the Sun. Continued degradation of its RTG power source, will preclude full operation of the spacecraft during its next polar passes in 1999-2000, but some data collection may be possible. By then a type of polar exploration totally unimaginable to the great Earthly polar explorers of Peary, Bird, Scott and Amundsen will have been completed.

(Rockwell International, STS-41 Press Information, October 1990; NASA STS-41 Press Kit, October 1990; Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, October 1990; Nicholas Booth, “Ulysses – The Long and Winding Road,” Final Frontier, Sep. /Oct. 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:26 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:26 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:27 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:29 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:34 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:35 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:35 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:36 PM
STS-41 – To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield

“It is like a voyage of discovery into unknown lands, seeking not for new territory but for new knowledge. It should appeal to those with a good sense of adventure.”

- Frederick Sanger (1918-2013), British biochemist and genetics pioneer, twice a Nobel laureate


The SSBUV data will help scientists solve the problem of data reliability caused by calibration drift of solar backscatter ultraviolet instruments on orbiting spacecraft. The SSBUV instrument assess instrument performance by directly comparing its data with data from identical instruments on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s TIROS spacecraft (Television Infrared Observation Satellites), NOAA-9 and NOAA-11, as well as NASA’s Nimbus 7, as the shuttle and the satellite pass over the same Earth location within a one-hour window. These orbital coincidences can occur 17 times a day.

Solar backscatter ultraviolet instruments measure the amount and height distribution of ozone in the upper atmosphere by measuring incident solar ultraviolet radiation backscattered from the Earth’s atmosphere. These parameters are measured in twelve discrete wavelength channels in the ultraviolet. Because ozone is absorbed in the ultraviolet, an ozone measurement can be derived from the ratio of backscatter radiation at different wavelengths, providing an index of the vertical distribution of ozone in the atmosphere.

Global concern over the depletion of the ozone layer has sparked increased emphasis on developing and improving ozone measurement methods and instruments. Accurate, reliable measurements from space are critical for detecting ozone trends and assessing the potential effects of ozone depletion and developing corrective measures.

The SSBUV missions are so important to the support of Earth science that six additional missions have been added to the shuttle manifest to calibrate ozone instruments on future TIROS satellites. In addition, the four previously manifested SSBUV flights have been moved up. The SSBUV has been flown once, on STS-34 in October 1989. Its mission successfully completed, the SSBUV was refurbished, recalibrated and reprocessed for flight. NASA plans to fly the SSBUV approximately once a year for the duration of the ozone monitoring program, which is expected to last until the year 2000. As the project continues, the older satellites with which SSBUV works are expected to be replaced to insure continuity of calibration and results.

The payload configuration consists of two canisters interconnected by cables mounted on a Getaway Special adapter beam on the starboard side of Discovery’s payload bay. Together, they weigh approximately 1,200 pounds. The canister containing the SSBUV spectrometer is equipped with the motorized door assembly. The adjacent support canister contains the power system, data storage and command decoders. The dedicated power system can operate the SSBUV for approximately 40 hours. The flight crew interface is through a GAS autonomous payload controller on the aft flight deck. After an outgassing period, the instrument will be operated in three modes: Earth viewing, solar viewing and calibration.

The SSBUV is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., for the Office of Space Science and Applications. Ernest Hilsenrath is the principal investigator. Donald Williams is the experiment manager.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:37 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:40 PM

Investigation into Polymer Membrane Processing will make its second Space Shuttle flight for the Office of Commercial Programs-sponsored Battelle Advanced Materials Center for the Commercial Development of Space in Columbus, Ohio. The objective of the IPMP research program is to gain a fundamental understanding of the role of convection-driven currents in the transport processes that occur during the evaporation casting of polymer membranes and, in particular, to investigate how these transport processes influence membrane morphology.

Polymer membranes have been used in the separation industry for many years for such applications as desalination of water, filtration during the processing of food products, atmospheric purification, purification of medicines and dialysis of kidneys and blood. The IPMP payload uses the evaporation casting method to produce polymer membranes. In this process, a polymer membrane is prepared by forming a mixed solution of polymer and solvent into a thin layer; the solution is then evaporated to dryness. The polymer membrane is left with a certain degree of porosity and can then be used for applications listed above.

The IPMP investigation on STS-41 will seek to determine the importance of the evaporation step in the formation of thin-film membranes by controlling the convective flows. Convective flows are a natural result of the effects of gravity on liquids or gases that are non-uniform in specific density. The microgravity of space will permit research into polymer membrane casting in a convection-free environment. This program will increase the existing knowledge base regarding the effects on convection in the evaporation process. In turn, industry will use this understanding to improve commercial processing techniques on Earth with the ultimate goal of optimizing membrane properties.

The IPMP payload on STS-41 consists of two experimental units that occupy a single small stowage tray (half of a middeck locker) that weighs less than 20 pounds. Early in Flight Day 1, a crewmember will turn the valve to the first stop to activate the evaporation process. Turning the valve opens the pathway between the large and sample cylinders, causing the solvents in the sample to evaporate into the evacuated larger cylinder. Both flight units are activated at the same time.

The STS-41 experiment will investigate the effects of evaporation time on the resulting membranes by deactivating the two units at different times. A crewmember will terminate the evaporation process in the first unit after five minutes by turning the valve to its final position. This ends the process by flushing the sample with water vapor, which sets the membrane structure. After the process is terminated, the resulting membrane then will not be affected by gravitational forces experienced during reentry, landing and post-flight operations. The second unit will be deactivated after seven hours.

In IPMP’s initial flight on STS-31, mixed solvent systems were evaporated in the absence of convection to control the porosity of the polymer membrane. Ground-based control experiments also were performed. Results from STS-31 strongly correlated with previous KC-135 aircraft testing and with a similar experiment flown on the Consort 3 sounding rocket in May 1990. The morphology of polymer membranes processed in reduced gravity showed noticeable differences from that of membranes processed on Earth.

However, following post-flight analyses of the STS-31 experiment, a minor modification was made in the hardware to improve confidence in the analysis by increasing insight into the problem. The modification also would further remove remaining variables from the experiment.

The two most significant variables remaining in the experiment as originally configured are the time factor and the gravitational forces affecting the samples before the payload is retrieved. With the addition of a 75-cc cylinder containing a small quantity of distilled water pressurized with compressed air to greater than 14 psig, flight crewmembers will be able to terminate (or “quench”) the vacuum evaporation process abruptly by flushing the sample with water vapor. After the process is terminated, the resulting membrane will not be further affected by gravity variations. The planned modifications will not alter the experimental objectives and, in fact, will contribute to a better understanding of the transport mechanism involved in the evaporation casting process.

Subsequent flights of the IPMP payload will use different polymers, solvents and polymer-to-solvent ratios. However, because of the hardware modifications, the polymer/solvent combination used on this flight will be the same as that used on the first flight. The polymer, polysulfone, is swollen with a mixture of dimethylacetamide and acetone in the IPMP units. Combinations of polymers and solvents for later experiments will be selected and/or adjusted on the basis of these first flight results.

Principal investigator for the IPMP is Dr. Vince McGinness of Battelle. Lisa A. McCauley, associate director of the Battelle CCDS, is program manager.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:41 PM

The Physiological Systems Experiment is sponsored by the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Cell Research, a NASA Office of Commercial Programs Center for the Commercial Development of Space. The corporate affiliate leading the PSE investigation is Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, California, with NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, providing payload and mission integration support.

The goal of the PSE is to investigate whether biological changes caused by near weightlessness mimic Earth-based medical conditions closely enough to facilitate pharmacological evaluation of potential new therapies. Research previously conducted by investigators at NASA, Penn State and other institutions has revealed that in the process of adapting to near weightlessness, or microgravity, animals and humans experience a variety of physiological changes, including loss of bone and lean body tissue, some decreased immune cell function, change in hormone secretion and cardiac deconditioning, among others. These changes occur in space-bound animals and people soon after leaving Earth’s gravitational field. Therefore, exposure to conditions of microgravity during the course of a spaceflight might serve as a useful and expedient means of testing potential therapies for bone and muscle wasting, organ tissue regeneration and immune system disorders.

Genentech is a biotechnology company engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of recombinant DNA-based pharmaceuticals. The company replicates natural proteins and evaluates their pharmacological potential to treat a range of medical disorders. In this experiment, eight healthy rats will receive one of the proteins Genentech has developed. An identical group will accompany them during the flight, but will not receive the protein, thereby providing a standard of comparison for the treated group.

Both groups will be housed in self-contained animal enclosure modules that provide sophisticated environmental controls and plenty of food and water throughout the flight. The experiment’s design and intent have been reviewed and approved by the Animal Care and Use Committees from both NASA and Genentech. Laboratory animal veterinarians will oversee selection, care and handling of the animals.

Following the flight, the rat tissues will be thoroughly evaluated by teams of scientists from Genentech and the Center for Cell Research in a series of studies that will require several months. Dr. Wesley Hymer is director of the Center for Cell Research at Penn State and co-investigator for the PSE. Dr. Michael Cronin of Genentech is principal investigator.


The Chromosome and Plant Cell Division Experiment is designed to study some of the most important phenomena associated with plant growth. CHROMEX-2 aims to determine how the genetic material in the root cells responsible for root growth in flowering plants responds to microgravity.

All plants, in the presence of light, have the unique ability to convert carbon dioxide and water into food and oxygen. Any long expedition or isolated settlement beyond Earth orbit will almost certainly necessitate the use of plants to manufacture food for crew members. In addition, information from space based life sciences research promotes fundamental understanding of the mechanisms responsible for plant growth and development. An improved understanding of plant responses to spaceflight is required for the long-term goal of a controlled ecological life support system for space use.

One of the practical benefits of studying and designing plant growth systems (and eventually agricultural systems) for use in space is the contribution this work may make to developing new intensive farming practices for extreme environments on Earth. Over the last few decades, basic research in the plant sciences has enabled the great increase in crop productivity (the "green revolution") that has transformed modern agriculture. Plant research in space may help provide the necessary fundamental knowledge for the next generation of agricultural biotechnology.

Roots of the monocot Hemerocallis (daylily) and the dicot Haplopappus gracilis (annual bristleweed) were initiated under spaceflight conditions aboard Discovery during a five-day flight (STS-29) in March 1989. The two species were cultivated in NASA’s Plant Growth Unit equipped with a newly designed air exchange system. Asepsis was maintained throughout the experiment. A comparison of root formation between tissue-culture-generated plantlets and comparably sized seedling clone individuals of Haplopappus (both of which had their roots trimmed on Earth) revealed that overall root tissue produced was 40 to 50 percent greater under spaceflight conditions than during ground control tests. Production of new roots appeared to slow down toward the end of flight, a result that did not occur in the ground control experiment. Even so, damage and aberrations were found in 3 to 30 percent of the chromosomes of dividing cells within root tips fixed at recovery before the first cell division on Earth was completed. Ground controls were damage-free. Numbers of cells in division within the root tips were uniformly higher in ground controls.

The exact causes of chromosomal aberrations are not known, but dosimeter data suggests that radiation alone was not responsible. An interaction of microgravity and radiation could conceivably be responsible. Whatever the precise nature of the mechanism of damage, it now seems clear that under spaceflight conditions the precision of the processes associated with cell division and chromosome partitioning can adversely affected.

This experiment, CHROMEX-2, is a repeat and extension of the CHROMEX flown March 3, 1989, on STS-29. In this flight CHROMEX has been designed with both broad and specific objectives in mind. From the broad perspective, the intent is to repeat the performance of the STS-29 CHROMEX-1. The experiment will be carried out with the upgraded Plant Growth Unit on aseptic tissue or cell-culture-derived, cloned plant specimen.

Again, the broad aim is to demonstrate that asepsis can be maintained throughout an entire space biology experiment. If successful, the repetition of the experiment is expected to place on firmer footing the new stage set by CHROMEX-1 for future implementation of both basic plant biology and biotechnology research in space with PGU-type hardware.

The more narrowly focused objectives are, among other things, to verify the hypothesis that g-unloading or micro-g does affect the frequency, rate and pattern of cell division in higher plant roots as they regrow from shoots of trimmed roots, to prove that the fidelity of cell division can be affected in space-grown materials and to affirm that microgravity has measurable effects on growth and differentiation of cells, especially in root- and shoot-growing zones.

The rationale for CHROMEX-1 derived from past observations that some space-grown plants show a substantially lowered level of cell division in primary and lateral root tips and accumulate a range of significant chromosomal abnormalities such as breakage and fusion. Also, the influence of the asymmetric force of gravity on differentiation and growth of plant tissues that are themselves asymmetric is still largely unexplored – certainly under space conditions. The field of gravitational plant biology is in its infancy.

By testing whether new roots can develop and grow in space on shoots that have been critically trimmed of preformed roots prior to lift-off, the experiment also addressed a key component of futuristic cloning operations: namely, will roots from on propagules predominantly composed of shoots? It goes without saying that reliable and high-performance biological activity such as regeneration and cell division in test materials is crucial to implementing any kind of plant biology research program in space.

A particularly novel and positive feature the CHROMEX-1 design was that it utilized a newly designed air exchange system that freed cabin air of trace contaminants (including ethylene and a variety of organic compounds represented in the testing by acetaldehyde, ethanol, acetone, Freon 113 and toluene) and adjusted the CO2 content to be passed aseptically through the plant growth containers that are inserted into the PGU.

Also, a dosimetry package designed by Dr. Eugene Benton, Physics Department, University of San Francisco, to measure radiation was induced in CHROMEX-1. This was expected to resolve any outstanding questions involving radiation effects on the test materials. Moreover, an accelerometer was used for selected periods (a total of some 19 hours) during flight to obtain direct measurement of g-levels.

Root-free shoots of the daylily and annual bristleweed plants will be used in this mission also. The criteria for comparison include a number of roots formed and their length, weight and quality based on a subjective appraisal as well as quantitative morphological and histological examination. Cells from root tips will be analyzed after the flight for their karyotype and the configuration of their chromosomes. Haplopappus is a unique flowering plant that has four chromosomes in its diploid cells. Daylily monocotyledon is also of interest because of the specific features of its karyotype.

The CHROMEX-2 plants will be flown in the Plant Growth Unit developed by the NASA Ames Research Center; it is located in Discovery’s middeck. The PGU can hold up to six Plant Growth Chambers. One PGC will be replaced by the atmosphere exchange system, which will filter cabin air before pumping it through the remaining PCGs. The experiment is to collect and treat roots after the flight before the first cell division cycle is completed. Dr. Abraham D. Krikorian of the State University of New York at Stony Brook is the principal investigator. This experiment has been developed at the Kennedy Space Center.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:42 PM

The Solid Surface Combustion Experiment will study the basic behavior of fire by examining the spreading of flame over solid fuels without the influence of gravity.  This research may lead to improvements in fire prevention or control both on Earth and in spacecraft.

On Earth, spreading flames are strongly affected by gravity. Hot gases, which are less dense than cold gases, ascend from flames in the same way that oil floats on water. This phenomenon – "buoyant convection" – removes hot gases from the flame and draws in fresh air to take their place. The resulting air motion tends to cool the flame. However, it also provides fresh oxygen, which makes the flame hotter. The heating and cooling effects compete, with the outcome depending upon the speed of the airflow. A campfire, for example, is strengthened by blowing, while a match can be blown out. Scientists quantify the airflow effects on Earth by augmenting buoyant convection with controlled amounts of forced convection. On Earth, gravity prevents observation of airflows slower than buoyant convection speeds, limiting the ability to develop complete models of solid surface combustion.

SSCE will provide observations of flames spreading without buoyant convection. Air motion is eliminated except to the extent that the flame spreads into fresh air and away from the hot gases. Convective cooling and the heating effect of fresh oxygen are simultaneously minimized.  The competition between heating and cooling effects will be quantified by performing tests in artificial atmospheres that have different fractional amounts of oxygen (the air we breathe is 21 percent oxygen).

The SSCE hardware consists of a chamber to house the burning sample, two cameras to record the experiment on film and a computer to control experiment operations. Fuel and air temperatures are recorded during the experiment for comparison with theory. The SSCE test plan calls for eight shuttle flights over the next three years. Five flights will use samples made of a special ashless filter paper and three will use samples of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), commonly known as plexiglass. Each test will be conducted in an artificial atmosphere containing oxygen at levels ranging from 35 to 50 percent.

The SSCE was conceived by the principle investigator, Dr. Robert A. Altenkirch, Dean of Engineering at Mississippi State University; the flight hardware was developed by the NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:48 PM

The Radiation Monitoring Equipment-III measures ionizing radiation exposure to the crew within the orbiter cabin. RME-III measures gamma ray, electron, neutron and proton radiation and calculates – in real time – exposure in RADS-tissue equivalent. The information is stored in memory modules for post-flight analysis.

The hand-held instrument will be stored in a middeck locker during flight except for activation and memory module replacement periods. RME-III will be activated as soon as possible after achieving orbit and will operate throughout the mission. A crew member will enter the correct mission elapsed time upon activation and change memory modules every two days.

RME-III is the current configuration, replacing the earlier RME-I and RME-II units. It last flew on STS-31. The experiment has four zinc-air batteries and five AA batteries in each replaceable memory module. RME-III is sponsored by the Department of Defense in cooperation with NASA.


The Air Force Maui Optical Site tests allow ground-based electro-optical sensors located on Mount Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii, to collect imagery and signature data of Discovery during cooperative overflights. This experiment is a continuation of tests made on the STS-29, 39, 34, 32 and 31 missions. The scientific observations made of Discovery while it performs RCS thruster firings and water dumps or activates payload bay lights are used to support the calibration of the AMOS sensors and the validation of spacecraft contamination models. The AMOS tests involve no payload-unique flight hardware and require only that Discovery perform certain operations in predefined attitudes and be in predefined lighting conditions.

The AMOS facility was developed by the Air Force Systems Command through its Rome Air Development Center at Griffin Air Force Base, New York, and is administered and operated by the AVCO Everett Research Laboratory on Maui. The co-principal investigators for the AMOS tests on the Space Shuttle are from AFSC’s Air Force Geophysics Laboratory at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, and AVCO.

Flight planning and mission support activities for the AMOS test opportunities are provided by a detachment from AFSC’s Space Systems Division at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Flight operations are conducted at the JSC Mission Control Center in coordination with AMOS facilities in Hawaii.


Water-dump cloud formation – This development test is designed to define water-dump plume formation and angular extent with respect to orbiter coordinate system and trajectory. The intent is to dump the water in a retrograde direction. Ground observation sites are Houston, Texas, Orlando, Florida, or Hilo, Hawaii. The ground site must be in darkness at the time of the observation.

Head-up display backup to crewman optical alignment sight – This test will verify the suitability of the head-up display as a star-sighting device for IMU alignments.

Payload general spacecraft computer electroluminescent display evaluation – The purpose of this test is to evaluate a new payload general support computer configuration with electroluminescent display that is brighter and has a wider viewing angle than those previously flown.

Tracking with high pitch rates – This operation will test the ability of the orbiter to maneuver efficiently at high pitch rates with tight attitude and rate deadbands. The data from this tests will support planning for the Starlab mission.

Space station cursor control device evaluation – This test will evaluate performance in space with cursor control devices similar to those being considered for the space station.


Intraocular pressure – Pressure measurements 20 to 25 percent above normal or preflight levels were observed in bed-rest studies, during zero-g on the KC-135 and the German D-1 shuttle mission. The possible deleterious effects of sustained deviations in intraocular pressure are difficult to predict, since no statistically valid inflight data exist. Even though a few days or weeks of elevated intraocular pressure would be harmless, months or years of sustained pressure, caused by microgravity, could cause ocular disturbances. Significant baseline data are needed to define normal intraocular pressure ranges in microgravity and to determine the magnitude of pressure rises to be expected in crewmembers. A tono pen is used to measure intraocular pressure.

Retinal photography – This DSO is to collect retinal photographs inflight to determine if microgravity-induced cephalid internal pressure fluid shifts elevate intracranial pressure. Evidence of increased ICP and the development of SAS will be correlated. Two crewmembers will collect retinal photographs during the scheduled pre-sleep periods.

Variability of blood pressure and heart rate during spaceflight – This objective is to determine whether arterial blood pressure and heart rate exhibit less variability in the microgravity environment than on Earth. The data will be used to investigate whether reduced blood pressure variability inflight, if any, is correlated with the extent of baroreflex attenuation that has been measured after spaceflight. Integrity of the baroreceptor function is required for the appropriate blood pressure responses to the orthostatic stresses imposed by entry, landing and egress. A crewmember will wear blood pressure and electrocardiograph equipment for two flight days in orbit.

Orthostatic function during entry, landing and egress – This objective is to measure the changes in orthostatic function of crewmembers during actual stresses of orbiter entry, landing and egress. A crewmember will don equipment before donning the LES during deorbit preparation. Equipment consists of a blood pressure monitor, accelerometers an impedance cardiograph and transcranial Doppler hardware. The crewmember wears the equipment and records verbal comments through entry.

Visual vestibular integration as a function of adaptation – This objective is to investigate visual vestibular and perceptual adaptive responses as a function of mission duration. The operational impact of these responses on a crewmember’s ability to conduct entry, landing and egress procedures will also be investigated. For STS-41, four sessions will be scheduled in which a crewmember performs slow head movements while verbally recording self and surrounding motion sensations. The sessions are scheduled early and late in the flight, during entry and immediately after landing.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:49 PM

The Voice Command System (VCS) is a flight experiment using technology developed at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, to control the onboard Space Shuttle television cameras using verbal commands. When powered off, the VCS does not affect the normal operation of the CCTV system. The flight crewmembers were required to create a personalized voiceprint template prior to flight. In flight, the VCS test will be performed three times at approximately the same time of day.

The purpose of the VCS in this mission is to collect baseline data on the effects of the space environment has on the speech process and voice recognition in microgravity with the use of ground-based voice templates, to assess the potential time-saving and/or convenience of using voice recognition, to evaluate human performance in using voice recognition to control a spacecraft system in an actual space environment/mission operation, and to explore the potential use of voice recognition for shuttle applications and future space programs.

Features of the VCS include parallel operations with the existing CCTV switch panel, non-conflicting multi-action camera commanding, VCS-unique fine-tuning camera action commands, stowage of payload bay cameras, on-orbit voiceprint/template enrollment (volatile memory), manual or voice control activation/deactivation of listening (once user is logged in), system feedback (audio and visual), selectable astronaut headset mode (push to talk, push to disable and hot microphone), four-node command word structure, 35 command words (23 CCTV switch-panel-related commands) and nonvolatile memory templates for six users.

In orbit, the VCS items will be unstowed from a middeck locker. The flight deck camera and video tape recorder will be set up. The VCS will be configured for exercise. The VCS is powered up with the VTR in the record mode, and the flight deck camera is configured for recording onto the VTR. One of six tasks will be performed: camera alignment, payload bay views, SSBUV inspection, Earth-looking views, mimic deployment views of Ulysses or payload bay bulkhead latch inspection.

On STS-41, the VCS will be used by mission specialists William Shepherd and Bruce Melnick. The system allows the astronauts to control the cameras hands-free using simple verbal commands, such as "stop, up, down, zoom in, zoom out, left, right."  When using the VCS, the mission specialist will wear a special headset with a microphone that feeds the verbal commands into the system. The VCS displays and controls are a 2- by 10-inch fluorescent display and three switches, a power switch, mode switch and reset switch. 

If successful, the VCS could be incorporated as standard equipment aboard the shuttle, allowing much simpler television operations.  Such simplification could greatly reduce the amount of hands-on work needed for television operations during such times as maneuvers with the shuttle's Remote Manipulator System robotic arm.  Normally, an astronaut controlling the arm uses two hands for the task and must remove one hand to adjust television coverage.

(Rockwell International, STS-41 Press Information, October 1990; NASA STS-41 Press Kit, October 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:50 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:52 PM
Voice Activated Odyssey

“Whether HAL could actually think was a question which had been settled by British mathematician Alan Turing back in the 1940s. Turing had pointed out that, if one could carry out a prolonged conversation with a machine – whether by typewriter or microphones was immaterial – without being able to distinguish between its replies and those a man might give, then the machine was thinking, by any sensible definition of the word. HAL could pass the Turing test with ease.”

- Arthur C. Clarke, “2001 – A Space Odyssey” (1968)

(By Susan Alsup)

An experiment scheduled to fly onboard Discovery during STS-41 is reminiscent of one of the great space movies: “2001 – A Space Odyssey.” Two mission specialists will use a computer called the Voice Command System that responds to the human voice and controls the television cameras on the orbiter. “It’s really a neat system,” said STS-41 Mission Specialist Bruce Melnick after his final training session August 15. “It’s like HAL in the movie 2001.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 08:55 PM
Melnick and Bill Shepherd will be using the VCS to command the cameras in the payload bay, flight deck and middeck using simple commands such as up, down, zoom in, zoom out, stop, left and right. “The words selected are pretty much relevant to the task,” said Payload Manager George Salazar. “Since it was a task that they’re so familiar with, it didn’t take any extra effort to remember the commands,” said Project Engineer Chres Gerhards. “These are commands they would use anyway.”

Gerhards, Salazar and Project Engineer Marc Sommers have been working on the project for the past two years. The astronauts started training on the system last spring and completed the final session with Gerhards and trainer Tico Foley last week. The training session was the first time in three months the astronauts had tried their hand at verbally activating the cameras. Both the astronauts and the trainers were surprised the session flowed so smoothly.

“It went just fabulous,” Gerhards said. “We expected after three months of not using them that it could take a while for them (the astronauts) to… remember how it was they said the words. But since they were so good about using their natural speech… there was not one problem, not one misrecognition. I think it just goes to show that voice is not as sensitive as everyone is afraid it is.”

The first step for Shepherd and Melnick to begin training on the system was to make personalized “templates” in the computer in May. The templates are computer chips that recognize the human voice and make “imprints” of a word or words, which it stores as a command.

“When the user wants to use the system, he repeats the same words and it (the computer) does some type of comparison to try to find out what word he said,” Sommers said. “When it makes a match, our controlling hardware gets that information, determines what word it is, and then through our other hardware with the orbiter, we send that command out to the orbiter TV system.”

But before the astronauts started to use the system, they had to work out a few bugs in building their templates. “Because we have voices that are different for lots of reasons,” Shepherd said, “apparently it’s hard to make the programming and hardware recognize that it’s the same command so that had to be resolved. Things that we would consider to be different, to the computer sound like the same word.”

Melnick experienced that problem first hand when the computer couldn’t distinguish between the ways he said stop and up. “I had to change my vocabulary to say tilt up,” Melnick said. “So when I want the camera to tilt up, I say tilt up. Shep just says up. I can still say stop to stop the camera.” Why the difference? Shepherd puts emphasis on the “s” in stop. Melnick doesn’t. “That’s why there’s a little bit of difference in our vocabularies,” Melnick said. “Based on your own personal vocabulary, you can get away with some words that other people can’t.”

When the astronauts are ready to use the system, they simply turn it on, the only manual step, and state their name. The computer responds via a box next to the TV monitor near the aft flight deck with a written “Hello, Mel” or “Hello, Shep.” This lets astronauts know the computer recognizes their voice and prompts them to their next move.

But there’s a chance the computer won’t respond in space. “We’re trying to get some baseline data on how well the system performs first on the ground with the crew in comparison with the effects microgravity has on the voice and the recognition for the crew up there,” Sommers said. “Some people might think, gee, why would the system not work in space if it works on the ground,” Melnick said. “There’s a good chance in weightlessness where your diaphragm is totally unloaded gravity-wise… our voices may be different enough to where it won’t work with the templates we have.”

In orbit, the lack of gravity causes the body to stretch. Because of this, the astronauts even have an extra inch added to their spacesuits so they will fit correctly in weightlessness. The project manager and engineers anticipated this problem and equipped the system with a retraining mode. The astronauts practiced retraining the system last week during their last training session with Gerhards and Foley.

The retraining mode allows the astronauts to redo their templates in a matter of minutes if the computer doesn’t recognize the astronauts’ voices. “That should negate the effects of zero-gravity,” Melnick said. “I don’t think we are going to have any trouble at all.”

If all goes well during the flight, the VCS could be put to use permanently, giving the astronauts an extra pair of hands, which would save the space flyers’ time and effort. “The timesaving feature is something we hope the astronauts will input back to us,” Salazar says. Probably the most beneficial use of the VCS is helping the astronaut during maneuvers with the Remote Manipulator System.

“One of the areas where Shep and I have really seen using the Voice Command system to be useful is in operating the arm,” Melnick said. “It takes two hands to actually control the arm and in most cases you want to have an outside view of the arm when you’re running it. That means if you’re going to operate the arm and monitor it with the cameras, you have to stop moving the arm and manually operate the cameras to put them in the next position you’re going to move the arm to. It’s a very awkward maneuver.”

With the Voice Command System, the astronauts can tell the cameras to follow their movements without ever looking up or taking their hands off the RMS controls. Future applications of the VCS have everyone excited as well. Extending the use of the cameras is one idea the astronauts have been zooming in on. “They’d like to have some pre-set scenarios when they are launching different payloads,” Gerhards said. “That may be in the far future, but you could just say ‘follow Ulysses,’ and it would just follow the launch.”

Voice command technology is useful in more areas than just controlling the orbiter’s cameras. “You can start thinking, well gee, maybe we could voice command the arm, maybe we could voice command elevating payloads,” Melnick. “Who knows what applications it has in the future? The sky’s the limit.”

(JSC Space News Roundup, Aug. 24, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:03 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:08 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:09 PM
This is Mission Control, Houston…


Flight control for STS-41, the thirty-sixth voyage of the Space Shuttle, the eleventh flight of Discovery, will follow the same procedures and traditions common to all U.S. manned space flights since the Mission Control Center was first used in 1965. Following ignition of Discovery's solid rocket boosters, responsibility for conduct of the mission will revert to the Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston. Active mission support will begin in the MCC about five hours prior to launch and will continue around-the-clock through the landing and post-landing activities.

Once an operational orbit has been achieved and the flight director declares the team "go for orbit ops", efforts to deploy the Ulysses solar probe will be coordinated between three control centers. Under the guidance of the MCC team, the Ulysses Payload Operations Control Center (UPOCC) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, will support payload health and status verifications. The Consolidated Space Test Center (CSTC) at Onizuka Air Force Station in Sunnyvale, California, will be responsible for Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) verifications prior to deployment.

In Houston, the mission will be conducted from Flight Control Room One (FCR-1) on the second floor of the MCC, located in Bldg. 30 at Johnson Space Center. Four flight control teams, referred to as the Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1, Orbit 2, and Planning teams, will alternate shifts in the control room and in nearby analysis and support facilities. Handovers between teams take about an hour and allow each flight controller to brief his or her oncoming colleague on the course of events over the previous two shifts. Change-of-shift press conferences with offgoing flight directors are generally scheduled 30 minutes to an hour after the shift handovers have been completed.

The ascent and entry phases will be conducted by Flight Director Ronald D. Dittemore. He will also lead the Orbit 1 team, which replaces the Ascent/Entry team during orbit operations. Some flight control positions will be staffed by the same personnel for both Ascent/Entry and Orbit 1 operations. Other positions will alternate between launch/landing specialists and on-orbit operators. STS-41 Lead Flight Director J. M. “Milt” Heflin will head the Orbit 2 team, responsible for preparation and deployment of the Ulysses solar probe from the payload bay. The Planning team, responsible for overnight vehicle monitoring and realtime mission planning, will be directed by Gary E. Coen.


The flight control positions in the MCC, and their responsibilities, are:

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

Ron Dittemore (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Milt Heflin (Lead, Orbit 2), Gary Coen (Planning)

Capsule Communicator (CapCom) – By tradition an astronaut, responsible for all voice contact with the flight crew:

Ken Bowersox (Ascent), Brian Duffy (Entry), Marsha Ivins (Orbit 1), Kathryn Thornton (Orbit 2), Story Musgrave (Planning)

Flight Activities Officer (FAO) – Responsible for procedures and crew timelines; provides expertise on flight documentation and checklists; prepares messages and maintains all teleprinter and/or Text and Graphics System traffic to the vehicle:

Tony Griffith (Ascent/Entry/Orbit 1), Gayle Schneider (Orbit 2), Debbie Jackson (Planning)

Integrated Communications Officer (INCO) – Responsible for all orbiter data, voice and video communications systems; monitors the telemetry link between the vehicle and the ground; oversees the uplink command and control processes:

Joe Gibbs (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Jay Connor (Orbit 2), Chris Counts (Planning)

Flight Dynamics Officer (FDO) – Responsible for monitoring vehicle performance during the powered flight phase and assessing abort modes; calculating orbital maneuvers and resulting trajectories; and monitoring vehicle flight profile and energy levels during reentry:

Bruce Hilty (Ascent), Doug Rask (Entry), Phil Burley (Orbit 1), Tim Brown (Orbit 2), Keith Fletcher (Planning)

Guidance Procedures Officer (GPO) – Responsible for the onboard navigational software and for maintenance of the orbiter's navigational state, known as the state vector:

Mathew Glenn (Ascent), Dennis Bentley (Entry)

Trajectory Officer (Trajectory) – Also known as "TRAJ," this operator aids the FDO during dynamic flight phases and is responsible for maintaining the trajectory processors in the MCC and for trajectory inputs made to the Mission Operations Computer:

Matt Abbott (Ascent), Ed Gonzales (Entry), Dan Adamo (Orbit 1), Carson Sparks (Orbit 2), Lisa Shore (Planning)

Environmental Engineer & Consumables Manager (EECOM) – Responsible for all life support systems, cabin pressure, thermal control and supply and waste water management; manages consumables such as oxygen and hydrogen:

Dave Herbeck (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Quinn Carelock (Orbit 2), Peter Cerna (Planning)

Electrical Generation and Illumination Officer (EGIL) – Responsible for power management, fuel cell operation, vehicle lighting and the master caution and warning system:

Charles Dingell (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Robert Floyd (Orbit 2), Ray Miessler (Planning)

Payloads Officer (Payloads) – Coordinates all payload activities; serves as principal
interface with remote payload operations facilities:

David Schurr (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Gene Cook (Orbit 2), Mark Childress (Planning)

Data Processing Systems Engineer (DPS) – Responsible for all onboard mass memory and data processing hardware; monitors primary and backup flight software systems; manages operating routines and multi-computer configurations:

David Tee (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), James Hill (Orbit 2), Terry Keeler (Planning)

Propulsion Engineer (Prop) – Manages the reaction control and orbital maneuvering thrusters during all phases of flight; monitors fuel usage and storage tank status; calculates optimal sequences for thruster firings:

Tony Ceccacci (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Matt Barry (Orbit 2), Karen Jackson (Planning)

Booster Systems Engineer (Booster) – Monitors main engine and Solid Rocket Booster performance during ascent phase:

Mark Jenkins (Ascent), Kenneth Dwyer (Entry), Terri Stowe (Planning)

Guidance, Navigation & Control Systems Engineer (GNC) – Responsible for all inertial navigational systems hardware such as star trackers, radar altimeters and the Inertial Measurement Units; monitors radio navigation and digital autopilot hardware systems:

James Webb (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Heather Mitchell (Orbit 2), David Miller (Planning)

Ground Controller (GC) – Coordinates operation of ground stations and other elements of worldwide space tracking and data network; responsible for MCC computer support and displays:

John Snyder (Ascent/Entry), Ed Klein (Ascent/Entry), Larry Foy (Orbit 1), Terry Quick (Orbit 1), Chuck Capps (Orbit 2), Henry Allen (Orbit 2), Joe Aquino (Planning), Mike Marsh (Planning)

Maintenance, Mechanical, Arm & Crew Systems (MMACS) – Formerly known as RMU; responsible for Remote Manipulator System; monitors Auxiliary Power Units and hydraulic systems; manages payload bay and vent door operations:

Paul Dye (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), James Medford (Orbit 2), Alan Bachik (Planning)

Payload Data & Retrieval System (PDRS) – A specialist responsible for monitoring the general operation of the remote manipulator system:

David Moyer (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Don Pallesen (Orbit 2), Gary Pollock (Planning)

Flight Surgeon (Surgeon) – Monitors health of flight crew; provides procedures and guidance on all health-related matters:

Denise Baisden (Ascent/Entry), John Schultz (Orbit 1), Phil Stepaniak (Orbit 2)

Public Affairs Officer (PAO) – Provides real-time explanation of mission events during all phases of flight:

Billie Deason (Ascent), Jeff Carr (Entry/Orbit 1), Brian Welch (Orbit 2), Kari Fluegel (Planning)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:11 PM

June 1990 will mark the 25th anniversary of Gemini 4, the first manned space flight guided from what was then NASA's newest field center, and the flight which made famous the phrase, "This is Mission Control, Houston."

The year was 1965, a time of rapid expansion in the American manned space flight program as NASA sought to meet the challenge proposed for he civilian space program by President John F. Kennedy, to land men on le Moon and return them safely to the Earth before the end of the decade. Just four months after Kennedy's May, 1961 speech proposing that bold step, NASA chose a 1,620-acre site south of Houston for construction of what was then known as the Manned Spacecraft Center.

Houston became the new home of the Space Task Group, the cadre of scientists, engineers and managers responsible for selecting and training the astronauts, designing and building the spacecraft they would fly in, and conducting flight operations for all manned missions.

The Space Task Group originally was formed in October 1958 to carry out Project Mercury, just one week after NASA itself was created by an act of Congress to function as an independent Executive Branch agency, responsible to the President for all civilian space exploration activities. The new agency was built upon the 43-year-old foundation provided by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), whose 8,000 employees, three laboratories and budget were absorbed by the new space agency.

By the end of Project Mercury, the Space Task Group's size and responsibilities had grown to the point that a new home for manned spaceflight was necessary. Construction began on the sprawling field center in Houston in 1962 and was largely complete two years later. Since that time, the facility, renamed in honor of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973, has operated 60 manned space flights from the Mission
Control Center, including nine missions to the Moon and 35 flights of the Space Shuttle.

The history of those programs included many examples of international cooperation in space exploration. During the Apollo program, scientists from Europe and other countries aided their American colleagues in formulating goals and plans for lunar surface exploration. The shuttle program, with strong ties to Canada and the member nations of the European Space Agency, has made possible the flights of the first West German astronaut, Ulf Merbold in 1983; the first Canadian in space, Marc Garneau in 1984; and the first French astronaut, Patrick Baudry in 1985.

Today the Johnson Space Center is playing an important role in the country's even more ambitious plans for the future. In addition to the shuttle program, JSC's government and aerospace industry team, consisting of more than 12,000 civil service and contractor personnel, are working on the design and development of Space Station Freedom, a manned research laboratory scheduled to begin operations in low Earth orbit in the late 1990s. The orbital complex will include laboratory and logistics modules developed by the European Space Agency and Japan's National Space Development Agency, and will rely heavily on a robotic manipulator system--similar to the Shuttle's robot arm--developed by Canada.

In addition, JSC will play a central role in the space exploration initiative announced in 1989 by President George Bush, which committed the United States to renewed exploration of the Moon and construction of a lunar base early in the 21st Century, and eventual manned expeditions to Mars.

One result of this heightened activity in the civilian space program is an increasingly favorable economic impact on the Houston metroplex. In 1987 alone, JSC is estimated to have had an impact of almost three quarters of a billion dollars, resulting in 25,000 jobs in the local economy. By 1993, planned Space Station Freedom expenditures are projected to increase current levels of economic activity by more than 66 percent and create as many as 7,000 to 8,000 new jobs which will require additional goods and services, homes, schools, offices, hotels and tourist attractions.

In the three years immediately following President Ronald Reagan's approval of the Space Station program, 26 new aerospace office buildings with a total of more than 2 million square feet were constructed in the Clear Lake area, with a total investment of $140 million.

JSC's new $60 million visitor center, Space Center Houston, now being developed in partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering, is scheduled to open next year and will also have a dramatic economic impact. The facility is expected to attract from 2 to 3 million visitors each year, whose stay in the area could generate an additional $60 to $90 million into the local economy.

(Brian Welch, JSC News Release 90-030, June 20, 1990; Jeffrey Carr, JSC News Release 90-047, Sep. 25, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:12 PM
PART TWO: Between Scylla and Charybdis – STS-41 Launch Preparations

“It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.”

- Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses” (written in 1833)

NASA said Monday the shuttle Discovery may have sustained damage to a payload bay door in an accident at the Kennedy Space Center where it is being readied for an October mission. The accident involved an overhead support crane that moved, pulling the open right hand door up and forward, about ten inches out of position, said NASA spokesman Karl Kristofferson.

"It could have caused some damage, but we don't know," Kristofferson said late Monday. "It did flex, but it moved back to its original position again, and whether there has been any damage is what we will have to assess.” KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham told reporters, “There is no visual damage. However, the orbiter has some very critical components that aren’t meant to be bent.”

The pair of 65-foot long cargo doors on top of each shuttle orbiter open in a clam-shell fashion with an electric motor. They are designed to open once the shuttle attains orbit, exposing large radiator panels to space and allowing the satellite or major payload contained in the payload bay to be deployed. The doors were designed to open normally in the weightlessness of space. On the ground, under the stress of gravity, they cannot be opened without a crane and support device called a strong back.
Discovery's doors were being prepared for closure Monday about 8:30 a.m. EDT when the overhead crane moved, pulling the rear of the right door upward. "As soon as (workers) heard the sound of the flex, they stopped and returned (the strong back) to a normal position," Kristofferson explained. He said engineers were inspecting the hinges and alignments of the doors and the structure for damage. Lisa Malone, KSC spokeswoman said, “We don’t know if there is any damage to the flight hardware, but there is probably some damage to the ground support equipment.”

Randy Segert, Vehicle systems Manager at NASA Headquarters, said that inspectors will focus on the 16 hinges that connect the door to Discovery. The hinges are more fragile than the door, which appears undamaged, NASA said. Lockheed Space Operations Co., Shuttle Processing Contractor, said through its spokesman J.B. Klump, that the technician working on the cargo bay liner was experienced and certified for the work and that no action was taken against the employee.

NASA used Discovery in April to launch the Hubble Space Telescope and plans to fly it in October to launch Ulysses, a probe that will study the polar regions of the Sun. If it is to be launched this year, the Ulysses mission must be launched during a three-week window. For that reason much of NASA's shuttle flight schedule this year is being planned around it.

Meanwhile on Monday, shuttle engineers readied cameras and detection equipment in a bid to re-create an elusive fuel leak that grounded the shuttle Columbia last week. Experts hope the equipment will pinpoint the source of a liquid hydrogen leak at the point where a large propellant line flows from Columbia's external fuel tank into the orbiter's main engine compartment. Engineers plan to partially fill the fuel tank early Wednesday, in expectation that the cold temperatures of the hydrogen will cause a contraction of hardware that will reveal the source of the seepage. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, June 5, 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC related events for 1990, KHR-15, Mar. 1991 – edited)

An investigation board has been named by KSC Director Forrest McCartney to examine the circumstances surrounding the June 4 mishap which involved improper raising of the orbiter Discovery’s right-hand payload bay door in the Orbiter Processing Facility’s High Bay 1. Discovery is currently being processed for the STS-41 Ulysses mission, scheduled for an early-October launch.

Chairman of the board is Paul Myers, Technical Assistant to KSC’s Director of Engineering Development. Hector Delgado, of the Systems Assurance Office, Reliability and Quality Assurance Directorate is the Deputy Chairman. Other members of the board are: Charles Stevenson, Chief, External Tank Section, Vehicle Engineering; and Tim Yang, Facilities Systems Engineer, Mechanical and Electrical Systems Branch, Facilities and Systems Operations Division, Center Support Operations Directorate. Two additional board advisors are: Laurie Walls, Engineer, Structures, Handling and Access Systems Section, Vehicle Engineering, and Larry Irminger, Lockheed Space Operations Company.

Ox-Officio board members are Elizabeth Gruhler, Safety Advisor; Douglas Hendricksen, Legal Advisor; and Lisa Malone, Public Affairs Advisor. Elliot Kicklighter, Primary Assistant to the Deputy Director, National Space Shuttle Operations, has been appointed as a Level II observer. Board functions include investigating the facts surrounding the mishap, determination of its probable cause, assessments of the possibility of a recurrence, and recommendations on corrective actions. A final report is due mid-July. (Malone, KSC News Release No. 99-90, June 6, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, June 7, 1990; The Miami Herald, June 5, 1990 – edited)

Lisa Malone, Kennedy Space Center spokeswoman and launch commentator, was presented a Silver Snoopy Award by NASA astronaut Curt Brown. The award is given annually by the NASA astronaut corps to about one percent of space program workers nationwide who have performed an outstanding effort contributing to the success of manned spaceflight missions. Brown wrote in a letter to Malone, “You brought great credit to the agency and to yourself for the crisp, calm, accurate and concise commentary describing launch preparations and lift-off to countless millions of listeners around the world.” Malone, 28, is a Kennedy Space Center public affairs specialist who provided countdown commentary for the March 1989 shuttle Discovery launch of STS-29. (Florida Today, June 17, 1990 – edited)

Atlantis, Columbia and Discovery have been grounded by NASA. “There is no question that we will not fly until we understand the problem and have it fixed,” said William Lenoir, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Spaceflight. The problem Lenoir referred to is that of the hydrogen leak found in both Atlantis and Columbia. The ripple effect of delays could extend to 1993 when NASA is hoping to send a crew of shuttle astronauts into space to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Lenoir said that if the leaks could not be fixed within a month, one of the two missions preceding the Ulysses flight would have to be postponed. “If it costs us a flight, that’s a shame, but that’s what it will take, Lenoir said. (Halvorson, Florida Today, June 30, 1990; Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, June 30, 1990 – edited)

A cracked part on Discovery’s payload bay door, damaged during a worker’s fall last week, was repaired by Kennedy Space Center workers today. A Lockheed Space Operations Co. quality control worker had crawled across a padded board to reach the area, when he lost his balance and fell onto the open 60-foot-long door. The worker, who was not injured, was making a routine inspection of the orbiter.

The damage was minor and unrelated to an accident on June 4 in the Orbiter Processing Facility, said KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone. In that accident, and overhead bridge crane accidentally snagged the cargo bay door, bending one corner of the door upward several inches. The door apparently was not damaged and an accident investigation report is expected shortly, according to Malone. (Florida Today, July 3, 1990 – edited)

Placement of splash guards over the motor control centers in the utility annex at Launch Complex 39, replacement of piping, and changes in procedures are among 24 recommendations made by the mishap investigation board probing an accident April 2 which shut down air conditioning systems to critical areas and stopped Space Shuttle processing for ten hours. Estimated cost of immediate repairs and recycling was $75,000. (Young, NASA News Release No. 123-60, July 3, 1990 – edited)

One of 44 thrusters which steer Discovery in space was damaged when it fell from a work platform late today. It will be replaced with a spare. Spokeswoman Lisa Malone said, “One of two clamps slipped and caused the structure the thruster was mounted on to fall to a work platform below, damaging the thruster.” The only visible damage was an impression in the thruster’s metal about three inches long, a half inch wide and a quarter inch deep. Inspections continue and it was not decided whether to form a NASA investigation board. (Banke, Florida Today, July 20, 1990 – edited)

An examination of KSC records reveals: Kennedy Space Center has granted exceptions to its strict overtime regulations 2,500 times this year. Almost half the 1990 waivers have come during the weeks when shuttle launches and landings occurred. Bob Sieck, Shuttle Launch Director, said that KSC is handling overtime better than in the past and that worker fatigue is not a problem. “We have not found fatigue a factor in any of the incidents that have occurred in the past,” he said. “When we have an incident, overtime is the first thing we accumulate data on – the number of hours the person or all the people involved have worked prior to that event on that shift, that week, that month.”

“I can’t envision this place working with zero percent overtime; it would be impractical to completely eliminate the practice,” Sieck said. “If that were the case, too much of the workforce would be idle. If you had a standing army of people for every job that we did around here, to cover every contingency, the workforce would be exorbitant. It makes sense to use overtime to carry you through peak periods of activity.” (Higginbotham, Florida Today, July 20, 1990 – edited)

KSC Director Forrest McCartney has appointed an investigation board to examine the circumstances surrounding damage to one of Discovery’s OMS pod thrusters at the Hypergolic Maintenance Facility (HMF) east test cell located in the Center’s Industrial Area. Workers were inspecting the rocket engine plumbing for leaks when a clamp holding it to its work stand slipped, causing the $600,000 thruster to fall. It will be replaced by a spare. “The good news is that we can repair that thruster,” announced Lisa Malone, KSC spokeswoman.

Chairing the investigation board is Thomas Cain, III, Chief, Operations Support Branch, Center Support Operations. The two other board members are Craig Baker, Mechanical and Fluids Systems Engineer, Mechanical and Structures Section, STS Payload operations Directorate and Mickey Riddle, NASA Site Manager at Launch Pad 39B. Ex-Officio board members are Patricia Lynn, Safety Advisor; Douglas Hendriksen, Legal Advisor; and Lisa Malone, Public Affairs Advisor. (Banke, Florida Today, July 21, 1990; Malone, NASA News Release No. 135-90, July 24, 1990 – edited)

Movement of an overhead access bridge while connected to a payload bay door was the primary cause cited by an investigation board for the improper raising of a payload bay door on the Discovery on June 4, 1990. Contributing causes to the improper raising included failure to follow the approved procedure, deficient work control systems to preclude bridge movement while connected to the payload bay door, and deficient work scheduling.

The board, which was chaired by Paul Myers, technical assistant to KSC’s Director of Engineering Development, was not charged with determining any damage to flight hardware. However, thorough inspections have been performed and it has been determined that there was no damage to Discovery’s payload bay door from this mishap. (Malone, KSC News Release No. 133-90; July 31,1990; Florida Today, Aug. 1, 1990 – edited)

A critical component now in Atlantis will be removed today by KSC workers and installed on Discovery because there are not enough of the parts available for the three-orbiter fleet. Henry Heimmer, Chief of KSC’s Orbiter Logistics Engineering Division, says the transfer of an Auxiliary Power Unit does not mean that it is part of a trend of increasing cannibalization.

Heimmer said the current problem is a unique situation caused by a recent Johnson Space Center determination that tests have shown that APUs are cracking or chipping from prolonged exposure to their toxic hydrazine fuel, according to Hal Taylor, Manager of Orbiter Projects Engineering at JSC. Heimmer said that the transfer is necessary because only eight of the 14 available APUs are currently acceptable for flight. Nine approved units – or three for each orbiter – are necessary to avoid cannibalizing. Heimmer said that NASA plans to spend about $100,000 to fix each unit and expects to have enough spares by November. The parts will have to be juggled until then. (Banke, Florida Today, Aug. 2, 1990 – edited)

Another mishap may have delayed Discovery’s preparations for her October 5 mission. Officials must decide August 3 whether they will have to replace part of a three-quarter-inch stainless steel line that carries Freon to cool the orbiter and astronauts in space. A small dent was discovered in the line today. Bruce Buckingham, Kennedy Space Center spokesman, said that repairing the dent, cause by a ladder resting against the line, could delay Discovery’s scheduled August 18 move to the Vehicle Assembly Building by two to three days. The work schedule has room for such contingencies as repairs to the line, but there would be a 13-month delay if Discovery does not lift off by October 23 because the planets will no longer be aligned for the Ulysses probe to make its trip around the poles of the Sun. (Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 3, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 3, 1990 – edited)

It was decided by Kennedy Space Center managers to remove and repair a dented cooling line from Discovery’s payload bay. The line was damaged earlier in the week when a ladder leaning against it caused a quarter-inch deep dent. Initially, it was thought that replacement would cause a two- to three-day delay in moving Discovery over to the Vehicle Assembly Building, but today KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham said, “We are not giving up on getting over to the assembly building on August 18.” Rollout for Discovery to Launch Pad 3)B is set for August 25, with launch set for October 5. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 4, 1990 – edited)

This weekend technicians at Kennedy Space Center are installing a new Auxiliary Power Unit in Discovery to pressurize her hydraulic systems so they can assist in steering and operating the landing gear. The APU was borrowed from Atlantis and was tested late in the day. KSC spokesman Karl Kristofferson said, “They haven’t been able to completely pressurize it with helium.” He added that a faulty valve might have to be replaced. Technicians also drained Freon from Discovery’s cooling system so repairs could be made on a dent in a three-quarter-inch diameter line. When the liquid is removed, workers will replace the section which was damaged last week when a ladder pressed against it. (Higginbotham, Florida Today, Aug. 6, 1990 – edited)

John Conway, Director of Payload management and Operations at Kennedy Space Center said of the Ulysses planetary probe today, “We’re ready to go fly this thing.” The only thing the probe is waiting for is its launch vehicle, the orbiter Discovery. The Ulysses spacecraft is scheduled to move to the launch pad from a satellite processing facility on August 28, followed by Discovery August 31. Current planning calls for Discovery to be launched between October 5 and October 23 with four days of contingency time built into that period. Delays in moving Discovery to the launch pad would erode the contingency time. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 17, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:14 PM
Discovery gets a ride aboard a 76-wheel transport vehicle this weekend for a quarter-mile ride from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building. In the VAB, Discovery will be mated to her Solid Rocket Boosters and her External Tank. NASA officials expressed hope that Discovery could be rolled out prior to Columbia’s September 1 launch from Pad 39A. William Lenoir, Associate Administrator for Spaceflight, said, “We may be seeing two birds out on the launch pads before the end of the month.” Discovery will roll out to Pad 39B on August 31 if all goes as planned. If the rollout is delayed, Discovery will remain in the VAB until after Columbia’s launch. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 24, 1990 – edited)

A one-day furlough may await the 2,400 civil service workers at Kennedy Space Center if Congress fails to pass the 1991 budget by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. “It’s a situation we’ve faced before. This is a drill we’ve gone through numerous times when we have a case where the federal government doesn’t have a budget passed and we have to operate under a continuing resolution,” said KSC spokesman Dick Young. “We’re talking about a potential furlough. We’re talking about probably a day off for each person – just a one-time shot during the early part of October.” NASA Administrator Richard Truly was expected to outline how space agency operations will be carried out in the event of a furlough. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 26, 1990 – edited)

Workers in the Orbiter Processing Facility ran into trouble with the lock on Discovery’s landing gear and that prevented the planned rollover from the OPF to the Vehicle Assembly Building at eight o’clock yesterday evening, according to KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham. Movement occurred early this morning and the orbiter is now safely inside the VAB. NASA hopes to move Discovery out to Pad 39B August 31 and may postpone Columbia’s launch until Discovery can be rolled out to the pad. That will help ensure that Discovery meets her tight launch window. (Halvorson and Nagy, Florida Today, Aug. 27, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Aug. 28, 1990 – edited)

Unless the United States Congress resolves its disagreements over the federal budget, the Space Shuttle Discovery may lift off on October 5 without her usual complement of launch guests at Kennedy Space Center. NASA has canceled all formal guest operations for the STS-41 mission because of the threat of budget constraints due to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law.

The move means that invitations will not be extended to people nominated by field centers and Headquarters offices, and that vehicle passes normally issued to NASA employees on a first-come first-serve basis will not be available. The STS-41 launch window opens October 5 during the two-week initial sequestration period that will go into effect if Congress fails to meet certain deficit-reduction targets by October 1.

Eugene Marianetti, Chief of Special Events for NASA, said that the agency will have to “put its hospitality on hold.” If the budget impasse is not broken before September 30, NASA won’t have enough time to arrange for shuttle launch guests for the October launch of Discovery. The Office of Management and Budget recently directed federal agencies to draw plans to cut expenses drastically to avoid furloughs for most employees. NASA announced today that it will furlough its 2,400 employees at KSC for one day during the first half of October if Congress should fail to pass a new budget by the beginning of the fiscal year, October 1. (Banke, Florida Today, Aug. 28, 1990; JSC Space News Update, Aug. 31, 1990 – edited)

STS-35 mission has been delayed again because of a problem with an electronics package inside Columbia’s cargo bay. A new launch date will be announced tomorrow. NASA has until September 14 to launch Columbia; after that date, the mission will be delayed until after Discovery carries the Ulysses solar probe into orbit in early October. Rollout for Discovery to Pad 39B had been set for September 2 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. That move has now been delayed until no earlier than 8:00 p.m. September 4 because technicians in the Vehicle Assembly Building had difficulties making electrical connections between Discovery and her External Tank. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Sep. 2, 1990; The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 2, 1990 – edited)

The Space Shuttle Discovery rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at 6:47 p.m. EDT last night and completed the eight-hour journey to Launch Pad 39B early this morning at about 2 o’clock. “We’re really on the downhill slope in the processing now that we’re at the pad,” said Dave O’Brien, Discovery manager at Johnson Space Center. “Getting to the pad is a significant milestone to meeting the opening of our launch window.”

Work to prepare the orbiter for rollout was delayed when workers discovered several bent connector pins during the electrical connection of Discovery to her External Tank inside the VAB. Once workers repaired the connection and completed the mating work. The two-day rollout delay leaves an extra day in the processing flow at the launch pad for unexpected work prior to the planned launch. The launch window spans two hours and 22 minutes and opens at 7:35 a.m. EDT October 5. The Ulysses solar probe was transferred to the launch pad August 28, where it was stored in the Payload Changeout Room to await Discovery’s arrival to the pad.

Discovery was rolled to the pad ahead of tonight’s scheduled launch attempt for Columbia from Pad 39A, where the Rotating Service Structure was moved away from the orbiter at 6:00 a.m. EDT.  It is only the third time two shuttle orbiters occupy both pads at the same time. Unfortunately, Columbia’s fueling was halted at 5:40 p.m. EDT after another gaseous hydrogen leak had been detected in the orbiter’s aft compartment.

NASA plans to continue tests early tomorrow to pinpoint Columbia’s newest seepage. At Pad 39A technicians may enter the main engine compartment shortly for visual inspections. At Pad 39B, technicians plan to open Discovery’s payload bay doors to begin resolving a problem in the cooling system, which runs through the midbody and aft compartment of the orbiter. The amount of Freon in coolant loop # 1 has dropped by about ten percent since Discovery left the Orbiter Processing Facility August 27 and she continues to lose about one percent of coolant daily. A leak in that same system forced a two-week postponement in Columbia’s May launch attempt. (Countdown, October 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC related events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991; Kyle Herring, JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 7, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:17 PM
Leaks in two Space Shuttle systems have NASA contractor technicians working on Pads 39A and 39B simultaneously. Columbia continues to be plagued by hydrogen leaks and Discovery has a coolant leak. “We’re on the road to making repairs to Columbia so we can launch this month,” said KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone. The launch of Columbia is targeted for the week of September 17.

Today technicians will climb into Discovery’s cargo bay to gain access to the cooling system. On September 9, workers will test the cooling system to determine how bad the leak is. Discussion of the results will take place September 10. Among the options being considered are a complete overhaul of the system, which would imperil the chances of launching the Ulysses this year; refilling the leaky system just before launch; or flying the four-day mission with the plumbing as it is. (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 8, 1990 – edited)

The crew of Discovery’s STS-41 mission arrived at Kennedy Space Center early this afternoon to participate in a full dress rehearsal for the launch countdown which begins at 8:00 a.m. September 10. On arrival, Commander Dick Richards commented, “We’re happy to be here. This is a real milestone for us.” He added, “We still have some hurdles to overcome, but we’re confident, come October, we’re going to get Ulysses started on its five-year journey around the Sun.

Managers must decide tomorrow whether to top Discovery’s cooling system with fresh coolant before launch and postpone repairs until Discovery returns from her four-day mission. The leak has been traced to an ammonia boiler in Freon loop #; it is apparently confined to an external vent where it poses no contamination threat to the Ulysses solar probe in the cargo bay. While at Kennedy Space Center, the crew will be trained in emergency egress procedures at Pad 39B, including a practice drive in the M113 tracked vehicle. They will become familiar with the location of breathing apparatus at the pad, other emergency equipment and the slidewire basket system. (Malone, KSC News Release No. 154-90, Sep. 7, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 9, 1990; Brown, Florida Today, Sep. 10, 1990; – edited)

A series of preflight briefings for Space Shuttle mission STS-41, the deployment of the Ulysses spacecraft, will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Lead Flight Director Milt Heflin will present an overview of the mission beginning at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, September 12. The astronaut crew of STS-41 will hold a press conference beginning at 10 a.m. CDT, followed in the afternoon by round robin interviews. Thursday's briefings begin at noon with the Ulysses spacecraft and science objectives, followed by briefings on other payloads and mission objectives. All events originate in Houston except the Ulysses briefing which originates at HASA Headquarters.

Results from a pressurization test of the Freon system aboard Discovery are being analyzed today. This test is designed to verify structural integrity of the system. NASA has devised it to see if the leakage will increase, since the present rate of one percent per day is deemed acceptable for flight. “We decided to test that system up to a pressure that would place a force into the ammonia boiler about 1.4 times greater than anything we would expect to see during ascent to see if the leak would get any worse,” said Milt Heflin, Lead Flight Director for the Discovery flight. “And we did not cause the leak to get any worse.” To pose a problem for Discovery during the four-day flight, the leak would have to triple in size.

A helium signature leak test of the three main engines and main propulsion system was successfully completed overnight. The Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test began on time today at 8:00 a.m. EDT at the T minus 24 hour mark. All countdown events will be simulated or abbreviated up to main engine cut-off at about 11:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow. (Steve Nesbitt, JSC News Release No. 90-043, Sep. 10, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 10, 1990; JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 14,1990; Countdown, October 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:18 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:19 PM
“As usual, we had a good countdown test. Overall things went real smooth. We’d like to see things to go that way for the real thing,” said KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone. Discovery’s five-man crew was aboard for the final hours of the rehearsal which ended at 11:07 this morning. Today’s dress rehearsal was primarily an electrical test of the Space Shuttle systems and launch complex systems, and a procedural exercise for the astronauts working together with the launch team.

In parallel with the countdown test, the payload test team conducted an exercise to simulate problems which could arise during an actual countdown. The test team’s decisions on managing unexpected problems which could arise with Ulysses, the Inertial Upper Stage, or the Payload Assist Module were to be discussed after the test. The next major step toward launch began this afternoon with the Interface Verfication Test between Ulysses with its attached upper stages and Discovery. This test verifies the electrical connections established between the payload and the orbiter, and also connections with the payload control panel and the associated computers on the flight deck.

Today NASA managers are expected to decide when Discovery will fly in October or whether a lengthy repair effort will be needed. They are thought to be leaning toward topping off the leaking coolant system’s fuel supply and flying Discovery as is. Data from the testing over the weekend shows that the small Freon leak is not likely to worsen. Yet it is anticipated that problems related to the leak will delay the launch two or three days from the target date of October 5.

STS-41 Commander Dick Richards said, “We want to make this mission a success. At the same time, we can’t just sacrifice safety in order to make that happen at any cost. I’m hoping that as long as we keep making the right decisions, we’re going to turn around. Two years from now, we won’t remember the hydrogen leaks. They’ll be just a footnote in the shuttle history.” Richards said that during Discovery’s last flight, STS-31, the orbiter was “very tight, especially in the aft compartment. He added, “Because of Discovery’s prior flight performance and the processing that it’s had, I think we’ve got a reasonable chance of making it.” (Brown, Florida Today, Sep. 11, 1990; Diller, KSC Status Report, Sep. 11, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 12, 1990; JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 14, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:20 PM
After review of the test data, shuttle managers have determined that Discovery’s Freon cooling loop #1 can be safely flown in its present state. During today’s crew pre-flight press briefing astronaut Tom Akers told reporters: “The system has been basically proof tested.” He added, “It seems to be up and running pretty hard, and we expect it to stay that way. We’re pretty happy that as far as that problem is concerned that’s behind us.”

Launch preparations will include topping off the Freon system of Discovery a few days before launch, which will keep the coolant level well above the amount needed to support shuttle operations during the four-day mission. An Interface Verification Test for the Ulysses payload has been completed and preparations for the end-to-end test are underway. That test will be made tomorrow. Preparations are underway for loading hypergolic propellants aboard the orbiter this weekend. The pad will be closed to all non-essential personnel for this tanking operation. (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 13, 1990; Campion and Malone, KSC News Release, no number, Sep. 12, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 12, 1990; JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 14, 1990; Countdown, October 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:21 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:22 PM
Our current planning is based on the assumption that Discovery and Atlantis are operational. Columbia is grounded,” William Lenoir, Associate Administrator of Spaceflight, said Thursday (Sep. 20) after persistent hydrogen leak problems have fouled up last Tuesday’s attempt to finally get shuttle mission STS-35 on its way. “Ulysses was driving us all along. We had the line in the sand – Ulysses – that we couldn’t slip because of its launch window. We were anxious first to get two flights off before Ulysses, and when that wouldn’t work, at least one. And now we are down to none.”

So, preparations at Kennedy Space Center are now geared toward the launch of Discovery on STS-41, which may occur anywhere from October 6 through 9. The launch date will be announced following next week’s Flight Readiness Review. Two days after Discovery’s launch, Columbia will be moved from Pad 39A to Pad 39B, where she will undergo leak investigations and repairs. Current planning, though not set in stone, is to launch Columbia and the Astro 1 telescope payload around December 1, after Atlantis, now in bay 2 of the Orbiter Processing Facility, is launched from Pad 39A in early November on STS-38, a Department of Defense-dedicated flight. Unlike Discovery, Atlantis will undergo a leak test to ensure that the fuel line leak which grounded this orbiter in mid-July has been corrected.

Discovery, which last flew with the Hubble Space Telescope in April, is the only shuttle to escape a succession of elusive fuel leaks this year. NASA said Thursday it will not conduct an elaborate hydrogen leak test of Discovery before it attempts to launch the ship. The test under consideration by the space agency after Monday's launch scrub would have involved pumping liquid hydrogen into Discovery's fuel tank before its countdown was started. "Discovery has no history of any hydrogen leak problems," said William Lenoir. "We've checked all the paperwork for this mission and see no reason to anticipate it would." Ultimately, Lenoir said, his decision to skip the test was based on the five days it would take. "If I did (a test) and found a leak, I could not repair it in time to make the end of the launch window and still get Ulysses off."

Final securing of the High Pressure Turbo Pump fuel duct on Discovery’s main engine #2 (No. 2031) is scheduled to be completed this afternoon. A flight readiness test of the main engines is planned later this evening and a partial helium signature test is set for late today or early tomorrow to check the new duct. Flight batteries for the Inertial Upper Stage are scheduled to be installed today. As precautionary measure, leak checks and inspections of cover seals for the engine pre-valves are planned later today. These seals were replaced as required since Discovery’s last flight in April.

Meanwhile, several anti-nuclear groups plan to protest the Discovery launch and take court action to block the mission because the Ulysses probe will carry radioactive plutonium to generate electricity. The first of the protests is planned for Saturday outside the gates of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Protesters fear a shuttle explosion would shatter Ulysses' nearly 25 pounds of plutonium pellets into cancer-causing particles. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 19 and 20, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 21, 1990; Broad, The New York Times, Sep. 21, 1990;  Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Sep. 21, 1990; Hartsfield, JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 21, 1990 – edited)

The October 1 deadline for a possible one-day furlough for government employees neared this week as White House and Congressional negotiators continued their budget talks in Washington, D.C. “We’re still awaiting word,” said JSC Human Resources Director Jack Lister. “We’re still on notice that if the budget is not resolved by October 1, we will be subject to a furlough during the first two weeks of October.”

Unless Congress passes a deficit reduction program by October 1, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law will require program and personnel cuts throughout the government. NASA and other non-defense agencies would have to cut about 31.9 percent from fiscal 1990 spending levels. This week, the budget negotiators reduced the size of their group and moved the talks from Andrews Air Force Base to the White House.

NASA Administrator Richard Truly said recently that if a sequester order is issued, the agency could be forced to furlough all civil servants for one day during the first two weeks of fiscal 1991. Further delays in the deficit reduction program could mean as many as 22 furlough days.

JSC Director Aaron Cohen is allowing each directorate to decide how and when, within the 15-day period, to implement any unpaid, non-working furlough. Directors are being urged to implement any furlough early in the period to avoid adverse effects on the STS-41 mission, set to launch NET October 5. All employees will be required to take any furlough in one-day increments.

Lister said the possibility of a continuing resolution that would temporarily suspend the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings sequestration has been mentioned, but that President Bush has indicated he would not sign such a bill. (JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 21, 1990 – edited)

Kennedy Space Center was the site of yet another protest rally today as an estimated 150 persons met at the space center’s main entrance gate on State Road 405. The group, shouting “NASA yes, Plutonium no,” subsequently drove to Spaceport USA, then walked about a mile to the main guard gate near KSC’s Headquarters building. The protestors, given warnings by security guards, did not try to cross into the restricted area. They did deliver petitions, articles and other papers to KSC Security Patrol Chief Jim Morris.

Protest organizer Bruce Gagnon said, “There are alternatives to putting nuclear power into space. It’s not that we think Ulysses will blow up. But as we launch more and more of these things, we open ourselves up to an accident that we will all live to regret.” Daniel Hirsch, President of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, added, “We’re urging NASA to reassess its reliance on nuclear power in space. The choice is not between launching this with the risk or not launching. The choice is whether we’re going to start following a different set of values, where the environment is placed No. 1 and dollars and expediency are ranked No. 2 and 3.”

NASA spokesman Karl Kristofferson said, “There’s no doubt that plutonium is a very, very toxic substance, but we’re not talking about a nuclear reactor here. These things don’t explode. It would take a very, very worst-case scenario to crack open a plutonium pellet, which is in a ceramic form. It is extremely unlikely that it can be pulverized. Alternate technologies and power sources are probably feasible, but it would require complete redesign and testing, which could put off planetary launches well into the next decade.”  (Brown, Florida Today, Sep. 23, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:24 PM
September 24: DECISION TIME
Kennedy Space Center hosts a Flight Readiness Review for Discovery’s STS-41 mission today and tomorrow. At its conclusion, NASA managers will set a firm launch date. If Ulysses is not launched between October 5 and 23, the flight will have to be delayed until November 1991. At Pad 39B, final payload preparations are beginning this week. The IUS computer memory load was performed today. This evening, the guidance system aboard the IUS, the Redundant Inertial Measurement Unit (RIMU) is being calibrated and aligned. The IUS flight readiness checks are scheduled for overnight tonight. Tuesday morning (Sep. 25) the final battery installation for the IUS is scheduled. Then, in the afternoon, batteries will be installed aboard the PAM-S assist module. On September 26, a simulated countdown will take the IUS/PAM-S combination through all launch day activities. The Ulysses spacecraft completed a state-of-health check successfully on Friday (Sep. 21). On September 28, upper stage ordnance will be installed. (Brown, Florida Today, Sep. 24, 1990; Diller, Ulysses Status Report, Sep. 24, 1990 – edited)

NASA managers today selected October 6 as the launch date for the joint ESA/NASA mission, STS-41 – the mission to deploy the European Space Agency’s Ulysses probe on a five-year journey to study the Sun. “This date is a little success-oriented and is dependent on not encountering any unusual problems, said Space Shuttle Director Robert Crippen. “But I think the shuttle team has a good chance of making the 6th.” Echoing Crippen’s remarks, KSC Deputy Director Gene Thomas said, “We don’t have any room for mistakes.”

The mission, NASA's first shuttle flight since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in late April, is scheduled to blast off between 7:35 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. EDT. NASA's shuttle program has been grounded since late May by a succession of fuel leaks that have forced postponements of flights by the shuttles Columbia and Atlantis. Tuesday's announcement followed a two-day meeting of NASA shuttle program managers at the Kennedy Space Center, in which they reviewed preparations, including leak checks on Discovery. (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 25, 1990; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Sep. 26, 1990 – edited)

If the mandated budget cuts under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit control law take effect, NASA may lose about $4 billion. That would force the space agency to fly no more than four of ten planned shuttle flights between now and October 1991. “That would be a catastrophe for NASA,” said Dave Dickerson, a spokesman for U.S. Representative Bill Nelson (D-Florida).

The development work on the Space Station program would be suspended and the Space Shuttle program budget would be cut to $3.4 billion, or 32 percent less than the $5 billion approved for 1990. In addition, work would be postponed on the Space Exploration Initiative, NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the Moon by 2010 and then to Mars by 2019; work would be delayed on the $30 billion Earth Observation System, an array of satellites designed to monitor Earth’s climate to learn more about environmental phenomena. The six EOS satellites are scheduled for launch in 1997 and 1998.

At Kennedy Space Center the 2,400 civil service workers would have to take three or four days off without pay every two weeks if no budget is passed by October 15. One-day furloughs will be in effect during the first two weeks of October if no budget is passed by October 1. The planned launch of Discovery will not be affected by the budget crisis, according to William Lenoir, Associate Administrator for Spaceflight. However, Atlantis’ Department of Defense flight scheduled for November would be postponed until NASA could create a plan to operate with a reduced workforce, Lenoir said. (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 27, 1990 – edited)

Kennedy Space Center is ready to carry out a furlough plan should Congress and the Bush Administration fail to resolve this year’s budget crisis before the 1991 fiscal year begins October 1. The plan includes the following: Twenty NASA employees at KSC will get Monday off without pay if no budget is passes; up to 100 KSC civil service workers will be furloughed for one day between October 2 and October 11 if the budget impasse continues; the remaining 2,300 NASA employees at the space center will get a day off without pay between October 12 and October 15.

Johnson Space Center Human Resources Director Jack Lister said his office will notify all JSC directors late Friday that their plans for a one-day furlough will take effect Monday unless Congress passes a deficit reduction program over the weekend. Employees today will receive individual letters notifying them of NASA’s decision to proceed with the furloughs.

Each employee will receive a copy of the letter by close of business Friday, Lister said. Employees will be required to acknowledge its receipt in writing and indicate what day they plan to take the unpaid time off. A handful of employees who are not at the center will be contacted by telephone and will then receive their letters by fax or mail. The “decision letter” is required under government personnel regulations, as was an earlier 30-day notice of intent. (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 28, 1990; JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 28, 1990 –edited)

Failure to follow proper procedures and improper use of a C-clamp were the primary causes cited by an investigation board for damage to a Reaction Control System thruster at the Hypergolic Maintenance Facility’s east test cell. In addition, the board, chaired by Tom Cain, III, Chief, Operations Support Branch, Center Support Operations, found several contributing causes: the instructions technicians were following were not detailed enough and the technicians needed to be trained in the use of the thruster mounting fixture.

The incident occurred July 18, 1990, when one of the orbiter’s primary thrusters was being secured in a test fixture in the HMF checkout cell for inspections of a leak. The thruster was mounted in a fixture which was installed on an access platform and secured with one C-clamp. Subsequently, the fixture/thruster assembly rotated about the single C-clamp, striking a kick plate on a lower platform approximately 14 inches below where it was originally mounted. It continued falling an additional 17 inches to a service platform. The thruster sustained an impression about four and a half inches long by half an inch wide by a quarter inch deep. Estimated repair cost was less than $100,000 and no personnel were injured in the mishap. (Malone, NASA News Release No. 161-90, Sep. 27, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 28, 1990 – edited)

NASA engineers disclosed today that they suspect gaseous nitrogen might be leaking into a hydraulic system inside the base of Discovery’s right-hand Solid Rocket Booster. The system will be inspected this weekend to determine whether any parts must be replaced; such replacement work is not expected to delay Discovery’s launch, which remains set for 7:35 a.m. October 6.

Work readying Discovery at Launch Pad 39B for STS-41 has gone smoothly so far. On Wednesday (Sep. 26) the two spacesuits carried aboard the orbiter for contingency purposes were installed in the airlock. Later that day, at about 5:00 p.m. EDT, a test to simulate launch day events for the Inertial Upper Stage began and was concluded with a simulated T-0 at about 7:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday.

On Thursday, Discovery’s Freon cooling system was topped off. The system has been slowly leaking following rollout to the pad. However, after overpressurizing the loop and examining the results, engineers determined the slow leak was unlikely to grow during flight. Calculations using the highest leak rate recorded so far show that the size of the leak still would have to almost triple to pose any problems during STS-41. In addition, during the time Discovery has been on the pad, the leak rate has decreased slightly.

A purge of the External Tank was completed and the pad was closed for ordnance operations during which explosive devices, used to separate the External Tank and boosters from the shuttle during flight, were loaded and the firing circuits were checked. Today pressurization and closeout of the orbiter’s hypergolic propellant tanks was completed; closeout of the shuttle’s aft compartment is underway. This work includes applying foam to various areas of the main propulsion system, final inspections of various components, main engine closeouts, cleaning and removing platforms for flight. (JSC Space News Roundup, Sep. 28, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 26 and Sep. 28, 1990; Florida Today, Sep. 28, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 29, 1990 – edited)

“We have an extraordinary risk here from an agency whose competency in the last year has been abysmal,” said Andrew Kimbrell, lawyer for the Foundation on Economic Trends, a Washington, D.C.-based group that is joining the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice and the Christic Institute in filing for a preliminary injunction to stop the October 6 launch of Discovery and her Ulysses payload. Their claimed goal is “to allow NASA time to resolve problems with shuttle fuel leaks, address the Office of Technology Assessment report that predicts a 50 percent chance of another shuttle accident in the next 34 flights, incorporate OTA safety recommendations into the shuttle program and explain revised safety statistics in the agency’s final environmental impact reports for the mission.”

“With all the uncertainty in the shuttle program right now, it seems NASA clearly has nothing to lose by waiting until November 1991 to make the launch,” said Kimbrell. Part of the Foundation’s motion also asks that the court force NASA to steer the Galileo Jupiter probe away from Earth when it passes for a gravity assist maneuver in December. NASA General Counsel Edward Frankle said the lawsuit was not unexpected. “It’s basically similar to the one that was done last year with Galileo, and I hope it has the same result.” (Florida Today, Sep. 26, 1990; Brown, Florida Today, Sep. 28, 1990; Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 29, 1990; – edited)

September 29: ABOUT DUE FOR ONE
“We don’t have any reason to think that we’re going to experience a leak on Discovery,” said Kennedy Space Center spokeswoman Lisa Malone. “We think we’ve got a good machine.” Discovery’s countdown begins October 3 at 3:30 a.m. EDT, leading to a launch October 6 between 7:35 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. EDT. Fueling of the external fuel tank begins October 5 at about 11:15 p.m. EDT. The point at which leaks occurred during fueling on both Atlantis and Columbia will occur at 11:45 p.m. EDT when technicians begin pumping 8,400 gallons of fuel per minute into the ET. “I think the team is looking forward to it. It’s been a while since we’ve launched. We’re about due for one,” Malone said. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Sep. 30, 1990 – edited)

The Ulysses solar probe’s nuclear-powered generator was installed today in preparation for the launch of Discovery STS-41. The RTG, powered by 23.7 pounds of plutonium, was bolted onto the spacecraft, but not without some difficulty installing a small power control device on the generator. The head of one of four bolts that attaches the power control unit to the generator was accidentally sheared off during installation; the problem is not expected to affect the generator’s operation or the launch. The payload bay door are scheduled to be closed for flight at 8:17 a.m. EDT October 3.

A monitoring team of 35 persons began setting up some $13 million worth of equipment at the Cocoa Armory; the monitoring station will check radiation levels in Brevard County if a shuttle accident causes a plutonium release. A federal court agreed to hear arguments October 4 on the lawsuit filed by anti-nuclear activists.

During a test of the main propulsion system plumbing, engineers found a malfunction in a valve that helps control the flow of liquid oxygen into the No. 2 main engine of Discovery, according to KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone. She said that the problem was not related to the liquid hydrogen fuel leaks found on Atlantis and Columbia. Workers entered Discovery’s aft compartment early this morning to investigate why the valve failed. As it turned out, the problem concerned damaged electrical wiring, as officials had suspected, and was much easier to repair than would have been a mechanical failure. (Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 2, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Oct. 2 / 3, 1990; Diller, Ulysses Status Report, Oct. 4, 1990 – edited)

With the countdown clock smoothly ticking toward Discovery’s 7:35 a.m. EDT Saturday lift-off, every operating manned spacecraft NASA owns is scheduled to be either in orbit or on a launch pad by mid-Tuesday. Discovery’s launch preparations have gone well, and the orbiter appears in good shape with no problems in sight that could affect the launch, Vehicle Manager Dave O’Brien said today.

“This launch has been planned for October 5 for well over a year, and we’re just one day off due to a payload processing slow-up,” O’Brien said. “We have maintained the schedule through the entire processing flow since Discovery landed from STS-41 on May 4.” Kennedy Space Center spokesman Bruce Buckingham added, “We have no indication that there are any problems waiting out there to grab us.

Forecasters lowered the odds of favorable weather early Saturday from 80 percent to 70 percent, expressing some concern that an approaching cool front could touch off showers as the launch window opens. One potential cloud on the horizon is a lawsuit in a Washington, D.C. federal court which seeks to halt the launch. The case will be heard tomorrow. Having plutonium aboard the orbiter has prompted the U.S. government to set up 34 monitoring stations throughout the east coast of Florida. Today a communications drill will be conducted by the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center to test procedures needed if a shuttle accident occurs.

“We’re optimistic come Saturday that we’re going to have a good, solid Space Shuttle to fly,” Commander Dick Richards said shortly after the crew arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 3:30 p.m. EDT this afternoon. “The Kennedy Space Center people have done an outstanding job getting this vehicle ready to go. We’ve had nothing but good reports and our expectations are high.” He joked, “Florida is a beautiful place, but I don’t think astronauts like to stay here very long – and I think about three days will be it for us.”

Once Discovery lifts off, Columbia, now on Pad 39A, will take its place on Pad 39B, a move slated to begin early Monday. Twenty-four hours later, Atlantis is scheduled to begin her journey to take the spot vacated by Columbia on Pad 39A and begin preparations for a tentative Nov. 7 lift-off on STS-38. Atlantis was rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building early this morning. (Brown, Florida Today, Oct. 4, 1990; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 4, 1990; JSC Space News Roundup, Oct. 5, 1990; Nagy, Florida Today, Oct 7, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:25 PM
NASA today cleared a legal challenge lodged by environmental activists and made final preparations for the shuttle Discovery's launch as rain clouds threatened. "We're ready to go; Discovery is ready to go," William Lenoir, NASA's spaceflight chief, said today. "From where we sit, the one last question is whether the weather will cooperate." A cold front stalled in northern Florida is expected to trigger a round of rain showers and possibly thunderstorms. Meteorologists call for a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather at launch time. Although the launch window will extended long enough to permit a clearing trend, forecasters are cautious. "We are going to have a challenging 24 hours in front of us," said Air Force weather officer Capt. Mike Adams.

Meanwhile, NASA officials said a review of photographs and other launch documents had convinced them Discovery is free of errant hardware. Orbiter Atlantis was damaged yesterday when Lockheed technicians failed to remove a support beam before an assembly operation. The 9-foot long, bright yellow aluminum beam tumbled through Atlantis' engine compartment, damaging about two dozen components and puncturing a fuel duct.

In Washington, U.S. District Judge Oliver Gasch (1906-1999), ruling as he did in the Galileo case, denied a coalition of environmental groups a restraining order that could have forced a lengthy postponement for Ulysses. Activists fear an explosion, perhaps touched off by a fuel leak similar to those that have plagued Columbia and Atlantis this summer, could spread a highly toxic form of radioactive plutonium in the atmosphere. The Ulysses probe relies on heat produced by nearly 24 pounds of plutonium pellets on the spacecraft to generate the electricity needed by its nine scientific instruments and communications gear. The space agency says it has designed the generator to withstand an explosive blast and fire.

Not everyone, though, shares NASA's enthusiasm. Early today KSC security officers arrested two anti-nuclear protesters. Dorothy Smith, 81, and Melinda Morton, 50, had entered a restricted area at Gate 2B near the space centers main administrative building. Bruce Gagnon, leader of the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, said, “Their intention was to go and sit on the launch pad, but obviously we knew they weren’t going to get very far.” The two women were part of nearly two dozen demonstrators who greeted NASA employees as they arrived for work with signs and banners. One proclaimed, "No More Plutonium in Space." Some of the NASA workers shouted obscenities.

Morton and Smith had also been arrested on trespassing charges before launch of the nuclear-powered probe Galileo last year. They were held today at the Brevard County Detention Center in Sharpes on $500 bond each. If convicted, each faces a sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

William Lenoir said the Discovery flight will not be affected by the federal budget impasse in Congress and the possibility of automatic cuts under the Gramm-Rudman law. The agency can go two to three weeks before it would be necessary to cut back on any of its large contracted work forces for the Space Shuttle program and the Space Station program, he said. NASA's own employees, however, would be affected by plans to furlough thousands of federal workers.

If the budget cut plan takes effect, NASA would find that its current $12.3 billion budget would be reduced to $8.5 billion. “We do have contingency plans for that,” Lenoir said. “It gets very unpleasant fairly quickly. There’s no question that our budgetary process makes it more difficult to run any long-term complex program because of the inability to plan ahead in a reliable way.” (Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 6, 1990; Halvorson/Brown, Florida Today, Oct. 6, 1990; Deseret News, Oct. 6, 1990 – edited)

President Bush and Congressional leaders agreed on a stopgap budget measure last weekend, but the continuing resolution that forestalled furloughs only lasts through today. “We are not out of the soup,” said JSC Human Resources Director Jack Lister. Furloughs for JSC civil servants are still possible under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law, which had been scheduled to invoke automatic sequestration budget cuts on Monday if Congress and the President had not acted.

The negotiators’ budget agreement included deficit-reduction cuts of $500 billion over the next five years and set October 19 as the target for final passage. But with only a week-long continuing resolution that suspends sequestration in effect, many possible options range from a signed budget and a return to normal operations to a government-wide shutdown if the continuing resolution is not extended.

The JSC Human Resources Office continued to deliver “decision letters” to employees this week that are the final notices of an impending furlough, Lister said. Those letters remain valid for 22 non-consecutive or 30 consecutive furlough days. JSC’s overall plan for taking furlough days and the individual plans drawn up by each directorate have been placed on hold while center officials monitor the proposed budget’s progress in Washington. The effects of any furlough on STS-41 mission staffing are as yet unknown. (JSC Space News Roundup, Oct. 5, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:31 PM
PART THREE: Perfection Itself – STS-41 Daily Flight Log

“Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.”

- Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses” (written in 1833)

(Based on Dixon P. Otto, “STS-41 – By the Textbook,” Countdown, December 1990)

For 164 frustrating days, the only thunder over Merritt Island’s shuttle pads had sounded from summer storms and from the clock-like Atlantic surf washing the padside beaches. After 164 flightless days, the flight of Discovery took on the pressure of another “Return to Flight.” Once again the shuttle was called upon to carry a weight it was not designed for – the entire future of NASA. With Columbia carrying the image of a leaking fire hose and Atlantis shaken with loose timbers like a beached ship, a perfect mission became the overwhelming mission of Discovery – she had to fly exactly by the textbook…
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:33 PM
Saturday, October 6, 1990 (Launch Day) – Thus, then, the ship sped on her way

“People were wearing smiles in the Firing Room.”

- Lisa Malone, KSC spokeswoman and STS-41 launch PAO


The clock was ticking toward launch of STS-41 at 7:35 a.m. EDT; the Kennedy Space Center launch team aimed for something beyond the tanking tests that had riddled the summer months. “The team has been enjoying a smooth launch countdown,” Launch Director Robert Sieck said. “The team feels good about tanking. We think Discovery and its External Tank are a tight vehicle. We’re looking forward to proving that.” Sieck added, “I would say that the mood of the team is confident, and that is in spite of the distractions and disappointments that have occurred recently which would tend to overshadow a lot of good work… If the weather is good to us, we’ll have some good news today.”

At 11:25 p.m. EDT on October 5, eight hours before planned launch, the three-hour tanking procedure began. Sensors in and around the aft engine compartment constantly sniffed for traces of hydrogen that always escapes. Only if the levels rose above the Launch Commit Criteria (LCC) level of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) would the launch attempt fall into jeopardy; Columbia during her last failed attempt in September registered leak levels four times above the LCC limit.

As hydrogen began flowing through the complex network of pipes entering the orbiter near its tail, winding through the engine compartment, out Discovery’s belly to the External Tank, the sensors began recording the low-level presence of hydrogen. The bare trace quickly peaked at 300 ppm and settled down to 75 ppm. – well within LCC limits, Discovery proved herself a tight ship. Smiles were noted on the faces of the controllers in Firing Room #3.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:36 PM
By the time the flight crew was awakened at 2:40 a.m. EDT, tanking was complete. The weather, with predictions fluctuating between 60 and 70 percent chance of being acceptable, now loomed as the only major concern. A rain shower passed over the floodlit launch pad in the early hours of October 6. If the flight could not lift off October 6 or 7, a ridge of high pressure in front of Hurricane Klaus would begin influencing the weather.

PAO: (Lisa Malone): This is Shuttle Launch Control at T minus three hours and holding. We’re joining the flight crew for STS-41in the crew quarters. This is Mission Specialist Bruce Melnick who’s making his first flight today aboard the shuttle Discovery… Pilot Robert Cabana… Commander Dick Richards… Mission Specialist Tom Akers… Mission Specialist Bill Shepherd. He’s making his second flight aboard the shuttle Discovery today.    
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:37 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:37 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:40 PM
PAO: We do have live coverage of the flight crew, donning their launch and entry suits. Commander Richards being assisted his gloves… Pilot Robert Cabana, who is now putting his gloves on… Mission Specialist Bruce Melnick giving a thumbs up… Here’s Mission Specialist Bill Shepherd; he’s making his second flight into space today… and Mission Specialist Tom Akers; he’s making his first flight aboard the shuttle today.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:40 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:42 PM
PAO: The closeout crew is busy preparing the crew cabin for the flight crew’s entry… Here we have the ground floor of the Operations & Checkout building. The flight crew now coming out being (garble) on their flight by employees of the Kennedy Space Center… Pilot Cabana, Bruce Melnick, Bill Shepherd and Tom Akers… getting onboard the astronaut van. This is the traditional method of transportation for the flight crew out to the launch pad.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:42 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:43 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:44 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:45 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:47 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:48 PM
The rain had dried away by the time the flight crew began entering Discovery shortly before 5:00 a.m. EDT.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:50 PM
PAO: The crewmembers are boarding the orbiter; being assisted right now is Commander Dick Richards. He is the Commander of the flight today… He’s now climbing aboard and will be getting strapped into his seat shortly…
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:51 PM
PAO: Pilot Robert Cabana is now being assisted by members of the closeout crew with the final items of the gear he will need for a launch today. He’s a Lieutenant-Colonel in the United States Marine Corps; he was born in Minneapolis; Minnesota. He was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1985 and is making his first trip aboard the Space Shuttle today...
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:52 PM
PAO: Mission Specialist Tom Akers is being assisted with his equipment now to get into Discovery’s crew cabin. He is making his first trip into space today aboard the shuttle Discovery…
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:53 PM
PAO: And the closeout crew is now assisting Mission Specialist Bruce Melnick with the rest of his flight crew equipment. Melnick is a Commander in the United States Coast Guard; he was born in New York City, but considers Clear Water, Florida, to be his hometown…
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:54 PM
PAO: Mission Specialist Bill Shepherd is now being assisted with the equipment he will wear aboard the orbiter Discovery for the ascent portion of the flight…
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:55 PM
The hatch was closed on schedule at 6:05 a.m. EDT, an hour and a half from planned launch.

PAO: At this time the hatch is being closed out for flight and the crew has been directed to begin cabin leak checks. This is a routine operation in the final hours of the launch countdown.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:57 PM

The last moments of any count are peppered with little nits, last-second question marks that dangle before the eyes of controllers. The smooth count of STS-41 could not escape a hit of the nits. The first, arising during the planned hold at T minus 9 minutes, concerned water – but not that from rain. The orbiter’s electricity-producing fuel-cells manufacture H2O as a byproduct, water that is fed to the drinking water tanks. Preflight calculations are based on a certain load of water in the tanks. Unfortunately, the fuel cells had not quite produced that calculated amount. The water load was knifing right at the lower limit as the fuel cells continued to add a trickle to it. Controllers decided the load would be adequate.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:59 PM
“We will remain in the minus-9-minute hold for an extra minute or so,” a controller called. A measurement of vent pressure on a water boiler in the hydraulic system’s power units was not up to spec. “How long do you need to stay in the minus-9-minute hold?” the Test Director asked. “We’re discussing that,” the controller answered. Sieck cut in and spoke to the Test Director,” We just cleared that up, though… They believe they’ll meet the red line, so I think that’s cleared. Have you finished your poll at this time?”

“That’s affirm.” The Test Director had completed the issue. After conducting his own poll of the management team, Sieck hooked into the air-to-ground loop for his traditional farewell to the crew.

Sieck: If we get through the next nine-minute worth of work, we’ll be pleased to have you and the program back on orbit. So at this time, we’ll wish you a good one.

Richards: Okay, Bob. And we all think we’re sitting on top of a great spaceship. We’ll see you about four days from now out in the desert.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 09:59 PM
Sieck immediately turned his microphone to the Test Director and said, “You have a go to proceed,” Three minutes to picking up the count… two minutes… Then another pesky nit rose up – an old familiar one. Houston Flight – overseeing various aspects of the launch, including weather reports from Dan Brandenstein flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft over the KSC area – came on the primary communications loop: “Okay, you all want to hold at this time until I get an STA report on that shower that’s moving in to the zone north of the runway.”

“Cancel pending,” the Test Director told the launch team. Time: 7:26 a.m. EDT. Houston Flight came back on, filling in the picture: “There is a shower that’s got tops reported at about 9,000 feet, about 14 miles north of the runway. We’ve asked the STA to go over and just take a look at it. Moving westerly, it would be a violation at that point, and we’re going to… see if we can clear it.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:01 PM
Chatter ceased on the main comm channel, as the team waited with reflexes poised for launch like a compressed spring. Finally a coiled voice called out, “Is there any estimate on how long this weather will hold us?”

Sieck: This is Launch Director. I expect it would be a matter of minutes as opposed to an extended hold. So everybody should be prepared to come out with short notice.

In a moment, Houston Flight was back online: “Okay, we’ve taken a look at this rain shower, and we’re going to clear this one, and we’re go.” – “Go to proceed,“ Sieck immediately told the Test Director. “Understand. Launch team, we’re going to pick up the count at T minus 9 minutes momentarily,” the Test Director said. “GLS, we’ll pick up the count on your mark.” Without hesitating, GLS said, “Stand by. Mark! T minus 9 minutes and counting; Ground Launch Sequencer has been initiated.” So, there had been an unscheduled 10-minute 43-second hold at T minus 9 minutes because of the rain shower north of the Shuttle Landing Facility runway.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:03 PM

The well-worn chant of final countdown was underway, clipped voices shooting back and forth. But the little launch nits kept pecking away. “A heads up,” one controller broke in. “The hydraulic system two water boiler…” The pesky pressure sensor, which was not mandatory for launch, was giving a false indication, and the GLS computer would have to be told to ignore it. “And we’re going to take a momentary hold at 5 minutes to clear the GLS.”

PAO: And we have a go for retracting the orbiter crew access arm away from the vehicle to the launch configuration…

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:04 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:05 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:06 PM
The count continued, configuring the Auxiliary Power Units for starting. The ten-second hold at T minus 5 minutes was so short that an observer could have missed it with a microscope. “The countdown clock is hold at T minus 5 minutes,” the GLS controller said, followed immediately by, “3… 2… 1… the GLS is go for orbiter APU start.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:07 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:08 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:10 PM
And the count raced on. “Pilot, perform APU start… APU start complete; three good APUs… Purge Sequence Four, the final purge of the main engines… T minus 3 minutes and counting – all systems are go for launch… Clear caution and warning…  Retraction of the gaseous oxygen vent hood…”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:11 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:13 PM
PAO: Retraction of the gaseous oxygen vent hood is now underway… just a few minutes away now from the launch of Discovery on a four-day mission with five crewmembers. Coming up on the T minus 2 minute mark…

Cabana: OTC, PLT. Caution and warning cleared.

OTC: Copy that…
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:14 PM
And just under T minus two minutes, the Orbiter Test Conductor made the final symbolic call to the crew, “…And flight crew, OTC. Close and lock visors, initiate O2 flow, and have a good flight.” The OTC’s bon voyage was followed immediately by the voice of GLS, “The countdown clock will hold at T minus 31 seconds due to a failure.”

The words, a set call indicating the GLS computer had tripped over something, mirrored many such alerts in the past, usually ending in a launch scrub. Time: 7:43 a.m. EDT, seven minutes after the opening of the two-hour 18-minute launch window.

A controller called out a problem with low “payload interface and duct pressures.” The valve in ground support equipment that controlled the air pressure inside the payload bay was not automatically holding at the proper levels. “Two measurements just came back within LCC range,” a controller quickly said. “They’re back within limits, an we’re recommending clearance.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:15 PM
Not so fast – Sieck was not quite satisfied and asked, “and the reason for the excursion was what?”

“I really don’t know,” the controller said, followed immediately by a disheartening, “They went down again. Our flow valve is cycling open and close.” The countdown hit the stops at T minus 31 seconds.

“It was stable after we got our payload bay reduction. It was just fine and then started cycling low,” the controller explained. – “Do you feel you can meet the minimum limit if we continue on successfully or do we have to scrub?” Sieck asked. – “No, it’s cycling in and out, and if it stays up, we can try to control the valve manually and bring it up to the highest range.”

Sieck asked other control stations if they had any problems with the procedure. “I think we can handle it manually,” came the reply. Sieck called, “Go ahead with your software configuration, and let us know (when you are ready),” Sieck told the controller overseeing the valve. A reply shot back, “That is complete; we’re standing by.” Sieck checked with another console station, “Are you go to proceed?” – “Yes, I recommend go.” – “Copy… You have a go to proceed,” Sieck told the Test Director.

“GLS, pick up the count on your mark,” the Test Director called. – “3… 2… 1… Mark! GLS is go for auto sequence start.” Time: 7:46 a.m. EDT, just three minutes after the problem was picked up – and after a third unscheduled hold lasting one minute and 22 seconds.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:17 PM

“Climbin' up the ladder
I keep pushin' and I'm bound to know
Climbin' climbin' the ladder
Though it be shakin'
Ain't it up that I gotta go?”

- The Isley Brothers, “Climbing Up The Ladder” (“Go For Your Guns,” 1977)

After fifteen minutes of nervous jitters, something wonderful happened for the final 31 seconds of the count – and continued happening for the next four days, two hours and ten minutes – a textbook flight, the closest form to perfection achievable by humankind. “25 seconds… 10… GLS is go for main engine start.”
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:18 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:18 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:23 PM
PAO: T minus 31 seconds, we have a go for auto sequence start… Discovery’s four redundant computers have primary control of critical vehicle functions… T minus 15 seconds… T minus 10… 9… we have a go for main engine start… 6… 5… 4…

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:26 PM
PAO: 3… 2… 1… ignition and lift-off of Discovery and the Ulysses spacecraft bound for the polar regions of the Sun.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:27 PM
Under the force of the three liquid-fueled engines, Discovery nodded like a racer getting set. The solids lit, tossing the stack skyward, in front of a curtain of scattered cloud puffs back-lit by a rising Sun. A full harvest Moon still competed for the blue Florida sky as Richards made the traditional first call, “Roll program, Houston.”

CapCom (Ken Bowersox): Roger, roll, Discovery.

PAO (Billie Deason): This is Mission Control. The roll maneuver puts Discovery into the correct launch plane…

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:28 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:30 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:33 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:34 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:37 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:38 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:39 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:39 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:43 PM
Textbook: The roll pirouette began nine seconds after lift-off and was completed six seconds later… at 27 seconds, the main engines began throttling down to 67 percent thrust to withstand the wall of Max Q, the maximum air pressure encountered as the shuttle went supersonic… at 52 seconds, Max Q – 667 pounds per square foot pressing on the skin of the shuttle…

PAO: Guidance officer confirms a good roll maneuver. Engines now throttling down in preparation for Discovery’s passage through the aero… maximum aerodynamics loads area… Auxiliary Power Units all three looking good, Discovery’s velocity now 2300 feet per second…

CapCom: Discovery, go at throttle up.

Richards: Go at throttle up.

PAO: The “go at throttle up” call means that everything is working well aboard Discovery. All engines now back at 104 percent performance. Velocity is now 3300 feet per second… Discovery now 14 nautical miles downrange from Kennedy, at a velocity of 5,000 feet per second…
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:45 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:46 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:46 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:48 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:49 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:54 PM
Discovery floated atop a perfect sheet of flame that broadened into a dense column of smoke. The edges of the smoke column were etched in bright white from the low Sun over the Atlantic. At 2 minutes 4 seconds, the Solid Rocket Boosters sputtered their last strength and fell back. Discovery leaped ahead like a racehorse from the starting gate.

PAO: And we have separation of the Solid Rocket Boosters… velocity now 5400 feet per second; Discovery 31 nautical miles downrange… Auxiliary Power Units still performing well, all three engines still at 104 percent, no systems problems aboard Discovery.

CapCom: Discovery, performance nominal.

Richards: Nominal performance.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 10:58 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 11:00 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 11:01 PM
Textbook: Velocity 6,400 feet per second, 71 miles downrange… Abort calls began – “Two engine Ben” at 3 minutes, 8 seconds, meaning Discovery could reach the runway at Ben Guerir, Morocco on two of the three main engines… velocity 7,000 feet per second, 92 miles downrange…

Reaching the four-minute mark, the only launch anomaly occurred. One sensor indicated that the primary controller for the Flash Evaporator System, the cooling loop used during launch, might be failing – which turned out false. But no one was taking chances during ascent. “And Houston, looks like our evap outs are going up,” Richards called. “Roger, Discovery, we’d like you to work the evap out T-high procedure.” Mission Control was telling Richards to switch to the alternate B controller. “Okay, that’s in work,” he replied.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 11:03 PM
But nothing could stop the textbook ascent: Negative return at 4 minutes, 10 seconds, meaning Discovery could not return to a Kennedy Space Center landing in the event of an emergency… At 5 minutes, velocity 10,700 feet per second… at 5 minutes 18 seconds, Press to ATO, meaning Discovery could Abort to Orbit and reach a stable orbit on two engines if necessary… velocity 13,000 feet per second… At 6 minutes 19 seconds, Press to MECO, meaning Discovery could now reach her planned orbit on only two engines… At 7 minutes, 4 seconds, Single engine press 104, meaning Discovery could now reach its planned orbit on a single main engine at 104 percent thrust… velocity 20,000 feet per second, altitude 67 miles… At  7 minutes 33 seconds, the main engines began throttling down to maintain 3-g loads on the vehicle… MECO command given at 8 minutes, 30 seconds, with thrust tailing to zero eight seconds later.

CapCom: Discovery, nominal MECO.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 11:04 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 11:05 PM
After climbing the precisely timed rungs of the ascent ladder, Discovery coasted over the roof of the world. Another book was quickly opened as the crew began working through the post-insertion checklist within fifteen minutes of achieving initial orbit. Discovery’s final orbital placement was reached with a burn of the twin OMS engines 39 minutes 52 seconds into the flight. The burn of 2 minutes, 24 seconds at orbital apogee added 223 feet per second of velocity, circularizing the orbit at 160 nautical miles.

The FES cooling system, which had given finicky performance on several flights including the 1988 return-to-flight STS-26, continued to nit on the minds of controllers. “There is no problem presently with the Flash Evaporator System. It is performing well,” the Houston PAO Billie Deason reported after the OMS burn. “The flight control team’s preliminary assessment is (the launch indication) was a transient data message, and they do not think there was really a problem… The EECOM officer and his backroom are putting together a plan for later on this morning to go back over to the primary A controller and check that out… When there are no big problems going on, the engineers like to try to figure out the little data transients...”

At 7:55 a.m. CDT Bowersox told the crew, “We think that problem with FES A was transient and we’d like to try it again. We have a mal procedure we’d like you to work…” He read up the procedure for switching back to A. The results were evident within moments. At 8:02 a.m. CDT, Bowersox informed Discovery, “FES A is looking good.” Nine minutes later, the crew was given the go to open the payload bay doors.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston…

CapCom: Discovery, Houston. You got a go for payload bay door ops.

Richards: Okay. Go for payload bay door ops.

CapCom: That’s correct.

PAO: Crew has just been given the go for payload bay door operations. They will begin opening the payload bay doors aboard Discovery and we’ll be standing by for a status on that in the next few minutes. This is Mission Control…

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 11:11 PM
As the clamshell doors opened, the glitter of gold was revealed: The gold insulation of the doughnut-shaped cradle at the rear of the bay, with the chunky white cylinder of the IUS spearing through its heart. The IUS narrowed into the gold-mantled Ulysses, wrapped like a Christmas present, pointing at the twin windows of the flight deck.

PAO: This is Mission Control…

Richards: Doors are open, and everything was on time.

CapCom: Roger.

PAO: The crew confirms the payload bay doors were opened and the motors drove properly. MMACS officer had given that confirmation just a couple of moments earlier.

CapCom: Discovery, you got a go for orbit ops.

Richards: Roger, go for orbit ops. Thanks.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 11:11 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/01/2016 11:12 PM
"We're mighty happy and proud to have Discovery back in orbit," said Flight Director Ron Dittemore. “It’s good to be back in the air again,” KSC Launch Director Bob Sieck echoed these words. “The mood, I don’t know if you’d say it’s one of euphoria or relief… What’s important is that we launched a safe vehicle, a vehicle we believe will meet all of its performance objectives.”

The frustrating succession of elusive fuel leaks that Sieck termed "diabolical" had hobbled the agency's hopes of conducting a record-tying nine flights in 1990. STS-41 was but the fourth of 1990, and its predecessor had been the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in late April. The Hubble's flawed optical system, though traced to mistakes made nearly ten years ago, had ignited a furor over the benefits of costly technical programs like the planned space station.

The puzzling fuel leaks that grounded the astronomy and military missions of Columbia and Atlantis had raised questions about the agency's quality control procedures, as had the recent embarrassing incident at Kennedy Space Center in which a nine-foot aluminum beam tumbled through Atlantis' engine compartment during mating operations inside the VAB.

(Dixon P. Otto, “STS-41 – By the Textbook,” Countdown, December 1990; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 7, 1990; STS-41 Space Shuttle Mission report, NSTS-08194, Nov. 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 10:41 PM
Saturday, October 6, 1990 (Flight Day 1) – Then send him away…

"Then send him away," said Mercury, "or Jove will be angry with you and punish you."

- Homer, “The Odyssey,” Book V


Go for orbit ops came at 8:28 a.m. CDT. As the crew switched to the software for orbital operations, another little transient blipped up to the crew’s computer screens. Richards radioed down, “Just a note of interest… GPC #2 was assigned to string #3, which was a surprise. We’ve got them out of the string assignment now.” Richards, in technical jargon, was telling the ground that they showed the #2 computer of five GPCs was not in the proper configuration. Actually, as with the FES situation, the indication was wrong. The perfection of the textbook had not been marred.

The pages of a new textbook began turning – the deploy checklist that would lead to the orbital birth of Ulysses about six hours into the mission. The hands of Akers took charge of this book. “We’re getting ready to do our panel checkouts. We’ll keep you posted,” he told Mission Control at 8:40 a.m. CDT. “Everything is looking good. They are right on time according to the Payloads Operations Support Timeline,” the PAO reported.

At 9:20 a.m. CDT, the Ascent/Entry team of flight controllers went off duty at Mission Control, making way for the Orbit 2 team. In parting, Bowersox told the crew, “We just want you to know there are a lot of smiling faces here on the ground.” – “Well, there’s a lot of smiling faces up here, too, Sox,” Richards replied. “You all did a great job getting us off the pad this morning. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Nothing but the best continued to ride with Discovery. The crew continued to run through the checklists like concert pianists with an exercised touch of ivory. Very few words needed to be exchanged with Mission Control.

At 9:23 a.m. CDT, the new CapCom, Kathy Thornton, gave the crew a go to transfer the IUS to internal power and a preliminary deploy time of six hours 56 second into the mission. “Copy – a go for transfer to internal power, on time…” Two minutes later, Thornton informed the crew that the initial set of commands to Ulysses from UPOCC, The Ulysses Payloads Operations Control Center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, were complete.
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 10:43 PM
The rapid bursts of clipped conversation intensified as the deployment team descended deeper into the checklist. At 9:31 a.m. CDT, Akers reported, “We went to internal power… Everything looked good. Standing by for the go for predeploy check.” Immediately Thornton replied, “And you’re go for the predeploy check.” The IUS control center at Sunnyvale, California, watched the data come in concerning the power system of the solid-fueled upper stage. After just four minutes, Thornton radioed, “Tom, Sunnyvale confirms what you already know. You have a good predeployment check.”

Two minutes later, at 9:37 a.m. CDT, Akers was issued to go for his next check. Each of several routes for commanding the stack was being brought to life briefly to assure all were ready. At 9:50 a.m. CDT, Thornton radioed, “You’re go for the PI check.” The PI check tested commanding the stack through Discovery’s Payload Interrogator. “The PI is on, and we have good signal strength,” Akers reported four minutes later. “Okay, we’ll put that in the record books,” Thornton said.

“All of the command paths so far assisted have come up normal and ready to support deploy, now about two hours 47 minutes away,” the PAO said. Crews on past IUS deployment missions sometimes had to nurse along command relays that refused to stay in lock. The nits for STS-41 proved even more minor than usual.

An unexpected asterisk appeared on the display when the B-side of one relay was called up. Sunnyvale relayed the message that that Akers could ignore it. Another time, the PI began toggling between the A and B sides of a link for a moment, with the crew displays showing no lock. In such cases, the various ground centers responded as if as close as a coach on the edge of the playing field. “When you were seeing the carrier lock toggling, Sunnyvale still confirmed good data through the A side for the entire time,” Thornton assured Akers.

At 10:14 a.m. CDT, the PI checkout was complete. Without a breath’s moment, the crew moved on to Attitude Match Updates. Four precise measurements of Discovery’s position were made, squeezing out any play in the numbers needed to send Ulysses on its exacting course towards Jupiter. At 10:33 a.m. CDT, Cabana began maneuvering Discovery to the attitude for the first match update. “AMU data take #1,” the crew called five minutes later.

As is often the case during a busy deploy sequence, more than one activity was taking place at once. At 10:49 a.m. CDT, Akers was given the go for checkout of the Payload Assist Module. The PAM would serve as the third and final stage to kick Ulysses on a direct course for Jupiter. In just five minutes, Akers reported, “PAM checkout is complete. It looked good.” All the rocket motors needed to boost Ulysses were now checked and ready.

Seconds later, Cabana was reporting, “Houston, Discovery. AMU data take #2 in 30 seconds.” At 11:08 a.m. CDT, Attitude Match Update #3. At 11:16 a.m. CDT, Attitude Match Update #4. Two minutes later, Thornton told the crew, “Sunnyvale is very happy with your AMU sequence.”

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 10:46 PM

“Everything is going excellently according to the timeline,” the PAO commented. At 11:33 a.m. CDT, he reported, another milestone just behind us” as the UPOCC completed commanding to the Ulysses. Another sign that deploy was approaching came 15 minutes later when the deploy PAD, all the exact event times, was read up to the crew – with deploy set for a Mission Elapsed Time of six hours, zero minutes, 59 seconds into the flight.

Less than an hour from deploy, the refined navigation numbers of the AMU data takes were being dialed into the navigation system. At 11:58 a.m. CDT – 50 minutes to deployment – Discovery began maneuvering to deploy attitude. At 12:00 p.m. CDT, the update was verified as set and correct.

“We’re moving now into the next phase, which will be the tilt table activation and raise to 20 degrees,” the PAO said. Discovery reached deploy attitude at 12:08 p.m. CDT, and the crew began preparations to swivel the tilt table so that the Ulysses stack would be angled 29 degrees above the level of the payload bay. The Payload Retention Latch Assemblies were retracted, taking twenty seconds to release… Moving at 0.03 inches per second, the tilt table began moving to 29 degrees.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 10:48 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 10:52 PM
At 12:26 p.m. CDT, Discovery came back into communications range after passing through the brief coverage gap over the Indian Ocean. Sounding pumped up and posed for the task, Akers said, “Okay, we’re standing by for a go for deploy.” – “We expect that pretty soon,“ Thornton said. In just a minute she came back on the air.

CapCom: Discovery, Houston. You are go for deploy.

Akers: Copy. Go for deploy, K.T. And we are at 29 degrees. The time to raise was three minutes 40 seconds, and you can see, we’re on internal power...

Within two minutes, the crew had cut the umbilical lines connecting the Ulysses stack to Discovery. The next event involved lifting the stack to 58 degrees above the payload bay. At 12:32 p.m. CDT, almost without a pause, the ground saw indications that the tilt table was being raised from the 29-degree point. “We see good motion,” Akers reported. Then he received a little scare as data from the stack dropped bottom for a second – but came back up. “Just a momentary glitch. We’ve got good data again,” he said.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 10:54 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 10:56 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 10:59 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:00 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:01 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:04 PM
At 12:35 p.m. CDT, thirteen minutes to deploy, Akers reported, “We’re at 58 degrees. Time up to 58 degrees was three minutes, 20 seconds… And Houston, we’re going to be starting the RTG purge momentary.” Purging dry the glycol/water coolant lines that had wiped the hot brow of the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator during its stay in the shuttle topped the checklist, the final milestone prior to release. At 12:44 p.m. CDT, four minutes to deploy, the crew confirmed the purge was complete. The call came as their final communication prior to deploy.


“Now 30 seconds to deploy,” the PAO counted down as 12:48 p.m. CDT approached. “Standing by for confirmation of deploy.”

The body of the IUS lifted from the cradle, and its trailing gold-capped engine nozzle slipped smoothly through the mouth of the tilt table. The brilliant blue of the Pacific, halfway between Guam and Hawaii, formed a background for the deploy. Rising over the crew cabin, the Ulysses stack sparkled in the harsh sunlight of space.

Richards: Good deploy, Houston. Ulysses is on its way.

CapCom: That’s a great job.

PAO: Deploy of Ulysses took place right on time, six hours and 59 seconds into the flight. That’s off one second from the pre-mission prediction for the nominal time. So that’s pretty good pointing.

Commander Dick Richards stopped talking, as the entire crew watched through the twin overhead windows as the solar probe drifted away in a solar spotlight. Tiny particles, motes of dust and ice, also caught the Sun as if afire and zipped through the black background behind Ulysses like shooting stars. One particle, much larger than the rest, caught the eyes of the crew…
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:08 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:11 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:20 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:22 PM
The watchful eyes at Sunnyvale noticed a couple data hiccups – tripping telemetry alerts – as the spacecraft deployed. “Funnies,” the controllers called, unknowns that disappeared as the data lock settled in.

The crew could not keep their eyes pressed to the windows for long. At 12:55 p.m. CDT, Akers reported, “The tilt table is coming down. It’s been in motion for a couple of minutes.” In another five minutes it was down to its stowed position. Fifteen minutes after deploy, Discovery made a separation burn using the left OMS engine. The 32-second burn pushed in 31 feet per second of departing velocity.

Meanwhile, Sunnyvale was reporting no repeats of the data glitches. At 12:59 p.m. CDT, they could state that both the IUS and PAM appeared healthy.

After the separation burn, Discovery settled down into an orbit measuring 205 by 184 miles. “Can you give us a deploy time, please?” the ground asked. The reply, sounding almost offended, “The deploy was exactly on time.” As if it could be otherwise on this textbook flight! The official deploy later was clocked as six hours, one minute, 42.83 seconds MET.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:28 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:29 PM
At 1:29 p.m. CDT, the Flight Dynamics Officer at Mission Control reported that Discovery was a safe distance away from the IUS. A minute later, Flight Director Milt Heflin officially handed over responsibility for the Ulysses/IUS to Sunnyvale. Their nail-biting focus fell squarely on the upper stages now. Both the IUS and PAM stages had suffered failures in the 1980s. Never before had they been coupled together for a three-stage stack – with three chances for failure.

The first stage of the IUS was set to fire at seven hours, five minutes, 58 seconds MET. It would boost the spacecraft’s speed from 17,3000 mph to 22,550 mph. The second IUS stage would fire immediately afterward, kicking the speed to 25,580 mph. Shortly after, the PAM would give a final shove to 34,130 mph. At that point, Ulysses would become the fastest object to leave the Earth’s system, the PAO said. In just eight hours, it would journey the 238,000 miles to cross the orbit of the Moon – a journey that took Apollo astronauts about three days.

The IUS burns would take place over the Indian Ocean. An Advanced Range Instruments Aircraft would monitor the automatic engine sequence. “We anticipate getting real-time data through the ARIA to give us a sense of how SRM #1 goes. We may not see complete coverage of the SRM #2 burn. Confirmation of the PAM-S will essentially come once we have Deep Space Network acquisition of Ulysses at about seven hours, 45 minutes into the mission,” the PAO explained.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:30 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:30 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:32 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:33 PM
At 1:50 p.m. CDT, data through the Indian Ocean Station showed the IUS at SRM #1 attitude. Two minutes later, the PAO relayed, “SRM #1 ignition confirmed. Sequence in progress… So far, so good, is the report from Sunnyvale guidance.” The burn lasted one minute, 50 seconds… At 1:55 p.m. CDT, “Sunnyvale confirms SRM #1 burn complete… All preliminary indications are that that burn was successful.” Two minutes later, “Standing by… and SRM #2 ignition confirmed.” The burn lasted 106 seconds.

At 2:01 p.m. CDT, “So far, all indications are that the SRM #2 went well. We also confirm now that the first two stages of the Inertial Upper Stage have separated. The Ulysses and PAM-S stage now on their own, and the burn of the PAM-S stage should be about underway…” – PAM ignition was set for seven hours, 13 minutes, 58 seconds MET, out of tracking range.

During the IUS burns, Discovery had been out of communications range. Coming back in contact at 2:06 p.m. CDT, the crew immediately asked about their former cargo.

Richards: …We were just about ready to maneuver out of window protect, and just want a verification that the Ulysses had a good SRM ignition.

CapCom: Dick, we saw SRM #1 and #2, and we’re looking for data on the PAM, but it was all good.

Richards: When you pick up Ulysses, I’m sure you’ll let us know how it looks.

Then Akers reported, “Closeout is complete, and the PI is turned off.” The Discovery mission could turn focus on their array of secondary payloads – with one ear still tuned to hear the word on Ulysses’ fate in deep space.

At 2:14 p.m. CDT, quicker than anticipated, the PAO could report, “The Guam tracking station has acquired a downlink and a good lock with the Ulysses spacecraft exactly where they anticipated it would be.” The word was immediately relayed to the Discovery crew.

CapCom: Discovery, Houston, for your information. Guam ground station has picked up Ulysses just where they thought it ought to be.

Akers: Fantastic!

CapCom: You guys did a good job.

For the hundreds of men and women who labored for years turning the dream into reality, Ulysses’ launch was an emotional experience. “Fourteen years after I started on this project, I’ve finally seen the thing go,” said European Space Agency project manager Derek Eaton. “We’ve been looking forward to this day for long, long time,” said Peter Wenzel, ESA project manager for Ulysses. “We never gave up hopes. That’s what it takes if you want to go to new frontiers and break new ground. You have to do a lot of hard work and have patience.”

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:35 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:35 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:37 PM

Like proud parents the crew immediately began sending down TV replays of the deploy. A slip of the tongue during the narration might be considered a breech of national security to CIA minds. The crew told Thornton as the TV showed the IUS, “Kathy, you are probably familiar with this. You can describe this as much as I can. We just dropped the umbilicals and raised to 58.”

The only place Thornton could have gained a familiarity with an IUS deploy would have occurred during her single shuttle mission, STS-33 in November 1989. However, that flight was a secret military mission, and the payload, rumored to be a “Magnum” spy satellite using an IUS, never was acknowledged. The slip by the STS-41 crew tended to confirm the rumors.

The replay showed the mysterious object floating off after the IUS. “If you’re wondering about that faint object there, we were wondering what that was, too. But it came out with Ulysses,” the crew said. “That’s all we have for you Kathy. We were a little bit rushed at the end and we couldn’t get quite the video we had planned.”

Like worry-warts without anything major to wring their hands about, Mission Control wanted to know more about the mystery object. “Could you give us any further description on what that extra object was floating about?” Thornton asked.

“We have about two or three explanations for it here. Obviously we don’t know, Kathy. We didn’t get a good look at it, and to tell you the truth, it showed up in the view where the Sun was striking off of it. Some of us think it might be ice, and other people think it might have been some particle or something – but we’re guessing ice,” the crew said.

Mission Control was not about to give up. “Okay, well, we’ll be looking at this video to see if we can learn anything more.” Mission Control eventually concluded that the object was a two-feet-long piece of the ice that had shaken loose from the shuttle’s dormant engine bells.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:38 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:39 PM
At 2:22 p.m. CDT, the crew reported their first actual “problem,” which in its size showed the smoothness of the mission. “We’ve got a small problem here… You know it’s small when its with the galley, but we thought we ought to tell you about it.” – “There are no small problems when it comes to the galley!” Thornton joked.

“We have a very small leak in the size of a drop that was attached to the plumbing…” The crew simply placed a towel around the valve where the drop was located and had no further trouble with it.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:41 PM
The crew went into their pre-sleep activities and appeared on top of the timeline. When Mission Control told them that they wanted the Ku-band communications dish positioned for the sleep period, Richards reported, “You read our minds. Bruce is on the way over.”

Without anything to fuss over, Mission Control made their final good-night call at 4:39 p.m. CDT, giving the crew an hour of quiet before the sleep period was to begin. Mission Control closed with an update on Ulysses.

CapCom: On Ulysses, the UPOCC is still receiving data through Canberra… They’re going to change the spacecraft’s attitude in a couple or three hours. The radial boom deployment is scheduled for tomorrow. We’re going to send you some distance/time charts in the morning mail… And that’s all. If you don’t have anything for us, we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Richards: We thank you all, and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

And Discovery sailed on in radio silence, with the crew’s noses probably pressed against the windows until well into the sleep period. “The crew now winding down after a long day. And Mission Control sent them to bed with a couple of final housekeeping details,” reported the PAO. “And barring anything that comes up in the next hour or so, we don’t intend to talk to them; we want them to get some sleep and enjoy the view out the window.”

(Dixon P. Otto, “STS-41 – By the Textbook,” Countdown, December 1990; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; Deseret News, Oct. 7, 1990; STS-41 Space Shuttle Mission report, NSTS-08194, Nov. 1990, Chronology of KSC and KSC-related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:44 PM
PAO: This is Mission Control. Discovery is just about to cross the eastern coast of Australia, going out across the Great Barrier Reef on the final part of the descending node of orbit 12…

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:46 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:47 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:50 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:52 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:53 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:54 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/05/2016 11:57 PM
Sunday, October 7, 1990 (Flight Day 2) – Sailing along, sailing along

“Rise and shine, Discovery,
Here begins a new day…”

- Boeing Employees Choir, “Rise and Shine, Discovery”

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:01 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:02 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:07 AM

The crew shook off sleep at 1:47 a.m. CDT to the sounds of tribute in song by the Boeing Employees Choir to honor their successful IUS deploy. Choir Director Michael Kysar and fellow choir member Gloria Ball had collaborated on words and music, including the refrain “Sailing along, sailing along, flying to explore the galaxy…”

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:09 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:13 AM
With no problems to upset their schedules, the astronauts proceeded to work through a nominal Flight Day 2 timeline. The well-rehearsed plan moved forward with little need of chatter with the ground, almost as if Discovery was flying in the days before the TDRS communications relay satellites made Mission Control a constant companion.

At 5:32 a.m. CDT, Richards and Cabana performed a phase adjust burn, a 44-second OMS firing with a differential velocity of 41 feet per second that changed the orbit to 178 by 160 miles. The adjustment would enable Discovery to land at Edwards Air Force Base in optimum lighting condition five minutes after sunrise three days hence.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:17 AM
On orbit 17, at 6:14 a.m. CDT, the PAO said, “The air-to-ground circuits continue to be fairly quiet – slow traffic – as are the voice links here in the flight control room, as we clip right through the Flight Day 2 timeline.

At that time, Richards and Shepherd were working with the Space Station Cursor Control Device Evaluation. The standard mouse controller used on home computers is awkward to use in space, where bearing down hard on the hand control is difficult. The crew was evaluating alternate cursor-control devices with the aim of finding the best one for use on the space station.

Richards and Shepherd worked with a track ball and a “Felix” cursor pad in conjunction with an Apple Macintosh portable computer. With the track ball, rotating a ball held in a socket caused the cursor to move on the screen. The “Felix” used small finger movements on a pad to achieve the same results.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:20 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:22 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:22 AM

As soon as Shepherd finished putting the pointers through their paces, he had to participate in another test. Along with Melnick, he tried out the Voice Command System. The system was hooked up to allow voice commands to control the orbiter’s closed-circuit TVs. Eventually, engineers at the Johnson Space Center hoped to perfect the VCS that could be used on future spacecraft, including the space station. One possible application was the operation of the station's galley, eliminating the need for its crew to perform mundane tasks like food preparation. Another was the operation of an advanced robot arm similar to the RMS now used on the shuttle to deploy or retrieve satellites. French researchers were developing a VCS for their advanced fighter aircraft.

In the science fiction movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," a devious computer named HAL aboard a vessel headed for Jupiter – incidentally also named “Discovery” – conversed solicitously with his space voyagers before attempting a mutiny. And in the popular film "Star Wars," the spunky robot R2D2, functioned as companion and adviser to hero Luke Skywalker. However, the experiments conducted aboard Space Shuttle Discovery involve much less sophisticated devices.

The VCS operators had made “templates” of command words, voice imprints which the computer was able to recognize and translate into camera adjustments. The trials were intended to determine whether changes caused by the shift of bodily fluids in the weightlessness of space impair the ability of the crude command system to recognize the voices of Shepherd and Melnick. Sunday's attempts indicated that the vocal tones of the two men had changed enough to confuse the device. "My success with it was very low," Shepherd reported at 7:50 a.m. CDT, during the first of three daily trials. "Bruce's run was a lot better but still much less successful than on the ground."

The system had recognized about 35 commands when operated on the ground and responded about 95 percent of the time. It recognized 12 of 31 commands from Shepherd on Sunday, a 39 percent success rate. Mission Control asked if any TV scenes could be downlinked that might help the VCS team evaluate the problems. “I don’t know what I would send them. I did feel myself… that it affected me more than Bruce,” Shepherd replied.

At 8:42 a.m. CDT, the crew read down activation/deactivation times for the Investigations into Polymer Membranes Processing experiment, which attempted to create better-grade polymer filters by producing them in weightlessness. The crew had to turn on valves between sets of experiment cylinders. This action caused solvents in the sample to evaporate, leaving behind a uniform polymer membrane.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:24 AM

By 9:10 a.m. CDT, the crew was preparing to power up the Remote Manipulator System robot arm for the Intelsat Solar Array Coupon experiment. Two samples of solar array material used on Intelsat communications satellites were strapped to the RMS. Hung into the velocity vector, the direction of the shuttle’s orbital path, the samples would be struck by erosive atomic oxygen present in low Earth orbit. The experiment would measure the microscopic damage, gauging what was happening to the Intelsat satellite stranded in low orbit earlier in the year. It was to be rescued on Endeavour’s first flight in 1992 – if the slow erosion did not harm it too much.

At 9:28 a.m. CDT, the telemetry displays at Mission Control showed the arm beginning to move under the control of Shepherd. While limbering up the arm, Shepherd, assisted by Akers, used the opportunity to run through an array of checks of the RMS system, even though it would only be used to hang the samples over the sill of the payload bay.  At 9:38 a.m. CDT, they were conducting a direct drive test – a backup mode that bypassed the computer that normally controlled the arm. Three minutes later, as the crew moved to the next set of checkouts, Mission Control was at their side, via TV. “We’re watching over your shoulder as you do the hand-controller test,” Thornton called.

At 10:04 a.m. CDT, Shepherd, perhaps used to the absolute perfection of the mission, ran into another minor nit that evaporated into nothing. “We’re in block 10 of the end effector checkout, and we have a backup payload release… It ran for ten seconds, but the snares are not yet in the groove. We’d like to give it a few more seconds,” he called. Three crisscrossing snare wires in the end effector “hand” of the arm closed on each other when snagging a a grapple pin on an actual payload. The snares were supposed to release in ten seconds, retracting to the rim of the cup-like end effector. In reality, it took the snares three extra seconds to retreat in one of the backup modes, violating the split-second sensibilities of Shepherd.

“The RMS is parked (over the side of the payload bay),” he reported at 10:14 a.m. CDT. “It looks like we had a 13-second backup payload release, but everything else, including the snares, looked fine.”

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:26 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:29 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:32 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:33 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:35 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:35 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/06/2016 12:36 AM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:24 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:25 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:26 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:28 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:29 PM

With his RMS work finished, Shepherd returned his attention to the problems with the Voice Command System. Thornton asked, “Shep, the VCS PIs would like to know which of the command list either worked or didn’t work. Give us a shorter list…” He replied, “The only words I did not have problems with were ‘flight deck, up, down, zoom out, left, right, close iris, take average, stop,” and ‘activate.’”

“There was some thought that if (the PIs) could isolate the sounds you’re having trouble with, they may be able to give you a different vocabulary to use,” Thornton said. The computer could be trained with any chosen words symbolizing commands.

Shepherd: Bruce didn’t have anywhere near the same trouble. I think it’s the way I’m talking. I don’t think it’s a hardware issue. I’ll just have to figure out how I can retrain this thing so that I can say the same words and have it recognize them.

CapCom: Well, we understood every word you said.

Shepherd: Even if they’re not complete sentences?

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:33 PM

At 10:42 a.m. CDT, the crew reported the activation of the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet experiment, housed in two canisters in the payload bay. At 12:12 p.m. CDT, the crew downlinked video of themselves in the middeck performing some medical tests. The video showed the astronauts stripped to the waist, attaching electrodes to their chests.

Richards: Okay, K.T., now we’ll show a little bit of today’s activities. Tom and I had to participate in DSO 602, and this will be a little sequence that we took of us getting instrumented up with electrodes this morning. And we decided to run this for all the ladies down there in Mission Control.

Thornton: Okay, we are waiting breathlessly.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:35 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:35 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:37 PM
The crew also sent down video of the lid opening of the SSBUV canister housing the experiments sensors. The scene looked like a kitchen garbage can coming open. The lid popped up a few inches, vibrating, then slowly swung open. The initial pop open did not look normal to the crew. After reviewing the video, Thornton relayed, “The SSBUV people think that the anomalous door opening may be due to an internal gas leak inside the canister.”

The leak might have come from the system’s nitrogen supply, causing a buildup of pressure that popped the lid as it was unlatched. The unit continued normal operation, with its Sun view beginning at 1:00 p.m. CDT.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:39 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:40 PM
Richards: And K.T., IPMP is a materials experiment that we were activating. It’s going to investigate the characteristics of polymer membranes, or filters formed in microgravity.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:42 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:44 PM
Richards: Now we gonna move on to SSCE. And here is what we’ve recorded onboard with a fiberscope just a few minutes ago.

Thornton: Okay, we’re looking.

Richards: And Tom says this is the side view of camera No. 2’s view of the SSCE event.

Thornton: Okay, we copy that.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:46 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:48 PM
A low-light, black-and-white TV image scoping into the sealed combustion chamber showed a flare of light like a burning match as small filaments were ignited. The Solid Surface Combustion Experiment explored the ways fires propagate in zero-g. It used a special kind of paper in an enclosed transparent container. The ignition produced an eerie circular flame that glowed for about a minute and then faded.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:49 PM
Another TV view, from one of the cameras at the back of the payload bay, focused on the twin flight deck windows overlooking the bay. Waving hands showed through the glass. “That’s all of us waving to you all for the great job you’ve done for us,” Richards said.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 10:52 PM

Mission Control made their good-night call at 3:39 p.m. CDT, ending with an upbeat report on Ulysses. The radial boom had deployed, and the trajectory given by the IUS/PAM was plotting perfect. By launching on October 6 instead of at the opening of the Ulysses window the day before, the probe would gain extra time at the poles of the Sun. “Preliminary data shows that they have 231 days above 71 degrees (above the ecliptic), which is seven or eight days better than if you had launched on October 5, which is another space first: a customer who is happy with a launch delay,” Thornton said.

Richards: Pass on our congratulations to the folks out at JPL, and the folks at ESA, and all the rest… Going into space is great, but to be part of the Ulysses project makes it double the fun.

Again the crew gained their hour of quiet time before the sleep period began. On most shuttle missions, problems and delays in the timeline ate into the quiet hour. Not so on STS-41 – every evening of the flight, the crew received an hour to themselves, making STS-41 a perfect flight for leisurely watching the Earth float by.

PAO: Discovery now passing out over the coast of South America; actually this looks like Brazil. Out over the Southern Atlantic now…

(Dixon P. Otto, “STS-41 – By the Textbook,” Countdown, December 1990; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary and STS-41 wakeup music info; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 8, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Monday, October 8, 1990 (Flight Day 3) – Hearing the Sirens’ Voices

“Then royal Circe said: ‘…Well, listen now to what I tell you, and let some god remind you of it. Next you will come to the Sirens who beguile all men that approach them. Whoever encounters them unawares and listens to their voices will never joy at reaching home, his wife and children to greet him… Plug your comrades’ ears with softened beeswax lest they listen, and row swiftly past. And if you must hear, then let them first tie you hand and foot and stand you upright in the mast housing, and fasten the rope ends round the mast itself, so you can delight in hearing the Sirens’ voices. And should you beg your crew to free you, let them only bind you more tightly.’ ”

- Homer, “The Odyssey,” Book XII

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:20 PM

Just before 1:00 a.m. CDT – the wakeup call: The sounds of the Coast Guard hymn “Semper Paratus” (“Always Ready”) by the Coast Guard Band came to the crew, honoring the service’s bicentennial and the first spaceflight by one of its members – Bruce Melnick.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:22 PM
The third day in space for the STS-41 crew followed the same smooth, precise pattern as the ones that preceded it. On many orbits, hardly a word needed to be spoken with Mission Control. Time was marked in the LOS/AOS calls on each revolution, as Discovery passed through the 5-10-minute communications gap between coverage ranges of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:28 PM
The silent orbits also were punctuated now and then by calls to the crew giving start/stop times for the SSBUV Earth views. The lid continued to pop open, again causing no real concern.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:29 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:31 PM

At 6:18 a.m. CDT, Shepherd and Melnick prepared for their second VCS run. “Okay, I’ve gone through the recognition log… and the only word that it will recognize in mode two seem to be ‘bravo, delta, VTR’ and ‘middeck,’” Shepherd soon reported. “My intention is to just do a retrain, because it’s a little better than yesterday but still not optimum for controlling the cameras.”

Of a 31-word vocabulary, the VCS was still failing to recognize nine of Shepherd’s commands. Melnick could report much better success with only two missed words. “Mine went pretty good. The only words I had trouble with were ‘charlie, normal.’ It recognized ‘charlie’ one time out of about ten and ‘normal’ one time out of about ten.”

CapCom Marsha Ivins gave some words of advice: “Just a couple of recommendations for Shep… and that would be to position the microphone a little closer to his mouth and then not move it while he’s hearing the retraining… and then speak a little louder.”

Shepherd: Okay, Marsha. It’s either that or speech therapy when I get back.

Shepherd had time for an extra VCS run to try the suggestions and reported, “I moved the microphone more towards the center of my mouth, which is not where I’ve had it on Earth. It seemed to go a little better, but it is still missing quite a few of the commands… I’m going to play with the mike position a bit more and see if I get that to work.”

Later into the flight Melnick gave a demonstration during a TV downlink. He floated before twin monitors at the right side of the aft flight deck, watching the camera angles change as he issued commands. “Voice command – Activate.” A harsh computer voice replied, “Activate.” Melnick continued, “Right… Stop… Tilt up.. Left… Stop!” Like an obedient genie, the monitor scene changed at his every wish. “As you can see, it’s a great system, and we really like it,” he concluded.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:35 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:36 PM
The textbook routine seemed almost to bore the flight controllers, trained to react to razor-sharp malfunctions. At 9:30 a.m. CDT, Mission Control asked if the crew had any TV to send down. “We’ll see what we can come up with,” Richards said. “We just want to see that you’re alive, well, and having a good time,” Ivins replied.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:43 PM

The crew had time to celebrate an event with a short TV broadcast to be shown to their families. The camera focused on the crew assembled in the middeck.

Richards: To Houston and especially to our families there in the Mission Control Center, as well as the troops in the MCC, we think about you all. We all love you, and we’re looking forward to seeing you in the next couple of days out at Edwards Air Force Base. Today is a special day for one of the members of our families, the wife of Mission Specialist #3, Tom Akers…

Akers’ wife, Kaye, was celebrating her 34th birthday. The crew floated out a bread “cake” complete with a “candle.” Referring to the combustion experiment, Richards said, “We don’t have a birthday cake onboard, as NASA doesn’t let us start fires except for Tom. He’s the only one who’s been able to start an authorized fire. This is one of the fine bakery products provided by the NASA bakery, and in the middle here is a chemical light. – So it’s the best we can do, but it’s the thought that counts. And we also have an appropriate tune for you.”

The crew sang a spacey version of “Happy Birthday,” after which Kathy Thornton commented, “I don’t think the New Kids In Space are going to replace the New Kids On The Block as the teen heart throbs, but we appreciate it anyway.”

Richards: When we get back and go public, we’re going to go as “Richard Richards and the Richards.”

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/08/2016 11:46 PM

At 3:37 p.m. CDT, as precisely timed as an atomic clock, Thornton radioed up her good-night message: “I have a note from your families. It says, ‘You guys are really getting good at throwing unusual birthday parties. How in the world are you going to top this one next year?’… We have an Ulysses update, which is not really much of an update. Ulysses is still doing great – no changes… We really enjoyed this pass and all the TV you sent down, and we’re planning not to talk to you for the rest of the night.”

“Okay, thanks for the good night, and we’ll see you tomorrow,” Richards replied, and then the crew was on their own.

“Everything is going just perfect,” Flight Director Ron Dittemore said. “It surely is nice to come in and work a flight where you don’t have to worry about any major problems.”

(Dixon P. Otto, “STS-41 – By the Textbook,” Countdown, December 1990; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary and STS-41 wakeup music info – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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PAO: This is Mission Control. We’re at a Mission Elapsed Time of two days, 11 hours, 55 minutes. The crew has just over six hours remaining in their sleep period... Currently Discovery’s payload bay cameras are once again catching some lightning activity as Discovery passes overhead. On previous nights we’ve seen quite a bit of lightning activity…

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 07:36 PM
Tuesday, October 9, 1990 (Flight Day 4) – Towards the Shores of Ithaca

“No longer now from shore to shore to roam,
Smooth seas and gentle winds invite him home.”

- Homer, “The Odyssey,” Book XIII

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 07:38 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 07:41 PM

Wakeup call – 12:30 a.m. CDT: “Fanfare for the Common Man,” written by Aaron Copland, one of PLT Robert Cabana’s favorites The textbook flew unaltered for a fourth day, a photocopy of the previous ones, except this came as the last full day in space. In addition to SSBUV Earth views, VCS runs and winding up other experiments, the crew had to pack for home and conduct the Flight Control System and Reaction Control System checks of the systems they would need for landing the next day.

PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, at two days, 22 hours, 26 minutes. All quiet here in the Flight Control Room as the crew aboard Discovery continues to work through their Flight Control System checkout. That’s a checkout to verify that all Flight Control System aboard Discovery are in good health and ready to support deorbit, entry and landing operations tomorrow. Discovery just about to cross the equator and begin the orbit number 48.

The FCS checkout was completed smoothly by 5:39 a.m. CDT. It was normally followed directly by the RCS checkout, firing all the orbiter’s jets to verify their readiness. However, the jet firings were delayed until the afternoon to allow the robot arm to stay deployed, giving extra exposure time for the Intelsat samples.

At 5:53 a.m. CDT, Cabana reported the first actual “failure” with mock seriousness. ”We’ve had the first inflight anomaly, I think. The pin on the bottom side of the galley that the WCS door attaches to has broken off, and we saved it. You can add that to our inflight anomaly log. It’s a very fine vehicle; it’s been flying great.”

At 7:15 a.m. CDT, what the PAO termed “the first real systems failure” occurred. The B heater for an APU fuel line failed to work automatically. “The cause is thought to be a thermostat failure in the heater system… The fix, of course, is just to stay on the A side heaters for the rest of the flight.” And never to fear that redundancy would be lost, the B heaters could be operated manually if the A heaters were lost.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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By 10:00 a.m. CDT, the RMS arm was hauled in and powered down without any problems. Shepherd and Melnick moved on to their final VCS run. Both Shepherd and Melnick reported 100-percent success with the voice system, after some “procedure enhancements” had been sent to the crew overnight.

The glamour of space may have been tarnished a bit as the crew transmitted down various taped scenes from activating experiments on Flight Day 2. “This is really exciting, so you all ought to be sitting down,” the crew joked. “This could be the high point of our day,” the CapCom responded.

At 10:47 a.m. CDT, the crew officially began cabin stowage. At 12:50 p.m. CDT, the RCS hot fire occurred. Mission Control used a payload bay TV camera to watch the aft jets fire beyond the big humps of the OMS pods. A quick spray of white against the black of space would appear for a split second as a jet was tested. By 1:09 p.m. CDT, the testing was complete.

“We could see some of your aft-firing jets,” Thornton told the crew. “Yeah, I’m told it was pretty spectacular out at the back end,” replied Richards, who had been staioned at his commander’s seat for the test. “I bet it was pretty noisy in the front end,” Thornton commented. The RCS jets shook the ship with a good bang when they fired.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:22 PM

“We’ll send you some home movies,” the crew said, as they wound down their last day in space. They showed scenes of Cabana working with the Macintosh-style computer and the cursor control evaluation. “Normally we use a mouse, as it’s called, for (the Mac). On previous flights, we’ve determined that the mouse doesn’t work so well in zero-g,” Richards said. So this time around, we’ve tried two different types of cursor control devices, as Bob is demonstrating. One is a track ball… As you can see Bob is being required to do some drags and selects and move the cursor around to some precise locations…This alternate cursor control device… is called a ‘Felix.’… We generally liked the track ball in one-g, but our opinions have almost been reversed in zero-g.”

The automatic ejection system of the Mac sent a data disk flying across the cabin, and it was deftly snagged by Cabana’s hand. “But you can see when we get rid of these disks, you have to pay attention to where they go,” Richards said. “That’s pretty slick,” CapCom Kathy Thornton complimented the weightless catch.

At 2:10 p.m. CDT, the Ku-band antenna, which transmitted the TV, was stowed, ending any further scenes from STS-41. “We’re going to miss the downlink, but I guess we’re going to live without it,” Thornton said.

At 3:20 p.m. CDT, the crew received their final Edwards weather update of the day. Even the landing forecast was cooperating with the perfect nature of the mission: Clear, with very light winds from the northeast at six knots.

At 3:51 p.m. CDT, 52 minutes before the sleep period, Thornton gave the crew their final goodnight call. “This team has enjoyed working with you, especially all the downlink TV we’ve gotten on our shift. We’ll see you when you get back here to Houston,” she called.

Richards: Okay, K.T., thanks a lot, and see you back in Houston.

(Dixon P. Otto, “STS-41 – By the Textbook,” Countdown, December 1990; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary and STS-41 wakeup music info – edited)


The two Solid Rocket Boosters retrieved after the launch of Discovery are being washed down at Hangar AF on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Booster ordnance devices have been safed and foam will be removed October 10. The motor segments will be taken apart and sent to Thiokol for refurbishment. The aft skirts and nose cones will be refurbished at the USBI facility at KSC.

(KSC Shuttle Status Report, Oct. 9, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Wednesday, October 10, 1990 (Landing Day) – Homeward you think we must be sailing

“I'll fly a starship
Across the Universe divide
And when I reach the other side
I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can
Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
But I will remain
And I'll be back again, and again and again and again and again...”

- Johnny Cash (The Highwaymen, 1985), “Highwayman,” written by Jimmy Webb

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:38 PM

Wakeup as usual came with a cool tune, “The Highwayman” by The Highwaymen, i.e. Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash for country music fan Tom Akers, around 11:45 p.m. CDT. “Good morning, Discovery,” radioed CapCom Story Musgrave. “We were not gonna let you come home, not gonna let STS-41 come home without some country and western.” The astronauts replied, “We like both country music… country and western…”

Here the flight routine ended and landing routine began, looking towards a deorbit burn at 7:59 a.m. CDT, and landing 59 minutes later… Shut down the SSBUV… Payload bay doors closed at 5:20 a.m. CDT… Transition of Discovery’s computers to landing programs at 6:07 a.m. CDT… “The flight team is continuing to work right on the timeline,” the PAO reported. Could it be otherwise for STS-41?

“Progress toward the deorbit burn continuing to go very smoothly,” the PAO said at 6:39 a.m. CDT… “Air-to-ground is quiet as the ground controllers give the crew time to begin donning their launch-and-entry suits.” Richards and Cabana suited uo first to give them the most time to settle into the cockpit prior to the burn.

At 7:24 a.m. CDT, the PAO reported, “Entry Flight Director Ron Dittemore going around the room polling to get a go for deorbit burn.” Five minutes later, Entry CapCom Brian Duffy relayed the word, “And you’ve got a go for the deorbit burn.” With no wasted words on this day, Richards replied, “Go for the burn. Thank you.”

The two-minute-29-second burn would strip Discovery of 284.7 feet per second of velocity, enough to nudge it towards the grip of the atmosphere. With 19 minutes left before the burn, Duffy told Richards, “Everything is still nice out at Edwards.” At 7:45 a.m. CDT – 45 minutes until the burn – the telemetry data at the guidance and navigation console at Mission Control showed Discovery maneuvering to the burn attitude. The slow turn to put the OMS engines into the velocity vector took about six or seven minutes.

At 7:48 a.m. CDT, the guidance officer at Mission Control confirmed that the onboard navigation systems had been properly configured. At 7:55 a.m. CDT, the crew reported the first APU up and running properly. “One minute to LOS.” The burn would take place over the Indian Ocean, out of radio range. “See you after the burn,” Duffy called. “We’ll see you then, Brian,” Richards replied and was gone.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:41 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
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Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:46 PM

8:05 a.m. CDT – AOS. CapCom Brian Duffy called, “Discovery, Houston, we’re back with you now through the West satellite. How was the burn?” Immediately Dick Richards reported, “Good burn, Brian.” A textbook return was underway. The Commander began the slow belly-down maneuver to bring Discovery to entry interface attitude, with entry interface meaning the point where the orbiter first encountered the atmosphere. At 8:14 a.m. CDT, the Mission Control consoles showed the final two APUs, needed for hydraulic movement of the aerosurfaces, had been started as Discovery settled into attitude – with entry interface twelve minutes away. At 8:20 a.m. CDT, Discovery crossed the equator over the Pacific Ocean, five and a half minutes to entry interface.

The crew remained silent through most of the descent. The PAO called out the numbers. At 8:25 a.m. CDT, “All systems operating well; the orbiter going smoothly. We’re now about a minute and a half from entry interface… This is Mission Control Houston, Discovery beginning to encounter the first effects of the Earth’s atmosphere. Onboard navigation aids beginning to produce altitude data, showing Discovery at an altitude of 389,000 feet, travelling at Mach 24.4, and descending into the atmosphere at a rate of 518 feet per second.”

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:48 PM
At 8:31 a.m. CDT – 6:31 a.m. Pacific Time – dawn began to filter into the skies over Edwards Air Force Base. The shuttle convoy team was preparing to deploy to concrete Runway 22.

PAO: We’re now taking live scenes on NASA Select television of the Edwards Air Force Base area as the Sun has begun to illuminate the sky enough see the landscape around.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:51 PM
At 8:34 a.m. CDT – Discovery at Mach 23, uprange 2,410 miles from Edwards at an altitude 238,000 feet, performing a 72-degree left bank; at 8:37 a.m. CDT – Discovery at Mach 21.5, uprange 1,950 miles from Edwards at 232,000 feet altitude; at 8:43 a.m. CDT – Mach 13.4, uprange 679 miles, at 180,000 feet and the PAO said, “All systems aboard Discovery continuing to work well – three good APUs hanging in there…”

At 8:44 a.m. CDT, Duffy called to the crew, “Energy and ground track are nominal.” – “Okay, we just got our first spectacular forward RCS fire.” Richards was referring to the first of three fuel dumps through the nose RCS jets. The tests were being made to see if the method could be used to lighten the load under some emergency conditions on future flights.

Discovery was at Mach 10, 439 miles from Edwards, descending at 200 feet per second. The high nose-up angle of Discovery’s nose began to ramp down. At 8:46 a.m. CDT, Discovery homed in on the TACAN beacons at Edwards. A minute later, the long-range tracking cameras at Vandenberg Air Force Base picked up the shuttle as it approached the coast of California. The picture showed a dart-like ghost etched in the white light reflecting from the sunrise it was flying into. Range to Edwards 261 miles, altitude 141,000 feet, descending at 185 feet per second.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:53 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:55 PM

Discovery was in her second roll reversal, turning left to right, “…continuing to bleed off some of the tremendous energy. All systems continue to work well,” the PAO reported. At 8:48 a.m. CDT, 161 miles uprange of Edwards at 117,000 feet, Mach 4.8, Discovery was descending at 285 feet per second. A minute later, the tracking camera caught the third and final forward RCS jet test, looking like a brief burst on neon light.

At 8:51 a.m. CDT, range 42.5 miles at 66,000 feet altitude, Mach 1.4, “Discovery has arrived in the terminal area,” the PAO said, and soon would begin a left-handed loop around Edwards, following the Heading Alignment Circle, which would end with Discovery aligned with the end of the runway. “The Flight Dynamics Officer reports the energy is nominal,” the PAO commented. At 8:53 a.m. CDT, range 31 miles, altitude 51,000 feet, two crack-like booms sounded as Discovery went subsonic.

PAO: Two sonic booms announcing Discovery’s arrival overhead at the Edwards landing field. Discovery headed for the heading alignment cone…

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:56 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:57 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 08:59 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:00 PM
CapCom: Discovery, Houston. Looking good on the HAC. No change to the winds or weather.

Richards: Okay, Brian.

At 8:54 a.m. CDT, range ten miles, altitude 18,000 feet, descending at 154 feet per second… A minute later, Discovery rolled onto final approach to Runway 22, seven miles away, at 11,000 feet altitude and descending at 200 feet per second.

CapCom: Discovery, we show you on glide slope, on centerline. Surface winds 250 at 5.

Richards: Okay, Brian.

At 8:56 a.m. CDT, range 4.5 miles, at 5,500 feet altitude, descending at 174 feet per second, “Discovery under manual control of crew commander Dick Richards, now performing the preflare maneuver, taking some of the steep angle out of the final approach,” the PAO called. “Landing gear down… Gear confirmed down and locked.”

PAO: Main gear on deck… and nose gear touchdown... Discovery rolling out on Edwards Runway 22...

Puffs of smoke billowed from behind the main wheels. The nose of Discovery, still high as if sniffing the desert air, slowly arced down and gently touched the runway. On the rollout, Richards made the second test of the shuttle’s improved carbon brakes. He applied a normal breaking profile, and later reported they worked “very well” from his perspective. Initial inspections would confirm his seat-of-the-pants feeling and show no wear on the new brakes.

After a rollout of 8,532 feet, Discovery came to a rest. Exact time of stop – 6:58:08 local time, after a voyage of four days, two hours, ten minutes, 54 seconds. For twelve seconds after stopping, Richards remained silent. Finally he radioed, “Wheel stop, Houston.”

“Copy, wheel stop, Discovery,” Duffy radioed. “Glad to have you back; also to have the fastest man-made object in the Universe well on its way. Congratulations on a picture-perfect mission. And there are no post-landing deltas” – As Discovery’s mission was ending, Ulysses was 3.6 million miles from Earth, departing at a velocity of 25,372 miles per hour in relation to its home planet. Its mission to rewrite the textbook about the Sun had barely begun.

(Dixon P. Otto, “STS-41 – By the Textbook,” Countdown, December 1990; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary and STS-41 wakeup music info – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:03 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:06 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:08 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:10 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:12 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:14 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:15 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:17 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:19 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:20 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:21 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:23 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:25 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:29 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:33 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:34 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:34 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:36 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:37 PM
The End of NASA’s Losing Streak

“NASA is back on the winning track, and nothing feels better than being on a winning team.”

- Thomas Akers, Mission Specialist Discovery STS-41

“It’s a great thing that we do here… We’ve done it before in the past. I knew we could do it, and we did it, and we’re going to continue to do this sort of things.”

- Dick Richards, Commander Discovery STS-41 

NASA hailed the success of Discovery's near-flawless Ulysses mission as proof the shuttle can meet its commitments, particularly to a key partner in the agency's future space station plans. "Today, the losing streak is over and we’re going on to do great things in the future," declared Discovery Commander Dick Richards as he and his crew of four returned to Earth after a short flight highlighted by the successful deployment of the European-built Ulysses solar probe.

Richards, Pilot Robert Cabana and Mission Specialists William Shepherd, Tom Akers and Bruce Melnick were greeted at Ellington Field late on Discovery’s landing day by about 400 of their Johnson Space Center co-workers and their families. Richard said he compares the recent difficulties to a losing streak that all great teams, like NASA, sometimes go through. “When you go through these things sometimes you re-examine yourself. You ask yourself questions like ‘Are we doing the right things?’ ‘Do we have the right people in place?’ We’ve done all that and we knew we had the right people, we were doing the right things and we knew we were making the right decisions. It was just a question of time before it all turned around.”

"I would characterize it as a big shot in the arm," Dick Richards put it at a JSC news conference the following week. "We knew we could fly a flight like this. It's just that we hadn't had an opportunity. We showed that we can."

STS-41 ended a frustrating five months for NASA caused by a succession of fuel leaks that grounded sister ships Atlantis and Columbia and had critics wondering if the aging shuttle fleet was up to the task of building and equipping the planned Freedom Space Station. "I'm elated," NASA shuttle program director Robert Crippen said shortly after Richards steered Discovery to a smooth dawn landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
There was applause overseas as well. "Europe is proud of you and thankful for your help and great work," Roger Bonnet, European Space Agency's director of scientific programs, said in California. The French scientist suggested the Ulysses launch stands as a symbol of cooperation between the two space agencies for the programs to come, including Freedom. The tiny Ulysses probe sailed past the 2.45-million-mile mark from Earth at midday October 10 on its five-year mission to study the Sun's uncharted north and south poles. Though not the first cooperative venture between the United States and the Europeans in space, it proved difficult at times when funding problems forced NASA to back out of plans for two spacecraft. Under the eventual agreement for the $750 million mission, ESA built the probe and NASA launched it and contributed some instruments.

A similar, but more complicated give-and-take has been required for the space station project, which has undergone continual design changes in response to escalating costs and funding restraints. In the case of Ulysses, though, NASA agreed two years ago to launch the probe this year between October 5 and 23, the only time the Sun, the Earth and another key planet in the project were aligned properly for the complex mission. The shuttle missed the opening of the 18-day period by just one day, proof to Crippen that the shuttle is reliable.

“If you criticize our mistakes, you must also acknowledge our successes, and the mission of Discovery for the deployment of Ulysses was indeed a success,” Crippen said at the post-landing press conference. “It’s due to the dedication and hard work of thousands of people associated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and its aerospace contractors. They know how to do it and did this one right. I’m very proud of them.”

“We did it,” JSC Director Aaron Cohen said. “We showed the world that the shuttle and NASA are reliable and can meet their commitments. And to all of you who made that happen, I have a great deal of appreciation and thanks.” Pilot Bob Cabana thanked the entire NASA and contractor team for support. “We could not have done it without you,” he said. “It’s great to have America back in space where we belong.”

"The American public is behind us," former shuttle astronaut Bob Crippen had remarked earlier that day. "We're going to do it right. We're going to do it safely. I'm not sure what else you could ask of us."

(Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 11 and 19, 1990; Karl Fluegel, JSC Space News Roundup, Oct. 12, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:39 PM
October 11: A MINOR THING
Apparently, the STS-41 mission was not entirely without incident. Officials are trying to determine why a software glitch went unnoticed until Discovery’s crew checked out the spaceship’s computer system on reaching orbit October 6. The system’s program was telling the wrong computer to monitor certain systems. The problem was corrected and the crew was never in danger, officials said. “As it turns out, it really was a minor thing,” according to shuttle project engineer Chris Fairey.

Discovery’s ground processing manager John “Tip” Talone said Discovery was given a clean bill of health after inspections in California. “This is the best, and it just keeps getting better,” said Talone. He said that so far inspections show the orbiter’s heat protection tiles, brakes and three main engines are in excellent condition. Only ten to fifteen tiles will have to be replaced. If operations go as planned and weather permits, the orbiter could be back at KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility by the evening of Monday, October 15. O one-day ferry-flight is planned with a stopover at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Oct. 11, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Oct. 12, 1990 – edited)

JSC employees and other federal workers received another temporary reprieve from furloughs last week as Congress and President Bush agreed on another continuing resolution to keep the government operating until October 19. “After that, if we don’t have a budget or another continuing resolution, we might still have to furlough people,” said JSC Resources Director Jack Lister. A temporary shutdown of some government operation occurred over the holiday weekend while Congress struggled to pass the stopgap measure, but JSC operations continued as normal during the STS-41 mission. (JSC Space News Roundup, Oct. 12, 1990 – edited)

Discovery is expected to return to Brevard County skies today, but most won’t get to see it because of its late arrival it is expected at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 6:48 p.m. EDT, four minutes before sunset. The orbiter will leave Edwards Air Force Base; California, at 9:40 a.m. EDT aboard its carrier plane and refuel in San Antonio, Texas. The flight will continue to Kennedy Space Center if the weather remains good.

Because NASA does not like to transport the shuttle in the dark, pilots of the 747 carrier plane, A.J. Roy and Dave Mumme, will probably not fly along Brevard County’s coast to the space center. “If there is any possible way the pilots can do that, they will. The shuttle sure looks pretty flying up the beach at sunset,” said John “Tip” Talone, Discovery’s manager in charge for NASA.

Demate operations will begin immediately after the SCA lands at the Shuttle Landing Facility. Discovery is expected to be ready for tow to Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 1 about fifteen hours after landing. Booster disassembly operations are continuing at Hangar AF. Preparations are underway to ship the motor segments to Thiokol in Utah for refurbishment. (Banke, Florida Today, Oct. 15, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Oct. 15, 1990 – edited)

Discovery’s jet carrier arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility today at 3:59 p.m. EDT, having circled over Patrick Air Force Base for twenty minutes waiting for the skies over KSC to clear. Discovery and her workhorse 747 carrier left Edwards Air Force Base about 9:44 a.m. EDT yesterday and made a refueling stop at Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas, before continuing to Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle. The refueling operation took more time than expected because there was not enough jet fuel on hand for the 747 when cloudy weather caused it to land at Wichita Falls. When the refueling operation was completed, there was only enough daylight remaining for the trip to Eglin AFB, according to Bruce Buckingham, KSC spokesman. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Oct. 16, 1990; KSC Status Report, Oct. 16 and 17, 1990; “Discovery Hits the Home Stretch,” The Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 17, 1990  – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:39 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:42 PM
As the orbiter Discovery was rolled back to the hangar, KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham observed, “It looks as good as it did when we rolled it out of the Orbiter Processing Facility.” – Except for one minor detail: During the demating process workers were unable to loosen one of the three bolts which attached Discovery to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. So managers decided to leave the bolt in place and separate it on the aircraft’s attach point instead. In the OPF the stuck bolt will be removed during routine post-flight processing, officials said. (“Discovery Hits the Home Stretch,” The Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 17, 1990; Brown, Florida Today, Oct. 18, 1990 – edited)

As today’s Congressional deadline for a new budget bill neared, NASA Administrator Richard H. Truly again thanked employees for their perseverance during the “stress and turmoil of these times.” JSC employees and other federal workers will face the threat of furloughs or government-wide shutdown again next week if a budget or continuing resolution is not passed by Congress and signed by President Bush on Friday.

“The good news is that we have been able to reach this point without furloughing any employees and creating personal financial difficulties,” Truly wrote in a letter to all employees. “I am hoping that this ‘last resort’ action will not be necessary even though we have needed to take the preliminary steps of officially notifying employees of this possibility.”

“Together, we have not only continued the ongoing business of the agency, but have also just completed a spectacular return to flight,” Truly added. “In return for your outstanding efforts, I again commit myself to doing everything possible to avoid personal impact to NASA employees as a result of the budget.” (JSC Space News Roundup, Oct. 19, 1990 – edited)

The Ulysses solar probe has completed the first of its course correction maneuvers. Today, flight controllers will begin to turn on Ulysses’ nine science instruments. The Energetic Particle Composition and Neutral Gas Instrument will be the first to be switched on. Saturday, heaters for the Solar-Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer will be started.

The second of Ulysses’ two trajectory correction maneuvers is scheduled to be performed November 2. That maneuver will make final adjustments in the spacecraft’s flight path on its way to Jupiter encounter in February 1992. Ulysses is traveling at almost 25,500 mph relative to Earth. The thruster firings, combined with a slightly greater-than-expected velocity following launch, will make Ulysses’ closest Jupiter approach 60 hours sooner than originally planned, on February 8, 1992. The earlier arrival will enhance the mission’s science objectives by giving the spacecraft 235 instead of 228 days above 70 degrees solar latitude, allowing it to reach a maximum solar latitude of more than 80 degrees, instead of a planned 79. (JSC Space News Roundup, Oct. 19, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:44 PM
After a month of continuing resolutions, Congress approved a budget plan for the 1991 fiscal year, putting discussion of federal employee furloughs almost to rest. The budget plan must be approved by President George Bush before becoming final, but indications are that the President will sign the measure before the November 5 deadline. Once signed, the danger of furlough will be past.

Earlier this year, when FY90 was coming to a close with no FY91 budget agreement in sight, all federal employees were informed of a possible sequestration of funds caused by the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction act. The result of the situation was the possible furlough of all federal employees.

As members of Congress ironed out the budget wrinkles, they passed a series of continuing resolutions to keep the government operating. Meanwhile, civil servants waited for a definitive word on the furlough planning. However, passage of the projected $1.236 trillion federal budget plan resolved the issue late Saturday night. There will be no budget-related employee furlough in FY91 if Bush signs the plan.

NASA’s portion of the federal budget totals about $13.9 billion for the next year and includes $1.9 billion for the Space Station Freedom program. The Space Station line item is a slight increase from last year’s $1.8 billion, but is significantly lower than the $2.4 billion requested by President George Bush. The $1.9 billion is midway between the House and Senate version of the money bill. (JSC Space News Roundup, Nov. 2, 1990)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:46 PM
The Best Orbital Complex … or just too complex?

*** The state of Freedom Station 1990 ***

“America has always been greatest when we dared to be great. We can reach for greatness again. We can follow our dreams to distant stars, living and working in space for peaceful, economic, and scientific gain. Tonight, I am directing NASA to develop a permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade.

A space station will permit quantum leaps in our research in science, communications, in metals, and in lifesaving medicines which could be manufactured only in space. We want our friends to help us meet these challenges and share in their benefits. NASA will invite other countries to participate so we can strengthen peace, build prosperity, and expand freedom for all who share our goals.”

- U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, State of the Union Address, January 25, 1984

(By Dixon P. Otto)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:47 PM
The framework of Freedom – the 508-foot-long transverse truss – moves like the double-helix structure of DNA across computer animation screens. Tubular rungs of aluminum-alloy provide the pathways through Freedom Station, as opposed to the hydrogen and carbon bonds of DNA. Instead of the codeword for life of DNA, Freedom Station carries the codeword for our permanent future in space.

Like cracking the DNA code, the concept of Freedom Station has evolved slowly, painstakingly since the project was initiated by President Reagan in 1984. During the past year, progress has been made, moving Freedom toward actual hardware construction. Yet new questions and concerns have been raised, mainly focusing on the amount of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) needed to build and maintain the complex structure.

Recently, the questions over the lack of final-assembly testing of the Hubble mirrors and the complexity of the shuttle system have splashed over into new criticism of the intricate station. About twenty assembly flights and another ten supply flights will be needed to carry the program through the end of the decade. In the shadow of the recent grounding of the orbiter fleet, critics question the ability of the shuttle to support a regular, tight schedule of Station missions.

Freedom cannot be tested as a whole on the ground and that will create large problems, critics say, pointing to the Hubble’s present troubles as warning about the Station’s future. A new wave of calls to cancel the entire project has washed over Freedom.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:51 PM

“In one year, I want to be able to say that we are one year closer to first element launch,” said Station Director Richard Kohrs in early 1990. That would seem a given, except for the Station’s history. When first proposed in 1984, it was envisioned a being built in 1992, but the schedule has slipped about a year for every year of its history. “I want to maintain the preliminary design review schedule and the first element launch – that’s my goal,” Kohrs said. So far, he is maintaining his goal.

However, even though the first element launch remains set for March 1995, the rest of the construction schedule has slipped due to budget squeezes. The “man-tended” capability, during which science experiments can begin, has slipped six months from its previous goal of the end of 1995. Permanent occupation of the Station similarly has slipped a half-year from the end of 1996. Final completion, which had been slated for the first quarter of 1998, has been pushed back until July 1999.

The fiscal year 1991 budget requested by President Bush included $2.4 billion for Freedom, but it is facing a cut of approximately $500 million by Congress. For the FY 1992 budget, Bush announced he will ask for about $2.9 billion for the Station.

Kohrs’ goal for the preliminary design review, a technical review of the overall design, barely kept on track, slipping slightly from the third quarter of this year to December. The entire design will be subjected to a rigorous review, where problems and concerns will be thrashed out. In April 1992, the overall design will again be analyzed in its “critical design review” which will verify and freeze the design and open the way for manufacture of flight hardware.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:55 PM

The project presently is switching from the drawing board to “bending metal” for prototype equipment. Nine shuttle flights in the next three years will test Station equipment, beginning with the EVA demonstration of spacewalk equipment set for STS-37. “It’s no longer a paper program,” said William Lenoir, NASA Associate Administrator for Spaceflight. “It’s a hardware program with real hardware.”

Ground breaking as well as metal bending is underway. Several new facilities are being constructed at Johnson Space Center in Houston for Station design, testing, and construction. These include a Neutral Buoyancy Lab, planned for completion in 1991, equipped with a 60-feet deep pool measuring 235 feet long and 135 feet wide. The pool will be used to test seals in many of the components, as well as to train astronauts for EVAs.

An extra five-story building, called the Space Station Control Center, is being added to the control center which handles shuttle missions. Also at JSC, construction is continuing on the Space Systems and Automation Integration and Assembly Facility, designed to test assembly procedures. The building was started in April 1990 and completion is scheduled for March 1991.

JSC will gain the Mission Simulation and Training Facility to house support crew persons as well as computer support facilities. Additions to facilities are also underway at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the Kennedy Space Center, and other centers.


“The international Space Station Freedom team is working toward its preliminary design review, an exercise when the plans developed now will be tested,” said NASA Administrator Richard Truly. The overall design of Freedom, which will be stationed in a 250-mile-high orbit inclined 28.5 degrees to the equator, has remained unchanged in the past year.

The simplicity of the truss backbone, like that of a strand of DNA, belies its core role. The 41,801-pound girder assembly, composed of graphite epoxy tipped with aluminum, provides a rigid structure supporting pressurized modules, power systems, and attached experiments. It also will provide a pathway for robotic systems designed to ride along its tubular tracks for access to nearly the entire complex.

The truss will be tipped by sets of thin-blanket solar arrays, measuring 34-feet wide by 108-feet long. Four solar panels will erected at first. By 1998, eight panels, containing half an acre of solar cells, will be producing 75 kw of power. Previously, the eight array/75 kw capacity was planned to be completed earlier in the Station’s construction. Budget bickering led to a one-half cut to four arrays/37.5 kw, with about 18 kw allotted to experiments and the rest going to maintaining the Station. That electrical allotment will not pull enough for full science activities, critics charge.

To answer the need for more power, Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in charge of designing solar power systems, is developing and entirely different means of solar power. Instead of adding more solar wings, which would increase the atmospheric drag on the Station, a solar dynamic system will be incorporated into an expanded “phase two” of the Station early in the next decade.

The system uses a large umbrella dsih to focus the Sun’s heat onto a turbine which drives an alternator. While on the dark side of the orbit, the new system does not require the 20 nickel-hydrogen batteries used by the solar-array system to store power. Instead, the Sun’s energy is “stored” in a salt-fluid during the sunny side of the orbit. During darkness, the salt solidifies, giving off heat to drive the power turbines.

During the last year, NASA considered using the solar dynamic system earlier in the Station’s life. That idea was dropped due to the design complexities and increased costs. The power shortfall of the present phase one of the Station remains a concern.


Below the truss and attached just right of its center, the 70,390-pound U.S. laboratory module will be positioned, with launch scheduled in mid-1996. The lab, measuring 44 feet long and 14 feet in diameter, will give Freedom a “man-tended” capability. Experiments will be run autonomously in the lab, with periodic attention and adjustment by astronauts during its first year in space. The module will be able to accommodate up to 46 cubic meters of research equipment in 28 double racks on its port and starboard walls. Materials processing and life sciences experiments concerning adaptation to long exposure to microgravity will be conducted.

The habitat module, weighing 55,826 pounds with the same outward dimensions as the lab, will provide the living space to allow permanent occupation of the Station to begin in mid-1997. The “hab” is broken into three sections: a quiet zone for sleeping, an activity area for dining and recreation, and a health facility.

The sleeping area will provide each crewmember with personal living space about the size of a train berth. Each compact cabin will come with a telephone, television, stereo, and a personal computer. The active area will contain a galley equipped with a microwave and a refrigerator, as well as an exercise area fitted with a stationary bicycle and a treadmill. The health maintenance facility will hold equipment for blood analysis, dental work, and minor surgery.

Four “nodes,” each weighing 17,000 pounds, will cap the end of the main modules, providing connection points to each other and additional modules. The nodes, about 17 feet long and 14 feet in diameter, contain windowed “cupolas” so astronauts can visually oversee and control outside work conducted via robot manipulators. The nodes also hold control equipment and the Station’s airlock.

Like DNA, the Station will be designed to replicate itself. To allow for future additions and provide greater flexibility, designers have made it possible for expanded computer circuitry and software to be simply plugged into the Station’s loop. Such open-ended circuitry is known as “hooks,” a slang word for a modular design allowing computer equipment to be easily added and upgraded – sizing power cables for growth, providing connectors for additional units, allowing extra margins in computer memory capacity.

Following the same sort of NASAese, “scars” are the mechanical equivalents of hooks. They refer to designing structures for plug-in growth – modules can be added easily, radiators and cooling systems can be added as needed, power and fluid systems are sized for expansion and additional feed offs.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:57 PM

“International cooperation… has long been a guiding principle of the United States space program. The tricentennial of the first German immigration to America was celebrated last year with a joined space effort. Just as our friends were asked to join us in the shuttle program, our friends and allies will be invited to join with us in the Space Station project.”

- U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, January 28, 1984

The international nature of the Station shows vividly in the major contributions planned by the European Space Agency, Japan, and Canada. The Europeans and the Japanese will attach modules, and the Canadians will provide robotic systems.

The ESA module, known as Columbus, measuring 14 feet in diameter and 41 feet long, will be used for an array of life sciences, materials sciences and fluid physics experiments. In addition, the Europeans are planning a free-flying Columbus platform to be launched by their Ariane 5 booster.

The Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) will consist of a pressurized module, an exposed facility and an experiment logistics module. The module, 14 feet wide and 35 feet long, will also house experiments into materials processing and life sciences. JEM will have nearly 5,000 cubic feet of area, holding 23 experimental racks. The exposed facility will serve as a “back porch,” providing room for experiments which need to be exposed to open space and coming complete with a manipulator arm to move experiments.

Delays in the Station schedule have affected the international partners. The Japanese module, previously scheduled for launch in the second quarter of 1997, has been delayed nine months. The ESA module, planned for launch in the third quarter of 1997, has also been delayed by about nine months.

NASA considered moving launch of the international modules forward in the schedule, but recently rejected such a shift. International voices now have joined with domestic ones questioning the current Station plan and prognosis.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 09:58 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 10:00 PM

Launch of the first Station element in March 1995 will begin a “hardhat” construction era lasting until the end of the century and involve about 30 shuttle flights. The first flight will loft a section of the truss, a pair of solar arrays, and the starboard node. Currently, the first major milestone, attaining man-tended capability, will be achieved in June 1996, after the fourth construction flight, which will loft the U.S. lab module. While “man-tended,” the first experiments can be run tended by visiting astronauts.

Freedom will be permanently manned in July of 1997. Crew size has been reduced from eight to four or six and their stay time has been increased from three to four months in effort to save money and reduce the number of shuttle flights.

Automated robots will assist in every phase of Station construction and will enable Freedom to carry out its daily duties. Skimming along the 500-foot main truss, Canada’s Mobile Servicing Center (MSC) will aid with Station construction, assist spacewalkers and move supplies and hardware along the Station. Other duties include servicing attached payloads, docking the shuttle and the loading and removal of cargo from the shuttle.

MSC will weigh 10,584 pounds and measure 16.4 feet by 16,4 feet at its base. It will house a robot manipulator arm 57.7 feet long with the strength to lift 110 tons, three times as strong as the shuttle arm. The MSC will glide along the lattice like an amusement ride on a track, moving on a mobile platform NASA will provide. The combined package is called Mobile Servicing System (MSS).

To perform delicate jobs, the MSS will employ the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) – two sensitive arms, each measuring 6.56 feet long – which can be attached to the end of the long MSC arm. The SPDM, which can also work independently on the MSS, can repair fuel lines, work on cooling systems, and even repair electrical connections.

NASA is designing its own mechanical repairman, known as the Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS) for use from the earliest moments of Station construction and maintenance, allowing for less hours of manned EVA. This $297 million robot, built by Martin Marietta, will perform many of the routine jobs of Freedom assembly, and can later be incorporated into the MSS.

The FTS, weighing 1,983 pounds, will be mounted on the end of a mechanical arm the size of the Space Shuttle RMS. It has three arms to guide its way along the truss, appearing like a spider creeping along its web. Two of the arms are arranged like those of a human and perform the work. The third arm, attached to its bottom, acts as an anchor to the Station, providing stability. Fingers at the end of the arms come complete with force sensors which allow it to pick up delicate pieces of equipment.


“Scientists from NASA, universities, and private industry will do research in and around the Space Station – research that’s only possible in the zero-gravity and vacuum of space. As needed, private industry will fund expansions of the NASA facility where companies can manufacture new products and provide new services.

But most importantly, like every step forward, a Space Station will not be an end in itself, but a doorway to even greater progress in the future. In this case, a Space Station will open up new opportunities for expanding human commerce and learning and provide a base for further exploration of that magnificent and endless frontier of space.”

- U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, January 28, 1984

Freedom Station will serve to study how humans react to long spaceflights, opening the way for long voyages to Mars. In addition, a biotechnology facility will observe the effect of weightlessness on biological specimens, conducting research with new medical applications on Earth.

In addition to studying the effect of weightlessness on humans, Freedom will investigate the effect of microgravity on glass, metals, and alloys. NASA’s Microgravity Science and Applications will fly six facilities for materials processing in the U.S. laboratory module. Such experimentation could yield improved computer chips as well as stronger and lighter metal alloys with military and commercial applications.

The largest of these experiment packages is the Space Station Furnace Facility (SSFF). The furnace will heat and cool different materials and make thermophysical measurements. When a liquid changes state and becomes solid, the internal structure formed in space is different than that produced on the ground. These differences could lead to new hybrid materials. Such experiments must be conducted over a long period of time, and can only be done on Freedom. Many new material processing experiments require at least one month, or even two or three months, to produce results.

Vibrations from Freedom, such as crew movement and even from atmospheric drag could cause the sample in a module to bump into the side of its container, resulting in contamination. Also, many highly corrosive gasses used during the process would react with the material of an experiment container.

To overcome this, the Office of Space Science and Applications plans to have several containerless experiments in the laboratory module, part of the Modular Containerless Processing Facility. The device uses electromagnetic, electrostatic or acoustic fields to keep the sample in the center of the container. In 1992 and 1997, two shuttle missions will give input on how to build the containerless facility, and in 1998 the first section will be placed aboard Freedom. In 2001, the facility’s two experiment racks will be completed.

Freedom Station will support increased research into the growth of crystals – many of which, such as proteins, have medical applications. The Station’s Advanced Protein Crystal Growth Facility, to be sent aboard Freedom in 1996, will be able to grow crystals with more precisely controlled concentrations, numbers and growth. Microgravity produces larger and more differentiated crystals – allowing for more detectable X-ray patterns which reveal their minute structure. When the structure of biological crystals is known, new drugs can be tailor made to interact with them.

Another problem faced in protein growth will be solved on the Station. Many of the newly produced proteins are too weak for shipment to Earth. A device that will analyze them while in orbit will be aboard the Station.

The remaining experiments housed in the laboratory module include a combustion experiment to study the effect of combustion while in near zero-gravity to produce new fire control and safety methods. The Fluids/Dynamics Facility will study how fluids function in weightlessness, studying flows and formations.

In addition to experiments inside the pressurized modules, several will be attached to the main truss of Freedom. Fourteen preliminary experiments for studying the Earth, Sun, and the environment of space have been selected for attachment during the assembly period.

Many of the attached payloads will study the environment of space. The Cosmic Dust Collection Facility (CDCF) will study the trajectory and characteristics of dust particles, giving clues on planetary and solar system composition. The Cosmic Dust Orbit and Capture Experiment (CDOCE) will capture particles in space for later analysis on Earth in a search for organic molecules.

The Earth will be viewed with such experiments as the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES), measuring the Sun’s energy striking and reflecting from the Earth, the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE-III), and the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS).

These experiments, both inside the modules and out, are only the beginning of the useful lifespan of Freedom. With phase-two expansion early in the next decade, a large rectangular truss, called the double keel, could be built stretching above and below the present horizontal boom. The double keel would provide a more stable and vibration-free anchor for experiments. In addition, it would house the satellite servicing centers which would transform Freedom into a staging area for expeditions to the Moon and Mars.

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 10:01 PM

Freedom Station is designed for an unprecedented lifespan of at least 30 years. Grave concerns are being raised about the ability of astronauts to service, maintain and repair the 290 tons of Station that will be in place. Spacewalking astronauts will face 5,578 parts which can be replaced outside the pressurized modules.

NASA had hoped to be able to maintain the Station with about 150 hours of spacewalks per year, equaling about an EVA per month. The agency was shocked at the end of 1989 when D. Bryant Cramer, an engineer with the project, drew up estimates that 1,700 hours of EVAs per year would be needed. A 12-person panel headed by astronaut William Fisher then was formed to determine the exact spacewalk requirements.

On March 19, 1990, The New York Times raised a storm of concern over the issue, publishing interim findings of the panel which indicated that 2,200 hours of EVA would be needed per year. The finding was based on analysis of the parts on the Station’s exterior, their likelihood of failure and the time needed to replace them.

The newspaper said that NASA experts “characterize the figure as alarmingly high.” In addition, maintenance and repair efforts would start being required when the Station was only 60-70 percent complete. NASA administrators countered that the number of hours quoted by the Times formed the worst case scenario.  “So far, the information gathered indicated that astronauts will need to spend between 700 and 2,200 hours a year outside the Space Station in spacesuits to perform maintenance. The lower estimate works out to a spacewalk about once a week,” NASA said.

The higher estimate was based partially on aircraft flight line maintenance data that may not be applicable to the Station, said John Aaron, Space Station project manager at JSC. NASA officials told Congress the assumption made by the estimate that a component would break down every day was not valid. The complete study was still in the formative stage, they said, and teams were looking at ways to reduce the EVA time.

“It’s normal to go through this sort of thing,” said Charles Price, a NASA robotics engineer who co-chaired the panel with Fisher. “When you have an apparent problem, you put your good people on it and get cracking.”

NASA Administrator Richard Truly said in an editorial reply to The New York Times article, “We are building the Space Station as a laboratory for a multitude of scientific purposes and opportunities, and to provide a foundation for plans to venture outward in the solar system over the coming decades.” He further added, “It is neither surprising nor disturbing that problems are uncovered in this design process… It is normal and has occurred in all major NASA programs.”

Space Station Director Richard Kohrs said, “I think as we work it harder and harder, we’ll drive those numbers down.” The opposite proved to be the case. As the panel approached completion of its study, The New York Times again broke open the story on July 11, 1990. The estimate of EVA time had increased to 3,800 hours per year.

Such a figure would translate to nearly a spacewalk per day. In its entire history, the U.S. has gained only about 400 hours of spacewalk experience. The newspaper quoted an unnamed NASA engineer as saying the Station would require 7,000 hours of maintenance before it became permanently occupied and an additional 5,000 hours before its 1999 completion.

Spacewalking has always loomed as one of the most dangerous activities in space. The EVA situation is worsened because development of new pressure suits has been halted for budget reasons. NASA was working on two versions of advanced suits – one was hard and the other was soft – which would have been less complicated, easier to wear and maintain, and quicker to don. Present plans now call for the spacewalks to be conducted using the current shuttle suits.

The Times said the unreleased Fisher/Price report had forced NASA “to mount a crash search for design changes and other ways to reduce the estimated hours of maintenance.” A new team at JSC, headed by engineer William E. Simon, had been formed to find solutions.

The lifetime of parts might be increased, but doing so would increase Station development costs and was termed “not realistic” by Price. Robots might be able to handle an increased maintenance load, but the robotic technology needed is new and untried. Several repair tasks might be combined into a single operation. Standardization of parts might ease the replacement tasks.

Despite such possible solutions, the Times quoted another unnamed JSC engineer as saying, “These numbers (for EVA time) are pretty resistant to easy fixes.” Voices are now being raised in Congress and even within NASA that the EVA requirement could be a “showstopper” for the Station program. “These numbers suggest the Station cannot be built,” the Times quoted an unnamed JSC engineer.


“We’ve always prided ourselves on our pioneer spirit that built America. Well, that spirit is a key to our future as well as our past. Once again, we’re on a frontier. Our willingness to accept this challenge will reflect whether America’s men and women today have the same bold vision, the same courage and indomitable spirit that made us a great nation.”

- U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, January 28, 1984

So far, the U.S. has spent approximately $4 billion to design Freedom. While its complexity does not rival that of DNA, its promise does. DNA makes all life possible on Earth. The Space Station will make life possible throughout the solar system. To turn our back on Freedom Station now could spell the end of our dreams of the Moon and Mars.

Yet the questions hovering around the project are more numerous now than when it was proposed in 1984. The challenge of the 1990s lies in making sure the dream Station does not end up a nightmare.

(Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, August 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 10:03 PM
Ulysses, by Jove!

A generation ago the flyby of a spacecraft past Jupiter was front-page news. But a recent courtesy call there paid by the deep-space probe named Ulysses seems to have caused a stir only among space physicists, who were nonetheless thrilled by the craft’s performance and experimental results.

A joint venture of NASA and the European Space Agency, Ulysses will cruise over the Sun’s polar regions in 1994 and 1995. However, first it had to brave what ESA project manager Derek Eaton termed the “completely filthy radiation environment” enveloping Jupiter, so that the planet’s gravitational energy could yank the probe high out of the ecliptic plane. Ulysses plunged north to south around the giant planet’s far side, coming within 380,000 kilometers of the colorful cloud tops at 12:01 Universal Time on February 8, 1992.

The spacecraft had actually sensed the impending encounter six days earlier, when it breached Jupiter’s enormous magnetosphere while still roughly eight million kilometers away. Some members of Ulysses’ research team were caught off guard by this early crossing. They had anticipated that the boundary (called the magnetopause) would lie much closer to Jupiter, as it was during the 1979 Voyager visits.


According to U.S. project scientist Edward J. Smith, a temporary lull in the solar wind let the magnetosphere balloon outward rapidly as Ulysses approached. The upstream bloating distorted the normally teardrop-shaped magnetosphere into something more akin a fat pancake.

As a result, during its two-week stint inside Jupiter’s magnetic bubble, Ulysses detected surprisingly few energetic charged particles (ions and electrons) at higher latitudes, but plowed through large doses of them as it crossed the magnetic equator.

Smith notes that two Pioneer probes encountered a similarly flattened Jovian magnetosphere during their visits in the early 1970s, and thus this geometry may be more the norm than the exception. “Planetary scientists have tended to forget about the Pioneer encounters,” he observes, “and adopt the Voyager results (a compressed, plump magnetosphere) as the model.

Hopefully, Ulysses has helped reestablish a proper, more balanced view.” Smith adds that the new data will prove particularly useful in planning the scientific work of the Jupiter-bound Galileo spacecraft, whose orbit will plunge it repeatedly through the sheet of circuit-zapping charged particles concentrated near the magnetic equator.


Some of Ulysses’ nine instruments offered convincing confirmation that Io, innermost of the four large Galilean satellites, is the dominant source of ions in the Jovian magnetosphere. The moon’s volcanoes spew roughly one ton of sulfur dioxide and other gases into space every second. The molecules soon become ionized and create a fat doughnut of plasma along Io’s orbit.

Ulysses discovered that this torus was only about half as dense as during the Voyager flybys, confirming the suspicions of ground-based infrared astronomers that volcanic activity has fallen off in recent years. The torus also proved to be surprisingly fragmented and clumpy, apparently in response to episodic eruptions on Io.

The sulfur and oxygen ions do not remain in the torus indefinitely, and Ulysses found that significant numbers of them ha migrated to the very edges of the magnetosphere. The flyby also demonstrated that droves of ions were cascading down the field lines and into Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, causing strong auroral discharges that were monitored back at Earth by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Although Jupiter was not Ulysses’ primary objective, the mission’s roughly 120 scientists – drawn from a dozen nations – already have plenty of interesting data to pore over. These results will not radically alter the knowledge of Jovian physics gleaned from the trailblazing efforts of the Pioneers and Voyagers. But, as ESA project scientist Klaus-Peter Wenzel observed son after the February flyby, “Some of the textbooks will have to be rewritten.”

(Sky & Telescope, July 1992 – edited)

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 10:06 PM
Ulysses spacecraft ends historic mission of discovery

Provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Published: Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ulysses, a joint NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) mission, officially ceased operations Tuesday, June 30, after receiving commands from ground controllers to do so. The spacecraft charted the unexplored regions of space above the poles of the Sun for more than 18 years.

As planned via commands beamed to the spacecraft earlier in the day, Ulysses switched to its low-gain antenna at 4:09 p.m. EDT. As a result, ground controllers could not pick up a signal from Ulysses, which also had been commanded to switch off its transmitter at 4:15 p.m. EDT.

When Space Shuttle Discovery launched Ulysses October 6, 1990, the spacecraft had an expected lifetime of five years. The mission gathered unique information about the heliosphere — the bubble in space carved by the solar wind — for nearly four times longer than expected.

"This has been a remarkable scientific endeavor," said Richard Marsden, Ulysses mission manager and ESA project scientist. "The results Ulysses obtained have exceeded our wildest dreams many times over."

Ulysses made nearly three complete orbits of the Sun. The probe revealed for the first time the three-dimensional character of galactic cosmic radiation, energetic particles produced in solar storms and the solar wind. Not only has Ulysses allowed scientists to map constituents of the heliosphere in space, but its longevity also enabled them to observe the Sun over a longer period of time than ever before.

"The Sun's activity varies with an 11-year cycle, and now we have measurements covering almost two complete cycles," Marsden said. "This long observation has led to one of the mission's key discoveries, namely that the solar wind has grown progressively weaker during the mission and is currently at its weakest since the start of the Space Age."

In addition to measuring the solar wind and charged particles, Ulysses instruments measured small dust particles and neutral gases from local interstellar space that penetrate into the heliosphere. Ulysses had an unprecedented three chance encounters with comet tails, registered more than 1,800 cosmic gamma-ray bursts, and provided findings for more than 1,000 scientific articles and two books.

"The breadth of science addressed by Ulysses is truly astonishing," said Ed Smith, Ulysses project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "The data acquired during the long lifetime of this mission have provided an unprecedented view of the solar activity cycle and its consequences and will continue to keep scientists busy for many years to come."

Ulysses' successes have not been confined to scientific data. The extended mission presented significant challenges to the NASA-European operations team. In particular, critical parts of the spacecraft became progressively colder with time. In recent years, scientists led a major effort to prevent the onboard hydrazine fuel from freezing. The operations team continually created methods to allow the aging space probe to continue its scientific mission.

In early June, the Ulysses mission team received a NASA Group Achievement Award. Another milestone occurred June 10 when Ulysses became the longest-running ESA-operated spacecraft, overtaking the International Ultraviolet Explorer, which logged 18 years and 246 days of operations.

"The Ulysses team performed exceptionally by building and operating a research probe that would return scientific data for analysis no matter what challenges it encountered," said Arik Posner, Ulysses program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. "The knowledge gained from Ulysses proves what can be achieved through international cooperation in space research."

The Ulysses orbital path is carrying the spacecraft away from Earth. The ever-widening gap has progressively limited the amount of data transmitted. Ulysses project managers, with the concurrence of ESA and NASA, decided it was an appropriate time to end this epic scientific adventure.

ESA Ulysses Mission Operations Manager Nigel Angold points out that more than a year ago, "We had estimated Ulysses would not survive further than July 2008. However, the spacecraft didn't stop surprising us and kept working a full year, collecting invaluable science data. It's nice to be going out in style."

NSF STS-41 Hi-res images

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 10:07 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 10:08 PM
Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Ares67 on 10/09/2016 10:10 PM
Going out in style

Just like the man said… “It’s nice to be going out in style.”

So, here we go.

Next stop:

Atlantis STS-38 – Roundtrip Ticket

I’m targeting December for this one, but please be patient with me.

One thing I can promise:

I’ll be back again, and again, and again, and again...

- Oliver, aka Ares67

Title: Re: Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Post by: Lewis007 on 11/10/2017 10:45 AM
Robert Cabana's JSC Oral History Project interview is available now, providing more insights into the STS-41 mission. See attachment.

Hoot Gibson also had another interview, providing anecdotes of his missions STS-41B and STS-61C (covered by Ares before), and some other stuff, like the Penguinus Antarcticus of STS-41D. See attachment.

To see a list of the recent interviews, see: