Author Topic: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night  (Read 149315 times)

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #560 on: 05/31/2015 11:33 PM »
November 16: TDRS ANTENNA PROBLEM STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION
A special radio antenna sent out for repairs last week returned to Kennedy Space Center several days early. Meanwhile, other NASA officials kept a close eye on problems besetting the sophisticated Tracking and Data Relay Satellite that acts as intermediary between the shuttle and the ground for data transmissions during the upcoming mission.

KSC spokesman Jim Ball said technicians would reinstall the antenna on Columbia later his week, following loading of hazardous hypergolic reactants aboard the orbiter. All other preparations are continuing on schedule for the planned November 28 launch of the combined Shuttle Mission 9/Spacelab-1 flight, Ball said. Engineers still are not sure what caused one of two Ku-band antennas on the satellite to become inoperative.

NASA spokesman Jim Elliott, at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said the problem appears to be with the traveling wave tube assemblies on the defective antenna. A traveling wave tube is an electron tube used for generation of microwave frequency radiation or amplification at ultrahigh frequencies. One of the problem antenna's tubes completely failed about two weeks ago, and the backup has produced insufficient power for the antenna to operate, Elliott said. The link between the satellite and the shuttle was affected. Engineers say the mission should be able to function properly with just one antenna, but the remaining antenna also has experienced some fluctuations in power output in the past. (Yacenda, Today, Nov. 16, 1983)


November 23: SUCCESSFUL NIGHT LANDING FOR SOVIET COSMONAUTS 
Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Lyakhov and Aleksandr Aleksandrov returned to Earth aboard the Soyuz T-9 descent module after a 150-day flight on board the Salyut-7-Soyuz orbital space station. The two landed at 3:00 p.m. EST (in the middle of the night in the Soviet Union), 16 kilometers east of Dzhezkazgan in that country.

U.S. intelligence sources said that the two were expected to return in September, when an exchange crew of cosmonauts was due to visit them. However, they were forced to stay in orbit an additional six weeks when an explosion at the launch pad almost killed the two other crewmen. And at about the same time that the launch pad accident forced the extension of their flight, the two cosmonauts had to deal with a fuel leak aboard the Salyut that left the space station with less than half of its normal navigating propellant. The two men had to live in space suits, because the fuel that leaked was nitrogen tetroxide, which was so toxic it might have killed them if it penetrated the cabin of the space station.

Western space observers had noted that the six-week extension in space might cripple the Soyuz T-9 spacecraft because it had been in orbit longer than 115 days and this length of time could possibly cause its non-rechargeable batteries to burn out, allowing the corrosive nitrogen textroxide fuel the Soyuz used to navigate to eat through engine valves and jeopardize the flight home. Western space experts were also interested in the night landing. The cosmonauts’ earliest day landing would have been December 15, which might have been too long for them to trust the Soyuz T-9 to return safely.

The official Soviet news agency Tass said that, during the flight, the crew carried out a large volume of scientific-technical and medico-biological research and experiments and gathered data on the Earth‘s natural resources, its atmosphere, seasonal changes, and the biological productivity of the world’s oceans. New research was carried out under the program of material studies in space. An Elektrotropgraf instrument on board the station provided data on the state of construction materials following exposure to open space.

Tass also noted that an important part of the crew’s flight program was to carry out complex assembly work on the external surface of the Salyut 7 station. During two space walks of five hours and 45 minutes, the two cosmonauts installed additional solar batteries on the station, in addition to other construction tasks. Over the course of the flight, there were regular medical checkups of the crew, which confirmed the possibility of man’s active functioning in weightlessness. (Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA-SP-4024, 1989 – edited)


November 25: BUCKHORN TO CEASE OPERATIONS
The Buckhorn Space Tracking Data Network station, located on a hill above the Dryden Flight Research Facility, will no longer provide communication and telemetry services for orbiting shuttles effective the end of November. The Goddard Space Flight Center facility is closing and will be replaced by the Tracking and Data Relay satellite now in orbit over the Atlantic Ocean. Buckhorn employed 30 people, most of whom have gone to other Goddard station locations. Some of the Buckhorn equipment will be used for Vandenberg Air Force Base shuttle launches, while some of the rest will be farmed out to other Goddard stations. The Buckhorn facility opened in 1978 to support shuttle Approach and Landing Tests and shuttle missions. (JSC Space News Roundup, Nov. 25, 1983 – edited)


November 25: LEWIS AWARDS CENTAUR CONTRACT
The Lewis Research Center has awarded a $253 million contract to the Convair Division of General Dynamics for work on the Shuttle/Centaur upper stage program. The work involves reconfiguring the Centaur launch vehicle for use as a high-energy cryogenic upper stage. The cost-plus-incentive award fee contract includes the design, development and integration into the Space Transportation System of a common NASA/Department of Defense Centaur G configuration and a NASA-unique Centaur G-Prime configuration. The contract also includes construction of two G-Prime vehicles, which will be used to support the Galileo Jupiter probe and International Solar Polar missions scheduled for launch in 1986. (JSC Space News Roundup, Nov. 25, 1983 – edited)


Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #561 on: 05/31/2015 11:35 PM »
Columbia STS-9 / Spacelab 1 – The Fourth Flight of 1983

“That is really some ride, I want to tell you. It hadn’t changed a bit. It’s the smoothest way to fly you ever saw.”

- STS-9 Commander John Young, after his sixth launch into space


“It is fitting that on this German-American Tricentennial a German astronaut is part of the shuttle team. The shuttle is demonstrating that technology can be used to bring people together in a new spirit of enterprise and cooperation to better their lives, ensure the peace of mankind.”

- U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Dec. 5, 1983

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German-American_Day



(Based Tim Furniss’ “Mission 9” chapter in the 1986 “Space Shuttle Log”)

In August 1973, the European Space Research Organization, later to become the European Space Agency (ESA), and NASA agreed to develop a manned laboratory designed to fit into the payload bay of the shuttle orbiter. Called Spacelab, it was to be designed, developed, funded and built by ESA, with West Germany assuming project leadership in return for a 54.94 percent contribution to the $850 million that it ultimately cost. The resulting reusable orbiting research center is modular in construction and can be configured for a variety of tasks by combining long and short pressurized modules and unpressurized pallets in a number of different ways.

The configuration for the Spacelab 1 mission comprised a long module and a single pallet, total weight 33,584 pounds. The scientific window adapter assembly was installed in the ceiling of the core segment of the module, and the scientific airlock was fitted to the ceiling of the experiment segment. A viewport permitting the crew to observe pallet-mounted experiments was installed in the end cone of the experiment segment. Since the module and pallet were mounted in the aft portion of the payload bay, the long tunnel was used to connect the laboratory and the orbiter middeck.

Scheduled for the first Spacelab mission were more than 222 separate investigations adding up to 72 experiments in five areas of research: life sciences, atmospheric physics and Earth observations, astronomy and solar physics, space plasma physics, and materials science and technology. The experiments were provided by 11 European nations, the U.S.A., Canada and Japan. For the purposes of Spacelab and the orbiter crew was divided into two three-man shifts comprising a payload specialist, a mission specialist, and the pilot or commander. Each shift’s working day was a nominal 12 hours, but in practice sometimes reaching 18 hours. This crewing arrangement resulted in two first for STS-9: The first six-man crew to be launched together, and the first flight by shuttle payload specialists.


Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #562 on: 05/31/2015 11:36 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #563 on: 05/31/2015 11:37 PM »
With West Germany providing over half of the Spacelab budget it was only right that Ulf Merbold came to represent ESA on this first mission. It also made sense to have NASA’s premier astronaut in command of such an important flight, and so it was that John Young sat down on November 28, 1983, to a record-setting sixth pre-launch breakfast.

The launch should have taken place a month earlier, but the close call on STS-8 had resulted in a postponement while the STS-9 SRB nozzles were changed. This was a necessary precaution, but one which was to result in a 15-30 percent science loss because of adverse conditions for some astronomy and plasma physics experiments. ESA was promised a reflight of these experiments and so was more than happy when, at 11:00 a.m. EST (5:00 p.m. CET), orbiter Columbia ascended into space in textbook fashion. Three hours 42 minutes later, Merbold, Lichtenberg and Garriott opened Spacelab’s door after a certain amount of difficulty to begin the intensive work for which they had trained for five years. ESA was even happier later in the mission when an extra day was added to the flight, substantially increasing the science return.

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #564 on: 05/31/2015 11:39 PM »
Because the orbit of Columbia was inclined 57 degrees to the equator, observers in Britain could see the shuttle, looking like a bright star moving steadily across the sky, in space for the first time. To reach the necessary northerly ground track the shuttle had performed a 140 degree roll while climbing out of the Cape and travelled up the U.S. eastern seaboard. Columbia’s orbital path would range from as far north as Scotland and Leningrad to as far south as Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America in order to take pictures of Europe. The orbit would also take Columbia over Moscow and many militarily sensitive areas of the Soviet Union, the first time a U.S. manned spacecraft had flown over the Soviet Union in daylight. No pictures or other sensing would be taken of the ground while Columbia passed over the Soviet Union.

Wired with sensors, the astronauts were guinea pigs in a number of experiments designed to explore how the body adapted to space and how it performed in the absence of gravity. Blood samples were taken three times so that scientists could study how the ratio of red to white blood cells changed once the body was weightless. Several experiments were conducted to measure eye movements; in another experiment, Garriott was given mild electric shocks to see how the muscles in his body responded to a sudden jolt that was the bodily equivalent of a sudden movement in weightlessness (doctors believed that one of the causes of space sickness might be abrupt movements that disoriented the inner ear). In another experiment, the crew in shifts pushed two balls identical in shape and size, although of different weights, to determine how quickly humans would distinguish weight from size in weightlessness.

Other Spacelab studies were concerned with the growth in space of sunflower seedlings, a fungus, and four types of microbes. Exotic metal mixes were melted, and crystals were grown in three Spacelab furnaces. There were experiments intended to determine the practicality of orbiting factories to produce products not possible in the gravity of Earth.

During the flight, two antennas failed on the TDRS-1 that was used to relay data from Spacelab to Earth. The failure meant that Lichtenberg and Merbold had to share the voice link to Mission Control Center in Houston with the astronauts in Columbia’s cockpit, and it meant that the two scientists got their instructions from the ground via a teleprinter.

Mission STS-9 scored a number of coups: It carried more experiments than any previous shuttle mission; it was the first U.S. flight with a non-American on board; it carried the heaviest shuttle payload; it featured the first direct voice communications with principal science investigators, via TDRS-1; and was the longest shuttle flight to date.


Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #565 on: 05/31/2015 11:40 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #566 on: 05/31/2015 11:40 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #567 on: 05/31/2015 11:41 PM »
The mission was in fact extended twice, the second time because of computer faults which delayed reentry for five orbits. During an RCS thruster firing before the deorbit burn, one of the orbiters five General Purpose Computers, GPC 1, failed. A few minutes later, GPC 2 failed too. By his own admission, Young’s knees “turned to jelly,” but then he and pilot Brewster Shaw got to work in an effort to solve the problem. Nine hours later, with the cause of the upset still a mystery, the reentry and approach were carried out without further incident.

But then, two minutes before the landing at Edwards, hydrazine fuel leaking from an APU caught fire and continued to burn unnoticed even after the landing, causing significant damage behind the aft payload bay bulkhead. The alarming computer fault was found to have been caused my microscopic debris within integrated circuits which had slipped through inspection procedures.

The large number of malfunctions that struck the Space Shuttle Columbia in its final hours of flight during STS-9 forced engineers to inaugurate the most extensive trouble-shooting operations since the Space Shuttles began flying in April 1981. They were not sure how long the undertaking would last, what they might find, or what effect their findings could have on future flight schedules. NASA officials did not rule out the possibility that the Columbia’s troubles could cause a delay in the next Space Shuttle mission scheduled for January 30, 1984.

The malfunctions included two computer failures, a navigation instrument shutdown, and an explosive fire in the rear compartment. Early Space Shuttle flights had had troubles with computers and the heat-shielding tiles, but these were straight forward physical defects that were easily identified. The current problems were more perplexing and came when the Space Shuttle was assumed to be a fully tested, operational vehicle. NASA engineers and other aerospace observers had suggested that the Columbia’s problems stemmed from a phenomenon not uncommon in any new, complex technology: that is after the initial text phase, when extreme care and attention were given to every step in a project, it was human nature to relax a bit, and it was the nature of machines to misbehave occasionally in unexpected ways.

(Tim Furniss, Space Shuttle Log, Jane’s Publishing Company, 1986; Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA-SP-4024, 1989 – edited)


Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #568 on: 05/31/2015 11:41 PM »
December 1: AD NAUSEAM
NASA announced that its scientists studying motion sickness were focusing on a chemical substance in the fluid core of the brain that might cause vomiting. The fact that there might be a chemical link in motion sickness was discovered through NASA’s research into the causes of space motion sickness. The research was being conducted at ARC in the Biomedical Research Division and at the new Biomedical Institute at JSC. Studies by Ames scientist Dr. Nancy Daunton and two colleagues at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, showed that blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain stopped motion-induced vomiting and that an incomplete block did not suppress vomiting. The scientists were attempting to isolate the responsible chemical from cerebrospinal fluid.

When a person received sensory cues for motion, the brain responds with its normal, programmed responses to control eye, head, and body movements. But when the responses do not yield the expected results, especially when the visual image does not stabilize and posture control is not easily maintained, humans and animals often experience motion sickness. (NASA News Release 83-191; Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA-SP-4024, 1989 – edited)


December 12: “WORK BEING DONE” ON SOVIET SPACE SHUTTLE
Professor Konstantin Feoktistov, a senior Soviet space official, told a news conference that “work was being done” on the Soviet Space Shuttle project, which he described as being “more complex” and more “expensive” than Moscow’s current orbiting manned-station program, the Washington Post reported. Professor Feoktistov added that in “general terms we are considering both types of orbital vehicles-single-use and multiple-use.’’

Also at the news conference were cosmonauts Vladimir Lyakhov and Aleksandr Aleksandrov, who had just returned from their record-long stay aboard Salyut 7. The two confirmed a series of re’cent mishaps in the Soviet space program, including a fuel leak in their Salyut 7 orbiting station and a launch pad explosion of a booster rocket September 27 that was to have brought a fresh crew to relieve them. Because of the explosion, the two cosmonauts said that their mission was extended by 50 days.

General Vladimir Shatalov, space training chief, told the news conference that there was a leak of toxic propellant on the Salyut 7 space station but denied reports that the craft was so crippled by this as to endanger the crew’s lives. “There was a problem with one of the subsystems and there was a leak of a certain amount of fuel,’’ he said. “That part of the station was switched off and it continues to be viable today.” That subsystem was used for space maneuvering, the General added, noting that backup systems were sufficient to deal with the problem. (Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA-SP-4024, 1989 – edited)


December 19: MERBOLD: “MORE EUROPEANS SHOULD FLY”
West German physicist Ulf Merbold, the first European to share flight with U.S. astronauts, said at a news conference that he believed that more Europeans should be assigned to future Space Shuttle flights. “The return to Europe should be better than it was for this particular flight (STS-9),” which had a crew of six. “The politicians in Europe will not be able to sell European participation in the future because there’s not enough balance. I think things should be changed.” He continued, “The memorandum of understanding signed by the Europeans and Americans called for joint space flights by Europeans and Americans, not one European and many Americans. I think the Americans have to rethink this agreement to make it fairer.” (Astronautics and Aeronautics 1979-1984, A Chronology, NASA-SP-4024, 1989 – edited)


Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #569 on: 05/31/2015 11:45 PM »
1983 saw profound developments

From manned spaceflight to space science, from aeronautics to wind tunnels, and from Venus to Vega and beyond, 1983 was a year filled with profound developments. NASA marked its 25th anniversary in 1983 with 19 successful launches, the seventh perfect launch record in its history, but that was just one element of a very busy year.


SHUTTLE FLEET OPERATIONS

In manned spaceflight, four shuttle missions were flown and NASA began fleet operations with its orbiters. Challenger made her maiden flight on STS-6 in April, while Discovery was delivered in September. Twenty people – 19 NASA astronauts and West German payload specialist Dr. Ulf Merbold – flew for the U.S. in 1983, including the first American woman, Dr. Sally Ride, the first American Black, Guy Bluford, and at age 54, America’s oldest space traveler to date, Dr. William Thornton. That list also included the first shuttle astronaut to be “recycled,” Robert Crippen.

Four satellites were launched from the shuttle, while 11 expendable rockets were launched from the ground. The first spacewalk in nine years was performed on STS-6, and NASA began using the first of its Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.


OUT THERE

In space science, it was a year crowded with profound achievements. IRAS, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, in ten short months discovered five comets, two possible new solar systems, a possible tenth planet in our solar system, rings around our solar system and two regions where stars are being born in our galaxy.

Pioneer 10 became the first man-made object to leave the solar system, and Viking Lander 1 on the surface of Mars surrendered to the elements and died quietly in 1983. Saturn was discovered to have awesome thunderstorms 40,000 miles across and Venus was thought to harbor volcanic activity.

The Solar System Exploration Committee recommended low cost planetary space missions throughout the remainder of this century, and JSC suggested a first step be a lunar geosciences orbiter in preparation for a possible return to the Moon. Scientists here also studied nine meteorites thought to have come from Mars, making them just about the rarest rocks on Earth if that is true.

The International Sun-Earth Explorer began a series of maneuvers in 1983, which will take it out on a voyage to meet up with the comet Giacobini-Zinner in September 1985, the first such rendezvous with a comet.


DOWN HERE

In the realm of gizmos, gadgets and technology research, progress was made in cancer treatment, communications technology and computation among others. An international team of chemists worked with London doctors to treat an often fatal cancer called neuroblastoma using chemotherapy technique combined with a procedure which physically separates healthy cells from cancerous ones.

Doubling communications satellite capacity by using a new amplifying technique is under study at the Lewis Research Center, and a request for proposals went out on the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite, which is scheduled for launch from the shuttle in 1988.

In the world of computers, JSC became a test site for the new Department of Defense computer language, Ada. The NASA High Speed Data Management and Archival System was also tested in 1983, at a rate of 50 million pieces of information per second. NASA also began weather and climate modeling and image analysis research with a device called the Massively Parallel Processor – a multi-billion operations-per-second computer which consists of 16,384 processors.

Researchers also worked in 1983 with a computer program employing artificial intelligence techniques, methods which are being programmed into Voyager for its 1986 encounter with Uranus. Other technology advances included new photovoltaic concepts which offer potential order of magnitude cost reduction from present day systems and the development of a highly improved manufacturing process for silicon carbide semiconductors.


IN THE AIR

In aeronautics, NASA dedicated a new wind tunnel and began developing a new simulation capability, and the two efforts will give the U.S. the world’s two premier aeronautical research and development facilities. The National Transonic Facility wind tunnel at the Langley Research Center is the most important wind tunnel built in 40 years, and will allow for research not possible in any other facility on Earth.

Likewise, the Numerical Aerodynamic Simulator, a large super computer-based computational system, will have a major impact on aircraft design methods, making it possible to perform most of the calculations required in designing new aircraft with greater efficiency and accuracy.

Aeronautical research also continued in basic areas such as aircraft icing, wind shear, the characterization of lightning strikes on airplanes and laminar flow during high-speed flight.


AROUND THE GLOBE

NASA also worked in 1983 with many countries around the globe on cooperative programs of one kind or another. The most tangible evidence of this was the flight of Spacelab 1, with 11 European nations, Canada and Japan participating; but the international cooperation extended well beyond that.

Canada selected six payload specialist trainees in December 1983, with at least two scheduled to fly aboard the shuttle in 1985 and 1986. Brazil, Australia, Italy and France are also studying the possibility of flying payload specialists.

Another possibility being studied in Europe, Canada and Japan is cooperation with the U.S. in the placement of a permanent space station in low Earth orbit. All told, NASA had cooperative programs in 1983 with Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

(JSC Space News Roundup, Jan. 13, 1984 – edited)


Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #570 on: 05/31/2015 11:46 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #571 on: 05/31/2015 11:47 PM »
Wrap Up…

“The important thing is not that I am black, but that I did a good job as a scientist and an astronaut.”

- Guion S. Bluford, STS-8 Mission Specialist


(By Guion S. Bluford)

After the mission, NASA Headquarters assigned Mary Weatherspoon to work my PR agenda. Mary was a public relations specialist from NASA Headquarters who had lots of experience doing PR support for the NASA Administrator. We worked together to determine which events we should do and how best to support all the speaking requests. She handled all the transportation and logistics for each PR trip and she served as my escort at many PR functions. We worked well together as a team.

From October to December of 1983, we made three to four trips a month to various parts of the country. We tried not to spend a lot of time crisscrossing the country, but tried to focus on a particular area of the country on each trip. In several cases, we convinced people to change the date of their events in order to best accommodate my schedule. Between trips I would spend a lot of time answering the mail and preparing for the next trip.

On each trip, I talked about my experiences of flying on STS-8, the importance of the space program, the need for more scientists and engineers in this country, and I tried to acknowledge the role of teachers, parents, and role models in my life. I used the PR trips to thank the American people for giving me the opportunity to fly in space and tried to show my appreciation to those organizations that helped me the most in life. I particularly focused my gratitude on Penn State University, the City of Philadelphia, the United States Air Force and the Tuskegee Airman. It was a wonderful three months.

I went back home to Philadelphia for four days in November and rode in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I met with Mayor Wilson Goode of Philadelphia and Governor Richard Thornburgh of Pennsylvania. I visited the University of Pennsylvania’s Children’s Hospital and several schools in Philadelphia, including Overbrook Senior High, my alma mater. I spent time at the Franklin Institute in downtown Philadelphia talking with school kids about the importance of studying math and science and I participated in numerous press conferences. It was a busy four days.

I went to Hollywood, California, and joined up with Bob Crippen to do a TV special on the 25th anniversary of NASA. Bob Hope hosted the event, as we highlighted some of the many accomplishments of the Agency. I also attended an awards program for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and received the NAACP Image Award. Miss America’s Vanessa Williams also received the same award at this event. I had an opportunity to meet Billy Dee Williams who was in the midst of filming several Star Wars movies. He seemed as excited to see me as I was to meet him. I also met Johnny Carson, Redd Foxx, Jim Brown and many other Hollywood celebrities on the trip. It was an exciting experience.

In October, my wife and I went to Washington D.C. to attend several events. We attended a ceremony in the Pentagon, hosted by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Charles A. Gabriel, who presented me my Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings. John Fabian also received his Air Force Astronaut Wings at the same event. There was a small reception, after the ceremony, with quite a few flag officers. From there, the wife and I went to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum to join President Reagan. The President gave a speech recognizing NASA on its 25th Anniversary. I participated in that event with Sally Ride, several other astronauts, and with the NASA Administrator. NASA donated my STS-8 spacesuit to the National Air & Space Museum for permanent display. Finally, that evening, the wife and I went to Blair House, across the street from the White House for a dinner and a reception with Frank C. Carlucci, Secretary of Defense. We got to meet Colin Powell and his wife as well as some ambassadors and several senior military officials and their wives. It was a remarkable day for both of us in the Nation’s capitol.

By the end of the year, I decided to get off the PR circuit and return to my normal duties in the astronaut office. Although I enjoyed my experience giving speeches and signing autographs, I felt it was time for me to support some of the other astronauts who were getting ready to fly. I had accumulated a lot of memorabilia on these trips as a reminder on how the country felt about me and the NASA space program.

However, I had one more surprise that occurred after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Among the mail that I had received during the holidays there was a letter from the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel. In the letter, he congratulated me on my accomplishments and officially notified me that I was promoted to full colonel. The Department of Defense had decided to re-initiate an old policy of promoting astronauts when they flew in space. I was authorized to wear the new rank, as the Air Force got approval from Congress for my promotion. It was a great gift from an organization that I felt very proud of.

In January of 1984, I was assigned to be a “Cape Crusader,” in the Astronaut Office. I was going to be one of the astronauts working at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, monitoring the flow of payloads and the work on the Space Shuttles. However, before I could get started on my new job, Mr. Abbey assigned me to fly as the payload commander and mission specialist on STS 61-A. He wanted me to leave for West Germany in the next couple of weeks for six to eight weeks of training. I would be teaming up with Bonnie J. Dunbar and three European astronauts for payload training. Once again, I was ecstatic as I began training again for my second spaceflight. Although I was a flight instructor for West German Undergraduate Pilot Training students and had been awarded the West German Luftwaffe Wings, I don’t think this had any effect on Mr. Abbey’s decision.

(NASA JSC Oral History project interview with Guion Bluford, Aug. 2, 2004 – edited)

« Last Edit: 06/01/2015 12:04 AM by Ares67 »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #572 on: 05/31/2015 11:48 PM »

Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #573 on: 05/31/2015 11:48 PM »
And Rap-Up!


Guion Bluford Rap






And, as always, here’s another wrap up:


STS-8 Hi Res Images

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=13677.0



Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #574 on: 05/31/2015 11:50 PM »
OUTATIME

So, as was announced at the start of this thread, after a nearly two-year journey through the historic events of 1983, I’ll now jump back to the future – to the rather complicated shuttle launch preparations during the summer of 1990 and

Discovery STS-41 – Tales of Brave Ulysses


Talking about Back to the Future… ”Great Scott!” – “2015? We’re in the future!”

The BTTF movie trilogy is a piece of history itself. But what about those flying cars and when do we see real hoverboards?

Anyway… ”You’ve gotta come back with me!”


- Oliver, aka Ares67   

:)



Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12127
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #575 on: 05/31/2015 11:51 PM »






See also:

Back to the Future Countdown

http://www.october212015.com/



Offline ChrisGebhardt

  • Assistant Managing Editor
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6909
  • ad astra scientia
  • ~1 AU
  • Liked: 5537
  • Likes Given: 702
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #576 on: 07/10/2017 02:38 AM »
Are these photos of Discovery (from earlier in this thread) really from Nov. 1983?  If so, why did they remove numerous RCC panels after delivery from Palmdale?
« Last Edit: 07/10/2017 02:45 AM by ChrisGebhardt »

Online DaveS

  • Shuttle program observer
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8020
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 465
  • Likes Given: 19
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #577 on: 07/10/2017 02:54 AM »
It's not just the RCC panels that are missing. The wings are missing several of the flipper doors as well. You can see it better in these high res versions of the above photos:
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline psloss

  • Veteran armchair spectator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17302
  • Liked: 1774
  • Likes Given: 1016
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #578 on: 07/10/2017 11:06 PM »
Are these photos of Discovery (from earlier in this thread) really from Nov. 1983?
December, 1983, getting bumped by Columbia/STS-9 (again); I believe it's the 9th.  (The delivery ferry was bumped on the front side due to the rollback/destack.)

Edit for image credits: The top image was clipped from probably the December 10, 1983 Orange County Register; I think it was credited to the Associated Press, so likely in other dailies.  The bottom was in the June, 1984, edition of Countdown magazine; likely a NASA image.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2017 11:53 PM by psloss »

Offline Hog

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1245
  • Woodstock
  • Liked: 324
  • Likes Given: 969
Re: Challenger STS-8 – In the Dark of the Night
« Reply #579 on: 07/11/2017 06:19 PM »
Boy is that body flap ever pronounced when the Orbiter is sans SSME's.   I'd still love to see the body flap deflection that occurred at SRB ignition at the beginning of STS-1.

Same for the elevons, a portmanteau of elevator and aileron.
Paul

Tags: