Author Topic: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night  (Read 149354 times)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #160 on: 05/23/2015 08:30 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #161 on: 05/23/2015 08:32 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #162 on: 05/23/2015 08:33 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #163 on: 05/23/2015 08:35 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #164 on: 05/23/2015 08:36 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #165 on: 05/23/2015 08:37 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #166 on: 05/23/2015 08:39 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #167 on: 05/23/2015 08:40 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #168 on: 05/23/2015 08:43 PM »
WE OUGHT TO HAVE A PRETTY NICE DAY

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

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

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

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


LET HER CARRY THE SPEAR

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #169 on: 05/24/2015 08:16 PM »
Part Three: STS-8 – DAILY FLIGHT LOG

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

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


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

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


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #170 on: 05/24/2015 08:17 PM »
“A PRETTY NICE DAY” – REALLY?

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

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

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

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

Local authorities found it difficult to estimate crowd size for the STS-8 lift-off, but stated it appeared to be less than the quarter-million of earlier turnouts. Overall, law enforcement officers throughout Brevard County reported much less disruption over previous launches. Titusville desk officer William Lowe said he normally gets 100 calls from people asking for directions. He said he only got two calls on August 29. Florida Marine Patrol officials said boaters were behaving well on the river.

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #171 on: 05/24/2015 08:19 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #172 on: 05/24/2015 08:20 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #173 on: 05/24/2015 08:21 PM »
Meanwhile, in the Operations & Checkout Building, the five Challenger astronauts had been awakened at about 10:00 p.m. EDT and were now sitting at the breakfast table – at least for them it was breakfast…


PAO (Mark Hess): This is shuttle launch control, T minus three hours and holding. We’ve joined the flight crew for the STS-8 mission who are now in the process of eating their prelaunch breakfast. The crew will have a wide variety of items to choose from. During the week they’ve been eating everything from cereal, to bacon and eggs, to just fruit or muffins… Generally, we have more people join the crew for their traditional prelaunch breakfast, but for those of us on normal schedules eleven o’clock is a little late for eggs and cereal. The crew has been on this particular schedule for about ten days to get their body clocks used to getting up late at night and going to bed in the middle of the day.

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #174 on: 05/24/2015 08:26 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #175 on: 05/24/2015 08:28 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #176 on: 05/24/2015 08:29 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #177 on: 05/24/2015 08:32 PM »
PAO: Those that are seated with the crew, those that we can identify, include what are called the “C-squared,” or “Cape Crusaders” – essentially the support astronauts that come down to Kennedy and help process the vehicle during the flow. And we have the commander of the STS-7 flight, Bob Crippen, who will also be flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft. In the foreground there are two cakes – one with the official STS-8 crew patch, the other with an unofficial version designed by pilot Dan Brandenstein. That patch depicts Dick Truly, steely-eyed and bespectacled veteran of STS-2, and now commander of STS-8, leading four space rookies only slightly awed by their participation in the shuttle program’s first night launch and landing.


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #178 on: 05/24/2015 08:36 PM »
PAO: Back in the firing room things are quiet, the closeout crew continuing their efforts to get Challenger ready for the crew’s boarding. The ice inspection team meanwhile has completed their survey of the External Tank and is returning to the firing room. T minus three hours and holding, this is shuttle launch control.


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


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #179 on: 05/24/2015 08:39 PM »
CATS AND DOGS

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


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