NASA Shuttle Specific Sections => Shuttle History - Pre-RTF => Topic started by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:46 pm

Title: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:46 pm
Dedicated to the Memory of

John “Mike” Lounge

1985 MS2 Discovery STS 51-I
1988 MS1 Discovery STS-26
1990 MS2 Columbia STS-35

“I feel that three flights is my fair share…”

- John M. Lounge (1946 – 2011)

… and yet you left us much too early, Mike.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:47 pm
The Reluctant Space Shuttle

(By Ed Hengeveld)

In the second half of 1990 the Space Shuttle experienced a frustrating series of hydrogen leaks, which effectively grounded the entire fleet for several months. Attention was initially focused on the Columbia STS-35 mission, one of the most reluctant spaceflights ever to get off the pad, but soon other missions were also affected. So many confusing problems occurred during these months that it was not easy to keep track of what was happening.

An interesting side-effect was that they had a number of sights that had rarely (or even never) been witnessed before or since at the Kennedy Space Center: Launch pads 39A and 39B were occupied simultaneously by flight-ready shuttles on several occasions; this had only happened once before, in December 1985/January 1986. A crew went through a dress rehearsal for launch with one crew member replaced by his backup. A set of partially stacked Solid Rocket Boosters was rolled out to the launch pad and two shuttle stacks passed each other on the crawler way. Three launches took place while Columbia occupied the other pad. And a shuttle stack was rolled over from one launch pad to the other.

(Spaceflight, Vol. 47 No. 12, December 2005 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:48 pm
The Columbia Precedence

“The disaster of the Space Shuttle Challenger, seen on television by millions, reinforced that seeming determination to make space travel a no-risk business, which it cannot be. It is sad to think that we did in the decade of racing to the Moon probably would take twice as long to accomplish today, even if the national will and treasure could be mustered, which is a significant question in itself.”

- Eugene A. Cernan (1934 – 2017), CDR Apollo 17 – still “Last Man on the Moon” 

(By Dixon P. Otto)

Astro-1 represents a microcosm of all our space activities. In Astro-1, we see the highest ideals achievable by the mind of mankind – seeking to understand the Universe on its grandest scale. Seeking out the mystery of the skies pulses as the living heart of why we venture into space.

Astro-1 began charged with an optimistic, ambitious timeline. If the mission had played out in total perfection, up to 250 stellar targets would have been probed. But like with everything that the human hand touches, perfection becomes only an illusionary ideal. Nothing we do in space will be perfect or risk free.

From the start, Astro-1 was hit by problem after problem like a string of body blows from a hard-handed boxer. Yet no one quit on Astro-1. The resourcefulness of the human spirit brought the mission back from the dead on several occasions. Teamwork triumphed as plans that had taken years to develop were rewritten overnight.

In the end, triumph rang in the excited voices of the scientists. Before Astro-1, they had, in some cases, devoted years to the flight of a single sounding rocket in order to gain five minutes of data above the Earth’s obscuring atmosphere. With Astro-1, each orbit brought observations lasting up to a half hour or even a bit more.

Columbia’s Astro-1 mission – in its triumph over adversity – demonstrated the shuttle at its best use. But we need to develop the space spirit that is healthy enough to resist the failures that will come, indeed must come. As sad as it is, space must become a place to die as well as live.

Much has been made on the common-sense statement in the Augustine Report by the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program that we are likely to lose another shuttle in this decade. Norman R. Augustine, chairman of Martin Marietta and head of the committee, said, “The Space Shuttle, as everyone recognizes, is an extremely capable system for missions where human beings are required. On the other hand, our committee believes that it should be limited in use only to those cases where there’s important value added by a human presence. We are concerned that the Space Shuttle may be the thin reed that supports our entire civil space program.”

We must not abandon the shuttle, but we must build a better base around it. And as we use the shuttle, we must be prepared for failure. As Astro-1 overcame its adversity, we must be ready to overcome the greater adversities that surely will beset our space program. If we are not prepared to accept the risk, we should resign our space program into museum pieces.”

(Dixon P. Otto, “CapCom,” Countdown, February 1991 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:49 pm
Master of Orion

Designed by the seven crewmembers assigned to the mission, the STS-35 crew patch symbolizes the Space Shuttle flying above Earth’s atmosphere to better study the many celestial objects of the Universe. Columbia’s mission to “conquer the stars” is called Astro-1. The patch shows the black belly of the orbiter, with its payload bay aimed at eleven distinctive stars of the constellation Orion; STS-35 Mission Specialist Jeff Hoffman, who was an astronomer before becoming an astronaut, says Orion is his favorite constellation.

(Countdown, May 1990; description on STS-35 decal – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:50 pm

The STS-35 Crew – Seven Men with an Astronomical Task

The STS-35 Mission – Stargazing From Orbit

STS-35 Crew Training Images

STS-35 Flight Preparations – Milestones and Roadblocks

January – May 1990

June – August 1990

September – December 1990

STS-35 Daily Flight Log

Sunday, December 2, 1990 (Launch Day) – A Real Light Show

Sunday, December 2, 1990 (Flight Day 1) – Let’s Get This Show On The Road

Monday, December 3, 1990 (Flight Day 2) – Target Practice

Tuesday, December 4, 1990 (Flight Day 3) – We Have An Observatory

Wednesday, December 5, 1990 (Flight Day 4) – Thinking Science

Thursday, December 6, 1990 (Flight Day 5) – We’re Not Giving Up

Friday, December 7, 1990 (Flight Day 6) – Interesting and Dynamic

Saturday, December 8, 1990 (Flight Day 7) – An Atmosphere of Jubilation

Hams in Space – “Hello” from Columbia

Sunday, December 9, 1990 (Flight Day 8) – How Long Will It Last?

Monday, December 10, 1990 (Landing Day) – All Good Things

Mission Report: Soyuz TM-11 – Japan’s First Spacefarer

December 1990 – STS-35 Post-Flight Activities

The Devil and Mr. Truly

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:53 pm
The STS-35 Crew – Seven Men with an Astronomical Task

“I don’t feel any different than I did a few years ago, but I do realize that this probably will be my last spaceflight.”

- Apollo veteran and STS-35 CDR Vance Brand


Ben Evans called it “some business that had been left unfinished four years before.” In his 2005 book Space Shuttle Columbia he wrote: “This was the completion of the Astro-1 mission, which was originally her next flight after STS 61-C but had been indefinitely postponed following the Challenger disaster. Now renumbered STS-35, even after the resumption of shuttle flights, the mission would prove a bear to get off the ground and already her crew had changed several times.”

On October 3, 1986, the first flight manifest released after the Challenger disaster had shown the Astro-1 payload to be flown on STS-31, planned for launch on January 19, 1989. Some reshuffling during the next two years next two years would cause the mission to be redesignated STS-35.   

Evans explained, “Although the science crew – Mission Specialists Jeff Hoffman and Bob Parker and Payload Specialists Sam Durrance and Ron Parise (…) – remained intact from the original 61-E crew, the other three astronauts were relatively new. When the ‘new’ STS-35 crew was named in November 1988, Commander Jon McBride remained in charge, but chose to resign from the astronaut corps just six months later. His replacement was three-flight veteran Vance Brand.”

Countdown magazine in May 1990 read, “STS-35 probably will mark the final flight by an astronaut who flew in the antiquated era of space capsules.” Vance Brand had flown the last Apollo in 1975, and now – at age 59 – became the oldest person to fly in space. The revised Astro-1 crew included Pilot Guy Gardner, a veteran of STS-27, and Mission Specialist Mike Lounge – a former crewmember of Discovery STS-26, which had marked the high-profile Return to Flight after Challenger in fall of 1988. Bill Evans later wrote, “The original 61-E Pilot, Dick Richards, and Mission Specialist Dave Leestma were already, by this time, well-immersed in their training for Columbia’s return-to-flight STS-28 mission.”

“Original plans called for three flights of the Astro observatory, each with two payload specialists. Durrance and Parise would fly the first mission; then Parise would join another payload specialist, Ken Nordsieck, for Astro-2 and Durrance would fly with Nordsieck on Astro-3. All three missions were expected to be completed by July 1987. Hoffman and Parker, it seems, would have flown all three missions! It seems remarkable today, when astronauts typically wait three or four years between flights that NASA was planning to fly them into space in such rapid succession.”

Bill Evans quoted Mission Specialist Parker’s expressed disbelief at the sheer number of missions planned up to the time of the Challenger disaster: “It’s amazing when you look back at that (schedule pressure) and the rate at which we thought we had to keep pumping this stuff out. You’d have thought the world was going to end (if we didn’t meet our launch targets). My favorite expression is: Guess what? The Sun kept on rising and setting! The Sun didn’t even notice (if we missed our launch targets.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:54 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:57 pm

STS-35 marks the return of seven-person shuttle crews and the flights of payload specialists, who are not career astronauts but investigators assigned to fly with a particular payload. The two non-agency passengers say their performance could open the door for others. "We try our best to blaze that trail," said Ron Parise, an astronomer with the Computer Sciences Corp. Parise, 39, attempted unsuccessfully a dozen years ago to join the ranks of NASA astronauts. But even if Parise and one-time auto racer Sam Durrance, 46, an astronomer with Johns Hopkins University, perform flawlessly, the crew hatch to the Space Shuttle is unlikely to swing wide to admit outsiders the way it did before the Challenger exploded.

The deaths of New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe and Hughes Aircraft engineer Gregory Jarvis on Challenger ignited a simmering debate over a questionable space agency policy that permitted a Florida congressman, a Utah senator and a Saudi prince, among other outsiders, to fly on the shuttle. There even were plans to fly a journalist. The presence of those outsiders seemed more attune to boosting NASA's public image and support among key lawmakers than executing the flight plan.

It also promoted a false notion that shuttle missions held little risk. It irritated those among NASA's astronaut corps who were forced to prolong the wait for a space flight. It unfairly isolated the few scientists and engineers outside the agency who were pursuing legitimate research. "Most people have realized now that we have certainly paid our dues," said Parise. "We are not naive people who don't understand what we are getting into.' In the wake of the Challenger loss, the space agency retreated to a conservative flight policy that limited shuttle crews to five NASA astronauts, a practice it followed strictly for ten post-accident missions.

But the policy also included a provision that allows up to two more astronauts or payload specialists to fly if the shuttle mission's performance requires it. Astro's does. "On our flight the payload specialists have an expertise in areas no one else on the crew has," said Commander Vance Brand. "I'm lucky. They have been around for quite awhile. They know exactly how NASA does things and what needs to be done. They are both able to fit in very well.”


“It was actually before I was even assigned to my first flight. There was a lot of controversy about payload specialists at the time. The Marshall Space Flight Center was running the Spacelab flights, and so they controlled payload specialists. There was always this competition between JSC and Marshall, sometimes friendlier than others. Marshall loved the idea that they had their own astronauts, and so they wanted to fly as many payload specialists as possible.”
“This was strongly resisted at JSC, because they didn‘t want astronauts that they didn‘t select. There was a lot of controversy in the early days about what payload specialists should be allowed to do and how should they be selected. Along comes this Astro payload, three fairly complicated ultraviolet telescopes. Actually, the program was originally being run up at Goddard. The project said that this was a sufficiently complex payload that we really want two payload specialists on the flight. George Abbey, who was not fond of payload specialists, decided to see if they were for real or if they were blowing smoke.”

“Since I was an astronomer and I wasn‘t assigned to a flight at the time, he asked me to go up to Goddard to one of their meetings, find out about this payload, and because I was still a new guy, he sent Joe Kerwin along with me. Joe wasn‘t an astronomer, but he was a medical doctor, and he knew the ropes and was an old hand around the office.”

“We went up there. I talked with everybody, learned about the payload. Joe and I talked about this, because we kind of thought – Well, we know what George would like to hear… but we both came to the conclusion that in fact this was an extremely complex payload. Yes, two astronaut astronomers could probably do the job – because we had a few astronomers in the Astronaut Office: Bob Parker, Karl Henize, Sally Ride, Pinky Nelson, Steve Hawley. You could assign a couple of us. We could go and spend two years working at the universities, and we could operate the payload, but we still wouldn’t know it in as much depth as the people who had developed it. We recommended that we accept payload specialists. George went along with it. It obviously didn‘t destroy my career. Everything worked out okay.”

“By the way, I think it was a totally unfortunate choice of terminology that NASA made, because the public never could tell the difference between a mission specialist and a payload specialist. It was just totally confusing to everybody. That‘s neither here nor there. That‘s the way it was. We had no problem as far as the crew. We knew very well that they knew the experiments much better than we did. It was perfectly reasonably for them to be on the flight, and they did a great job.”

- STS-35 Mission Specialist Jeff Hoffman, JSC NASA Oral History Project March 2009

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:58 pm

CDR Vance DeVoe Brand – was born May 9, 1931 in Longmont, Colorado. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Colorado in 1960 and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of California in 1964. According to Michael Cassutt’s Who’s Who in Space, “He joined the Marine Corps in 1953, serving as a jet pilot until 1957. He would fly for the Marine Corps Reserve and Air National Guard until 1964. After further schooling at Colorado, he went to work for the Lockheed Aircraft Cooperation in 1960, first as flight engineer, later, after attending the Naval Test Pilot School, as an experimental test pilot.”

After an unsuccessful first application for NASA’s 1963 astronaut group, Brand was selected as an astronaut in April 1966. Cassutt explains, “In 1968 he and astronauts Joseph Kerwin and Joe Engle conducted vacuum chamber tests of the redesigned Apollo command and service modules. Brand later served on the support crews for Apollo 8 and Apollo 13. He was assigned as backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 15 and would have flown around the Moon on Apollo 18, but that mission was cancelled.”

Even while serving as backup commander for Skylab 3 and 4, in late 1972 he began training for what eventually became his first trip into space, as Command Module Pilot for the historic Apollo/Soyuz docking in July 1975. “During the Apollo splashdown on July 24,” says Michael Cassutt, “poisonous nitrogen tetroxide gas from a leaking thruster flooded the Apollo cabin. Brand was knocked unconscious, but revived when an oxygen mask was placed on his face. The astronauts suffered no lasting injury, but the incident was an embarrassment.”

Brand received the American Institute of Aeronautics Special Presidential Citation in 1977. In November 1982, commanding Columbia STS-5 on the first operational shuttle mission, he was a member of the first five-man crew in spaceflight history. In February 1984 he entered the history books again as Commander of mission STS 41-B, when he safely steered the orbiter Challenger towards the shuttle program’s first Kennedy Space Center landing. 

“After the 41-B mission, I was reassigned and I got a crew for a life sciences mission,” Vance Brand told interviewer Rebecca Wright in 2002. “It was the first life sciences mission. So we started training for that. Then, for some reason, because of restructuring of the missions – and I kind of forget all of the details, but I ended up with another mission, which was called Atlas. So I had another crew, and we were training. That’s what I was doing when along came Challenger, and that changed life for everybody for a while.”

Brand continued, “At that time I had really interesting assignments. For one thing, I led the Development Branch in the Astronaut Office. There were about thirty astronauts that I was working with at that time, and they were all looking at different shuttle systems. There’d be one person on escape systems, and somebody else following what was being done to the Solid Rocket Boosters and another on main engines, etc. We were all working with engineers and managers to correct problems, and there was a big effort under way to assess the critical failure points were in the Space Shuttle and to prioritize the fixes.”

“Jay Green and I co-chaired a committee that reassessed ascent and aborts and emergency landing fields around the world. The committee looked at the whole ascent and landing picture; eventually, I was on a board that looked at the system safety of the shuttle when changes were being implemented after the groundwork was laid that I just mentioned. I spent a year sitting on this board, and we were looking at all the hazards that had been identified for the Space Shuttle including the Solid Rocket Boosters and the ground facilities,” said Brand. “So it was somewhat tedious just marching through all of that, but it was interesting and necessary.”

We have to really fix the Space Shuttle so that this isn’t likely to happen again. We’ve got to strengthen the whole system so that another accident that might be somewhat probable could never happen,” Brand summed up the post-Challenger set of mind at NASA. “The Astronaut Office just had scads of concerns, and this was an opportunity to maybe not get everything fixed, but certainly to get everything looked at and to have a lot of competent people decide whether or not these things needed to be fixed.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 04:59 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:00 pm
PLT Guy Spence Gardner, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel USAF – was born January 6, 1948, in Alta Vista, Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering sciences, astronautics, and mathematics from the United States Air Force Academy in 1969 and a Master of Science in astronautics from Purdue University in 1970.

Regarding Guy Gardner’s military career Michael Cassutt wrote, “Gardner underwent pilot training at Craig AFB, Alabama, and McDill AFB, Florida, before being sent to Thailand, where he flew F-4s on 177 combat missions. Returning to the United States, he attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, graduating in 1975, then served with the 6512th Test Squadron at Edwards. He was an instructor at the test pilot school. When selected by NASA in 1980 he was operations officer with the 1st Test Squadron at Clark AFB, the Philippines.”

Gardner logged over 3,700 hours flying time and received training to fly the first shuttle from Vandenberg AFB, California, which of course was cancelled after Challenger was lost. Finally making his first spaceflight in December 1988, Gardner piloted the orbiter Atlantis on the four-day classified STS-27 mission.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:01 pm
MS1 Jeffrey Alan Hoffman, PhD – was born November 2, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York. Michael Cassutt wrote, “He attended Amherst College, where he received a B.S. in astronomy graduating summa cum laude in 1966. He received his PhD in astrophysics from Harvard University in 1971. He has since received an M.S. in materials science from Harvard University (1988). As a postdoctoral fellow at Leicester University in England from 1972-75, Hoffman worked on scientific packages for three rocket payloads, all of them relating to X-ray astronomy, his field of study. He was also project scientist for an X-ray experiment flown on the European Space Agency’s Exosat satellite.”

“Returning to the United States in 1975, he joined the Center for Space Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as project scientist for X-ray and gamma ray experiments for the first High Energy Astronomical Observatory (HEAO-1) satellite launched in August 1977,” according to Who’s Who in Space. Jeff Hoffman has written or co-authored over twenty papers regarding X-ray bursts and was at MIT when he was selected as an astronaut in 1978; his early assignments included serving as support crew member for STS-5 and as CapCom for STS-8.

Even before making his first spaceflight, Discovery STS 51-D in April 1985 – when he and Dave Griggs performed the first “emergency” spacewalk in shuttle history – Jeff Hoffman had another assignment. “Because of my initial involvement, I went to a few more Astro meetings and at one point then George Abbey decided that Bob Parker and I, both astronomer astronauts, should fly with Astro-1,” Hoffman told interviewer Jennifer Ross-Nazzal in 2009. “So as I say, I knew before I flew on my first flight that my second flight would be with the Astro payload. That was nice.”

“Back then flights were getting shifted around a lot. There were a lot of delays. Payloads got shifted around,” Hoffman recounted later. “Astro-1 being an astronomy payload, they wanted us up there for the passage of Halley‘s Comet. So we actually held our place in the manifest, and everybody else was shifting downstream of us. We were going to go in early March of 1986. Of course Challenger was the end of January. We were in active training. We were the next flight. I was in the simulator that morning, in the EVA simulator, doing training. At T minus nine, when they start up the final countdown, we got out of the simulator, went to look at the launch.”
“I remember, before going in the simulator, we were looking at pictures of all the ice on the launch tower that morning and I remember thinking to myself, ‘No way they‘re going to launch; they can‘t launch with that much ice.’ When we heard they were going to launch, we all shook our heads and thought, ‘Well, they must know something that we don‘t know.’ We assumed that it was all safe and that everybody was satisfied. Nobody in the Astronaut Office was monitoring the solid boosters.”

“It was an interesting situation. It was just, ‘Solids don‘t fail! Period!’ We had people who went to all the meetings about the main engines and the computer systems and the turbopumps and everybody expected that if there was going to be a major failure it would be one of the turbopumps or the main engines, because we had seen failures on the test stands down in Mississippi, and they‘re pretty dramatic when an engine blows up.”

Hoffman said, “I wanted to make my Astro flight, and I had no particular desire to leave. I stayed around. We had been talking a lot about experiments in microgravity and growing crystals, and at that time in the Astronaut Office I think the only person with any sort of a background at all in materials science was Bonnie Dunbar. I thought, ‘I have a background in the physical sciences, I can learn about this.’ I applied to the Astronaut Office management. I said, ‘Could I take half time off and go to Rice University and get a degree in materials science with a specialization in crystallography? Then maybe, sometime in the future, I‘ll be able to go on one of those Spacelab flights and help with growing crystals.’

“There was plenty of work to do around the office. For half time, they assigned me for my astronaut job to the Payload Safety Panel, which was actually quite fascinating work. Then at the same time I was spending – basically full-time – I was sort of working at time and a half – but full-time on getting a master‘s degree, which was fun going back to school. I was what, 42 years old at the time. I remember some of the students in class would look at me funny. ‘Who‘s this old guy in class?’ Then by the end of the first semester, it gave me a good feeling because they realized that ‘Hey, he‘s getting all As.’ Before the final exam when they came up and asked if they could copy my notes to use for study, I thought, ‘Well, that‘s nice.’

“I hadn‘t taken exams since I was a graduate student, so when I went in to take my first exam, I remember thinking, ‘Can I still do this stuff?’ It was nice to see that I could still get As in my classes, and it was fun because I always liked school. I like learning new things. Just about the time that I finished up my degree and I was going to start looking around, ‘What can I do?’ I knew I was going to fly on Astro eventually, but since Halley‘s Comet had come and gone, we no longer had our privileged position. It was still going to be another year or two.”

Before being officially reassigned to Astro-1, according to Michael Cassutt, “Hoffman worked on the development of a pressure suit for the Freedom Space Station, and on the Tethered Satellite System.” This expertise on TSS eventually would qualify him for his next assignment, Atlantis STS-46 in August 1992.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:02 pm
MS2 John Michael “Mike” Lounge – was born June 28, 1946 in Denver, Colorado. During his early career in the U.S. Navy he always wanted to follow in the steps of no other than the first man on the Moon, as he described in a February 2008 interview with Jennifer Ross-Nazzal:

I graduated from the Naval Academy in 1969, went immediately to what they called an immediate master’s program. If you got selected for and got a scholarship somewhere, the Navy let you go and spend a year or fifteen months getting a master’s degree before you reported to your first duty station, and I got one of those degree programs at the University of Colorado. I went over there as a Navy ensign, wore an ensign uniform, I think once, and spent fifteen months getting a master’s degree in astrogeophysics, because then I wanted to be an astronaut and I hoped that somewhere in the future there would be opportunity.

So, to put it in perspective, I think two days after I reported to the University of Colorado for that program to start is when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon. So, a very exciting time. Every young ensign in the Navy wanted to follow in his footprints, I’m sure. So I did that.

Then I went to flight training in Pensacola, went through F-4 training and flew as a radar intercept officer, is what we called them, but the systems guy in the F-4; it’s a two-seat fighter. Flew about 2,000 hours in the F-4 on two different cruises, one on the East Coast, one on the West Coast, saw combat in Vietnam, about a hundred combat missions, most of them very boring. Were there at the end of that war when the prisoners were all released, and then we came back to California and almost immediately did a Mediterranean cruise, so I got to see the rest of that world.

After that, I went to the Naval Academy as an instructor, taught physics there for two years. At that time I was looking ahead to the credentials that I thought might be needed to compete as an astronaut candidate. There was an opportunity to be on the staff of a Navy spy satellite, essentially, project, and so I joined that staff and was on that staff for two years, and it was from that job that I interviewed the first time for the class of ’78 Shuttle astronauts. I didn’t get hired in that class, but I got close enough to get offered a job at the Johnson Space Center, working in Mission Operations.

So I asked the Navy if they would send me down to Houston as a naval officer, because the Air Force, they must have had too many officers, because they had a hundred people down at the Center then, you know, on assignment from the Air Force. The Navy said, “No, Commander Lounge, we have an aircraft carrier in mind for you.” I said, “No, I think I’ll just resign, then, and go to work for NASA.” So that’s what I did. I left the Navy and became a NASA civil servant in 1978.

Mike Lounge worked on shuttle payload integration and participated in tracking the Skylab reentry in 1979. He continued to fly F-4N aircraft with the U.S. Naval Reserve and became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Air National Guard. Finally, Lounge was selected as one of nineteen new astronaut candidates in May 1980.

Ross-Nazzal: So when you got that phone call from George Abbey, what was that like?

Lounge: That was good. Actually, I had some indications that I was pretty close, so it wasn’t a total surprise, but it was a huge relief, and obviously the largest single career-shaping event of my life, that call.

Ross-Nazzal: Were you and Bonnie (Dunbar) and Jerry (Ross) sort of comparing, seeing if someone got a phone call?

Lounge: Our offices were within shouting distance, so you could hear the shouts. I think everyone was there that morning. I couldn’t tell you who got the first call. But the party that night was at my house, of everyone that called in the Houston area, and there were probably, I don’t know, seems like five or six, and then a lot of the ’78 class showed up at the party that night, so that was fun.

Ross-Nazzal: That’s great. So why don’t you tell us about that first day as you’re walking into the Astronaut Office and you’ve got this new class of – Dave Leestma said you guys called yourselves “the Needless Nineteen.” What did the rest of the astronauts think? We hadn’t flown the Space Shuttle yet.

Lounge: Too many, right? That was the general attitude, was, “We don’t need these guys.” I don’t know. It was intimidating. It was like being a freshman. I was going to say college, but maybe even high school again, you know, in there with all the legends. So it was intimidating, I would say. But we got pretty busy right away, so you forgot about that.

Michael Cassutt tells the rest: “While an astronaut he served as a member of the launch support team at the Kennedy Space Center for STS-1, STS-2 and STS-3. His main technical assignment has been the shuttle’s computer system. He was named to his first shuttle crew in August 1983 and following that flight (STS 51-I in August/September 1985) was assigned to Mission 61-F, the launch of the Galileo Jupiter probe, which was canceled because of the Challenger accident.”

Of course, Mike Lounge was a member of Discovery’s STS-26 mission in 1988 which put the shuttle program back on track after the tragic loss two-and-a-half years earlier. Then came Astro-1 and he later put it into perspective: “It was actually also supposed to be the next flight after Challenger. It would have flown in, I guess, February of ’86 if it had been – so I like to say I flew both flights after Challenger.”

Now, while getting the chance of making a third trip into space, and actually flying Columbia while in orbit, Mike Lounge only had a single regret: “When I was flying, you didn’t do a spacewalk unless it was really a very serious problem you were trying to fix, so I never got to do one. I got to train as the EVA crewman on two of those three flights, but I never got to do a real spacewalk.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:04 pm
MS3 Robert Alan Ridley Parker, PhD – was born in New York City on December 14, 1936. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in astronomy and physics from Amherst College in 1958 and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1962. Until being selected by NASA as one of eleven scientist astronauts in 1967 Parker had been associate professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin. His early assignments included the support crews for the Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 missions. He then was program scientist for the Skylab Program Directors Office during all three manned Skylab missions before working on Space Shuttle development.

“Astronomer Bob Parker was a mission specialist aboard STS-9, the first flight of the European research module Spacelab,” wrote Michael Cassutt. “For ten days the crew of six astronauts, the largest sent into space aboard a single spacecraft at that time, carried out scientific experiments in a variety of disciplines. For example, Parker participated in an experiment intended to prove or disprove a 1914 Nobel Prize-winning theory that hot or cold air blown into a person’s ears would cause the subject to believe he was turning. Contrary to the theory, it did not. Parker also became famous for a testy public exchange with controllers at the Marshall Space Flight Center when he felt he and Payload Specialist Ulf Merbold were being rushed to start one experiment before they could finish another.”

During his one-year assignment to NASA Headquarters in 1988/1989, where he served as director of the Spaceflight/Space Station Integration Office, Parker got confirmation he was finally going to fly the Astro-1 mission.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:05 pm
PS1 Samuel Thornton Durrance, PhD – was born September 17, 1943 in Tallahassee, Florida. He received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in physics from the California State University in 1972 and 1974, respectively, and received a PhD in astrogeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1980. He made observations with the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite. Working as  research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, Durrance became assistant project scientist for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope program. In June 1984 he was selected as payload specialist for Astro-1.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:06 pm
PS2 Ronald Anthony Parise, PhD – was born May 24, 1951, in Warren, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Youngstown State University in 1973, a Master of Science degree in astronomy from the University of Florida in 1977 and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Florida in 1979. As manager of the Advanced Astronomy Programs Section at Computer Scienes Corporation in Silver Spring, Maryland, he was responsible for flight software development, electronic systems design and mission planning for the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. Like Sam Durrance, Parise did research with the IUE satellite and was given his Astro-1 flight assignment in June 1984.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:07 pm
“There were three,” Jeffrey Hoffman reminded interviewer Jennifer Ross-Nazzal in 2009, meaning there were three payload specialists selected for Astro-1 “There were several candidates, but the actual three were selected by the scientists, not by NASA. They had to pass NASA medical qualifications. Then I guess in the end, the scientists selected the two of the three who would fly. The deal was that for the second ASTRO flight Ken Nordsieck, who was going to be the alternate for the first flight, he would definitely fly. Then one of the other two would fly. As it turned out, in the interim, Ken had developed other interests, and decided he didn‘t want to leave his academic interests for two or three years to fly. He basically withdrew.”

Alternate PS Kenneth Hugh Nordsieck, PhD – was born February 19, 1946, in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1967 and a Master of Science and a PhD in Physics from the University of California in San Diego in 1970 and 1972, respectively.

Michael Cassutt wrote, “Nordsieck is an associate professor at Washburn Observatory at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It was his work as coinvestigator for the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment that made him eligible for selection as an Astro payload specialist. His field of research includes the structure of spiral galaxies and extragalactic objects.”

And, for a short time in April/May 1990, Ken Nordsieck came close to actually flying aboard Columbia STS-35, when PS1 Sam Durrance developed a medical condition that could have affected his clearance for flight.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:08 pm

The STS-35 crew will work continuously in shifts in order to sight a multitude of targets. The “Blue Shift,” working during which corresponds to days in Houston, will be comprised of Mike Lounge, Jeff Hoffman and Sam Durrance. Lounge and Hoffman are the emergency EVA crewmembers on this flight. The “Red Shift,” pulling the equivalent of night duty, includes Guy Gardner, Bob Parker and Ron Parise. Mission Commander Vance Brand will work a split shift, mostly with the red team.

The division of the crew into shifts will provide Mike Lounge with a rare opportunity for a mission specialist – flying the shuttle. “Many times Guy and I will be asleep, and Mike will be in charge of the orbiter, taking care of any problems, flying it – the whole works,” Brand says.

Columbia’s Astro-1 mission makes a unique mark in shuttle history because four of the seven crewmembers are astronomers by training. “The payload specialists essentially run the actual instruments,” Parker says. “Jeff and I will carry out a role which in the large observatories here on Earth – like Mt. Wilson where I used to observe – is called night assistants, the people responsible for keeping up the observatory and for pointing the telescope.”

Hoffman spent his career in astrophysics studying phenomena in the high-energy wavelengths, such as Astro-1 will study, which cannot penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. “I spent my astronomical career launching telescopes in balloons, rockets and eventually satellites,” he says. “I never thought that I’d actually be going up with one.”

“I have never been to the top of a mountain to use a real telescope,” he says. “If you’ve got to go to a mountain top to work as an astronomer, then this is a pretty neat mountain top to work from.”

(Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, May 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 27, 1990; Ben Evans, Space Shuttle Columbia – Her Missions and Crews, Springer/Praxis 2005; Spaceflight, Vol. 47, December 2005; JSC NASA Oral History Project interviews of Vance Brand, Apr. 12, 2002; Mike Lounge, Feb. 7, 2008; Jeff Hoffman, Nov. 3, 2009 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:09 pm
The STS-35 Mission – Stargazing From Orbit

“We are excited about this mission… It will break some new ground for NASA, especially in the post-Challenger era.”

- Vance Brand, CDR Columbia STS-35, during the JSC astronaut press conference on April 20, 1990

(Based on “If Astro: Spacelab tries for a return” by Dixon P. Otto)


When Columbia STS-35 makes orbit in May 1990 her payload bay doors will peel back to expose the Astro-1 bank of telescopes resting in a bed of Spacelab pallets. Swinging up from the bay, the telescopes will seek to supplement and expand upon the work of the Hubble Space Telescope and other astronomical satellites, past and future.

STS-35 will be the 36th Space Shuttle mission, and the tenth flight of the orbiter Columbia. Columbia also flew the first Spacelab mission in November/December of 1983. Astro-1 will mark the first mission since 1985 for the Spacelab hardware developed by the European Space Agency. The flight will carry the first seven-person crew, including the first payload specialists, since Challenger.

STS-35 is the first Space Shuttle mission dedicated to a single scientific discipline: astrophysics. The Astro-1 observatory, which remains locked in the payload bay throughout the flight, comprises two payloads: three ultraviolet telescopes mounted on the Instrument Pointing System (IPS), and one X-ray telescope mounted on the Two-Axis Pointing System (TAPS).

Each telescope was independently designed, but all work together as elements of a single observatory. In planning the mission goals, Astro investigators optimized the number of observations and increased the science data return by pointing the instruments to view celestial targets simultaneously. However, having separate pointing systems gives investigators the flexibility to point the UV telescopes at one target while the X-ray telescope is aimed at another.

The Astro instruments can peer deeply into the ultraviolet spectrum, gaining more detailed information than has ever been possible and studying objects of interest to optical and radio astronomers. Astro-1 can also be used in conjunction to the Hubble Space Telescope by discovering interesting objects for the long-lived space telescope to study in detail.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:11 pm

Four instruments make up the Astro-1 Observatory: the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT), the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT), the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE), and the Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT). The Astro ultraviolet telescopes photograph the UV sky (imaging), measure the energy distribution of UV wavelengths (spectroscopy), and analyze the intensity and orientation of UV light (photometry and polarimetry). The Astro X-ray telescope uses spectroscopy to measure the energy distribution of X-ray photons.

By using more than one instrument, Astro-1 can gather different types of information at the same time on the same objects. It is the first observatory that can simultaneously take ultraviolet pictures of objects, study their ultraviolet and X-ray spectra, and determine brightness and structure through photometry and polarimetry.

Astro-1 will view targets ranging from our solar system’s backyard to the depths of the cosmos. The target list also includes virtually every kind of object in the astrophysical zoo, from tightly grouped clusters of stars to large, tenuous nebulas.

Astro-1 will expose the hottest parts of galaxies: their active centers and dense globular clusters of stars shine with copious ultraviolet and X-ray emission. Quasars, perhaps the oldest and most energetic objects known, will be studied by Astro-1. The observatory may uncover objects that challenge our interpretation of the laws of physics: black holes that transform our concepts of space and time and neutron stars so dense that a teaspoonful of their material weighs a billion tons.

The flight is scheduled to last nine days but may be extended to a tenth. “If we turn out the lights at night and save on electricity in every way we can, we hope to make a ten-day mission,” STS-35 Commander Vance Brand says. To provide maximum power for science operations during the nine- or ten-day mission, Columbia will be equipped with additional fuel cell tanks.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:13 pm

When Astro’s wide eyes open to the heavens as planned, they will see a different Universe than human eyes have watched for thousands of years. As if peeking around the edge of a blindfold, the human eye only sees a thin slice of a greater scene. Visible light represents only a very tiny part of the radiation that makes up the electromagnetic spectrum that virtually all objects in the sky emit. The ends of the visible light spectrum are not really “ends” at all but are simply the limits of response by the human eye.

The visible wavelengths form just a small portion of the spectrum, yielding “just the tiniest indication of what’s going on” in the Universe, says Durrance.

The electromagnetic spectrum extends across a broad range of wavelengths from very high-energy gamma rays to very low-energy radio waves. Lower energies (infrared) and the higher energies (ultraviolet and X-rays) are largely absorbed by the atmosphere and never reach the ground.

Missing one segment is like taking some of the color from a painting. With ultraviolet and X-rays, astronomers can see emissions from extremely hot gases, intense magnetic fields, and other high-energy phenomena that more faintly appear in visible and infrared light or in radio waves – and which are crucial to deeper understanding of the Universe. The telescopes on Astro were constructed to add these “colors” to man’s view of the stars and galaxies.

In medical terms, Astro-1 with its three UV telescopes and one X-ray telescope will give the Universe a cosmic CAT scan and provide unparalleled information about high-energy celestial objects. “If you were a doctor and a very sick patient came into your office and all you had was a stethoscope and a thermometer, the doctor would have a hard time diagnosing that complex human being,” says Dr. Edward Weiler, Astro-1 program scientist and chief astronomer at NASA HQ in Washington D.C.

“The same is true with astronomy,” he explained. “We need to study objects that are hundreds, thousands, even billions of light years away and all we have is light. Objects tend to give off light in all wavelengths. We need to study things across the color spectrum, just as a doctor has to study a human being with many instruments.”

The ultraviolet spectrum is the region between X-rays and visible light. The UV region is subdivided into the extreme ultraviolet, the far ultraviolet, and the near ultraviolet bands. Ultraviolet light, like most of the electromagnetic spectrum, is not able to penetrate Earth’s atmosphere.

The UV spectrum is just beyond the blue end of visible light. Ultraviolet wavelengths are measured in Angstroms; an Angstrom (A) equals one ten-billionth of a meter. UV wavelengths ranging from about 100 to 3,200 Angstroms are shorter and more energetic than visible light. By comparison, visible light spans the region from about 3,200 to 7000 A. The UV region is further subdivided into the extreme ultraviolet (EUV, 100 to 1,000 A), the far ultraviolet (FUV, 1,000 to 2,000 A), and the near ultraviolet (NUV, 2,000 to 3,200 A) bands.

Many types of celestial objects are interesting to astronomers because they emit most of their radiation in these ultraviolet bands. Invisible ultraviolet radiation is the signature of hotter objects, typically in the early and late stages of their evolution.

“When you’re looking at X-rays and gamma rays, you’re looking at radiation which is given out by basically the highest energy processes – objects of the highest temperatures, pressures, and magnetic fields. It’s really the extreme regions of the Universe – neutron stars, the black holes and the exploding supernovae. If you can’t see the high energy radiation, then you really can’t study these objects,” says Hoffman. “That, to me, is what is exciting about high-energy astrophysics.”

Scientists studied stellar composition by breaking up starlight into spectral components, just as raindrops separate sunlight into a rainbow of colors. Since each element, such as hydrogen and oxygen, emits and absorbs radiation at specific wavelength, they could determine a star’s makeup by analyzing its spectrum, its radiation fingerprint. The strengths of various wavelengths tell us how much of certain elements are present; the ratio of the spectral lines reveals a source’s temperature and density; and the shape of the spectrum shows the physical processes occurring in a source.

Stars and other objects often emit more invisible radiation – radio waves, microwaves, infrared emission, ultraviolet emission, X-rays, and gamma rays – than visible light. From Earth, we can detect some radio and infrared wavelengths, but more radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and never reaches telescopes on the ground.

“It’s by viewing the sky from multiple wavelengths that we find many new exciting objects which we pull out of the background,” says Dr. Ted Gull, astronomer and Astro-1 project scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center. “And quite often, when we look at old favorite objects that we think we understand so much, we gain a lot of new insight.”


Results from several rocket-borne instruments and satellites indicate that the solar system, our Milky Way galaxy, and the Universe beyond are rich of UV radiation. However, these early observations have dealt almost exclusively with near and far ultraviolet emissions, because most mirrors and detectors could reach only to about 1,200 A. Only the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory OAO-3, known as Copernicus, which studied relatively bright stars, recorded spectra down to 950 A.

Radiation at wavelengths shorter than 912 A is absorbed by hydrogen, the most abundant element in the Universe, thus making it even more difficult to detect distant sources. Using new technology, Astro will see beyond this cutoff, called Lyman limit. Only a few sources have been identified in the extreme ultraviolet, and discoveries are expected as Astro studies this relatively unexplored region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The UV band contains lines from many of the light and intermediate mass elements, including hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and neon. The X-ray band includes some of these elements as well as heavier ones such as iron, silicon, sulfur, and magnesium. These lines represent a tremendous range of gas temperatures and energy states of elements, information needed to interpret the physical conditions of objects.

The X-ray spectrum is just beyond the ultraviolet in an even more energetic region with even shorter wavelengths. X-rays are emitted in wavelengths from 100 A to 0.1 A, but these wavelengths are so short (about the size of an atom) that astronomers usually talk about X-rays in terms of their energy, measured in electron volts. X-rays and all other types of electromagnetic radiation are emitted in particle-like packets of energy called photons. X-ray photons cover energies ranging from 100 to 100,000 electron volts. By comparison, a photon of visible light carries about 2 electron volts of energy.

If we could see the sky in ultraviolet, the cooler stars would fade away. We would see some very old stars growing hotter and producing high-energy radiation near their death. We could see clouds of gas and dust, stellar nurseries with hot, young massive stars. Disregarding the much more numerous cooler objects, we could have a less cluttered view of the crowded areas such as dense star clusters or spiral arms of galaxies.

Looking at the Universe in X-rays, we would see a violent cosmos; stellar blasts, hot stars and galaxies, collapsed spinning stars, powerful quasars, and perhaps material whirling around black holes. Thousands of X-ray sources have been identified, and most known types of celestial objects have been observed to emit X-rays.

The space between stars is not completely empty but is filled with dust and gas, some of which will condense to become future stars and planets. This interstellar medium is composed chiefly of hydrogen with traces of heavier elements and has a typical density of one atom per thimbleful of space. Astro will be able to measure the properties of this material more accurately by studying how it affects the light from distant stars.

Our wider view of the Universe has transformed our picture of it. “Our whole concept of the Universe changed with the advent of space astronomy,” Durrance says. “We used to think of the Universe as fairly smooth and uniform. Now we know that the Universe is a very dynamic place, with all types of energetic phenomenon.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:16 pm

In February 1978, NASA issued an announcement of opportunity for advanced astronomical instruments that could travel aboard the Space Shuttle and utilize the unique capabilities of Spacelab. The project was to be managed by the Office of Space Science. Forty proposals were accepted for flights on separate missions manifested as OSS-3 through 7; three telescopes – HUT, WUPPE and UIT – were chosen to be put on OSS-3.

By 1982 however, control had passed to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the OSS missions were renamed “Astro.” Two years later, the first flight of the series was tentatively scheduled for spring of 1986 – exactly the same time that Halley’s Comet would visit the inner solar system – and a special Wide Field Camera was added to permit detailed observations of the celestial wanderer. By the end of January 1986, Astro-1 had completed its final checkout and was ready for installation into Columbia’s payload bay, when Challenger was lost.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:18 pm
After the accident, the instruments were moved from the Spacelab pallets and stored. Periodic checks were made during storage. However, because of the long interval, NASA decided to examine and recertify all of the Astro instruments before clearing them for flight. As a part of this process, questions arose in the summer of 1987 about the quality certifications of the bolts used in the Astro-1 hardware. Support structures and instruments and electronics attachments were inspected for possible faulty bolts. A total of 298 bolts eventually were replaced.

Because Comet Halley was no longer on position for detailed observation, the Wide Field Camera was removed from the payload manifest in the spring of 1987. In March of 1988, BBXRT was added to the Astro-1 payload. Originally proposed in response to the 1978 announcement of opportunity, BBXRT had been developed as one of three X-ray instruments in a payload designated OSS-2. This was renamed the Shuttle High-Energy Astrophysics Laboratory, SHEAL, and proposed for flight in 1992. However, when Supernova 1987A occurred, BBXRT was completed ahead of schedule and added to the Astro-1 payload. The addition would allow study of the supernova and other objects in X-ray as well as UV wavelengths.

HUT was kept at KSC throughout the post-Challenger downtime, although its spectrograph was removed and returned to the Johns Hopkins University in October 1988. Checks had confirmed that, although it was protected from air and moisture by a continuous supply of gaseous nitrogen, its ultraviolet sensitivity had degraded and the spectrograph was replaced. To achieve far- and extreme-ultraviolet sensitivity HUT’s mirrors were coated with iridium. When the UV spectrograph returned to KSC in January 1989, it failed its first acceptance test and a third spectrograph had to be installed; then an aging television camera had to be removed and replaced.

Meanwhile, the other two Astro-1 instruments also underwent recalibration and testing. WUPPE was not shipped back to the University of Wisconsin, but instead a portable vertical calibration facility was built and delivered to KSC. The telescope passed its checks with flying colors in April 1989. UIT also remained in Florida, where the power supply for its onboard image intensifier was replaced in August 1989. By the beginning of fall, all three instruments had been declared flight-ready and just before Christmas were installed onto the two Spacelab pallets in the Operations and Checkout Building. The pallet-mounted UV telescopes, as well as the BBXRT, were moved to the Cargo Integration Test Equipment stand where testing was completed at the end of February 1990.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:19 pm
Astro-1 was installed in Columbia’s payload bay March 20, 1990. Final integrated testing in the Orbiter Processing Facility between the orbiter, mission centers and satellite relays was completed March 26-28. Payload pad activities included installation of UIT film, removal of telescope covers, final pallet cleaning and BBXRT argon servicing.

The cost of Astro-1/BBXRT now is approximately $148 million, including instrument development fees and mission management charges. The Astro-1 observatory will be one of the heaviest science payloads lifted by the shuttle to date. The three UV telescopes, IPS, igloo and two Spacelab pallets weigh a total of 17,276 pound; add another 8,650 pounds of BBXRT, TAPS and support equipment. At MECO, the orbiter Columbia and her total cargo (including DTO and SAREX hardware) will weigh 267,513 pounds; landing weight is expected at 225,886 pounds.


The long flight delay actually provides Astro-1 with a benefit, the opportunity to observe SN 1987A, the brightest supernova in nearly 400 years, and the newly discovered Comet Austin. All four telescopes will gather information on SN 1987A, located some 170,000 light years away in our nearest neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

“Even though it sounds funny since we’re three years after the outburst, we’re probably a little early to get most of the ultraviolet light from the supernova because it’s still being kept in by the shell,” Mission Specialist Robert Parker says. “But we are going to see what we can find.”

About half-a-dozen observations will be made of Comet Austin, which has just looped around the Sun. Hoffman calls its appearance “a nice omen.” – “People had commented that it’s a shame that you can’t look at the comet (Halley). And then all of a sudden a few months ago, what should appear in the sky but a new comet that had never been seen before.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:20 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:20 pm

All four of the Astro-1 instruments are reflector telescopes. Most reflector telescopes, including the ones to be carried aboard Columbia STS-35, use a mirror shaped like a parabola, an open curve. Light hitting the mirror will be reflected to the same point – the focus. Even X-ray can be reflected, but only if they strike at a very shallow angle, called grazing incidence reflection; just like light glaring from the curve of an auto windshield. Thus, the X-ray telescope’s mirrors resemble slightly curved cylinders.

To say only that Astro carries four telescopes is to oversimplify. Each telescope is a light collector for an instrument package that carries devices such as gratings to spread light into its many colors, or filters to pass only certain types of light. There are also mechanisms that move mirrors and other items to help direct the light. Finally, a detector records information about the target.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:22 pm
The four telescopes are:

Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT) for studying spectra of faint astronomical objects such as quasars, active galactic nuclei and galaxies in the far-ultraviolet spectra. HUT observations will extend into the region of extreme ultraviolet, the shortest, most energetic ultraviolet wavelengths. Many discoveries are expected as HUT probes this virtually unexplored region.

With its significantly extended wavelength coverage and greater sensitivity than previous instruments, HUT can scrutinize a variety of targets. For example, the brightest quasars have been observed by the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite, but exposures are very long, the wavelength coverage is restricted to greater than about 1,200 A, and the quality of the resultant spectrum is often quite poor. HUT will observe fainter quasars for shorter periods of time and get better quality spectra with coverage down to the Lyman limit (912 A).

HUT will employ spectroscopy to reveal the chemistry and structure of stars and other objects. The signatures of many elements including hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, silicon, and sulfur will be recorded.

Many technical challenges were overcome to produce an instrument with these characteristics. One property of UV radiation is that at shorter wavelengths photons are energetic enough to be absorbed rather than reflected by the mirror’s surface. Usually this effect can be counteracted by overcoating the mirror with a substance that helps maintain its UV reflectivity. A major innovation of the HUT instrument involves a coating of the rare element iridium, which remains reflective down to about 400 A, permitting spectroscopy in much of the EUV and FUV range.

The telescope was designed and built by members of the Center for Astrophysical Sciences and the Applied Physics Laboratory of John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. HUT Principal Investigator is Dr. Arthur F. Davidsen.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:24 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:26 pm
Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE) for studying the polarization and intensity of ultraviolet radiation of hot stars, galactic nuclei and quasars. WUPPE will yield clues about the shape and size of objects by studying the way their light is polarized.

Usually waves of light move randomly; however, if the light is polarized, all the waves move up and down in the same direction. By measuring how much the light is polarized, WUPPE can help determine the geometry of stars, the strength of magnetic fields, and the nature of gas and dust between the stars. The polarization of ultraviolet radiation has never been measured before.

WUPPE measures the polarization by splitting a beam of radiation into two perpendicular planes of polarization, passing the beams through a spectrometer, and focusing the beams on two separate array detectors. Light scattered by interstellar dust is often polarized or oriented in a specific plane. This has been detected in visible wavelengths but has never been studied in the ultraviolet. Ultraviolet radiation is more readily absorbed or scattered by gas and dust than is visible light.

Polarized light seems to be most prevalent in regions where interstellar dust and magnetic fields are found together. Polarization can be used to study both dust and magnetic fields that would otherwise be invisible and can reveal the strength of magnetic fields of some stars and galaxies. Used in conjunction with photometry, which measures the brightness of sources, it can be used to discern much about the size and shape of objects.

Some stars and star systems emit polarized radiation, hinting that their geometry is nonspherical – perhaps the star is spinning so fast that it is slightly flat; perhaps radiation is scattered by electrons in the distorted atmospheres of hot stars; or perhaps the star is actually a binary star system so close that one member may be eclipsed by the other. Stars, other than our Sun, are so distant that we cannot directly see their structure. However, from the intrinsically polarized radiation of a star, scientists may be able to deduce information about its hidden geometry.

WUPPE will also use photometry to measure the brightness of sources and spectroscopy to study their ultraviolet emission. Photometry is the measurement of the intensity of the electromagnetic waves which form light and the other wavelengths of radiation. WUPPE spectra cover the wavelengths between visible light and the exotic higher energy ultraviolet wavelengths bands viewed by HUT. For many objects, the WUPPE spectra will be combined with HUT spectra to obtain greater insight into the nature of sources.

The targets WUPPE investigations are primarily known objects, in our galaxy and beyond, for which comparative data exist in other wavelengths. The telescope was developed by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. WUPPE Principal Investigator is Dr. Arthur D. Code.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:28 pm
Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT) for imaging objects such as hot stars and galaxies in broad ultraviolet wavelength bands and with a wide field of view, about one-third wider than the Moon. It includes image intensifiers and two 70-millimeter cameras with enough film to make 2,000 exposures per flight. Images are recorded directly onto a very sensitive astronomical film for later development after the shuttle lands. A series of 11 different filters allows specific region of the UV spectrum to be isolated for energy distribution studies.

UIT will take the first extensive set of detailed ultraviolet photographs of the sky, most of which has never been imaged in the ultraviolet. In the 20 years that astronomical observations have been made from space, no high-resolution ultraviolet photographs of objects other than the Sun have been made. Nonetheless, our brief glimpses of the UV sky have led to important discoveries in spiral galaxies, globular clusters, white dwarf stars, and other areas.

This instrument can see areas larger than the apparent size of the Sun viewed from Earth and will detect fainter ultraviolet sources than any seen before. Its film will capture nearby galaxies, large clusters of stars, and distant clusters of galaxies. The wavelength range of UIT covers the ultraviolet spectrum from 1,200 to 3,200 A. A 30-minute exposure (the length of one orbital night) will record a blue star of 25th magnitude, about 100 million times fainter than the faintest star visible to the naked eye on a dark, clear night. Since hot objects emit most of their energy in the ultraviolet, the ultraviolet imaging will focus on the search for hot stars in the rich, crowded field of a globular cluster.

UIT is the first instrument that can take UV images of an entire cluster 10 to 20 arc minutes across, about one-half the size of the apparent diameter of the Moon. Since UIT makes longer exposures than previous instruments, fainter objects will be visible in the images. Astronomers can use these images to pinpoint interesting ultraviolet objects throughout the cluster and study their relationships.

Such clusters are an ideal laboratory for studying stellar evolution, because all the some 100 thousand to 1 million stars in each cluster were formed at the same time from gas with the same initial chemical composition. However, the mass of stars in a cluster varies, and the stars evolve at different rates determined by their individual masses. The more massive stars shine more brilliantly, use their nuclear fuel supply more rapidly, and age more quickly. The range of stellar masses when a cluster forms determines the cluster’s appearance today; therefore, the properties of sample stars in a cluster can be related to their evolutionary history.

“The UIT is best described as a sophisticated telephoto camera with super-sensitive film and a violet filter,” wrote Philip Chien in the March 1991 issue of 73 Amateur Radio Today. “Imagine a telephoto camera with a field of view 25 percent wider than the full Moon with ultra-low light film with an effective ISO (ASA) of a couple of hundred thousand (in comparison with the 100-400 film you’d normally purchase). It has a filter so violet the human eye can’t see it, further into ultraviolet than Hubble’s capabilities. Also, instead of an 18 or 36 exposure roll film, you have a film pack with over 1,000 exposures of 70mm film! That’s one heck of a telephoto camera!”

The telescope was developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. UIT Principal Investigator is Theodore P. Stecher.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:29 pm
Broad Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT) for viewing high-energy objects such as active galaxies, quasars and supernovae. It is actually two 8-inch telescopes with a field of view that is more than half the width of the Moon. BBXRT will make the first high-quality, high-energy spectra of many X-ray sources discovered by earlier satellites. It can see fainter and more energetic objects than any yet studied, measuring radiation from heavy elements such as iron, oxygen, silicon, and calcium. Variations in the spectra will tell us about violent events, such as matter being destroyed in the core of a galaxy or stellar explosions.

BBXRT will provide astronomers with the first high-quality spectra of many of the X-ray sources discovered with the High Energy Astronomy Observatory 2, better known as the Einstein Observatory. BBXRT uses mirrors and advanced solid-state detectors as spectrometers to measure the energy of individual X-ray photons. These energies produce a spectrum that reveals the chemistry, structure, and dynamics of a source.

X-ray telescopes are difficult to construct because the X-rays are so energetic that they penetrate mirrors and eventually are absorbed. A mirror surface reflects X-rays only if it is very smooth and the photons strike in a very shallow angle. Because such small grazing angles are needed, the reflectors must be very long to intercept many of the incident X-rays.

Traditionally, X-ray telescopes have used massive, finely polished reflectors that were expensive to construct and did not effectively use the available aperture. The mirror technology developed for BBXRT consists of very thin pieces of gold-coated aluminum foil that require no polishing and can be nested very closely together to reflect a large fraction of the X-rays entering the telescope. Because its reflecting surfaces can be made so easily, BBXRT can afford to have mirrors using the very shallow grazing angles necessary to reflect high-energy photons. In fact, BBXRT is one of the first telescopes to observe astronomical targets that emit X-rays above approximately 4 thousand electron volts (keV).

BBXRT also was developed at Goddard Space Flight Center. BBXRT Principal Investigator is Dr. Peter J. Serlemitsos.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:29 pm

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:31 pm

The best instruments in the world are as worthless as junkyard scrap unless they can be pointed with extreme accuracy. This task falls to the Spacelab hardware connecting the four telescopes to the shuttle. Spacelab is a laboratory facility designed and built by the European Space Agency. Astro will use parts of this facility, including the Instrument Pointing System (IPS) and a pair of pallets – U-shaped carriers about ten feet long and 15 feet wide. The pressurized lab module will not be used for Astro.

The unpressurized pallets are anchored in the shuttle payload bay, and a pressurized cylindrical container called the “igloo,” located at the head of the two pallets, houses subsystems that provide such services as power, telemetry, and commands to the instruments. The crew will operate Astro from control positions on the aft flight deck of the orbiter cabin.

The IPS, a gimbaled support structure that can be pointed in various directions, is attached to the pallets. The three ultraviolet telescopes are mounted and precisely co-aligned on a common structure, called the “cruciform,” that is attached to the pointing system. An image motion compensation system was developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center to provide improved pointing stability. A gyro stabilizer senses the motion of the cruciform which could disrupt UIT and WUPPE pointing stability. It sends information to the image motion compensation electronics system where pointing commands are computed and sent to the telescopes’ secondary mirrors which make automatic adjustments to improve stability.

A star tracker, designed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, fixes on bright stars with well-known locations and sends this information to the electronics system which corrects errors caused by gyro drift and sends new commands to the telescopes’ mirrors. The mirrors automatically adjust to keep pointed at the target.

The pointing system flew on Spacelab 2 in July 1985, when it was used to point an array of solar telescopes. Fine pointing of the IPS was hampered during the mission due to a series of software errors in its computer commands. “The (Astro-1) IPS is a new and better instrument,” Mission Specialist Bob Parker says. “We all learn from our mistakes, and instruments learn from their design flaws on their first flight. That’s why Spacelab 2 was literally called a development checkout flight… We all know a lot more about the software and hardware than we did on the first flight.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:32 pm
The fourth Astro-1 instrument, the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope, uses a less complex pointing system called the Two-Axis Pointing System (TAPS). The X-ray telescope and TAPS, developed at the Goddard Space Flight Center, were designed to be flown together on multiple missions. This payload will be anchored in a support structure place behind the UV telescopes in the shuttle payload bay.

TAPS has two gimbals, one within the other, that rotate to point the telescope. BBXRT is attached directly to the TAPS inner gimbal frame. The TAPS will move BBXRT in a forward/aft direction (pitch) or from side to side (roll) relative to the payload bay. A star tracker uses bright stars as a reference to position the TAPS on a target. As the gyros drift, the star tracker periodically recalculates and resets the TAPS position.

BBXRT and TAPS are commanded through the shuttle’s computers from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:33 pm

“We’re carrying instruments that in the past mainly have been used on small rockets. Instead of getting a few minutes of observing, we’ll get nine or ten days continuous observing time. We think this has tremendous scientific potential.”

- Vance Brand, Commander STS-35

- Experiment teams will coordinate science observations
- Over 80 hours of observation time
- 250 observations of over 120 individual objects
- Science targets encompass entire scale of cosmos from planetary studies to investigations of clusters of galaxies
- Complementary ultraviolet and X-ray observations
- About 1/3 of all targets will be co-science investigations by all four instruments

The investigators backing the Astro project carry with them a wide array of interests. Likewise, the Astro-1 mission will attempt to gain information on a wide array of targets sweeping to gamut from the youngest to oldest stars – and more.

Today, our Sun is a stable, middle-aged star, but some five billion years hence it will swell and swallow the inner planets including Earth. A red giant, it may eject a shell of dust and gas, a planetary nebula. As the Sun fades, it will collapse to an object no bigger than Earth, a dense, hot ember, a white dwarf. Astronomers predict that most stars may end their lives as white dwarfs, so it is important to study these stellar remains. White dwarfs emit most of their radiation in the ultraviolet, and one of Astro’s main goals is to locate and examine them in detail.

Stars with 10 to 100 times more mass than the Sun burn hydrogen rapidly until their cores collapse and they explode as supernovae, among the most powerful events in the Universe. These stars are initially very hot and emit mostly ultraviolet radiation. Astro will chronicle the life cycles of stars. Astro instruments will locate hot, massive stars of all ages so that astronomers can study these phases of stellar evolution.

Stars may congregate in star clusters with anywhere from a few to millions of members. Often, there are so many stars in the core of a cluster that is impossible to detect the visible light from individual stars. Because they shine brightly in the UV, Astro will be able to isolate the hot stars within clusters. The clusters are excellent laboratories for studying stellar evolution because the stars residing there formed from the same material at nearly the same time.

However, within a single cluster, stars of different masses evolve at different rates. We can study stellar evolution by looking at clusters of different ages. Each cluster of a given age gives us a snapshot of what is happening as a function of stellar mass. By examining young clusters – less than a million years old – and comparing them to old clusters – ten million years old – we can piece together what happens over a long time.

The UIT survey will help determine the relative numbers of very small, star-forming galaxies. Their hot star populations radiate brightly in the ultraviolet, making these galaxies easier to find with UIT than with visible light telescopes on Earth. The UIT also will try to identify extremely distant star-forming galaxies in the early phases of their evolution.

Astro will view the recent explosion, Supernova 1987A, which spewed stellar debris into space. Supernovae forge new elements, most of which are swept away in expanding shells of gas and debris heated by the shock waves from the blast. Astro will look for supernova remnants which remain visible for thousands of years after a stellar death.

Beyond the Milky Way are at least a hundred billion more galaxies, many with hundreds of billions of stars. They contain most of the visible matter in the Universe. The galaxies form clusters of galaxies that have tens to thousands of members. X-ray and ultraviolet emission will allow us to study the hottest, most active regions of these galaxies as well as the intergalactic medium, the hot gas between the galaxies in a cluster.

BBXRT will be used to study a variety of sources, but a major goal is to increase our understanding of active galactic nuclei and quasars. Many astronomers believe that both are actually very similar objects that contain an extremely luminous source at the nucleus of an otherwise relatively normal galaxy. The central source in quasars is so luminous that the host galaxy is difficult to detect.

The mechanism producing the luminosity of the central source is not known for certain, but most theories suggest that matter is being consumed by a black hole weighing about a billion times as much as the Sun. X-rays are expected to be emitted very near the central engine of these objects, and astronomers will examine X-ray spectra and their variations to understand the phenomena at the very heart of quasars.

It is known from optical studies that quasars have changed over cosmological time scales; near the beginning of the Universe they were far more numerous than they are today. BBXRT will be used to examine very distant – and thus very young – quasars to see if their X-ray emission is different from relatively nearby quasars.

Investigators are interested in clusters of galaxies, congregations on tens or thousands of galaxies grouped together within a few million light-years of each other. When viewed in visible light, emissions from the individual galaxies are dominant, but X-rays come mainly from hot gas between the galaxies. In fact, theories and observations indicate that there should be about as much matter in the hot gas as in the galaxies, but all this material has not been see yet. BBXRT observations will enable scientists to calculate the total mass of a cluster and deduct the amount of “dark” matter.

The HUT also will probe the centers of galaxies and quasars where black holes may lurk. By looking into the central regions of such objects, investigators may be able to determine what is really there, how dense the hydrogen atmospheres are, how abundant helium is, and how the objects resemble or differ from one another. The nuclei of normal galaxies also have been difficult targets to study; spectra from HUT will be used to examine the stellar populations of these objects, in particular providing information on the hottest stars.

Closer to home, there are many objects in our own galaxy that are the target of the HUT observations. Very hot objects that emit much of their energy in the 900 to 1,200 A region are of special interest. These include certain binary star systems, pairs of stars mutually attracted by gravity. If the two stars are close enough, some of the larger star’s material may be transferred toward its compact companion star, creating an accretion disk of hot, swirling material. On a grander scale, similar processes may be taking place around black holes and the centers of quasars as matter is attracted to them.

Within the solar system, the outer planets are of interest to the HUT investigators, especially Jupiter, its moons, and its magnetosphere. Jupiter’s moon Io constantly releases ionized material into the surrounding region of space where it interacts with the Jovian magnetic field. The HUT observations address a number of problems related to ion abundances in this plasma (ionized plasma), injection mechanisms, and the energy balance between particles and magnetic fields. In addition, FUV and EUV observations of all outer planets will be made to investigate auroras and gain insight into the interaction of each planet’s magnetosphere with the solar wind.

Many astronomical objects selected for study by the Astro-1 observatory are of keen interest to most or all of the instrument teams. Simultaneous observations will bring together much new information that can be compared to reveal new physical relationships. For example, studying the M87 galaxy with all the Astro instruments may help us understand why this galaxy emits energetic jets of radiation and may uncover evidence of a super massive black hole at its center. While UV spectra and X-ray images have been made of this interesting galaxy, Astro instruments will take the first ultraviolet photographs and obtain the most detailed UV and X-ray spectra yet made of M87.

HUT, UIT, WUPPE and BBXRT will provide unique observations of nearby galaxies, such as M83, which are called starburst galaxies because of increased star formation seen there. Astronomers do not know why galaxies have a sudden burst of star formation, but this process may be triggered by the gravity of a neighbor galaxy or it may result from processes similar to those in inactive galaxies. Astro-1 may help clarify the relation of the increased star formation to galaxy interaction or active galaxy nuclei.

Multiple observations are scheduled at specific times to study stars and other sources that vary in intensity, size, and structure. For example, in eclipsing binary systems, as stars orbit around each other, first one star and then the other will be blocked from view. In this case, carefully timed spetroscopic and polarimetric data recorded simultaneously by HUT, WUPPE and BBXRT will provide new insight into the structure of the individual stars and the gas flows between them.


The Astro-1 observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope may seem like redundant projects at first glance. Both observe the Universe in infrared, visible, and ultraviolet radiation, covering some of the same spectral regions. However, the capabilities of the two observatories are different, and they complement each other well.

UIT, photographing a circular field area somewhat larger than the apparent diameter of the Moon, is very well-suited for photographing a nearby cluster of stars or a nearby galaxy and pinpointing interesting ultraviolet sources. HST covers an area about 170 times smaller, its resolution is much higher, and it studies visible as well as ultraviolet wavelengths; it examines individual, much more distant sources in great detail.

Surprisingly, little imagery is available at UV wavelengths, so UIT’s survey of relatively large portions of the sky will be useful for identifying ultraviolet sources that can be scrutinized more closely by HST and other observatories. “I think we’ll be providing a lot of information to the Hubble people of new ultraviolet targets,” Astro-1 Payload Specialist Ron Parise says.

HUT and WUPPE are both ultraviolet spectroscopic instruments, and HST also is capable of high-resolution UV and visible spectroscopy. While HUT’s wavelength coverage does overlap with HST, its primary capability lies at more energetic wavelengths below 1,200 A, a region inaccessible to HST. Almost nothing other than the brightest stars has been observed in this critical region, and spectra in this region will be unique.

“There are a lot of very interesting phenomena which occur between the cutoff wavelength of Hubble and down to 400 A. One of the things that we’re interested in is trying to determine the amount of helium in the Universe,” Astro-1 Payload Specialist Sam Durrance says. “This is a fundamental quantity, and the only way we can really address it is by looking at the wavelength where helium emits light – that’s down around 500 A.”

WUPPE also makes sensitive polarization and spectroscopy measurements at ultraviolet wavelengths. This capability is available on HST, but the size of the spectrograph apertures is very different. The smaller apertures on the HST instruments are optimized for admitting the light of individual stars. WUPPE and HUT have much larger apertures, permitting them to observe many faint, extended sources such as galaxies or galactic nebulae that cannot be observed efficiently with HST. For spectra of large objects that are closer to our galaxy, HUT and WUPPE will be many times more sensitive than HST, while for distant quasars or other very faint stellar objects, using HST will be advantageous.

There is no other large X-ray telescope operating at this time. BBXRT together with the Roentgen satellite Rosat, a cooperative West German/UK/U.S. mission to be launched on an unmanned Delta II rocket in June 1990, will supply the X-ray data on targets that HST is studying at other wavelengths. X-ray spectral measurements performed with BBXRT will be particularly valuable since quasars will be a primary for both it and HST.

From its 360-mile-high vantage point, Rosat will undertake a 1 1/2-year mission to produce the first complete map of the heavens in the X-ray region of nature's electromagnetic spectrum. "With all of these missions, we are entering a decade of discovery and exploration," said Ed Weiler, NASA's chief astronomer. "These telescopes are totally unique, and yet they are totally complementary.”

NASA and its teams of astronomers plan to piece together like a giant puzzle the discoveries to be made with the Great Observatories, the Astro-1 observatory, Rosat, the Cosmic Background Explorer (placed in orbit last November) and other major instruments scheduled for launch this decade.

Launched in late April 1990, the $1.55 billion Hubble Space Telescope is the first of the four Great Observatories, the cornerstone of NASA's ambitious astronomy program. The second of the quartet, the Gamma Ray Observatory, is currently slated for a November Space Shuttle launch. The third and fourth Great Observatories - the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility and the Space Infrared Telescope Facility - are planned for launches in 1997 and 1999 respectively.

The Gamma Ray Observatory will scan the heavens for sources of the very highest energy emissions, particularly quasars, the most distant of objects, believed by theorists to be galaxies in early formation. Rosat's sky chart of X-ray sources will serve as a road map for the Advanced X-ray Telescope Facility, allowing the much larger observatory to focus on selected targets. The last of the Great Observatories, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, will specialize in the study of low energy events, searching for the relatively cool cores of new stars in their earliest formative stage.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:35 pm

"The mission planning we have done is timed to the very minute. We are pushing it to get as much science as we can."

- Ted Gull, Astro-1 project scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center

The launch of mission STS-35 is tentatively scheduled for May 9, 1990, at 12:50 a.m. EDT. The available launch window extends until 3:03 a.m. EDT. Columbia will aim for an orbit about 220 miles high and inclined 28.5 degrees to the equator. This will place the shuttle above most of the glow phenomenon caused by the atmosphere, and avoid most of the South Atlantic Anomaly, a low-lying region of radiation. On Spacelab 2 in 1985, Challenger could only achieve an orbit 50 miles lower than planned when one main engine shut down about six minutes into the flight. While 50 miles might not seem like much, it was enough to disrupt several experiments and necessitate a large replanning effort.

While the shuttle will have about a two-hour window in which to launch, delays as short as a half hour would change the day/night cycles critical to observing. Because of the complex teamwork to make an observation, massive replanning might be needed once Columbia is on orbit. In such a case, the crew says they hope their Text and Graphics System (TAGS), a fax machine that would provide updates much easier than the shuttle’s teleprinter, works without a hitch.

If all goes as planned, the IPS will be powered up and tested about three hours after Columbia’s launch. The ultraviolet telescopes will not be turned on until twelve-and-a-half hours after launch to make sure that all residual gases have vented; any significant traces could allow high-voltage electricity to arc and cause a short circuit.

As the instruments are gradually turned on, they will be tested, then aligned. BBXRT and TAPS will have a much simpler activation and will be operating less than three hours after launch. The shuttle will maneuver to aim the payload bay at each new target so the IPS and the TAPS can point towards the astronomical objects. TV cameras in HUT and WUPPE will help the crew in pointing the telescopes.

Once operational, the four telescopes will be operated for 24 hours a day until about twelve hours before landing. On every orbit, two or three shuttle maneuvers will enable the IPS and TAPS-mounted instruments to view specific or desired astronomical sources. Lead Flight Director Gary Coen says observation targets will change every half hour, which will create a busy schedule. “In order to optimize the number of stars we can see and the galactic objects that the scientists can point at, we have a pretty tight maneuver schedule,” he says. “Over the course of the nine-day mission, we’re doing some 240 attitude maneuvers to repoint the orbiter and to allow the IPS and the BBXRT to get new targets.”

The telescopes often will work together, taking different measurements of the same object. “The three ultraviolet telescopes we have are co-pointed generally at the same target all the time,” Payload Specialist Sam Durrance says. “We’re unique in that we can make several types of observations simultaneously on the same target.” During other times the ultraviolet telescopes will view different objects from the BBXRT. Computers on the ground will turn data from three instruments into “quick-look” results enabling investigators to assess their observations during the mission. UIT’s film must be developed after the flight.

Here is a day-by-day summary of STS-35 major activities.

Flight Day 1 – Ascent / Post-insertion, Unstow Cabin, Astro/BBXRT Activation, SAREX Setup, DSO

Flight Day 2 – Astro/BBXRT Observations, SAREX

Flight Day 3 – Astro/BBXRT Observations, SAREX

Flight Day 4 – Astro/BBXRT Observations, SAREX, AMOS

Flight Day 5 – Astro/BBXRT Observations, SAREX, Space Classroom, AMOS

Flight Day 6 – Astro/BBXRT Observations, SAREX

Flight Day 7 – Astro/BBXRT Observations, RCS Hotfire

Flight Day 8 – Astro/BBXRT Observations, SAREX, DTO, FCS Checkout

Flight Day 9 – Astro/BBXRT Observations/Deactivation, SAREX/Cabin Stow, Deorbit and Landing

Observations will terminate about 15 hours before landing, with final deactivation of the UV telescope systems coming eight hours before landing and the BBXRT powerdown coming five hours before touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The mission is presently scheduled to last for nine days, with landing coming on orbit 140. However, if enough power is conserved and pending landing weather, the flight will be extended an extra day.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:36 pm

Astro-1 marks the first shuttle mission to be controlled by three NASA installations. Columbia will be directed as usual from Mission Control at Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. STS-35 will be conducted from Flight Control Room One (FCR-1) on the second floor of the MCC located in Building 30. The teams of flight controllers will alternate shifts in the control center and in nearby analysis and support facilities. The handover between each team takes about an hour and allows each flight controller to brief his or her oncoming colleague on the course of events over the previous two shifts.

The four flight control teams for STS-35 will be referred to as the Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1, Orbit 2 and Orbit 3 teams. The ascent and entry phases will be conducted by Flight Director Wayne Hale. The Orbit 1 team will be headed by STS-35 Lead Flight Director Gary Coen. The Orbit 2 team, responsible for activation and deactivation of the Spacelab payload, will be led by Al Pennington. The Orbit 3 team will be directed by Bob Castle.

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

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

Wayne Hale (Ascent/Entry), Gary Coen (Orbit 1), Al Pennington (Orbit 2), Bob Castle (Orbit 3)

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

Mike Baker (Ascent), Ken Bowersox (Entry), Kathy Thornton (Orbit 1), Story Musgrave (Orbit 2), James Voss (Orbit 3)

Dec. 1990 changes: Marsha Ivins (Orbit 1) for Kathy Thornton

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:

Steve Gibson (Ascent/Entry/Orbit 1), Jeff Davies (Orbit 2), Lee Wedgeworth (Orbit 3)

Dec. 1990 additions: Ann Bowersox (Orbit 2), Fisher Reynolds (Orbit 3)

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:

Harry Black (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Robert Moolchan (Orbit 2), Joe Gibbs (Orbit 3)

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:

Timothy Brown (Ascent), Matt Abbott (Entry), Ed Gonzales (Orbit 1), Philip Burley (Orbit 2), William Tracy (Orbit 3)

Dec. 1990 changes: Ed Gonzales (Ascent), Timothy Brown (Orbit 1)

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

John Turner (Ascent), Dennis Bentley (Entry)

Dec. 1990 changes: Dennis Bentley (Ascent), John Turner (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:

Steve Stich (Ascent), Debbie Langan (Entry), Brian Perry (Orbit 1), Dan Adamo (Orbit 2), Mark Haynes (Orbit 3)

Dec. 1990 changes: Brian Perry (Ascent), Steve Stich (Orbit 1), Carson Sparks (Orbit 3)

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), Leonard Riche (Orbit 2), Peter Cerna (Orbit 3)

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 Armstrong (Orbit 2), Robert Floyd (Orbit 3)

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

Mark Kirasich (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Debra Bulgher (Orbit 2), Robert Galpin (Orbit 3)

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:

Mark Erminger (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Paul Tice (Orbit 2), Gloria Araiza (Orbit 3)

Dec. 1990 changes: Gloria Araiza (Orbit 2), David Tee (Orbit 3)

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:

Keith Chappell (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), Lonnie Schmitt (Orbit 2), William Powers (Orbit 3)

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

Mark Jenkins (Ascent), Kenneth Dwyer (Entry), Tom Kwiatkowski (Orbit 3)

Dec. 1990 changes: TBD Kenneth Dwyer or Frank Markle (Entry)

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:

Stephen Elsner (Ascent/Entry), Edward Trlica (Orbit 1), Kenneth Bain (Orbit 2), Linda Patterson (Orbit 3)

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), Per Barsten (Ascent/Entry), Mike Marsh (Orbit 1), Henry Allen (Orbit 1), Chuck Capps (Orbit 2), Lynn Vernon (Orbit 2), John Wells (Orbit 3), Frank Stolarski (Orbit 3)

Dec. 1990 changes: Terry Quick (Orbit 2) for Chuck Capps

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:

Kevin McCluney (Ascent/Entry, Orbit 1), William Anderson (Orbit 2), Paul Dye (Orbit 3)

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

Jeff Davis (Ascent), Brad Beck (Entry), Denise Baisden (Orbit 1), Larry Pepper (Orbit 2)

For STS-35, flight surgeon shifts will overlap the crew handover times between Red and Blue teams.

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 1), James Hartsfield (Orbit 2), Kyle Herring (Orbit 3)

Dec. 1990 changes: Brian Welch (Ascent) for Billie Deason

But the three ultraviolet telescopes in the observatory will be directed from the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC) at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama. Astro-1 will be the first mission directed from the MSFC. The POCC is the nerve center for payload operations during the Astro mission. It is the site of communication between the crew, the mission support team, and the instrument teams. The POCC is staffed by teams of scientists and engineers who developed the Astro telescopes.

The mission manager and his team will conduct the mission from the POCC. Throughout the mission, they monitor the health of the UV and X-ray telescopes, IPS, TAPS, the computers, and the many subsystems designed to take care of Astro’s needs while on orbit. They prepare and update as necessary the mission timeline, a shift-by-shift schedule of crew activities and procedures.

The fourth telescope, BBXRT and its special TAPS pointing system will be operated by a special POCC team at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. However, some members of the BBXRT team will be stationed at the Marshall POCC to participate in the science planning, and all commands issued to the payload will be coordinated with the mission management team at Marshall. The Goddard POCC will be linked to the Marshall POCC via voice communication so that teams at both places can confer.

Transmissions to and from Columbia will be broadcast on two separate channels – one devoted to science operations, the other devoted to orbiter flight operations. Science operations will be the subject of communications on the air-to-ground one (A/G-1) channel, with the Crew Interface Coordinator (CIC) at the POCC using the call sign “Huntsville,” and the crew using the call sign “Astro.” Orbiter operations will be the subject of communications on the air-to-ground two (A/G-2) channel, with the spacecraft communicator (CapCom) in the MCC using the call sign “Houston,” and the orbiter hailed as “Columbia.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:38 pm

Astro’s X-ray telescope requires little attention from the crew. A crewmember turns on the BBXRT and the TAPS at the beginning of operations and turns them off when the operations conclude, but the telescope is operated from the ground. After the telescope is activated, NASA personnel can “talk” to it via computer. First, they will activate power and heaters and check out the TAPS pointing system alignment. Before science operations begin, stored commands are loaded into the BBXRT computer system. Then, when the astronauts position Columbia in the general direction of the source, the TAPS automatically points the BBXRT at the object.

On every shuttle mission crew time is a valuable asset that must be shared by experiments and used efficiently. The Astro-1 observatory instrument operations complement each other nicely because the UV telescopes are operated around the clock by an onboard crew, while the X-ray telescope is controlled completely by remote ground-based operators.

The Astro ultraviolet telescopes and IPS are controlled from the aft flight deck, a work area located at the rear of the cockpit. From here, a payload specialist and a mission specialist can monitor the instruments and command them to precise viewing positions. The aft flight deck has two dedicated Spacelab keyboard and display units, one for controlling the IPS and the other for operating the scientific instruments. To aid in target identification, this work area includes two closed-circuit television monitors: one displays the HUT data and star fields, and the other displays the WUPPE data and star fields.

Making observations involves a tremendous amount of teamwork from the crew, like running a relay. “It’s a very complex, interrelated observing schedule,” says Jeff Hoffman. Mike Lounge or Guy Gardner, depending on the shift, maneuvers the shuttle to point the payload bay in the general direction of the astronomical object to be observed. “We use the orbiter for course pointing,” Lounge says. The maneuver is performed very slowly, taking about ten minutes, in order to save fuel and keep from disturbing the delicate telescopes.

As Columbia swings into position, a mission specialist, either Parker or Hoffman, commands the pointing system to aim the telescopes toward the target. He also acquires guide stars to help the pointing system maintain stability despite orbiter thruster firings. A couple minutes are needed to lock onto the target.

At the same time, a payload specialist reconfigures each instrument for the upcoming observation, identifies the celestial target on the guide TV, and provides any necessary pointing corrections for placing the object in the spectrograph apertures. He then starts the instrument observation sequence and monitors the data being recorded.

“Once the observing sequence has begun, we begin to evaluate the data,” Sam Durrance says. “We see the data in real time for two of the instruments. We actually see the spectrum come on the video monitor (to check if) that looks like what we were expecting.”

Because the target acquisition and operational workload is high, the payload and mission specialists work together to perform these complicated operations and evaluate the quantity of observations. “If we have trouble with one of the instruments acquiring data, our scenario says that I will continue to get as many of the three instruments observing as I can,” Durrance says. “I will turn the observing over to Jeff while I try to troubleshoot the problem with the instrument that is not working.”

The crewmembers are cross-trained to handle each other’s tasks. “That’s an important part of training,” Jeff Hoffman says. “If Mike wants to go off and grab a bit to eat, I can work an orbiter maneuver – I know how to do that. Mike has been trained to operate the Instrument Pointing System to back me up. Bob and I have both had a certain amount of training in operating the scientific instruments.”

While observations can only be made on the night portion of an orbit, lasting about 30 minutes, the crew remains busy for most of the time. Even as the payload specialist is completing an observation, the other crewmembers are preparing for the next maneuver and previewing software to guide the IPS to the next target. “Typically, we have a few minutes between observations to collect our thoughts, look at the next target,” Durrance says.

The Astro mission also will be a pathfinder for Space Station Freedom. “I’m really looking forward to this mission for what it will teach us about how to do science operations continuously and for relatively long duration,” says Mission Specialist Mike Lounge, who, when not flying and training, works on Space Station projects.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:39 pm

The hectic observing schedule – as well as the need to minimize activity in the middeck while a shift is sleeping – leaves little room for secondary activities during the flight. However, two unique activities not related to the observing work will take place.

Payload Specialist Ron Parise, a licensed amateur radio operator (WA4SIR) will operate the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment SAREX-II, attempting to communicate to schools and ham operators on the ground. “The public needs to feel they are a part of the space effort, says Lou McFadin, principal investigator. “This brings the space effort into the living room. They can be part of it.”

SAREX can operate in either the voice or, most important for computer-oriented hams, packet radio robot mode. Packet communications involves typing messages via computer keyboard which are then transmitted in a short burst. SAREX will operate in the amateur radio 2-meter band at a frequency between 144 and 146 megahertz.

SAREX crew-tended operating times will be dictated by the time of launch. As a secondary payload, SAREX will be operated by Parise during his pre- and post-sleep activities each day. This means that wherever the shuttle is above Earth during those operating windows, amateur stations can communicate with Columbia. Currently, those windows provide coverage for Australia, Japan, South America and South Africa. The continental United States has little or no coverage except through a network of ground stations in other parts of the world in conjunction with relay links back to the United States.

Another part of the SAREX is the radio robot, providing an automated operation which can proceed with little human intervention. The robot will generally be activated during one of the crew-tended windows and deactivated during the next one. This gives approximately twelve hours on and twelve hours off for the robot, with the operational period chosen to cover all of the U.S. passes. The packet TNC is a Heath HK-21 with special robot software written by Howie Goldstein (N2WX).

SAREX has previously flown on missions STS-9 and 51-F in different configurations, including the following hardware: a low-power hand-held FM transceiver, a spare battery set, an interface (I/F) module, a headset assembly, an equipment assembly cabinet, a television camera and monitor, a payload general support computer (PGSC) and an antenna with a fast scan television (FSTV) module added to the assembly.

The original antenna on STS-9 and 51-F could only be used in the overhead windows, which interfered with Earth observations. The new antenna, made by the Motorola Amateur Radio Club of Shaumburg, Illinois, mounts in a flight deck side window where it’s out of the way and doesn’t require any particular orientation. Antenna location does not affect communications and therefore does not require a specific orbiter attitude for operations. The equipment is stowed in one middeck locker.

SAREX is a joint effort of NASA and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL)/Amateur Radio Satellite Corporation (AMSAT). “We are real excited,” says John Nickel, treasurer of the JSC Amateur Radio Club and the technical representative of ARRL. According to Lou McFadin during STS 51-F astronaut Anthony England conducted more than 1,300 different conversations. “It’s a way the general public can participate in an active spaceflight,” he says. “Most people do not get as close to the space program as we do here. It’s very exciting to talk to a person in space.”

“Another thing that the experiment is going to attempt to do is a ship-to-ship contact with the Soviet Mir Space Station,” Parise says. “It turns out that the two crewmembers who are on Mir currently (Anatoly Solovyov and Alexander Baladin) are both amateur radio operators.” Parise cannot predict when such contact can be made, if at all. The two spacecraft must be within about 2,500 miles of each other, and that will depend on the shuttle launch date and any intervening Mir maneuvers. The Soviets readily agreed to the idea, but technicalities could interfere with the plan.

Any Columbia-to-Mir contact would be much easier from the Soviet side than from the U.S. because Mir’s ham shack includes a 25 watt transceiver and an outside antenna, while Columbia has an inside antenna and 5 watt transceiver. Contact between the two vehicles is complicated by two factors. The most obvious problem, the Doppler shift, actually turns out to be fairly insignificant.

More complicated is the motion of the two spacecraft. Since the spacecraft are in different orbits at different altitudes, and travelling in different directions, the range between the spacecraft and the line-of-sight angle changes quickly. One minute you’re several thousand kilometers from each other, the next you’re right next to each other, and then you’re several thousand miles away again.

Unlike the earlier ham radio shuttle flights, Astro-1 will be launched into an orbit with an inclination of 28.5 degrees, the typical orbit for most shuttle flights. The STS-9/Spacelab 1 mission with Owen Garriott (W5LFL) and 51-F/Spacelab 2 with Tony England (W0ORE) flew into higher inclination orbits for better Earth observation capabilities. The irony is that the Soviet space station Mir is in a 51.6 degree orbit, halfway between the STS-9 and 51-F orbits. If STS-35 would be launched into a higher inclined orbit, longer opportunities for Mir contacts could be possible.

When the contact comes about, it will mark the first direct communication between Soviet and U.S. spacecraft. The communications between the spacecraft of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project were relayed via ground links. The radio linkup would come as the 15th anniversary of ASTP approaches in July. And appropriately, the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo and now STS-35 Commander, Vance Brand, will be brushing up on his Russian to mark the anniversary of that fete with another first from space. "I'll have to drag out some books," says Brand. "I'm pretty rusty.'

The chat could serve to spur new support for cooperative space ventures between the United States and the Soviet Union, possibly even exploration of the moon and Mars proposed by President Bush. During the past two years, U.S. and Soviet experts have met quietly, looking for potential avenues of cooperation. Though the Apollo-Soyuz mission he participated in was a success, Brand cautions against naive optimism about the fruits of a future cooperative venture.

"The project itself would not drive good international relations," warns Brand. "If we are going to talk about a Mars mission, I think it would require a 10- to 15-year preparation period. You would want to have a good feeling about where you thought international relations were going.” He favors the United States tackling the Mars exploration on its own. A more sensible cooperative venture with the Soviets would involve a mission in which a NASA Space Shuttle docked with the Mir to demonstrate a rescue capability, Brand said.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:40 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:42 pm

“Space Classroom” is a new NASA educational effort designed to involve students and teachers in the excitement of Space Shuttle science missions. This new program joins more than 160 other educational programs being conducted by NASA that use the agency’s missions and unique facilities to help educators prepare students to meet the nation’s growing need for a globally competitive work force of skilled scientists and engineers.

The first Space Classroom project, called “Assignment: The Stars,” will capitalize on the flight of Astro-1. During the mission, crewmembers will conduct lessons from space on such subjects as astronomy and the electromagnetic spectrum. About 45 middle school students at the Marshall and Goddard POCCs will have the opportunity to ask questions and talk with the astronauts. Simultaneously, the lecture and discussion will be provided on NASA Select TV over a commercial satellite link to schools across the country.

The first Space Classroom will also be supported by an Astro-1 teacher’s guide and slide presentation, as well as post-flight video products suitable for classroom use. Beginning about one week before launch, Astro-1 Update, a recorded bulletin on the status of the mission and Space Classroom, will be available by dialing 205/544-8504.

All four of the astronomers on the flight have experience teaching at the university level, Hoffman points out. The lesson will be timed for the shift handover aboard Columbia so that Astro observing is not disturbed. Parise and Parker will give a half-hour lecture before their work shift begins. The Hoffman and Durrance, coming off their shift, will answer questions from the students. In addition, the entire crew plans a series of short “Astro-casts” on various aspects of their mission throughout the flight.

“NASA is concerned with its role in education to excite students about careers in science, engineering and mathematics. We hope this will be a demonstration of the tremendous potential that we have using the shuttle flight to really excite students,” Hoffman says.


Columbia will serve as a passive target for the Air Force Maui Optical Site Calibration Test (AMOS), performed on several previous shuttle flights. Infrared and optical sensors in Hawaii will observe the orbiter in flight, gathering calibration data on the “signatures” of spacecraft and their maneuvering jet plumes.

A total of eleven Detailed Supplementary Objectives are planned for STS-35, as well as thirteen Development Test Objectives, among them

DTO 236 – Ascent Wing Aerodynamic Distribution Loads
DTO 242 – Entry Aerodynamic Control Surfaces Test
DTO 301 – Ascent Structural Capability
DTO 307 – Entry Structural Capability
DTO 312 – ET Thermal Protection System Performance
DTO 329 – Improved Waste Collection System Evaluation
DTO 517 – Hot Nosewheel Steering
DTO 634 – In-Flight Trash Collection
DTO 805 – Crosswind Landing Performance

The advent of operations of the Space Shuttle orbiter provided an opportunity for researchers to perform flight experiments on a full-scale lifting vehicle during atmospheric entry. In 1976, to take advantage of this opportunity, NASA’s Office of Aeronautics, Exploration and Technology instituted the Orbiter Experiments (OEX) Program. Since the program’s inception, 13 experiments have been developed for flight. Principal investigators for these experiments represent NASA’s Langley and Ames Research Centers, Johnson Space Center, and Goddard Space Flight Center.

Six OEX experiments will be flown on STS-35. Included among this group will be five experiments which were intended to operate together as a complementary set of entry research instrumentation. This flight marks the first time since the September 1988 Return-to-Flight that the Langley experiments will fly as a complementary set.

DTO 901 – OEX Shuttle Infrared Leeside Temperature Sensing (SILTS)

The experiment uses a scanning infrared radiometer located atop the vertical tail to collect infrared images of the orbiter’s leeside (upper) surfaces during entry, for the purpose of measuring the temperature distribution and thereby the aerodynamic heating environment. On two previous missions, the experiment obtained images of the left wing. For STS-35, the experiment has been reconfigured to obtain images of the upper fuselage. SILTS has flown on three Columbia flights. David A Throckmorton and E. Vincent Zoby, Langley, are co-principal investigators.

DTO 902 – OEX Shuttle Upper Atmosphere Mass Spectrometer (SUMS)

The SUMS experiment complements DTO 903 SEADS by enabling measurement of atmospheric density above 300,000 feet. SUMS samples air through a small hole on the lower surface of the vehicle just aft of the nose cap. It utilizes a mass spectrometer operating as a pressure sensing device to measure atmospheric density in the high altitude, refried flow regime where the pressure is too low for the use of ordinary pressure sensors. The mass spectrometer incorporated in the SUMS experiment was spare equipment originally developed for the Viking Mars Lander. This is the first opportunity for SUMS to fly since STS 61-C in January 1986. Robert C. Blanchard and Ron J. Duckett, Langley, are co-principal investigators.

DTO 903 – OEX Shuttle Entry Air Data Sensor (SEADS)

The SEADS nosecap on the orbiter Columbia contains 14 penetration assemblies, each containing a small hole through which the surface air pressure is sensed. Measurement of the pressure levels and distribution allows post-flight determination of vehicle attitude and atmospheric density during entry. SEADS, which has flown on three previous flights of Columbia, operates in an altitude range of 300,000 feet to landing. Paul M. Siemers III, Langley, is the principal investigator.

Both SEADS and SUMS provide entry atmospheric environmental (density) information. These data, when combined with vehicle motion data, allow determination of in-flight aerodynamic performance characteristics of the orbiter.

DTO 911 – OEX Aerothermal Instrumentation Package (AIP)

The AIP comprises some 125 measurements of aerodynamic surface temperature and pressure at discrete locations on the upper surface of the orbiter’s left wing and fuselage, and vertical tail. These sensors originally were part of the Development Flight Instrumentation DFI system which flew aboard Columbia during her Orbital Flight Test missions – STS-1 through 4. They have been reactivated through the use of an AIP-unique data handling system. Among other applications, the AIP data provide “ground-truth” information for the DTO 901 SILTS experiment. The AIP has flown on two previous Columbia missions. David A. Throckmorton, Langley, is principal investigator.

Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package (ACIP)

The ACIP instrumentation includes triaxial sets of linear accelerometers, angular accelerometers and angular rate gyros, which sense the orbiter’s motions during flight. ACIP provides the vehicle motion data which is used in conjunction with the DTO 903 SEADS environmental information for determination of aerodynamic characteristics below about 300,000 feet altitude. The ACIP has flown on all flights of Challenger and Columbia. David B. Kanipe, Johnson Space Center, is the ACIP principal investigator.

High Resolution Accelerometer Package (HiRAP)

This instrument is a triaxial, orthogonal set of a highly sensitive accelerometer which sense vehicle motions during the high altitude portion (above 300,000 feet) of entry. This instrument provides the companion vehicle motion data to be used with the DTO 902 SUMS results. HiRAP has been flown on 11 previous missions of the orbiters Columbia and Challenger. Robert C. Blanchard, Langley, is the HiRAP principal investigator.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:43 pm

Astro-1 possesses the potential to excite scientists present and future. Science advances as a process, not a single event. Most scientific work depends on the opportunity to follow-up on initial work. Until earlier this year (1990), two follow-up flights of Astro were planned. Those have been dropped due to scheduling and funding pressures.

Astro-1 deserves to be remembered as more than an afterthought, an also-ran in the shadow of the great Hubble Space Telescope. The stars, whom some still believe foreshadow the future, fill the night sky with infinite wonders and promises – and unexpected surprises.

(Dixon P. Otto, Countdown, May 1990; Countdown, September 1990; Ben Evans, Space Shuttle Columbia – Her Missions and Crews, Springer/Praxis 2005; Brian Welch, Kelly Humphries, Space New Roundup, May 11, 1990; NASA News Release No. 90-034, May 24, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, May 25, 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 27, 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 29, 1990; Space Shuttle Mission STS-35 press kit, December 1990; Philip Chien, 73 Amateur Radio Today, March 1991  – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:45 pm
Trash Talk

(By Pam Alloway)

When Fred Abolfathi and J.B. Thomas work on one of their many projects at Johnson Space Center, a detailed test objective scheduled to fly on STS-35 in May, they don’t have any problem finding material to test it out – they just reach for the nearest trash can.

Abolfathi, a Lockheed Engineering and Science Corp. project engineer, and Thomas, a subsystems manager in JSC’s Man-Systems Division, have spent the past year working on a trash compactor for the Space Shuttle.  They’ve crushed hundreds of pop cans, squished thousands of memos, mutilated pounds of flight food containers, and even thrown in a couple of cans full of cat food, just to test odor containment. “So far we haven’t had any trouble generating trash,” Abolfathi said.

The experimental shuttle trash compactor is scheduled to fly on STS-35 for the first time as Detailed Test Objective DTO 634, The compactor will become an important part of shuttle hardware as NASA begins flying Extended Duration Orbiter flights, said project managers. EDO missions mean more trash in a vehicle where stowage space already extremely limited. The first 13-day EDO mission currently is scheduled in 1992. Plans call for the first 16-day EDO mission to occur in 1994.

“The goal of the EDO trash compactor is to reduce the trash to a manageable volume for EDO missions,” said Thomas. “Each crewmember generates about one-half cubic foot of trash per day.” Current projections indicate about 56 cubic feet of trash will be generated on the first 16-day EDO flight and those working on this project would like to reduce that number to 14 cubic feet, said Abolfathi.

The 48-pound compactor fits in place of a middeck locker and is operated manually. Trash is placed inside a polypropylene bag which, when full, is placed inside the chamber of the compactor. One bag holds a volume equivalent to one-half cubic foot. A metal compactor door is closed securing the bag inside the chamber. A crewmember then uses handles on either side of the compactor in a garden shear-type movement to engage gears which push a piston from the back of the chamber to the front, compressing the trash to a volume four times smaller. The piston compresses the trash using a force of about 60 pounds per square inch. Operating the EDO trash compactor could provide a type of exercise for the crew, Thomas said.

After the piston is moved as far forward as it was designed to go, the crewmember retracts the piston, opens the compactor door, and pulls a strap to remove the bag from the chamber. The bag has a lid which houses a charcoal filter to contain odors, fluids an bacteria. A one-way air valve in the lid allows air out of the bag, relieving pressure built up during compaction. Next, the entire package is placed inside the orbiter trash stowage compartment. The bags fit through an eight-inch-diameter hole in the middeck floor. This compartment, known as Volume F, normally is used for wet trash stowage.

About ten years ago Johnson Engineering Corp. in Boulder, Colorado, began working on a concept for an orbiter trash compactor that could be developed commercially for recreational vehicles. Using that experience the company bid on a contract in July 1989 to design a shuttle trash compactor. The design has been tested and certified using a variety of items, including food, water, flight trash, plastic and metal food containers, and teleprinter pages. The current shuttle rehydratable food package, which does not crush well in the compactor, is being redesigned for EDO missions, Abolfathi said. “The DTO is flying as a proof of concept for the compactor,” said Albofathi. “We’ll prove the concept will work and results will be used to build two flight units. During STS-35, crewmembers will experiment with various types of lids and bags, Albofathi said. Thirty bags and lids will accompany the compactor into space.

The hardware is scheduled to be shipped to KSC March 19 to support the Crew Equipment Interface Test, said Hamid Tabibian, Man-Systems Division’s systems development section manager. “We’ve always been interested in designing a trash compactor for the shuttle, but we just couldn’t justify flying it until extended duration flights began coming along,” Tabibian said. “EDO missions will last up to 16 days and can have as many as seven people. The trash compactor will become essential for those types of missions.”

(Pam Alloway, NASA News Release No. 90-025, Mar. 16, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:49 pm
STS-35 Crew Training Images

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:50 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:52 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:55 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 05:58 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:02 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:04 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:06 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:07 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:09 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:11 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:19 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:22 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:25 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:29 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:32 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:35 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:39 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:45 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:47 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:52 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:55 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 06:58 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:03 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:07 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:11 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:15 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:21 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:23 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:26 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:30 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:32 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:33 pm
STS-35 Flight Preparations – Milestones and Roadblocks

“Grounded like a misbehavin’ teenager Columbia remained on Pad 39A…”

- Image caption, page 8, Countdown, July 1990


On January 26, 1990, Columbia returned to Kennedy Space Center after the STS-32 mission and was towed to OPF-1. Over the next few days the LDEF, which had been retrieved from space, was removed from the payload bay and processing started for STS-35, now scheduled for launch on May 9. Stacking of the Solid Rocket Boosters began January 30, as the aft skirt of the left-hand booster was placed on Mobile Launcher Platform MLP-3 in The Vehicle Assembly Building. Build-up of the left-hand SRB was completed on February 27; stacking of the right-hand booster began the following day and was completed on March 12. Twelve days later the External Tank was mated to both boosters.

In the OPF, the pallets carrying the Astro-1 payload were loaded into Columbia’s cargo bay on March 20. It was the first time since the Challenger disaster that a horizontal payload was loaded before the shuttle was rolled out to the launch pad. On April 16 Columbia was rolled over from the OPF to the VAB and was mated to the ET/SRB stack the next day. The rollover was delayed because a small leak was discovered in the hydraulics of the orbiter’s nose landing gear.

(Spaceflight, Vol. 47, December 2005 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:35 pm
On a Wing and a Prayer?

(By Dixon P. Otto)


During the preflight press conference for the first Moon landing, the crew of Apollo 11 was asked if they should not be speaking in terms of “if” rather than “when” they landed on the Moon. They replied that they were confident in the when of their endeavor. For Astro-1 (STS-35), coming hard on the heels of the Hubble deployment mission, we reverse the confidence of the old NASA of 1969. We say if, not when…

I worry tremendously about the Astro shuttle flight coming in the shadow of the Hubble deployment mission. Less than two years after the resumption of flights, why must we force two flights within three weeks of each other?

The appearance of Columbia and Discovery on the pad at the same time in late April 1990 echoed memories of Challenger. The only previous time two shuttles were side-by-side on the pad occurred in January 1986.

Can NASA handle the strain of preparing two pads/shuttles at the same time? For example, the major practice countdown for Columbia STS-35 on Pad 39A was scheduled just two days after the launch of Discovery STS-31 from Pad 39B. Some members of the launch team must participate in both activities.

Can the engineering data from the Discovery launch be analyzed in time to be applied to Columbia? In not waiting for detailed data reduction, is NASA saying that shuttle launches have returned to routine “operational” regularity?


I do not like the way NASA is shifting launch dates – forwards, backwards and sideways. Yes, perhaps on paper they can achieve such chess-like moves, but the movement of schedules poses an intrinsic harm – like shifting your sleep schedule every night.

Why must Astro fly so soon after Hubble? Just because it can be done on paper? NASA is like a marathon runner who decides that since he has picked up his pace without harm, he can do it again and again – forgetting he has miles to go.

The aim of the shuttle program should be to increase the flight rate to where we can launch weeks apart not now, but five years from now when we are building the Space Station. Is Astro worth the risk to the shuttle fleet?


NASA Administrator Richard Truly has done a tremendous job rebuilding NASA. I would hate to see anything happen on his watch. I am fearful something will – and sooner, not later. I’d normally jump at the chance to fly on the shuttle, but you could not pay me a million dollars – with a million dollars life insurance policy on top – to be aboard Columbia in mid-May.

Admiral Truly, I beg you, preserve the fleet. Postpone Astro – even cancel it while it rests on the pad, if you have to!

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


Dear Editor:
As Bart Simpson would say: “Don’t have a cow, man!” Your attitude was a downright disgrace in last month’s issue. You not only showed a complete disregard and disrespect for the new NASA system, but worst of all you gave a slap in the face of every man and woman who gave his or her “blood, sweat and tears” to rebuilding the Space Shuttle program. (…) If NASA can work both pads at once, I say “Go for it!” I’d do just about anything to be able to fly aboard a shuttle mission, anytime, any orbiter. When – WHEN, not if – Columbia STS-35 makes orbit, it will undoubtedly be one of the most spectacular missions of the STS program.

- Brad Haines, Rensselaer, New York

My only concern is… never, Never, NEVER begin presenting a point of view by quoting clichés from “The Simpsons.”

- Dixon P. Otto

(“Air To Ground,” Countdown, July 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:38 pm
Columbia’s launch has been impacted by the delay in launching Discovery’s Hubble Space Telescope mission. NASA officials said today that Columbia won’t fly until mid-May. “We’re not going to be able to make the ninth, but we still don’t have a clear target yet,” said Kennedy Space Center spokeswoman Lisa Malone. She went on to say that shuttle program managers wanted at least three weeks to study Discovery’s launch data and hardware before launching Columbia. Meanwhile work continued on launch preparations for Discovery. (Halvorson, Florida Today, April 17, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:39 pm
Discovery will be ready for a second launch attempt April 24, a day ahead of the previously announced schedule. “Everyone believes we’re now ready to fly, and all of us will be looking forward to the data the Hubble Space Telescope will produce as it begins its exploration of the Universe,” said Robert Crippen, Shuttle Program Director. Technicians this week will test electrical and mechanical connections between Columbia and her Solid Rocket Boosters, External Tank and Mobile Launch Platform in the Vehicle Assembly Building. This two-day test must be completed before Columbia can be rolled out to Launch Pad 39A. (Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Apr. 19/21, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, Apr. 19, 1990 – edited)

NASA's Columbia astronauts said today they are eager to quickly follow Discovery into orbit and are confident their May mission will not be overshadowed by next week's launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. After a 14-day delay, the space telescope is scheduled to blast off early Tuesday on a five-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery.

If NASA meets that date, the shuttle Columbia will lift off May 16 for a ten-day flight Columbia will be moved to its Florida launch pad Sunday, marking the first occasion that NASA has had two space shuttles on neighboring launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center since January 1986. At that time, Columbia and Challenger occupied the launch pads. Columbia flew a successful six-day mission. Challenger exploded seconds after lifting off. Later, the space agency was criticized for attempting to fly missions too quickly, sacrificing safety. This year, NASA is attempting to fly nine shuttle missions, matching the previous annual record of nine in 1985.

After the first attempt to launch the five-day Hubble mission failed four minutes before lift-off on April 10, NASA decided to postpone the May 9 launch date of Astro by one to two weeks. When that decision was made, Brand said he felt assured there was no undue pressure on the agency to launch Columbia. If some people are singing the old WWII song, “Comin’ In On A Wing And A Prayer,” the Columbia crew refuses to form a chorus.

“If we were still trying to launch on May 9, it would look to me like we were cramming too much work into the bag, so to speak. But I believe that since we’re probably sure to be three weeks behind the Hubble mission and processing has been going along so well, I just don’t have any concern,” Brand says. “I feel good about it.”

Columbia pilot Guy Gardner agrees. “I’ve been impressed with NASA management at all levels to ensure that everything is done in the proper manner and that nobody is rushing to get out launch off,” says Guy Gardner, STS-35 pilot. “They’re all making sure not only that the hardware is ready, but that the people will be ready, with adequate time to recuperate from one launch to the next.” Ron Parise, one of two non-NASA scientists on the Columbia flight, adds, "I think we have a real good chance of pulling it off." (The Houston Chronicle, Apr. 21, 1990; Countdown, May 1990 – edited)

For only the second time since January 1986, Space Shuttles occupy both Kennedy Space Center pads as Columbia joined Discovery at Launch Complex 39 today. Columbia with three Astro-1 ultraviolet astronomy telescopes and the Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope in her payload bay, made the 3.5 mile trip from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad 39A in preparation for the STS-35 mission targeted for launch May 16. Meanwhile, NASA Test Director Mike Leinbach is hopeful they’ll get Discovery off the pad on Tuesday (April 24), hauling the long-anticipated Hubble Space Telescope into Earth orbit. Discovery’s crew arrived at KSC this afternoon in their T-38 jets. “Columbia looks very good out there,” said STS-31 Commander Loren Shriver. As Columbia rode out to the pad, her crawler transporter – CT-2 – passed its 1,000 mile and a brief ceremony was held to mark the milestone. (Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, Apr. 27, 1990; Brown, Florida Today, Apr. 23, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:43 pm
1,000 Miles – and still crawling

(By Kyle Herring)

Two diesel engines producing more than 5,000 horsepower are started, and as the power plants warm up the four-mile trip begins at a blistering pace of about half-a-mile an hour. Before completing its first mile Sunday, carrying Columbia from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39A, Crawler Transporter 2 crosses the “1,000 mile marker” and a ceremony marks the historic event in the background.

While not the most fuel efficient of vehicles, consuming 160 gallons a mile, the crawler transporter used to carry Space Shuttles from the massive VAB to the launch pad is as vital a piece of hardware as the cargo it carries. It took 25 years for the first of the six million-pound vehicles to reach the 1,000 mile mark, something an Indy car would surpass in just five hours. Transporter 1 is running a close second in miles traveled with 975; it should reach the 1,000 mile mark in 1991.

The twin giant crawlers have been the only means of transporting manned spacecraft to the launch pads at Kennedy Space Center since the Apollo program. Early concepts of launch vehicle transports, however, didn’t include a land-based vehicle. “The crawler transporter was the dark horse of the concepts being considered,” said Donald Buchanan, then chief of the Launcher Systems and Umbilical Tower Design Section. Early concepts included a barge and canal system, a rail system, and the land transporter. “Eventually,” he said, “the barge canal concept proved too unstable and the rail system more costly and inflexible due to the loads it would be required to carry.”

During its travel, Transporter 2 has been operated by ten different drivers and has supported Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle missions. Its heaviest load was the Saturn V Skylab Workshop on its mobile launch platform. The combined weight of the platform, launch vehicle and payload totaled 13.2 million pounds – more than the weight of the transporter.

Following a year of study, NASA decided in 1962 that the land transport method of space vehicle delivery to the pad was the most feasible and awarded a contract in 1963 to the Marion Power Shovel Co., Marion, Ohio, to build two of the massive vehicles. When built, the transporters dwarfed the self-propelled, strip-mining shovels from which they were patterned. In addition to weighing 3,000 tons apiece, the load-carrying tops are 131 feet long and 114 wide – the size of a baseball diamond. The height of the top is adjustable by hydraulic jacks, from 20 feet to 26 feet.

Two 2,750 horsepower diesel engines provide main propulsion power to drive the four 1,000 kilowatt generators. Additionally, two 1,065 horsepower diesel engines drive two 750 kilowatt generators which power the leveling, jacking, steering, lighting and other onboard equipment systems. Sixteen traction motors, four on each truck, are rated at either 187 or 375 horsepower each. Each of four double-tracked trucks is 10 feet high and 40 feet long. A single shoe on the track belt weighs a ton. There are 57 shoes per belt, and eight belts per transporter.

With a stunning radius – 500 feet – that makes jeep owners cringe, the transporters move at a top speed of two mph unloaded. Moving a Space Shuttle to the pad, the crawlers average less than one mph. Once the crawler reaches the pad with its launch vehicle riding piggyback, the leveling system kicks in during the climb up the five-percent grade allowing the tip of the shuttle’s External Tank to vary no more from the vertical than the diameter of a basketball.

In 1969, the transporter won the Great Britain Royal Automobile Club’s third Diamond Jubilee Trophy Award and Buchanan was there to accept. As the largest vehicles ever built, the crawlers in 1977 were designated as National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmarks by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Later that year modifications were made, including the installation of a new central control room and the addition of a programmable controller capable of rapid troubleshooting if a problem occurs during a critical move. Also, a laser docking system was installed allowing the driver to dock the vehicle within one inch of the target.

Transporter 2 was also outfitted with an odometer. A plaque certifying the previously logged miles was placed in the cab. With the 644 miles logged prior to the modifications added to those during the shuttle program, the transporter surpassed the 1,000 mile mark carrying Columbia to Pad 39A for her next launch scheduled for around May 16. The crawlers, which cost just under $15 million for both, are expected to continue in service well into the next century.

(Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, April 27, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:44 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:45 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:47 pm
Discovery successfully headed for a record 381-mile-high orbit carrying the famed Hubble Space Telescope at 8:34 a.m. EDT. Nearly four-and-a-half hours after launch the HST ground controllers turned Hubble on and sent the first commands to activate its scientific instruments. NASA Administrator Richard Truly said of Discovery and her HST payload, “It’s in tits element now. The first step is always the hardest. And we’re beyond that now.” (Countdown, June 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:48 pm
NASA today announced the first Japanese Astronaut to fly on a shuttle will be 42-year-old Mamoru Mohri. The former assistant professor of nuclear engineering has been selected for a mission in June 1991. Two other finalists, Chiaki Mukai and Takao Doi, were selected as backups and ground support members, and the three will begin training April 29. (Countdown, June 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:50 pm
Agreement has been reached between the government of the Soviet Union and ESA on cooperation in the field of exploration and the use of space for peaceful purposes. A contract was signed at ESA’s headquarters in Paris today. Past cooperation has been based on an exchange of letters between the USSR Academy of Sciences and ESRO, one of ESA’s precursors, and has been largely concerned with exchanges of scientific information. The space activities covered by the new ten-year agreement will include exploration of the solar system, space astronomy and astrophysics, Earth observation, including meteorology, and life-sciences and microgravity research. (Spaceflight News, June 1990 – edited)

NASA said today it may have to replace astronomer Sam Durrance on the May Astro-1 mission because the scientist has developed an unspecified medical problem. Columbia is tentatively scheduled to lift off at 12:45 a.m. EDT on May 16. The mission is expected to last almost nine days and end with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on May 24. Durrance, a 46-year-old Johns Hopkins University scientist, is one of two non-NASA researchers among the shuttle's seven-member crew. If replaced, his substitute will be Ken Nordsieck, a 44-year-old University of Wisconsin astronomer.

Robert Crippen, NASA's Shuttle Program Director, said a decision on Durrance's status will be made about one week before launch, when the crew would enter a pre-flight medical quarantine. Crippen said the federal privacy act prevented him from disclosing the nature of Durrance's ailment but that he learned of its seriousness early today. The astronomer was on his way to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a commercial airline flight when he was asked to return to Houston's Johnson Space Center to undergo further evaluation.

STS-35 Commander Vance Brand and the other crew members traveled to Kennedy today. On Friday Ken Nordsieck will team up with them for the usual launch pad escape drill and a terminal countdown rehearsal which will begin at 8:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow and is expected to conclude on Saturday, April 28, at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
NASA postponed the secret STS-36 mission in February by three days when its commander developed the flu, and a total of six days because of computer and weather problems. However, Crippen said the space agency had no plans to postpone in Durrance's case. "What we plan to do is go fly as soon as we can, and we are targeting for the 16th," he said.

Meanwhile, Crippen said shuttle engineers were analyzing a slight misalignment in Columbia's external fuel tank. The large bullet-shaped structure on the ship's belly is about 1.4 inches off center. Crippen said analysis so far indicates the misalignment does not pose a safety threat. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Apr. 27, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, Apr. 27, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Apr. 27, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:51 pm
“Overall it was a good exercise with a few curves thrown in,” said Kennedy Space Center spokesman George Diller about Columbia’s crew practice today. Upper level winds were blowing in a manner the Space Shuttle’s computers were not programmed for, so Launch Director Bob Sieck ordered the computer program updated while the clock held at nine minutes before launch. That process delayed the simulated lift-off 24 minutes to 11:24 a.m. EDT. Diller said this was the first time that procedure was attempted. Computers cut off the rehearsal five seconds before launch. (Banke, Florida Today, Apr. 29, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:55 pm
Although there would be significant advantages to limited U.S./Soviet cooperation in the manned exploration of Mars, it would not be in the former’s best interest to enter a totally integrated cooperative endeavor for the initial missions to the Red Planet. This is the key judgment of a ten-member National Research Council panel NASA tasked with investigating the benefits and drawback of cooperation. If there were too much reliance on the Soviet Union, science could become a “hostage to political events,” the NRC panel cautioned. (Spaceflight News, June 1990 – edited)

Several hundred IBM-compatible computers are to be supplied by the American company Innovation Inc. to the Soviet Energia organization for use in the Mir Space Station and Soviet shuttle programs, under the terms of a $6.5 million contract just signed. Despite the ongoing argument over technology transfer risks, the deal has received the approval of the U.S. Departments of Defense and Commerce. Three of the computers will be launched to Mir in July to assist in the management of supplies and experiment data. (Spaceflight News, June 1990 – edited)

It has emerged that there are no plans to fly again the Soviet shuttle orbiter vehicle Buran (Snowstorm), which performed the type’s first orbital mission in November 1988. Buran is not equipped with a life-support system and has only a minimal avionics suite. The cost of outfitting the vehicle to make it capable of manned spaceflight would be prohibitive, and Soviet sources say there is little point in staging a second unmanned mission with it. The second Soviet shuttle orbiter is in the final stages of completion at Baikonur, and is scheduled to fly in an unmanned mode next year – possibly docking with Mir. It will make its first manned flight in 1992. (Spaceflight News, June 1990 – edited)

Shuttle managers will meet at the beginning of next week to evaluate the readiness of Columbia, her crew and flight control teams for an STS-35 Astro mission launch about 12:45 a.m. EDT on May 16; a firm launch date is expected at the end of the meeting. Who will be the seventh crewmember also remains to be determined. Space Shuttle Program Director Bob Crippen announced Sunday that Sam Durrance, one of the mission’s payload specialists, is undergoing medical evaluation to determine if he should fly. Crippen said Durrance’s backup, Ken Nordsieck, is prepared to step in should Durrance be incapable of making the flight. Nordsieck participated with the rest of the crew in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test at Kennedy Space Center last week. The crew will return to Kennedy Space Center three days prior to launch for final review of the flight data file and to practice in Shuttle Training Aircraft for an emergency landing.

Since rolling to Launch Pad 39A on April 22, Columbia has undergone pad validation tests, and this week Columbia’s onboard fuel storage tanks were loaded with hypergolics to provide power to the fuel cells, Auxiliary Power Units, Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control System. Workers disconnected the 8-inch fill-and-drain flex hose on the Mobile Launch Platforms liquid hydrogen Tail Service Mast to remove small contaminants in the line. The work was not expected to delay the launch. (Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, May 4, 1990 – edited)

A problem with Columbia’s cooling system may delay the shuttle’s launch for days or weeks. NASA Administrator Richard Truly describes the problem as not serious but time-consuming and difficult to repair. The cooling system problem will be discussed by shuttle managers May 9 during the Flight Readiness Review. On Sunday (May 6) engineers saw an unexplained change in the flow of Freon through one of the orbiter’s two cooling loops; the cooling system removes heat from the shuttle's crew compartment, particularly the warmth produced by the electronics equipment. The system provides payload cooling as well.
Managers face several options:
- Fly as is and hope it works without trouble; an early landing at Edwards AFB is required by flight rules should there be trouble in-flight.
- Repair the problem on the launch pad; the procedures has never been done on the pad and depends upon whether the unit in question can be reached. . If feasible, that approach would require a minimum of disruption, requiring a ten-day to two-week delay, one Kennedy official said.
- Roll Columbia back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for destacking. Once in a horizontal position, the leak could be more easily repaired. But then, the orbiter would have to be reattached to its fuel tank and boosters and towed back to the launch pad, stretching the postponement to several weeks.

Columbia’s cooling system continued to function Tuesday but was circulating Freon at a reduced rate. NASA Associate Administrator for Spaceflight William Lenoir said, “We’re not going to launch unless we’re convinced we have two healthy Freon loops that we understand, and that – to the best of our ability to project ahead – both are going to last the entire scheduled mission.” (Banke, Florida Today, May 9, 1990; Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, May 9, 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 9, 1990 – edited)

NASA has postponed by two to three weeks the launch of the shuttle Columbia to allow engineers to fix a cooling system leak. In a statement Wednesday (May 9), NASA officials said they expect to assign a new launch date early next week once procedures to replace a large cooling system valve have been established. "We are obviously disappointed that we are not ready to fly,"said William Lenior, NASA's Associate Administrator for Spaceflight. "However, this particular system is absolutely critical to the safety of the crew and overall mission success, so we have decided to change the component.”

Bascom Murrah, Manager of Prelaunch Operations for the Columbia mission, said, “They don’t understand the problem enough to feel comfortable flying with it, so they’ve got to go and fix it. We feel we can do that at the pad, but how long that will take I really would only be guessing.” NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said the valve will be removed and disassembled so that its components can be inspected. An associated cooling system filter also is suspect. To reach the valve, workers must remove the lining of the payload bay floor, an equipment storage container and a piece of structural equipment. They will drain the Freon, replace the valve and service the cooling system.

Another Flight Readiness Review will be held before a new target date is set. The Astro-1 flight is the fourth of nine shuttle missions on NASA's flight schedule for this year, and space agency officials said they are assessing how the STS-35 launch delay will influence those plans. Columbia is scheduled to fly a life sciences mission in August. “We don’t know what, if any, the impact will be to the remainder of the manifest. We’re looking at it, but it is not a given that we’ll lose any flights either with this vehicle or the others,” Launch Director Robert Sieck said.

And there is much more work on NASA’s to-do list: The plate that connects the ground supply of liquid oxygen to the shuttle’s rear engine compartment must be repaired because a bolt was sheared off when the plate was aligned. Columbia’s hydraulic lines must be serviced because a leak has allowed air into the system. Other work at the launch pad during this week included the flight readiness test of Columbia’s engines. This hydraulic test simulates the main engine start sequence, including movement of the valves within the three main engines. The liquid hydrogen fill and drain flex line in the Mobile Launch Platform, which was disconnected for removal of small debris last week, was retested with no problems. Last week, ordnance work was completed and the payload bay doors were opened for continued servicing of Astro-1 and the Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 10, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, May 11, 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:56 pm
Repair on Columbia’s faulty cooling system continued today with Kennedy Space Center technicians preparing to remove and replace a valve that is malfunctioning, according to Dick Young, KSC spokesman. Today, workers drained Freon from the cooling system, a task that was begun yesterday. The work should be completed May 14. Once the fluid is removed, the 36-hour valve replacement can take place. NASA managers are expected to announce a new launch date as soon as the cooling system repairs are completed. (Florida Today, May 14, 1990)

A filter the size of a thimble came apart inside the cooling system valve aboard Columbia and caused a two to three-week delay in the shuttle’s launch. Today technicians found a piece of the filter in a T-shaped valve that controls the flow of Freon between the orbiter’s cargo bay and crew module. The valve and accompanying parts were sent to Rockwell International’s shuttle spare parts service center in neighboring Titusville to learn why the part failed, according to Lisa Malone, KSC spokeswoman.

When more inspections have been performed, officials expect to know whether the filter was the system’s only flaw. Two other filters used in the part appear undamaged. “We need to complete the repair work and associated operations before it is possible to target a new launch date,” Malone said. Tomorrow, technicians will begin welding a new valve assembly into place. After this three-day job is completed, X-ray inspections will check for leaks and the system will be refilled with Freon. Routine pre-launch preparations could begin this weekend. (Banke, Florida Today, May 16, 1990 – edited)

Today technicians will test Columbia’s new cooling system valve at Launch Pad 39A. The cooling system will be replenished with Freon either May 17 or 18 and that will conclude the week-long repair effort, according to Bruce Buckingham, KSC spokesman. Tomorrow technicians will also pump liquid argon into one of the telescopes in Columbia’s payload bay. The argon cools the BBXRT instruments so they can operate properly. (Halvorson, Florida Today, May 17, 1990; The Orlando Sentinel, May 16, 1990 – edited)

Columbia’s launch is now targeted for between 12:38 and 3:17 a.m. EDT on May 30. “We’ve got enough work to keep us busy until the 30th, but we think we can make it,” said Kennedy Space Center spokesman Bruce Buckingham. A new valve has been installed in Columbia and technicians yesterday soldered lines connected to the new valve. Today, technicians tested the cooling system and the replacement valve for leaks. Over the next two days, gaseous nitrogen will be pumped through the system to dry up residual moisture. Then the system will take on 29 gallons of Freon. Shuttle managers will meet next week to hold the “Delta” Flight Readiness Review to assess the vehicle’s ability to support a nine-day mission.

Payload officials are continuing to monitor the status of the Astro payload. The Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope was serviced with argon on Thursday. Managers reported that all payloads would be ready to support launch once the replacement work on the Freon system is complete. The launch date for STS-35 is being assessed and will be based on the successful completion of work to repair the cooling system. The crew for the 36th shuttle mission is continuing simulator training and will return to Kennedy Space Center three days prior to launch.

With a launch countdown beginning on May 26 and running through the Memorial Day weekend, the STS-35/Astro-1 mission will cost up to $500,000 extra. “We’re looking at a figure between $250,000 and $500,000,” said Buckingham. “It probably will be toward the lower end of the range, but those are the rough figures.” NASA spokesman Karl Kristofferson added, “I’m sure most everybody on the launch team would prefer to have the holiday free, but the job has to be done and everybody is ready to support whatever the NASA management wants.” (Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, May 18, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, May 18/19, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, May 18, 1990 – edited)

The final testing of Columbia’s repaired cooling system will be completed tomorrow. Technicians finished refilling the Freon loop on Monday, after which KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone reported, “The feeling is we’ve got a good shot at launching on the 30th.” Her colleague Bruce Buckingham echoed that statement, saying, “We hope to have everything finished up Wednesday afternoon. Launching on the 30th still looks good. The schedules fit and we’re marching on toward that end.” Meanwhile, NASA managers meet in a Flight Readiness Review at Kennedy Space Center on May 23 and May 24. (Halvorson, Florida Today, May 22/23, 1990; The Orlando Sentinel, May 24, 1990 – edited)

“At this point, it looks like we’re going to be ready to launch on the 30th,” NASA spokesman Bruce Buckingham said today. That is the expected result of today’s Flight Readiness Review at Kennedy Space Center. Technicians have successfully completed a final check of the repaired Freon loop on Columbia and final work in the orbiter’s cargo bay and rear engine compartment will be completed tomorrow, Buckingham said. (Halvorson, Florida Today, May 24, 1990 – edited)

NASA said today it plans to launch the Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew of seven on a 10-day science mission early Wednesday next week. The night lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is scheduled for 12:38 p.m. EDT, the opening of a 2-hour, 30-minute launch window. The announcement followed a half-day meeting of NASA shuttle program managers at Kennedy. “We’re not tracking any significant problems. We’re going to press on for a launch on the 30th,” said NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone. Countdown is scheduled to begin at 1:00 a.m. EDT May 27. By conserving electricity during the mission, the space agency hopes to stretch the flight from nine to ten days but will not make a final decision on the length of the trip until Columbia is in orbit. Landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, is planned for June 7 or 8, depending on whether the mission will be extended or not.

At Launch Pad 39A, workers continued to close out the aft compartment and prepared to clear the pad of non-essential workers for installation of ordnance devices on the Solid Rocket Boosters. The seven-member crew for the Astro-1 mission is continuing simulator training and now plans to leave Ellington Field for Kennedy on Sunday.

Also today, the space agency named fifteen astronauts and two scientists to three 1991 flights, bringing to twelve the number of shuttle crews now in training. Among those selected as mission commanders was Marine Colonel Charles Bolden, pilot of the recent Hubble Space Telescope flight. His crew is comprised of Brian Duffy, Pilot, Kathryn Sullivan, Payload Commander, Mission Specialists David Leestma and Michael Foale, and Payload Specialists Michael Lampton and Byron Lichtenberg. The crew of seven will study the Earth's atmosphere in April.

Navy Captain David Walker, who commanded the Magellan mission that deployed the Magellan Venus probe in the spring of 1989, will command a crew of five on a secret mission for the Defense Department in March. Walker’s crew includes Tom Henricks, Pilot, and Mission Specialists Story Musgrave, Mario Runco and James Voss.

Air Force Colonel John Blaha will command a crew of five on a mission to deploy a NASA Tracking and Relay Data System Satellite in May. The crew will be rounded out with Michael Baker, Pilot, and Mission Specialists Shannon Lucid, David Low and James Adamson. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 25, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, May 25, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, May 25, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, May 26, 1990; Countdown, July 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 07:58 pm
Countdown for the STS-35 lift-off began this morning at 12:30 a.m. EDT headed toward launch at 12:38 a.m. EDT May 30. Air Force meteorologists predict an 80 percent chance that weather will be favorable for lift-off. A tropical depression which had brought winds and rain to the area has lessened and will not affect Columbia’s opportunities for launch, according to the Air Force.

NASA Test Director Mike Leinbach said at one point that preparations were proceeding about two hours ahead of schedule. “This is the smoothest countdown I’ve been involved with so far. It’s not normal, but that’s the way we like it,” he said. Though weather at launch time is expected to be good, KSC is watching for possible early evening thunderstorms on May 29 which may affect fueling operations. “The potential for an early evening storm is 30 percent,” said KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone.

Wearing broad grins and personalized “Astro-1” caps – Houston Astro baseball caps – the seven-member STS-35 crew touched down on the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility today at 11:00 a.m. EDT. "Don't forget to let the people back home know about our hats," Mission Specialist Jeff Hoffman urged reporters. "We’re really glad to be here," said Commander Vance Brand. “We have a lot of good and important things to do. We know we have a great ship, and we are ready to go.” He added, “I know personally I can't wait to get up there again." (Banke, Florida Today, May 27, 1990; Brown, Florida Today, May 28, 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 28, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:00 pm
Predictions of severe weather today threatened to delay by a couple of hours or possibly postpone tonight's planned launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Lift-off remained set for 12:38 a.m. EDT Wednesday. That opens a 2-hour, 39-minute long launch window that could accommodate a lift-off as late as 2:17 a.m. Forecasters early today predicted an 80 percent likelihood of favorable weather during the launch window.

However, they also predicted a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms and lightning in the Cape Canaveral area during the late afternoon and early evening. Shortly after 4 p.m. EDT engineers are scheduled to begin the hazardous operation of loading Columbia's external fuel tank with a half million gallons of explosive propellants. Space agency launch rules restrict fuel loading if lightning is forecast within five miles of the launch site. If engineers must wait for severe weather to clear, they would be forced to combine some activities scheduled after the fuel loading in a bid to make the launch window, NASA test director Mike Leinbach told reporters. However, there is a two-hour pause built into the countdown late this afternoon that would give them some flexibility. "There is the potential we could compress the time line and go for an attempt late in the window," Leinbach said.

Meanwhile, engineers and technicians were assessing a new technical problem after successfully overcoming another. The difficulty involves a connector on a communications electronics component called a pulse code modulator. Leinbach said the device is one of two on Columbia involved in properly synchronizing signals from the many instruments aboard the ship to ground controllers. The shuttle could be launched without a repair if shuttle program managers elect to use the second modulator as the primary signal synchronizer, the test director said. Nonetheless, technicians crawled aboard the ship today to tighten the loose connection that was believed to be the cause of the problem.

Meanhile, engineers on Monday successfully repaired a faulty cockpit instrument called a HUD, or Head Up Display. "That is our only real problem. Everything else is going very smoothly," said NASA test director Al Sofge. The device displays air speed, altitude and compass headings to Commander Vance Brand who will be flying Columbia during the shuttle's return to Earth. The HUD is transparent and positioned directly in the commander's field of view, allowing him to obtain readings as he peers through the windshield during the runway approach.

Tests late Sunday (May 27) revealed the device was not displaying accurate readings, so it was replaced, Sofge said. When the new HUD didn't correct the problem engineers elected to replace an associated electronic component about the size of a videocassette recorder as well. That task and the testing that was to follow started at midday Monday and was expected to take no more than 16 hours. The work was being accomplished without interruption to the normal launch preparations and was not expected to affect launch plans, Sofge said.

If severe weather doesn't interfere, Brand's crew will begin boarding Columbia just before 10 p.m. EDT. “The payload is in great shape. Everything is perfect. We’re ready to fly,” said Geoffrey Clayton, Astro deputy program scientist. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 29, 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)

A fuel leak forced NASA to postpone the launch of Columbia today about six hours before her scheduled night lift-off. Space agency spokeswoman Lisa Malone said NASA planned no announcement on another attempt to launch the astronomy mission until the leak source had been pinpointed. "A 24-hour turnaround is unlikely at this point," Malone said. "We don't have a good handle on how long it will take.”

If another attempt cannot be made by Sunday, an additional delay of a week is likely so that the X-ray telescope that Columbia carries can be resupplied with argon coolant. The mission was postponed at 6:20 p.m. EDT when shuttle engineers detected small amounts of leaking liquid hydrogen propellant in Columbia's main engine compartment. The ship's external fuel tank was being filled with a half-million gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen when the seepage was detected.

Malone said engineers were not sure whether the potentially explosive propellant was oozing from the ship's main engines or from the ground-based plumbing through which the fuel is pumped. Shuttle engineers plan to work through the night in an attempt to solve the mystery. The fuel leak was too small to pose a safety threat. "The vehicle was not in an unsafe condition at any time," Malone said.

The three-hour propellant loading process got under way about 4:30 p.m. EDT, a little behind schedule because launch officials had to assess a severe weather threat that never materialized. The hydrogen loading was stopped an hour later, soon after the flow to the fuel tank had been increased. The liquid oxygen loading continued until it was clear the hydrogen leak rate was increasing.

NASA spokeswoman Pat Phillips said detection devices in Columbia's main engine compartment at the rear of the spacecraft measured the hydrogen leak at 2,875 parts per million. A level of 40,000 parts per million is considered hazardous, Phillips said.
The launch attempt was canceled before Columbia's crew gathered for a pre-launch meal and final weather briefing. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 30, 1990 – edited)

The crew of the shuttle Columbia returned to Johnson Space Center today, as shuttle engineers at Kennedy Space Center attempted to pinpoint the source of a fuel leak that forced postponement of their astronomy mission. A lengthy launch delay seemed likely, though NASA said officially early today only that Columbia's launch was off until at least Friday. If another attempt cannot be made by Sunday, an additional delay of a week is likely so that the broad-band X-ray telescope that Columbia carries can be resupplied with argon coolant. Early today, Commander Vance Brand and the rest of the STS-35 crew flew to Houston to continue their training.

After an overnight analysis, shuttle engineers said they believe the liquid hydrogen is seeping from a 17-inch diameter line that connects the shuttle's external fuel tank to the main engine compartment. "If you have a major problem with your 17-inch line, it won't be an easy repair," NASA shuttle spokesman Ed Campion said today. If not easily repaired on the launch pad, Columbia might have to be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building. The delay would be about a month.

“We hope it doesn’t come to that,” said Robert Sieck, KSC Shuttle Launch Director. He added, “If we can’t duplicate the leak, then what we would want is a 100-percent inspection.” A rollback will delay at least one of the next two scheduled shuttle missions: a Department of Defense mission aboard Atlantis set for July 9 and a life sciences mission aboard Columbia whose launch date has already been moved from August 29 to mid-September.

Bascom Murrah, Prelaunch Operations Manager for Columbia, said, “It’s hard to believe, at the rate of leak we’ve seen, that we missed it. Something gave. But it’s a guessing game until we get in there.” The shuttle's fuel tank was drained of propellants after the mission was postponed on Tuesday. But residual fuel was still evaporating early today, blocking engineers' access to the 17-inch line until late tonight.

Meanwhile, the access road to Playalinda Beach has been reopened. NASA officials planned to meet today to consider reassigning their tracking equipment from the shuttle launch to an unmanned rocket launch planned for Friday. The Delta II rocket will carry Rosat, a telescope that will map the entire sky in the X-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum for the first time. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 30, 1990 – edited)

NASA engineers planned their first close-up look at Columbia today in a bid to find the fuel leak that has delayed the launch until at least the middle of next week. "We will find it, and we will fix it," NASA launch director Bob Sieck vowed. "We will get on with Columbia's mission. There is just a schedule uncertainty as to when we will be ready.” On Wednesday, access to the shuttle and its launch pad was restricted while a small amount of potentially explosive liquid hydrogen propellant was allowed to escape from Columbia's external fuel tank into the atmosphere. Sieck said he hoped the first access to the ship produced an obvious source of seepage, which may be as small as a pinhole.
Even if the space agency were so fortunate and its engineers were able to make repairs with the shuttle on the launch pad, Columbia would be grounded for days. "With the work we've laid out in the near term, the middle of next week would probably be the earliest we would consider a launch attempt," Sieck said. The initial launch pad inspections will focus on two potential leak sites in the Columbia's tail section. At one potential site, a 17-inch propellant line enters the winged orbiter from Columbia's bulletshaped external fuel tank. The second site is inside Columbia's main engine compartment.

Officials said engineers will attempt to re-create the leak by pressurizing Columbia with helium gas and closing off pieces of plumbing in sequence until seepage is detected. Sieck said the extremely cold temperatures of the propellants, which range as low as 400 degrees below zero, may have caused some metal to contract. “The system was tight going into the launch count,” Sieck said. “It had passed all of our standard leak tests and we felt good about it; so obviously the problem did not manifest itself until we saw cold, cryogenic temperatures.” Because engineers will not be able to induce the cold conditions during their inspections, the leak may be more difficult to re-create.

That could force them to tow Columbia to the Vehicle Assembly Building for a time-consuming disassembly and closer inspection. The huge facility contains two partially assembled Space Shuttle vehicles planned for missions later this year. One would have to be moved to accommodate Columbia, affecting future launch plans, Sieck said. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 31, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, June 1, 1990 – edited)

Early today NASA engineers were unable to find the source of a fuel leak that stopped Columbia’s launch. They planned more inspections and testing later today, but the prospects of towing the shuttle back to its hangar for disassembly seemed to be growing. A rollback would mean weeks of delay for Columbia's astronomy mission. "They did get in sometime last night and didn't see anything," said NASA spokesman Ed Campion. "They have been doing various leak checks and that didn't reveal anything.”

KSC Launch Director Bob Sieck said another attempt to launch the 10-day astronomy mission could occur no sooner than the middle of next week. However, he characterized that prospect as the most optimistic. The worst case scenario involved moving Columbia back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. "If it takes us to that, it takes us to that,"Sieck said. "We would hope that would not be the case, but in the worst case it would.” (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, May 31, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:02 pm
NASA yesterday found a small hydrogen leak on Columbia; shuttle engineer Henry Pohl at the Johnson Space Center in Houston initially said, “It looks to us like it would explain everything we saw the other night. But they still have to get quantitative measurements so we can determine how bad it is." In addition to this leak in a quarter-inch flexible pressure line in the engine compartment engineers detected a microscopic leak in ground-support equipment. But neither of those was responsible for the scrub, according to NASA spokesman Karl Kristofferson.

Testing went on overnight in a bid to find a larger leak that set off sensing instruments and forced the space agency to stop Tuesday's launch attempt six hours before liftoff. When the countdown was stopped, Columbia's big external fuel tank was being filled with liquid oxygen and hydrogen chilled to 400 degrees below zero. Some engineers believe the frigid temperatures caused some of the shuttle's hardware, possibly a metal seal, to contract, creating the leak. One testing option under discussion would send supercold liquid hydrogen through Columbia's propellant system in a bid to recreate the same temperature conditions that prevailed Tuesday.

"We have not identified the source of the leak. We have not isolated it to that source or any other," NASA Administrator Richard Truly said late Thursday. If further analysis convinces engineers that the flexible pressure line is the only problem, a launch pad repair is likely and another attempt to begin the Astro-1 mission could be days away. However, if a further problem is found, a delay of several weeks may be in store. “I hope we don’t have to roll back, but I can tell you that we will roll back if we have to, if  the problem is that serious,” said Truly.

Engineers got their first close view of Columbia Thursday before sunrise and began their detective work once the fuel tank and its associated plumbing had been pressurized with helium gas. Using a sensitive instrument called a mass spectrometer, engineers began searching for signs of leaking helium. Their efforts were focused on the inside of Columbia's main engine compartment and an area where a large diameter liquid hydrogen line connects the fuel tank to the winged orbiter.
The testing Thursday was interrupted for about eight hours while technicians removed the reactants stored on the shuttle to produce electricity during flight. The hazardous operation was necessary to open Columbia's payload bay doors so technicians could service the Astro observatory stored within. (Deseret News, May 31, 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, June 1, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, June 1, 1990; The Miami Herald, June 1, 1990 – edited)

Columbia's Astro-1 astronomy mission may be postponed until July, following a secret shuttle mission tentatively set for next month. NASA said yesterday it plans to load some fuel in Columbia's tank Wednesday in a bid to re-create the elusive liquid hydrogen leak that stopped a launch attempt earlier this week. However, astronaut Brewster Shaw, who chairs Columbia's mission management team, told reporters he was not optimistic the exercise will reveal a leak that can be repaired easily. "I'll have to admit we're not terribly optimistic we will find something with the tanking test that we can fix at the pad," Shaw said.

That would mean a rare rollback, a process in which Columbia would be towed from her launch pad to the VAB and separated from her fuel tank and twin solid-fuel rocket boosters. “If it was 50-50 the other day, it’s probably 60-40 now because we haven’t had much luck finding the leak.” Asked if a rollback" would mean STS-35 is off until July, Shaw said, "That's probably true.” One option the space agency is considering, he said, would be to move the secret STS-38 mission using the shuttle Atlantis ahead of Columbia's flight. But Shaw said no scheduling decisions will be made until shuttle engineers have identified the source of a hydrogen leak that stopped Columbia's countdown Tuesday.

Over the weekend, engineers plan to continue a series of tests that involve pressurizing the shuttle's propellant system with helium gas to look for leaks with instruments called spectrometers. Similar tests since Tuesday have proven inconclusive but helpful, and Shaw said the space agency had nothing to lose by continuing them. "We're not finding anything specific," said NASA shuttle spokesman Bruce Buckingham. "But our original suspicion that something is leaking in the 17-inch disconnect area is being confirmed more and more.” The 17-inch disconnect area is the plate through which a fuel line passes from Columbia's fuel tank into the main engine compartment. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, June 2, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, June 2, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:06 pm
Columbia Rolls Over For Atlantis

“Let’s hope we get lucky and get this bird up where she belongs.”

- Bascom Murrah III, Columbia Processing Manager


The June sun rose over the Atlantic like liquid fire bobbing to the ocean surface. Columbia, resting on Pad 39A, caught the red rays slanting through the jagged, industrial service platforms hunching alongside her. Waves washed and bubbled along the nearby ocean shore. Otherwise, the area was as quiet as a wilderness area. During the day, birds, nesting in the wildlife refuge of which the Kennedy Space Center is a part, winged in peace through bright Florida skies, wheeling over the shoreline. In the evening, the sun was swallowed on the horizon of squat scrub palm to the west, and the dying light lost its grip on Columbia, still sitting unmovable on Pad 39A.

The next day passed the same… and the next… and the next – all belonged to the birds wheeling overhead. NASA’s technicians, appearing like ants beside the huge shuttle, continued to search for a leak in the vital fuel lines running into Columbia. Each day they failed to pinpoint it. Each day the inevitable drew closer: The leak would not be found; Columbia would have to be rolled from the pad.

Still, the technicians kept performing new tests, trying new techniques, hoping against the odds they could find the problem and correct it on the pad, performing the same feat of magic they had so many times before, and by doing so preserve the schedule – or at least a major chunk of it.

The odds ran to zero on June 6. A rollback was ordered for only the fourth time in the shuttle history. Columbia would retreat from the pad – as she had for the first rollback on October 17, 1983, when NASA decided to replace a suspect nozzle of a Solid Rocket Booster. On July 14, 1984, Discovery had rolled off the pad in the aftermath of a dangerous engine shutdown on the pad during her maiden launch attempt. On March 4, 1985, Challenger had trundled off Pad 39A when her launch of TDRS-B was canceled due to problems with the satellite’s electronics.

On June 7, Robert Crippen, chief of the shuttle program, announced a new shuttle schedule. Columbia would now fly the Astro-1 mission in the mid-August time slot that had been held by the Life Sciences Lab SLS-1, a Spacelab mission. The SLS would fly in the mid-December slot once held by the International Microgravity Laboratory IML-1, which would be pushed into 1991. All three flights needed to be conducted aboard Columbia with her extra sets of supply tanks.

Instead of Astro-1 making the next flight, Atlantis STS-38, carrying a secret military payload, would fly the 36th shuttle mission. NASA was only listing “mid-July” as the target for STS-38, previously targeted for July 9.


The delay of Astro-1 capped a series of nits that pecked away at the flight. Long lost were the days when NASA was pushing to launch the mission just three weeks after the April 24 lift-off of the Discovery STS-31 Hubble Space Telescope flight.

As May opened, Astro-1 was scheduled for a launch on May 16, unofficially. By May 4, a one-day slip seemed likely due to time needed to complete preparations of Pad 39A. A firm date was to be set after a management review on May 7 and 8. Due to a leak discovered during tests at the end of April, a 1/4-inch fuel line in Columbia’s aft propulsion module was removed on May 2, and the line was replaced two days later with no impact on the schedule.

Launch appeared targeted for May 17 as the shuttle’s flight readiness meeting began on May 8, but the next day, the decision involved a delay rather than a “go.” A two-week delay due to a faulty Freon valve in one of Columbia’s cooling loops forced extensive revision of the mission’s flight plan, as the Astro telescope operations are highly dependent on the day/night cycles the orbiter encounters. About 50 astronomical targets could no longer be viewed and had to be replaced with new ones.

In the afternoon of May 29, just hours before the STS-35 launch now set shortly past midnight, sensors located at Columbia’s aft fuselage – her plumbing-packed engine compartment – detected a buildup of leaking hydrogen gas. At first, a launch delay of “several days” loomed. Engineers put on detective hats and soon a small leak was tracked down; but it was too tiny to account for the amount of hydrogen that had been detected.

In the past, the launch team had avoided retreating from the pad by improvising wizardly fixes to pesky problems, but the prospect of rolling the shuttle back to the VAB began to rise as the main leak source continued to elude the detective team. A rollback, the first since the loss of Challenger, would mean a month’s delay.

The detectives were still sniffing in hopes of pinpointing the leak by increasing the pressure in the External Tank – filled with inert helium. “It doesn’t appear that leak is going to remanifest itself until they get supercold hydrogen flowing through the system again,” said KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham, indicating that the leak probably does not occur at room temperature, but at minus 223 degrees Fahrenheit.

The detectives decided to attempt to duplicate the leak by filling the External Tank with 30 percent of its hydrogen load. Fourteen extra sensors were placed strategically at the suspect area to snoop out the leak source. Launch teams needed until June 6 to ready the test… The leak manifested itself as real – appearing each of three times hydrogen was pumped through the 17-inch disconnect line; the exact point of leakage still eluded the shuttle hounds. The leak location had been narrowed to somewhere in the orbiter/ET interface plates.

Whether the leak was on the orbiter or ET side on the interface could not be determined. In any case, the repair could not be accomplished at the pad. The shuttle managers, with only one option left, made the decision on the same day as the tests – roll back Columbia. ”We don’t see anything that is going to keep us from having to travel back to the VAB,” Launch Director Robert Sieck said. “Safety’s the first priority, and we’ve got an item here which we absolutely have got to put to bed.”


Both STS-38 in mid-July and Astro-1 in mid-August would fly from 39A, keeping Pad 39B free for the high-priority Ulysses mission in October. The Gamma Ray Observatory, the second of NASA’s Great Observatories is slated to fly aboard Atlantis in November. In December, Columbia should be ready for her third and final flight of the year.

At the start of the year, nine flights were on tap for 1990. While NASA has been able to fly just three shuttle missions in the first half of 1990, they will attempt to fly five in the last six months of the year. With the addition of the microgravity mission, nine launches now are slated for 1991.

The launch delays and schedule switches are again raising questions about whether NASA can meet its launch targets. Launch Director Bob Sieck said the launch schedules are reasonable to meet – if problems do not occur. But as John Pike, a space expert with the Federation of American Scientists, pointed out, “Imagining you can fly the shuttle without any problems is like trying to imagine you can drive to work without hitting any red lights.”

(Countdown, July 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:09 pm
The Space Shuttle Columbia will be rolled off the launch pad and back to the Vehicle Assembly Building after a tanking test yesterday confirmed a leak in the 17-inch disconnect area between the orbiter and External Tank. The decision to roll back means that STS-38 and its dedicated Department of Defense mission will be launched first in mid-July. “I feel very good in that we have found the problem and can go for it and deal with the manifest in an orderly fashion,” Space Shuttle Program Director Bob Crippen said today in a briefing at NASA Headquarters.

The leak, which appears only under extremely cold cryogenic conditions, surfaced shortly after the tanking test began when liquid hydrogen began pumping through the orbiter into the External Tank. About 20 sensors had been placed in strategic locations around the disconnect cavity in order to better isolate the leak. In analyzing the data after the test, managers decided to roll Columbia all the way back to th Orbiter Processing Facility for repairs. “Unfortunately, we don’t like what we found,” Launch Director Bob Sieck said. “In order to fix anything in this area, we’re going to have to demate the orbiter from the tank.”

The launch of the STS-35 Astro-1 mission is on hold until the repair is made. Engineers are considering further tests with additional sensors at the launch pad in an effort to pinpoint the leak within the hydrogen fueling cavity, but want to be sure they can get Columbia off the pad by June 14 so that Atlantis can be rolled to the pad June 15, Crippen said.

The current schedule shows the earliest Columbia could be back in the VAB in June 12. Prior to that, a Solid Rocket Booster stack that was allocated for the Spacelab Life Sciences SLS-1 flight will be rolled atop its Mobile Launch Platform to Launch Pad 39B to make room for Columbia in the VAB. The Lightning Protection System at the pad will help shield the partial stack, Crippen said. Once demated in the VAB, the cavity area on Columbia and her ET will be inspected for any abnormalities in the valves and seals. If possible, repairs would be made in the transfer aisle of the VAB. Otherwise, the orbiter would be returned to the OPF for further work to ready it for another launch attempt in mid-August.

 “It is our intent to make sure that these vehicles are ready and safe to fly and when we have a problem such as this – and this is the nature of the machines we are dealing with – we’ll just have to fall back and regroup,” Crippen said. “We’re going to encounter situations such as we have today and we’re going to have to deal with them. I think we have a system that allows us to do that.”

Shuttle managers will continue to assess the launch schedule in the wake of the decision to move Columbia off the launch pad, Crippen said. Among the issues they plan to discuss is whether the hydrogen leak problem will affect other orbiters, and how the manifest changes will affect planned refurbishments of Columbia. The oldest of the orbiters is scheduled to begin a months-long series of modifications, updates and extended duration capability additions next year. Work that may be performed during that period includes the addition of redundant nose-wheel steering and a drag chute. Whether the time available will allow those modifications to be made is yet to be determined, Crippen explained. “We’re going to have to evaluate it further in the next few weeks to understand what it does to the manifest farther in the future.” (Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, June 8, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:11 pm
Mir Soyuz Ferry Damaged At Launch – Kristall Module Coming In Late

In a silent orbit 200 miles above Earth, they waited in the Mir Space Station, waited without a reliable means of returning to Earth. Their Soyuz TM-9 ferry craft, docked to the station’s multiple docking adapter, had suffered extensive damage of its insulation blankets, rendering its flight-worthiness questionable in its present condition. A station module containing food and equipment to repair the Soyuz was winging on its way, launched on May 31. Cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Alexander Balandin, beginning their 16th week in space wait for the module, named Kristall… but Kristall did not arrive on schedule.

The sequence of events that raised the specter of cosmonauts stranded in space began on February 11 when the Soyuz TM-9 was launched. Apparently, during separation of the protective shroud around the Soyuz, a portion of the shroud snagged on the insulation blankets near the bottom of the TM-9 capsule, ripping three pieces up to the side of the spacecraft. There are approximately eight pieces of insulation which cover the metal skin of the bell-shaped descent capsule, installed in vertical strips that run parallel to the length of the spacecraft. The blankets that protect the capsule from the cold temperatures of the dark vacuum range from two-feet wide near the spacecraft’s heat shield, narrowing towards its top to about one-foot wide.

The insulation pieces are floating in space angled nearly 90 degrees from the surface of the capsule, blocking sensors needed by the TM-9 to properly align itself for reentry. If a hazardous situation should arise that would require the cosmonauts to flee the Mir Station via their Soyuz, they would have to rely on backup sensors to locate the proper attitude to begin retrofire.

Without the insulation, the capsule is susceptible to damage from exposure to the cold of space. Temperatures could become too cold in the Soyuz interior, causing water to condense, threatening electrical systems. To keep the vehicle as warm as possible, Soviet controllers have reoriented it to receive sun.

Despite the peeled insulation, the Soyuz is flyable. Indeed, the crew flew in order to reposition it from the aft to the forward docking port. In the procedure, the Soyuz is backed from the station which rotates to bring the forward port in line with the Soyuz, thus saving the Soyuz’ limited fuel supply. The move freed the aft port, the only one equipped to receive fuel from the unmanned Progress supply ships.

The Soviets believe the capsule can be repaired, and formulated two possible plans to do so, both involving spacewalks. The thermal blankets could be reattached or cut away. Detaching the damaged sections would be much simpler, but refastening them would allow for warmer temperatures inside the capsule.

A major complication facing the Soviet’s repair effort stems from the fact that few handholds are located on the outside of the Soyuz. Special EVA and repair equipment was added to Kristall, a major building-block module for the Mir complex, previously scheduled for launch at this time. The module is carrying the 20-foot ladder to aid Solovyov and Balandin to extend from the Mir EVA hatch to the torn thermal area.

At the end of the first week of June, the Kristall was still unable to dock with Mir. The large Mir modules take several days to maneuver, and the Soviet controllers had encountered problems in docking previous ones. Controllers, confident they could achieve the docking, were waiting a couple days before moving Kristall in for another attempt. Aboard the Mir, Solovyov and Balandin could only wait – and hope that what began as a minor rip in an insulation blanket did not cascade further towards the deepest fear of all spacefarers – marooned in helpless orbit.

(Countdown, July 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:13 pm
“We’re still on for a rollback as planned,” said KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone today concerning the return of Columbia to the Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs. Since Atlantis, sitting atop MLP-1, is already occupying High Bay 1 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, technicians today used a crawler to roll an “invisible shuttle” out to Launch Pad 39B. It really was a strange sight as MLP-2, with a partial SRB stack slated for STS-40 on top, was moved out of High Bay 3 to make way for Columbia. The fully assembled left booster and the right booster’s aft segment, which are now taking shelter under the pad’s Lightning Protection System, are to return to the VAB after Atlantis will have left the building on June 15. Columbia’s rollback is scheduled to begin at 4:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow. (Countdown, September 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991; Spaceflight, Vol. 47, December 2005 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:14 pm
“It’s a disappointment to everybody to see anything roll back. But it’s much better to see one coming back towards the VAB with a hydrogen leak than one going upstairs with a hydrogen leak,” said Gene Thomas, Deputy Director of Kennedy Space Center. “Hydrogen is highly volatile. The slightest spark can start a hydrogen explosion that’s unbelievable. You just don’t take chances with  hydrogen leaks,” he said. Columbia made the 3.5-mile journey from Launch Pad 39A to the Vehicle Assembly Building in six hours. The rollback began today at 4:25 a.m. and ended with arrival at the VAB at about 10:30 a.m. EDT.

Technicians are going to disconnect lines between the orbiter, its External Tank and its Mobile Launch Platform. On June 15, Columbia will be towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility and the suspect 17-inch disconnect valve will be shipped off to its manufacturer and a new one will be installed. “We know the leak is coming from the area around the valve and the valve is easier to replace than the tank,” according to Lisa Malone, KSC spokeswoman. (Halvorson, Florida Today, June 13, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:15 pm
NASA may have missed the leak which is delaying Columbia’s launch by two months because it changed test procedures, according to Jack Boykin, Deputy Director of the Orbiter Projects Office at Johnson Space Center. Atlantis may also have the same leak problem, but that won’t be known until super-chilled liquid hydrogen is pumped through the orbiter’s Main Propulsion System during the countdown for its launch in mid-July.

The fuel line system, said Boykin, consists of two halves: a pipe and a valve connected to the orbiter and a similar pipe and valve connected to the External Tank. During testing, the pair connected to the tank normally is hooked up with a unit that mimics the orbiter side of the fuel line. The tank lines for Columbia and Atlantis, however, were tested using a procedure that replaced the unit with a flat plate that might not be as effective in identifying leaks, he said.

Seven other shuttle fuel lines were tested in 1984 under the same conditions as Columbia’s, including the ones on Atlantis. Two of the fuel lines were used during successful launches in March and November 1989; the four others are being prepared for missions later this year or in 1991. (Halvorson, Florida Today, June 15, 1990 – edited)

NASA said today that Atlantis might undergo a special test at the launch pad to determine whether it has a leak similar to the one that grounded Columbia. NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone said, “We wouldn’t want to get out to the pad and get into a launch countdown and find out we have a leak. We don’t really have any evidence that there’s a generic problem, but if we did have one the test would give us some early detection of it.”

A similar leak aboard Atlantis would likely result in a one- to two-month delay in her Department of Defense mission which is scheduled for a mid-July launch. “If we find a leak condition out on the pad with Atlantis that is similar to the problem we have with Columbia, then we’ll end up having to roll back and recover from that,” said Jack Boykin, Deputy Director of the Orbiter Projects Office. That would raise the possibility of repeated schedule disruptions for the remainder of 1990 and perhaps 1991.

Bob Wilders, a senior project engineer with Parker Hannifin – the fuel line manufacturer – said, “If there is indeed a leak in the External Tank line, we will be able to identify it.” Boykin said that if a problem in Atlantis’ 17-inch disconnect line develops, then the line being built into the new orbiter Endeavour would be removed and sent to Florida. (Halvorson, Florida Today, June 16, 1990 – edited)

Columbia’s astronomy mission has been delayed again because technicians have been unable to pinpoint the source of her fuel leak. Lift-off is now targeted at late August rather than mid-August. Further, NASA has decided to take a part from the newest shuttle – still being built – the Endeavour; the patt will replace Columbia’s suspect hardware. The loan of hardware is not expected to delay OV-105’s first mission which has been scheduled for 1992.

“There seems to be something different in the orbiter side or the External Tank side that is causing it to leak and making it difficult to find. We may find something straightforward that is broken or something, but at this point we can’t find anything wrong,” said David Winterhalter, Director of Systems Engineering and Analysis at NASA Headquarters. Workers at Kennedy Space Center will remove the orbiter side of the 17-inch disconnect this week for testing while NASA’s only spare – the part on Endeavour – is sent to KSC.

Deputy Shuttle Director Brewster Shaw said that KSC workers on June 28 will partially fill Atlantis’ External Tank with liquid hydrogen to test for a leak similar to that of Columbia. He said that engineers did not have to understand what happened with Columbia before allowing Atlantis to launch. “We just have what is probably going to turn out to be an isolated case with Columbia,” Shaw said.

Servicing of the Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope with liquid argon was completed yesterday. The servicing had been planned for today; however, pressure readings taken yesterday indicated lower levels than expected. Argon provides up to 16 days of cooling for the instrument. While in the OPF, some of Columbia’s systems will require routine servicing. A functional test of the Reaction Control System regulators is planned this week. (Banke, Florida Today, June 26, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, June 25, 1990 – edited)

Endeavour’s borrowed fuel line part will arrive at Kennedy Space Center for installation in Columbia on June 28. NASA officials expressed confidence that the new fuel line will eliminate Columbia’s leak. “We wouldn’t ship it down here if it hadn’t been thought all the right tests and passed them,” said KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone. In return, Columbia’s suspect fuel valve will be flown to Downey, California, for additional leak tests.

“What we found out is that the problem is not on the tank side of the fuel line,” said Charles Harlan, Director of Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance at Johnson Space Center. “And I would tend to believe that shows the testing methods are adequate for identifying leaks on the tank side. I don’t think anyone has proven that our test procedures are ineffective,” Shuttle Program Deputy Director Brewster Shaw added. “Maybe the other units are not so suspect after all.”

A special orbiter 17-inch disconnect fuel line tests to be performed at Rockwell International in California next week is aimed at eliminating possible sources of the elusive hydrogen leak. “There are still some unknowns. We don’t know exactly where Columbia’s leak was, and it doesn’t cost a lot to do that tanking test so it’s cheap insurance,” Shaw said. Safety experts who oversee NASA’s operations say moving Columbia back to the hangar was the right move. “We’ve always been telling NASA ‘safety first and schedule second.” NASA is paying great attention to that or they would not have rolled Columbia back and postponed the flight,” said Roth, Staff Director of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. (Halvorson and Banke, Florida Today, June 27, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:16 pm
Leaks leave Space Shuttle fleet grounded

“Two days ago a very dark veil fell on the world of astronomy and astrophysics research. Years of hopes and dreams were crushed by news that the Hubble Space Telescope had a major design flaw.”

- Senator Albert Gore, Jr. (D-Tennessee), on June 29, 1990

“We really don’t know what the problem is yet.”

- Robert Crippen, Space Shuttle Program Director, on July 9, 1990


The final week of June 1990, called NASA’s worst since Challenger, gained its gloom by double, back-to-back “failures.” First, on June 27, NASA announced that the Hubble Space Telescope could not focus properly – with CNN’s Bernard Shaw calling it “legally blind.” Then on June 29, NASA discovered leaks in Atlantis’ main fuel line, similar to those that forced Columbia back to the garage. The shuttle fleet was grounded as NASA hunted the mysterious problem.

On Monday, June 25, while the world had yet to hear of Hubble’s myopia, engineers for Rockwell International at Downey, California, were completing test on the External Tank side of the leaking fuel connection that had forced Columbia off the pad. Before Columbia had been pulled from the pad, a special mini tanking test had located the leak as spreading from the free space between the plates of the umbilical disconnect.

At the black belly of the orbiter, the fuel lines are routed through a disconnect plate connected to a mirror of itself on the ET side. The 17-inch line, which feeds hydrogen through the shuttle to load the ET and then flows fuel back to the engines during flight, passes through the disconnect. A 4-inch line used to recirculate hydrogen and pressurize tanks also runs through the plate.

“Flapper” valves, located on both sides of the connection, slam shut and the hydrogen lines break apart at the point when the ET is jettisoned after launch. Therefore, the hardware is complex in the area. The design of the umbilical disconnect has remained the same since the shuttle’s first flight, except for the post-Challenger addition of a latch to prevent inadvertent closure of the flapper valves during powered flight.

Investigators at Rockwell had expected to find the problem in the ET side of the line, since the equipment on the orbiter side of the umbilical connection had flown many times before. But they could detect no problem with the ET’s hardware. “There’s something going on that we’re not recognizing. We’re doing everything we can think of,” said David Winterhalter, chief of the shuttle systems analysis office. Shuttle managers were forced to assume that the problem lay with Columbia’s flight-proven hardware. They ordered the orbiter’s 17-inch disconnect system replaced with the one from Endeavour, since only one disconnect for each orbiter exists.

Still, NASA felt confident that the leak was a freak occurrence and the launch of Atlantis, already on Pad 39A, could proceed. The military mission, STS-38, was set for July 15. Jay Honeycutt, Director of Shuttle Management and Operations, said, “We don’t expect any leaks in the Atlantis vehicle.” Brewster Shaw, Deputy Director of the Space Shuttle Program, explained, “We just have what is probably going to turn out to be an isolated case with Columbia.”

But since Columbia and Atlantis were leak checked in the same manner, shuttle managers scheduled a special test for Atlantis on June 28. The hydrogen fuel would be run through the ET/OV lines in a leak check. “We’ve got the time, so we want to ensure the integrity of the hardware on Atlantis,” said Kyle Herring, spokesman at JSC.

On the 26th, the 17-inch disconnect from Endeavour was shipped to the Kennedy Space Center for installation in Columbia. In the Orbiter Processing Facility OPF-2 hangar, the 17-inch umbilical valve was removed from Columbia and shipped to Rockwell on the 28th. The Atlantis test scheduled for the 28th had to be postponed until the next morning due to lightning in the area.

On Friday, June 29, cameras at the Kennedy Space Center were focusing on the stomach of an External Tank at Pad 39A, as hydrogen began flowing through the Atlantis system to it. The mini tanking test, scheduled to involve filling the ET with 200,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen, half its flight load, began at 8:00 a.m. EDT. Duplicating the test performed on Columbia after her flight scrub, the launch team would flow hydrogen first at slow rate and then at “fast fill” through the aft fuselage of the orbiter and the ET propellant lines, both the 17-inch main line and the 4-inch recirculation and pressurization line.

The slow fill began at 8:00 a.m. EDT, proceeding like a normal launch day fill, complete with “launch” commentary from PAO Lisa Malone. It took only 18 minutes to find a leak. Fueling was halted with the ET about five percent filled. The same morning, shuttle managers faced the press. Launch Director Robert Sieck gave his preliminary technical assessment. “There is a leak; it’s between the plates, between the orbiter and the External Tank. There is contribution from the 17-inch feed through. The leak is not as high as the one we saw on STS-35, but it is an out-of-specification leakage.”

Robert Crippen, chief of the shuttle program, said, “If we’d been in a launch count, we’d have been in a scrub situation.” He said that because of sensor readings from previous missions, they knew they had not flown with an undetected leak in the past. “This is something unique that has come up. We thought it was unique to the 35 configuration. Obviously, that is not correct, and so we’ve got some more homework to do to try to solve the problem.”

At some point, Atlantis would have to be rolled from the pad, NASA believed, since the Vehicle Assembly Building is the only site where the orbiter can be pulled from its ET in order to reach the connection plates. For now, Atlantis was to remain on the pad. “As long as we have this configuration that is leaking… we want to make sure we derive all of the information out of it before we go do anything to it,” Crippen said.

Keeping Atlantis in her present leaking state could loom important in solving the mystery. “Because of the nature of the test in the lab, we can never completely recreate the conditions that we have on the pad,” said William Lenoir, head of spaceflight for NASA.

As June screeched to an end, the leak puzzle had shredded NASA’s previous assumptions to pieces. Lenoir ran down a shattered litany: “We were moderately confident that (the lab test on Columbia’s ET umbilical) was going to find the leak for us. It did not… We continued to process for STS-38 with a very strong conviction of what we were dealing with, since we had flown so many of the shuttles with no previous indication of a problem. We were confident that we had a problem that was unique to the configuration of STS-35.”

“We don’t know too much yet,” Lenoir said. “It could be two independent problems… Right now that seems unlikely. It seems likely that these are related, of a similar class. We’re revisiting what we have done different… We’re digging into it again. We’re going to go deeper.”

If a simple solution suddenly surfaced, both Atlantis and Columbia flights might be squeezed in before the Discovery mission to deploy the Ulysses solar probe, which has a firm 19-day launch window opening on October 5. If more than a month went by without a fix, one flight would have to be cancelled prior to Ulysses. “We are not going to let the fact that we have Ulysses, and we want to get two flights off before that to affect the rigor with which we attack the problem,” Lenoir said. “If that costs us a flight, that’s a shame, but that’s what it’s going to take.”


With the end of June, the darkness hanging low over NASA’s brow began to lift – slowly and in fits. As the space agency placed tiger teams on the tail of both the Hubble and shuttle problems, progress came in the first ten days of July. Hubble investigators pinpointed the problem as occurring with the primary rather than the secondary mirror. Scientists were devising ways to scavenge the most data from Hubble’s blurry view. Other engineers were devising schemes that might allow an early correction of the Hubble’s vision.

The road toward resolving the shuttle leaks took even more twists and turns than for Hubble. Yet by July 13, the news for the shuttle fleet brightened even more than for the telescope. By that time, tests on both Columbia’s umbilical disconnect and Atlantis on the pad had shown that the two leaks were unrelated and could be easily fixed. A relieved NASA could say that no design flaw exists in the shuttle’s fueling system. The road was clear to resume shuttle flights with an August military mission.

The Columbia leak was pinpointed to internal seals in the area around the large disconnect flapper valves. Columbia should be set to fly, since the umbilical disconnect now being installed in it from Endeavour should be in pristine condition. Lenoir expressed confidence that they were “98 percent” positive that the Atlantis leak was totally unrelated to Columbia’s. A second mini tanking test on the pad isolated Atlantis’ leak to the flange seal where the 17-inch line connects to the ET. NASA was holding out the possibility that it could be fixed on the pad by simply tightening the bolts around the flange.

The leak explanations were an abrupt about face from those NASA presented just days earlier. Immediately following tests of Columbia’s umbilical system, NASA had pointed to a different seal as the prime suspect. In the laboratory of Rockwell International at Downey, California, technicians were able to replicate Columbia’s leak over the weekend of July 7-8. They pumped liquid hydrogen into Columbia’s umbilical connect to its mate from the ET. Sensors showed a leak, although at about a tenth of the rate as seen on the pad. “It’s a significant leak; it’s out of specs,” Crippen said. Lenoir termed the results “good news.”

“Frankly, my biggest fear was that we were going to go through the Downey test and find no leaks at all and then wonder what to do,” Lenoir said. Although the test did not reveal the exact leak source, NASA detectives were developing a prime suspect. Suspicion was tunneling in on the primary seal, spring-loaded and made of soft Teflon, between the plates. “We have some reasons to suspect that more than any of the others… and that’s what we’re tunneling in on,” Lenoir said. Although they said none of the seals had been completely exonerated yet, NASA officials believed the other seals in the system were not involved.

In any case, in 1993, an entirely new disconnect system, already in development, is scheduled to replace the current design. Using a 14-inch fuel line, the new disconnect will incorporate redundant primary seals.

Worries breezed away that the Ulysses solar polar mission might miss its October launch. If the European-built probe could not be launched then, it would have to wait 19 months until the planets were properly aligned again. Ulysses should remain safe for its planned launch aboard Discovery, with room for one flight before it.

Even though both Atlantis and Columbia will be flight-worthy, Atlantis will fly first, freeing her for the launch of the second of NASA’s Great Observatories, the Gamma Ray Observatory in November. The August Atlantis STS-38 mission remains secret, although the latest rumors place its cargo as an electronic eavesdropping satellite which will be placed in geostationary orbit by an Inertial Upper Stage, contrary to earlier reports.

(Countdown, August 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:18 pm
NASA re-examined the possibility today that tiny misalignments between two shuttle orbiters and their external fuel tanks may be responsible for mysterious leaks that have grounded the manned space program. The space agency also named several experts in optics and astronomy to a panel that will probe the cause of a flaw in the primary mirror of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The slight off-center fit between Columbia and her fuel tank and the same anomaly on the shuttle Atlantis were again under scrutiny by five teams of NASA engineers despite being discounted earlier. "Coincidentally, maybe not coincidentally," the two winged ships were more askew in the way they were attached to their fuel tanks than any of the previous 35 shuttle flights, said NASA spaceflight chief William Lenoir. "It's measure is a small, small fraction of a degree," Lenoir said of the off-center fit. "The untrained eye would never see it. Yet, we're probing. We're looking for things. It's the largest thing we have.”
The hydrogen leak in connecting fuel lines between the Columbia and her fuel tank was discovered May 29 as the shuttle was being fueled on the launch pad. Further tests turned up a similar leak on Atlantis last week. Although her misalignment was small in overall proportions, Columbia was twice as much off-center as any typical shuttle predecessor. Atlantis slightly exceeded the typical misalignment. In each case, engineers initially calculated that the misalignment had no effect on the integrity of the connecting fuel line. "Columbia's was the most we've ever seen - but still within the specifications we've laid out," said NASA shuttle spokesman Kyle Herring.

Lenoir said a string of 10 successful launches following the 1986 explosion of the shuttle Challenger has led NASA engineers to suspect that a recent rather than a longstanding problem is to blame. "It would seem, indeed, that there is something different that we have done in manufacturing the hardware or in the way we are using it," he said.

A wide-ranging investigative effort initiated by NASA on Friday was focused on several fronts, including the design of the shuttle's fuel system, procedures for preparing it for launch and a re-examination of results collected from the leak tests already conducted. For the time being, sabotage seems an unlikely explanation for the elusive leaks, although it has been considered and may be investigated once the precise source of the leaks has been pinpointed, said NASA Administrator Richard Truly.

Meanwhile, Lennard Fisk, the agency's chief scientist, said Hubble engineers are optimistic that they may be able to use ground computers to improve the images snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope. "There is growing optimism we will be successful," Fisk said. A faulty mirror on the $1.5 billion telescope, launched April 24 by NASA's third orbiter, Discovery, prevents accurate focusing.

Fisk said retired Eastman Kodak Co. Vice President Charles Spoelhof and University of Arizona astronomers Robert Shannon and Roger Angell will participate in an agency probe of the mirror flaw. They will join Jet Propulsion Laboratory director Lew Allen, the panel's director, and two others from NASA in the formal inquiry. The group plans to meet for the first time late this week. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, July 3, 1990

Space Services Inc., the company that in 1982 launched the first privately developed rocket from an island off the Texas coast, was forced to suspend operations and lay off most of its employees when the Houston-based Development Ventures Inc. withdrew financial backing. Although SSI has launched small sounding rockets for paying customers its larger Conestoga vehicle has yet to make it into orbit. Former astronaut and SSI president Deke Slayton immediately began searching for a new investor, just two weeks before marking the 15th anniversary of his historic Apollo/Soyuz flight. (Final Frontier, September/October 1990 – edited)

The Bush administration has decided to allow U.S. commercial satellites to be launched on Soviet rockets for the first time, government and industry officials say. As a result of decisions made at the White House last week, an Australian commercial venture known as the Cape York Space Agency will be permitted to hire a U.S. company to run a base in northern Australia from which Soviet rockets will carry satellites into orbit for customers from around the world, perhaps as early as 1995, the officials said. The project provides a major opportunity for the Soviet Union to expand its international space business and is expected to increase foreign competitive pressures on the U.S. rocket industry.

The decision to approve the Cape York project was one of the thorniest issues resolved by the National Space Council headed by Vice President Dan Quayle. Domestic rocket companies had opposed letting the Soviet Union provide launching services for U.S. customers, but the satellite makers had favored opening up the market. Representatives for both groups said the administration's decision seemed evenhanded, since it includes provisions intended to insure that the Soviet Union prices its rockets fairly. In recent years, the United States has shifted the job of launching privately owned satellites from the government's space agency to aerospace companies. (Florida Today/The New York Times News Service/Deseret News, July 8, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:19 pm
Kennedy Space Center will host a reunion of the astronauts and cosmonauts who flew the joint Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Former cosmonauts Aleksey Leonov and Valery Kubasov will reunite with astronauts Tom Stafford and Deke Slayton this month to celebrate the historic flight. ASTP crewmember Vance Brand will also attend if shuttle training does not interfere. The astronauts and cosmonauts will arrive at Patrick Air Force Base July 25 and will tour KSC Space Shuttle facilities July 26 and take part in a news conference. The group will tour Spaceport USA’s Gallery of Spaceflight and narrate a film of their mission at the Galaxy Theater; the latter event will be open to the public. In the evening the astronauts and cosmonauts will attend a reception hosted by the U.S. Hall of Fame and depart Patrick Air Force Base on July 27. (Halvorson, Florida Today, July 8, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:20 pm
Mir Cosmonauts Ready to Walk

Mir cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyev and Alexander Balandin are scheduled to attempt an Extravehicular Activity on July 17 to make repairs to the thermal blankets of their Soyuz TM-9 capsule. The spacewalk follows the successful docking of the Kristall module to Mir on June 11.

Launched May 31, the building-block station module, contained equipment to repair the capsule, including a special ladder to reach the insulation area. On June 6, the first attempt to dock the module to the station had been aborted when computers onboard Kristall detected a problem with a maneuvering jet. A backup system of jets was utilized in the successful second docking maneuver.

Following the initial docking, the 22-ton module was moved by means of a robotic arm to its final berthing place opposite the Kvant 2 module. The equipment to repair the thermal blankets was a late addition to the Kristall, an expansion module for research into materials processing and biotechnology.

The thermal blanket on the crew’s Soyuz ferry capsule was apparently damaged during separation from the protective shroud after launch on February 11. The flapping, green insulation, which might block navigation experiments, had been causing concern among observers about the safety of the vessel and its crew upon reentry.

While Soviet officials have downplayed the possibility of any danger to the cosmonauts, they have extended Solovyev and Balandin’s stay in space to allow time to attempt the repairs to the capsule. Originally scheduled to return to Earth on July 30, the cosmonauts will now plan their reentry for August 9, just two days short of a six-months stay in space.

(Countdown, August 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:21 pm
The results from the latest round of leak tests will be revealed today at a 3:00 p.m. EDT meeting of NASA managers. “They just haven’t had time to analyze the data yet,” said NASA spokesman Mark Hess, following a weekend of tests in California. “They did see some leakage, but you can’t look at the amounts they’ve got and draw conclusions.” NASA’s Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen and Associate Administrator for Spaceflight William Lenoir will discuss test results today in a briefing in Washington D.C.

Tests in California with room temperature helium failed to duplicate the leaks. Even if the weekend test results isolated the problem, NASA would not necessarily end its investigation, said Hess. Kennedy Space Center engineers plan to pump rocket fuel through Atlantis’ systems July 13, and investigators might wait for those results before ending the investigation of Columbia, he said. (Higginbotham, Florida Today, July 9, 1990 – edited)

Engineers at Rockwell International in California may have located the source of a mysterious hydrogen leak that has grounded the space shuttle fleet, officials said today. NASA spokesman Kyle Herring at the Johnson Space Center in Houston said that tests on Sunday found hydrogen pouring from plumbing attachments that had been removed from Columbia. It was not immediately clear how long it would take to fix the leak and resume flights with the three-vehicle Space Shuttle fleet. "How big the leak rate is they don't know yet," Herring said. He also said that the precise part of the maze of seals and valves that is leaking has not been found. "They did get some sort of leak. It's on the orbiter side," he said.
More tests, which should determine whether the manned space program will be grounded for a long or a brief stint, are planned later this week. For the moment the search is focused on a Teflon seal at the primary connection point between a 17-inch-wide liquid hydrogen propellant line that connects the shuttle's silo-shaped external fuel tank and the main engines in the aft of the winged orbiter. The seal may be concealing a leak no larger than a pinhole.

"It is a leak, it is a significant leak," William Lenior, NASA's Associate Administrator for Spaceflight, said after Monday's evaluation of weekend tests conducted at a Rockwell International laboratory in Downey, California. While the California tests revealed a leak in the laboratory for the first time, the achievement seemed to raise more questions than it answered.

Navy Captain Robert Crippen, NASA's Shuttle Program Director, pointed out that the laboratory leak was smaller than the one discovered on the launch pad in May. But Lenior said the extraction, transport and reassembly of Columbia's fuel line segments might account for the difference. Crippen offered another possible explanation, the possibility that there are multiple leaks. "We have not eliminated the possibility that we might be dealing with two different problems on two different vehicles," he said.
Shuttle engineers plan to address those possibilities late this week when they again pump liquid hydrogen into Atlantis. This time, in addition to the many leak sensors placed along the fuel line, they will install bags that can capture any escaping propellant, which they hope will allow them to pinpoint its source and calculate the quantity escaping. (Deseret News, July 9, 1990; Mark Carreau, July 10, 1990 – edited)

NASA said today it believes new tests have pinpointed the sources of fuel leaks that have grounded its Space Shuttle fleet, permitting a repair that could have one of the ships flying by the end of next month. If the suspicions of engineers are correct, the leaks on Atlantis and Columbia are at different locations, eliminating fears of a major design flaw on all shuttles. "We have two different problems," Navy Captain Robert Crippen, NASA's Shuttle Program Director told reporters, couching that determination as good news. "We can say we don't have a generic problem, which would be more difficult to deal with," he said.

Rigged with special sensors and plastic "baggies" to detect and capture leaking liquid hydrogen, Atlantis was loaded with fuel early today as she rested on her Florida launch pad. Though several days of analysis were planned, the sophisticated test seemed to finger a large washerlike seal made of Teflon-coated steel as the culprit. The flange seal is on the primary fuel line within Atlantis' big silo-shaped external fuel tank. The 17-inch wide line emerges from the tank and extends to the main engine compartment in the ship's tail section.

William Lenoir, NASA's Associate Administrator for Spaceflight, said that in a best-case scenario engineers might be able to tighten that seal on the launch pad, allowing the quickest possible resumption of manned spaceflight. Atlantis and a crew of five were to blast off in mid-July with a secret Defense Department cargo before the leak was detected during a fueling test last month. Perhaps the most likely scenario, though, is that Atlantis will have to be rolled from the launch pad to a huge hangar where the fuel tank can be removed and the seal replaced, Lenoir said.

Columbia's flight was halted six hours before lift-off on May 29 when a leak was detected as her External Tank was being loaded with liquid hydrogen. Columbia already has been rolled from the launch pad. Major fuel line segments of Columbia and her tank have been removed and shipped to the California laboratories of Rockwell International for tests. Lenoir said the most recent analysis of those tests points to small, U-shaped Teflon seals on the drive shaft of the large flapper valves inside the big fuel line. One set of those seals is on the winged orbiter side of the fuel line and another on the tank side of the assembly. The seals on the orbiter side are the most likely leak source, Lenoir said. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, July 14, 1990 – edited)

Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NASA Administrator Richard Truly predicted today that Space Shuttle flights will resume by the first of September now that scientists have identified unrelated hydrogen leaks on two of the vehicles. "We were afraid that we had what we call a generic problem, something we had overlooked that might really be a dangerous situation that would have a long-term effect," Truly said. "As it turned out, it was just the terrible coincidence of two separate, specific leaks."

He said a new flight schedule probably will be announced later this week and predicted that flights will resume by mid-August or the first of September. "The system didn't go down for three years like it did after Challenger, it went down for three or four weeks," Truly said. He acknowledged that problems with the shuttle and the Hubble Space Telescope could prompt the public to question NASA's competence. But he said a management review panel, the creation of which was announced Monday, is intended to look at long-range plans rather than second-guess recent problems. He said Vice President Dan Quayle "fully understands that these recent events have been separate events that didn't have anything to do with each other."

However, the Bush administration's decision to have an outside panel study the nation's long-term space goals is getting a cool reception from some lawmakers. "After a weekend of rumors that the administration was going to ask some fundamental questions about NASA, we now find it will create yet another group," said Senator Albert Gore, D-Tenn., chairman of a subcommittee that oversees the space program. Rep. Michael Andrews, D-Texas, said strong leadership, not another study, is needed to solve the problems in the space program. (Deseret News, July 17, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:23 pm
A Dicey Walk

(By Bryan Burrough)

On July 17, 1990, Mir Space Station cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Alexander Balandin crouched in the Kvant 2 airlock to perform an emergency EVA to repair loose thermal blankets on their Soyuz return capsule. They had not been specially trained for the spacewalk. They prepared instead with videotapes sent up in a Progress and by watching televised practice sessions beamed up from the Star City swimming pool.

Before exiting the hatch, they had taken a pressure reading in the airlock. Either heir handheld pressure gauge malfunctioned, or they misread it, because when they bent to open the hatch, there was still some air remaining in the airlock. The hatch immediately slammed outward on its hinges with terrible force.

The two cosmonauts then proceeded with the EVA, which proved dicier than anyone had expected. Fixing the thermal blankets took far longer than anticipated, and the spacewalk degenerated into a repair marathon that stretched past six hours. The space suits Solovyov and Balandin wore had only been rated for six and a half hours of use; when the cosmonauts reached that point, the ground urgently ordered them to return to the airlock. Leaving their tools and ladders at the work site, Solovyov and Balandin were forced to scramble back across the length of Kvant 2 in total darkness, an exceedingly dangerous transit.

It was only when they reached the airlock and crawled inside that Solovyov realized the hinge had been damaged. The hatch wouldn’t close behind them. By this point the cosmonauts had been in a vacuum for nearly seven hours, and it was imperative that they find a way back inside the station. Clambering back outside the airlock, they tried the seldom-used backup airlock farther down Kvant 2, which to their relief opened and closed behind them. The EVA lasted seven hours and sixteen minutes.

The outer hatch, however, remained open.

(Bryan Burrough, “Dragonfly,” Harper Collins Publishers, 1998)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:24 pm
Ordeals of Cosmonauts Highlight Weakness of Soviet Technology

(By Nick Booth)

The Soviet space station Mir, once trumpeted as the first stage in the industrialization of space, has run into a series of technical hitches that has exposed the weaknesses of Soviet technology.

Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Solovyov and Alexander Balandin, who have been aboard Mir for five months, have had to face a number of almost farcical problems.Soon after the launch of the station in late February; it was found that thermal insulation had been ripped off the Soyuz capsule in which they traveled to Mir. While not immediately disastrous, the exposure of delicate electronics to the vacuum of space was not something to be ignored.

They couldn't fix this problem until new equipment aboard Kristall, a new module, arrived, the launch of which was repeatedly delayed until the end of May. Last week, Solovyov and Balandin finally got to lower a ladder and, wearing space suits, do a space walk to fix the problem. Then they found they couldn't close the airlock hatch behind them after their return to Mir, nearly exhausting their space suits' supplies of oxygen. They managed to depressurize another part of Mir, however, and return safely to the station.

When Mir was launched in 1986 it was trumpeted by the Soviets as the first stage in the long-term industrialization of space. Throughout the '70s and early '80s cosmonauts lived in space for many months at a time aboard earlier Salyut stations; Mir enabled the long-duration record to be extended to a year by the end of 1988. A few months later, however, it was the machine, not the man, that was under greater scrutiny.

Cosmonauts were spending half their time fixing faulty equipment onboard, so Mir was left abandoned for six months. The grounded cosmonauts found little comfort from the new Soviet political climate. The newly elected Council of Deputies poured particular scorn on space activities, citing it as an example of old-fashioned subsidies. They suggested that Soviet space activities should become self-financing.

(Nick Booth, London Observer/Deseret News, July 26, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:25 pm
Today technicians loaded fresh liquid argon into containers on the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope, one of four observatories that make up the Astro-1 mission to be flown aboard Columbia. Argon must be replenished every ten days while Columbia remains on the ground. Meanwhile, final preparations are underway for special test on July 25 in which Atlantis’ External Test will be filled partially with liquid hydrogen to look for leaks. Information from this test will help determine which orbiter – Atlantis or Columbia – will lift off prior to the scheduled October 5 launch of Discovery. (Banke, Florida Today, July 24, 1990 – edited)

Urging a new era of cooperation, a handful of U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts Tuesday celebrated the 15th anniversary of the superpowers' only joint space mission. The occasion at NASA's Johnson Space Center reunited former Apollo astronauts Tom Stafford, Vance Brand and Deke Slayton with Soyuz cosmonauts Aleksey Leonov and Valery Kubasov. The five men were launched aboard their respective Apollo and Soyuz capsules on July 15, 1975. Two days later, the two spacecraft docked at an altitude of nearly 140 miles above the Earth.

While participating in a cross-country tour this week marking the anniversary, the Soviets are enthusiastically promoting the possibility of a joint mission to Mars with NASA astronauts, an approach that is under careful analysis by the Bush administration. "An important and complicated technological mission like a flight to Mars is certainly one that would necessitate cooperation," Kubasov told reporters. The first human to weld materials in space, Kubasov was responsible for the design and production of the life support systems on the Soviet's Mir space station and the Buran Space Shuttle.

As their ships sailed high over France fifteen years ago, Stafford and Leonov greeted one another in the docked portions of their air locks with a handshake, a gesture that now seems almost more futuristic than historic. During the ensuing 48 hours, the Soviet and U.S. spacemen shared meals, participated in experiments and conducted a news conference before undocking and landing several days later.

"It doesn't seem like it was 15 years ago," reminisced Stafford, who commanded the crew for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "We started out as two crews," recalled Brand, the Apollo Command Module Pilot. "After all of the training, we were welded together into one crew, which had to be to pull off a complicated mission like that with the rendezvous and docking and experimentation.”

“As we reflect back on Apollo-Soyuz and review the histories of our two countries, there are two times in the past we worked together with warm relationships,” Tom Stafford said. “The first was during World War II when we were allies and the second was during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. To us it was a symbol that there were two countries with two absolutely different languages, two different units of measurements and two different political philosophies, yet we set forth a common goal. We worked toward it and it was carried out with a superb effort.”

But the complex flight and the promise it once held for a joint space rescue capability quickly diminished in historical significance. Tensions between the two superpowers mounted as the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. The Americans worried that the technical gains made by their triumphant Apollo program were too valuable to share. Interest in the space program waned during the Carter administration, and the Reagan years were marked by a rapid arms buildup. The Soviet and American space programs charted distinctly different courses.

But a rapid thaw in East-West tensions over the past year and a growing U.S. interest in costly human exploration of Mars has prompted a renewed interest in cooperative programs. Several of the key participants in the historic Apollo-Soyuz Test Project remain in positions to foster its potential. Among the possibilities under discussion by officials of the two countries are an astronaut-cosmonaut swap. The venture would place an American aboard the Soviet Mir space station and permit a Soviet cosmonaut to fly on the U.S. Space Shuttle, said Stafford.

Now an executive with a Washington area consulting company, Stafford was selected by NASA in May to chair a program that will evaluate new technical advances that could make possible President Bush's goal of establishing a lunar outpost after the turn of the century and landing astronauts on Mars by 2019.

Brand said a valuable near-term cooperative goal would feature a docking between a U.S. space shuttle and the Soviet Mir space station. Brand is the only participant in the 1975 flight who still is an active astronaut. He is awaiting repairs to the shuttle Columbia, which was grounded by a May 29 fuel leak, to undertake a nine-day space mission.

Leonov, who in March 1965 became the first human to walk in space and who now supervises Soviet cosmonaut selection and training, favors a bolder near-term proposal. The capable Mir space station has been orbiting since 1986, while NASA's proposed Freedom space station remains on the drawing board, growing in cost and complexity, Leonov noted. In the meantime, the U.S. shuttle has proven flexible in its ability to launch and return large payloads in spite of the Challenger accident four years ago and recent fuel leaks.

High operating costs have forced the Soviets to postpone the first manned mission of the Soviet shuttle. In 1988, it made a successful unmanned flight. Leonov suggested that the two countries could conserve money and expand their capabilities by combining their shuttle and space station capabilities.

And Brand noted the Soviets have another piece of expensive hardware that could prove increasingly attractive to the United States. The Energiya rocket, more powerful than the abandoned Saturn V Apollo Moon rocket of the United States, was developed to launch either the Soviet shuttle or heavy unmanned cargoes. The Energiya has flown only twice, and like the Buran, is unlikely to fly regularly because of its great cost. The Soviets have offered the Energiya to the United States on a commercial basis as a means of launching the Freedom space station. They have also suggested it could launch the components of a larger ship for a joint Mars mission.

During their visit to Johnson Space Center, the ASTP crew and members of their families toured the Space Station Freedom mockup, the Space Shuttle mockup, the Mission Control Center and the Weightless Environment Training Facility. Valery Kubasov also participated in the signing of an agreement between Gosteleradio (U.S.S.R. television) and the producers of Houston Public Television’s new children’s space science series “The Spacewatch Club.” The agreement finalizes arrangements for two television projects jointly produced by the Soyuz Society Gosteleradio, PBS and Spacewatch. The reunion at JSC concluded with an evening reception sponsored by the Space Foundation. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, July 25, 1990; Space News Roundup, July 27, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:27 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:28 pm
Cosmonauts Aleksey Leonov and Valery Kubasov came to Brevard County tonight aboard a NASA aircraft with Apollo-Soyuz astronaut Tom Stafford to celebrate the 15 th anniversary of the joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. space mission known as the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. ASTP astronaut Vance Brand is in training for the upcoming STS-35/Astro-1 flight aboard Columbia and was unable to come as was former astronaut Donald “Deke” Slayton who participated in ASTP commemorations elsewhere during the week. The cosmonauts will tour Kennedy Space Center tomorrow, participate in a news conference and meet the launch team that helped launch the American portion of the project. The Soviet crew will also narrate a mission film of their flight for the public at the Spaceport USA Galaxy Center at 5:00 p.m. EDT. (White, Florida Today, July 26, 1990; Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, July 26, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:30 pm
An agreement was signed in Moscow today to fly NASA’s Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) on a Soviet Meteor-3 spacecraft in 1991. The flight of the TOMS instrument on the Meteor-3 will provide critical environmental data on the yearly variability of the ozone hole over Antarctica. The agreement was signed by George P. Esenwein, Flight Programs Branch, Earth Science and Applications Division, Office of Space Science and Applications, NASA Headquarters and Dr. N. N. Petrov, Deputy Chief of Main Department, Soviet State Committee for Hydrometeorology, Moscow, following the U.S./U.S.S.R. Earth Sciences Joint Working Group meeting. The Earth Sciences JWG was established under the U.S./U.S.S.R. Space Science Agreement signed in April 1987. TOMS will be the first U.S. instrument to fly on a Soviet spacecraft under the agreement.

Since 1978, The TOMS instrument aboard the Nimbus-7 satellite has monitored global ozone concentrations, focusing on the annual depletion of ozone over the southern hemisphere and the development of the Arctic ozone hole. Since Nimbus-7 has already performed well beyond its design lifetime, the TOMS/Meteor-3 mission will guarantee continuous measurements of the crucial global ozone data set until the next scheduled TOMS flight aboard a U.S. spacecraft in 1993. That flight will be followed in two to three years by a TOMS instrument flight aboard a Japanese ADEOS satellite. Both missions have been proposed to Congress as part of the new “Earth Probes” program requested in the President’s fiscal year 1991 budget.

Global ozone measurements are a key element of the Mission to Planet Earth program to better understand environmental changes on Earth and the nature of global change. TOMS measurements also will be an important complement to the Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), planned for launch on STS-48 in 1991 to make extensive observations of the physics and chemistry of the upper atmosphere. (Space News Roundup, August 10, 1990 – edited)

NASA and Japan’s Ministry of State for Science and Technology agreed to develop new areas of space cooperation during a meeting in Tokyo today. The new NASA/Japan projects will involve observing the ozone layer, monitoring the space environment, measuring the solar-terrestrial environment from Space Station Freedom and cooperating on Spacelab microgravity experiments. NASA Administrator Richard Truly and Minister Tomoji Oshima co-chaired the meeting of the Space Standing Liaison Group. During the meeting Truly and Oshima also discussed the ongoing cooperation between the two countries on the construction and usage of Freedom. They emphasized the importance of adequate funding in both countries and Japan’s need to gain manned spaceflight experience in preparation for Space Station.

Under the new project agreement, NASA will fly a Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer instrument and the Environment Agency of Japan will fly the improved Limb Atmospheric Spectrometer and the Retroreflector in Space on Japan’s ADEOS spacecraft to measure atmospheric constituents. The Advanced Earth Observation Satellite is scheduled for launch in 1995. NASA and the EAJ will exchange data and continue research on a comparison of ground-based and satellite data. In space environment monitoring, data will be exchanged between NASA, NOAA and the Communications Research Laboratory of Japan using NASA’s Space Physics Analysis Network. CRL was connected to SPAN in 1989 and plans to receive real-time solar wind data from future NASA missions.

In Space Station solar terrestrial physics, NASA and Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science will continue discussions on use of the Neutral Environment with Plasma Interactions Monitoring System and other systems to measure the solar-terrestrial environment from Space Station Freedom. Space microgravity experiments will be continued through cooperation between NASA and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) Space Shuttle/Spacelab missions. The first Japanese payload specialist, Dr. Mamoru Mohri, will fly aboard Spacelab-J in 1991. (Space News Roundup, August 10, 1990 – edited)

In an encore performance, cosmonauts Vladimir Solovyev and Alexander Balandin again donned their spacesuits for a 3.5-hour EVA to fix the broken hatch on the Kvant 2 airlock. A joint apparently sustained damage when the hatch swung violently outward because airlock depressurization was not complete when the cosmonauts opened the hatch. The cause was not determined until after today’s follow-up spacewalk had begun, but ground control was able to radio instructions to the spacewalkers to repair the damaged hatch joint.

Solovyev and Balandin discovered that a piece of the hinge cover had broken and lodged between the hatch and its frame. Removing the broken piece, they were finally able to close and repressurize the hatch. The cosmonauts also retrieved tools left attached to the spacecraft in the scramble to get safely inside Mir after the July 17 thermal blanket repair. With the insulation repairs completed and all equipment safely stowed, the Soyuz TM-9 is scheduled to return to Earth on August 9. (Countdown, September 1990; Bryan Burrough, “Dragonfly,” Harper Collins Publishers, 1998 – edited)

Space Shuttle Atlantis will move off the launch pad for repair or replacement of the flange seal on her External Tank 17-inch disconnect, thereby allowing Columbia to return for the launch of the STS-35/Astro-1 mission in early September. A third tanking test of the STS-38 hardware Wednesday morning confirmed a leak in the flange seal area between Atlantis’ External Tank disconnect and the tank itself. Based on the data from the test, shuttle program managers elected to roll the orbiter back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to further study the leak. Space Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen said the umbilical on the ET will be removed “to better understand” what is causing the leak in the flange area.

Columbia, who was awaiting the decision on whether Atlantis would fly the STS-38 Department of Defense flight first, now is scheduled to move from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the VAB next week for mating with her External Tank. Columbia now is outfitted with the disconnect from Space Shuttle Endeavour, under construction at Rockwell International’s Palmdale, California, facility. “I feel very confident that the Columbia is ready to go,” Crippen said. With the decision to roll Atlantis off the pad, only one shuttle mission will be launched prior to the high-priority launch of Discovery carrying the Ulysses solar probe October 5. Following Columbia’s mission, Atlantis will be launched on STS-38 in early November. (Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, July 27, 1990 – edited)

“It’s probably going to be late Wednesday (Aug. 1) at the earliest, and quite possibly early Thursday, before we move Columbia,” said KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham. The additional time will allow workers to recheck a seal on the External Tank’s main 17-inch wide fuel line. A tool used to measure a seal’s flatness was late in arriving at KSC over the weekend, but was expected to arrive today. Until the seal inspection is complete and officials clear the tank for flight, Columbia must remain in her hangar at the Orbiter Processing Facility. Six days after Columbia is moved to the VAB, technicians will roll back Atlantis from Pad 39A. Then Columbia will head to the pad and Atlantis will move back into the VAB. KSC workers have until August 13 to swap the orbiters at the pad and open Columbia’s cargo bay doors. If rollout is delayed, Columbia faces an additional month on the ground to recondition the BBXRT, one of the four telescopes in her Astro-1 payload. Buckingham said, “We’ve already eaten into the contingency time by two days by shifting our roll to the VAB by two days. That only leaves us two or three days contingency time before it needs to be serviced again.” (Banke, Florida Today, July 31, 1990 – edited)

After analyzing engineering data this past weekend, managers decided a planned test of Columbia’s External Tank was not necessary, according to Warren Wiley, Deputy Director of Shuttle Engineering at Kennedy Space Center. “When the tests were ordered we were looking at everything we could possibly measure. This was one thing that was thrown out,” he said. Wiley said it is inappropriate to compare NASA’s decision to skip the flatness test with problems on the Hubble Space Telescope. A flawed mirror on the telescope likely would have been detected with additional tests. Wiley said that even if the ET seal’s flatness affected its performance, the measuring tool which was to have been used probably would not have been exact enough to show it. Foregoing the test will enable Columbia to move a step closer to Launch Pad 39A; rollout is scheduled for August 9. (Banke, Florida Today, Aug. 1, 1990 – edited)

Soviet space officials have asked Florida’s permission to launch Proton rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, according to Ed O’Connor, Executive Director of the Spaceport Florida Authority, a Florida agency in charge of private commercial space development. O’Connor recently mentioned the possibility of launching Soviet rockets to a meeting in Miami. The Soviet Union wants to launch unmanned rockets from Florida under a policy awaiting President Bush's approval. Bush is expected to act soon on guidelines, which would allow foreign countries to send up rockets from the United States.

The request was made for the Soviets in a letter by its U.S. agent, Space Commerce Corp., Houston, Texas. Along with the letter was an English language version of the operating manual for the Soviet Proton rocket. Since the request involves the use of Air Force facilities, it was forwarded to the U.S. Department of Commerce. A spokesman for the department said, “The Soviets have been trying to sell the Protons for a long, long time, but we have similar concerns about technology transfer with them as we do with the Chinese. We are concerned about this kind of competition from a non-market economy. A state-owned entity can easily engage in predatory pricing and cause severe disruption in the market.”

Tom Williams, a spokesman for McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Inc., said “I would be very surprised if our Department of Defense would even allow it. Besides that, I can’t see what advantage it would be to the Russians to launch at Cape Canaveral. I find it hard to believe that they really want to.” The major advantage is Cape Canaveral’s nearness to the equator. The closer a launch pad is to the equator, the less fuel it takes to get a satellite payload into proper orbit, and the cost decreases, according to Peter Bishop, a University of Houston professor and director of the university’s Space Business Research Center. (Oates and Burnett, The Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 1, 1990; Deseret News, Aug. 2, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:35 pm
Two cosmonauts rocketed into space today to replace a two-man crew working aboard the orbiting Mir space station, the Tass news agency announced. The Soyuz TM-10 spacecraft carrying Lt. Col. Gennady Manakov, the flight commander, and engineer Gennady Strekalov – together with four live Japanese quails for the Inkubator 2 experiment on Mir – was launched on schedule at 1:32 p.m. Moscow time from the Baikonur Space Center in Soviet Central Asia. Manakov and Strekalov were expected to dock with the Mir after two days in orbit, Radio Moscow reported.

They will replace cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Alexander Balandin, who have been aboard the Mir since February 11 and are scheduled to return to Earth on August 9. Manakov, the commander of the 41/2-month mission, is making his first space flight. The 40-year-old test pilot was a member of the backup crew to Solovey and Balandin. Strekalov, 49, is a veteran cosmonaut who is making his fourth flight, having worked aboard the Salyut space station.

The launch of the Soyuz spacecraft was not shown on Soviet television. During their mission, the cosmonauts are expected to receive a joint Soviet-Japanese crew that will be launched on December 2 on an eight-day mission, according to the Interfax news service. The cosmonauts are expected to make at least two spacewalks. (Deseret News, Aug. 1, 1990; Hall/Shayler, Soyuz – A Universal Spacecraft, Springer/Praxis, 2003 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:36 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:37 pm
Columbia rolled over from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building after a 48-day fuel line repair. The orbiter, with its Astro-1 cargo aboard, will be outfitted with its External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters in the VAB tomorrow and then rolled out to Launch Pad 39A for its early-September launch. At the pad, Columbia’s cargo must be re-serviced with liquid argon, which cools the X-ray telescope and allows it to work properly. If the re-servicing is not done by August 13, NASA officials said it will take an additional 16 days to recondition it. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 3, 1990 – edited)

Two Space Shuttles will pass each other on the way to and from the launch pad next week, with Columbia heading for space and Atlantis heading for repairs. Columbia was moved from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building yesterday to be mated once again with her External Tank in preparation for next month’s launch of the STS-35/Astro-1 mission. The launch was delayed in May after a hydrogen leak was discovered in the disconnect cavity between the orbiter and tank. Columbia has been in the OPF undergoing “flight configuration” processing since returning in mid-June.

With the decision to roll Atlantis off Launch Pad 39A to repair a hydrogen leak in the flange seal in the feedline of the External Tank, Columbia now becomes the next vehicle in line for a mission. Columbia could be launched on the nine-day Astro-1 mission during the first week of September. Hypergolic propellants were not offloaded when Columbia was rolled off the pad in June and the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test with the crew is not scheduled to be repeated. “It’s really an abbreviated pad flow since we already did a lot of the checkouts the first time around,” said Mike Conley, JSC vehicle manager.

Atlantis will be rolled to the door of the VAB next week, about a day before Columbia rolls out of the VAB to the launch pad vacated by the STS-38 stack. Atlantis will stand by as Columbia rolls out the door, and then the returning stack will move into the VAB. Atlantis will be removed from the stack and returned to the OPF, where she will remain basically the same configuration before flying her DOD mission in late October or early November. Discovery, meanwhile, continues processing for the STS-41 Ulysses mission. Launch of the mission can take place only October 5 through 23 due to the required planetary alignment for launch. The next window for the mission is November 1991. (Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, Aug. 3, 1990 –edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:41 pm
The manned spacecraft Soyuz TM-10 docked with the orbiting Mir space station today, two days after it was launched, the Soviet news agency Tass reported. The automatic docking was "made neatly and precisely on time," Tass said. Flight commander Lt. Col. Gennady Manakov and engineer Gennady Strekalov will spend one week working with the old crew, which has been on board since February 11. They replace cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Alexander Balandin, who are scheduled to return to Earth on August 9, following a mission plagued by problems with the spacecraft's thermal insulation and a broken hatch.

There has been widespread expectation that a Soviet journalist would fly aboard Soyuz TM-10, but the spare seat has been loaded with cargo, including a flock of newly hatched quail chicks being flown to test adaptation to weightlessness in the immediate post-embryonic phase to complement previous studies of chicks hatched in space. Solovyov and Balandin showed the two Gennadys where everything is – as the apparatus accumulates, storing it so that it can be retrieved has become a major issue – and they generally brought them up to date on the state of the upgraded Mir attitude control system. Manakov and Strekalov immediately took up experiment work already in progress, including continuation of crystal growth studies with medical and other applications. (Deseret News, Aug. 4, 1990; Countdown, October 1990; David M. Harland, The Mir Space Station, Wiley/Praxis, 1997 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:44 pm
Problems encountered while Columbia was being mated with her SRBs and ET have delayed the planned shuttle swap at Launch Pad 39A. Atlantis will remain in place until at least 12:01 a.m. August 9 and Columbia’s rollout will not occur until early August 10. Technicians in the Vehicle Assembly Building this weekend had difficulties as they tried to mate Columbia with her External Tank. Two halves of a pipeline through which electrical wires are routed would not align properly at first, according to KSC spokeswoman Pat Phillips. She said that the difficulty was not a major problem but “it just cost us some time.”

Time is important for Columbia’s move to the launch pad because technicians have a tight schedule for servicing the orbiter’s BBXRT payload. If the X-ray telescope is not serviced on time, it will take an additional 16 days to recondition the instrument. Columbia’s launch is now scheduled for September 5. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 7, 1990 – edited)

NASA officials plan to skip additional fueling tests as they prepare to resume manned space flights early next month with Columbia. The shuttle fleet was grounded during the summer following liquid hydrogen fuel leaks that first struck Columbia and then her sister ship Atlantis. No shuttle missions have been launched since the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope by Discovery in late April. Tentatively, Columbia's nine- to ten-day mission is scheduled to lift off no sooner than Sept. 1 and probably closer to Sept. 5. Space agency officials expect to set a target date in about two weeks. They are eager to make the launch attempt before the beginning of the critical October launch window for Discovery and the Ulysses solar probe.

Before the plan was announced today by William Lenoir, NASA's Associate Administrator for Spaceflight, agency officials had been leaning toward conducting launch pad fuel tests, scheduled for no earlier than August 18. But, Lenoir said the test has been judged unnecessary: “If we failed, if we did have a leak, we don’t have enough time to do anything… and go fly before Ulysses.” He added, “Our conclusion is the test wouldn’t help us.”

Lenoir also insisted that the decision to forgo the test should not be construed as undue risk. "At no time in this hydrogen leak situation, tanking tests or attempts to fly, have we ever felt we had a safety concern," he said. If Columbia's propellant system still leaks, hydrogen sensors will detect the presence of the potentially explosive fuel during the final hours of countdown, before the seepage presents a danger, Lenoir said.

A June 29 fueling test involving Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center prompted the space agency to ground flights while it pursued the possibility that a design problem was responsible for the leaks on the two ships. Columbia's launch was stopped six hours before liftoff May 29 when a fuel line leak developed. The craft was towed from the launch pad and its major components disassembled, enabling engineers to trace the seepage to small Teflon seals on the drive shafts of massive valves in the 17-inch hydrogen propellant line. The line connects the shuttle's external fuel tank and main engine compartment. Shuttle engineers elected to conduct a fueling test on Atlantis about two weeks before its mid-July countdown was scheduled to begin and were surprised to find that she, too, had a fuel line leak. Two more launch pad fueling tests of Atlantis were conducted after the June 29 discovery.

Eventually, engineers concluded that Atlantis was leaking from a different fuel line component than was Columbia, reducing earlier concerns that the shuttle fleet had a design problem. Parts of Columbia's fuel line have since been replaced with new components - taken from the orbiter Endeavour – that underwent leak testing before installation. Columbia is to be towed to her Kennedy launch pad later this week. The Atlantis leak is believed to be in a large Teflon-coated fuel line seal within the External Tank. Atlantis is scheduled to be rolled from her launch pad, possibly late today, so the tank can be removed and further analysis conducted.

Lenoir and Robert Crippen, NASA's shuttle program director, said today that laboratory tests of the fuel line segment removed from Columbia revealed tiny particles of Teflon, very small glass beads and other minute materials in the faulty seals. Engineers still are attempting to trace the source of the contaminants, the two officials said. (Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Aug. 8, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 8, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:45 pm
Today cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Alexander Balandin left the Mir space station – their home for the last 179 days – and safely returned to Earth with a successful landing of Soyuz TM-9 in Kazakhstan, about 70 kilometers from the city of Arkalyk. After undocking it is standard practice now to jettison the orbital module before the service module, but in this case they were released together to preclude the loose thermal blankets snagging at a critical moment. In the event, the reentry was perfect. Solovyov and Balandin suffered slight physical discomfort for a while after returning to Earth – they have been so busy with spacewalks recently that they neglected the regular exercise regime at the end of their six-month stay in orbit.

At a news conference upon their return to Earth, Solovyov denied that the air supplies had reached a critical level during the July 17 spacewalk when he and Balandin went out to patch up the loose thermal blankets on their Soyuz spacecraft. The main airlock hatch failed to seal at the conclusion of that contingency EVA. “We consumed only two-thirds of our main supply of oxygen, so we had reserves,” Solovyov said. Soviet space engineers have blamed the cosmonauts for the damage to the hatch, saying they opened it before the airlock had been completely depressurized. (Countdown, October 1990; David M. Harland, The Mir Space Station, Wiley/Praxis, 1997 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:46 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:47 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:50 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:51 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:52 pm
Bathed in spotlights under cover of darkness early today, Space Shuttle Columbia passed Atlantis outside the Vehicle Assembly Building on her way to the launch pad for next month’s launch of the STS-35 Astro-1 mission. “If everything goes perfectly,” according to Associate Administrator for Spaceflight William Lenoir, Columbia could be launched as early as September 1. However, that date requires a smooth pad flow and no weather problems, he said.

A more realistic date would be September 4 or 5, Lenoir said, adding that the actual target date would be set following the Flight Readiness Review scheduled for August 20 and 21. Shuttle program managers elected not to do another tanking test on Columbia since all hardware is brand new and has never flown before. The tanking on launch day will, in effect, be the tanking test for the mission, Lenoir said.

In mating Columbia with her tank earlier this week, a grounding wire in the electrical connection between the two was damaged. The repair was made and power-up testing of the stack was delayed until the vehicle reached the pad. Under the present scenario, Columbia will launch in early September, Discovery will be launched on schedule with the Ulysses solar probe October 5, and Atlantis will launch with her Defense Department payload in late October or early November.

No Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test is scheduled for the Astro-1 crew since it was completed prior to the launch attempt May 29. Also, hypergolic propellant loading is not required as those tanks were not offloaded when Columbia was returned to the OPF in June. Scheduled work at the pad includes power-up testing of the orbiter and ET to verify electrical connections and the pad validation testing to ensure the vehicle, its Mobile Launch Platform and the pad are connected properly. Depending on the actual launch day selected, Columbia will lift off on her nine-day mission between 1:00 and 1:30 a.m. EDT. The crew will travel to the Kennedy Space Center about three days prior to launch. (Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, August 10, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:55 pm
Technicians began a two-day electrical connections test on Columbia today: it is a test usually performed in the Vehicle Assembly Building. Spokeswoman Lisa Malone said, “Things are moving right along, and there are no problems to report.” Following the test, workers will check parts of Columbia’s propulsion system for leaks. This test too is usually performed before rollout to the pad. Inside the shuttle’s cargo bay, the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope was serviced today. (Banke, Florida Today, Aug. 12, 1990 – edited)

A critical 24-hour leak test of Columbia’s Main Propulsion System on Launch Pad 39A is scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. today. The test involves pumping gaseous helium through the orbiter’s MPS, including the External Tank and three main engines. A similar test over the weekend uncovered a small leak in the same part of the ET which leaked on Atlantis, but KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone said the leak was within allowable limits and would not prevent plans to launch in early September.

“The Kennedy team is hoping to recommend September 1 as a launch date,” said John Conway, Director of KSC’s Payload Management and Operations. Conway spoke at the conclusion of today’s Launch Readiness Review. Jay Honeycutt, Director of Shuttle Management Operations at KSC, said, “In the next few weeks we expect to see the shuttle Columbia launch and light up the East Coast.” The decision to set a firm launch date will be taken following the two-day Flight Readiness Review meetings at Kennedy Space Center August 20 and 21. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 14 & 17, 1990 – edited)

Columbia’s tiny main engine leak has been repaired on Launch Pad 39A; this cleared the way for a critical Main Propulsion System test which began late today and concludes tomorrow. Technicians removed and replaced seals in the engines to stop the leaks, according to KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone. Meanwhile, nonessential launch pad personnel will leave the pad area tomorrow so hazardous propellants can be loaded aboard Columbia’s onboard storage tanks for the orbiter’s Auxiliary Power Units and the Hydraulic Power Units on the twin Solid Rocket Boosters.

“Right now we’re floating along right on schedule with no major problems,” said Mike Conley, JSC vehicle manager for Columbia. “I think we’re doing pretty well.” The flight control team and the STS-35 crew this week practiced for the nine-day Astro-1 mission in a two-day, long-duration simulation. (Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, Aug. 17, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 18, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Aug. 19, 1990 – edited)

The shuttle launch drought of 1990 was declared over precisely at 4:30 p.m. EDT today: Barring unforeseen difficulties, Columbia is scheduled for launch between 1:17 and 2:21 a.m. EDT September 1, NASA managers announced following a review of STS-35 flight preparations at Kennedy Space Center. The meeting, which was to have continued tomorrow, finished a day early.

“Today we conducted a complete review of the STS-35 mission as well as the results of the liquid hydrogen leak investigation,” said Associate Administrator for Spaceflight William Lenoir. “Based on this review,” Lenoir added, “I believe STS-35 is ready to fly. Both NASA and contractor teams deserve high praise for all their efforts. It is through their hard work that we are now in a position to launch Columbia.”

STS-35 will be the first shuttle flight since Discovery carried the flawed Hubble Space Telescope into orbit in April. That's the longest gap between missions since flights resumed following the 1986 Challenger disaster. "We're certainly aware we will be getting a lot more public attention. Will that affect what we're doing? Not at all," said Jeffrey Hoffman, one of four astronomers on board to operate Astro-1. "We were always going at it 105 percent." (Countdown, October 1990; Brown, Florida Today, Aug. 21, 1990; Deseret News, Aug. 26, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:56 pm
NASA managers meet this week to determine whether they should change the way it treats hydrogen fuel leaks during countdowns. One suggestion which will be considered: change launch rules to make it easier to approve a launch despite a leak and installing fans at the launch pad to disperse unacceptable concentrations of hydrogen gas. The fans would blow a stream of gaseous nitrogen at the area where sensors discovered fuel line leaks earlier this summer and prompted NASA to roll back both Columbia and Atlantis for repairs.

According to Associate Administrator for Spaceflight William Lenoir, the number and location of leak-detecting sensors on the outside of the orbiter are also up for discussion. “We do need to make sure we don’t get ourselves in a situation that might camouflage a dangerous leak,” Lenoir told reporters in a monthly informal get-together today. He said launch officials feel confident now that they understand the problems which grounded Atlantis and Columbia and they understand the solutions to the problems. “We’re comfortable with the hardware we have on the pad.”

Lenoir said that glass beads found in hydrogen lines from Columbia contributed to her leaks. About 100 to 200 tiny glass beads were found when the seals were disassembled, along with some metal chips, he said. The beads, ranging from one to three millimeters in diameter, were discovered in the fuel line removed from Columbia. "There is not much question in our minds that is implicated in why the fuel line leaked," said Lenoir. "We've been unable to define definitely how they got there."

The space agency's inquiry produced only a tentative explanation of how the beads got into the hardware. The beads are not used in the manufacture of the shuttle fuel lines, produced by Parker Hannifin Corp. in Los Angeles. But the beads are used in processing other equipment made by Parker Hannifin and the inquiry was able to determine that the beads and the shuttle fuel line segment briefly shared a building four years ago. "That's as close as we got," Lenoir said. "We still can't get the mechanism that got them together." But the beads are light enough to have been carried by a breeze, he added. Lenoir said Parker Hannifin is not being blamed for the contamination but that inspection procedures will be improved to reduce the risk of similar contaminants.

Engineers have traced the Atlantis leak to a large metal seal on a fuel line segment embedded in the external fuel tank. But they have not determined why it leaks. “We’ve surprised ourselves as we seem to do every time we do another test in the hydrogen world,” Lenoir said. The work is complete on Columbia, though, and the primary culprits are the Teflon drive shaft seals on a large fuel line valve damaged by several types of contaminants, including the beads and some chips of Teflon and stainless steel, allowing some seepage.

“There’s not much question in our minds that that’s implicated in why the External Tank disconnect shaft seals leak,” Lenoir said. “In a way that’s good news, because that says, hey, there’s some external contamination that got in there that led to the leak and we just need to make sure we don’t have that in the future.” (Banke, Florida Today, Aug. 23, 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Aug. 23, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, Aug. 24, 1990; Countdown, October 1990 – edited)

Beginning at 1:00 a.m. EDT August 29, the countdown will begin for the September 1 launch of Columbia. There may, however, be an interruption in the countdown to allow Discovery to be rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building. 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.

The STS-35 crew will arrive at KSC on August 29, where they will practice emergency landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft at the Shuttle Landing Facility. They will also undergo briefings and final pre-flight medical examinations and launch and entry suit checks. This last week Columbia underwent the main engine frequency response test. Engine #2 required retest when an engine check valve was found to be defective. Also completed were the helium signature checks of the Main Propulsion system, servicing of the orbiter’s hypergolic propellants and installation of the two Extravehicular Mobility Units used for contingency spacewalks. (Halvorson, Florida Today, Aug. 24 & 26, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, Aug. 24, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:57 pm
The seventh principle expedition so far has had a relatively quiet occupancy of Mir, but today there was a day of emergency situation training, as with all station missions, for Soviet cosmonauts Gennady Manakov and Gennady Strekalov. They were simulating situations that might arise on the growing complex – such as a collision, a fire, or a loss of pressure that would require emergency evacuation of the station using the Soyuz TM capsule. (Hall/Shayler, Soyuz – A Universal Spacecraft, Springer/Praxis, 2003 – edited)

The Mission Control Center viewing room will be open to JSC and contractor badged employees and their families during portions of the STS-35 mission. One change has been made to the guidelines: Children under the age of 5 will not be permitted in the viewing area. Based on a Saturday morning launch, employees will be allowed to visit the MCC from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. CDT Sunday and Monday, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. September 9 and 10. Employees must wear their badges and escort family members through the regular public entrance on the northeast side of Building 30. Visitors should limit their stay during busy periods. Since many variables are involved in mission operations, viewing times and dates may change with little notice. (Space News Roundup, Aug. 31, 1990 – edited)

Reversing earlier pronouncements, NASA said today that fuel leaks on two Space Shuttles have been traced to the same piece of hardware. Still, William Lenoir, the agency's Associate Administrator for Spaceflight, rejected the notion of a design flaw that would continue to ground the shuttle fleet. Elusive fuel leaks on Columbia and Atlantis have suspended manned missions since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in late April. Two weeks ago, Lenoir said engineers believed small contaminants, including dozens of tiny glass beads, had damaged Columbia's drive shaft seal, permitting the leak.

Today, he said recent laboratory tests at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have isolated the drive shaft seals and some secondary seals on Atlantis' fuel line as the cause of its leak. Further testing is planned at the manufacturing site, Parker Hannifin Corp. of Los Angeles, to search for the contaminants. Atlantis was being prepared for a mid-July secret mission when a June 29 launch pad test also produced a fuel leak.

Officials still are attempting to explain the presence of the contaminants. "We don't suspect sabotage," Lenoir said. "I think this is a common problem," he said, drawing a distinction between contaminant damaged seals and a wider design flaw. "I think we have to go back and find out how the contamination got in there and make sure we avoid it again."

Since mid-July, the space agency has contended that the two ships leaked potentially explosive liquid hydrogen propellant from different places on the plumbing that connects the shuttle's big external fuel tank and its powerful main engines. Columbia's leaky fuel line was replaced with new hardware. The components were rigorously tested before installation. Until this past week, engineers believed Atlantis leaked from a large Teflon-coated metal flange seal on the propellant line segment within the shuttle's external fuel tank. But the Marshall tests on plumbing removed from Atlantis' fuel tank have eliminated the flange seal as a problem.
Lenoir and Robert Crippen, NASA's Shuttle Program Director, said adequate safety measures have been taken to prevent fuel explosions. Those include more stringent leak checks on the fuel line components before they are installed. In addition, Crippen said Johnson Space Center engineers have helped the agency develop new criteria for monitoring leaks. The new guidelines generally require visual confirmation of seeping hydrogen as well as indications from launch pad sensors in all but the most obvious leaks. Seeping hydrogen would create a vapor or small droplets as it wafted into the air. The Johnson tests demonstrated that varying wind conditions on the launch pad are capable of hiding a significant leak from the sensors or allowing a negligible leak to appear more serious, Crippen said. (Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Sep. 1, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 08:59 pm
Hope and Frustration

“Any time we get close and don’t go, like a kid going to a carnival, we’re frustrated, and we’re anxious to get going.”

- William Lenoir, NASA Associate Administrator for Spaceflight

“Two years from now, we won’t remember these hydrogen leaks. They’ll be just a footnote in the shuttle history.”

- Richard Richards, CDR Discovery STS-41


Work on Columbia went well since the vehicle had been moved to the launch pad August 9. “Processing has gone very smoothly,” said Mike Conley, JSC vehicle manager, prior to leaving for Florida. “We’re looking forward to going to Florida and watching a successful launch. Everything is coming together,” he added. "We've been waiting for this for a long time," a NASA spokesman said, looking back on the space agency's long, launchless summer. "Everybody's ready to go."

Work during the week leading up to the scheduled STS-35 launch on early Saturday, September 1, included installation of the ordnance devices used to separate the Solid Rocket Boosters from the External Tank and the orbiter from the tank. Closeout of the aft compartment was completed and the flight doors were installed. A small object protruding from the side of the External Tank was noticed and found to be a piece of slag or sludge. The object did not penetrate the foam on the ET and was removed.

The countdown clocks for Columbia moved off the T minus 43 hour mark on schedule at 1:00 a.m. EDT on August 29. At the start of the countdown, the launch team in Firing Room 1 in the Launch Control Center verified that the data processing system and backup flight control system were operating. Flight software stored in the orbiter’s twin memory banks was reviewed, and the backup flight system general purpose computer was loaded.

Just before 9:00 p.m. EDT, shortly after the payload bay doors were closed, a problem occurred with one of the major payloads for the Astro-1 mission. Telemetry from the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope was lost. Engineers began a step-by-step check, first of ground systems, followed by power-up of the BBXRT. Test results were expected by early the following afternoon. In the meantime, launch preparations continued.

The seven-man crew – Vance Brand, Guy Gardner, Mike Lounge, Bob Parker, Jeff Hoffman, Ron Parise and Sam Durrance – arrived at Kennedy Space Center at 11:00 p.m. EDT on the same day the countdown began. “We’ve been waiting all summer,” Brand said. “There’s been some musical chairs between the 38 flight and ourselves… We know we’re going this time. The primary attribute of an astronaut is to be patient, so we were.” Brand added, “We are ready to go. We have a great ship out there, and we have all the confidence in the world in that machine.”

Meanwhile, weather forecasters predicted Hurricane Gustav would move well to the north of Cape Canaveral and pose no threat to launch plans. Air Force weathermen expected an approaching cool front to touch off scattered thunderstorms and rain showers several hours before launch. However, they placed the overall prospects for favorable weather conditions during the two-hour, 14-minute launch window on Saturday, September 1 at 60 percent. Scattered and broken clouds were expected at various levels. Winds were forecast to be out of the southwest at 10 knots. The expected temperature was 75 degrees with 7 miles of visibility forecast. The long-range forecast called for a 60 percent chance of favorable weather for launch.

At midnight, Pad 39A was cleared of non-essential personnel for the loading of the orbiter’s fuel cell system with liquid oxygen and hydrogen. Loading of Columbia was completed at 10:00 a.m. EDT on August 30. The countdown never reached the point of beginning fueling of the ET. Late on that day, NASA officials decided that the problem with the communications line for the X-ray telescope would need repair. The faulty component transmitted pressure and temperature readings to the Launch Control Center. Launch controllers had to be assured the pressure levels in the argon system were safe before they were able to permit a lift-off. Shuttle Launch Director Robert Sieck said Columbia was also experiencing a problem with an acceleration measuring device that would have forced a postponement. It would be replaced as well, he said.

“Following initial troubleshooting of the telemetry failure with the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope, NASA managers have determined that the launch of STS-35 will be delayed several days to allow the launch team time to resolve the problem,” a space agency statement said. “I think there’s a lot of confidence the launch will happen next week – at best the middle of the week if not Thursday, Friday, or Saturday,” said Bruce Buckingham, KSC spokesman.

The next day, Columbia’s new launch date was expected to be either September 5 or September 8 – depending on how long it took to fix a faulty electronics box – a medium-rate multiplexer – for the BBXRT telemetry system. If rewiring a cable on the electronics box that routed power from the orbiter to the telescope solved the problem, launch would occur at 1:20 a.m. EDT September 5. William Lenoir, Associate Administrator for Spaceflight, said, “We think that’s the most likely solution.” If the whole box needed to be replaced, the launch probably would be delayed until September 8.

STS-35 Commander Vance Brand and his crew remained at KSC while repairs were made. “We want the shuttle Columbia and the science payload to be right when we launch,” he said. On September 1, technicians decided that they had to replace and test the faulty electronics box. "One day is not going to make that much of a difference to the team. It's not the first time it's happened," said KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone. "There's always a chance you're going to have some kind of delay, whether it's weather or something on the orbiter or something on the payload, which is what we have here." Malone said the new launch date depended upon how much testing was required. “They’ve got the link established now,” KSC spokesman Dick Young told reporters the following day.

The STS-35 countdown was to resume early Monday, heading for a September 6 launch between 1:20 and 3:24 a.m. EDT, but could be moved up to 1:07 a.m. EDT if problems forced shuttle managers to switch the primary emergency landing site from Ben Guerir Air Base in Morocco to Moron Air Base in Spain. The exact launch time was to be set by noon September 5.

The countdown for Columbia STS-35, reset to T minus 43 hours, resumed at 1:00 a.m. EDT on September 3. “We’ve had some trouble, but responding to trouble, fixing problems, is our strong suit,” said Mike Leinbach, NASA Test Director. “We’ve been disappointed several times, of course, but Thursday morning we hope that is all behind us.” At 6:00 p.m. EDT that Monday, the payload bay doors were closed. The next day, fuel for the orbiter’s electricity-producing cells was once again loaded.

NASA could not escape the word “leak,” which again surfaced during the night of September 3-4, this time involving Discovery. As Discovery was powered up in the VAB, technicians noted a 10 percent decrease in the amount of Freon in the orbiter’s coolant loop #1 from the time when the system had been last checked in the OPF hangar. A leak existed in the cooling system somewhere. A leak in the same system had forced a two-week postponement in Columbia’s May launch attempt.

Preparations for Discovery’s flight proceeded, and any repairs would have to be made at the pad. At 6:47 p.m. EDT, Discovery began her 4.1-mile rollout to Pad 39B. She was locked hard down on the pad at 2:06 a.m. EDT on September 5.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:01 pm

At Pad 39A, the Rotating Service Structure was moved away from Columbia at 6:00 a.m. on the 5th. “We’re just proceeding down through the count, business as usual, doing what we do best,” said Al Sofge, NASA Test Director. “Our confidence is very high that we’re not going to have a leak.” Shortly before 2:00 p.m. EDT, the pad was cleared of all personnel in preparation for tanking of the ET. Chill-down of the propellant lines commenced at 4:47 p.m. EDT, followed fifteen minutes later by the start of slow fill.

“There will be a little apprehension, of course, on all of our parts,” said Bill Huddleston, NASA program manager, before the filling operations began. “But we have all the confidence in the world that we’ve got the fuel leaks resolved.” He added, “We’ve had our share of problems. I figure it’s time to have something to go right for Astro.” – Huddleston had figured wrong. At 5:40 p.m. EDT, fueling was halted as hydrogen sensors in the aft engine compartment warned of a buildup of the explosive gas. Columbia was leaking gaseous hydrogen ten times the allowable limit, but from a different area than blamed for her earlier leakage.

The leak, which reached 6,000 parts per million, was detected during the first hour of tanking; the size of the leak was 25-30,000 standard cubic inches per minute, said Robert Crippen, Shuttle Program Director. A cubic inch is about the size of an ice cube. “I would love to have a set of eyeballs sitting in the aft right now, because I’m certain you could see it,” he said.

“We’re trying to figure out what we do from here,” Crippen said. Referring to the previous scrub because of leaks, he added, “What we were dealing with were apparently two different leaks in May. I think we got fooled by the fact that we had two leaks.  We think the leak had been there all along. Trying to isolate it out from the other leak confused the data. It’s really got us scratching our heads,” he said. “It’s a real booger to try to find and isolate.”

"My first reaction was frustration," Astro program scientist Ed Weiler said. "But my next thought was, ‘I'm glad they stopped, some of my friends are aboard.'” So, instead of finally being launched into orbit, Columbia’s crew flew back to Johnson Space Center Thursday morning, September 6, to refresh their training by running through some simulations. "We will be ready when Columbia is fixed," Commander Vance Brand said.

“I’m not at the point where I want to set STS-35 aside yet,” Bob Crippen said, hinting at the mid-September cutoff date after which attention had to shift to getting Discovery and the Ulysses mission off the ground. Crippen said that he was considering a pre-launch tanking test on the STS-41 stack as a result of the leak on Columbia, but that the discovery of the leak on Columbia did not necessarily affect the launch readiness of the other shuttles. “We’ve got to look at where we stand now with the Ulysses mission on Discovery,” Crippen said. “I have asked the guys to lay out a plan that would have a tanking test so I can assess what that would mean to us schedule-wise.”

(Countdown, October 1990; Deseret News, Aug. 29, 1990; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Aug. 29 & 30, Sep. 1, 2 & 6, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Aug. 31, 1990; Kyle Herring, Space News Roundup, Aug. 31, 1990; Brown, Florida Today, Sep. 1 & 3, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, Sep. 2, 4 & 5, 1990; The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 2 & 3, 1990; Kelly Humphries, Space News Roundup, Sep. 7, 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:05 pm
Technicians this weekend will replace a unit containing three engine fuel pumps aboard Columbia in hopes that the shuttle will be safe and ready for launch the week of September 17. The Associate Administrator for Spaceflight, William Lenoir, said, “It’s unlikely to be any sooner than that, but it’s not impossible. I think we have a hot at getting Astro off before Ulysses.” A similar fuel pump leak postponed the flight of Atlantis for six days in the spring of 1989.

The source of the new leak is believed to lie in fuel pumps linked to the orbiter’s three main engines. Each engine has an electrically driven fuel pump about the size of a softball that recirculates liquid hydrogen through fuel lines, keeping them chilled and in proper condition for ignition. Space engineers, following a vapor trail of clues, said the pump was the leading suspect for the hydrogen leaks that caused Thursday's scheduled launch to be canceled. The engineers do not know which of the three hydrogen recirculation pumps are at fault; they will not be sure until they open the aft compartment of the shuttle on Saturday and remove a package that includes three of the recirculation pumps, one for each engine. The swap will take only two days, according to officials, but retesting and all the other steps required before a countdown can begin will take up the rest of the week.

“We are not certain (the fuel pump) is the cause. It’s not a 100 percent guarantee,” said NASA Administrator Richard Truly. “But it’s the one shot we have to get the Astro mission safely airborne before the Ulysses flight.” He added that the newest problem simply reflected the difficulty of space enterprise, and he appealed for the public’s understanding. "This has been a troublesome and vexing summer for me and for NASA. But let me just remind everybody that running the space program is not an ordinary business,” Truly said. “It continually reaches out to do things that haven’t been done before. We push the boundaries of human activity, flying in space, and it's a hard job."

The Ulysses launch date itself is in question. A leak in Discovery’s cooling system might force a delay in the October 5 launch of STS-41. Because NASA needs three weeks between missions to analyze flight data, the cutoff date for STS-35 had been September 14. Repairs to Discovery’s cooling system may push back the Ulysses flight, giving the space agency a few more days to launch Columbia. If engineers encounter new difficulties replacing Columbia's recirculation pump in the next few days, her flight would be rescheduled to follow Ulysses.

"I polled and specifically asked our teams if there was any safety problem with this approach and there was not," Truly said. "It looked clearly like the prudent thing to do." The Ulysses mission faces a 13-month delay if not launched in October. The Ulysses' window is brief because it cannot make a radical course adjustment that will take it over the Sun's polar regions in 1994 and 1995 without flying by Jupiter in early 1992 for a critical gravity assist.

(Broad, The New York Times, Sep. 7, 1990; Brown, Florida Today, Sep. 7, 1990; Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 7, 1990; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Sep. 7, 1990; Deseret News, Sep. 7, 1990 – edited)

Despite there being only a 50-50 chance that the source of Columbia’s hydrogen leak has been found, NASA announced a tentative launch date for the STS-35 mission of September 18; lift-off would occur between 1:28 a.m. and 3:07 a.m. EDT. “We are doing everything we can to try and find this leak and to fix it,” said Bascom Murrah, NASA Processing Manager. “I can’t give you any guarantees that we have fixed it.”

Murrah referred to the replacement over the weekend of a package of fuel pumps suspected of being the culprit in Columbia’s latest hydrogen leak. Because the work took longer than anticipated, the helium signature test of the hydrogen side of the main engines and Main Propulsion System was rescheduled from late September 10 to second shift today.

The September 18 launch date may be subject to change because on September 17 – a Monday – the Air Force plans to launch a top-secret Titan IV. Officials for the Air Force said 36 to 48 hours between launches are needed to reset launch support equipment. NASA spokesman Ed Campion said that a final decision on Columbia’s lift-off may come September 12. If launch does not occur next week, Columbia will have to wait until after Discovery’s October launch. (Diller, KSC Status Report, Sep. 11, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 12 & 13, 1990 – edited)

With the discovery and replacement of a badly damaged seal in a main engine valve assembly, Space Shuttle Program officials say Columbia appears ready for another launch attempt next week. Columbia was scrubbed September 5 when high concentrations of liquid hydrogen were detected in the aft compartment of the orbiter. Subsequent tests showed the leak came from the vicinity of the recirculation pump package. During leak check operations following installation of the new recirculation pump package last weekend, technicians found a crushed Teflon seal on the pre-valve which supplies liquid hydrogen to Space Shuttle Main Engine No. 3. The two and a half inch diameter seal is part of a dented cover which holds the pre-valve in place in the open position.
Helium leak checks indicated the seal was within specification; however, this particular dented cover had an order of magnitude greater leak than other dented covers. Alert technicians decided to investigate further and discovered the damaged seal. Engineers believe the location of the seal and the damage on the seal make it a prime suspect as the cause of the hydrogen concentrations seen in the aft of Columbia during tanking operations. The seal apparently was damaged by improper installation during a cleaning of the recirculation plumbing flowing Columbia’s STS-32 flight.

“We were surprised to find a damaged seal there, but now that we have, it appears to explain the data we’ve seen on the leak all along,” said Mike Conley, Columbia vehicle manager.

Overnight, technicians replaced the damaged Teflon seal for the Engine No.3 pre-valve. The helium signature leak test of Columbia’s liquid hydrogen system, pressurizing the main engine plumbing to twice the normal amount for such a test, was successfully completed early this morning. Closeouts of the aft compartment are scheduled to begin later tonight. Launch countdown preparations will begin tomorrow. The STS-35 crew is scheduled to leave Houston for Kennedy Space Center this weekend. (Malone, KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 12, 1990: Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 13, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 13, 1990; Hartsfield, Space News Roundup, Sep. 14, 1990 – edited)

NASA has not abandoned its search for fuel line leaks even though a damaged seal suspected of causing last week’s scrub of the STS-35 mission has been replaced. “There is no question that this seal was leaking,” said Forrest McCartney, Director of Kennedy Space Center. He went on to indicate that the damaged seal might not be the sole source of Columbia’s latest leak. “I think we found it, but the data could be interpreted to say there also may be another one, so our people are looking into it,” McCartney said.

The engines themselves are not thought to be leaking, according to KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham. The problem, he said, is the plumbing between the engines and the External Tank. “The bottom line is that you really don’t know until you begin filling the tank,” he said. NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said, “There’s a little bit of doubt on how much that damaged seal contributed to the leak. Tanking will begin about 5:00 p.m. September 17. (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 14 & 15, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:09 pm
Launch preparations for STS-35 continued without a problem today leading up to the beginning of countdown tomorrow. “We’ve been right on schedule,” said KSC spokeswoman Lisa Malone. Additional leak tests of the Main Propulsion System and the No. 2 main engine were successfully performed yesterday and no further testing is required. Technicians also purged the power reactants storage and distribution system storage tanks yesterday.

Closeouts of the aft compartment for flight are continuing today. These activities include inspections of the hydraulic systems, draining condensation from the Flash Evaporator System, removing protective covers from components, installing a baggie on a fuel duct, installing gas samplers, taking closeout photos and overall cleaning. These activities are scheduled to be completed tomorrow and the flight doors will be installed on the vehicle by tomorrow afternoon.

Meanwhile, people with NASA car passes won’t get as close to Launch Complex 39A as normal because of the imminent launch of a secret Titan IV mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. For Columbia’s lift-off, visitors will be directed to a site west of Spaceport USA, just east of Kennedy Space Center’s Gate 3 and about 10 to 12 miles southwest of 39A. Officially, NASA said only that the change in viewing sites was “due to range activities.”

The Air Force’s Captain Ken Warren, however, explained the change this way: “The shuttle will be overflying systems in launch-ready condition with fuel and oxidizers onboard. Due to the presence of those substances, the usual viewing areas on the NASA Causeway are within a zone that possibly would not be safe in the event of a contingency involving the shuttle.” The Titan IV is being readied for a lift-off from Launch Complex 41 two days after STS-35 begins. (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 15, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 14, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, Sep. 15, 1990 – edited)

NASA hopes they have put enough fingers in the dike, as KSC Director Forrest McCartney talked about the shuttle hydrogen leaks today, “Hopefully, we have it solved. We think we do, but we thought we did before.” Columbia is scheduled to make her fourth attempt to begin her STS-35 mission on September 18 at 1:28 a.m. EDT. McCartney said that even if a launch-delaying leak shows up again this time, the launch team would not flinch before halting the countdown a fourth time. “The most frustrating thing I can think of is losing an orbiter and what the country does after that. So if you want to know what pressure is, pressure is trying to be sure that we continue to take all risks into account.” (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 16, 1990; Countdown, November 1990 – edited)

NASA said today it can make two attempts this week to launch the leak-prone Columbia on its long-delayed astronomy mission before the space agency must consider giving priority to Discovery’s Ulysses mission. Columbia and her crew of seven are scheduled to lift off Tuesday at 1:28 a.m. EDT. The launch window extends less than two hours to 2:07 a.m. EDT. If bad weather or a minor technical problem disrupts Tuesday's bid, another attempt could be made early Wednesday.

"We're operating under the guideline of two attempts, Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning, at which time we'd stand down for Ulysses processing," Mike Leinbach, one of the NASA Test Directors supervising Columbia's preparations, said today. Shuttle officials are working toward a launch of Ulysses between Oct. 7 and 9.
Under an informal guideline, NASA prefers to wait three weeks between shuttle launches so its engineers can study rocket engine and booster performances for potential safety issues that might affect upcoming missions. Shuttle managers, though, have already stated they might bend the guideline if it meant cutting the three-week period by only a day or two.

Another factor is the Pentagon's plans to launch an unmanned Titan IV rocket with a secret payload this week. Both the shuttle and the Titan share the use of Air Force tracking facilities on Cape Canaveral. After attempts Tuesday and Wednesday to launch Columbia, the use of that tracking equipment would be shifted to the Titan if those plans are not changed.

Five of Columbia’s astronauts arrived at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday; these included Commander Vance Brand, Pilot Guy Gardner, Mission Specialist Jeffrey Hoffman and Payload Specialists Ronald Parise and Samuel Durrance. Mission Specialists John “Mike” Lounge and Robert Parker arrived today.

The weather outlook for both Tuesday and Wednesday is favorable, and officials expressed confidence that they have overcome the fuel leaks that have grounded NASA's manned space program for nearly five months. Forecasters placed the odds of favorable weather early Tuesday at 80 percent. A cold front is expected to move through Cape Canaveral Monday afternoon, and forecasters said the passage might touch off lightning, thunderstorms or high winds that would violate launch constraints.

Meanwhile, the fuel leak drama will unfold anew Monday at 4:57 p.m. EDT, when NASA starts pumping supercold liquid hydrogen and oxygen propellants into Columbia's silo-shaped external fuel tank at a rate of 8,400 gallons per minute. "Historically, that is the time leaks have occurred," said Leinbach. "We feel real good we've fixed the leaks, and we don’t expect one, but it will be about 45 minutes after we begin filling the tank before we’re positive we’ve fixed the leaks." The fueling operation takes a total of about three hours. (Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Sep. 17, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, Sep. 17, 1990; Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 16 & 17, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:11 pm

“We are no go for launch tonight,” said Lisa Malone, spokeswoman for Kennedy Space Center in announcing the scrubbing of the STS-35 mission for the fourth time. The launch was scrubbed at 6:35 p.m. EDT after the tanking operation of liquid hydrogen transitioned from the slow-fill to the fast-fill mode.

Columbia’s fueling operation began at 5:45 p.m. EDT, an hour later than planned due to nearby thunderstorms. The leak in the orbiter’s aft engine compartment came about four minutes after into the tanking operation. The two previous leaks were discovered at about the same time. Levels of hydrogen gas in Columbia’s aft compartment – a potentially explosive leak – reached 3,500 parts per million before the scrub. NASA launch rules limit hydrogen levels to 1,000 parts per million while the External Tank is being filled.

Columbia will not fly until November at the earliest, according to Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen. “At this time we are scrubbed. The next flight up is Ulysses,” said Crippen at a press conference begun at 9:00 p.m. EDT tonight after NASA's most-delayed shuttle mission ever was trapped in the starting block again late Monday when Columbia seeped fuel for the third time in nearly four months. The accumulated delays totaled a record 124 days as of Monday.

With NASA's manned space program still grounded, and its space station budget susceptible to cuts by Congress, Monday's scrub was another morale blow. "The team is disappointed, from the technicians through management," said Crippen, a former shuttle astronaut. "It's also not doing us any good in Washington right now to be sitting on the ground working this problem."


The launch team continued troubleshooting the source of the leak for the remainder of the evening. Engineers are analyzing the data collected. There is a possibility of conducting another tanking test. The details and date of the test are discussed. Crippen said they will likely use an elaborate rigging of television cameras and powerful lights placed inside Columbia's small main engine compartment. The cameras will attempt to spot wisps of hydrogen leaking from sources that have escaped NASA's best efforts to find them. “The mood is really depressing, especially after trying to chase these leaks all summer,” said Keith Hudkins, Director of NASA’s Shuttle Orbiter Division. “I think the team ultimately will solve this problem, but we won’t launch Columbia until the leak is fixed.”

NASA has a prime suspect for the cause of today’s leak: Officials think that work which required removing and replacing parts of the Main Propulsion system might have been done improperly and may have caused the leak. Two previous leaks were traced to contamination in part of a 17-inch fuel line and a crushed seal in a valve near one of the orbiter’s main engines. The seal was probably crushed after it and other plumbing were removed and replaced after the contamination was noticed.

And this contamination was caused by the effects of something as simple as sandpaper. When Columbia flew STS-32 in January, she was launched from a newly-refurbished Mobile Launch Platform, MLP-3. The platform, which served as the starting point for the Apollo 11 voyage as well as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, was converted to shuttle duty at the cost of $60 million. Somehow, corundum – a sandpaper-like abrasive used in finishing the platform – had found its way into the orbiter’s fuel system, fouling delicate seals. Even before the first Astro-1 launch attempt in May, technicians had been attempting to clean the grit from the delicate fuel system, which contains about 200 joints.

According to Robert Crippen, “The best guess we have today is somehow we left a small amount of this grit in the system and that got sucked into the vehicle in the process of fueling it.” As to the cause of today’s seepage he said, "I do not understand it. Our plan is that we are going to understand it. I believe that we still have people out there who are capable of solving this kind of a problem," Crippen said. But he added, "We certainly haven't done this in a very expeditious manner, I know that."

Norman Parmet, Chairman of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, called the reappearance of hydrogen leaks in Columbia’s aft engine compartment a disturbing development but said NASA was correct to halt the mission. “I don’t care how long it takes; they ought to systematically take the approach to try to find what the basic cause of all these leaks are. Somebody missed something somewhere.”

He suggested, further, that Columbia may be suffering from aging hardware prone to leaks and other problems despite having flown only nine times. “It’s not the flying aspect, but the time aspect that is the important thing. If you let an airplane sit for long periods of time, you are going to get leaks all over the place,” Parmet said. “Not being used can create situations for leaks when seals dry out and stuff like that. I’d tell them to go back to ground zero and check everything they have done.”

(Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Sep. 18, 1990; Banke & Halvorson, Florida Today, Sep. 18, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 18, 1990; Halvorson & Hall, USA Today, Sep. 18, 1990; The New York Times, Sep. 18, 1990; Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 18, 1990; Deseret News, Sep. 18, 1990; Countdown, November 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:12 pm
“Get Off The Plane!” - The Astronaut’s Kids’ Perspective

(By Jeffrey Hoffman)

It was a very challenging flight. We went down for our launch attempt in the spring. We got to about T minus four hours when they start the fast fill of the hydrogen. They rolled us back to the VAB. That‘s where they have these great pictures of the shuttles passing each other on the launch pad. That was Columbia. We were back and forth twice to the launchpad. They put more miles on Columbia for that flight, than had ever been done before or since.

It wasn‘t launched until, I think, our sixth trip down. I remember on the fifth trip down – we‘re already in the fall now – we‘d gone through the whole summer waiting for another opportunity while they tried to fix the leaks, and by that time school had started. Our kids went down and again they had a leak, so we scrubbed. This was getting to be crazy. They kept finding sources of leaks. They would fix it and then think, “All right, now we‘re ready to go.”

Now we‘re ready to go for I think our fifth try or maybe our fourth, I‘ve lost touch. We decided we didn‘t want the kids to miss so much school so rather than send them down three days ahead of time on the NASA plane or two days, whatever, we left them at home. We said, “We‘ll pay for their tickets.” Our neighbor would take them to the airport. We had arranged the time of flight such that they would have done the fueling before they‘d have to get on the airplane. I would be able to tell her is it okay or not, and if there‘s a leak they don‘t get in; they just had little handbags so that they didn‘t have to check their luggage.

Then there was a lightning storm that came through. You can‘t fuel. So they delayed the fueling. Then they finally started the fueling, but they hadn‘t gotten to the critical fast fuel part. I get a call from our neighbor saying, “We‘re at the gate; they‘re getting ready to close the door. What should I do? Do they go or not?”
I said, “Well, I guess you better put them on the plane, because we can‘t not have them go if we‘re going to launch. That was that. Literally two minutes later, another leak. Launch scrubbed. I said, “Oh, shoot.” Quickly I called Continental. Amazingly, I got a human being at the desk. I said, “Can you transfer me to gate such and such?” Again, a human being actually picked up the phone. I said, “Did you just put two little kids on the plane at the last minute?”

She said, “Yes, they‘re going down to watch a Space Shuttle launch in Florida. I said, “Well, no, I‘m their father, and they‘re not. Is there any way you can get them off the plane?” She says, “Well, they‘ve closed the door, but I‘ll see what we can do.” The story, as our kids tell it, is they were sitting there. At this point they‘re what, 15 and 11 I guess. One of the engines had started up. All of a sudden things got quiet. The door opened. They said, “And this lady came in and grabbed us and said, ‘Get off the plane!‘ We didn‘t know what to do, so we followed her. We weren‘t sure if it was okay, but we figured she seemed really serious, so we got off the plane.”

Anyway at that point it was clear we weren‘t going to go for yet another couple of months.

(Jeff Hoffman, JSC NASA Oral History Project interview, Nov. 3, 2009 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:13 pm

By this evening pad technicians will complete the draining of propellants from Columbia’s External Tank and prepare to enter the orbiter’s aft compartment to identify and isolate the source of yesterday’s hydrogen leak. The Rotating Service Structure was moved back around the vehicle at about 9:15 a.m. EDT this morning. The Orbiter Midbody Umbilical Unit has been reconnected to the vehicle in preparation for offloading the onboard reactants. The payload bay doors will open September 19.

The STS-35 crew left Kennedy Space Center today at 11:00 a.m. EDT and returned to the Johnson Space Center for further training. Commander Vance Brand spoke for the rest of the crew before his departure. “The STS-35 crew, naturally, was disappointed not to launch last night. However, most of us have been involved in the spaceflight business for some time, and we know from experience that hardware problems can be difficult and it does not pay to fly until the spacecraft is ready. The Astro-1 astronomy mission is very worthwhile, and the crew is ready and anxious to fly as soon as the remaining hydrogen leaks are repaired.”

“What we’re going through here is disappointment we didn’t get to launch it. It’s not the sadness and grief,” said KSC Director Forrest McCartney with Challenger in mind. “On the other hand, we’re not going to fly that machine, or any of them, until we have things working. The bird’s a good bird.” Former Administrator James Fletcher’ advice to the agency he headed until 1989 was, “Take your time, fix the leaks and we’ll go when we’re ready.”


Meanwhile, engineers found that a low-speed pump that recirculates hydrogen on Columbia’s No. 2 engine may be one of the leak sources. Any repairs needed by Columbia will very likely be done on the pad. Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen said in last night’s press conference that NASA had no reason to think Discovery would be affected by the same types of leaks which grounded Columbia and Atlantis. Nevertheless, a special launch pad fuel test is being considered to assure that Discovery does not have the same type of leak.

Top NASA officials on today began assembling a team of experts to help them find the elusive fuel leaks that have grounded Columbia. The “tiger team” will attempt to determine if the seepage is linked to the disassembly of shuttle engine hardware following Columbia’s most recent spaceflight, an 11-day STS-32 mission last January. Some of the hardware was taken apart to cleanse it of a gritty polishing compound used to smooth rough metal surfaces. During the subsequent reassembly, some of the plumbing may not have been tightened and sealed adequately, some engineers believe.

“We have to look for something unique,” Aaron Cohen, Director of NASA ‘s Johnson Space Center, said today. “The thing that is unique is that we did after that flight go in and look for some contamination.”

Shuttle engineers at JSC have teamed with colleagues at other NASA centers in the search for the hydrogen leaks. The industrial grit was used in the recent conversion of an Apollo-era launch platform for use by the shuttles. Columbia became the first of the craft to use the massive refurbished platform when she was launched last Jan. 9 to retrieve a huge satellite. After the January mission, some of the gritty material was discovered in Columbia’s propulsion system as the ship was being prepared for her next flight – the Astro-1 astronomy mission that was scrubbed once in May and twice this month by fuel leaks. “That now seems to be when all the woes began,” said NASA spokesman Ed Campion.

Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen named Robert Schwinghamer, Deputy Director for Space Transportation Systems, Science and Engineering Directorate at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to lead the hydrogen leak investigation team. Other members include A.L. Worlund, Deputy Director, Propulsion Laboratory, MSFC; Chester Vaughan, Chief, Propulsion and Power Division, JSC; Warren Wiley, Deputy Director, Vehicle Engineering, KSC; Horace Lamberth, Chief Engineer, Lockheed Space Operations Co., KSC; Steve Cavanaugh, Director of Propulsion/Fluid Systems, Space Systems Division, Rockwell International; Paul F. Seitz, Deputy Chief Program Engineer, Space Shuttle Main Engine, Rocketdyne Division, Rockwell International; John R. Cool, Manager, Pressurization Systems, Martin Marietta Manned Space Systems; Dr. Michael Greenfield, Director, Systems Assessment Division, Office of Safety and Mission Quality, NASA.

“The team will be based out of Kenndy Space Center and will devote full time to solving this problem,” Crippen said. “They will report directly to me, and I’ve asked the Space Shuttle Program to provide Mr. Schwinghamer and his team every available assistance to aid in solving this critical problem.” The investigation team and its technical aides will work around the clock seven days a week to solve the problem. In addition to analyzing Columbia’s launch processing record, the team will help plan an elaborate hydrogen fueling test planned for early next week. Engineers plan to rig Columbia’s engine compartment with television cameras and lights as well as sensors for the test.

As hydrogen is pumped aboard, the cameras will attempt to record wisps of hydrogen escaping from leaking seals, or possibly small cracks that have escaped earlier trouble-shooting. So far, shuttle managers know that the leaks only appear when the shuttle’s metal propulsion hardware is exposed to the super-cold temperatures of liquid hydrogen. A gas at normal temperatures, hydrogen must be chilled to 423 degrees below zero to make it liquid. The extreme cold, however, causes metal components to shrink slightly, opening up leak paths.

(KSC Shuttle Status Report,” Sep. 18, 1990; Banke & Halvorson, Florida Today, Sep. 19, 1990; Kanamine & Banke, USA Today, Sep. 19, 1990; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Sep. 19, 1990; Campion, NASA News Release No. 90-127, Sep. 19, 1990; Broad, The New York Times, Sep. 21, 1990 – edited)

NASA does not expect to launch Columbia now until late November or December by which time both Discovery and Atlantis will have launched, agency officials said today. They also said Endeavour may provide yet another part to Columbia before a special pad test can be conducted. That test will come no earlier than the middle of next week and may not occur until after Discovery’s launch.

“Our current planning is based on the assumption that Discovery and Atlantis are operational. Columbia is grounded,” said William Lenoir, Associate Administrator for Spaceflight. Columbia will remain on the pad until her fuel leaks are found and fixed. “We have no target dates for any Columbia mission,” said Lenoir.

NASA’s plan for the remainder of 1990 looks toward a Discovery launch anywhere from October 6 through October 9; the launch date will be announced following next week’s Flight Readiness Review. Because there is no leak history on Discovery, a special launch pad fueling test will not take place. Two days after Discovery’s launch Columbia will be moved from Pad 39A to Pad 39B where she will undergo leak investigations and repairs. Atlantis is scheduled for launch from Pad 39A in early November. Unlike Discovery, Atlantis will undergo a leak test to ensure that the fuel line leak which grounded the orbiter in mid-July has been corrected.

Delays launching Columbia and repeated tests to track down the source of elusive hydrogen leaks have cost NASA more than $3 million in lost fuel, overtime and travel expenses alone. But agency officials said the cost is minuscule compared to the overall price of a shuttle launch – more than $300 million – and the need to make absolutely sure no dangerous leaks are present at launch that could endanger a shuttle or its crew. NASA originally intended to launch eight shuttle missions in fiscal year 1990. The agency’s budget for Space Shuttle operations during that period totaled $2.5 billion, which works out to roughly $311 million per flight.

Workers gained access to the aft compartment of Columbia today and have begun preliminary inspections. Foam will be removed from around valves, actuators and areas of the recirculation pump package to allow further inspections and tests. Details and requirements are being identified for the tanking test. Propellant tanks for the Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control system will be depressurized tomorrow night. Preparations to remove Auxiliary Power Unit No. 1 are scheduled to begin tomorrow and the unit will be installed on Atlantis this weekend.

Engineers today ordered the replacement of a fuel line valve within the aft compartment of Columbia. The valve, which has been taken from Endeavour, was aid to be sluggish in closing after the most recent failed launch attempt. Lisa Malone, KSC spokeswoman, said that spares might already be on hand at KSC or at a contractor facility in Cape Canaveral, but that Endeavour is considered a likely donor.

Columbia’s leaks are believed to have been caused by damage sustained in the aft compartment when pad technicians cleaned and replaced contaminated parts earlier in the year. These parts were contaminated with corundum, a metal polishing abrasive used in modifying the Apollo-era mobile platform used for Columbia’s STS-32 launch in January. The contaminant was found during final launch platform inspections in 1989 and the entire platform was hosed off to remove the residue, according to Bob Ward, KSC Fluid Systems manager.

It is thought that some corundum in the launch platform’s Tail Service Mast must have escaped the cleanup job and found its way into Columbia’s aft compartment when she was fueled for launch in January, according to Ward. Lockheed Space Operations Co., Titusville, according to company spokesman J.B. Clump, was responsible for the final installation and check of the Tail Service Mast, which carries fuel and electrical lines to the shuttle. NASA, however, was responsible for overseeing the final inspection of operations.

(KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 19 & 20, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 20 & 21, 1990; Deseret News, Sep. 20, 1990; Broad, The New York Times, Sep. 21, 1990 – edited)

NASA managers said today that they rushed some decisions on Columbia and these resulted in poor decisions. “We decided to take a quick look, take our best shot at it and see if we were right,” said Associate Administrator for Space Flight William Lenoir. “Ulysses was driving us all along. We had the line in the sand – Ulysses – that couldn’t slip because of its launch window. We were anxious at first to get two flights off before Ulysses, and when that wouldn’t work, at least one. Now we’re down to none.”

The space agency conceded that it decided Columbia had only one leak – in the 17-inch disconnect fuel line – despite test data suggesting a second leak. The second leak showed itself clearly on the September 5 launch attempt; the second leak has been attributed to contamination by corundum, a metal-polishing abrasive used to clean an Apollo-era launch platform.

Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen said subsequent to the September 17 scrub of Columbia’s fourth launch attempt that more rigorous inspections should have been made in the orbiter’s rear compartment after the first STS-35 launch postponement in May. “We had asked the team to go look into the aft compartment to see if we could find another leak, and they did that. If we did something improper, it was we didn’t do that as diligently as I now wished we had done.”

As a result of the leaks in Columbia and Atlantis this summer, NASA has decided to review processing procedures to ensure shuttle hardware is not damaged when being readied for flight; test procedures to ensure leaky parts are not accepted for flight; and the manner in which the search for leaks has been managed. During Columbia’s four launch attempts this summer the space agency kept putting a finger in the dike in hopes of reaching the go-for-launch point.

Lenoir explained, We put some rules in place to make sure we couldn’t violate safety, but then we got rushed and we didn’t have the chance to stand back, take the global look and do real broad-based engineering. We more or less defaulted into a ‘Hey, I think it’s this. Let’s fix this and then see if it is.’ It has led us astray more than once.” (Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 22, 1990; Countdown, November 1990 – edited)

Columbia may be leaking in any of 83 locations in her aft fuselage according to NASA engineers who have been investigating the leaks. Each of more than 200 joints in the orbiter’s main engine plumbing will be checked for leaks before Columbia is cleared for her next launch attempt. Leak tests at room temperature have been conducted using helium and mass spectroscopy, but no leaks have been found. The Main Engine No. 2 pre-valve will be tested this weekend using helium along with dry ice to cool the mechanism.

There will be a special launch pad fueling test conducted in mid-October, after Discovery has been launched on October 6; it will call for filling part of the External Tank to duplicate Columbia’s leaks. Plans call for installation of about a dozen TV cameras in the aft compartment, prying eyes to attempt to detect any leakage. This fueling test will be conducted at Pad 39B, where the Columbia stack will be moved to make way for Atlantis on Pad 39A. Another fueling test is scheduled now for November 12 or 13, just after the launch of Atlantis.

Associate Administrator for Spaceflight Bill Lenoir said today, “I’m hopeful we will have gone through this entire sequence and have Columbia in the flying sequence in the December timeframe and pull the Astro mission off then.” He added, “While keeping our eyes on what it may take to pull that off. But we have specifically not laid that on our engineering team; they’re to go out and find the leak, find all of the leaks, and then we can get on with it.”

(James Hartsfield, Space News Roundup, Sep. 28, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Sep. 27, 1990; USA Today, Sep. 27, 1990; The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 27, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Sep. 26, 1990; Countdown, November 1990 – edited)

A Soviet Progress M-5 cargo spacecraft carrying fuel, supplies and mail docked this afternoon with the orbiting Mir space station, Tass reported. The official news agency said cosmonauts Gennady Manakov and Gennady Strekalov were shown on Soviet television with items that they are to carry back once they return to Earth, including canisters containing crystals grown in space. Manakov and Strekalov boarded the space station in early August, replacing Anatoly Solovyev and Alexander Balandin. Solovyev and Balandin, using a furnace in the special Kristall module docked to the Mir, produced 23 pure crystals. Authorities said the crystals were worth about $1 million each, and could make the current project the first profitable space mission. (Deseret News, Sep. 30, 1990 – edited)

With the countdown clock smoothly ticking toward Discovery’s Saturday lift-off, every operating manned spacecraft NASA owns is scheduled to be either in orbit or on a launch pad by mid-Tuesday. Once Discovery STS-41 lifts off tomorrow Columbia, now on Pad 39A, will take her place on Pad 39B. First motion for Columbia’s pad switch is planned for 4:00 a.m. EDT 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 November 7 lift-off on STS-38, a Department of Defense dedicated flight.

This week, baggies were being installed over 23 joints in Columbia’s Main Propulsion System in preparation for further leak checks of the system using gaseous helium. Also, fit checks were performed in the aft fuselage for television cameras and Plexiglas doors to be used in a future liquid hydrogen tanking test. No tanking test will be done before Columbia is moved to Pad 39B. (James Hartsfield, Space News Roundup, Oct. 5, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:15 pm
Wedged Between Two Myths – NASA Can Do The Job

“Our nation is impatient and fickle about even the most astounding achievements.”

- Eugene A. Cernan (1934 – 2017), The Last Man on the Moon

“If you criticize our mistakes, you must also acknowledge our successes.”

- Robert L. Crippen, former astronaut and Shuttle Program Director, October 1990


In the early days of the space program, NASA named its programs for the gids of myth from Mercury to Apollo. In the opening year of the 1990s, the space program was wedged between two myths, old and new.

The old myth was steeped in the stuff of the Apollo Moon landings. The memories of Apollo came wrapped in the shining mystique of endless budgets, esprit engineering, on-time flights and technological leaps of perfection. The myth of perfection outlived Apollo, becoming the language of expectation for the space program, ever after the budget cuts of the 1970s. “They (the public) expect near perfection because, for awhile, we gave them near perfection. It was accidental that we did,” said Alan Bean, the fourth human to touch the surface of the Moon. “We had problems all along, but we kind of got lucky on them,” he said.


With Hubble trouble and seemingly fruitless efforts to put fingers in the dike in hope of stopping shuttle fuel leaks, a new myth gained voice through the first summer of the 1990s – a myth of incompetency. “Our critics have created a myth,” said Arnold Aldrich, NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, Exploration and Technology. The post-Challenger myth growing like fungus around NASA besmirched the agency as unable to cope, bureaucratically aging, incompetent and technically mossbacked – a stone age space agency still feeding off the glory of the long past.

The upper management of NASA needs “wholesale housecleaning,” said Alex Roland of Duke University. Robert Jastrow, founder of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies, said we should be debating ending the shuttle program. NASA has lost its technical expertise and is relying too heavily on contractors, said space historian Howard McCurdy. John L. McLucas, Chairman of NASA’s Advisory Council, said the agency is suffering “hardening of the arteries.”

The old feeling of eliteness has been eroded, said former NASA Administrator Robert A. Frosch. The agency’s personnel are too old – fresh blood is needed, other observers said. The excellent people NASA does attract find themselves mindlessly pushing paper, some said. Some critics said that NASA needs to be working on a long-range blueprint for space activity.

However, others complain that NASA cannot digest all they presently have on their plate. They are too willing to undertake everything their supporters desire rather than antagonize any faction, said David Moore, an analyst with the congressional budget office.


But not everybody agrees with the critics. “Recently we’ve heard some criticism about problems, whether with the Hubble Telescope or the fuel leaks in the shuttle,” U.S. Vice-President Dan Quayle said while visiting the Johnson Space Center on September 5, 1990. “With problems like these, people have asked the question: Can NASA do the job? My answer is simply, you bet NASA can do the job.”

“The President said it best last year when he said that we cannot take the next giant leap for mankind tomorrow unless we start with a single step today,” Quayle said. “That’s the business you’re in – the cutting edge of progress. You’re doing what no one else has done before. And yes, there are risks to it, and problems no one could have anticipated. But it is American ingenuity, NASA ingenuity that will find the solutions and answer the challenges,” Quayle said.

Challenges facing NASA now are nothing new to the space agency and will evolve into successes of tomorrow, Administrator Richard Truly told space agency employees in a message broadcast from his office September 21. He discussed the numerous problems that plagued NASA throughout this summer, but expressed confidence that they would be fixed.

“There has been a lot going on,” Truly said. “Budget fights, successes, some setbacks, and some failures… Let me just say that I believe that we are continuing to do business in a measured and professional manner, that some things haven’t gone right – but you are doing the right things.”


The only difference between the NASA of today and the NASA of yesterday is today’s team was trained on computers, not side rules, JSC Director Aaron Cohen said on October 30’s keynote address at Space Exploration 90. “As the NASA of old, the NASA of today is overcoming current challenges and will leave a record of accomplishments that will astonish and challenge the next generation of space explorers.”

The people on the team are the key to NASA’s success, he said. “NASA is not just another federal agency; it is a family of people who are committed to reaching for the stars, people who are committed to improving the quality of life for all mankind, people with diverse skills and backgrounds who are willing to work long hours at reduced wages because they are committed to NASA, its goals, objectives and missions,” Cohen said.

Quality and excellence also are keys to the satisfaction of NASA’s customers – the American public, Congress and the President. “Quality was job one at NASA long before it was job one anywhere else, and NASA’s long list of accomplishments prove that it is still that way,” Cohen said. “I must say, however, that yesterday’s standards are not good enough for tomorrow’s NASA. If we are to build and operate a Space Station, push the edge of astronautics, monitor the phenomena of our Earth’s systems, and transport men and women through our solar system, we must expect more from ourselves.”


In the battle of the myths, the old and the new one, the NASA of today needed a touch of perfection in order to regain some shine of glory. As the Sun was rising on the morning of October 6, the shuttle Discovery stood fully fueled, ready to go… and then finally took the Space Shuttle fleet where it belonged – back into orbit.

(Countdown, November 1990; Pam Alloway, Space News Roundup, Sep. 7, 1990; Karl Fluegel, Space News Roundup, Sep. 28 & Nov. 2, 1990, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:16 pm
Yesterday NASA added a new maneuver to its Space Shuttle Program when it completed its first “rollaround” of Columbia from Launch Complex 39A to Launch Complex 39B. Pad 39A had to be cleared for the November launch of Atlantis STS-38. Atlantis had been scheduled for rollout this morning but remained inside the Vehicle Assembly Building due to adverse weather conditions.

Because of tropical storm Klaus lurking off the east coast of Florida the decision was made this morning to transfer Columbia back to the VAB. The STS-35 stack was in the VAB by about 8:00 p.m. and was hard down in the VAB around 9:30 p.m. EDT. Transfer operations took about two hours longer than expected because of minor mechanical problems with the Crawler Transporter.

Blustery winds and rain showers are predicted in the Kennedy Space Center area for the next few days and winds are forecast to be gusting up to 40 knots. In the VAB, Columbia’s Main Propulsion System will be worked on including the replacement of engine cover seals and a flex hose and associated leak and torque checks. Rollout to Launch Complex 39B is tentatively scheduled for no earlier than October 14; a date for a planned tanking test is still being evaluated.

Baggies were installed on various joints and valves in the MPS and the system was pressurized with gaseous helium October 6 – no leaks were detected. Routine monitoring of the Astro-1 payload was reestablished through power supplied by ground support equipment. The Broad Band X-Ray Telescope was serviced with liquid argon on October 5 and will next be serviced on October 15. The payload is in good shape and no impact upon it is foreseen by the rollback to the VAB or the return to Launch Complex 39B later this week. Once the orbiter returns to the launch pad, ground support equipment will again take over power requirements for payload health checks. (Brown, Florida Today, Oct. 9, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Oct. 9, 10 & 11, 1990: Glisch, The Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 9, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:17 pm
Less than a week after the official reunification of Germany (Oct. 3), the country has presented its future spacefarers who are expected to join U.S. and Soviet missions throughout the next decade. During a press event at the International Astronautical Congress 1990, hosted by the IAF in Dresden, German Minister for Science and Technology Heinz Riesenhuber introduced the five men and one woman.

An 8-day Soviet/German trip to the Russian space station Mir, called Mir ’92, is scheduled to be launched in early 1992. Fighter Pilot Klaus-Dietrich Flade and physicist Reinhold Ewald will start training for this mission next month. The second German Spacelab flight D-2 is currently set for fall of 1992. Three physicist – Hans Schlegel, Ulrich Walter and Gerhard Thiele – as well as meteorologist Renate Brümmer – will be eligible payload specialists for this and any following joint U.S./German Space Shuttle mission. (ZDF German TV, Oct. 9, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:23 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:25 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:27 pm
A second crushed seal in Columbia’s engine compartment has been found, but NASA’s leak hunters will not call off the search yet. “We kind of adopted a policy that said we will not say, ‘Heureka!’” said Warren Wiley, Deputy Director of Shuttle Engineering at Kennedy Space Center. The damaged seal, part of a valve near a main engine, was actually found yesterday. A similar seal was found near another engine after Columbia’s September 5 launch attempt.

Wiley said the damage to both seals was caused when they were incorrectly installed. “After three weeks of painstaking diagnostics and not really finding a lot, it was a much better day,” Wiley said. Columbia is expected to return to the launch pad October 13 and be prepared for another leak test. If the oldest orbiter passes the test, launch could take place in December. Atlantis moved to Pad 39A starting at 8:25 p.m. today and is expected to arrive there early tomorrow. (Banke, Florida Today, Oct. 13, 1990 – edited)

Columbia was transferred from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39B last night and was reported hard down at 7:55 this morning. MPS work is continuing today in the aft compartment; all six engine cover seals for the liquid hydrogen system and seals for the relief valves have been replaced. Leak tests are planned for tomorrow night. Officials are planning to conduct a tanking test later this month. The payload bay doors were opened about 10:00 p.m. EDT for servicing of the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope with argon tomorrow morning. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Oct. 15, 1990; The Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 15, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:28 pm
Leak tests of Columbia’s Main Propulsion system are planned today as the Tiger Team continues troubleshooting efforts. A target data for the liquid hydrogen tanking test is planned for October 29. A helium signature leak test – identical to the one successfully completed yesterday on the Atlantis STS-38 stack – is planned for tomorrow. After the helium leak test, technicians will begin to apply foam to various areas of the MPS in preparation for the tanking test. (KSC Status Report, Oct. 17, 1990 – edited)

Both launch pads are now full and in action at Kennedy Space Center, with preparations underway for several busy weeks of tanking tests and the launch of Atlantis STS-38. Atlantis, on Pad 39A, is scheduled for a tanking test Wednesday to check for leaks in the 17-inch disconnect fitting and the aft compartment. The External Tank will be filled with both liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in a n effort to make the test as launch-like as possible.

If all goes as expected, the Flight Readiness Review for STS-38 will be October 29-30. Launch of STS-38 may be as early as November 10. “The leak in Atlantis was traced to the External Tank umbilical connections and that’s been replaced,” said Al Branscomb, vehicle manager for Atlantis. “We anticipate a successful tanking test, but it’s a test we need to do to be certain there are no further problems.”

Columbia, on Pad 39B, has undergone several leak checks this week after technicians began closing out hardware adjustments in the aft fuselage. A tanking test for Columbia is now planned for October 29. Next week, workers at Pad B will install a variety of special television cameras, instrumentation and baggies over suspect leak areas to prepare for the test.

Checks of Columbia’s aft fuselage plumbing by the special team troubleshooting the leaks found a crimped seal in the main engine No. 2 pre-valve detent cover, similar to a damaged seal found earlier in the same area of SSME No. 3. Technicians also have tightened a variety of connections in the aft, checking various seals and washers.

Discovery arrived back at KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility Tuesday (Oct. 16) atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Discovery will undergo post-flight inspections for the next several days in the Orbiter Processing Facility. (James Hartsfield, Space News Roundup, October 19, 1990 – edited)

Foaming operations are continuing on Columbia’s MPS in preparation for the tanking test on October 29. Baggies and instrumentation will be installed this week. Fit checks of the two special aft compartment doors made of a Plexiglas type material is scheduled for today. These doors were made transparent to allow visibility into the aft compartment during tanking operations. A health maintenance test of the Astro-1 payload began yesterday and is scheduled to be completed by this afternoon. Drying of the Forward Reaction Control System thrusters and functional testing of the waste containment system are underway. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Oct. 23, 1990 – edited)

Foaming operations in the aft compartment continue today as workers prepare Columbia for the special tanking test early next week. Schedules indicate the test of the liquid hydrogen lines of the orbiter will occur October 30. There is a slight possibility the test may slip to October 31, depending on work to be performed this weekend. Tanking preparations are currently underway and flow meters are being set up for the test. Fit checks will continue today on the two special transparent aft compartment doors made of Plexiglas-like Lexan which allow visibility into the compartment during tanking. The work crew will install special lighting in the aft compartment tomorrow for the cameras that have been installed to support the test. External Tank purges are scheduled to begin tomorrow and the payload bay doors will be cycled closed tomorrow afternoon. (KSC Space Shuttle Processing Status Report, Oct. 25 & 26, 1990 – edited)

A call to stations for the tanking test for Columbia occurred on schedule today at approximately 7:00 a.m. EDT. Today workers prepare Columbia’s aft compartment for tomorrow’s test. Chilldown of the Main Propulsion System lines is set to begin at 7:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow. The test is a diagnostic one designed to identify and pinpoint any leaks. MPS feed lines, main engines and all associated components in the liquid hydrogen system will be investigated during the test while the tank is being loaded with propellant. Ten cameras have been installed in Columbia’s aft compartment and MPS joints have been bagged and instrumentation installed. After the test, the tank will be purged and the residual liquid hydrogen will be allowed to boil off. Launch Complex 39B will be reopened for launch preparations October 31. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Oct. 29, 1990; Halvorson, Florida Today, Oct. 28 & 30, 1990; The Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 30, 1990 – edited)

Mir cosmonauts made an unsuccessful attempt today to repair the balky hatch on the station’s Kvant 2 module. Gennady Manakov and Gennady Strekalov performed a 3 hr. 45 min. spacewalk in an effort to repair the hatch which was damaged by a previous crew. The Soviets said the cosmonauts’ inability to repair the hatch was not critical since the hatch is not the only exit available for spacewalks. The repair attempt was originally scheduled for October 19 but had to be postponed because Strekalov had a cold. (Countdown, December 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:29 pm
A Sense of Victory

(Based on a text by Mark Carreau)

NASA demonstrated on Tuesday, October 30, that it has repaired the elusive fuel leaks on the shuttle Columbia, ending the most frustrating period for the space agency since the 1986 Challenger disaster. For the first time since May 29, when Columbia’s leaks forced the agency to scrub a nine-day astronomy mission, all three of the orbiters are eligible for spaceflight. “As far as we are concerned today, the Columbia is ready to launch,” Navy Captain Robert Crippen, NASA’s Shuttle Program Director, announced after an elaborate four-hour launch pad leak test at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“We put a team together, led by Bob Schwinghamer of the Marshall Space Flight Center and including representatives from all the centers and major contractors, and they worked the problem,” Crippen said. “The results today prove that they did the job right. We ended up with a tight ship, and as far as we’re concerned right now the Columbia’s ready to go fly as soon as we put it through its final launch preps.”

Crippen spoke after shuttle engineers pumped supercold liquid hydrogen through Columbia’s propulsion system while television cameras and an array of sensors searched for leaks. At the end of nearly two hours of testing, the instruments in Columbia’s main engine compartment had detected hydrogen concentrations no greater than 150 parts per million, well below the 600 ppm safety limit. On September 17, the most recent attempt to launch Columbia, the concentrations reached 4,500 ppm before the countdown was abruptly stopped.

“The team has found and fixed the problem and we can proceed with plans to launch Columbia,” KSC Launch Director Robert Sieck said. Referring to the morale boost which Columbia’s test success gives, he said, “There was a sense of victory in that these tests are behind us.” Sieck went on to say, “Launching shuttles and reputation, they are tied together. Safely and successfully carrying out these missions, which is our goal, is only going to help the reputation and our program going.”

Earlier on October 30, shuttle managers at Kennedy set November 9 as the launch date for the shuttle Atlantis with a secret Pentagon payload. Atlantis is slated to lift off during a four-hour period that begins at 5:30 p.m., CDT. The ship has not flown since early March, also because of a fuel line leak that has since been repaired. Columbia’s mission, postponed three times since late May by the potentially explosive fuel leaks, should follow the Atlantis launch by about three weeks, NASA Administrator Richard Truly told the Space Exploration 90 conference, meeting this week at the South Shore Harbour Conference Center in Clear Lake.

The shuttle leaks have cut NASA’s plans for a record-tying nine shuttle missions this year to five. The reduction was a likely factor in the decision by Congress to cut funding for the Space Station, which is designed to be assembled and serviced by the shuttle fleet. Columbia’s seven-member crew has engaged in limited training since Sept. 17, when the most recent launch attempt was stopped by a fuel leak. Today, though, the pace picked up as the astronauts participated in a complex 10-hour mission rehearsal involving ground controllers at the Johnson Space Center, the Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We’re elated,” STS-35 Commander Vance Brand said in a brief statement. “We look forward to flying a real tight bird as soon as we can, hopefully in early December.”

Crippen said a crushed cup-shaped Teflon seal on Columbia’s No. 2 main engine and a number of loose propulsion fittings that allowed a small amount of seepage were ultimately to blame for the leaks that stopped the Sept. 17 launch attempt. An identically crushed seal on the No. 3 main engine was found and replaced after the second launch attempt, on Sept. 5, was stopped abruptly by a leak. The seals are located in a cramped area that is difficult for technicians to reach for inspections.

The leak problems began after Columbia’s most recent spaceflight, last January. After Columbia flew, engineers found industrial grit in the ship’s fuel filters. The grit had been used like sandpaper to refinish some of the metal hardware on the platform. In order to cleanse Columbia’s propulsion system of the grit, much of the plumbing in the engine compartment was disconnected. During the reconnection process, the valve seals were apparently improperly installed and some of the fittings were not tightened properly.

When exposed to the minus-423-degree temperatures of liquid hydrogen, the metal engine fittings shrank slightly, allowing tiny hydrogen molecules to escape as Columbia was being loaded with fuel in the final hours before blastoff. Engineers also discovered an unrelated leak in the fuel line that connects the big silo-shaped fuel tank and main engines on Columbia. The fuel-line segments were replaced after the May 29 launch attempt and have since shown no signs of seepage.

Now that Columbia passed her leak test with flying colors, a new shuttle flight manifest and a target launch date for STS-35 are imminent, Bob Crippen said, although an official date won’t be set until a Flight Readiness Review. “I’m not ready to sign up to a date until I’ve seen a detailed examination of what we have left to do,” he said.  After instruments for the tanking test have been removed, Columbia will begin standard launch preparations.

“We’ll look at the data review post-test as we do with all tests,” KSC Launch Director Bob Sieck said. “But in real time, if there was a show-stopper, it would have been detected.”

(Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 31, 1990; Deseret News, Oct. 31, 1990; James Hartsfield, Space News Roundup, Nov. 2, 1990; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:31 pm
Space Exploration 90 – To Mars, Together?

“As I take these last steps from the surface for some time to come, I’d just like to record that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow.”

- Eugene A Cernan (1934 – 2017), CDR Apollo 17, December 1972

(By Marc Carreau)

MARS BY 2004
Former high ranking NASA official Hans Mark said Wednesday, October 31, U.S. astronauts could reach Mars fifteen years sooner than the 2019 deadline established by President Bush and for one third the estimated $500 billion cost. But Mark, now chancellor of the University of Texas in Austin, predicted the White House and Congress will choose a slower, more costly course by developing a massive unmanned cargo rocket for the mission. “Personally, I think we can do it a lot sooner,” Mark told the Space Exploration 90 Conference at the South Shore Harbor Resort in Clear Lake. “In fact, it’s technically feasible shortly after the year 2000.”

Mark, the Secretary of the Air Force in the late 1970s who later became Deputy Administrator of NASA, predicted that growing political support for a new unmanned rocket to relieve the Space Shuttle will not be stemmed. “What that really means is that we don’t do this (human exploration of Mars) for a long time to come,” Mark told an audience of about 400 members of the conference-sponsoring NASA Alumni League.

Mark, who holds an aerospace engineering professorship at the University of Texas, sketched out a mission plan developed by a half dozen graduate students that would place explorers on Mars by 2004. The plan placed the cost at $150 billion if explorers first establish a lunar base, or at $90 billion if NASA undertakes the Mars mission working from an orbiting space station.

The plan relies on the shuttle and the new Air Force Titan 4 unmanned rocket to place the unassembled components of lunar and Mars vessels in Earth orbit for assembly before the long exploratory journeys. In July 1989, Bush marked the 20th anniversary of NASA’s first Apollo Moon landing with a pledge to return explorers to the lunar surface and send them to Mars. At a college commencement this spring, the president refined the statement to include a Mars landing by 2019.

The policy remarks have triggered debate within aerospace circles, much of it encouraged by NASA and the White House, about how to carry out the goals. Congress, however, cut all funding for a Moon-Mars initiative in the 1991 budget and slashed space station expenditures. Lawmakers encouraged continued research for an aerospace plane that could one day replace the shuttle and on an advanced cargo rocket.

Mark said the UT planning was shaped by two directives: no new launch vehicles and no new robotics missions to Mars. That eliminates a popular NASA plan to gather Martian soil samples with a robot and return them to the space station for analysis. His plan requires a partially assembled Freedom Space Station as a staging area for the assembly of Mars vessels. Four astronauts would return to the Moon in about 1999 for a month to search for ice.

If water was detected, NASA would establish a permanent lunar base to convert it to hydrogen and oxygen rocket propellants. If not, the space agency would direct its attention to Mars and an initial scientific mission with three astronauts in search of fossils, indicating the neighboring planet once harbored life.

The UT plan envisions sending slower ion-propelled rocket vessels to Mars with supplies for the human explorers, who would follow. The cargo flights could start about 1999. Human explorers would use faster rockets, cutting their exposure to potentially harmful cosmic radiation and to prolonged weightlessness, which has proven harmful to cardiac and skeletal systems. The plan will be presented to NASA and published in trade magazines.


A top Soviet space official said Thursday, November 1, that a joint effort with the United States could place human explorers on Mars by 2010, while saving the two superpowers billions of dollars over the cost of attempting the feat separately. “It depends on how actively we will work,” said Yuri Semenov, chief administrator of NPO Energia, which is responsible for the Soviet manned space program. Semenov outlined his plan to several hundred space experts attending the Space Exploration 90 Conference at the South Shore Harbor in Clear Lake.

Speaking through an interpreter, Semenov said his proposal for a joint exploration program would rely heavily on use of the Soviets’ massive new Energia rocket and their Mir space station, which has been manned almost continuously since early 1987. It would also rely on the U.S. Space Shuttle, elements of NASA’s planned $35 billion Freedom Space Station, a proposed Soviet space-based global communications network and a lunar outpost as conceived by NASA.

Even with the unprecedented easing of East-West tensions during the past two years, Semenov said the biggest obstacles to a cooperative space program are rooted in past foreign policy. The biggest incentive, though, may be economics. In spite of significant achievements in space by both countries, the major funding needed to undertake future explorations is dwindling. U.S. estimates place the cost of a lunar base and Mars mission at $500 billion over 30 years.

“If not us, who will do this?” Semenov asked an audience that included former astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Gene Cernan, who were on the crews of the first and final Apollo missions to the Moon.

President Bush has committed the United States to returning explorers to the moon and landing the first astronauts on Mars by 2019. The White House and NASA have studies under way on how the program should be managed and undertaken. In 1975, the two countries collaborated on a space rendezvous mission during which an Apollo capsule with three astronauts and a Soyuz capsule with two cosmonauts docked in space.

When the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project concluded, the U.S. and Soviet programs returned to a competitive footing that followed different paths. The United States forged ahead with the development of the Space Shuttle. The Soviets stuck with less sophisticated space capsules and developed the Mir space station, with assembly beginning in early 1986.

NPO Energia then developed one of the world’s most powerful and versatile booster rockets, the Energia, and the Buran Space Shuttle. The Energia has flown twice since its first flight in May 1987. The second flight, which boosted an unmanned Buran into orbit for the first time, was in November 1988. The futures of the Energia and Buran are uncertain because the Soviets curtailed their space program.

James Oberg, a Houston aerospace engineer and leading U.S. expert on the Soviet space program, characterized Semenov’s presentation as an elaborate advertisement. “They are trying to catch up with the American aerospace companies,” he said. “I think probably they were surprised just to see how competitive you have to be.”

(Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Nov. 1 & 2, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:32 pm
Yesterday, only one day after Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen proclaimed NASA’s shuttle fleet leak-free and ready to fly, the U.S. Air Force announced an indefinite delay of the classified STS-38 mission due to anomalies discovered during cargo testing. Lift-off had just been set for the evening of November 9; officials said it was too early to predict a new launch date for Atlantis.

“NASA is working with the Air Force to help resolve the anomalies discovered during cargo testing. Due to the classified nature of the payload, details of the work being conducted cannot be discussed,” Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen said. “With regard to shuttle mission STS-35, data from the tanking test on Columbia confirmed that the problem of excess hydrogen in the aft of the orbiter had been resolved. Columbia and the Astro/BBXRT payload are now being prepared for flight.”

“I am optimistic about flying the STS-35 mission sometime in December. A specific target launch date for the mission will not be determined until after the Flight Readiness Review has been conducted and performance data from the STS-38 mission has been analyzed,” Crippen added.

At about 6:00 p.m. yesterday evening, some two hours after boil off of External Tank liquid hydrogen residuals was completed, the Rotating Service Structure was moved in place around Columbia. The pad was reopened early today and work began to deconfigure the orbiter’s aft compartment from the tanking test.

(KSC Shuttle Status Report, Oct. 31, 1990; “Statement by Shuttle Director Robert Crippen on STS-38 & STS-35 Mission Status,” NASA News Release, Nov. 1, 1990; Brown, Florida Today, Nov. 2, 1990; James Hartsfield, Space News Roundup, Nov. 2, 1990 – edited)

Columbia still awaits a December launch date, but KSC managers prefer to have at least three weeks between missions to review flight data and the delay in launching Atlantis also delays the launch of Columbia. Workers today replenished the coolant needed to protect the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope in Columbia’s payload bay and the last of the equipment used in the earlier tanking test was removed from the orbiter’s aft compartment. Water valves for the Auxiliary Power Units will be replaced and retested this weekend; checks of the Reaction Control System regulators have begun and will continue early next week. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Nov. 2 & 3, 1990 – edited)

Kennedy Space Center Director Forrest McCartney said today his best guess on when Atlantis would be launched would be November 15, 16 or 17. Normally, NASA likes to have missions three weeks apart to allow time to study flight data and fix potential problems. “We’re looking to see if we can make that shorter because we would like very much to fly and get Columbia home before Christmas,” McCartney said. That schedule would allow certain KSC operations to close for maintenance and would save holiday pay, he said.

A helium signature test of the liquid oxygen side of the Main Propulsion system of Columbia is scheduled for today. The tanking test disproved the existence of any leaks within the liquid hydrogen side of the system. Flow checks of the aft Reaction Control System are underway today. Work continues to restore the aft compartment to normal launch configuration. (KSC Status Report, Nov. 5, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Nov. 6, 1990 – edited)

Auxiliary Power Unit No. 1 will be replaced on Columbia today and a hot fire is planned for next week. Installation of APU water valves is scheduled for today as well and will continue through tomorrow. Flow checks of the aft Reaction Control System have been completed and work continues on returning the aft compartment to its normal launch configuration. General Purpose Computer #5 was replaced and will be tested November 7. This computer failed during testing last week. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Nov. 6 & 7, 1990 – edited)

NASA managers today set November 15, 1990 as the new target launch date for shuttle mission STS-38, a dedicated Department of Defense mission. This will be the seventh flight of Atlantis and the 37th Space Shuttle mission. Preparations for the launch of Columbia and the STS-35/Astro-1 mission continue on schedule on Launch Complex 39B. The Flight Readiness Review for STS-35 is currently scheduled for November 26-27, 1990. Following analysis of performance data from STS-38 and the standard review of mission status at the FRR, a target date for the Astro-1 mission will be announced. “If the remaining scheduled work for STS-38 goes as planned and no unexpected obstacle arise, I’m confident that we will launch on November 15 and that we’ll be flying Columbia sometime in early December,” said Shuttle Program Director Robert Crippen. (Hess/Campion/Malone, Launch Advisory for Shuttle Missions STS-38 and STS-35, Nov. 7, 1990 – edited)

During routine operations yesterday in the Payload Changeout Room at Launch Pad 39B, an aluminum part beneath an access platform nicked a thermal blanket covering part of the Astro-1 star tracker. The area of impact on the blanket measured about 1/4 inch long by 1/8 inch wide, with the depth termed “barely perceptible.” The Broad Band X-Ray Telescope is being serviced today with liquid argon. Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope film removal has been accomplished; new film will be loaded prior to launch. Routine payload monitoring will continue. Other preflight work scheduled include loading the Mass Memory Unit with new mission data, plus experiment closeouts, pallet cleaning and BBXRT servicing. (STS-35/Astro-1 Status Report, Nov. 8, 1990 – edited)

Columbia’s hydraulic system is being conditioned for the engine flight readiness test tomorrow. A hot fire of Auxiliary Power Unit No. 1 is planned for November 12. Today, technicians will service the APU’s lubricating oil; APU water valves have been installed and functional tests have been completed. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Nov. 9, 1990 – edited)

A flight readiness test of Columbia’s three main engines was completed this past weekend. This test verified the engines’ electrical systems and cycled the valves. A hot fire of Columbia’s Auxiliary Power Unit No. 1 was conducted today. The Rotating Service Structure will be moved in place around the vehicle tomorrow morning. Workers will establish access to the aft compartment and begin post-hot fire inspections. The APU 1 fuel tank will be topped off and repressurized later in the day. The Flight Readiness Review for Columbia STS-35 mission will be held at Kennedy Space Center November 26 and 27. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Nov. 12 & 13, 1990 – edited)

Preparations are underway to top off and repressurize Columbia’s hydrazine tank for Auxiliary Power Unit No. 1 today. Only those personnel essential to the job will be allowed into the pad. The first part of ordnance operations is planned for November 16. Again the pad will be cleared during this operation. On November 15, the pad will be cleared from 8:00 a.m. till late in the evening due to the STS-38 launch of Atlantis. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Nov. 14, 1990 – edited) 

A leaking quick disconnect for Columbia’s main engine No. 1 is being replaced today. A flight readiness test on that engine to retest the disconnect is planned tomorrow. Hydraulic fluid is being conditioned in preparation for the test which cycles engine valves. The first part of ordnance operations is planned for November 18; the pad will  be cleared during the operation. The two contingency space suits are scheduled to be installed in the airlock early next week. Launch Complex 39B was cleared most of November 15 for the STS-38 launch. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Nov. 16, 1990 – edited)

At Launch Complex 39A the Crawler Transporter is moving the empty Mobile Launcher Platform back to the Vehicle Assembly Building this morning. At Launch Complex 39B, preparations continue for the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia and her Astro-1 astronomy payload. Today, software is being loaded into Astro’s Mass Memory Unit, the camera on the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope is being loaded with film, and the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope is being serviced with liquid argon.

At the perimeter of Launch Complex 39B tankers are delivering liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to the pair of large storage spheres. On the Fixed Service Structure, the orbiter mid-body umbilical will be connected to Columbia today and leak-checked. Over the weekend, the hydraulic retest of main engine No. 1 was completed on November 17, servicing the Auxiliary Power Units with water was completed, and some initial ordnance work was done the next evening. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Nov. 19, 1990 – edited)

The first Japanese in space will be accompanied by six green frogs when he blasts off aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft December 2. Toyohiro Akiyama, 48, a television reporter from the private Tokyo Broadcasting System, will observe how the Japanese frogs behave in a weightless environment on the Soviet space station Mir, a TBS spokesman said today. The experiment conducted by the first journalist in space will be beamed live on the TBS network. (Deseret News, Nov. 21, 1990 – edited)

With Atlantis back on the ground after a surprise Florida landing, NASA is gearing up to launch Columbia in less than two weeks, around December 2, to kick off the long-delayed Astro-1astronomy flight. Atlantis and her five-man crew, diverted from a California landing because of dangerous crosswinds, glided to a flawless day-late touchdown at the Florida shuttle port at 4:43 p.m. EST Tuesday to close out a five-day mission, the last top-secret flight currently planned by NASA. It was the first Florida shuttle landing in 5 1/2 years – only the sixth in the 37-flight history of the program – and NASA officials said the $2 billion orbiter appeared to sail through its 2 million-mile 79-orbit flight in excellent condition.

Preparations for the launch of Columbia will begin winding down today to allow work crews time off for the Thanksgiving holidays. Work will resume at Launch Complex 39B November 24. Today, the External Tank purges have been completed and the Mass Memory Units are in the final stages of being loaded for flight on the orbiter. The access platform will be removed from the payload bay and the doors closed today for the holidays. (Deseret News, Nov. 21, 1990; KSC Space Shuttle Processing Status Report, Nov. 21, 1990 – edited)

Only three percent of the 18,000 Kennedy Space Center employees – about 520 contractors and 30 civil service workers – were on hand at the space center today; about the same number are expected to be at work tomorrow, according to KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham. “They were just kind of standing guard while the rest of the work force took the holiday off.”

When technicians report to work at Launch Complex 39B November 24, they will continue efforts to get Columbia ready for launch, perhaps as early as December 2. Their first job will be to replace a faulty valve connecting ground support equipment to the orbiter’s Auxiliary Power Units. The valve problem was noted during a recent test at the pad.

Work will continue in prepping Columbia’s aft compartment for flight. NASA managers expressed confidence today that Columbia is in good shape. Director of Shuttle Operations at KSC James Harrington said, “The team is ready to go; everybody is anxious to get Columbia off the ground.” (Halvorson, Florida Today, Nov. 23 & 24, 1990 – edited)

Today Kennedy Space Center technicians will pressurize tanks inside Columbia containing toxic propellants which fuel the Orbital Maneuvering System engines. During this loading operation, the pad will be closed to no-essential personnel. Other routine tasks will be undertaken after the hazardous fuel loading is completed. Columbia’s payload bay doors will be open later this evening and final servicing of the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope payload is scheduled for November 28.

Over the weekend a faulty valve was repaired and the installation of explosive devices was completed. These are used to separate the orbiter from its SRBs and ET. Countdown is targeted to begin at 12:01 a.m. EST November 29, leading to a 1:28 a.m. EST lift-off December 2. The official STS-35 countdown and launch dates will be set following the Flight Readiness Review which begins today at KSC and concludes tomorrow.

Scientists who manage the Astro-1 have requested that NASA move the launch time from the expected 1:28 a.m. December 2 to about 4:00 a.m. EST, which would increase the amount of scientific information generated during the mission by about ten to fifteen percent. “It would be nice,” said Ed Weiler, Astro-1 project scientist, “but to be fair to the shuttle world, the new time would introduce so many changes into their plans that it is probably not worth it.” (Banke, Florida Today, Nov. 26 & 27, 1990; KSC Space Shuttle Processing Status Report, Nov. 26, 1990 – edited)

Months of work to locate and repair elusive hydrogen leaks should bear fruit shortly after midnight Sunday, December 2, when Columbia lifts of on STS-35, her second flight of the year. Shuttle managers set 1:28 a.m. EST as the opening of the 2-hour 30-minute launch window today following a brief Flight Readiness Review today, during which all shuttle support elements stated they were ready to proceed with the launch of Columbia. A proposal that NASA delay the launch till later in the morning to increase scientific research time was rejected on the grounds that the delay would have complicated last-minute planning.

“The shuttle team has worked very hard to get Columbia ready to fly,” Space Shuttle Director Robert Crippen said after the meeting. “With the hydrogen leak resolved, we are ready to end the year with the Astro-1 mission which will extend our knowledge of the Universe.”

The countdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. EST November 29. Air Force meteorologists say there is a 70 percent chance of favorable weather, indicating a high likelihood of an on-time launch on December 2. The astronaut crew, which is now in quarantine at Johnson Space Center to prevent them from getting sick before the mission, is expected to arrive at KSC about 11:30 p.m. November 29.

Split into two in-flight teams, the crew will perform scientific observations with the Astro ultraviolet and X-ray observatory around the clock during the 9-day 21-hour mission. As planned, the STS-35 flight will be the second-longest shuttle mission in history. Columbia is currently scheduled to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 8:25 p.m. PST December 11. JSC’s lead flight director for STS-35 is Gary Coen. Wayne Hale will be in charge of the ascent and entry flight control teams; Coen will be in charge of the Orbit 1 team; Al Pennington will supervise the Orbit 2 team; and Bob Castle will be the Orbit 3 flight director. (Campion/Malone, STS-35 Launch Advisory, Nov. 27, 1990; Banke, Florida Today, Nov. 28, 1990; James Hartsfield, Space News Roundup, Nov. 30, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:34 pm
Launch preparations are underway for Columbia’s STS-35 mission. Today, the aft compartment will be closed out for flight. The power reactant storage and distribution system tanks have been purged in preparation for propellant loading operations scheduled November 30. (KSC Shuttle Status Report, Nov. 28, 1990 – edited)

At 1:00 a.m. EST this morning the countdown for Columbia’s long-delayed STS-35 mission began. “Columbia is looking real good,” said Bascom Murrah, the manager in charge of preparing the orbiter for flight. The crew is expected to arrive at 11:30 tonight. Countdown activities at Launch Complex 39B today include servicing the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope with argon gas, a task which must take place every ten days. Since the mission was first scrubbed in May, Kennedy Space Center workers have serviced the telescope twenty times. (Banke, Florida Today, Nov. 29, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:35 pm
A Soyuz rocket plastered with Japanese advertising was rolled into position today to carry a Japanese broadcaster into space Sunday after a truce was reached on money squabbles. The Tokyo Broadcasting System, which is paying $10 million for the launch in a contract with the Glavkosmos space agency, complained that the Soviets were demanding wild extra money for everything from spacesuits to $10,000 an hour for Soviet cosmonauts to hold a video camera during the eight-day mission.”It is not settled yet, but because the launch is so important to us and to the Soviets we have stopped the negotiations and will return to them later after the launch,” said Ichiro Sasasi, a TBS executive.

By tradition all Soviet rockets leave for the launch pad at 7 a.m. because that is when Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok rocket rolled out to make him the first man in space on April 12, 1961. And precisely at 7 a.m. today, the Soyuz rocket that will make Toyohiro Akiyamo the first journalist in space left its assembly plant on a rail line leading right to Gagarin’s launch pad No. 1. Truck-mounted projector lights sliced through the morning darkness and lighted up the Soyuz as some of the 150 Japanese journalists scrambled to the rail bed to snap pictures of the booster emblazoned with advertisements for Sony, Ohtsuka Chemicals and Yuni-Charm, makers of women’s hygiene products. Two hours later, Soviet space technicians wearing orange hard hats and black cold-weather gear against the 19-degree temperatures jerked the Soyuz upright with hydraulic lifts. Gantries pinioned the rocket into the firing position for the launch Sunday at 11:45 a.m.

Akiyama, 48, a former TBS bureau chief in Washington who kicked a four-pack a day cigarette habit to make the flight, will be accompanied to the Mir space station by two seasoned Soviet cosmonauts – Musa Manarov, a joint holder of the record of 366 days in space, and Viktor Afanasyev, who has tested out on every Soviet aircraft. Akiyama’s backup, Ryoko Kikuchi, 26, the TBS network’s first woman camera operator, was unfortunate enough to develop acute appendicitis Monday (Nov. 26) and underwent an emergency operation at Baikonur General Hospital, increasing the pressure on Akiyama to stay healthy.

“There is no contract clause for cancellations and we are not even thinking about it, but if it happens we can restart negotiations,” said Sasasi, the TBS executive who fathered the mission known as “Cosmo-Reporter.” He said Kikuchi, a Chinese-language expert who learned Russian as part of her cosmonaut training was feeling fine after her operation and may be able to come to the launch Sunday. A blaze of 20 TBS cameras will cover the lift-off, including one in the control room when the launch button is pushed, and one under the launch pad that will promptly melt during the blastoff. (Deseret News, Nov. 30, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:36 pm
FLASHBACK 1989 – “We Soviet People Would Prefer A Soviet Newsman”

While plans for the first-ever Anglo-Soviet space mission proceed apace, we should not forget that a Japanese journalist is scheduled to fly aboard the Mir (Peace) space station in 1992 – one year after the “Juno” mission. An agreement defining the terms under which the joint Soviet/Japanese mission will take place was signed at the Moscow headquarters of the state-owned Licensintorg foreign-trade organization on 27 March 1989.

Among those in attendance included Alexander Dunayev, head of Glavkosmos, the commercial arm of the Soviet space program, Vladimir Ignatov, the chairman of Licenseintorg, Mr. K. Nakamura, President of Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), which is footing the estimated $20 million bill for the Japanese cosmonaut/journalist’s flight, and Mr. H. Ota, TBS’ news chief.

Courtesy of the Novosti news agency, we have obtained the text of an interview which took place earlier this year between Vladimir Golovachev, a reporter from the Soviet newspaper Trud, and Mr. Nakamura of TBS. We think SFN readers will agree that it makes interesting reading, though we should point out that the interview took place before the announcement of the signing of the contract covering the joint Anglo-Soviet “Juno” mission.

Also, since the interview took place, a shortlist of seven cosmonaut journalist candidates has been drawn up after extensive selection machinations, which absorbed more time than originally intended. The seven candidates, two of them women, now have to undergo a series of strict medical examinations at the hands of a panel of Soviet doctors. Two of them will then be selected to commence flight training at Star City in 1991.

Rather pointedly, the introduction to the Novosti communiqué states: “Frankly, we Soviet people would prefer to see a Soviet newsman in space. Sergei Korolev dreamed of this in his time. Now, we shall have to buy space reports for hard currency.” It concludes, however, that a contract has been signed, and that the Soviets will therefore do everything in their power to ensure the success of the joint Japanese/Soviet mission.

Golovachev: Any selection details?

Nakamura: We shall start with 40 candidates, including six women. Not all 40 will be journalists, though we’d like our space traveler to be a journalist. We have fine people on our staff, particularly on our news service. We plan to finish medical tests towards the end of April to select the six best-suited for more tests in the Soviet Union, which will select two in late-May (as yet, the two have still to be selected – Ed.).

Golovachev: Any chance for Japanese women to go to space?

Nakamura: Many would love to go, but I doubt that all will pass the tests. Many women on our staff have eye problems, while the maximum deviation admissible for space travelers is 0.6.

Golovachev: When did the idea of a Soviet/Japanese spaceflight first emerge?

Nakamura: Last November. It first came my way at the start of this year. To be frank, it seemed a bit far-fetched at the time. But the time for which the project is approximately scheduled coincides with the company’s 40th anniversary. We’ve been racking our brains how to celebrate it best of all, and we think that our man in space will be the best thing for the jubilee. The flight will build a bridge between Japan and the Soviet Union.

Golovachev: How much will the project cost, and what will the Japanese side contribute?

Nakamura: We made it understood that we’ll only talk about the costs and contributions a bit later. I can only say now that the agreement is mutually profitable, and Glavkosmos stands to gain.

Golovachev: Why did you prefer the Soviet Union for a partner, not the United States?

Nakamura: Japan cooperates with America on government level in space exploration, so the United States does not contract with private firms. Besides, there was a major disaster there quite recently, while the Soviet Union has had none since the 1970s. We rely on Soviet technology.

Golovachev: Will the Japanese reporter make live casts?

Nakamura: Yes, one telecast and two radio broadcasts a day for Japan, as the contract has it (the telecasts will be ten minutes long, and the radio broadcasts will last 20 minutes – Ed.).

Golovachev: And will these broadcasts be relayed to the Soviet Union?

Nakamura: That’s for the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting to settle.

Golovachev: Did Glavkosmos strike a commercial deal before?

Nakamura: Yes, this was the second one, as far as manned flights go. The first was with Austria, and the work’s already started. All in all, we made 19 commercial deals, including those on experiments, photographs, and so on, with ten already implemented.

(Spaceflight News, October 1989 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:38 pm
We’re Back, We’re Ready


The fifth countdown to launch STS-35 began Thursday, November 29, for the Space Shuttle Columbia, poised for a long astronomy mission that has been delayed for six months by fuel leaks. The ship, its crew of seven and a $150 million collection of ultraviolet and X-ray telescopes are scheduled to lift off at 1:28 a.m. EST Sunday, December 2. “The countdown is going very smoothly,” said NASA Test Director Mike Leinbach. “We’re right on the time line and not tracking any problems at all.”

Forecasters placed the prospects of favorable weather at 70 percent. However, Leinbach said mission planners had begun developing contingency plans for a Monday launch should a tropical storm system south of Cuba trigger bad weather. Though NASA usually does not suspend preparations in the middle of a countdown for weather, this count could be held at the 11-hour mark for a day. “We’re obviously going for Sunday until we’re told to stop,” Leinbach said.

Scheduled for ten days, the flight would represent a full recovery from delays caused by potentially explosive hydrogen leaks that grounded the manned space program over the summer. “When we were not prepared to launch, we stood down and solved our problems,” said Shuttle Director Robert Crippen, who supervised the recovery. NASA launched Discovery on October 6 and Atlantis November 15 on a secret mission that had been delayed for four months by a fuel leak. With an on-time lift-off on December 2 the space agency would have launched three missions in 57 days since the leaks appeared. At its fastest pace, NASA launched three flights in 54 days in 1985, two months before the Challenger accident.

NTD Mike Leinbach said, “The team’s mood is real upbeat. Everybody’s feeling real good and looking forward to a nice Christmas present, which will be getting that thing off the ground Sunday morning.” Though launch officials expressed confidence, they could not rule out the possibility of another delay. “It’s the nature of the business,” said Leinbach. “We want to get the thing off the ground, that’s what we all strive for. If it doesn’t go, it will be disappointing, of course, but we expect it will.”


Columbia’s seven astronauts expressed optimism the shuttle’s fifth countdown would lead to lift-off as the clock ticked toward this weekend’s launch. “We’re back, we’re ready, and we want to get on with it,” Commander Vance Brand said after arriving with his crew late Thursday, November 29, from Johnson Space Center in Houston. “This time, why, I think we have a very good feeling. We’re ready to go.”

“We’re going to go do it this time,” astronaut Sam Durrance told reporters. His colleague Jeff Hoffman explained why the STS-35 crew is quite optimistic this time: “Four years ago we were going to look at Comet Halley. In May we were going to look at Comet Bennett. In September we were going to look at Comet Levy.” –   Comet Levy is moving rapidly out of the solar system and is not nearly as visible as it would have been in September, during the previous launch attempt. – “You’ve all heard comets are harbingers of bad news and bad luck. Well, this time we have no comet so we’re going to go,” said Hoffman, smiling.


So cautious were Astro-1 scientists in their planning for Columbia’s fifth launch opportunity that they scheduled their latest observations around a January 1 lift-off. That will require some retargeting, said Art Davidsen, a Johns Hopkins University researcher who serves as one of the observatory’s principal investigators. But the postponements have presented scientists with a rare opportunity to study a blazar, an object spotted just days ago that has suddenly become the brightest object in the Universe.

“This will be high priority now,” Davidsen said. “This is something you always hope will happen but cannot plan for.” Quasars become blazars when they suddenly flare dozens of times brighter than usual, for months at a time. The object is several billion light years distant, near the constellation Virgo – so far that it is easily outshined by closer, brilliant objects like the Moon or Venus.

The Columbia mission seems likely to loom significant in another unexpected way. Also on Sunday, December 2, the Soviet Union plans to launch two cosmonauts and a Japanese television journalist aboard Soyuz TM-11. The Soviet ship is headed for a docking with the Mir space station, where two more cosmonauts are working. With the shuttle and Soviet launches, a record twelve Earthlings – not to mention six green frogs – would be in orbit, breaking the former mark of eleven established in April 1984 with two Soyuz capsules – docked to the Salyut 7 space station – and the U.S. shuttle Challenger aloft.

(Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Nov. 30 & Dec. 2, 1990; Deseret News, Nov. 30 & Dec. 1, 1990; Halvorson/Brown, Florida Today, Nov. 30, 1990; Brown Florida Today, Dec. 1, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:39 pm
STS-35 Daily Flight Log

“Astro overcomes… and overcomes… and overcomes… and overcomes…”

- Titel Story, Countdown, February 1991

(The following Flight Log is based on Countdown’s STS-35/Astro-1 Mission Report)

Add it up:

HUT – Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, views in the high-energy UV wavelengths
WUPPE – Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment, studies the way UV light is polarized, or aligned in a single plane
UIT – Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, photographs stellar UV sources
IPS – Instrument Pointing System, the platform upon the UV telescopes rest, used to point them
OSP – Optical Sensor Package, an IPS system that uses three star trackers to lock on targets
IDOP – “operational identification,” automatic pointing by the IPS/OSP
CTA – Contingency Target Acquisition, manual pointing by the crew using a joystick
BBXRT – Broad Band X-Ray Telescope, observes stars in the X-ray wavelengths, rests behind the UV telescopes in the payload bay
TAPS – Two Axis Pointing System, used to point the BBXRT, is controlled by the Goddard Space Flight Center

Put it all together – with a crew of seven and control teams in three NASA centers – and it spells the Astro-1 mission.

Sunday, December 2, 1990 (Launch Day) – A Real Light Show

“We sat on the pad waiting to launch, and saw the Moon going across slowly, lying in our seats there for an hour or two. During launch, you had the feeling you were lighting up all of that part of Florida.”

- Vance Brand, CDR Columbia STS-35, NASA Oral History Project interview, April 2002


The three ultraviolet telescopes of Astro-1 and the X-ray telescope added to the flight had no Eartly use. To probe the unseen secrets of the Universe, they had to shed the obscuring atmosphere of Earth which blots out UV and X-ray wavelengths. The task of lifting the eyes of Astro above the soup of the atmosphere fell to Columbia and the Crew of Vance Brand, Guy Gardner, John “Mike” Lounge, Robert Parker, Jeffrey Hoffman, Ronald Parise and Samuel Durrance. And that task had been thwarted since May by fuel leaks in Columbia.

The countdown – the fifth for the problem-plagued Astro-1 mission – had been a smooth one – only “nickel and dime problems,” as NASA Test Director Al Sofge put it. “There were no issues, no concerns,” said NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone, who monitored a meeting of mission managers. “We will keep watching the weather.” At the start of the weekend, forecasters had predicted that the odds of favorable conditions would improve from 65 percent to 85 percent by the end of the 2 1/2-hour launch period, starting at 1:28 a.m. Sunday, December 2. Mission managers were prepared to wait until shortly before 3:00 a.m. if necessary to find an opening in deteriorating weather.

“We are expecting an opportunity in the window,” said Air Force Captain Mike Adams, the weather officer at Kennedy Space Center. “But it will be a matter of looking to see if there is a break in the cloud cover and rain shower activity.” Overall, the odds of favorable weather were lowered to 50-50 late Saturday as waves of clouds, some with rain, began to come ashore.

Now as midnight issued the start of December 2, with the shuttle fleet having completed two flights in two months and Columbia having passed a tanking test, the task finally appeared within reach. Only the Earth’s atmosphere – in the form of a cloud deck over the launch site – could bind Astro-1 yet again to the ground…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:42 pm
PAO (George Diller): This is the 38th launch of the Space Shuttle program, the tenth launch for the Space Shuttle Columbia, and the sixth launch during darkness hours. This mission is scheduled to last ten days. Observations of the stars and galaxies will be conducted around the clock by the seven-member flight crew using the three ultraviolet telescopes and the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope. The nominal orbital altitude for Columbia will be 218 statute miles. The landing at the end of mission will be at Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Mojave Desert. It will be the third night landing in the Space Shuttle program.

Liquid hydrogen loading – which had caused so many headaches during Columbia’s earlier launch attempts and tanking tests – was performed as planned with no stop-flows or reverts. However, one stop-flow/revert occurred during liquid oxygen chilldown when a 350 A surge shut down a liquid oxygen pump. An alternate pump was activated with a resultant delay of 49 minutes in the loading operations.

Throughout the preflight operations, no significant hydrogen hazardous gas concentrations were detected with the maximum hydrogen level in the orbiter aft compartment being 140 ppm. This level was significantly lower than normally experienced with Columbia.

During replenish, the aft compartment helium reading reached 16,200 ppm, which exceeded the LCC limit of 10,000 ppm. A leak was isolated to the aft compartment hazardous gas detection system sample line disconnect, which ingested T-0 umbilical helium purge gas. Therefore, no helium leak actually existed within the aft compartment.

As expected, only the normal ice/frost formations for the December environment were observed during the countdown. No ice or frost existed on the acreage areas of the External Tank. Normal quantities of ice and frost were present on the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen feed lines and on the pressurization line brackets. Frost was also present on the liquid hydrogen Protruding Air Load (PAL) ramps.

The Ice Team reported that no anomalous thermal protection system conditions existed on the ET, except that a two-foot long by 1/ 4-inch wide vertical crack existed in the intertank thermal protection system material. This crack started at the liquid hydrogen-tank intertank interface and ran in a valley of the intertank stringer below the ground umbilical carrier plate, near the –Y thrust panel. KSC documentation had dispositioned this crack as acceptable for flight in the as-is condition.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:47 pm
PAO: This is shuttle launch control at T minus 3 hours and holding. We’re now at the dining room of the astronaut quarters… Mission Specialist Robert Parker… Payload Specialist Rom Parise… and the pilot for STS-35, Guy Gardner… Mission Commander Vance Brand… Payload Specialist Sam Durrance… Mission Specialist Jeff Hoffman… and Mission Specialist Mike Lounge… and after breakfast they’ll receive a weather briefing and a status on the countdown… a cake on the table with the STS-35 emblem of course is traditional… and the crew will be heading out toward launch pad around ten o’clock tonight.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:52 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:56 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 09:59 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:04 pm
PAO: This is shuttle launch control at T minus 2 hours 55 minutes and counting. The flight crew now leaving the astronaut quarters and boarding the elevator…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:07 pm
PAO: And Vance Brand followed by Guy Gardner, Jeff Hoffman, Mike Lounge, Ron Parise, Sam Durrance, Bob Parker…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:08 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:09 pm
PAO: … and the astrovan now departing.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:11 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:14 pm
PAO: The crew now coming off the elevator and they’ll now be walking across the Orbiter Access Arm…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:16 pm
The seven crewmembers started entering the cabin at approximately 10:40 p.m. EST.

PAO: Closeout crew will be assisting the astronauts with their helmets and their other equipment as they enter the orbiter…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:18 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:19 pm
Brand: Houston, this is CDR. How do you read air-to-ground one?

CapCom (Mike Baker): Columbia, Houston. Vance, got you loud and clear. PLT, how do you read?

Gardner: Loud and clear, Mike, on air-to-ground one.

CapCom: Okay, Guy, we got you the same. Let’s configure for air-to-ground two.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:20 pm

AFN/Europe: It’s seven o’clock in Central Europe (1:00 a.m. EST).

Brown: AP Network News, I’m Larry Brown. The seven Columbia Space Shuttle astronauts and their $150 million Astro observatory are set to lift off from Cape Canaveral Florida less than a half hour from now. A rare nighttime launch and the first trip for Columbia after an agonizing half year of fuel leak delays. The AP’s Nick Juliano is standing by for the launch at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center and has this live update for us. Nick?

Juliano (AP/KSC): And Larry, weather is a concern here as we near the opening of the launch window. A cover of low clouds is hanging over the launch site. The commander needs clear skies to see the runway in the event of an emergency Return To Launch Site landing. But the voice of launch control, George Diller, says that there are breaks in the clouds.

PAO (recorded): On the satellite picture we can see a break in the clouds to the southeast which forecasters believe would be in this area somewhere around 3:00 a.m. or so.

Juliano: Seven astronauts are in their seats aboard Columbia. They’ve been waiting since May for this flight which has been delayed four times, mostly by fuel leaks. The ten-day mission will have the crewmen working in two shifts around the clock. Nick Juliano, reporting live from the Kennedy Space Center.

Brown: There’s to be a manned space launch in the Soviet Union this morning. The Soyuz TM-11 space capsule is due to lift off from the Baikonur space complex about three hours after the shuttle launch. Onboard will be two cosmonauts and space travel’s first non-scientist paying passenger, Toyohiro Akiyama. He’s a reporter for Japan’s TBS television network which is paying the Soviets $12 million  to take him along.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:22 pm

About 20 minutes before scheduled launch at 1:28 a.m. EST:

PAO: Astronaut Dan Brandenstein reporting from the Shuttle Training Aircraft that he believes that weather conditions are basically go at this time and that those conditions are expected to continue for the next 40 or 50 minutes.

During the T-9 minute hold, the NASA Test Director John Conway began conducting the traditional poll of the launch team. All responded with a rousing “go!”... until he called to the Supervisor of Range Operations at the Air Force’s Eastern Space and Missile Center, under whom range safety responsibilities rest.

SRO: Be advised that the RSO (Range Safety Officer) is going to call a no-go until we can get an observer on the helicopter and look at the thickness of the clouds overhead.

This call surprised Launch Director Robert Sieck, since Brandenstein was able to see the ground from the STA. The weather had already been declared a go.

Sieck: SRO, Launch Director. Say again what your action is at this time on the observation.
SRO: Sir, the RSO is putting an observer on a helicopter in order to read the cloud thickness, and he estimates the time to be between 10 and 15 minutes before he can make the call.

Sieck: So you’re going to go with a local observation from the chopper as opposed to a Cape weather observation?

SRO: Sir, I’m going with the RSO’s call – yes, sir.

The range safety rules require the ability to view the shuttle through the first 8,000 feet “by cameras, optics or visually.” The coverage was deemed necessary after Challenger, when the Solid Rocket Boosters did not tumble in solo flight as predicted. If they are let loose at low altitude, they could fly a course endangering people – and radar could not detect a problem below 8,000 feet.

Normally tracking cameras kept watch during early flight, and placing an observer in a helicopter to gain the required observations had never been done before. Indeed, this plan was developed on the spur of the moment. “Once we saw we were headed into this condition, we took one of the range safety officers out of the ground surveillance and put her into a helicopter. This is not standard operating procedure,” said Colonel John R. Wormington, Commander of the Eastern Space and Missile Center. The helicopter, a Sikorsky HH-3, was on standby for air/sea rescue.

Sieck, trying to clarify this sudden, new technique, called up the RSO directly on the prime communications channel.

Sieck: RSO, this is Launch Director. Say again what your approach is to verifying weather constraints.

RSO: We currently have an observer on a helicopter who is going to go up, examine the thickness of the cloud deck, and if it’s thin enough and they can get above it and give us the call from the top of the deck up to 8,000 feet, then we’ll be able to go ahead. The helicopter is currently climbing on its way up to 8,000 feet – about a five minute estimate.

Sieck: Copy that. We had a confirmation from STA on the cloud thicknesses and have an official obs from Cape Weather, so I guess the question is, is the additional data needed?

Sieck still appeared confused by the procedure and repeated, ”And say again what your criteria is on the height and the thickness.”

RSO: If the observer can see from above the thickness down to the pad and up to 8,000 feet, then we’ll be go.

Sieck: Well, I copy that. I don’t understand what that method of observation is in the Launch Commit Criteria, but we’ll hear from you in a few minutes…

The effort was disrupted and delayed by several small snarls. Takeoff of the helicopter was delayed because it was being refueled at the time it was needed. The microphone of the range safety officer aboard the chopper failed, and reports had to be relayed through the pilot. The helicopter took several minutes flying through several specifically designated areas – called Test Support Positions – trying to find a hole in the clouds.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:23 pm
Tom Mintier (CNN/Atlanta): Hello, I’m Tom Mintier. The Space Shuttle Columbia sits on Pad 39 at the Kennedy Space Center – waiting, waiting for the clouds to open up. The situation right now is that they do not have a go on the ceiling. They are only getting about 7500 feet and they ran into about 1,000 feet of cloud cover over the landing site area that they would have to use in the case of an emergency. They have put an observer into a helicopter, and he is flying up and down that area, the last 500 feet that they need for approval for launch. So they are at T-9 right now and they’re holding and are going to stay held at T minus 9 minutes until they clear up the situation. We’ll be back and continue to update you on the situation…

Launch Director Bob Sieck again asked the RSO what the observer’s visibility requirements are… He gained assurance that once a “go” is given, no further confirmations were required from the helicopter. After much conversation, the word finally came.

SRO: Go – you have a final clear to launch.

Sieck: Okay, copy. Are you configured at this point to come out of the hold?

NTD: That’s affirmative.

Sieck: Okay. Columbia, Launch Director on air-to-ground one.

Brand: Yeah, go ahead, Bob.

Sieck: Okay, Vance. Well, in a few minutes here, it looks like the remainder of the work for 35 is going to be up to you and your crew and the flight team. So at this point we’ll wish you a good one.

Brand: Thank you, Bob. The crew of Columbia appreciates all the great work the launch team has done. We’ve got a great vehicle in Columbia here, and we’re just glad to be getting her back in the air again… We’re proud to be able to take Columbia back up again.

Sieck: Copy, thank you, sir. And NTD, you have a go to proceed.

The countdown, after a 21-minute delay, immediately resumed and drained smoothly towards lift-off.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:25 pm

PAO: Standing by now for Orbiter Access Arm retract…

GLS: GLS is go for Orbiter Access Arm retract.

PAO: Arm now being retracted… T minus 7 minutes and counting… word that the Broad Band X-Ray Telescope is ready… in about twenty seconds the Orbiter Test Conductor will give Pilot Guy Gardner a go to perform the Auxiliary Power Unit prestart procedure. Gardner will then be setting switches in the cockpit to put the APUs in a ready-to-start configuration… hydraulic strip chart recorders now running, T minus 6 minutes and counting…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:28 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:31 pm
PAO: T minus 3 minutes 40 seconds and counting, rudder being moved through its positions… standing by now to gimbal the main engines… all systems are go at this time.

Mintier: Hello, I’m Tom Mintier. The clock is ticking now at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The weather has improved, all technical situations have been cleared. And the weather situation was that they needed 8,000 feet of ceiling before they would launch. That has been accomplished just barely. There is a helicopter with an observer flying at 8,000 feet, keeping their eyes on the ground. There’s now about three minutes left to go in the countdown. We’re going to take a short break and then we’ll have the launch of Columbia and Astro, a long-awaited mission, in just a moment.

OTC: PLT, OTC, clear caution and warning memory, verify no unexpected errors.

Gardner: OTC, PLT, clear caution and warning memory.

PAO: Fuel cell systems now transferring to internal power.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:34 pm
PAO: Main engine gimbal profile now complete… Standing by now, the retraction of the gaseous oxygen vent hood is underway. The Ground Launch Sequencer will confirm when it is fully retracted…. Liquid oxygen tank now at flight pressure…

Mintier: Well, as you can see the gaseous oxygen vent hood is being removed, a good indication that Columbia is very close to launch. A little over two minutes left in the count right now. Again, they cleared the weather problem out just a few moments ago and decided to start the clocks. While they did have optical clearance from the ground for the 8,000 feet, they wanted to put up a helicopter observer up. The Range Safety Officer said that unless they could see through the cloud cover at 8,000 feet down to the ground that he would not allow Columbia to be launched. There was extensive discussion going on about that situation, something we’ve never heard before as far as a criteria of having an observer, but when it is this close when they are talking about the difference of 500 feet in the cloud cover. Most of those mission managers wanted to go, but the Range Safety Officer said if he could not see the shuttle that it was a no-go situation. That cleared up about five or six minutes ago.

OTC: And flight crew, OTC. Close and lock your visors, initiate O2 flow, have a great flight.

GLS: GLS is go for ET/LH2 pressurization.

PAO: Pressurizing the liquid hydrogen tank… T minus 1 minute 25 seconds.

Brand: And CDR putting visors down, and we’ll see you later. Thanks a lot.

OTC: Copy that.

PAO: Commander reporting visors are down…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:36 pm
Mintier: They started the countdown clock, they have started the Auxiliary Power Units and they are about ready to make a fifth attempt at launching Columbia, the fifth try since last May. Three of the four previous tries were stopped because of a hydrogen leak problem. No problem with that system tonight. They did have a problem with helium, but that was cleared up. They found out that it was a ground-based problem and not a problem inside the orbiter itself.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/16/2017 10:37 pm
PAO: Heaters on the joints of the Solid Rocket Boosters have been turned off. T minus 40 seconds… Flight data recorders are on, coming up on a go from the Ground Launch Sequencer… T minus 31, we have a go.

GLS: GLS is go for auto sequence start.

PAO: Handoff has now occurred from the Ground Launch Sequencer to the Space Shuttle; Columbia’s computers now controlling…. Booster Hydraulic Power Units have started… T minus 16 seconds, sound suppression water system is armed… 12… 11… 10…

GLS: GLS is go for main engine start.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 04:59 pm
PAO: Go for main engine start… 7… 6… 5… 4… three good engines, three good engines, up and burning… 2… 1… zero and lift-off. Lift-off of the Space Shuttle Columbia and Astro-1, for an insight into the lifestyle of the galaxies…

Brand: Roll program.

CapCom: Roger roll, Columbia.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:01 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:02 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:04 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:07 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:08 pm

At ignition, the three main engines focused like light beams, and Columbia rose like a giant flashlight pointed back at the ground. Lift-off came at 1:49 a.m. EST. At 25 seconds, the light beam illuminated the clouds above it and then was swallowed like a child playing with a flashlight by putting it in their mouth. The clouds glowed in spreading – and then dimming – liquid orange. “It was really spectacular to look out the window and watch that cloud deck approach,” Guy Gardner would recall after the flight. Within seconds, Columbia was through the clouds, making her way along ascent as clear as the air above the clouds.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:10 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:13 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:15 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:16 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:19 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:21 pm
PAO: This is Mission Control Houston, now controlling as Columbia ascends through 1400 feet. Good roll confirmed here on the ground. Three good main engines, three good Auxiliary Power Units and three good fuel cells… Columbia now at 6100 feet… Three main engines are now throttling down to ease Columbia’s passage through the area of maximum dynamic pressure on the vehicle; now at 18,000 feet… relative velocity now 1100 feet per second… Three main engines throttling now back up and we show them now at 104 percent.

CapCom: Columbia, go at throttle up.

Brand: Roger. Go at throttle up.

PAO: Go at throttle up and now Columbia at 67,000 feet, downrange eight nautical miles, relative velocity 2500 feet per second… now passing through 100,000 feet, downrange 16 nautical miles now, relative velocity 3600 feet per second…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:23 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:23 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:23 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:28 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:33 pm
PAO: Standing by for SRB sep call… and good SRB separation confirmed here in the control center.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:36 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:38 pm
Mintier: Well, the Solid Rocket Boosters have separated from Columbia; Columbia now on its three main engines. A beautiful launch, turning night into day at the Cape, and a spectacular launch, the only way to talk about it – a night launch, they are infrequent. And CNN’s John Zarrella joins us now from the Kennedy Space Center. John, it looked like that it wasn’t going to happen because of something we’ve never heard before, that a helicopter observer had to be put up to clear the last 500 feet.

John Zarrella (CNN/KSC): That was very, very strange. I was trying to figure it out all along, and the most I got out of it was that they were concerned that they wanted to be able to see the stack as it got through 8,000 feet. And I’m sure the viewers could see why when they saw that picture as it did break through the cloud cover. There were periods where you couldn’t get a good look at the shuttle, at least from here, from our observation looking up at it. It was difficult. And that’s of course in case there is a problem, in case there is an emergency, they want to be able to see the stack which is basically the shuttle, the orbiter, the External Tank and the Solid Rocket Boosters, all performing together, and that there are no problems.

So, but that was very rare. Usually we are used to hearing the Shuttle Training Aircraft giving them clearances, checking the weather. And we saw the helicopter flying over, taking off looking at the cloud deck. But very, very interesting conversation and certainly strange… But it turned out to be a spectacular lift-off; it’s been almost a year since Columbia last flew last January. And as we all remember it was last May when this mission was supposed to get off the ground. So it has been a long overdue flight, that finally NASA has been able to get Columbia off the ground. Tom?

Mintier: Alright there, at negative return now. So Columbia’s ten-day mission, with the largest crew since Challenger, and a mission that has been on the boards and on the books since 1986, it was the original target date for launch… the pad is empty at the Kennedy Space Center and the Columbia mission, a ten-day mission, is on its way. We of course will have continuing live coverage throughout this ten-day Astro mission, a mission to study the ultraviolet, what we can’t see from Earth – even from Earth telescopes. We’ll be back throughout the ten days to keep you up to date continuously. I’m Tom Mintier.

The silence of space greeted the crew at Main Engine Cut-Off at 1:57 a.m. EST. “Nominal MECO,” Vance Brand, the oldest human to fly in space at the age of 59, called. “It’s a great feeling to arrive in orbit and realize on the way up, why, you just had a flawless ascent,” he would say after the mission. “We had a real light show coming up – that was really something,” he said three minutes after the engines shut down. “That’s great,” replied CapCom Mike Baker. Then the mission pushed on without pause.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:40 pm

AFN/Europe: It’s eight o’clock in Central Europe (2:00 a.m. EST). By satellite from the United States, the news is next on AFN.

Juliano: AP Network News, I’m Nick Juliano, reporting from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. With a string of frustrating fuel leaks behind it, Columbia roared into the night sky following a last-minute weather delay. As it raced away from its launch pad, the flame from its propulsion system lit the sky… Columbia’s flight is the first Space Shuttle mission dedicated to the study of astrophysics. From its orbit 218 miles above Earth the ship will become an orbiting laboratory. Four telescopes anchored to the cargo bay will view exploding stars, quasars and other violent objects that radiate ultraviolet and X-ray light. The launch caps a rollercoaster ride of success and setback for NASA this year. This is Nick Juliano, AP Network News, reporting live from the Kennedy Space Center.

CapCom: You have a go for the ET photo DTO.

Bob Moon: …hoping to save as much electricity as possible so they might extend their mission to ten days – right now it’s planned for a little over nine days. Then the plan is for Columbia to land nine or ten days from now in the California desert at Edwards Air Force Base. So, Columbia safely in space… The successful launch of Columbia… I’m Bob Moon at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and this is the Associated Press.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:41 pm

A bit later, AP’s Bob Moon reported, “Like a brilliant rising star, Columbia went through a thin layer of clouds and was visible for some 500 miles as it rocketed away from this launch center, and Commander Vance Brand told Mission Control the view from the cockpit was no less impressive. It was a spectacular show on the ground as well, perfectly timed just before 2:00 a.m. here, capping a number of early morning shuttle launching parties at waterfront taverns along the Florida coast. For the seven astronauts, though, there was no time for celebration. They went right to work activating a cargo bay full of sophisticated electronic telescopes for ten days of nonstop stargazing at the violent forces that make up the Universe.”

Science observations were scheduled to begin early Monday. “We believe this one is going to be the one with the charm,” NASA Science Chief Lennard Fisk said of Columbia’s rocky road to orbit. Columbia’s flight also was the third mission in as many months – a pace the shuttle program had not achieved since 1985. “We were so used to not getting it off, the idea that it’s actually been launched and it’s up there orbiting the Earth is amazing,” said Arthur Davidsen of Johns Hopkins University, principal investigator for one of the telescopes.

Juliano: Columbia’s launch caps a rollercoaster ride of setback and success for NASA this year after the shuttle fleet was grounded this summer because of elusive fuel leaks. Columbia’s middle-of-the-night lift-off marked an unprecedented third shuttle launch in eight weeks. After the launch, Launch Director Bob Sieck sounded pleased…

Sieck: And I can assure you there are a lot of elated shuttle and payload people in the community at this point to finally have Columbia and Astro on orbit.

“It’s like an early Christmas present,” said Launch Director Robert Sieck. “The team is absolutely ecstatic. They couldn’t be happier. The leaks are behind us.” He added that the successful launch of Columbia “goes a long way to erase the disappointments.”

Sieck: It’s been a goal all the year of this team, and all those that support the program, to get Astro and Columbia on orbit. You could see it took all year to get there; but we’re there and we’re sure happy about it.

Damage to Launch Pad 39B was reported to be minimal. The Solid Rocket Boosters were scheduled to reach Hangar AF on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Monday morning. The Freedom Star was towing the left booster and the Liberty Star was towing the right booster.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:44 pm

25 videos of Columbia’s launch were screened and no anomalies were noted. Cloud coverage did obstruct the view of the vehicle from several of the tracking cameras. Review of over 60 films was also completed and no anomalies were noted. In some cases, exposure problems resulting from the night launch and cloud cover hampered analysis and detection of possible debris or anomalies.

The crew also took eight pictures of the External Tank after separation. These revealed ten circular divots on the intertank-to-hydrogen flange. The largest six divots were 8 to 10 inches in diameter. ET flight performance was excellent, separation was nominal. The ET tumble system was inactive for STS-35; the tank did not tumble and entry and breakup occurred within the predicted footprint.

(Countdown, February 1991; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 1 & 2, 1990; Deseret News, Dec. 2 & 3, 1990; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary, Dec. 2, 1990; AFN Europe/AP Network News radio coverage, CNN live coverage, Dec. 2, 1990; STS-35 Space Shuttle Mission Report, NASA-TM-105476, January 1991; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991 – edited)


A team of Utah engineers and workers helped with the successful nighttime launch of
Space Shuttle Columbia on Sunday, according to a spokesman for Thiokol Corp., builder of the twin booster motors. “As essential as the hardware to mission success are the team of Thiokol managers and workers who provide launch support for each flight,” said Steve Lawson, spokesman for the company, which is based in Ogden and builds rocket motors near Brigham City.

For the launch, about a dozen engineers and managers from Utah provided launch support at the Florida’s Kennedy Space Center and at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Also, 580 Thiokol workers are permanently stationed in Florida, where they assemble the shuttle boosters and launch vehicle, then retrieve the boosters from the Atlantic Ocean after each blast-off. The boosters that lifted Columbia into orbit for its historic astronomy mission were the 11th set built under Thiokol’s current NASA contract. The 13th and last set under this portion of the contract flew on the shuttle flight launched October 6. The number of motors to be built and their price are periodically renegotiated. Each section of the contract is a separate portion.

(Joseph Bauman, Deseret News, Dec. 5, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:46 pm
Sunday, December 2, 1990 (Flight Day 1) – Let’s Get This Show On The Road

CapCom (Mike Baker): Columbia, Houston, you have a go to open the payload bay doors when you are in attitude, which will be in about two and a half minutes.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:48 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:52 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:54 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:55 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:56 pm

Each of the four previous Spacelab missions followed the same pattern. The early hours and days were filled with unexpected problems and equipment failures which gradually the crew overcame. At first, Astro-1 seemed destined to escape this pattern.

“Specs” and “items,” the computer language of the carefully timelined activation, ran with digital-clock precision as Spacelab start up began a couple hours after launch. He first phase of activation, scheduled to take twenty hours, officially opened at 2:57 a.m. CST as Bob Parker switched on power to the BBXRT.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:56 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 05:58 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:00 pm
PAO: When we again acquire signal from Columbia we’re expecting a communications check with the Payload Operations Control Center. From that point on Columbia will have dual communications with the ground – with the POCC on one air-to-ground channel, being referred to by the call sign “Huntsville,” communicating with the crewmen who are in the aft flight deck at the observatory work station, who will be referred to by the POCC, or “Huntsville” as “Astro;” and then on a separate air-to-ground channel will be communications with the Mission Control Center and Columbia with the same call signs as are normally used, with the Mission Control Center here being called “Houston,” and the spacecraft called “Columbia.”

At 4:56 a.m. CST, the first communications check with the Payload Operations Control Center, the hub for Astro science teams at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, occurred. From Huntsville, the Astro science teams would monitor their experiments, plan target timelines, and oversee the science work of the shuttle crew.

Lacking the rich history behind the term “CapCom” – short for Capsule Communicator of the Mercury days – the Huntsville person holding the microphone to the crew carried the mashed-English title of Crew Interface Coordinator. Michelle Snyder became the first CIC to speak to the crew as she greeted Parker and Parise.

CIC (Snyder): And Bob, we just want to let you guys know that everyone here in the Huntsville Operations Support Center is really excited. We ‘re looking forward to a great ten-day mission and a lot of really terrific astronomy. We’ve got a lot of smiles; everything is going really, really well.

Parise: Okay, Michelle. This is Ron. We know there’s a lot of people down there that did a lot of work on this mission, and we’re hoping we can make it a real success for everybody. So let’s get this show on the road.

CIC: Alright.

Huntsville PAO: With that call, NASA’s new Spacelab Mission Control Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is now officially open for business. For the first time, “Huntsville” joins “Houston” as a call sign from space for a major Space Shuttle science mission.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:01 pm

Much of the early focus zeroed in on bringing to life the Instrument Pointing System, the gyroscopically stabilized platform holding the three ultraviolet telescopes. The system’s Optical Sensor Package of three star trackers, which had to accurately point the telescopes, had been a source of many headaches on its only previous flight, the Spacelab 2 solar astronomy flight aboard Challenger STS 51-F in July 1985.

Like a nightmare vaguely recalled in the morning, the IPS soon caused cold sweats aboard the shuttle and on the ground. The memory of Spacelab 2 hung over every activation step. Shortly after 5:00 a.m. CST, Parker attempted to load the navigation programs into the OSP computer. The effort failed. “We recommend powering the OSP off and reinitializing,” CapCom Story Musgrave, who had flown on Spacelab 2, called. At 5:24 a.m. CST:

Parker: Item 25 to turn the OSP off was successful, but the item 9 (to reload the navigation program) has only brought across the middle asterisk. Should I try it one more time?

The middle asterisk on Parker’s display meant that only the center star tracker had accepted the data. The middle, or bore sight tracker looked directly along the line of sight of the telescopes. The left and the right trackers were offset 12 degrees from the line of sight. Mission Control told Parker to try again. Again he reported that only the single, lonely asterisk had appeared.

CapCom: Okay, Bob. We see that down here. We’re going to have to research that a little bit.

Parker: Okay, we’re sitting here.

CapCom: And while we’re studying the OSP, go ahead and perform steps 4 and 5.

The crew moved on with other activation steps involving releasing latches and swiveling the IPS perpendicular to the floor of the payload bay. Shortly after 6:00 a.m. CST, as the crew worked these steps, Mission Control told them, “We show down here that the star trackers are seeing some bright objects.” Possibly the Moon or a reflection from the Moon or Sun was confusing the trackers. The program load would be attempted once the IPS pointed the package out of the payload bay.

Parker released the final hinge latch at 6:35 a.m. CST and the IPS bobbed up four degrees, as expected. Five minutes later, Musgrave told him to deploy the IPS.

CapCom: Houston for Bob. Everything is looking good down here. You are go for IPS erection to the upright.

Parker: Thank you.

Moving at one degree per second, the IPS reached the 90-degree position by 6:44 a.m. CST.

Parker: Okay, Story. It’s erected. And I’m waiting my call as what to do now. We do see the bright lights now that it’s erected and out of the payload bay.

CapCom: We’ll get right back with you…

Parker: We just turned off the payload bay lights.

CapCom: Bob, you’ve got a go to reload the trackers – that’s an item 10. To the best of your abilities, look around and be sure there are no bright objects.

Parker: The Moon is about 50 degrees off nose. I think it ought to be able to hack that.

At 6:47 a.m. CST, Parker reported, “Houston, Columbia. Success!” Responding like someone scared by a shadow, Parker joked, “I had visions of Spacelab 2 dancing in my head.” The ground shared the relief that the shadow had passed. “All is well with those star trackers and the Instrument Pointing System,” the Houston PAO said. “The Astro package is in good shape and ready for business. Flight controllers here are relieved…”

However the IPS was not operating yet; the shadows lurked out there still. To say all was well sounded like bravely whistling while walking through the dark woods.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:03 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:04 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:05 pm

At 6:53 a.m. CST, the ground informed the crew that Soyuz TM-11, carrying a crew of three including Japanese journalist Toyohiro Akiyama, had been launched one hour 45 minutes after Columbia. The Soyuz was due to rendezvous with the Mir space Station where two cosmonauts were continuing a long-duration mission. “That gives us twelve human beings in space – that’s a record,” CapCom Musgrave said.

“Hey, how about that… Only this morning there were only two, and now we’ve got twelve,” Parker replied. “That’s good timing, isn’t it?”

“It sure is. You’re almost getting another ASTP.” The reference recalled the 1975 Apollo Soyuz Test Project, on which STS-35 Commander Vance Brand had flown. “Yep… without rendezvous,” Parker quipped. “We hope,” added Musgrave.

“We’re waiting for the TAGS for the rendezvous plan,” Parker replied, referring to the shuttle’s fax machine, the Text And Graphics System. Luckily Parker was not waiting for TAGS messages, because at 10:11 a.m. CST, the crew reported a paper jam as the system was activated. During the mission jams were destined to plague the TAGS, which had worked well on recent missions.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:06 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:07 pm

With the early jitters over the IPS past, the “specs” and “items” flowed over the crew’s computer screens as the tedious process of bringing up and calibrating the instruments continued. By 8:00 a.m. CST, the crew was attempting to make star sightings with the three IPS trackers. The operations started out smoothly...

The telescopes were being activated at the same time. Parise began loading programs into the WUPPE computer, called a “Dedicated Experiment Processor” or DEP. He turned away a moment and when he turned back, his display showed the computer was “no ops” – in technical computer terms, it had crashed. WUPPE contained a backup DEP, and the motto “always carry a backup” came further into play a few minutes later.

At 10:42 a.m. CST, the crew suddenly reported, “Story, we just got a strange smell up on the flight deck… like something’s overheated.” At the same moment Data Display Unit #1 blinked off. Two DDUs, built by the European Space Agency as part of the Spacelab system, gave readouts on the Astro system.

One DDU was to be used by the mission specialist to operate the IPS, and the other was to be used by the payload specialist to control the telescopes. Now they would have to share the one remaining display, something they had practiced in simulations, but something that would slow operations… and now they had no backups to the single DDU.

Shortly after 11:00 a.m. CST, the shifts changed aboard Columbia. With the Blue Team now on duty, Hoffman took over for Parker, and Durrance took over troubleshooting the WUPPE computer failure. “It’s a little hectic up here,” Hoffman said as he greeted ground controllers at the start of his work day.

Computer snags were also slowing the effort to calibrate the OSP star trackers as the system’s computer had to overcome early problems loading software. By noon CST, star sightings continued in an effort to fine tune the system so that it would be able to automatically recognize target fields. The calibrations were not meeting with success.

Checkout of other instruments continued smoothly. By 1:30 p.m. CST, for example, the crew was testing the HUT electronics and television system by observing the bright sky during the daylight portion of orbit. Durrance was awed by how the IPS instrument package lorded over the payload bay. “This view is absolutely fantastic,” he said. “The IPS actually sticks out of the payload bay; it doesn’t just sit down in it.”

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:08 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:09 pm

By 1:45 p.m. CST, Mission Control was reporting that attempts to have the OSP star trackers lock on target fields were failing. Controllers had determined that one of the three trackers was not recognizing dimmer stars. That sent Mission Control scrambling to rework guidance programs – and for the first time a term that would be often repeated over the coming hours was used – “software patch.”

PAO: A lot of replanning is taking place in an effort to find brighter stars that can be used for calibration of that star tracker… Among the ways that are being looked at to compensate for that sluggish tracker is a software patch that would allow it to look at some different star targets than were originally planned, higher magnitude stars.

Durrance was still working with the WUPPE computer failure and attempts to restart the primary DEP computer at 2:46 p.m. CST. The try failed and Huntsville told him, “Okay, we’re down to one DEP.” Backup Payload Specialist Ken Nordsieck in Huntsville explained, “They’re looking at a possible MMU hardware problem. In the meanwhile, WUPPE is stuck in the load mode, and we’d like to get out of it.”

The term “MMU” referred to Mass Memory Unit, which stored computer programs transmitted from the ground and then, at the proper time, routed them to the various computers. Durrance began activating the backup DEP. However, the startup proceeded slowly as controllers feared that loading target software from the MMU could trigger the same type of failure. “Meanwhile, the other two ultraviolet telescopes… have been experiencing no significant problems in their activations and checkout,” Huntsville reported.

As evening arrived, the original 20-hour activation timeline was falling apart like a piece of paper in the rain. At 5:45 p.m. CST, the Huntsville PAO reported, “The operations control team here has been discussing some of the options for replanning some of the timeline events in the activation phase in light of the delay in picking up the joint focus and align procedure, which is one of the key steps in bringing the ultraviolet telescopes online for science observations.”

The joint focus was a detailed procedure whereby all three UV telescopes locked on a star, which was chosen not for scientific interest but because it was in view for a long time. While viewing the target, the telescopes were fine focused and aligned to they were able to make joint observations of the same targets.

The OSP star trackers had to pass their own fine calibration before automatic pointing could be undertaken, and the exercise was being delayed further and further as Mission Control developed the software patch. In the meantime, the crew began attempting manual pointing of the IPS, a backup mode called “Contingency Target Acquisition,” whereby the crew used a joystick on the aft flight deck to point the package as they monitored TV images of star fields from the instruments.


“First light” occurred at 7:46 p.m. CST as the crew, using the HUT star tracker, manually locked on Beta Doradus, a star in the constellation Dorado, or Swordfish. “That’s a real star, folks,” Durrance said as the HUT image was transmitted to the ground.

CIC: The entite HUT crew was huddled around the monitor down here, jumping up and down.

Durrance: Well, we were rolling and flailing up here.

CIC: Unfortunately, we can’t do much rolling down here.

The star lock was used to begin the joint calibration of HUT and UIT. WUPPE, still struggling to recover from its DEP failure, wasn’t able to participate in the joint alignment. Meanwhile, Mission Control needed most of the evening to verify the OSP software patch. By about 9:00 p.m. CST, the first part of the patch was being uplinked to Columbia.

“The orbiter is in beautiful shape,” NASA Flight Director Al Pennington told reporters late in the day. Officials said that the difficulties experienced during activation of Astro were no threat to the mission’s science agenda. “We’re very excited about how all this is coming together,” said Jack Jones, the shuttle observatory’s mission manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

“The mission is poised to do extremely good science. We are in an extremely good orbit and three of the experiments have been activated almost completely,” said Gene Urban, Astro mission scientist. “There’s no way to know exactly yet when the first science will come. We went through this on Spacelab 2. It took several days when the IPS was first being checked out to find how it worked best, and these are related kinds of problems.” Urban remained confident: “We will work them out.”

(NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; Countdown, February 1991; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 3, 1990; Deseret News, Dec. 3, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:10 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:25 pm
Monday, December 3, 1990 (Flight Day 2) – Target Practice

”The mood is one of concern. We’d certainly like the system to work perfectly. We’d always like that to happen, but there is no panic or anything. People are working to solve the problem, and we have confidence we will solve them in a fairly short time.”

- Bob Castle, STS-35 Orbit 3 Flight Director


Software patch transformed into software patches as the night hours passed into dawn of December 3. Like a worn pair of jeans, sewing in one patch just seemed to pull open new holes. The line of sight of the trackers shifted slightly from one-g to weightlessness and the alignment continued to need fine tuning. “This is a very complex system; it just couldn’t be pulled together in a one-g environment and demonstrate it would work,” explained Jack Jones, Astro mission manager. “We just have to get it up into the space environment and deploy it, and then as it’s free of gravity, then we have to bring everything back into alignment. So, this operation is just taking a little longer than we had anticipated.”

The sensitivity of the trackers to register stars also varied – from too sensitive, with too many stars in a field confusing the sensor, to the opposite, where dim guide stars were not picked up. Patches were being attempted to filter out the variations. In addition, some of the patches were requiring additional patches to allow them to operate at all needed times.

“I’ve been involved with the checkout of several space instruments and ground-based telescopes, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a telescope come on schedule,” said Ted Gull, Astro mission scientist. “I hoped as I came in this morning that the first observations would be there. It isn’t, but I’m very optimistic that we’re going to get it within the next 12 to 24 hours.”

Optimism finally stroke true with the WUPPE team. All night they had struggled to activate their backup computer, without which they could never make any whoopee. The trouble was traced to an inactivated heater switch for part of the system’s electronics. At 6:35 a.m. CST, the crew performed a power recycle of WUPPE’s DEP-B computer to reset it. Swept clean by the procedure, WUPPE was restarted, and within a half hour a test lamp was being used for initial calibrations of its UV detectors.

The news was reversed for the BBXRT, which – controlled completely from the ground – had been undergoing a smooth checkout. In the morning, a discrepancy was discovered in the alignment between the telescope and its Two-Axis Pointing System. The BBXRT team would need several hours to run diagnostics to understand the problem.

The flight appeared headed toward gaining an extra day in space which would help recover the lost ground. Just a day into the flight, a power-down of low-priority equipment such as lights and unneeded displays had yielded enough savings for a tenth day of flight.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:26 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:30 pm

Throughout the morning, as Mission Control continued to tweak the IPS software, the crew kept attempting CTA manual star locks. They met with some success, slowly gaining skill at the task during the day. The star targets only fell into range for about a half hour at a time – at the most. Once they disappeared over the horizon, the crew quickly scrambled on to the next, like chasing fireflies on a hot summer night.

In parallel, whenever a likely target was worked into the timeline, the crew attempted to perform an automatic acquisition – Called IDO, for operational identification – so that the star trackers could undergo their OSP calibration alignment.

The day’s progress moved as imperceptibly as a shadow on a sundial. Yet progress stood out in the trace of the voices over the day. At 4:06 a.m. CST, Parker and Parise attempted a manual target acquisition using the Astro Star Tracker, built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The AST was part of the IMC, or Image Motion Compensation system normally used to steady the IPS, but it could be used as a backup means to acquire targets. But the crew reported, “We weren’t able to find the target. We drove the IPS all over the AST.” They moved on to attempt an IDOP automatic acquisition. At 4:37 a.m. CST, Bob Parker radioed, “That IDOP was unsuccessful. We did get an indication of a right-hand star tracker… We’re going to CTA.”

As the crew switched to manual control, Huntsville, watching the same TV image of the star fields, attempted to help them recognize the patterns. Positions were called out in terms of arc seconds.

CIC: You need to go to the right.

Spacecraft: That’s where we went before… I think we went too far… We have a long way to go…

CIC: Okay, IMC has determined that they’ve given you the wrong direction in right/left, and you need to go left 30…

Spacecraft: We’ve got about 13 more to go… Okay, we’re 30 to the left.

CIC: Okay, we’re analyzing here… We need seven more to the left…

Spacecraft: Okay, you’ve got them…

CIC: And IMC says you’re right on the track.

The crew attempted to perform one of their calibrations on the star, but at 5:07 a.m. CST, they reported, “Unfortunately, the target set before we had a chance to do anything about it.” Final preparations of the instruments were winding up at the same time. UIT was ready to observe, and by 5:48 a.m. CST, the HUT team reported the same. Huntsville relayed the word to the crew, saying, “They (HUT) say they’re happy. They’re just looking forward to acquiring a target soon.” Ron Parise replied, “We are too.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:31 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:32 pm

By 8:38 a.m. CST, the accomplishment drew nearer. The crew was attempting a manual acquisition, sighting through the AST star tracker and then attempting to center the target in the TV view from HUT with a joystick, called Manual Pointing Controller, like playing a cosmic video game.

Parise: We have found the predicted stars and have used the MPC to move over there, but we do not see any stars in the HUT field of view. The camera magnitude is 15. The camera mode is field. We have the predicted stars, at least we think we do with the AST tracker.

CIC: Copy.

Parise: This is the first time we’ve been tracking any stars that we felt were like the ones in the CTA book.

But Parise was not able to locate the stars in the HUT view. “There is a misalignment between the AST and the HUT in the order of seven arc minutes, so you wouldn’t be at all well centered,” Huntsville told the crew. “Note that this star sets at 7:58 (Mission Elapsed Time from lift-off, abbreviated with the days left off). Sounding downcast, Parise replied, “Yeah, we know.” – “So probably we should go on to the next one,” Huntsville advised, and on they went.

However, HUT did gain some spectral data of the Earth’s airglow layer high in the atmosphere. The data, while primarily used to filter out any airglow spectra overlaying the coming star readings, marked the first science data of any type. The Huntsville PAO hailed it, “At the present time in the science operating area, the HUT principal investigator, Art Davidsen, is holding up a data sheet indicating the first science data to come in – a very happy HUT team.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:34 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:35 pm

And on it went – finally leading to the first stellar observation. At 12:08 p.m. CST, with Durrance and Hoffman now testing their video game skills, the crew attempted to view the galaxy NGC 4141, which emits strongly in the UV and X-ray wavelengths.

CIC (Kenneth Nordsieck): You support the little one is the target? No, that wouldn’t work either.

Durrance: Okay, I think we see them now. Yeah, I think I have the target star in the aperture now.

CIC: But we don’t have the guide star.

Durrance: Yeah, there’s a bright star down there.

As the HUT held its lock on the target, the jagged lines of a spectral reading began to build up, displayed along the bottom of the TV monitors aboard Columbia and on the ground.

CIC: I think I see carbon 4 coming up on the right.

Durrance: Yeah, there’s some kind of spectra there.

CIC: You want to get into optical hold?

Durrance: And we did see a little star down by the bottom guide star.

CIC: Yeah, that’s got to be the target there. You’ve got it.

Durrance: Yeah, that’s it. I’m sure it is. In a way, I think we can call that the first science data.

By 12:45 p.m. CST, the crew was moving on to the next target, another calibration star with no science interest. They attempted another automatic acquisition – which failed. Less than an hour later, they moved on, this time to manually try a science target, a star which undergoes sudden eruptions, located in the constellation Hydra.

The blend of science and calibration targets began to achieve a balance – grabbing the high-priority science targets while still attempting to work out the bugs in the automatic system. The Astro teams did not abandon automatic pointing because if operational, it would yield longer, steadier looks at targets.

The targets moved in and out with the orbits. After a 20-minute window to view a quasar ran out at 3:40 p.m. CST, Hoff man said, “What we really need is an object we can see for 30-35 minutes so we can go to town on it.” Three minutes later, he was working on another automatic IDOP try. “Bad luck on the IDOP,” the crew reported before 4:00 p.m. CST. Houston called that a new software patch was being developed.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:37 pm

Minutes later the crew was busy performing a manual acquisition of a binary star system, HR 1099. The tidal interaction between the close companions causes the chromospheres of one to be stirred up, with massive blobs of material spinning off. WUPPE, completing its final steps of activation, was able to achieve its focus alignment on the binaries. “We love it! We see it!” CIC Nordsieck exclaimed. Indeed, for the first time all three UV telescopes sighted a target simultaneously.

Durrance: We’ve got all three instruments in the observe mode.

CIC: Did we actually get WUPPE to observe?

Durrance: Yes!

CIC: That’s really a spectrum! My golly!

At about 6:00 p.m. CST, Hoffman attempted another automatic IDOP, the fifth try. He came close, but ran out of time. Two of the trackers were calibrated, but the right tracker did not come into alignment. The try was a “great leap forward. Each attempt to calibrate the OSP (star trackers) is showing better results,” the PAO said. “It’s closing in on results.”

“The crew will press ahead with manual pointing during this next orbit,” the PAO said. But another IDOP soon was attempted. “Okay, that’s a nominal acquisition,” Durrance reported at 7:42 p.m. CST, as the IPS locked onto a magnetic white dwarf star, G70D8427.  WUPPE gained four minutes of data on the star, of interest because less than five percent of white dwarfs are strong magnetic sources, causing light polarization that WUPPE was able to measure.

“The first successful IDOP has been accomplished,” the PAO confirmed. One final alignment of the star trackers still was needed. Just as the control teams were sipping first success, the glass was pulled from their lips – temporarily.

At 8:22 p.m. CST, as a navigation update was being sent to the shuttle, the IPS computer crashed. An error in the navigation program caused the crash. “The fix for this is fairly simple – just restart it,” the PAO said. But the task of reprogramming the IPS computer would consume most of the night.

“Before the subsystem computer crash, we got some beautiful data. We got some extremely good spectra,” said Mission Scientist Gene Urban. “The Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope has been operating well, and we’re waiting to get the X-ray telescope realigned.”

(NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; Countdown, February 1991 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:38 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:38 pm

Columbia made her first celestial observations with the Astro observatory on Monday, but problems with a pointing device that aims the telescopes mounted in the ship placed the work behind schedule. The first sightings occurred at midday, about 14 hours later than the seven fliers and teams of ground-based scientists had hoped. Throughout the day, ground controllers and the astronauts experimented with changes in the pointing system’s computerized programming that gradually improved the pointing device’s ability to automatically lock on to its star targets. “We’re looking very promising over the next 12 to 18 hours,” said NASA flight director Al Pennington.

During the ten-day flight that began early Sunday, astronomers had planned ambitiously, hoping to train the shuttle’s ultraviolet and X-ray telescopes on nearly 250 celestial objects. Researchers estimated they lost about two dozen sightings on Monday as they worked to overcome the difficulties. “There is a definite loss as we go,” said NASA’s Ted Gull, one of the mission’s principal investigators. “What we just have to do is make sure that we reallocate what is left to the higher priority objects that have been lost,” Gull said. “So perhaps a lower priority object is going to get pushed off the list as we go.”
Using three optical sensors, the pointing system is designed to find and lock onto bright guide stars in the neighborhood of the often fainter targets the astronomers wish to photograph. The device was able to accomplish about 85 percent of the pointing task. The remainder was accomplished manually by the astronauts, which slowed the observing rate.

The shuttle’s first sighting occurred about 11:30 a.m. CST. More of a test than a sighting, it confirmed the proper operation of a spectrograph while providing an accurate chemical analysis of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Minutes later, though, the same instrument made the first observation of a distant celestial object – a bright, galaxy, NGC 4151, in the northern hemisphere. Astronomers believe it may have a giant black hole at its center that is pulling matter surrounding it into its core. They hope their observations of it may reveal evidence of new star formation in the spiral arms that extend outward from the center. The astronauts also aimed the shuttle observatory’s X-ray telescope at the Crab Nebula.


Meanwhile, the Solid Rocket Booster retrieval ships Liberty and Freedom had arrived at Hangar AF on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about noon EST. Following booster separation 126 seconds after lift-off, about 1.7 seconds later than planned, the three main parachutes had failed to separate from the right SRB at water impact; the parachutes were found draped over the booster and required disconnection before removal. Later, troubleshooting of the parachute release circuitry would isolate the failure to a wide-band signal conditioner in that circuit.

Post-flight inspection of the recovered hardware would indicate that the Solid Rocket Booster thermal protection system had performed properly during ascent, with very little acreage ablation. An anomaly was noted concerning the RSRM. The virgin Carbon Cloth Phenolic on the left RSRM nozzle joint 3 was affected by heat as far back as approximately one inch radially past the char line. Soot reached the primary O-ring approximately 12 inches circumferentially in both directions from the 195° location. There was no blow-by erosion or heat effect to the primary O-ring at 195° or any other location. No metal components were heat affected.

So far no flight or static test nozzle joints had exhibited primary O-ring heat effect, erosion, or blow-by. This was the first occurrence of heat-affected virgin CCP in joint 3; however, heat effect had been noted in joint 2 of one flight RSRM and two ground-test RSRMs with no O-ring heat effects. Gas paths and soot in nozzle joints were within the experience base of 26 flights and seven static test nozzles.

(Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 4, 1990; KSC Shuttle Status Report, Dec. 4, 1990; AFN/AP Network News, Dec. 3, 1990; STS-35 Space Shuttle Mission Report, NASA-TM-105476, January 1991 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:41 pm
Tuesday, December 4, 1990 (Flight Day 3) – We Have An Observatory

“We’re still learning to use the observatory. It’s taking longer to make the observations than we’d like.”

- Ted Gull, Astro Mission Scientist


As the IPS was brought back up during the early morning hours, Parker and Parise continued to attempt manual pointing with a joystick they called a paddle. “Give me a paddle and a telescope and I can move the Universe,” Parker joked. However, Astro science efforts so far produced a “big goose egg,” according to mission scientist Ted Gull, because of the unsteadiness of manual pointing. “But I think within the next day or two, we’re going to be over the 50 percent hump and observing rather effectively.”

The apertures through which the starlight entered the instruments was as small as 9 arc seconds and the scientists would have liked to confine the star image to about one-third of that. “Currently, the image is fairly sharp, but it’s wandering around a 30-arc-second diameter,” Gull said. “We’re starting up on the learning curve,” he said. “The problem is we’re pretty far down at the bottom of the curve yet.”

The day began to yield some reason for the dawn of a brighter mood. By 5:30 a.m. CST, the BBXRT and TAPS were brought back into alignment. A half hour later the X-ray telescope made its “first light” observation, recording a spectra of the star Capella.

By 7:00 a.m. CST, all three IPS star trackers were powered up and loaded. The left and center trackers had been recalibrated – and just the pesky right tracker remained to be brought into alignment. Even without it, the two other trackers could bring the IPS into the “automatic fine track” needed for stable observations.

“We’re already in the phase where the observatory is starting to come alive. It’s a lot later than where we wanted to be. But I see no major show stoppers. Given enough time, I think we can get up to the point where the observatory is going to be very efficient,” Gull said.

By 8:00 a.m. CST, a software patch for the right tracker was loaded aboard Columbia, and controllers were only waiting for a favorable star with which to perform the final OSP calibration. That moment came at 10:10 a.m. CST as Hoffman reported, “I’m getting ready to start the OSP cal.”

By 10:24 a.m. CST, the stars had been acquired and Hoff man was moving into finer tracking modes. At 10:34 a.m. CST, as Columbia passed out of communication range for a few minutes, Houston reported, “All three star trackers were in fine track and moving ahead.” At 10:47 a.m. CST, back in communication range, Hoffman called, “We’ve got all three.”

However, Mission Control passed along some bad news. “We think the right tracker was tracking the same star twice instead of two stars.” After some more fine tuning, Hoffman had to abandon the calibration attempt. The crew moved on to a science target, leaving planners on the ground to sandwich in another calibration sometime later in the timeline.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:44 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:47 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:49 pm

At 12:51 p.m. CST, the crew still was working manually, beginning a short observation of the star Hydra. “Until we get down to automated observations, there’s no point,” the crew said about those quick shots requested by scientists on the ground. “The overhead takes too long… Let’s get the IPS working automatically.” Despite that, the manual operations were growing more productive as procedures were streamlined. Indeed, a blending of manual and automatic control was being developed which yielded longer, steadier star acquisitions.

The technique involved “sensor substitution” when the view from the HUT took the place of star tracker data. The HUT images were fed into the IPS and used to maintain a star lock. “Right now, most of the passes are being done using a combination of control. The crew types in a position to go to and the Instrument Pointing system goes there. Then they take over manually, using their TV screens and joysticks to steer the telescopes to the stars they want to view. At that point, they switch to the automatic sensor substitution mode,” explained Flight Director Bob castle.

In addition, tracking locks could be achieved automatically with the two calibrated IPS star trackers, for targets in certain locations. Even without using the right star tracker “We’re really in business now. We are very close to operation,” Castle said. By 3:00 p.m. CST, the latest software patch for the right tracker reached Mission Control and was being prepared for uplink to Columbia. By that time, five successful automatic acquisitions had been achieved using the two other trackers.

The HUT made the first spectrum in the far ultraviolet of a globular star clusters as it observed M92, containing about 100,000 stars formed ten billion years ago. Another observation zeroed in on the supergiant star Alpha Orionis – also known as Betelgeuse.

A further milestone occurred at 4:05 p.m. CST, as Jeff Hoffman reported, “We’ve had the first successful IDOP to IDOP.” The automatic system had moved directly from one target to the next without needing a calibration update in between. “So that’s a big moment for Astro,” Hoffman added, as the automatic system worked as nominally as designed for the first time.

“You couldn’t count the smiles down here,” the CIC told the crew. By 4:20 p.m. CST, Columbia was moving on to the next target. By 5:00 p.m. CST, the BBXRT, still suffering pointing drift problems, was brought back into alignment with its TAPS platform and gathered data on the binary star system Cygnus X-3 and the Crab Nebula.

As evening came, communications continued to smooth, hitting a groove, approaching a routine rhythm. “We have an observatory!” Ted Gull energetically declared as Astro leaped up the learning curve.

(Countdown, February 1991; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; AFN/AP Network News, Dec. 4, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:51 pm

A spaceship carrying two Soviet cosmonauts and a Japanese journalist docked with the Mir space station Tuesday two days after its launch. The Soyuz TM-11 spacecraft brought Japanese broadcaster Toyohiro Akiyama, the first reporter in space, and Soviet cosmonauts Viktor Afanasyev and Musa Manarov to the giant orbital complex. “Everything went as smoothly as a peeled egg,” said veteran cosmonaut Alexej Leonov, who watched the docking at the Soviet space program’s Mission Control Center in Kaliningrad outside Moscow.

The control center’s computerized display screen showed the spaceship as a yellow dot and the Mir as a blue circle approaching each other over the tip of South America, drawing close above the Sahara Desert and then uniting over the Caspian Sea. Top Soviet space officials and visiting Japanese officials and reporters at the control center applauded and shook hands when the spaceship joined the Mir at 1:57 p.m. CST, one minute ahead of schedule.

(Deseret News, Dec. 4, 1990 – edited)


Bob Moon: They were two ships that passed in the night – and day, and night again. The Space Shuttle Columbia and Soviet space station Mir crossed orbits several times as they streaked into and out of the darkness and sunlight. Actually at 220 miles above the Earth, the Americans are some 30 miles below the Soviets, but occasionally their orbits overlap at cross angles. And astronaut Jeff Hoffman caught a glimpse of his fellow spacemen.

Hoffman: I was able to pick it up in the gyro-stabilized binoculars. It was already flying away from us; I was able to pick up one point of light.

Moon: Never before have twelve people orbited at the same time – four cosmonauts and a Japanese journalist aboard Mir, seven astronauts aboard Columbia. They may hail each other by ham radio next week. Bob Moon, AP Network News, at the Kennedy Space Center.

(AFN Europe/AP Network News, Dec. 4, 1990 – edited)


Flying within sight of the Soviet Mir space station Tuesday, the Columbia astronauts
finally coaxed a balky $50 million telescope pointing system into action and began around-the-clock science observations. “It appears at this time we have a good healthy payload,” said mission manager Jack Jones. “All the instruments are up and working and all the pointing systems appear to be performing normally at this time. This is a very exciting moment for us. We’ve been working very hard.”

While the costly Instrument Pointing System’s three star trackers will need careful attention and possibly some additional fine tuning, Jones said the mounting appeared to be working properly at last, setting the stage for around-the-clock studies of the most violent stars and galaxies in the cosmos.

But frustrating problems activating Columbia’s Astro-1” observatory have thrown the crew behind schedule, causing them to miss priceless astronomical targets. “I have to tell you, it’s a big goose egg,” mission scientist Ted Gull said of the flight’s science results over the first two days. “But I think within the next day or two, we’ll be over the 50 percent hump and observing effectively.”

(Deseret News, Dec. 4, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:52 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:54 pm

The Columbia astronauts quickened the pace of their celestial observations slightly on Tuesday after ground controllers made repairs to the space shuttle’s sluggish telescope-pointing device. However, they remained well behind the pace that teams of ground-based researchers had hoped to establish before the 10-day mission began Sunday. “We’re still learning to use the observatory,” said NASA astronomer Ted Gull. “Right now it’s taking longer to make the observations than we’d like.”

Meanwhile, the Columbia crew spotted the Soviet Mir space station, with five occupants aboard, for the first time as the two vessels passed within 45 miles of one another. Shuttle astronauts Mike Lounge and Jeffrey Hoffman reported the Mir sightings as the two ships criss-crossed several times over the Pacific Ocean early Tuesday. A record 12 humans are in Earth orbit, including the seven Americans aboard Columbia and the four cosmonauts and a Japanese television journalist aboard Mir. Later in the mission, the shuttle and Mir crews may attempt to communicate by radio.

But there was little time for that Tuesday. The shuttle astronauts again worked with ground controllers to establish a fully automated pointing capability for the 15-ton telescope observatory Columbia carries in its payload bay. The observatory’s ability to move rapidly from one celestial target to another relies on the precise calibration of three optical devices called star trackers. The trackers were developed to automatically recognize and lock on to pre-selected guide stars in the same star fields as the objects the astronomers wish to photograph.

With two of the star trackers working simultaneously for the first time during the flight on Tuesday, the shuttle astronauts were able to increase their observations. Ground controllers continued to work on the third tracker to speed up the observation rate. Among Tuesday’s sightings were the multiple star system Capella in the constellation Auriga and a white dwarf star, spinning so rapidly that it is flattened at its poles.

(Marl Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 5, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:55 pm
Wednesday, December 5, 1990 (Flight Day 4) – Thinking Science

CIC (John David Bartoe): This is by far the most stable pointing we’ve seen so far.

Parise: Except that the target isn’t in the (telescope).


The mastery of Astro by the teams on Columbia and on the ground climbed overnight, even though the final IPS computer patches were still being checked. In the period between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. CST, eight of ten UV targets were observed. “Not only do we have an observatory, but it’s beginning to come to life and produce what we wanted to do all along,” said Ted Gull, Astro mission scientist. “There’s some excitement here – we’re starting to think science, and we’re transitioning from the checkout period to the science period.”

The UIT had begun observations of one of the most important targets, the Perseus Cluster. “We know from X-ray observations with the BBXRT that there is gas flowing into the center of the Perseus Cluster of galaxies. No one knows what happens to all this. Does it go into making stars? Does it collapse into dark matter?” said Wayne Landsman of the UIT team. “The Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope is searching for star formation in the Perseus Cluster.”

“We are still regrouping from the slow start, and we certainly are concerned about the shorter observations we have scheduled right now because acquisition is taking so long,” said Bill Blair of the HUT team. “We have a lot of replanning of high-priority targets that have been missed, but we are very hopeful. The mood is swinging up rapidly.”

The acquisition of stars was taking about twelve minutes longer than planned due to the IPS problems and the crew having to share the single DDU display. “We’re hoping we’ll be able to eliminate some of the steps in using the Instrument Pointing system, wand we could save 4-6 minutes later in the mission,” Ted Gull said.


Despite the shorter observing times, Astro was yielding an avalanche of data when compared with the previous method of viewing UV wavelengths – instruments aboard sounding rockets which lifted them for a few minutes of observing above the atmospheric veil. For example, Randy Kimble of the HUT team sounded simply ecstatic over the 25-minute observation of white dwarf G191B2B. “This is a delightful spectrum, the type of which has not been obtained by any previous instrument. I tried to make this very measurement with a sounding rocket in 1982 intended to be my PhD thesis, but is didn’t work out,” he said at a press conference. “Now I am delighted – eight years later – I finally have this spectrum in hand. It’s great!”

The BBXRT, again drifting out of alignment, was brought back by controllers at the Goddard Space Flight Center at 12:50 a.m. CST. The telescope then gathered a 15-minute observation of Abell 754, a cluster of galaxies that emits strongly in X-ray wavelengths.

At 7:37 a.m. CST, former Spacelab 2 Payload Specialist John-David Bartoe, serving as CIC, told the crew that Tuesday’s “Blue Team,” the day shift, had obtained 17 percent of the planned viewing time on targets. The “Red Team” during the night had more than doubled that total to 36 percent, he said. “And we hope to double it next shift,” Bartoe concluded. “The folks down here want to let you know we’re really proud of the job you’ve been doing.”

“Thanks a lot, John, and we’re trying as hard as we can,” Parise replied.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 06:58 pm

Operations continued in a mixture of automatic and manual pointing modes. “The guidance officer continues to refine the alignment of the three star trackers,” the Houston PAO reported at 8:00 a.m. CST. The IPS troubleshooting was being inserted when it didn’t interfere with observing priority science targets – demonstrating the shift to operational science activities.

Indeed, the total switch from comments jus a day before, the crew now appeared to prefer the manual CTA targeting. Bob Parker, coming off duty with the Red Team, said, “Doing the CTA is certainly much faster. It’s not clear to me if it isn’t better to go CTA even if the IDOP works.”

“Data shows the IDOP is five times faster when it works,” the ground replied. That explains why the effort continued to refine the automatic mode. The automatic IDOP continued erratic performance, but the crew now worked fast enough to manually recover quick enough to gain observing time. At 9:31 a.m. CST, while trying to automatically located N-79, a globular cluster in the constellation Hercules, Bob Parker reported, “We had an unsuccessful IDOP and went CTA.”

Peering into their TV screens etched with crosshair guides, the crew and Huntsville issued rapid exchanges: “Can’t see the guide stars… Appears centered on the cluster… Let’s go ahead with what we’ve got…” At 9:37 a.m. CST, six minutes after switching to manual, the crew reported, “Okay, we’re observing.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:01 pm

At approximately 9:15 a.m. CST, the crew reported that the Text and Graphics System had jammed for the third time since Flight Day 1 and 2, when they had successfully performed the malfunction procedure to restore nominal operation. Now, while the astronauts were attempting to remove the paper jam from TAGS, the modified forceps tool that had been designed to be used for paper removal broke. The crew reported that a weld spot at the head of the tool had failed and that the jaws were separated from the shaft. They were unsuccessful in an attempt at reattaching the head to the shaft using a crimp tool from the pin kit. Further repair attempts of the TAGS were discontinued and all following messages were uplinked using the teleprinter.

By 1:00 p.m. CST, the Huntsville commentator was calling operations “routine,” proceeding “nominally” on the timeline. Only about three minutes later, the routine was interrupted. As Columbia was maneuvering to pick up a target, the R5D vernier thruster, one of the small thrusters used because they expelled less exhaust that could contaminate the delicate telescope detectors, failed off because of erratic chamber pressure. Columbia maintained herself using the large primary jets. Huntsville, worried over possible contamination, called that maybe the telescope doors should be closed.

“Close the observation doors and abort the observation,” came a quick call to the crew.

Just as quickly, Houston pinpointed the problem – “helium ingestion.” Helium, used to pressurize propellant tanks, had bubbled into a fuel line resulting in low chamber pressure. The solution involved firing the jet for a few short bursts to make sure the lines were cleared. By 2:23 p.m. CST, after looking at all the data, Mission Control was ready for the hot fire.

Spacecraft: Mark. We saw it out the back.

CapCom: It looked good down here. Fire again.

Spacecraft: Mark.

CapCom: That one was better yet… one more please.

Spacecraft: Coming up… Mark.

CapCom: Getting better. One more please.

Spacecraft: Mark.

CapCom: You’ve got a good jet, but let’s give it one more.

RCS vernier thruster R5D was fired for a series of five longer-than-normal pulses. A decrease in the characteristic roughness of the chamber pressure trace was evident during these firings, and the last two firings were completely normal. The thruster performed nominally for the remainder of the mission.

By 2:29 p.m. CST, the PAO reported, “Columbia will move on with normal operations with the science timeline.” But the annoying jet had cost the science team two targets at a time when Astro was beginning to work at peak efficiency.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:02 pm

“However, we went ahead with acquisition with the Instrument Pointing System in an effort to gain some engineering information,” said Astro Mission Scientist Ted Gull. “I’m really glad that people thought of that in real time and didn’t just let the IPS sit around. We really want to get to the automatic mode, because the pointing accuracy is going to be sharper,” he said. “We will be onto a hybrid activity where we will sometimes be allowing automatic acquisition when we know the stars are above a certain threshold in brightness.”

The alignment problems for BBXRT had been resolved, except for a very small drift. “We started observing regularly last night and have been observing regularly last night and have been observing ever since,” said Peter Serlemitsos, BBXRT principal investigator. By 4 p.m. CST, over a dozen targets had been observed by the X-ray instrument.

WUPPE made six observations during the day, including one of its prime targets, the supergiant star PCygni. The instrument gained the first UV spectroscopic observation of the giant. “This is very high quality data. We’re extremely pleased with it. Our instrument is much more sensitive than we thought,” said Mary Jane Taylor of the WUPPE team.

“PCygni is in a critical phase of evolution right now. It’s unstable; it’s losing mass at a very high rate,” Taylor explained. “It loses ten-to-the-minus-five solar masses every year. We don’t really understand exactly how this mass is being ejected. Is it in the form of a homogeneous shell? Is it an asymmetric ejection confined to blobs or plumes? We have to answer these questions because they affect solar wind theory and models.”

“This is the highlight of my career!” exclaimed Geoff Clayton of the WUPPE team. “One of my personal interests is interstellar dust – no one has ever observed the polarization of interstellar dust in the ultraviolet before. That data we’re getting now disagrees with all previous predictions. We are getting some really great data that I have been waiting for all my life, data that nobody has ever gotten before,” he said.

“The amount of science recorded on Astro-1 continues to grow,” said Stu Clifton, assistant mission manager, as the day ended. “Despite the fact that we often don’t get as much time as we would like on targets, that time has been sufficient to precipitate a number of new and exciting scientific discoveries by the instrument. Target acquisition by the Instrument Pointing System continues to improve, and the Astro scientists are very pleased with the data they’re getting.”

(Countdown, February 1991; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; STS-35 Space Shuttle Mission Report, NASA-TM-105476, January 1991 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:04 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:05 pm

A television station’s costly bid to boost ratings by making one of its reporters the first Japanese to journey to outer space has been brought down to Earth by apathetic viewers. Reporter Toyohiro Akiyama, 48, Sunday became the first journalist to report live from space aboard the Soviet Soyuz TM-11 spacecraft for a trip to the space station Mir. His ticket for the eight-day trip cost Tokyo Broadcasting System $12 million. His reports from space were intended to be a centerpiece of the station’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

TBS took 36 percent of the audience when millions of Japanese watched the blast off from Soviet Central Asia on Sunday. But ratings dwindled to 17 percent by Wednesday for a report from the space station where the crew had docked the day before. The station’s main evening news usually attracts about 14 percent of viewers, ranking it fourth of Tokyo’s five commercial networks.

(Deseret News, Dec. 7, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:07 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:08 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:09 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:11 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:11 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:12 pm

Hoffman: What we want to show is how the Blue Team operates up here. You know, the Red Team they’re kind of a chaotic bunch of guys. But the Blue Team – we’ve got discipline. We know how to operate. When we go to bed at night, we do it right. And when we get up in the morning, we do it with discipline.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:15 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:16 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:18 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:19 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:20 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:21 pm
Thursday, December 6, 1990 (Flight Day 5) – We’re Not Giving Up

“I‘ll tell you. It‘s a very uncomfortable feeling to wake up in the morning and smell smoke in a spacecraft. It‘s not fun. But anyway that‘s the way it was. Then there‘s a question, ‘Do we just abort the mission and come home?’ No.”

- Jeffrey Hoffman, Columbia STS-35 Mission Specialist


The flood of science continued through the night into early morning hours. “Tonight, we’ve been getting over 90 percent of the required time for a series of very successful observations,” said Mission Scientist Gene Urban. “This has been an extremely good night for the Astro scientists,” echoed Stu Clifton, assistant mission manager. “All targets have been acquired, many of them with very long observing periods.”

At 12:12 a.m. CST, as Parise locked Astro’s eyes on Cygnus Loop B, a supernova remnant, he said, ”This may be the most important observing of the mission.”

“It’s a quite large, old object, 120 light years in diameter,” explained Bill Blair of the HUT team. “It’s a supernova that exploded a long time ago and has expanded out into the interstellar medium. It can be used to probe these normally invisible regions of interstellar space. The passing shock wave heated up the interstellar gas to very high temperatures.”

The heated gas then gives off X-ray and UV emissions which reveal its composition and structure. “I was so excited about it when the data came in that I stuck my pen in my pocket, and I forgot to put the cap on it. So I have a blue spot on my shirt now,” Blair happily said.

The night’s astronomy road read:

…Beginning at 8:50 p.m. CST, the three UV telescopes observed M100, a bright spiral galaxy in the vicinity of a supernova discovered in 1979.
…At 9:21 p.m. CST, the three focused on M74, another spiral galaxy. At the same time, the BBXRT observed galaxy Markarin 335, believed to contain a black hole.
…At 10:12 p.m. CST, BBXRT turned its attention to CL-3C295, the most powerful radio galaxy known. Shortly afterwards, the three UV telescopes acquired Hercules X-1, a high-mass binary star system with a magnetic field a billion times more powerful than that of the Sun.
…At 11:00 p.m. CST, the UV telescopes observed 1700+64, a distant radio-loud quasar while BBXRT probed 1634+706, a luminous radio-quiet quasar.
…The UV telescopes moved on to Cygnus Loop B shortly after midnight. By 1:24 a.m. CST, they were studying Abell 1367, a young spiral-rich star cluster.
…At 2:15 a.m. CST, HUT and WUPPE observed the star Alpha Hydri in the constellation Hydrus, six times brighter than the Sun, too bright for UIT to photograph.
…At 2:42 a.m. CST, the three UV telescopes focused on Vela Supernova Remnant E, which exploded over 10,000 years ago.
…At 3:17 a.m. CST, HUT and WUPPE probed the sixteenth brightest star in the constellation Aquarius.
…At 4:00 a.m. CST, the UV telescopes peer into M82, a galaxy in the constellation Ursa Minor. M82 has been colliding with another galaxy, M81, creating violent tidal influence between the two.

By Thursday morning, the mission had achieved observations of 70 of 187 scheduled star targets. Nearly 250 were planned over the 10-day flight. “Tonight we have crossed the threshold of getting routine observations 80-90 percent of the time, and this is the way we hope the rest of the mission goes,” said Ralph Bohlin, of the UIT team. “We are really quite happy.” The upward curve of joy amid the Astro teams stood on the precipice of a plummeting downturn as dawn approached the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:23 pm

At 6:15 a.m. CST, dej vu occurred aboard Columbia’s aft flight deck as the same scenario replayed itself from the first day in orbit: The crew reported a smoky smell; a DDU computer display blinked off. Only this time, the DDU screen was the only one in working order, the only feedback for the crew as to the status of the Astro telescopes and the IPS.

Without the DDU, the crew became as helpless as someone trying to operate a home computer without a monitor. Without the DDU, the flow of observations, with the exception of the ground-controlled BBXRT, stopped dead. Within an hour, ground teams were beginning to formulate a plan for ground commanding of the telescopes. The plan had to be pulled together from scratch. The failure of both DDUs had been listed so low in probability that it had never been simulated.

The capacity to command an instrument from the ground had been designed into the system, and the plan was built around that ability. An intense level of teamwork would be required to pull it off. First, the orbiter crew would maneuver the shuttle into the proper attitude. From Houston, Mission Control would command the IPS and roughly point it at the target. They would then hand over pointing to the shuttle crew, who would perform fine pointing manually – with the TV monitors and joysticks, as they had been doing. Finally, the telescopes would be controlled by the experiment teams in Huntsville.

The replanning effort was expected to take 12-24 hours. Then the first observations would be attempted with a single instrument, beginning with the one with the largest field of view – the UIT – thereby not requiring the tightest pointing. The UIT aperture spanned a 40-arc second diameter, about 25 percent wider than the full Moon from Earth. Once enough experience was gained with a single instrument, observations with the UIT and the instrument with the next largest aperture – the HUT – would be tried. Finally, if enough skill was gained – all three instruments would be brought up.

“We really haven’t practiced this – but we’re going to get started at it,” said Flight Director Bob Castle. “Certainly when we first start up, we’re going to be slower than the crew. We’re going to get faster as we progress at it, and we’ll see how we end up… This certainly is going to hurt us for awhile.”

“It’s certainly going to be a close teamwork effort,” said Mission Scientist Ted Gull. “Instead of one mission specialist and one payload specialist controlling operations from the aft flight deck, a lot more people are going to be in the loop, with each having to do something in sequence to accomplish the task.”

“There is not panic. People are willing to sit down and work the problem. We see a way to get there, a solution to get there. And we’re not giving up on doing science,” he vowed. “We’re going to get as much science as we can for the remainder of the mission.” Limited observations could begin by Friday morning, he estimated. “We need to look at what targets we can observe given the resources we have and put in every high-priority target we can… We’re going into new territory at this point. We’ve got to bootstrap ourselves from ground zero.”

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated, because I am frustrated,” said Mary Jane Taylor of the WUPPE team. “But none of us thought that this was going to be error free. I think you have to keep in mind that we’re doing something that has never been done before. We are getting some fantastic results, and we’re going to learn a lot from it. And that to me is worth all the long hours we have put into this. We have a fantastic team, and I am sure that we are going to be back on track, and we’re going to get a lot of science out of this mission.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:26 pm

Meanwhile, Mission Control wanted to take a look under the skin of the first DDU, even though they held faint hope the unit could be revived. By 8:30 a.m. CST, the crew was working to remove panels and 18 minutes later Houston began taking TV of the inspection. “There’s a lot of dust back there,” the crew reported. “You can see the vents. On the one underneath, you can see quite a bit of lint on it… All the wire bundles did look clean – no signs of any burning or anything.”

CapCom (Story Musgrave): Is it blue lint?

Parise: No, it’s all grey… might have to do with the age of the crewmembers, I don’t know.

Lint could have accumulated from such items as astronauts’ clothing, paper products and hand towels on the shuttle. The astronauts vacuumed a collection of dirt from the vent ports that help air-cool the electronics and left the panels off the DDU while Mission Control mulled an attempt to restart the display. At 9:44 a.m. CST, Jeff Hoffman, coming on duty with the day shift, was greeted by CapCom Story Musgrave with “Good morning, Jeff.” A dejected Hoffman replied, “Well, morning, anyway.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:27 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:27 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:29 pm
With Astro observations on hold, Hoffman and Durrance had not much to do. “We’re just sitting here, enjoying the view,” the Sam Durrance said at one point. The air-to-ground channels carried little chatter as ground teams developed plans for restarting the DDU and for ground commanding of the telescopes. At 12:26 p.m. CST, after a long silence, the crew called, “Story, you still there?” Musgrave reassured them, “Sure.”

At 12:49 p.m. CST, Flight Director Al Pennington gave a go for repowering DDU #1. Plans were still under review. The precautions against the remote possibility of fire breaking out were taken to the maximum. Mission Control told the crew to unpack their launch/landing helmets, which contained emergency breathing systems, and keep them within quick reach.

Lounge: We’ll probably wake up (the sleeping “Red Shift”) dragging all that equipment out.

CapCom: We think there’s a very, very low probability of needing them, but the only other option is to wait 7-8 hours (until the shift wakes up) to power DDU #1.

Lounge: No, we don’t want to do that.

The crew needed a half hour to unpack the helmets. At 1:41 p.m. CST:

CapCom: When you get ready to power DDU #1, we’d like a short count so we can watch it down here.

Hoffman: Okay, Houston, we’re ready to turn on DDU #1, if you are.

They waited for a solid communications lock. At 1:54 p.m. CST:

CapCom: Okay, Columbia, we’ve got good communications.

Hoffman: I’m going to turn on the DDU power on my mark. Mark! …Now we’ll wait a minute… Okay, it’s been a minute – none of us smell anything…

A heartbeat later, the crew rapidly reversed their assessment.

CapCom: Okay, we saw it power up down here.

Hoffman: And we just smell it now; we’re turning it off… an no joy on the test.

CapCom: We sure appreciate your efforts.

“We’re very disappointed,” said Flight Director Al Pennington. “I wanted this thing to work.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:33 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:35 pm

Now ground controlling remained as the only hope of saving the science mission. At 2:28 p.m. CST, with the details being sketched in for Houston controlling the IPS, Musgrave told the crew, “I’ve got a kind of generic procedure to work on…” – “It’s a good thing we’ve all worked together a lot over the years,” Hoffman joked.

“We’re working on the procedures fast and furious,” Mission Control said. At 2:51 p.m. CST, Houston began an attempt to move the IPS, the first test of their piece of the coming plan. Now the crew became the teachers, helping the ground master the learning curve.

CapCom: We’ve had a problem commanding… Can you give us an estimate of how long it takes you to get the objective after the item 7?

Hoffman: About a minute.

CapCom: I think that’s our problem – we’ve done the item 7 too fast.

By 3:37 p.m. CST, Houston had the IPS moving towards a star target. “It’s moving real good,” Jeff Hoffman encouraged them along. Surprisingly soon, at 4:38 p.m. CST, the teams in Huntsville and Houston were ready to attempt their first observation. The UIT, with its wide aperture, would attempt to view the 1987 supernova. “This is going to be interesting,” a nervous-sounding Ken Nordsieck in Huntsville repeated a couple of times.

“Imagine what you can do when you have to,” Jeff Hoffman commented. Just as the observation window for the supernova was about to open, a computer at the White Sands ground station, needed to uplink commands to the shuttle, crashed. White Sands needed ten minutes to bring up a backup computer.

At 4:50 p.m. CST, with communications back, the attempt moved forward. After Houston performed the rough IPS pointing, Durrance performed the fine pointing. Nordsieck in Huntsville talked him through the observation, since the crew did not have the benefit of the narrow view from the instruments for these early UIT attempts:

“Okay, Sam, AST in track… Eleven arc minutes up… Good… Four arc minutes left… Three arc minutes left… Okay, Sam, let’s go to operate – we’re going to operate down here… Looking good so far; so far we’re within five arc seconds… Okay, Sam, down and right… Up, move up…”

At 4:59 p.m. CST, the Huntsville commentator reported, “And we now have data that the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope is now in the observe mode.” Eight minutes later, the target moved out of range.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:37 pm

The gloom of the morning quickly evaporated as the multitudes at Houston, Marshall and aboard Columbia leapt up the learning curve much faster than expected. During the early evening, UIT repeated solo observations. By 8:00 p.m. CST, the team was rapidly moving ahead to the next step in recovery, joint UIT/HUT observations. The pair successfully observed HZ43, a white dwarf star. The team zipped directly to the top step – pulling in all three UV telescopes. At 9:40 p.m. CST, the three locked onto Eta Hor, a rapidly rotating star.

In a period of just twelve hours, Astro was back!

“Due to a monumental team effort with the scientist and NASA Support Operations teams, new commanding procedures for operation of the Astro instruments have been successful,” said Assistant Mission Manager Stu Clifton. “The Astro mission has made a rapid recovery in obtaining important science data on a number of targets. As time goes on, we anticipate that all the instruments will be acquiring nominal science.”

(Countdown, February 1991; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 7, 1990; Deseret News, Dec. 7, 1990; AFN Europe/AP Network News, Dec. 7, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:37 pm

It has taken more than 30 years, but glasnost is coming to the Soviet space program. A Soviet newspaper today broke three decades of official silence by publishing details of a horrific fire at the Baikonur rocket base in 1960. A number of leading space scientists were killed in the catastrophe which occurred when an SS-7 rocket intended to carry a probe to Mars caught fire and exploded on the launch pad. Western experts have long known of this Soviet disaster in which at least 200 people, including the commander-in-chief of the Soviet strategic rocket forces, died. Now Soviets, as well as Westerners, know about what one American expert has described as “probably the greatest disaster of the space age.”

(Jonathan Sanders CBS/AFN Europe, Dec. 6, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:41 pm
PAO: This is Mission Control Houston. We’re looking at television from the middeck of Pilot Guy Gardner operating the trash compactor system aboard Columbia. This is a Detailed Test Objective, No. 634…

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:42 pm
Friday, December 7, 1990 (Flight Day 6) – Interesting and Dynamic

”Our attitude here is that we’ve got a mode we feel is going to work and we’re going to go get the science.”

- Jack Jones, Astro-1 Mission Manager


Earlier Friday, taking a short break from their Astro-1 duties, the four astronomers among Columbia’s seven fliers conducted the first school lesson from space, speaking over a two-way television link with middle school students in Huntsville, Alabama, and Greenbelt, Maryland. Mission Specialist Jeffrey Hoffman explained, “As with many things, what‘s supposed to be an auxiliary add-on event, the classroom in space of course, but it takes a life of its own, and it starts driving the rest of the schedule, because once you‘ve lined up the schools and then public affairs gets involved, and then you‘ve got to do it.”

The hour-long exercise featured Hoffman, who turned the children’s attention to Astro-1 itself and revealed how, operating high above Earth’s hazy atmosphere, its sensitive telescopes could reveal more about the Universe than ever before. “We were the first people to actually give a formal classroom lesson from space back in 1990. We had done that,” Hoffman said later.

“The idea was to put together a lecture about astronomy relating to what we‘re doing. Things were a bit basic back then. They didn‘t have a lot of the fancy media things. It was more of a talking heads sort of thing. I thought one way to make it a little bit funny for the students, I thought, ‘Well, all the men teachers that I‘ve had at least in high school, they all wore ties.’ Nowadays that may not be true anymore. So I thought, ‘Gee, it would be fun to take a tie into space.’ So I did. I had a necktie,” said Hoffman.

During the broadcast he staked a claim to sporting the first necktie in space – worn with a much wrinkled shirt. “I know nobody has ever worn a tie in space, so I thought I’d give it a try and see what it looks like. You have to be a little bit careful in zero gravity, but it works quite nicely,” said Hoffman, who used a bit of Velcro to keep the necktie in place.
“It got the students‘ attention at least,” Hoffman said later. “We actually did quite a few; we did not just that classroom from space, but I ended up working with the educational film people. We did a few educational films about ASTRO, which I was quite pleased with.”

At one stage of the classroom instruction, Sam Durrance played two taped versions of the same musical theme: the first, he explained, was unrecognizable because the high and low notes had been removed. The second, however, proved to be the theme of Star Wars. “You need to hear all the notes,” Durrance told the students, “to appreciate the sound.” Then, waxing lyrical somewhat, he told them that, in a similar way, “the heavens are playing a symphony of light.”

The astronauts also extolled the virtues of being flexible. “You may have heard about some of the problems we’ve been having,” said Hoffman. “This has been quite an interesting and dynamic mission. We’ve shown that in spaceflight you have to be extremely adaptable.” Later, the children were given the opportunity to pose questions to Ron Parise and Robert Parker.

“Are you seeing the stars you want to? And are you seeing them as well as you expected?” one student asked. Parise replied, “Absolutely. We’re seeing… we are looking at a lot of the targets that we have initially planned to look at anyway. And we have to do it a little differently than we planned. But nevertheless we are doing it and the scientists on the ground are really finding out some interesting things. They are getting really excited about what they’re seeing and the data that we’re gathering.”
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:44 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:46 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:47 pm

“There’s good news on the front this morning,” Mission Manager Jack Jones said, perhaps showing the bunker mentality the Astro mission was imposing. “I am convinced you are going to hear exciting results for the rest of the mission,” Gene Urban said. The original Astro science timeline had taken months – even years – to develop, he pointed out, but the massive replanning following the DDU failure had been accomplished in just hours. “Within 22 hours,” Urban said, “we had in place and activated a control process that had never been simulated. What we did to recover exemplifies the strength of this replanning process.”

The massive replanning was continuing on a shift-by-shift basis, rearranging timelines to squeeze in the largest number of high-priority observations. “Each 12-hour shift starts with a clean slate and decides what targets they want,” Urban said.

“We’ve had a lot of setbacks, but success is at hand here,” said Arthur Davidsen of HUT. “This is not a failure by any stretch of anybody’s imagination. If you compare it to children in school trying to get 100 on their exam, you’ve got the wrong idea completely.” Instead, Davidsen said the mission should be likened to a football game, “The Huntsville ASTROs” vs. “The Universal Secrets.”

“When the DDU went down, I liken that to being tackled behind the goal line. Then we went in and changed the game plan entirely. Now we’re making so much progress, it’s almost unbelievable. Almost every play is a first down – that’s when we get the observations. And the science results are like touchdowns. I think we’re winning the game now.”

The game-winning science flowed steadily now, such as at 5:35 a.m. when all four telescopes caught Q1821, a radio-quiet quasar, one of the most luminous objects in the Universe, brighter than many galaxies combined.

“It is thought that Q1821’s enormous radiation emission is powered by matter falling into a black hole in its center,” said Gerard Kriss of the HUT team. “Gas stripped from nearby stars in the host galaxy of the quasar should get hot as it falls into the black hole, forming a swirling disk much like water draining down a sink. Astro scientists are looking for the characteristic radiation that would be emitted by this hot gas. This would provide some of the first hand evidence for the existence of black holes.”

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:47 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:48 pm

The exchange between the crew and ground were becoming crisper, etched with the excitement of pure science teamwork.

CIC (Ken Nordsieck): We give the IMC (Image Motion Compensator) a mirror reset.

Parise: If I can find it… Try now.

CIC: Okay, Ron, you’ve got to come up…

Parise: Okay – go, go, go.

CIC: Okay, go for the mirror test.

Parise: Hurry up, Ken.

CIC: It’s reset. We’re going to turn on the IMC again.

Parise: Okay, hurry, Ken. You’ve got it.

CIC: Okay, Ron, very good. We’ve got IMC… Looking good… Dead on center for WUPPE… Ron, you’re pointing right… You’re heading in the right direction.

Parise: Unfortunately, I can’t see what’s going on until it hits the edge of the slit.

Ron Parise was saying that when the target entered the slit-like aperture of the instruments, he could no longer see it. The aperture appeared as a dark line on his TV monitor because when the light was being swallowed by the detectors, none was diverted to the TV camera. The air-to-ground communications grew silent for a few moments as the instruments gathered data.

CIC: Looking real good, Ron. Your hold is real steady – you’ve got some sort of telepathy with our numbers down here… Ron, WUPPE is about to quit, so you’ll se the image go away… Okay, WUPPE is in standby… HUT is getting ready to quit… Okay, Ron, the instruments have all quit.

“Operations here in the control room have reached a steady rhythm,” Houston said at 1:00 p.m. CST. “It’s working as well as it ever possibly could have,” Arthur Davidsen said in an afternoon press briefing. A reporter asked, “Do I understand that you are right now operating at an efficiency rivaling that which you had hoped to operate at with everything working automatically, perfectly, had nothing broken down?” Davidsen replied, “You’ve got it right.”

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:50 pm

The hands-on work of controlling their own instruments lifted the spirits of the experiment teams. “The mood is much more positive today,” said Barbara Pfarr of the UIT team. “The people on the team are very enthusiastic. I can even say that commanding from the ground is rather fun!”

The fun for Durrance increased in the afternoon as he sighted Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa as guide stars for an observation of the planet. “We’ve been waiting for this one,” he called. “Look at that!”

The HUT gathered 35 minutes of spectral data on Jupiter’s equatorial regions, auroral zone, and the doughnut-shaped torus of ionized particles that follows Io’s path. The instrument’s spectrometer recorded resolutions of Jupiter five times better than produced by the Voyager probes.

“My favorite observation was when we observed Jupiter,” Durrance would recall after the flight. “I’ve been interested in Jupiter for many years. I’ve observed it from the ground; I’ve observed it with sounding rockets; I’ve observed it with the International Ultraviolet Telescope. Observing it with Astro was certainly my favorite. And I could see from the screen, the data was as good as or better than anything I’d hoped for.”

One of the day’s highlights was sharp spectral observations of Markarian 335, a bright, compact object 325 million light years distant. Theorists believe the Markarian galaxy is a likely candidate to contain a black hole surrounded by a swirling mass of material that is being sucked into it. But until now, proof had been difficult to obtain because the X-ray energy emitted by the swirling material as it disappears could not be observed with ground-based telescopes, which were blinded by the Earth’s atmosphere. Flying high above the atmosphere, Columbia’s Broad Band X-Ray Telescope was able to obtain high-resolution images of Markarian. “Based on the observation, we ought to be able to come up with some estimate or limit on the masses of these black holes,” said NASA astronomer Peter Serlemitsos.

By late Friday, controllers and astronauts were able to train the telescopes on their celestial targets within five minutes, rivaling the time required before Thursday’s DDU loss. “We’re very surprised,” said Flight Director Al Pennington. “We didn’t plan this. We just invented it.” But Ted Gull, the observatory’s chief scientist, was not prepared to comment on the degree of success the mission would be able achieve.

The nature of Flight Day 6 was reflected best by Bill Blair of the HUT team: “One thing that this mission has taught me is if you don’t like your mood right now, wait ten minutes and it will probably be better.”

(Countdown – February 1991; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 8, 1990; AFN Europe/AP Network News, Dec. 7, 1990; Ben Evans, Space Shuttle Columbia, Springer/Praxis 2005; Jeffrey Hoffman, JSC NASA Oral History Project interview, Nov. 3, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:51 pm

A blue-green flash lit up the predawn sky across much of the Midwest, prompting lots of peoples in Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan to call up radio stations, to speculate maybe it was a meteor, or a UFO, or possibly an exploding satellite. Officials at the U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs say they believe it was a meteor. Experts don’t believe it hit the ground though.

Astronomer April Witt at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium says none of the above: “That blue-green flash was a fireball and anybody who saw it that’s really great, because as long as I’ve been here I’ve never seen one. They’re fairly rare.” Witt says fireballs and meteors are similar, it’s just that fireballs are made up larger pieces of space junk, pebble-size rather than just dust, making for a showier display when they hit the Earth atmosphere and burn up.

Witt is expecting more fireworks in the coming weeks. “In the next week, actually the evening of December 13th over to the 14th, is the Geminid meteor shower. And it’s the trail of junk left behind by a comet; and that trail of stuff happens to cross the orbit that the Earth takes around the Sun. So we get to sweep through this dust pile every December.”

(AFN Europe/AP Network News, Dec. 7, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:52 pm
Saturday, December 8, 1990 (Flight Day 7) – An Atmosphere of Jubilation

“The data is looking real good, Sam. We’re seeing lots of photons down here.”

- Kenneth Nordsieck, Huntsville CIC and Astro-1 Alternate Payload Specialist


When told of Arthur Davidsen’s analogy of the mission to a football game, Jeff Hoffman replied, “I just hope we don’t have any more penalties.”

Columbia appeared to give the flight a penalty early in the morning. During a dump of the orbiter’s waste water tank at 5:24 a.m. CST, the flow slowed to a stop. The waste water system collected humidity out of the shuttle’s air as well as liquid waste and held it in a tank with a 164-pound capacity. The tank had to be dumped, normally once a day.

“We generate a considerable amount of waste water in a given day at a rate of about 2 1/3 pounds per hour,” explained Flight Director Randy Stone. “We need to protect some capacity in that waste water tank to be able to remove humidity during deorbit so that we don’t damage any of the avionics with free water in the cabin.”

The crew quickly unpacked a Contingency Waste Container, a large nylon rubberized bag that could hold up to 95 pounds of water, and began routing the water to it. “Looking at all of our capability to store waste water, we have absolutely no concerns that we could not continue to fly an eight-plus-two-day mission,” Stone said in the morning. The orbiter had to maintain a plus-two-day margin, the ability to fly two extra days beyond a planned landing, in case either weather or mechanical problems prevented deorbit.

“Even if we are never able to restore the dump capability, we are reasonably confident that we can work our way up to a nine-plus-two capability,” Stone said. “This new problem is certainly a threat to the ten-day capability.”

The crew broke out the “Apollo bags,” waste baggies as used in the pre-space-toilet Apollo program. The bags, officially called Urine Collection Devices, and refined calculations of water capacity allowed Mission Control to radio at 2:30 p.m. CST, “Right now we’ve got you to nine-plus-two.”

You want Jeff and I go out and check that (dump nozzle) from the outside?” Mike Lounge jokingly asked. Lounge and Hoffman were the crewmembers trained to make any emergency spacewalks during the mission. “We appreciate you working as hard as you are to get us a full mission,” Lounge assured the ground. He suggested transferring water into old drink bags – a suggestion that was put in work.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:54 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:54 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:55 pm

First the technical details…

“The waste water system dump performance was not fully satisfactory. The waste water system collected water satisfactorily and at a rate 26 percent greater than the level nominally predicted. Three successful water dumps were performed, but the dump rate continually degraded from 1.73 percent per minute to 1.12 percent per minute. During the fourth waste water dump, the dump rate continued to degrade and reached a level as low as .26 percent per minute, when the dump was stopped to prevent icing of the dump nozzle.

A cabin air purge of the line was unsuccessful. Following the purge, an attempt was made to clear the waste water dump line and nozzle using the In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) hose, which was connected to the 30-psi nitrogen source from the pressure control system and the contingency water cross-tie waste quick disconnect, but the line and nozzle became completely blocked.

As a result, the contingency water collection bag was filled with waste water and the waste water tank quantity was reduced to 10.4 percent at approximately 6 days and 9 hours Elapsed Time. Again, at approximately 7 days and 9 hours Elapsed Time, the waste water was transferred from the tank to 15 female Urine Absorption Systems (UAS). This transfer gained enough ullage in the waste tank to allow the crew return to using the waste collection system for a nominal 10-day end of mission. Another attempt was made with nitrogen from the 30-psi source to clear the line, and little or no flow was obtained. Additional contingency methods of transferring waste water were available, if the mission had been extended for one day.”

- STS-35 Space Shuttle Mission Report, January 1991

And now the ugly truth…

In 2009 Jeffrey Hoffman gave us the smelly details about the clogged waste water dump system: “We couldn‘t dump our waste water overboard, which meant we couldn‘t use the urinal. So they prepare for those contingencies. There‘s a huge plastic bag, it‘s about the size of a body bag it looks like, and so you hook that up, and you can urinate into that. But, there were seven of us on board, and we filled that up after a couple days.”

“It‘s actually a bit of a funny story, because one of the things you do before a flight, they have what they call a bench review where every piece of equipment that‘s going to be loaded on the shuttle, it‘s in Houston because Boeing does all that. Then they pack it all up, and they send it to Florida to put on the shuttle. Before they do that, they lay it all out on the bench and the crew gets to go and inspect literally everything that‘s going to go on the shuttle, just in case you have any last-minute questions.”

“There‘s a whole bunch of stuff which is used for contingencies. It‘s stowed way in the bowels of the shuttle, and usually you never go anywhere near it. There was this whole big boxful of female urine contingency devices, as well as a box of male urine contingency devices. We said, ‘There‘s seven men on this flight. Why are we carrying a box of female urine contingency devices?’‘Well,’ they said, ‘some flights have women, and some don‘t, but the paperwork that would be involved to take this thing on and off depending on whether you had women on the flight would be so onerous that it‘s easier if we just leave it on every flight.’

“Okay, seems ludicrous. Now here we are. We need contingency urine collection devices. We had to use all the male ones. Normally you‘re only supposed to use them once and throw them in the wet trash. But because we knew we were limited, they said, ‘Would you mind? Just hang them up on the wall and use them as many times as you can.’ The problem is that they have little pinholes in them. They were very old. I think they‘re from the Apollo era. So you get these yellow bubbles coming out. I‘m not trying to gross you out – This is history; this is the way it was.”
“Well, luckily, your sense of smell is very much depressed, probably because of the fluid shift. It‘s like having stuffed sinuses. We couldn‘t smell much. Although I have to say when the… Well, I‘ll get to the landing in a minute. We finally were getting towards the end of our male urine contingency devices. Then they went into an Apollo 13 mode and said, ‘All right, now what are we going to do? We‘ve got these female urine collection devices, and we‘ve got males who want to use it.’ It‘s the round hole in a square peg, like in Apollo 13, like I say.

They came up with this plan to do it, but obviously they had not tried it out in weightlessness, because it didn‘t work very well. They leaked a lot. Anyway it was a mess. We had socks up there to soak up the urine. It was not pretty. It was probably just as well that there weren‘t any women on that flight. It was pretty gross. When we finally landed, I remember the look on the face of the technician who first crawled on board, because it must have really reeked. We couldn‘t really smell it that much, because we were kind of inured to it. It was pretty bad, but we survived.“

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:57 pm

Meanwhile, the astronomy work moved forward uninterrupted. The list of targets observed grew with each orbit. “The atmosphere here is one of jubilation as significant science continues to be made,” said Assistant Mission Manager Stu Clifton.

The targets were reeling in like a fisherman finding a school of fish:

…At 6:00 p.m. CST, all three UV telescopes locked on the star NGC 1535.
…By 7:50 p.m. CST, the UV telescopes began observing HD 25443, a WUPPE calibration target.
…At 8:23 p.m. CST, BBXRT, HUT and UIT observed Supernova 1987-A while WUPPE prepared for another try at a fine-tuning calibration on HD 25443 at 9:17 p.m. CST.
…At 10:20 p.m. CST, HUT and UIT observed the spiral starburst galaxy NGC 253.
…The WUPPE calibration was completed using target NGC 4151 at 11:25 a.m. CST.

Between 1:15 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. CST (Dec. 9), BBXRT looked at the celestial target Tycho while HUT and WUPPE co-observed IC 63, a reflection nebula illuminated by Gamma Cassiopeia, as scientists probed the nature of dust grains in stellar space around the nebula. All four telescopes gathered data on NGC 1068, a galaxy that is a source of highly variable radiation associated with star formation, at 2:45 a.m. CST.

And the stellar catch kept growing.

(Countdown, February 1991; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; Jeffrey Hoffman, JSC NASA Oral History Project interview, Nov. 3, 2009 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:57 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 07:59 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:01 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:02 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:02 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:03 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:03 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:04 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:04 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:04 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:06 pm

December 8 marks a day full of history – from FDR’s “Day of Infamy” call to war in 1941 to the death of John Lennon outside his home in New York City a decade ago. On December 8, 1990, another page of history was written as NASA reported the arrival of the first interplanetary probe to Planet Earth. – Had UFOs invaded? No, but NASA Project Manager William O’Neill affirmed the report, saying, “Galileo just became the first confirmed interplanetary visitor to Earth.”

After looping around Venus in February, NASA’s Jupiter-bound space probe came home to Earth on December 8, making its closest approach at 2:35 p.m. CST. Galileo skimmed just 597 miles above the southwest region of the Atlantic Ocean at a speed of 30,000 mph.

The visit home was eye-blinking brief, but during it, Galileo gave scientists the first look at the Earth and the Moon from the point of view of an approaching spacecraft and simultaneously grabbed a touch of energy from our Blue Planet – a whisper of force needed to keep the probe on course.

Galileo would now speed outward, dipping into the asteroid belt and a fly-by of asteroid Gaspra in October 1991. The probe, deployed by Space Shuttle Atlantis in October 1989, needed yet one more helpful push from Earth. It would loop back for a last call home on December 8, 1992. That gravity boost would yield enough velocity to finally fling Galileo on the direct highway to Jupiter – making one more asteroid encounter on the way. Galileo would arrive at the giant planet in December 1995.

(Countdown, February 1991 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:06 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:07 pm
Hams in Space – “Hello” from Columbia

“The idea came to me some time ago, just because here was Mir operating 2 meters and we were going to be operating 2 meters, and we ought to talk to each other.”

- Ron Parise, WA4SIR, STS-35 Payload Specialist and ham operator

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:09 pm

While the Astro-1 crew didn’t get a chance to talk to Mir during the close encounter on Flight Day 2 because the Soviet crew was busy performing their Soyuz post-docking tasks, thousands of ground-based hams around the world were able to communicate with Ron Parise aboard Columbia. Hundreds of students, teachers, and individuals spoke with him directly during brief contacts.

Parise used some of his spare time, before sleep and after waking, and before going on 12-hour duty, to communicate with the world. He operated SAREX every time he had a couple of spare minutes. Parise did have minor problems moving the antenna across the flight deck, crowded as it was with crew and equipment, but he managed to do it without interfering with Astro operations.

After Ron Parise got a chance to set up the SAREX gear, he prepared for his first voice contact as he passed back over the Kennedy Space Center launch site. His first voice QSO was with NZ8W, a ham operating a 45 watt car rig outside a hotel near KSC – appropriately, NZ8W happened to be Henry Parise, his dad. Due to the tight crew schedule, the other astronauts didn’t get a chance to use SAREX much except for pre-planned phone patches with their families.

One of Parise’s more unusual voice contacts was with mission manager Jack Jones (KC4IWU). Normally mission managers only talked to the crew through the CapComs or CICs, But Jones went over to the Marshall Space Flight Center’s ham shack and talked with Parise for a couple of minutes about how well things were going, and how proud the ground team was of the job the crew was doing.

One lucky young ham in Hawaii, newly upgraded to technician, contacted Parise. Thoroughly enjoying himself, Parise talked for a couple of minutes about activities aboard the shuttle. Unfortunately, due to technical problems aboard the orbiter, he wasn’t able to record the conversation or copy down the call signs.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:14 pm

During the mission Parise had the chance to make several sets of voice passes over the U.S., a couple of passes over Australia, and two over South Africa. He even made contacts with some portable rigs. When Parise tried a few free-for-all uplink contacts, literally thousands of hams transmitted at once on one uplink frequency. He said at times it sounded like white noise on his end.

Besides individuals, Parise made 28 pre-arranged contacts with student groups around the country, primarily via voice relays through Australia or Brazil, although one contact was made directly from Columbia. One of the teachers at Tampa Palms Elementary School in Tampa, Florida, was Cathy Blair, astronaut Sam Durrance’s sister. At 8:42 p.m. EST on December 8 (MET 6 days, 18 hours, 55 minutes), Parise called Lee Paulet (KB4FBX), who had set up a rig in the schoolyard with the assistance of Robert Osband (N4SCY). With the help of two other hams, Osband provided a real-time computer display showing the shuttle’s position.

After Parise made the initial contact with Paulet, he passed over the headset to Durrance, who talked to the students for about four minutes, before the shuttle went out of range. “It was natural to let him talk to the kids and answer the questions,” Parise said. Though it was a Saturday evening, approximately 200-300 students came over with their families to hear the shuttle in person. Local and regional newspapers, radio stations, CNN and television stations from all three networks covered the contact.

Several students asked Durrance questions about life aboard the shuttle, and everybody was entertained – and educated. While the contact took up four minutes of valuable shuttle time, it helped educate hundreds of students, and indirectly affected thousands of others who learned about this SAREX contact with a small elementary school in Florida. This was one of the fine examples of how the SAREX experiment helped educate the public about the space program.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:15 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:16 pm

In a 1991 issue of Odyssey magazine, Patty Winter presented some fine examples what students across the U.S. wanted to know during these SAREX contacts. Janet Whelan of Tonawanda, New York, wondered, “Was there ever a time in astronaut training when you had second thoughts about being an astronaut?” Parise replied, “No, Janet, I never did. It’s been a tremendous experience and a lot of fun. Training is fun, and everything is fun. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do.”

Parise wasn’t near a window during the spectacular night launch of the shuttle Columbia, but he told Kim Waldeck of Tonawanda, New York, that he and the other astronauts on the middeck “listened to everyone up on the flight deck ooohing and aahhing and telling us what a neat sight it was.” The launch was still exciting, though, especially the transition to zero gravity. As he described it to Jeff Garte of Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, “It was quite a ride! And once you get up here, just as Main Engine Cut-Off happens, all of a sudden you go from being slammed back in your seat to floating in your shoulder straps.”

Lisa Gonzales and her friends in Cerritos, California, laughed when Parise admitted that he and the other astronauts spent a lot of time playing at mealtime. “I always yell at my kids for playing with their food, but we’ve been playing with ours every day. It’s great fun to let the food float around in the cabin and chase after it and grab it with your mouth. And you can let balls of juice float around and bump into other balls of juice.”

Kevin Williams of Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Florida, wanted to know, “Is being in space just like another simulation?” Dr. Parise replied, “Not at all. All you have to do is look out the window once and you know it’s not a simulation.”

While only a few schools were involved with direct communications with the shuttle, many others were online, listening. AMSAT and ARRL representatives were pleased with the results, considering the complexity of the arrangement. Unfortunately, the Johnson Space Center hams responsible for SAREX were unable to complete arrangements for a Mir contact during STS-35, even though they went as far as phoning their Moscow contacts.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:19 pm

One of the most exciting aspects of the flight was the capability to operate the SAREX experiment almost 16 hours a day, even when Parise was on duty. Packet radio made it possible for Parise to leave the rig running as a mini-packet BBS while he was busy working with the Astro telescopes.

For hams in remote locations around the world, it was relatively easy to make a complete packet contact with the shuttle. In the U.S., the situation was quite different. With as many as a few thousand stations all sending packets on the primary uplink frequency of 144.95 MHz, it is likely the SAREX receiver was in a state of constant overload. The 60 stations in the continental U.S. that actually completed a full two-way contact with the robot were either running a lot of power at just the right time, or were incredibly lucky, or both. Also, many uninformed hams could be heard calling before the shuttle was above the horizon, after it was long gone or even on the wrong frequency.

Since Owen Garriott (W5LFL) had used ham radio aboard Columbia STS-9 in 1983, congestion on the 2 meters had increased. Ham-in-Space SAREX operation had been infrequent and of short duration, but it was expected to require more coordination when ham activity from a U.S. space station became a reality.

The robot could only support nine simultaneous connects in progress at any time. During a typical successful robot QSO, an Earthbound station sent a connect request skyward. The robot received it and sent an acknowledgement with QSO serial number establishing the complete connect. The Earth station then sent an acknowledgement back to the robot which, upon receipt, logged the Earth station’s call in the QSL list and initiated a disconnect packet.

Unfortunately, due to heavy crowding on the uplink, many stations could not get the acknowledgement back to the shuttle after the connection had been established. The robot continued to hold their call signs until the connection timed out, thus making it impossible for others, beyond the nine connected stations, to get in. Only 13 percent of those stations who managed to initiate contact with the robot completed the two-way exchange.

The SAREX TNC held two lists of contacts: a work list with a capacity for 600 confirmed QSOs, and a heard log for up to 32 incomplete QSOs. The work list held the names of the 238 lucky hams that completed the entire contact, acknowledgement, and receipt of acknowledgement procedure. The heard log held the last 32 hams who made contact, but who hadn’t completed the entire procedure. The heard log was broadcast as a QRZ beacon with its current list.

Whenever Parise got a chance in between observations on the shuttle’s flight deck, he would go down to the middeck where the SAREX experiment was located and dump the heard log from the TNC so the Payload General Support Computer, a modified GRID laptop computer. The PGSC, onboard the shuttle since 1983, had proven itself so useful in monitoring experiments and collecting data that NASA was planning to replace the French-built Data Display System Spacelab computers with them.

Ultimately, Parise got 672 call signs in the stored heard log, including duplicates. The robot’s counter exceeded 1700 contacts. Unfortunately, he couldn’t constantly dump the log, and it kept overflowing. The only record of the lost log entries was the QRZ beacons, and they were needed to reconstruct the log. “We need any QRZ beacons that anybody’s got on disk or in hardcopy,” said Parise.


There were many comments from the Monday-morning-quarterback point of view about the STS-35 SAREX in operation. The Ham-in-Space activity was extremely successful. Not all hams made contact with the shuttle, but everyone who tried should at least have heard Ron Parise or the robot. Much of the difficulty in working the shuttle was caused by vehicle altitude, operator schedule, interference, and system limitations.

During the flight of STS-35, the shuttle had to align itself for telescope observations. Since the 2 meter antenna was located in either the pilot’s or commander’s window, much of the time it was aimed away from the Earth, or, due to its directivity, it was aimed at only a portion of the potential coverage area. Because of the vehicle’s orientation, not even an antenna in the cargo bay would have cured the problem on this flight, although it could help considerably on future missions.

Because of phone patches and private conversations, the packet system was not active on many passes over the U.S. If a second radio operating on 70cm could be employed for private voice activity, the packet system could be operated full-time on 2 meters. But the amateur radio experiment wasn’t a paying customer, and it was difficult to justify the inclusion of more ham equipment just to simplify packet connects to an orbiting system.

(Philip Chien & Andy MacAlister, 73 Amateur Radio Today, March 1991, Patty Winter, Odyssey, n/a 1991 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:21 pm

“A classroom visit from Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise could not have generated more excitement than the radio contact with two real-life astronauts that we had recently.

In early October, I was planning my strategy for introducing a unit on ‘Space Travel and Communications.’ I incorporate a major area on space in my ham radio curriculum every term. There is such an abundance of material that I’ve never taught it the same way twice in more than ten years. This is a favorite area of study for my 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

I finally decided that a great opening lesson would be to show an old science fiction movie from the 1950s and compare it to the tapes of shuttle launches and the SAREX tape from the ARRL. Purely by coincidence, when I opened up a session on the CQ All School Net, Jay Apt (N5QWL) was my first check-in. Jay introduced himself as an astronaut from the Johnson Space Center. He had heard about our net with schools around the country, and he wanted to get on and chat with the youngsters. I’m not sure who was more excited – the students or the teacher – but I do know that there was a smile on everyone’s face that afternoon.

Jay spoke to the children about plans for future shuttle missions, and about how much he was enjoying ham radio himself. He made a big impression on the youngsters by telling them about the importance of getting a good education and of considering technical careers. There was electricity in the air! Within minutes of the end of the contact, the rest of the school knew about our good fortune.

For days after the contact, parents contacted me to verify that it was all true, and to find out what we were doing in the ham radio program. What an incredible kickoff to my unit on space communications!

During the next four week, the children produced some of the most creative and well-researched reports and projects I have ever seen. Even the more ‘reluctant learners’ came through with flying colors as they presented puppet shows with pipe cleaner astronauts and popsicle-stick space stations.

In the midst of this flurry of space-related activity, on November 13, John WO5EEV, our friend from the Johnson Space Center, checked into the CQ All Schools Net with a special guest. He cryptically told us ‘This will make your day.’ He was right! Next at the mike was Ron Parise (WA4SIR), to say hello to the children. Once again, the excited looks of delight from the youngsters were a sight to behold.

Ron told the class that the crew from the SAREX mission STS-35 was at the Johnson Space Center in preparation for the December launch of Columbia. He also stressed the importance of getting a good education and encouraged the kids to think about entering technical fields of study.

I was privileged to observe the intense looks of pleasure on the faces of the children as they listened to the comments of a man about to go on a space voyage. It occurred to me that the astronauts are the real heroes of our times. The men and women who risk their lives and dedicate themselves to our expansion of scientific knowledge are the ones who are truly worthy of our respect and admiration.

While it may be true that you can’t initiate every space unit with a live contact from an astronaut, there are countless high-motivational lessons that can be used to spark the children’s imaginations.”

- Carol Perry, WB2MGP, Staten Island, New York

(73 Amateur Radio Today, March 1991 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:23 pm
Sunday, December 9, 1990 (Flight Day 8) – How Long Will It Last?

”It may be any 30 seconds on an object that is the most important thing that happens on this mission when measured 30 years from now.”

- Art Code, Astronomer and Astro-1 principal investigator


Overnight, the crew checked out the flight control systems and thruster jets needed for deorbit, normal preparations for landing, accomplished early just to be ready. “We do want you to know we are trying as hard as we can to get you ten-plus-two days,” CapCom Story Musgrave told the crew. Efforts to unplug the waste water line with air had failed, but at 10:00 a.m. CST the crew began transferring water from the water tank into the contingency bags. “This process seems to be going well – a little slow,” the crew reported. Within an hour, filling fifteen bags had reduced the tank from 20 percent to only 3 percent filled – enough for a full ten-day mission!

But not so fast … “There is a front moving into Edwards,” Mission Control told the crew. The weather now loomed as the deciding factor. The front appeared likely to hit Edwards between the landing times for nine and ten days of flight. Considering that the waste water line was still plugged, Mission Control would order Columbia down after the ninth day if the weather was forecasted to worsen.

The science operations continued through the day at peak efficiency. “Things are functioning rather routinely and everybody’s starting to loosen up,” said Mission Scientist Ted Gull. A new combination of procedures even allowed automatic acquisitions, IDOPs, to resume. At 3:00 p.m. CST, the IDOP procedure locked on the star Pi Aquarii. Meanwhile, Mission Control reported, “Weather briefings are going on continuously through the day…”

(Countdown, February 1991– edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:28 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:29 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:30 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:30 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:31 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:35 pm

A plumbing problem aboard the shuttle Columbia eased Sunday, but bad weather expected at the ship’s California landing site may force an early end to the mission. The ship and its seven crew members would touch down today at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 11:54 p.m. Houston time, if the planned ten-day flight is cut short by one day. Mission managers planned to make a decision overnight after following the movement of a West Coast cold front predicted to produce rain and low clouds in the Edwards area as early as Tuesday night.

However, if the weather threat abates, Columbia could land Tuesday at 10:43 p.m. Houston time, as originally scheduled. “That will be solely based on the weather,” NASA Flight Director Al Pennington said of the possibility of an early landing. “The orbiter is capable of continuing on.”

Columbia has been unable to eject waste water from a 20-gallon collection tank aboard the ship since Friday because of a clog in its narrow purge line. The problem threatened to force an early landing. Normally, the contents of the tank are sprayed into space once a day. In addition to storing the contents of fluids from the toilet, the tank also holds moisture pulled from the air in the crew cabin by dehumidifiers. Condensate in the cabin could jeopardize the shuttle’s many computers and other electronic gear.

In order to ensure enough capacity in the tank for the dehumidifiers, flight directors on Saturday considered ending the flight on Monday and asked the astronauts to use plastic urine collection bags rather than the shuttle toilet. Sunday, the fliers were able to resume use of the commode after they drained some of the contents from the waste-water tank. Using a small vacuum hose, about four gallons of liquid was transferred to 16 urine collection bags stowed on the shuttle for female astronauts. Columbia’s crew is all male. The shuttle astronauts also planned to try to clear the purge line by pressurizing it with nitrogen gas.

If the seven fliers end their astronomy mission late Monday, they will miss an opportunity to contact the Soviet cosmonauts aboard the Mir space station. And there is little likelihood they could speak with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, who is scheduled to visit the Johnson Space Center Monday with Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

The Columbia crew, however, continued their celestial observations Sunday with the complex ultraviolet and X-ray telescopes mounted in the payload bay. An abbreviated flight would cut deeper into the pre-mission agenda of 200 to 250 observations, but the teams of ground astronomers associated with the project say the mission has been a success. “We’re already over 100 targets that have been observed,” said NASA’s Ted Gull, the observatory’s chief scientist. “We will certainly be up around 150 or more by the end of tomorrow.”

Among Sunday’s observations were Alpha Camelopardalis, a “super giant” star, a newly discovered pulsar called Ginga and a rare eclipse of a binary star system in the Big Dipper. With the shuttle observatory, the Hubble telescope launched earlier this year and similar instruments planned for the future, astronomers are attempting to piece together the birth and evolution of the Universe.

(Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 10, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:37 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:38 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:39 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:41 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:42 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:45 pm

The Japanese television company that paid $12 million to send a reporter on a Soviet space mission will think long and hard before another venture with the Soviets, a company official says. “My advice: Don’t do business with the Soviets for 10 years,” said Ichiro Sasaki, an executive producer at the Tokyo Broadcasting System. It was Sasaki’s idea to send journalist Toyohiro Akiyama into space, and he helped organize the project. Now, even before the mission ends, he is disillusioned. “Their space development is advanced, but their business is not,” he said in an interview last week.

The Soviets have been trying for two years to commercialize their space program. The space agency Glavkosmos has signed commercial agreements for space flights with Austria, Britain, Germany and France, and more are in the works with China, Iran and Spain. Sasaki said the Soviet space industry itself is dependable and even could be profitable for foreign investors. But he complained about a disorganized array of companies and agencies that often make conflicting demands.

For example, the company’s initial contract with space agency Glavkosmos, for example, said Akiyama would “cooperate” on the eight-day mission with the two Soviet cosmonauts, Viktor Afanasyev and Musa Manarov. The Japanese company understood its initial payment would cover the estimated 12 hours of help from the cosmonauts, Sasaki said. But in the weeks leading up to liftoff, officials of Energia, the company that builds rockets and negotiates on behalf of the cosmonauts, said TBS must pay an additional $100,000 per hour for the services of Manarov and Afanasyev while in orbit.

(Deseret News, Dec. 9, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:46 pm
Monday, December 10, 1990 (Landing Day) – All Good Things

"I consider the mission nothing less than a total success. The scientific proof will come in the next few months."

- Gene Urban, Astro-1 Mission Scientist, NASA


AFN Europe/AP Network News: NASA will decide this morning whether to bring the shuttle Columbia home later in the day or let the mission end tomorrow as planned. The decision will depend on the weather forecast at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Jay Barbree: It seems problems for Columbia’s astronauts just won’t go away. NASA reported the crew drained enough waste water from the shuttle’s clogged plumbing to stay in orbit until Tuesday night, but no sooner that they had solved that problem forecasters told them the weather was turning bad at California’s Edwards Air Force Base, their prime landing site. Officials must decide by early morning if the weather will force them to land Columbia still a day early, Monday night, or if they’ll get to finish their full mission with a late Tuesday landing. Jay Barbree, NBC News, Cape Canaveral.
AFN Europe/AP Network News: The first fare-paying journalist to take a ride into space is back down. The Soviet news agency Tass says Toyohiro Akiyama and two Soviet cosmonauts have landed safely in Central Asia onboard their Soyuz space capsule. Radio Moscow hails the eight-day mission as the first of many such commercial flights.

Radio Moscow: During his stay at the station Toyohiro Akiyama described the flight in daily TV and radio broadcasts. He said his main objective was to enable all Japanese and the world to get a better view of Earth. The flight opens a series of commercial flights aboard Soviet spacecraft.

AFN Europe/AP Network News: Akiyama’s television network paid the Soviets $12 million to take him up and spent another $25 million to cover the mission.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:49 pm

As daybreak came, planners were reviewing two versions of the timeline – one for a ten-day flight and the other for a landing shortly before midnight CST. “Currently managers are meeting and reviewing the latest weather forecast for Edwards on Tuesday,” Mission Control said at 8:16 a.m. CST. The science harvest went on uninterrupted. Then at 9:06 a.m. CST, after making sure that Commander Vance Brand was there listening, CapCom Story Musgrave came on the loop with the final decision on Columbia’s return to Earth:

CapCom: Okay, you all have had a fantastic mission, but all good things have got to come to an end – and you are coming home tonight.

Brand: Okay, Story, very good. We’ll start getting ready.

CapCom: Yes, sir. And the reason is that tomorrow Edwards is predicted to be 6,000 broken, with rain in the vicinity. And also tomorrow, KSC is starting to cloud up. Your weather at Edwards today at your time of landing is 12,000 scattered, 25,000 broken; winds are 2-3-0, 8 gusting to 12, just about down the runway.

PAO: The planned times for a landing tonight would have a deorbit burn take place by Columbia at about 10:49 p.m. Central Standard Time and the ensuing touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base Runway 22 at 11:51 p.m. Central Standard Time… The decision to land tonight was driven by the weather forecast for Edwards Air Force Base on Tuesday. That forecast showed unacceptable conditions for the shuttle’s landing, with low clouds and rain within 30 nautical miles due to a cold front that passes through Edwards. Also a factor in that decision was the following day, Wednesday night, where there are backup opportunities for landing; however, Edwards weather even worsens on that night due to the cold front which will go through. And also on that night, the Kennedy Space Center weather deteriorates.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:52 pm
At that moment, an observation of Comet Levy was underway. Remember, Astro-1 in its pre-Challenger form would have observed Halley’s Comet in 1986, and now – totally unexpected – a comet had become the last target for Astro. Ironically, each of Columbia’s 1990 launch attempts would have involved a comet: Austin in May and Levy in September. Now, three months later, Comet Levy was too close to the Sun to permit safe observations. However, the managers decided to attempt this high-risk observation of Levy, since, as the last target for the mission, it wouldn’t matter if the sensors were overloaded.

The crew was told to begin deactivation in 12-14 minutes. At 9:09 a.m. CST, the final science exchanges were made between the crew and Huntsville. “Coming back into the slit now… You guys get the word?” – “Sure did,” the CIC replied.

“Here we are just about ready to button up the payload and bring it home, and the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope is continuing to make an observation in the last moment,” said Gene Urban. “The spectrum of the comet was on the screen, and they (the HUT team) were just jumping up and down!”

At 9:15 a.m. CST, Huntsville told Bob Parker and Ron Parise, “We have to quit this observation.” Three minutes later, Houston was sending commands to place the IPS in the 90-degrees position. By 9:21 a.m. CST, all experiment doors were verified closed. Four minutes later, Parker was given a go to stow the IPS. By 9:37 a.m. CST, the IPS was stowed horizontally in the payload bay.

Five minutes later, just 36 minutes after the decision to land, the IPS was latched firmly to Columbia. “You are in a good IPS landing configuration,” Musgrave told Parker. The BBXRT, however, continued operations until its final observation at 1:30 p.m. CST, observing the M87 galaxy.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:54 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:55 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 08:57 pm

During the afternoon U.S. Secretary of State James Baker showed off one of his favorite hometown attractions during a break in discussions on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and bilateral arms control agreements with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. Accompanied by a large contingent of news media representatives, the two diplomats arrived at Johnson Space Center for a visit with Center Director Aaron Cohen of the Space Shuttle and Space Station mock-ups in Building 9A and B and continued on to the second floor Flight Control Room in Building 30.

Mission Specialist Jeff Hoffman later explained, “We had been told that on the next to last day of our mission Eduard Shevardnadze, who at the time was the foreign minister of the Soviet Union, was going to be visiting Johnson Space Center. They were going to arrange for him to talk up to the shuttle to Vance Brand, who had been on the Apollo-Soyuz mission and had prepared a little speech in Russian that he was going to give to Shevardnadze. Then when it turned out we had to come home a day early, Vance was going to be asleep at that time. They called up and they said, ‘Well, we‘re going to cancel it, because we don‘t want to wake him up in the middle of the night.’

“Fine. I guess Sam Durrance, Mike Lounge, and I were the graveyard shift. We were awake. We got a call from Houston. ‘Columbia, Houston. We‘d like to arrange to do a com check at such and such a time.’ We looked and we said, ‘This is one orbit before they had originally scheduled the Shevardnadze talk. This looks to us like the PAO is going to override, and they‘re going to do this talk after all. What are we going to do?’

“We did the comm check. They said, sure enough, ‘We‘re going to set up the talk with Shevardnadze.’ We said, ‘What about Vance?’ We looked, and he was sound asleep. We decided, ‘He‘s got to land this thing tomorrow. We‘re going to do this without him.’ I had studied a little bit of Russian in college, but that was a long time ago. I went down to the depths of my memory to pull out at least one sentence. ‘Greetings from space from the shuttle Columbia.’
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:00 pm
PAO: And now the United States Secretary of State James Baker and the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Shevardnadze have arrived in the Mission Control Center and are receiving a briefing on the control center and the Flight Control Room from the Chief of the Flight Director Office at the Johnson Space Center, Randy Stone.

CapCom (Story Musgrave): Columbia, Houston.

Lounge: Go ahead Houston.

CapCom: You’re reading us loud and clear, Mike?

Lounge: You’re loud and clear, Story.

CapCom: Okay, we’ve got some visitors down here to come onboard. You all have had the privilege to flying very close to Mir on your mission, being able to wave and say hello. We’re honored down here that we have Secretary James Baker and the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union Eduard Shevardnadze say hello to you.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:02 pm
Baker: Hello, Columbia, this is Jim Baker in Houston. How do you read me? Over.

Lounge: Loud and clear, Secretary Baker, and it’s a pleasure to welcome you aboard Columbia today. It’s a fabulous day up here; I hope it’s a nice day down there.

Baker: Well, it’s an absolutely beautiful day here in Houston and I have, I hope, convinced the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union that it’s just a normal typical day for Houston, Texas. But let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on Columbia’s tenth mission. I had the privilege welcoming back the crew of Columbia’s first mission in 1981. And I just want to take this opportunity to thank you and the entire crew of Columbia’s tenth mission for your outstanding service to the nation. We are extraordinarily proud of the work you’re doing, and we wish you continued success. Over.

Lounge: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. It’s been a great pleasure for us this week and it’s been especially exciting to be in a group of twelve humans to be in space in three different space vehicles for the first time. That’s a milestone we hope to be repeated many times in the future.

Baker: Well, we hope the very same thing. Thank you very much, Columbia. Now I’d like to give you the opportunity to have a few words with Eduard Shevardnadze, the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:04 pm
Shevardnadze (talking in Russian; translated): Dear friends, Columbia astronauts, I would like to extend to you very warm greetings  on my own behalf, and also on behalf of the Soviet people, the Soviet cosmonauts and on behalf of President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. I think that what you are doing in space is very important; you are paving new roads in space, and I very much believe that you are paving those roads for the benefit and for the happiness of all of us on Earth. And let me wish you good luck and a very good landing here on Earth. Thank you.

After greeting Foreign Minister Shevardnadze with the one sentence that he had been able to put together in Russian, Jeff Hoffman continued in English, “We would like to thank you for your kind wishes, and it’s a pleasure for us to be able to speak to you today from Columbia. We agree with your sentiments that space travel is important for the future of all mankind. It’s a privilege to be able to have taken part in this mission. We congratulate you on the good work done by the Mir and Soyuz cosmonauts. And we look forward to continued work by nations of all the Earth in developing space, which is so important to the future of human kind. Once again thank you and good day. Doswidanja.”
Hoffman later recounted, “When we finally got back from the flight and got back to Houston, Aaron Cohen, who was the Center Director at the time, he was just bubbling over. He said, ‘Jeff, we had no idea that you were such a Russian scholar. You should have seen Shevardnadze‘s face when he heard Russian coming down from the shuttle. It was just great.’ Literally every time I saw Aaron he would remind me about this. What happened was kind of nice, because the month after that, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were visiting the Center, and my wife is British. So I thought, ‘If I ever want to ask a favor of Aaron Cohen, now would be a good time to do it, because I‘m definitely on his good guys list.’
“I called for an appointment and I went up and saw him in his office. He said, ‘Jeff, that was so great what you did with Shevardnadze. What‘s on your mind? What can I do for you?’ I said, ‘Well, Queen Elizabeth is coming, and you may remember my wife is British. I‘m just wondering if somewhere along her itinerary there would be a place where at least she could get close enough to see her.’

“He said, ‘We can do better than that. Why don‘t you be their guides in Mission Control?’ That was great. We have this great picture still of Barbara shaking hands with the Queen. We sent it back. Her father said he got drinks at the pub for months after that for his daughter and the Queen. So it really worked out beautifully.“
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:06 pm

“And still I think the dictatorship will not come to pass. The future belongs to democracy and freedom.”

- Eduard A. Shevardnadze (1928 – 2014)

On December 20, 1990, only ten days after his visit to Johnson Space Center, in a dramatic speech in front of the Soviet Congress of People's Deputies Eduard Shevardnadze resigned from his post as Foreign Minister. “Comrade democrats, in the broadest sense of the word, you have scattered. Reformers have gone and hidden in the bushes. Dictatorship is coming,” he warned.  “I think that it is my duty as a person, a citizen, as a Communist. I cannot accept those events that are happening in our country, or accept those trials that are in store for our people.”

The New York Times’ Tom Wicker wrote, “There's no doubt that the Gorbachev Government has been slow and uncertain in moving from the old, discredited Communist dictatorship toward democracy and a market economy. As a result, severe tensions have been generated in Soviet society, on the part of those who want faster movement toward reform as well as those who cling to old ways and old positions. Mr. Gorbachev is under sharp criticism from both groups.”

“More economic deprivation than Soviet citizens have been accustomed to also has resulted from his failure to organize a new system in time to replace the old – or at least to establish rudimentary new economic functions. The resulting discontent has been made worse by the long-festering resentments -- which, ironically, now can be politically expressed – of the various nationalities forcibly included, years ago, in the Soviet Union.”

“Nor are hard-line elements, including some military leaders, necessarily pleased by the remarkable external achievements of the Gorbachev regime – which has relinquished the old puppet states of Eastern Europe, allowed the peaceful reunification of Germany and accepted greater military limits and more cooperation in its agreements with the U.S. In his warning against dictatorship, Mr. Shevardnadze undoubtedly meant that some or all of these unhappy elements might combine to impose a new authoritarian regime, no doubt justifying themselves by claiming to ‘restore order’ or ‘end chaos.’ These have been the slogans of dictators everywhere.”

“He did not make clear whether he feared that such a combination might overthrow Mr. Gorbachev and seize power, or if he interpreted recent events to mean that Mr. Gorbachev might try to call upon such elements to support increased power for his own government.” Tom Wicker continued, “Mr. Shevardnadze's speech seems to me to disclose, however, a warning to Mr. Gorbachev that an effort to impose democracy forcefully could destroy democratic reform and turn into renewed dictatorship… Mr. Gorbachev's reform plans are coming too close for Eduard Shevardnadze's comfort to an authoritarian effort that might suppress rather than achieve democracy.”

“On the other hand, Mr. Shevardnadze said that if his fears came true, ‘No one knows what this dictatorship will be like, what kind of dictator will come to power and what order will be established.’ Or perhaps that, too, was a warning to Mr. Gorbachev that he might not be able to control any reactionary forces he might attempt to harness to his own support.”

“This apocalyptic warning, as James Baker said, has to be taken seriously by the U.S. No doubt some Americans will urge a return to a hard-line anti-Soviet policy; but that would only encourage Soviet hardliners to take their own action. For the moment, Washington has little choice but to support Mr. Gorbachev any way it can – while hoping that he also takes seriously Mr. Shevardnadze's warning to him, if that's what it was.”

… The coup attempt came in August 1991 – and the Soviet Union ceased to exist by the end of December 1991.

For more on Mr. Shevardnadze:

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:09 pm

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:10 pm

All entry preparations, including stowage and payload bay door closure, were completed as scheduled. At 10:49 p.m. CST, on orbit 141 over the Indian Ocean, Columbia’s OMS engines fired, setting the orbiter for the Xenon-lit Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base. “The burn looked nominal,” the crew reported. The OMS burn had lasted three minutes 41 seconds, resulting in a differential velocity of 383.2 feet per second.

At 11:23 p.m. CST, Columbia tasted the atmosphere at the entry interface point, nearly 5,000 miles from Edwards. “All systems continue to perform very well,” Mission Control reported. However, a failure of the central ground computer which processed data from the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite network caused the loss of forward and return communications through the TDRS for approximately 16 minutes during entry. There was no impact on the landing.

The entry aerodynamics were nominal with the control surfaces responding as expected. Also, the angle of attack was as expected. DTO 242 was performed during entry, which required eight Programmed Test Inputs including one manual body flap maneuver. DTO 901, SILTS, was not successfully completed because of data collection problems, but DTO 902, SUMS, and DTO 903, SEADS, were performed as planned, as was the DTO 911 data take with the Aerodynamic Instrumentation Package.

“That entry was a little more colorful, I think, because it was in the dark,” Mike Lounge recounted later. “The landing itself was hard to see. So I hoped Vance was going to the right place.”

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:11 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:14 pm
At 11:47 p.m. CST, Columbia appeared as point of light to long-range infrared tracking cameras. At 11:50 p.m. CST, Brand and Gardner took over manual control as Columbia circled in. Two minutes later, Columbia rolled onto final approach and bursted into the glare of the Xenon floodlights.

PAO: Columbia now in the terminal area; onboard guidance and navigation transitioning to Terminal Area Energy Management. Range now 59 nautical miles, altitude 66,000 feet, velocity Mach 1.5; Columbia now descending at 323 feet per second…

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:16 pm
PAO: Telemetry indications are that control stick steering has been activated. Commander Vance Brand and Pilot Guy Gardner now manually controlling the vehicle as it reaches for the Heading Alignment Cone…

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:21 pm
PAO: Columbia now banking left beginning its turn around the Heading Alignment Cone under the control of Crew Commander Vance Brand and Pilot Guy Gardner. Flight Dynamics Officer reports Columbia looks good rolling onto the Heading Alignment Cone. Very shortly Brand and Gardner will be incorporating the Microwave Landing System data into the onboard guidance and navigation… That microwave guidance system provided by beacons along the runway will provide highly accurate three-dimensional positioning information… Range ten nautical miles, altitude 15,000 feet, Columbia descending at 238 feet per second… As Columbia rolls onto final approach Commander Brand will be watching for the high-intensity light beam from the PAPI, which will serve as glide slope alignment aides as he makes Columbia’s way towards Runway 22…

CapCom: Columbia, Houston, we see you on centerline, on glide slope.

Brand: Roger, copy.

Vance Brand later explained, “I found that whereas when you’re landing the shuttle in the daytime, you sort of land it like an airplane and you see all the visual cues as you’re coming in. If you’re landing at Edwards in the daytime, out of the corner of your eye you see the sagebrush and it’s giving you an impression of how high you are above the ground, but at night you’re really relying on special guiding light patterns that you see. Like from about 15,000 feet down to 2,000 feet, you’re on what’s called the steep glide slope, and the light patterns are used to keep you on the correct steep angle going down.”

“Then after that you’re into pre-flare and settling on to the rather shallow glide slope, and looking at what’s called a ball-bar,” said Brand. “It’s a string of lights that you keep centered in certain way. You fly the vehicle so as to keep the lights centered correctly. This should have you on the right glide slope to land. Of course, you have the floodlights lighting up the first third of the runway. Anyhow, light cues are indispensable, and the whole environment is devoid of other visual cues.”

PAO: Range six nautical miles, altitude 8,000 feet, descending at 120 feet per second… Coming up in a few seconds Commander Brand will perform the preflare maneuver to take some of the steep angle out of the glide slope as Columbia reaches for Edwards concrete Runway 22. Altitude 4,000 feet, descending at 148 feet per second…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:24 pm
PAO: Range 2.5 nautical miles… preflare underway… landing gear coming down… gear confirmed down and locked… and main gear touchdown. Brand slowly derotating the nose to the surface of Runway 22… and nose gear touchdown. All 225,000 pounds of Columbia rolling out smoothly on Runway 22.

Touchdown occurred at 11:54 p.m. CST (9:54 p.m. PST), at a mission duration of eight days, 23 hours, 5 minutes, 8 seconds. The nose gear touched 12 seconds later, and Columbia rolled to a stop at 8 days, 23 hours, 6 minutes, 5 seconds. DTO 517, Hot Nosewheel Steering Runway Evaluation) and DTO 805 (Crosswind Landing Performance) were not completed during the landing phase because Columbia’s return occurred during darkness and crosswinds were not at the level required by the DTOs.

Braking had been initiated 11.5 seconds after nose gear touchdown at a ground speed of 134.5 knots with wheel stop occurring 34.3 seconds after brake initiation. The rollout distance was 10,447 feet. Columbia’s weight at landing was 225,329 pounds – the only heavier mission had been her STS-32 return with the Long Duration Exposure Facility in January 1990 with a combined weight of 228,335 pounds.

“It made our angle on outer glide slope two degrees less and it made our landing speed maybe a few knots higher,” Brand explained the effects of landing a heavier than usual vehicle. “So it only had a small effect. What did have an effect, though, was we landed in a tail wind, and the differences there were really noticeable. It changes your trajectory just a bit, and you actually have to decelerate faster and land at a higher ground speed. Your groundspeed is higher than normal. I noticed those differences more.”

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:24 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:26 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:27 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:31 pm
Brand: Houston, wheels have stopped at Edwards. We’re home.

CapCom: Roger that, Columbia. Welcome home. Beautiful landing, outstanding job. Stand by for your post-landing deltas.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:32 pm

The three Auxiliary Power Units were shut down by 10:09 p.m. PST and the crew completed the required post-landing reconfigurations. They underwent routine post-flight physicals before leaving the vehicle at 11:40 p.m. PST. Data gained from these checkups were to be added to knowledge gained during longer missions as the program moved toward Extended Duration Orbiter missions. "The crew is in great shape," William Lenoir, NASA's Associate Administrator for Spaceflight said after meeting with the fliers.

PAO: The marathon men of Columbia being greeted at the base of the stairs by Flight Crew Operations Director Don Puddy and Shuttle Program Chief Robert Crippen… After over 141 orbits and nearly nine full days in orbit, the crew of Columbia is on terra firma…

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:34 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:35 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:36 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:37 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:38 pm

The astronauts remained in California for medical tests and rest before returning home at 10:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, December 11. The nine-day astronomy mission was the shuttle program's third-longest spaceflight. "I think we will have some great results from this mission," said Brand, who praised his crew and ground controllers for overcoming a succession of problems with Columbia's telescopic observatory. "I have a great crew. They performed flawlessly."

“Our mission really demonstrated teamwork. The people on the ground really got with it after we had the Spacelab (DDU) failures,” Brand added. “I think we all were stimulated by this, since problems were solved and we did work-arounds that allowed business to continue.” Astro mission manager Jack Jones agreed, “We are just delighted at the way the mission played out. We can only thank the great team we have working the mission.”

Payload Specialist Sam Durrance stated, "For me, this was the fulfillment of a dream. It was an incredible experience. We were up there to do astronomy, and we could tell from what we had seen that we had reaped an immense harvest of data in ultraviolet astronomy, a deep, rich harvest. These are truly pathfinding observations. We will hear a lot about that in the months to come when the scientists reduce the data.”

Of about 200-250 targets crammed into timelines preflight, 135 were observed. HUT made 101 observations on 75 targets. WUPPE gained 88 observations on 70 targets. UIT made 900 photographs of 64 targets, using about 50 percent of its film. BBXRT made 116 observations of 76 targets. “Look, it’s not quantity, but quality,” said mission scientist Ted Gull. “The science that will come out of this data is going to help rewrite textbooks.”

(Countdown, February 1991; NASA air-to-ground and PAO commentary; Space News Roundup, Dec. 7, 1990; Mark Carreau, The Houston Chronicle, Dec. 11, 1990; Tom Wicker, The New York Times, Dec. 23, 1990; STS-35 Space Shuttle Mission Report, NASA-TM-105476, January 1991; Chronology of KSC and KSC Related Events for 1990, KHR-15, March 1991; Philip Chien, 73 Amateur Radio Today, March 1991; Vance Brand, NASA JSC Oral History Project interview, Apr. 12, 2002; Mike Lounge, NASA JSC Oral History Project interview, Feb. 7, 2008 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:40 pm

After eight days as the first journalist in space, Toyohiro Akiyama safely touched down Monday, December 10, with down-to-earth cravings for beer, good food and a smoke. "It seems like I came back as a mass of desire," Akiyama, 48, said after emerging from the Soyuz space capsule that landed on the frozen tundra in Kazakstan, the Soviet republic in Central Asia. Akiyama, a news director for the Tokyo Broadcasting System, was the first Japanese in space. He returned with cosmonauts Gennady Manakov and Gennady Strekalov, who were concluding a four-month stay aboard the Mir space station.

TBS paid the Soviets $12 million for Akiyama's rocket fare and spent an additional $25 million on the project. The saturation coverage by TBS of Akiyama's mission reached a crescendo with Monday's all-day live broadcast of the landing, which came at about 3:05 p.m. local time. TBS had rented four helicopters with cameras mounted underneath to cover two possible landing sites.

(Deseret News, Dec. 10, 1990 – edited)

Mission Report: Soyuz TM-11 – Japan’s First Spacefarer

“Japan’s space development is expected to lead the world’s technology in the 21st century. The spaceflight by the first Japanese cosmonaut would constitute a significant step in this area. Japan has materialized the joint spaceflight with the U.S:S.R. next to France in the western world. Peaceful cooperation between the East and the West is the current of the times. I am convinced that the joint spaceflight will play an important role in creating a new trend for Soviet-Japanese relationships.”

- Toshiki Kaifu, Japanese Prime Minister

(Printed in Spaceflight News, February 1991; Editor/Publisher: Nigel MacKnight)


- Toyohiro Akiyama, a TBS foreign news editor, becomes Japan’s first spacefarer, and the first “career journalist” in space. His 7 days 21 hrs 54 min 40 sec flight to Mir declared a success.
- Shortly prior to the mission, Akiyama’s backup, Ryoko Kikuchi, developed acute appendicitis and underwent an emergency operation. She recovered in time to perform her duties.
- Soyuz TM-11 Commander Viktor Afanasyev and Flight Engineer Musa Manarov became Mir’s next long-stay crew (EO-8), replacing Gennady Manakov and Gennady Strekalov, who returned to Earth with Akiyama aboard the Soyuz TM-10 spacecraft.


A media reporter has flown in space for the first time. Forty-eight year-old Japanese TV reporter Toyohiro Akiyama – a former Vietnam War correspondent – flew an eight-day mission aboard Soyuz TM-11, which some had nicknamed the Starship Free Enterprise, and the Mir space station. The flight was arranged, under commercial conditions, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tokyo Broadcasting Service by providing the populace with the first series of wholly journalistic observations from space.

TBS is the largest privately-owned radio and television broadcasting organization in Japan, with a network which reaches every corner of this far-flung island nation. It has a total of 26 stations, most of which are the largest TV and radio broadcasting stations in their area. TBS employs 1,600 full-time staff and engages the services of over 8,000 subworkers. Its foreign news network consists of 16 correspondent bureaus in major cities throughout the world.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:41 pm

The TBS Space Project has its origins in the national enthusiasm for space exploration fostered by the passing of Halley’s Comet in 1986, to which Japan dispatched the Sakigake and Suisei probes. In the ensuing five years, TBS has broadcast 16 TV programs on this topic alone!

An agreement to fly a Japanese journalist aboard Mir was signed in Moscow on March 27, 1989, by Glavkosmos and TBS officials. A recruitment drive among employees and its affiliates resulted in 162 applicants, including 18 women. The youngest applicant was 23, the oldest 55. They did include a newscaster, an announcer, staff correspondents, a TV program director, technical field staff, and personnel from the sales and accounting division.

Medical and psychological screening gradually reduced the number to 98, then 45, then 21, at which point Soviet experts were brought in to undertake further selection. Incredibly, none of the remaining applicants were found to be suitable, although it was thought that two of them might be acceptable after minor surgery. The Soviet doctors were reluctant to lower their medical standards, however, so it was decided that an additional round of recruitment and testing should take place.

The second round began in July 1989 and attracted 64 applicants, including nine women. Ten were selected for centrifuge tests and rigorous screening. Seven finalists won through, and were flown to Moscow on August 25 for more detailed examination. Four names were put forward to TBS, who selected one male and one female. Their names were publicly announced on September 18, and on October 2 they commenced cosmonaut training at Star City near Moscow.

Toyohiro Akiyama

Occupation: A chief editor of foreign news in the TBS News Center in Tokyo. He is a former chief of TBS’ Washington D.C. bureau.
Date of Birth: June 22, 1942
Place of Birth: Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Height: 169 centimeters
Weight: 65 kilograms
Education: Graduated from the Social Science Department at the International Christian University, Tokyo (studied sociology)
Hobbies: Yachting, walking, swimming

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:42 pm
Ryoko Kikuchi

Occupation: News camera operator, TBS News Center (she is the only female camera operator in TBS, and covered the Seoul Olympics)
Date of Birth: September 15, 1964
Place of Birth: Zama-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Height: 157 centimeters
Weight: 53 kilograms
Education: Graduated from the Chinese Language Department at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Hobbies: Mountain climbing, skiing, cycling, kabuki, basketball, swimming

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:45 pm

Controversy about such issues as whaling has created the impression that Japan has been slow to play a part in the worldwide drive to conserve the environment. The Japanese themselves are clearly making efforts to reverse this situation, and one could see this reflected in a statement Izumi Tanaka, President of TBS, issued several weeks prior to the mission:

“We have been making utmost efforts to make this project successful, commemorating the 40th anniversary of our company. One of the tasks of our Cosmo-Reporter will be the observation of the Earth’s environment from space. Environmental protection is one of the crucial propositions we have to pursue forever if we are members of the inhabitants of Earth. We will make progress with all the people around the world.”

TBS conducted the Soyuz TM-11 mission under the slogan “Earth We Love.”

A group of prominent Japanese companies co-sponsored the TBS space project: Sony, fabric-makers Yuni-Charm, Ohtsuka Pharmaceuticals, Minolta, the leisure and entertainment organization Daichi Kosho, the Japanese arm of American Express, thermal engineering specialist Asahi Solar, the Sunstar healthcare organization, and Dowa Fire and Marine Insurance Company.


The Japanese cosmonaut-candidates, meanwhile, continued their 14-month training regime. Although he enjoyed alcohol and smoked four packets of cigarettes a day, Toyohiro Akiyama refrained from both activities of his own accord since moving into his two-bedroomed apartment at Star City. During the course of his training, the fat around Akiyama’s waist disappeared.

Ryoko Kikuchi, too, responded well to her rigorous training schedule. Like Akiyama, she underwent gravity training in centrifuges and aircraft flying parabolic trajectories, physical training, parachute training, instruction in operational procedures aboard Soyuz TM and Mir/Kvant spacecraft, survival training, emergency egress training at sea, instruction in implementation of the experiment program, and instruction in the Russian language.

Arrangements were made for daily ten-minute live TV broadcasts to be made from Mir, together with 20-minute radio broadcasts. In addition, there were to be numerous supporting reports and documentary programs. On September 27, 1990, the Progress M5 unmanned ferry was launched to Mir carrying, among other things, broadcasting equipment and experiments for the forthcoming joint mission.

Fourteen months of preparation behind them, the two TM-11 flight crews flew to Baikonur on November 19. Saturday, December 1, 1990, was the date set for General Kerim Kerimov of the State Commission to confirm which of the two crews would fly the TM-11 mission. As things turned out it was “no contest,” as they say, because Ryoko Kikuchi had been unfortunate enough to develop acute appendicitis and consequently underwent an emergency operation on November 26 at Baikonur General Hospital. The operation was successful, and Kikuchi was well enough to watch the launch of Soyuz TM-11 less than a week later. She was also able to take up her position at the TsUP flight control center at Kaliningrad near Moscow, to serve as Akiyama’s backup.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:46 pm

Shortly before leaving for Baikonur, Akiyama – obviously intent an analyzing his inner thoughts – had confided: “The time to say goodbye is drawing near, and Star City now has winter scenery. The guiding star of the north point, The Great Bear, moved to a position slightly above the grove of white birch, making the night sky of winter.”

“Looking back on the fourteen months of training, the preparations for spaceflight are not immediately a process of purification of human minds, and the state of my mind is far away from the sacred space I am to fly into. Contrary to the rejuvenation of my body, my mind of worldly desires is getting fatter and fatter. I am dreaming of the moment when I will fly into sky, and now – as providence leads me – this is the state of my mind.”

TM-11 Commander was first-time spacefarer Colonel Viktor Afanasyev. A member of the cosmonaut team since 1985, 41-year-old Afanasyev holds the rank of First Degree Air Force Pilot and Test Pilot and has over 40 types of aircraft in his logbook, with over 2,000 hours of flying time. Musa Manarov served as TM-11’s Flight Engineer. The joint holder, with Vladimir Titov, of the 366-day world space endurance record, Manarov is aged 39 and is a Russian Parliament Deputy. By being in space, he missed the Extraordinary Congress of the Russian Peoples’ Deputies in Moscow, but had apparently been granted leave-of-absence.

The TM-11 backup Commander was 34-year-old Anatoly Artsebarsky, who became a cosmonaut in 1989. Backup Flight Engineer was 32-year-old Sergei Krikalev, a member of the Franco-Soviet Soyuz TM-7 joint mission of 1988. It was this crew that poor Ryoko Kikuchi was attached.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:47 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:49 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:53 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:54 pm

Akiyama compared Soyuz TM-11’s ascent to “riding a dump-truck down a rocky road.” The crew carried with them a Japanese mascot: a dainty figurine dressed in a bright kimono. When he was asked at the preflight press conference if he would take a memento with him into space, Akiyama did not disclose the existence of the kimono-garbed figure. It’s notable, however, that Japanese schoolchildren presented Yuri Gagarin with a similar figurine in 1962, while he was on a goodwill tour to celebrate his historic first-ever spaceflight.

Eight minutes, 50 seconds after lift-off at 11:13 a.m. Moscow Time on December 2, 1990, the Soyuz TM-11 spacecraft separated from the Soyuz booster’s final stage and entered orbit. Akiyama’s first words from space were, “Am I on the air?” He continued, “This is Akiyama onboard Soyuz TM. As I imagined, “Earth is blue,’” quoting Gagarin’s famous utterance nearly 30 years earlier.

Annoyingly, certain elements of the press in the West saw fit to pillory Akiyama for this “obvious” observation. Post-mission, one British newspaper managed to divide the total number of words Akiyama spoke by the fee TBS paid for the flight, to arrive at a cost-per-word of 1,800 GBP – a facile basis for appraising an endeavor of this kind in any case. Akiyama’s opening statement had cost TBS’ shareholders 10,800 GBP, the article’s author gloated.

This was only one of many bitter condemnations of Akiyama’s finesse as a journalist leveled by his fellow professionals. In some cases, the attacks were out of all proportion to any legitimate “I could do better” feeling. Bryan Appleyard, writing in the once-reputable Sunday Times, is responsible for penning the following:
“Twelve men, more than ever before, are currently orbiting the Earth, and one of them is Toyohiro Akiyama. Now it is very important that we all hate this Akiyama as fervently as possible. Not a chink of human sympathy should illuminate the black night of our loathing for the round-faced beaming jerk whom the Russians have unwisely allowed into their Mir space station.”

“Clutching his cameras and advertising banners in zero-gravity, Akiyama is everything that space was not supposed to be about. The long, noble tradition of Gagarin, Glenn and Armstrong has been bought by the Japanese… as if it were some second-rank Renoir. The rocket itself was, of course, plastered with ads for Japanese nappies. Forget the hard science and gritty heroism. This is marketing. Here, posturing on screen nightly, is The Wrong Stuff.”

Appleyard went on to bemoan what he saw as the descent of astronautical endeavor into a pit of failure and shortsightedness, as if he in his illustrious lifetime had been guilty of neither and could therefore stand in judgment. For Appleyard, one presumes, all spacefarers should forever be out of the Gagarin/Glen mould – end every politician should be a Roosevelt, every actor an Olivier. By those standards, he should be an Arthur Miller – and that he certainly ain’t.

Appleyard’s co-conspirators were no better. A headline in the British newspaper Today – which elsewhere introduced Akiyama as “a chain-smoking, whisky-drinking Japanese executive” – read, “First idiot in space will reap a fortune on Earth.” It stated that Akiyama “was set to make millions” on his return, through personal appearances, book rights and a multiplicity of advertising deals. In fact, Akiyama was to remain an employee of TBS and any funds generated in this way were to accrue to it, not the spacefarer himself.

That Akiyama was echoing Gagarin when he said “Earth is blue,” was probably overlooked by many journalists because they were blissfully ignorant of the original quote. By choosing to make wry reference to Gagarin’s phrase rather than resorting to a banal and over-sentimental utterance of his own, Akiyama was in this writer’s opinion to be congratulated.

Criticism of Akiyama’s opening remark also paid no heed to the overly environmentalist sympathies which underpinned the TBS space project. Prior to the flight, several Japanese publications had asked the rhetorical question, in light of the depletion of the ozone-layer and global warming, “Does Earth really look blue now?”

Demonstrating just how unfair the comments about Akiyama’s suitability for this mission were, the Japanese journalist surprised Soviet medical staff by immediately exhibiting better pulse and breathing-rate stability in orbit than either Afanasyev or Manarov. TsUP’s Dr. Anashukin said, “I am sure that he will be able to complete 100 percent of the program.”

In his first live radio report from space, Akiyama talked about a dream he had on his first night in space. “It was a dream about my mother,” he confided. “She said, ‘You’re living in such a terrible place,’ entering into my apartment at Star City. My mother passed away last year, though.”

Docking with Mir on December 4 was normal, and 90 minutes later Afanasyev, Manarov and Akiyama passed through the airlock into Mir, to be greeted by long-time occupants Gennady Manakov and Gennady Strekalov, who handed the TBS reporter a banner proclaiming “The First Japanese Person in Space.” Since the inscription was worded in Japanese, they can be forgiven for presenting it upside down…
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:55 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:57 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:58 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 09:59 pm

There were many technical challenges to broadcast live from space and bringing footage and equipment back to Earth. The Soviet Union employs the SECAM television standard, whereas Japan uses NTSC; those two systems had to be reconciled. A super-small, thump-sized CCD high-band 8mm fixed video camera and a tiepin-sized microphone was use for coverage from within the Soyuz TM-11 spacecraft during the final countdown, lift-off, ascent, and during the trip to Mir. An identical system was installed aboard the TM-10 spacecraft to assure coverage during the journey back to Earth.

For coverage aboard Mir itself, TBS elected to employ one set of equipment for live broadcasting and another for video recording. For live broadcasts from Mir, two small Sony BVP70P cameras with 8.5 zoom lenses were used. One was fixed to the station’s interior, while the other was hand-held by whichever cosmonaut was assigned the task of shooting at that particular time. These cameras employed a PAL signal, which was transformed to SECAM then relayed to the TsUP flight control center via the Luch satellite system.

Video-recording aboard Mir was assured by a pair of NTSC standard high-band 8mm Sony DXC-325 camera fitted with a variety of lenses, including wide-angle and telephoto types. Several Minolta 8700 cameras were employed for still photography.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:04 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:05 pm

After years of heavy reliance on U.S. expertise and hardware, Japan is now proceeding on development of space technology on an independent basis toward the 21st century. Press information issued in the weeks prior to the TM-11 mission included this remark:

“Relying on the U.S. … we are confronted with limitations in research and development. With the (joint) flight… we might be able to find a new process of technological development. Although our experiments in Mir are rudimentary ones, we hope that they will constitute one step in… space development in Japan.”

The Japanese science program was conducted in close conjunction with the Soviet Union Institute of Biomedical Problems. One of the most intriguing experiments was an ISAS-developed effort entitled “Frogs in Space,” inaugurated on December 5. It was geared to ascertain how frogs, which are as accustomed to one-G as human beings, adapt themselves to weightlessness and how they behave once they have adapted.

The frogs were Japanese Treefrogs, two to three centimeters long. This species has suction-cups on the legs, enabling them to affix themselves to most surfaces. Six frogs were selected from 1,500 “candidates.”

Frogs on Earth display some interesting behavioral facets. They sit, swim, walk and jump, and some key observations have been made about them while they do so; they maintain their orientation and posture by visual reference to the surrounding scene; they jump at anything small which sways, such as a willow leaf, assuming that it is food; and they run away from anything long, assuming it is their natural enemy, the snake. Researchers were eager to learn how the frogs’ behavioral patterns altered under the influence of weightlessness.

This was the first time that frogs have been flown into orbit, though a previous effort did attempt to hatch frog eggs in space. Carried in a Japanese-developed container, the frogs were given certain stimuli as soon as the cosmonauts reached space. Several days later, the experiment was repeated to compare the results. The same experiment was conducted on a control group of frogs back on Earth, and the results compared. In addition, the frogs taken into space were observed again when they were returned to Earth and readapted themselves to one-G. The frog experiment was recorded on videotape for future analysis.

When one of the creatures hopped out of sight during a live TV broadcast, Akiyama – who by now had a reputation for good-humored reporting from space – simply said, “Well, there you are. Frogs are frogs, everywhere.” All six frogs were returned safely to Earth.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:07 pm

Another experiment was part of a Tokyo University-developed study of human breathing patterns in weightlessness prior to full adaptation: How does respiration during sleep in space differ in zero-G in the first 24 hours? Akiyama was the subject of this experiment, which was simply entitled “Sleep.” During sleep and until breakfast on the day after – a total of 30 consecutive hours – he was fitted with electrode to measure his respiration system activity and brain-waves.

A further experiment saw Akiyama drawing a square with both hands with his eyes closed – part of a Yamaguchi University-developed study of the sense of balance, which in weightlessness does not function as it does on Earth, sometimes causing nausea. This “Square Drawing Test” was conducted on the ground during the later stages of training, for about fifteen minutes on five consecutive nights during Akiyama’s stay aboard Mir, then again as soon as possible after Akiyama returned to Earth.

All four Soviet cosmonauts were active in experimental work alongside Akiyama. As usual, their efforts were spread across several disciplines: astrophysical, technological, medical, ecological, oceanographic, biological and biotechnical. They also engaged in photography of the Earth in support of various programs.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:08 pm

Elements of the popular press made great play of the fact that Akiyama sufferd from space-sickness early in the mission, conveniently ignoring the fact that, for example, in the first 24 missions of NASA’s shuttle program, 67 percent of the 85 astronauts making their first spaceflight reported such symptoms. Akiyama coped well with his temporary affliction: “The Commander told me to stop looking out of the window, and that helped.”

After he had recovered from space-sickness, Akiyama displayed a healthy preoccupation with his food, which included a specially-concocted sushi-flavored paste. “I see some thick cloud which reminds me of Japanese bean-curd,” he confided one day. “I want to eat some now.” Again, sanctimonious individuals in the press criticized Akiyama for “trivializing” the space experience. Yet, was this not part of the idea behind sending an ordinary person into space in the first place – to hear his honest views?

Akiyama’s comments from orbit were on the whole wonderfully human and candid. “I’m gasping for a cigarette,” was one of the more memorable remarks. During one of his daily broadcasts, while peering down at sacred Mount Fuji, Akiyama made an observation about his own country’s place in the geophysical scheme-of-things: “Japan looks so small compared with Africa, North and South America, and the Soviet Union.”

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:09 pm

Manakov and Strekalov, their five-month-plus stay aboard Mir coming to a close, completed handing-over formalities with Afanasyev and Manarov and clambered into the Soyuz TM-10 spacecraft with Japan’s newest hero for the return to Earth. The replacement crew of Afanayev/Manarov is due to spend a total of six months aboard Mir, then hand over to the Soyuz TM-12 crew – which will include the first British spacefarer – in mid-May.

On December 10, after undocking from Mir, the TM-10 spacecraft made two orbits of the Earth, then a motor retrofiring over Africa initiated the descent. Thirty minutes before the estimated touchdown time, the breakup sequence which leaves the manned descent module in independent flight began. Reentry took place without incident, commencing over Western Europe. The parachute deployment sequence took place 15 minutes before touchdown, 41 miles northwest of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, at 9:08 a.m. Moscow Time.

Almost as soon as the three spacefarers had been helped out of the TM-10 capsule, a TBS reporter thrust a microphone in their faces and a live TV broadcast got underway. Akiyama’s first words on terra firma were, “I’m hungry. I want to eat something delicious, have a beer and a cigarette. I’ve come back to Earth full of desires.” He grinned, “Air tastes good.”

Akiyama talked to his backup, Ryoko Kikuchi, over the link, “I was thinking about coming out of the capsule and standing up by myself holding the Japanese and Russian flags, but I found my legs to weak to do so.” Akiyama was eager to learn from his wife, Kyoko, about their children’s exam results.

Manakov, Strekalov and Akiyama were helicoptered to Baikonur for the usual medical checkups and rehabilitation. Akiyama returned to Tokyo on December 27, 1990, and was made a meiyoshimin – honored citizen – of the city.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:10 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:12 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:12 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:13 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:14 pm

Many supporting TV programs were broadcast in Japan before and after the Soyuz TM-11 mission. Here is a summary of those broadcast during the mission itself:

The TBS Cosmo-Reporter – The Final Announcement

This program was broadcast on December 1, 1990, live from Leninsk, the city which supports Baikonur Cosmodrome. It was announced that Toyohiro Akiyama would accompany Viktor Afanasyev and Musa Manarov aboard Soyuz TM-11.

Nineteen Hours Before The Launch

This program was transmitted within hours of the announcement that Akiyama would represent Japan on the mission. The status of the various participating cosmonauts was outlined, and there were profiles of them. In addition, details of final preparations of the Soyuz booster were given. A huge, 240-inch screen was activated in Studio G at TBS, so that live pictures transmitted direct from the U.S.S.R. could be viewed instantly throughout the mission.

The Launch – Part One

This broadcast was transmitted on launch day – December 2 – from the front of the hotel at Leninsk where the cosmonauts were accommodated pior to their flight. The cosmonauts were shown departing for the Cosmodrome.

The Launch – Part Two

A live broadcast showing the cosmonauts making their way to the launch pad in their spacesuits and clambering aboard the Soyuz capsule. Launch itself was covered by 20 cameras, located on and around the launch pad, in the firing room and at the press site/VIP stand. To provide interesting new angles, cameras had been set up in the launch pad flame trench and on the tower alongside the rocket. As expected, both were destroyed by the blast from the ascending booster, but not before some spectacular views were received.

The TBS contingent at Baikonur numbered 120. Views from the Cosmodrome were sent to Moscow by TBS’ own system via a Soviet comsat, the directed to Japan by means of the Soviet Intersputnik satellite system. There were supporting live broadcasts from various locations within Japan and from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where NASDA’s Mamoru Mohri is training to fly as a Payload Specialist on the joint U.S./Japanese Spacelab-J mission. Mohri conversed with Akiyama briefly while he sat in the Soyuz capsule awaiting lift-off.

During his mission, Akiyama also conversed with submerged scuba-divers in Tokyo Bay and off Barbados. This broadcast was the highpoint of TBS’ coverage, in terms of viewer ratings, the network winning 37 percent of the total Japanese television audience – nearly 40 million viewers.

The Launch – Part Three

Further live coverage, one-and-a-half hours after lift-off, including a transmission from the Soviet mission control center, TsUP, at Kaliningrad near Moscow. Akiyama’s voice was heard from space for the first time. A documentary video focusing on the launch was transmitted, and in the latter half of the program the significance of the TBS space project was conveyed in an item entitled “The Miracle Planet, Earth – Celebration of Life.”

Mir Special #1

Broadcast on December 3 while Soyuz TM-11 was chasing Mir, this program featured a live update on the mission’s status from TsUP. The first of a series of live reports following Mir’s progress from various vantage-points around the world was one of the key elements of this transmission. Titled “Follow the Mir Space Station,” these were broadcast every day from December 3 to 9. TBS reporter Takae Mikumo was on this occasion speaking from Los Angeles, California.

Docking! – Now into Mir

This program was broadcast on December 4 and featured the rendezvous and docking of Soyuz TM-11 with Mir and the transfer of the crew into the orbital complex. Pictures came from within both Mir and the Soyuz, and from TsUP at Kaliningrad. Takae MIkumo’s “Follow the Mir Space Station” report came from Barcelona, Spain.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:15 pm
Another Earth in the Year 2100

Broadcast in the evening on December 4, this was a documentary drama about human mass-migration to Mars.

Mir Special #2

The first of Akiyama’s ten-minute live TV broadcasts from Mir came on December 5. The TBS reporter Takae Mikumo presented “Follow the Mir Space Station” from Geneva, Switzerland.

Mir Special #3

Broadcast on December 6, this was the second live TV report from Akiyama aboard Mir. The program “Follow the Mir Space Station” came from Lima, Peru on this occasion. Akiyama conversed briefly with the Peruvian President.

Mir Special #4

Broadcast on December 7, this was Akiyama’s third live TV report from Mir. “Follow the Mir Space Station” was broadcasted from Berlin, Germany.

Mir Special #5

Shown on December 8, this was Akiyama’s fourth live TV report from Mir. The penultimate “Follow the Mir Space Station” report came from Bangkok, Thailand.

Mir Special #6

Broadcast on December 9, this was Akiyama’s fifth and final live TV report. The final “Follow the Mir Space Station” update was transmitted from Tokyo.

The Return of the Cosmonauts – Part One

This was broadcast on December 10 and focused on the transfer of the cosmonauts from Mir to the TM-10 spacecraft.

The Return of the Cosmonauts – Part Two

Also broadcast on December 10. The unpredictability of the landing site posed problems for the TBS camera crew assigned to cover it. The expected landing site was either Arkalyk or Dhezkazgan in Soviet Central Asia, and the smallest estimated landing zone for a Soyuz TM capsule is a circle with a radius of 50 to 100 kilometers.

Therefore, TBS decided to deploy reporters and camera operators at both sites, equipped with specially-developed transmitters and fully mobile by helicopter – two backup helicopters were also employed – and amphibious vehicles.

Live television coverage of a Soyuz capsule had only been attempted once before, for the joint U.S./Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project ASTP mission in July 1975. The December weather promised to be considerably more challenging, of course, but TBS were bullish about their chances of providing good coverage.

Coverage during this program included the reentry of the Soyuz TM-10 spacecraft into the atmosphere, the parachute descent and landing, and the press conference at Arkalyk airport.

The Return of the Cosmonauts – Part Three

The final broadcast of the mission this was concerned with the state of the three spacefarers on their return to Earth. Akiyama talked about the significance of his flight, and recounted the highpoints from launch to landing.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:16 pm

In the days and weeks that followed the joint mission, there was some controversy about the financial aspects. For example, the Soviet authorities had reportedly been asking for an additional 52,000 GBP for each extra hour of camerawork that Afanasyev and Manarov might do. New bodies would keep appearing on the scene – other Soviet organizations connected with the space program – all of them demanding their cut. In doing so, they further complicated the commercial aspects of the deal.

Executive producer Ichiro Sasaki said that TBS was less bothered about having to pay up the extra money than it was about the unforeseen commercial incompetence. “They must have the most advanced space program, but they’re no good at business,” he told a Novosti reporter. “This was the first attempt by the Soviet space agency to do business with foreigners, and so far they do it Soviet-style.”

These gripes weren’t enough to sour the store of goodwill the two parties had built up. A TBS executive said, “This was a watershed in relations between Japan and the Soviet Union, and we’re proud to have helped bring closer together our two countries.”

Akiyama’s first report from Earth included these words: “From space, the existence and activity of human beings look very small, but the influence of Man is large enough to destroy the Earth environment. Needless to say, the worst thing we do is war.” He went on, “I could see the surface of Earth without border. Now, no boundary exists in Europe. I hope all the boundaries might disappear in the next generations.”

(Spaceflight News #62, February 1991, pp. 28-35 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:17 pm
At Dryden Flight Research Facility in California turnaround crews had Columbia in the Mate/Demate Device by 3:55 a.m. PST today. Sling, jacking and hoisting operations were underway by 7:25 a.m. PST. After about six days of turnaround operations, the orbiter will be ferried back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft will need to make several refueling stops across the country because of the shuttle’s extra weight due to the Astro-1 observatory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perched atop her Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Columbia departed Dryden Research Facility in California this morning at 8:03 a.m. EST en route to her first refueling stop at Biggs Army Air Field. At Biggs, NASA managers will conduct a cross-country weather assessment to ascertain whether the mated vehicles may safely continue to the preferred overnight stop at Barksdale Air Force Base, or if safety requires landing at Kelly Air Force Base. Arrival at Kennedy Space Center is expected for early afternoon December 19. Once Back at KSC, about four days of deservicing is required to safe the vehicle before ground crews can take time off for the holidays. After demate from the SCA, Columbia will be transported to the Vehicle Assembly Building where she will remain for about a month, until Discovery is moved from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the VAB. (Brown, Florida Today, Dec. 19, 1990; KSC Space Shuttle Processing Status Report, Dec. 18, 1990 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:18 pm
Stormy weather across the country has held up the return of Columbia to her home at Kennedy Space Center. She is expected to arrive at approximately 10:15 a.m. EST tomorrow. If weather does not prevent the journey, Columbia and her Shuttle Carrier Aircraft should depart Barksdale Air Force Base at 8:00 a.m. EST tomorrow. The final route to KSC will be determined by the pilot and is dependent on weather and wind direction; if conditions permit, the mated vehicles will pass low over Brevard Beaches between Patrick Air Force Base and Port Canaveral. (Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 20, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:20 pm
Columbia, atop her Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, finally ended her cross-country ferry flight when she landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center this afternoon at 1:01 p.m. EST, about three hours behind schedule. The departure of the mated vehicles from Barksdale Air Force Base was postponed until weather over the Florida Panhandle cleared. NASA pilot Ace Beall flew over Titusville, then turned south over Merritt Island, and headed back northward to KSC, landing just after a brief rain shower moistened the runway. The orbiter was demated tonight and protective window covers were installed. (Banke, Florida Today, Dec. 21, 1990; KSC Space Shuttle Processing Status Report, Dec. 21, 1990 – edited)

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:22 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:23 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:25 pm
NASA's Columbia astronauts predicted Thursday that their recent problem-plagued astronomy mission will prove highly successful as ground researchers sift through the findings generated by their high flying observatory. "The story of this mission is not finished," astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman told a news conference. "I think in all honesty it's up to the scientists who have the data to give the answer. They are the people who will write the final chapter."
During the nine-day mission that ended December 10, the seven Columbia fliers and ground-based teams of astronomers and flight controllers wrestled with a succession of problems that interrupted an ambitious agenda of stellar observations. First, the automated telescope pointing system aboard the shuttle was sluggish in finding its targets, then two crucial computer keyboards and video displays needed to operate the observatory overheated. Finally, a shuttle sewer drain line clogged, threatening to cut the mission short a day. Once all of those difficulties were overcome, and mission managers were confident Columbia could fly ten days, the weather at their California landing site threatened to sour. Finally, the flight was cut short a day to ensure Columbia could return to Earth safely in the darkness.

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

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

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

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:26 pm
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:27 pm
December 20: WIN A TRIP TO MIR! – FOR REAL?
The contest to win a Mir trip is still on! Soviet Union space agency officials verified its offer to take the winner of a Houston-based sweepstakes aboard their space station Mir. This announcement came after the Soviet news agency, Tass, wrongly called the sweepstakes a hoax. Space Travel Services of Houston announced the sweepstakes the second week in December, after it had signed an agreement with another Houston company, a travel company, which markets U.S.S.R. launch services. The travel company had made a contract with NPO Energia, the Soviet agency which negotiates commercial deals for the Soviets. Tass incorrectly reported the following day that Glavkosmos, the Soviet space agency, knew nothing about the deal made by NPO Energia. Dimity Poletayev, an executive at Glavkosmos, sent a letter to contest officials in Houston stating that there was no problem from the Soviet side.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:29 pm
NASA is revising its budget plans for the $37 billion Space Station and that has put construction of Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station processing plant on hold. Bids were solicited for the construction in August, but Congress cut the Space Station budget by $600 million and ordered NASA to look at restructuring the program.

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

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

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:30 pm
The Devil and Mr. Truly

“Levity is appropriate in a dangerous business.”

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

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


Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:32 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 10 – Magellan enters orbit around Venus.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

(Countdown, March 1991 – edited)
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 04/17/2017 10:33 pm
Groundhog Day

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

Discovery STS-39 – Sky Ballet

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

Atlantis STS-37 – Keep Walking

To be followed by

Columbia STS-40 – Flying Doctors

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

Atlantis STS-43 – Not Just Another TDRS

Discovery STS-48 – What’s Up There?

Atlantis STS-44 – Not So Secret

And then:

Discovery STS-42 – Microgravity Matters

Atlantis STS-45 – On ATLAS’ Shoulders

Endeavour STS-49 – The Challenging Maiden Voyage

… to be continued


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

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

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

Okay, that’s it for now. 

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

- Ares67

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Finn Mac Doreahn on 05/26/2018 03:02 pm
Is this series dead? If so,I offer to continue it. I’ve got some archival stuff lying around.
Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Ares67 on 09/19/2018 08:17 pm

Sorry, I've kept you waiting - but there will be a relaunch of this series in October 2018.

STS-39 is just around the corner.

Title: Re: Columbia STS-35 – Triumph over Adversity
Post by: Finn Mac Doreahn on 09/23/2018 02:06 pm

Sorry, I've kept you waiting - but there will be a relaunch of this series in October 2018.

STS-39 is just around the corner.


Sweeeet. You need to put this stuff on a blog or something.