Author Topic: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down  (Read 42355 times)

Offline Ares67

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Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« on: 01/07/2012 04:59 PM »
The year 1984 had started with Challenger’s 41-B mission, which “misplaced” the Westar VI and Palapa B-2 satellites and saw a triumphant premiere of the MMU backpacks. It would come to an end with Discovery STS 51-A embarking on an ambitious mission to retrieve and return those two satellites back to Earth. And it would be the final time we saw the MMUs in action.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #1 on: 01/07/2012 05:06 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #2 on: 01/07/2012 05:11 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #3 on: 01/07/2012 05:16 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #4 on: 01/07/2012 05:32 PM »
A special capture device – called “stinger” – was developed and tested during preparations for mission 51-A.  A long pole would be inserted into the nozzle section of the satellites. Then a large capture ring would clamp down on the base of the satellites. Now the astronaut riding the MMU would bring the satellite under control and the RMS would grapple it. Indeed it was a kind of “rodeo” in space…  :D

Offline brihath

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #5 on: 01/07/2012 05:38 PM »
Very cool photos.  I had an opportunity to meet Rick Hauck in Israel in February 1985.  I was over there on a plant startup project and Capt. Hauck was speaking at the American International School in Kfar Sharmaryahu, where my children attended.  His talk focused on the execution and results of the 51-A mission. It was worth it to take a day off from work and see him.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #6 on: 01/07/2012 05:40 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #7 on: 01/07/2012 05:42 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #8 on: 01/07/2012 05:46 PM »
Little Kristin Fisher, born in 1983, was a real “Space Kid”. Her mother, Anna Fisher, was a working mom – the first one who flew into earth orbit. And her father Bill Fisher also was an astronaut. No wonder she felt at home inside shuttle simulators and around T-38 jets…
« Last Edit: 01/07/2012 05:47 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #9 on: 01/07/2012 05:52 PM »
« Last Edit: 01/07/2012 05:53 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #10 on: 01/07/2012 05:56 PM »
German media revealed that Anna Lee Fisher, the first mother in space, herself had a German mother – Elfriede Hippler from Hof in the Oberfranken region in Bavaria. Elfriede Hippler had immigrated to the U.S. after WWII and was married to an American soldier. In fact, born in St. Albans, New York, in 1949, then Anna Lee Tingle had lived with her family in Kitzingen near Wuerzburg, Bavaria, for four years between 1953 and 1957, while her father was on a tour of duty in Germany. Her uncle Wilhelm Hippler and his wife Gerda still resided near Hof in 1984. “Anna was already fascinated with fast cars and airplanes when she was a little girl”, they told journalists and proudly showed a message they had received from their niece: “To Onkel Willy and Tante Gerdi – Come fly with us!” – Signed by Anna and Bill Fisher and Ken Mattingly.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #11 on: 01/07/2012 06:00 PM »
Michael Cassutt, “Who’s Who in Space" (1999): As a child, Fisher decided she wanted to be an astronaut and became a doctor because she knew that physicians would be needed on future space station missions. In 1977, while going through the astronaut selection process, she married a fellow emergency room physician, William Fisher, who had also applied for the space program. Anna was selected in January 1978; William was not chosen until May 1980.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2012 06:00 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #12 on: 01/07/2012 06:02 PM »
Just a footnote from TODAY, Dec. 30, 1980:

Space Shuttle astronauts Bill and Anna Fisher were credited by officials Monday with saving the life of a Cocoa Beach man. The two astronauts helped ambulance attendants revive an apparently lifeless motorcycle accident victim on SR 528 shortly after 2 p.m., said A.C. Jones, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.

The couple, both physicians, were being driven to Kennedy Space Center to catch a flight to Houston when they spotted the accident victim lying in a westbound lane of the Bennett Memorial Causeway, Jones said.

Bill Fisher, 34, is an instructor of emergency medicine at Tampa's University of South Florida. Both he and his 30-year-old wife are training to be Shuttle astronauts.

The motorcyclist, Daniel E. Duncan, 65, of 760 S. Brevard Ave., had turned blue from lack of oxygen and was without a pulse when the astronauts stopped to aid three county emergency medical technicians.

"He's alive now, but he was deader than hell when I got there," Jones said. "I've seen a lot of dead ones. Believe me, he was dead," Jones said. "There was no pulse. He was blue. His eyes were rolled back into his head."

The Fishers arrived moments after Jones and the emergency medical crew. "They saw the commotion and stopped," the trooper said. "A lot of the doctors will stop and a lot of them won't. They kind of go out on a limb when they stop."

Together, the astronauts and other rescuers used equipment from the ambulance to force Duncan's heart to begin pumping blood again, Jones said. The trooper said he didn't have a chance to speak with the astronauts because they were busy saving Duncan.

"They were working like mad on this guy. They were really going to town," he said. The Fishers remained with Duncan until he was delivered to the emergency room of Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach, Jones said, noting the driver of their car followed them to the hospital.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #13 on: 01/07/2012 06:08 PM »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #14 on: 01/07/2012 06:12 PM »
October 23, 1984 – Rollout to the pad

Discovery left the VAB just after midnight and arrived at pad 39A at about 7:00 am EDT.

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #15 on: 01/07/2012 06:14 PM »

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #16 on: 01/07/2012 06:19 PM »
October 25, 1984 - "I hope we don't get them confused"

With a "superb" practice countdown for the November 7 launch of the space shuttle Discovery now out of the way, mission specialist Joe Allen said he has one concern: deploying the correct pair of satellites and retrieving two ailing counterparts. "I hope we don't get them confused," joked Allen following the test countdown, adding that he hopes the crew comes home "with the right two." The four-man, one-woman crew was pleased with the countdown, which ended just as Discovery's engines would have been ignited in a real launch. "We really enjoyed working with the launch team," Commander Rick Hauck said. "We're ready. They're ready." The crew also includes pilot David Walker and mission specialists Anna Fisher, Dale Gardner and Allen. (Today, Oct. 26, 1984)

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #17 on: 01/07/2012 06:25 PM »
October 31: "We're 'go' for the seventh," Kennedy Space Center spokesman Dick Young said following a high-level management review of pre-flight preparations. One late-breaking doubt clouding the launch date was cleared away when engineers verified that Discovery's system of thermal-protection tiles was free of deterioration recently discovered on the older space plane Challenger. Engineers ordered three of Discovery's delicate ceramic tiles pulled to see if any softening of a bump-smoothing compound beneath the tiles had occurred, as was seen a few days earlier on Challenger. Their investigations revealed the rubber-like compound, called "screed," was in proper condition, Young said.

Technicians also conducted several testing operations aboard Discovery,  including check-out of the $1.2 million space suits that two astronauts will wear during two separate spacewalks planned. Workers also tested the tightness of Discovery's three main liquid-fueled engines using pressurized, inert helium gas, and began charging the batteries on the Hughes Communication Leasat-1 satellite and the Canadian Anik C-3 spacecraft. (Today, Nov. 1, 1984)

November 5: While preparations for the launch of the space shuttle Discovery continued smoothly, a secret military mission assigned to Challenger was postponed several weeks because of insulation problems. NASA said technicians will remove as many as 2,800 black heat-protective tiles from Challenger's underside because a smoothing substance underneath them has weakened and must be replaced. Challenger's problem was discovered when tiles came off too easily when they were removed as part of regular testing after the shuttle's last flight in early October.

Workers found softness in a substance called screed, a smoothing material comparable to auto body putty that is put on rough places on the shuttle's aluminum skin. Workers believe the weakening was caused by repeated uses of a tile waterproofing substance and the thermal stress of six spaceflights. Three tiles on Discovery were checked last week and no problems were found. The only hitch in the countdown for Discovery's launch was an on-board computer mass memory unit, which was ordered replaced after it did not respond properly during testing. The replacement work was not expected to affect the launch schedule. (THE ORLANDO SENTINEL, Nov. 6, 1984)


November 6: Kennedy space Center was buzzing with the prospect that pop superstar Michael Jackson might top the list of VIPs attending today's launch of the space shuttle Discovery. The secretive singer and members of his entourage "have expressed an interest in viewing the launch," said Darlene Hunt, a KSC protocol officer. She said a representative for the Jacksons' touring group called November 5 and requested space for 15 people at the VIP viewing site for today's 8:23 a.m. EST launch. The caller said "there could be a group of 15 and that Michael Jackson could be among them. They wouldn't say definitely whether or not he's coming," Hunt said and she refused to identify the caller, but she said she was told the Jacksons would have to travel from Miami, their last concert date. ( TODAY, Nov. 7, 1984)
« Last Edit: 01/07/2012 06:26 PM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #18 on: 01/07/2012 06:29 PM »
November 7, 1984 - Where is Mr. Jackson?

On Election Day (Tuesday) U.S. President Ronald Reagan had won a landslide victory against his challenger Walter Mondale, and now was looking forward to a second term in office. The following day NASA was looking forward towards launching the orbiter Discovery on her second mission – but that did not work out as planned.

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Re: Discovery STS 51-A / Two up, two down
« Reply #19 on: 01/07/2012 06:32 PM »
This is what “Today” had to say about the launch delay – and a certain “Mr. Jackson”, who had been expected to witness the launch:

Shifting high-altitude winds accompanying a Central Florida cold front caused shuttle management to delay the planned second flight of Discovery. The decision to scrub the November 7 launch came at 7:52 a.m. EST, just 31 minutes before Discovery and its five-member crew were due to launch. Engineers at Johnson Space Center in Houston calculated that the winds above the Cape Canaveral launch site were behaving far too erratically for the shuttle to pass through safely. Computer models indicated the shearing force of the winds as they changed direction could have inflicted permanent structural damage on the vehicle. "Because of the rapid change in that direction, the maximum roll rate was unacceptable. Wind speeds were not the problem," said Captain Art Thomas, chief Air Force weather forecaster for the shuttle program. ( TODAY, Nov. 8, 1984)

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