Author Topic: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night  (Read 130776 times)

Offline Ares67

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #180 on: 05/24/2015 08:42 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #181 on: 05/24/2015 08:45 PM »
PAO: A view now of the ramp leading from the first floor of the Operations & Checkout Building, where the crew will come down that ramp and get into the astronaut van that will take them to the launch pad. Dale Gardner, leading the other members of the STS-8 crew out… They’re of course checking for rain… and members of the press corps, which is at Kennedy Space Center to cover the first night launch and landing in the Space Shuttle program. You can see very clearly that we are having a pretty good thunderstorm over the launch pad, in the area of the launch pad at this time. And the door to the astronaut van now closed and the crew very shortly will be making its way to the launch pad. They will make one last check before they get to the pad. Now we do have communications with the driver of the Winnebago, or recreational vehicle which in this case is serving as the astronaut van. The size of the crew has dictated that we use larger vehicles for taking them out to the launch pad. And at that time we’ll give them a final indication as to what it looks like the weather is out at the launch pad; but chances are that we will allow them to go ahead and proceed to the pad area, at which time they could wait such as at the base of the Fixed Servicing Structure for a final clearance to go ahead and board the shuttle orbiter Challenger. So the STS-8 flight crew has departed the O&C Building and very shortly will be making their way into the vehicle…  


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #182 on: 05/24/2015 08:46 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #183 on: 05/24/2015 08:47 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #184 on: 05/24/2015 08:56 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #185 on: 05/24/2015 08:58 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #186 on: 05/24/2015 09:04 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #187 on: 05/24/2015 09:06 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #188 on: 05/24/2015 09:07 PM »
 “As we climbed into the van that evening, I noticed it was raining,” Guy Bluford later was stating the obvious… Actually, at that time it had been raining cats and dogs! “There was lightning in the area and there was some concern by the Launch Control Center about our safety as we proceeded out to the launch pad. Dick Truly discussed the safety and weather issues with LCC, while we rode out to the pad. Finally, LCC left it up to Dick to decide if it was safe for the crew to go to the pad. Dick made the decision for us to proceed and we went out to Space Shuttle Challenger.”

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

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


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #189 on: 05/24/2015 09:09 PM »
THERE COULD BE A MIRACLE

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

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


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #190 on: 05/24/2015 09:11 PM »
“As we climbed into the vehicle and completed our preflight checks with the Launch Control Center, the rains began to subside and the clouds began to clear away,” Guy Bluford explained. “Our launch window extended 34 minutes from 2:15 a.m. EDT until 2:49 a.m. EDT.”

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


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #191 on: 05/24/2015 09:13 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #192 on: 05/24/2015 09:14 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #193 on: 05/24/2015 09:15 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #194 on: 05/24/2015 09:16 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #195 on: 05/24/2015 09:18 PM »

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #196 on: 05/24/2015 09:20 PM »
Meanwhile, out in the California desert, things were looking pretty well in case Challenger had to return to Earth early. “It’s been dark here for over two hours tonight,” newsman John Goodman told CBS News correspondent Reid Collins, who was located at KSC, at around 1:30 a.m. EDT. “Technicians are now standing by should the shuttle be forced to return after once around; they will deploy along a concrete runway that will be used for the landing in about half an hour; those runway lights are now on. The winds here in the Mojave Desert are mild this evening, the only clouds are scattered and above one mile.”   

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


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


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


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #197 on: 05/24/2015 09:21 PM »
 ;)

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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #198 on: 05/24/2015 09:22 PM »
Tuesday, August 30, 1983 (Launch Day) – Rumble, Young Man, Rumble!

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

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


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Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #199 on: 05/24/2015 09:24 PM »
A SPECTACULAR NIGHT ALREADY

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

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

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

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


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