Manned Flight n°: 172
Earth orbit Flight n°: 169
USA manned Flight n°: 95
Launch, orbit & landing data:
|1||Richards||Richard Noel||CDR||10d 22h 49m|
|2||Hammond||Lloyd Blaine, Jr.||PLT||10d 22h 49m|
|3||Linenger||Jerry Michael||MSP||10d 22h 49m|
|4||Helms||Susan Jane||MSP||10d 22h 49m|
|5||Meade||Carl Joseph||MSP||10d 22h 49m|
|6||Lee||Mark Charles||MSP||10d 22h 49m|
Payloads: Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE), Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy (SPARTAN) 201-II, Robot-Operated Materials Processing System (ROMPS), Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment (SPIFEX), getaway special (GAS) bridge assembly with ten GAS experiments, Trajectory Control Sensor (TCS), Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) III, Radiation Monitoring Experiment (RME) III, Military Applications of Ship Tracks (MAST), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II, Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) Calibration Test.
NASA Official Mission Narrative
Mission Name: STS-64 (64)
Pad 39-B (30)
64th Shuttle Mission
19th Flight OV-103
EAFB Landing (41)
28th EVA of Shuttle program
Richard N. Richards (4), Commander
L. Blaine Hammond, Jr. (2), Pilot
Jerry M. Linenger (1), Mission Specialist 1
Susan J. Helms (2), Mission Specialist 2
Carl J. Meade (3), Mission Specialist 3
Mark C. Lee (3), Mission Specialist 4
OPF -- 2/11/94
VAB -- 8/11/94
PAD -- 8/19/94
LITE-1,ROMPS,SPARTAN-201,TCS,SPIFEX,GAS(x11),SAFER,SSCE,BRIC-III,RME-III, MAST, SAREX-II,AMOS
The STS-64 mission will carry the LIDAR In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE), a project to measure atmospheric parameters from a space platform utilizing laser sensors, the Robot Operated Materials Processing System (ROMPS) to investigate robot handling of thin film samples, and the Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy (SPARTAN-201). SPARTAN is a free-flying retrievable platform with two telescopes to study the solar wind, a continuous stream of electrons, heavy protons and heavy ions ejected from the sun and traveling through space at speeds of almost 1 million miles per hour. The solar wind frequently causes problems on Earth by disrupting navigation, communications and electrical power.
The STS-64 mission will also carry the Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment (SPIFEX). This experiment is designed to directly measure RCS plume loads in the far-field regime under actual on-orbit conditions. Discovery's payload bay also contains a GAS bridge assembly with 12 GAS canisters (G-178, G-254, G-312, G-325, G-417, G-453, G-454, G-456, G-485, G-506 and G-562). One additional experiment in the payload bay is the Trajectory Control Sensor (TCS) package positioned on an Adaptive Payload Carrier. It will provide relative trajectory data on a target vehicle operating in close proximity (less than 5000ft) of the Orbiter. The TCS will provide range and range rate data for target vehicles having a reflective surface. Additionally, the TCS provides bearing, bearing rate, attitude, and attitude rates for target vehicles utilizing special retro-reflectors.
In Discovery's middeck area, STS-64 will carry the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) system, the Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), the Biological Research in Canister III (BRIC-III) experiment, the Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME-III) experiment. Other experiments onboard STS-64 include Military Application of Ship Trails (MAST), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment-II (SAREX-II) and Air Force Maui Optical Site Calibration Test (AMOS).
Launch September 9, 1994 6:22:35:042pm EDT. The Launch window opened at 4:30am EDT with a 2 hour 30 min window. The late afternoon launch was scheduled to permit nighttime operation of the LITE-1 laser early in the mission. The launch was delayed due to launch weather violations near the launch complex LC 39B area. Discovery's Main Engine Cutoff (MECO) occured at 6:33pm EDT while the orbiter was 790nm down range an at an altitude of 380,000 ft (52nm). Discovery's empty weight was 173,499lbs (with 3 SSME's) and the orbiter weight at liftoff was 241,434lbs. Payload weight up was 19,478lbs.
Scheduled Trans-Atlantic Abort (TAL) sites were Zaragoza, Spain, Ben Guerir, Morocco and Moron, Spain.
Altitude: 140 nm
Inclination: 57 degrees
Duration: 10 days, 22 hours, 49 minutes, 57 seconds.
Distance: 4.5 million miles
ET : SN-66
September 20, 1994 on Runway 04 at Edwards Air Force Base at 5:12:52pm EDT. Nose wheel touchdown at 5:13:04 p.m. EDT with a wheel stop at 4:13:52 p.m. EDT. Discovery had four landing opportunities on 9/20/94, two in Florida and two at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The Florida opportunity was waived off due to low clouds and precipitation near the Shuttle Landing Facility. A KSC landing would have involved a deorbit engine firing at 12:11 p.m. CDT, on the flight's 174th orbit, followed by a touchdown at 1:11 p.m. CDT. A second opportunity would begin with a 1:45 p.m. CDT deorbit burn and result in a 2:45 p.m. CDT Florida touchdown.
The opportunities for a landing at Edwards began on the 176th orbit with a deorbit burn at 4:14 p.m. EDT and touchdown at 5:11 p.m. EDT. A second opportunity would have Discovery fire its engines at 5:50 p.m. EDT and touchdown at 6:46 p.m. EDT.
KSC September 19, 1994 2:42pm EDT was waived-off due to bad weather. Four landing opportunities -- two to Florida and two to California -- existed for Discovery on Monday. The first and primary opportunity began with a deorbit burn at 12:23 p.m. central time on the mission's 158th orbit leading to a 1:23 p.m. touchdown. A second opportunity to land at KSC would have begun with a deorbit burn at 1:55 p.m. on the 159th orbit and lead to a 2:55 p.m. touchdown. Later landing opportunities result in touchdowns at Edwards Air Force Base, Ca., at 4:24 p.m. or 5:56 p.m. Central time.
The Monday weather forecast for KSC called for a chance of thunderstorms within 30 miles of the landing strip while it calls for acceptable landing weather at Edwards. Should the weather not cooperate today, Discovery has landing opportunities at both KSC and Edwards on Tuesday and Wednesday. The forecast for the later opportunities is similar to today's weather predictions.
Discovery's Payload down weight was 19,436lbs and the orbiter landing weight was 211,834lbs.
On Saturday, September 10, 1994 at 9 a.m. CST, STS-64 MCC Status Report #1 reported: Payload activities on board the Space Shuttle Discovery picked as the STS-64 crew began its second day in orbit. Discovery's six astronauts started Flight Day 2 to a parody of a Beach Boys tune called "We'll Have Fun, Fun, Fun on the Shuttle," sung by Mach 25.
Before crew members went to sleep, the Lidar In-space Technology Experiment, STS-64's primary payload, was activated and reported to be in good working condition. Experiment controllers reported that they were receiving "terrific looking returns."
LITE will be used during the course of the mission to collect atmospheric data with a laser system to measure clouds, particles in the atmosphere and the Earth's surface. This information will help scientists explain the impact of human activity on the atmosphere. Lidar, an acronym for light detection and ranging is similar to the radar commonly used to track everything from airplanes in flight to thunderstorms. It can be thought of as an optical radar, but instead of bouncing radio waves off its target, lidar uses short pulses of laser light. Some of that light reflects tiny particles in the atmosphere, called aerosols, then back to a telescope aligned with the laser. By precisely timing the lidar echo and by measuring how much laser light is received by the telescope, scientists can accurately determine the location, distribution and nature of the particle. The result is a revolutionary new tool for studying the composition of Earth's atmosphere.
A new materials processing facility called ROMPS for Robotic Operated Materials Processing System also was activated yesterday and ran throughout the night. ROMPS will process crystals in microgravity by transporting a variety of semiconductors from storageracks to furnaces for processing.
Mission Specialist Susan J. Helms powered up Discovery's robot arm to work with the Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment, also known as SPIFEX. The experiment consists of a 33-foot long beam that will be used to characterize and measure the plumes of the steering jets. SPIFEX will be maneuvered on the end of the robot arm to take measurements of 86 separate jet firings. This information will be used by engineers determine the effects of thrusters on large space structures such as the International Space Station. Crew members also will set up their ham radio equipment to support the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment.
On Saturday, Sept 10, 1994 at 4:30 p.m. CST, STS-64 MCC Status Report #3 reports: Discovery's crew began its first full day in orbit with an assortment of experiments aboard the shuttle. Following a good performance checkout last night, the Lidar in Space Technology Experiment (LITE) completed three orbits of nightime observations above the eastern hemisphere.
LITE took laser measurements of aerosols above northern Europe, clouds above Indonesia and the south Pacific, and the surface of the Himalayan Mountains. Simultaneous atmospheric measurements were performed by LITE in orbit and by researchers on the ground of the atmosphere above Tomsk, Russia, a site that has long been a part of various atmospheric studies.
Also early today, Mission Specialist Susan J. Helms performed a check of Discovery's mechanical arm, finding it to be in excellent condition. Helms then grappled the Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment, a 32-foot long extension to the mechanical arm, raising it above Discovery's cargo bay. During SPIFEX activation, flight controllers noticed a communications problem with the interface between Discovery's payload general support computers and the data system on SPIFEX. After cycling a circuit breaker that powers the data system, communications were restored and SPIFEX is operating properly. Later, cold nitrogen gas was fired at SPIFEX to calibrate sensors which will be used to study the effects of the shuttle's reaction control system jet plumes.
On Sunday, Sept 11, 1994 at 9 a.m. CST, STS-64 MCC Status Report #4 reports: Planning for the third day of STS-64 went smoothly last night as flight controllers refined the timeline to enhance today's payload activities. In general, the changes will allow for additional live satellite coverage for the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE) and the Space Plume Impingement Flight Experiment (SPIFEX), two of Discovery's primary payloads. LITE controllers have reported that they are seeing good results thus far. Crew members started their third day in space at 7:23 a.m. CDT to a parody of the song "My Girl" called "My World" by Mach 25.
On Sunday, Sept 11, 1994 at 4 p.m. CST, STS-64 MCC Status Report #5 reports: Discovery's crew spent the first half of the mission's third day continuing an investigation of the exhaust plumes emitted by the shuttle's steering jets. Using the Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment attached to the end of the shuttle' s mechanical arm, Mission Specialist Susan Helms positioned instruments above steering jets both at the rear and over the nose of Discovery.
Measuring single and dual jet firings, SPIFEX's instruments characterized the heat and pressure from the jets to help plan for dockings of the shuttle with the Russia's Mir Space Station and the International Space Station. Also, Commander Dick Richards and Jerry Linenger were interviewed by CNN, answering questions about their mission that had been sent in by CNN viewers.
For the rest of the day, the focus aboard Discovery shifted back to laser observations using the Lidar in Space Technology Experment. LITE will take three successive orbits of observations during the last part of the crew's day. The crew also will exercise during the last part of the day, evaluating a new type of treadmill carried aboard Discovery. Exercise has been a long-standing portion of shuttle missions as one method for offsetting the effects of weightlessness on the body.
On Monday, Sept 12, 1994 at 7 a.m. CST, STS-64 MCC Status Report #6 reports: Investigators are describing some of the data takes with the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment, or LITE, as "rich" when compared to measurements taken by ground and aircraft instruments. LITE is the first use of a "lidar" system in space.
Information from the Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment, or SPIFEX, indicates that all instruments on the 32-foot long extension of the Discovery's robot arm are in good health and providing high quality data. At the end of the days activities, SPIFEX will be berthed on the starboard side of the payload bay so that the arm will be available for the deploy and retrieval of the Spartan satellite on Tuesday. SPIFEX is being used in tests to help engineers characterize exhaust plumes emitted by the shuttle's steering jets.
Overnight, the Robot Operated Materials Processing System, or ROMPS, continued its smooth operations. The first U.S. robotics system to be used in space, ROMPS transports semiconductor samples from storage racks to halogen lamp furnaces for heating and cooling.
The STS-64 crew began its fourth day in space at 6:23 a.m. CDT with the song "Ace in the Hole" by George Strait.
On Monday, Sept 12, 1994 at 3 p.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #7 reports: A variety of observations by the Lidar In-space Technology Experiment (LITE) marked Discovery's fourth day in orbit, as well as a few final studies of the shuttle's steering jet exhaust plumes.
LITE completed observations of smoke in the atmosphere above portions of South America, the sea surface in the mid-Atlantic, clouds above Central America, and the upper atmosphere above northern Europe. Observations by the laser radar were made during both daylight and night passes. Several precisely targeted observations required Commander Dick Richards to aim the laser by altering Discovery's orientation, while other sites were surveyed by using a slow rocking of Discovery to create a sweep with the laser pulses.
Scientists with LITE are delighted with the information obtained thus far, and a variety of concurrent measurements by ground instruments and airborne instruments have been recorded.
Earlier today, Mission Specialist Susan J. Helms conducted a few more tests of exhaust plumes from Discovery's small jets using SPIFEX, a 32-foot long instrumented boom grasped by the shuttle's mechanical arm. However, early in the test session, communications broke off between the laptop computer aboard Discovery and the experiment's instruments, causing several low-priority studies to be missed. The communications link was restored prior to latching the experiment back into its cradle along the right edge of Discovery's cargo bay.
SPIFEX has completed the majority of its planned studies, including all of the studies of heat and pressures from the jet exhausts that were deemed to be a high priority for the experiment. The information will assist in planning future dockings between the shuttle and space stations.
At 6:03 p.m. CDT today, Commander Richard N. Richards, along with Carl J. Meade and Mark C. Lee, the two astronauts who plan to conduct a spacewalk later in the flight, will be interviewed by a reporter for Space News. The interview will be carried live on NASA TV. The crew will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 10:23 p.m. central and awaken at 6:23 a.m. Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Sept 13, 1994 at 8 a.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #8 reports: The STS-64 crew today prepared to release the Spartan-201 satellite which is expected to spend about 40 hours flying free of Discovery as it collects information on the Sun and its solar winds. Following deployment, the orbiter will perform three separation burns to move it away from Spartan to a station-keeping point about 50 miles behind. Spartan-201 will then begin its mission to look for evidence explaining how the solar wind is generated by the Sun.
The solar wind originates in the corona, the outermost atmosphere of the Sun. Spartan-201- carries two separate telescopes to study the corona. The White Light Coronagraph measures density distribution of electrons making up the corona. The other telescope, the Ultraviolet Coronal Spectrometer investigates the temperatures and distribution of protons and hydrogen atoms through the layers of the corona. This information, which will be recorded on board the satellite and retrieved after landing, will help scientists characterize this part of the Sun. Spartan will be retrieved on Thursday to be berthed once again in Discovery's payload bay for the return home.
Overnight, the Robot Operated Materials Processing System continued to processes semiconductor samples. Fifty-four of the 100 ROMPS samples have been processed, and controllers are pleased with the system's performance so far.
Crew members began their fifth day in space at 6:23 a.m. CDT with a parody of the Beach Boys song "I Get Around" called "We Orbit Round" by Mach 25. The astronauts' efforts to conserve Discovery's cryogenic fuels are paying off. Flight controllers in Houston say the outlook for an additional day in space is promising.
On Tuesday, Sept 13, 1994 at 8 p.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #9 reports: Discovery's crew was given a go to stay in space an additional day prior to the checkout and deployment of a science satellite designed to study the Sun's corona. Later, the crew continued work with a laser instrument to measure the Earth's atmosphere and cloud cover.
Mission managers gave the go ahead to extend the mission after evaluating electrical power usage thus far. The latest margins showed electrical power consumption is running below pre-flight predictions to provide enough hydrogen and oxygen to permit an extra day of science data gathering. The STS-64 mission now is scheduled to conclude with a landing September 19 in the early afternoon.
The Spartan satellite was released from Discovery's robot arm at 4:30 Tuesday afternoon followed closely by three separation maneuvers to slowly move the Orbiter away from SPARTAN to a station-keeping point about 50 miles behind. Two orbits after release, the satellite began its mission searching for evidence explaining how the solar wind is generated by the Sun. SPARTAN will be retrieved on Thursday to be berthed once again in Discovery's payload bay for the return home.
After the deploy, the six crew members began preparations for continued work with the primary payload aboard the orbiter -- LITE. The laser device bounces off of the Earth's clouds and atmosphere providing real- time data on the environment and the effects of human interaction.
Overnight, the Robot Operated Materials Processing System, or ROMPS, will continue to process semiconductor samples in canisters mounted on the side of the payload bay. The operation is conducted remotely while the crew sleeps. Discovery's crew will go to sleep shortly before 10:30 this evening and wake up tomorrow morning at 6:23 to begin checkout of spacesuit equipment to be used during Friday's spacewalk.
On Wednesday, Sept 14, 1994 at 7 a.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #10 reports: Crew members began their sixth day in space with the song "On Orbit," sung by Mach 25 to the Green Acres theme. Following the completion of post-sleep activities, Mission Specialists Carl Meade and Mark Lee will begin checking out the space suits they will use during Friday's extravehicular activity.
The six-hour space walk, currently scheduled to begin at about 9:45 a.m. Central Friday, is designed to test several tools and techniques that may be used at the International Space Station. Among the tools is the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue, or SAFER, a small, self-contained, propulsive backpack that can provide a free-flying astronaut control and mobility. SAFER is designed for self-rescue use by a space walker in the event the shuttle is unable or unavailable to retrieve a detached, drifting crew member.
Science activities with the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment, or LITE, continued with three data takes. The science activities in space are being coordinated with concurrent activities on the ground. Tuesday, 10 different groups from Japan, China, Puerto Rico and the United States took measurements of the Earth's atmosphere from the ground at the same time LITE was recording data in space.
SPARTAN-201 is moving out ahead of Discovery, opening at a rate of 3.6 n.m. per hour. Later today, the crew will start maneuvering the orbiter back toward the science satellite, setting up for its retrieval on Thursday. Overnight, flight controllers looked at the data from Discovery's rendezvous radar which was recording questionable readings during the deploy operations. Controllers have concluded that the signatures were the result of the radar's late acquisition of the satellite, the cause of which is still being investigated.
The Robot Operated Materials Processing System, or ROMPS, also continues to process semiconductor samples in canisters mounted on the side of the payload bay. The operation, conducted remotely while the crew sleeps, is being characterized by its controllers as "very successful." So far, 74 of the 100 samples have been processed..
On Wednesday, Sept 14, 1994 at 5 p.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #11 reports: Discovery's crew on Wednesday checked out equipment that will be used during an untethered spacewalk on Friday; continued work in support of laser mapping of clouds, atmospheric and environmental conditions; and began the process of catching up with a science satellite which has been operating free of the Orbiter for two days.
The two spacesuits were checked out by astronauts Mark Lee, Carl Meade and Jerry Linenger and are ready to support the spacewalk on Friday. They also tested the small jet pack that will be used to fly free of the Shuttle without tethers for the first time in 10 years. Also tested was an electronic checklist that fits on the forearm of the astronauts to provide computer data on various aspects of the spacewalk. While Lee and Meade are in the payload bay, Linenger will assist with the choreography from inside the Shuttle.
Today, science activities with the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment, or LITE, continued with three data takes. The science activities in space are being coordinated with concurrent activities on the ground. The astronauts also began targeting Discovery for a rendezvous and retrieval of the SPARTAN satellite deployed Tuesday. The furthest distance the two reached prior to beginning the rendezvous was 60 nautical miles. Two small firings of the thruster jets on the Orbiter were conducted today and the closing rate was about one nautical mile per orbit.
Flight controllers spent the day discussing options for rendezvous in the event the Orbiter's radar system was unavailable during the final stages of the rendezvous profile tomorrow. The system did not lock on to the satellite until about an hour after deploy. The problem has not yet been explained. The rendezvous options without the radar system include using the ground navigation data as well as using Discovery's on board star trackers. Though these procedures are not as precise and would require slightly more propellant than normal, the propellant margins are adequate to support a "no-radar" rendezvous and the crew and flight control teams are trained for just such a scenario.
The Robot Operated Materials Processing System (ROMPS) continues to process semiconductor samples in canisters mounted on the side of the payload bay. The operation, conducted remotely while the crew sleeps has so far processed 78 of the 100 samples planned for the mission.
On Thursday, Sept 15, 1994 at 7 a.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #12 reports: Discovery is slowly closing in on Spartan-201 as the STS-64 crew prepares to retrieve the science satellite later today. Spartan-201 was deployed from Discovery's payload bay Tuesday for about 48 hours of data collection on the solar wind and the Sun's corona.
With Spartan's science operations nearing completion, crew members will fire Discovery's steering jets several times catch up with the satellite. Once Spartan is within the orbiter's each, Mission Specialist Susan Helms will use the robot arm to grab the satellite about 3:47 p.m. CDT and secure it in the payload bay for return home. The information gathered during the free-flying operations will be analyzed by scientists post flight.
Later today, space-walking astronauts Carl Meade and Mark Lee will perform an abbreviated pre-breathing protocol in preparation of Friday's extravehicular activity. The protocol helps clean nitrogen from the blood of the EVA astronauts before they venture outside the crew cabin, thus preventing the condition known as "the bends." At 5:23 a.m., flight controllers awakened crew members with the song "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley.
On Thursday, Sept 15, 1994 at 12 noon CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #13 reports: Discovery is closing in on the Spartan-201 satellite, aiming for a capture of the satellite at about 3:47 p.m. central time. Spartan will have spent a total of almost 48 hours flying free from the shuttle and performing its observations of the sun.
Discovery's final approach toward Spartan will begin with a Terminal Phase Initiation, or TI, burn at about 1:44 p.m., when Discovery is about 8 nautical miles behind the satellite. Shortly before that engine firing, Mission Specialist Susan Helms will power up the shuttle's mechanical arm in preparation for the retrieval.
Commander Dick Richards will take over manual control of Discovery at about 2:56 p.m. central as the shuttle closes to within a mile of the satellite. Flying with Discovery's aft flight deck controls, Richards will maneuver the shuttle to within 45 feet of Spartan so Helms can use the arm to lock on to the satellite, predicted to occur at about 3:47 p.m. central. Discovery's rendezvous radar system has been activated and is currently tracing the Spartan as the shuttle closes in.
Earlier today, the crew decreased Discovery's cabin pressure to 10.2 pounds per square inch as part of preparations for tomorrow's planned spacewalk by Mark Lee and Carl Meade. The lower pressure, along with about 25 minutes Lee and Meade spent breathing pure oxygen, assists in purging nitrogen from the astronauts' bloodstreams to avoid a condition commonly called the bends when they encounter the 4.3 psi spacesuit pressure.
On Thursday, Sept 15, 1994 at 7 p.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #14 reports: Space Shuttle Discovery and its crew of six astronauts successfully retrieved the Spartan 201 satellite Thursday afternoon, bringing the science satellite into the orbiter's cargo bay after two days of independent science research into solar activity.
Mission specialist Susan Helms used the Shuttle's mechanical arm to grapple the satellite and bring it into its latches. Discovery's rendezvous radar, which had given some earlier problem indication when Spartan was deployed on Tuesday, performed well during the final rendezvous phase.
Earlier today, the cabin pressure in Discovery was reduced to 10.2 PSI in preparation for Friday's spacewalk. Astronauts Mark C. Lee and Carl J. Meade will exit the orbiter's airlock Friday morning for a six-hour EVA to test of a device designed as a rescue aid or future spacewalkers who become untethered while working outside their spacecraft or space station.
On Friday, Sept 16, 1994 at 7 a.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #15 reports: Mission Specialists Carl J. Meade and Mark C. Lee are getting ready to venture out of Discovery's crew cabin this morning to spend six hours testing a new propulsive backpack.
Called SAFER for Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue, the backpack is designed for use in the event a crew member inadvertently becomes untethered while conducting an extravehicular activity. During today's space walk, Meade and Lee will take turns testing the cap abilities of the unit by performing four specific test sequences.
The first sequence gives the operator an opportunity to become familiar with the device before attempting the other demonstrations. Once the space walker is familiar with the unit, the engineering evaluation will begin. For that test, the space walker will fly several short translational and rotational sequences. Next, a self-rescue demonstration will take place. In it, one space walker will stand in the foot restraint at the end of Discovery's mechanical arm and impart a series of rotations to the SAFER space walker. The SAFER space walker will then activate the unit's attitude control system to stop the rotation and fly back to the end of the arm. The fourth test, a flight qualities evaluation, will have the space walker fly a precise trajectory that will follow the bent mechanical arm, demonstrating the kind of precision translation that might be needed at the International Space Station.
Preparations for the space walk began shortly after 7 a.m. CDT. At about 8:36 a.m., Meade and Lee will begin a 50-minute period of breathing pure oxygen in their space suits to cleanse the nitrogen from their blood before depressurizing the airlock. The two space walkers will step out of the airlock at about at 9:43 a.m.
Today's EVA follows on the heels of Thursday's successful retrieval of the Spartan-201 satellite. Mission Specialist Susan Helms used Discovery's robot arm to capture the satellite and secure it in the payload bay for return home. Throughout the rendezvous, Discovery's radar system performed well.
The STS-64 payloads also are performing well. Operations with the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment continued with four hours of data recording, including readings taken over Super Typhoon Melissa. The payload community also reported that the Robot Operated Materials Processing System has completed its crystal growth activities for the flight.
On Friday, Sept 16, 1994 at 5:30 p.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #16 reports: Astronauts Mark Lee and Carl Meade today successfully completed the first untethered U.S. space walk in a decade, trying out a new rescue aid for astronauts who might float free from their spacecraft. The spacewalk or EVA lasted 6 hours 51 minutes and was the 28th in the Space Shuttle program.
Lee and Meade exited the airlock mid-morning Friday and conducted several tests of the SAFER, the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue, while untethered in Discovery's cargo bay. Astronaut Jerry Linenger assisted his crewmates from inside the spacecraft and Susan Helms maneuvered Discovery's robot arm for the procedures.
Saturday is the bonus day on orbit for STS-64, added when mission managers determined that onboard supplies were sufficient to get one more day of science operations. Additional runs are planned of the Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment or SPIFEX which looks at the effect of shuttle jet firings on other space structures, and the Lidar in Space Technology Experiment or LITE to study the atmosphere.
On Sunday, Sept 18, 1994 at 3 p.m CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #20 reports: Although the primary scientific package aboard Discovery continued to observe Earth's climate for a few more hours, the crew of shuttle mission STS-64 began packing its bags Sunday afternoon for the trip home Monday. Commander Richard N. Richards and Pilot L. Blaine Hammond performed standard day-before-landing checks of Discovery today and found their spacecraft in good health. One of the 38 steering jets on Discovery did malfunction during a test firing, but the jet is not needed for the return to Earth and has been shut off.
The Lidar in Space Technology Experiment, or LITE, laser radar instrument was scheduled to make several more observations of Earth tonight. The other experiments aboard Discovery, all of them having gathered as much or more data than originally planned, are complete.
On Monday, Sept 19, 1994 at 7 a.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #21 reports: Flight controllers are keeping an eye on weather at in Florida and California while the STS-64 crew prepares Discovery for the trip home after spending almost 10 full days in orbit.
Overnight, the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment wrapped up its operations for the mission following a special data take over an erupting volcano in New Guinea. Throughout the flight, LITE has emitted around 2 million laser pulses from the instruments in Discovery's payload bay and collected around 45 hours of data.
Crew members, who awakened to the song "Yakkety Yak" by the Coasters," will begin their final deorbit preparations at about 8:23 a.m. CDT.
On Monday, Sept 19, 1994 at 3 p.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #22 reports: Flight controllers opted to have Discovery spend an extra day in orbit hoping for clear Florida weather on Tuesday after today's landing opportunities to the Kennedy Space Center were thwarted by thunderstorms and low, thick clouds.
The crew spent the last portion of today preparing the shuttle for an extra night in orbit. The crew will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 8:23 p.m. CDT and awaken at 4:23 a.m. CDT Tuesday.
For Tuesday, Discovery has four landing opportunities -- two to Florida early in the afternoon and two to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the late afternoon. Kennedy Space Center is the preferred landing site and all activities will be aimed toward the first opportunity to land at KSC with a deorbit engine firing at 12:12 p.m. CDT, on the flight's 174th orbit, followed by a touchdown at 1:12 p.m. CDT. A second opportunity to land in Florida would begin with a 1:45 p.m. CDT deorbit burn and result in a 2:45 p.m. CDT touchdown.
The Tuesday forecast for Florida calls for conditions similar to today's with possible rain showers in the vicinity of the landing site. If weather again prohibits a landing at KSC Tuesday, flight controllers will likely attempt a landing in California. The forecast for Edwards Air Force Base calls for excellent landing weather Tuesday.
Tuesday's opportunities for landing in California begin with a deorbit burn by Discovery at 3:16 p.m. CDT on the flight's 176th orbit leading to a touchdown at 4:13 p.m. CDT at Edwards. A second opportunity would have Discovery fire its engines at 4:50 p.m. CDT to begin its descent and touch down at 5:46 p.m. CDT at Edwards.
On Tuesday, Sept 20, 1994 at 7 a.m. CDT, STS-64 MCC Status Report #23 reports: The STS-64 crew awakened at 4:23 a.m. CDT to the sounds of chirping birds and a crowing rooster and a medley of cartoon theme songs including Woody Woodpecker. The astronauts spent the morning configuring the orbiter for landing operations that will bring Discovery back to Earth, ending the 11-day mission.
Discovery has four landing opportunities today -- two to Florida in the early afternoon and two to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the late opportunity involves a deorbit engine firing at 12:11 p.m. CDT, on the flight's 174th orbit, followed by a touchdown at 1:11 p.m. CDT. A second opportunity would begin with a 1:45 p.m. CDT deorbit burn and result in a 2:45 p.m. CDT Florida touchdown.
The opportunities for a landing at Edwards begin on the 176th orbit with a deorbit burn at 3:14 p.m. CDT and touchdown at 4:11 p.m. CDT. A second opportunity would have Discovery fire its engines at 4:50 p.m. CDT and touchdown at 5:46 p.m. CDT.
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