- Columbia (16)
- Pad 39-B (29)
- 61st Shuttle Mission
- 16th Flight OV-102
- EDO Mission (3)
- KSC Landing (20)
- John H. Casper (3), Commander
- Andrew M. Allen (2), Pilot
- Pierre J. Thuot (3), Mission Specialist 1
- Charles D. Gemar (3), Mission Specialist 2
- Marsha S. Ivins (3), Mission Specialist 3
- OPF #2 -- 11/09/93
- VAB HB1 -- 02/03/94
- PAD 39B -- 02/10/94
- USMP-2, OAST-2, DEE, SSBUV-6, LDCE, APCG, PSE, CPCG, CGBA, BDS, MODE, AMOS, BSTC, EDO
Click here for Press Kit
Click here for Additional Info on STS-62
- The 14-day mission is the latest in a series of Extended
Duration Orbiter (EDO) flights which will provide additional
information for on-going medical studies that assess the impact
of long-duration spaceflight, 10 or more days, on astronaut
health, identify any operational medical concerns and test
countermeasures for the adverse effects of weightlessness on
- The United States Microgravity Payload (USMP) will be
making its second flight aboard the Space Shuttle. The USMP
flights are regularly scheduled on Shuttle missions to permit
scientists access to space for microgravity and fundamental
science experiments which cannot be duplicated on Earth and
provide the foundation for advanced scientific investigations
that will be done on the international space station.
- The Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST-2) payload
contains six experiments that will obtain technology data to
support future needs for advanced satellites, sensors,
microcircuits and the space station. Data gathered by the
OAST-2 experiments could lead to satellites and spacecraft that
are cheaper, more reliable and able to operate more
- STS-62 will help scientists calibrate sensitive ozone-
detecting instruments with the sixth flight of the Shuttle
Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) Instrument. This highly
calibrated tool is used to check data from ozone-measuring
instruments on free-flying satellites -- NASA's Total Ozone
Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) and Upper Atmosphere Research
Satellite (UARS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration NOAA-9 and NOAA-11 satellites.
- The Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) experiments and the
Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) experiments aboard
Columbia will help scientists understand the growth of crystals
to study the complex molecular structures of important
proteins. By knowing the structure of specific proteins,
scientists can design new drug treatments for humans and
animals and develop new or better food crops.
- NASA's efforts in the important field of biotechnology are
represented by the fourth flight of the Physiological Systems
Experiment which is designed to evaluate pharmaceutical,
agricultural or biotechnological products, and the first flight
of the Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (BSTC),
designed to test the performance of a temperature control
device being developed for use with the Bioreactor, a cell-
culture growth device. Also flying again on the Shuttle is the
Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) payload which
will support more than 15 commercial life science
investigations that have application in biomaterials,
biotechnology, medicine and agriculture.
- The Middeck 0-Gravity Dynamics Experiment (MODE) will make
its second flight on STS-62. MODE investigates how the
microgravity of space flight influences the behavior of large
space structures. The MODE test article can be configured in
different shapes typical of space structural forms-- the truss
of a space station, for example -- to help engineers develop
and verify an analytical modeling capability for predicting the
linear and nonlinear modal characteristics of space structures
in a microgravity environment. MODE also will gather force
measurements of nominal, crew-induced disturbance loads on the
- Astronauts will demonstrate a new magnetic end effector
and grapple fixture design for the Shuttle's Canadian-built
robot arm that engineers believe will increase the arm's
dexterity and alignment accuracy, provide operators with a
sense of touch and allow the use of more compact "handles" on
satellites and other Shuttle payloads.
- Launch March 4, 1994; 8:53:01am EST. Winds were at bearing
287 degrees at 13 knots. Temperature was 53 degrees with relative
humidity at 58%. The Abort Once Around (AOA) option site for this
launch was changed shortly before launch from Edwards AFB to the
Kennedy Space Center. Launch window was 2 hours and 30 min and
lifted off on it's scheduled 8:53am EST launch time. The launch
countdown went smoothly and only 2 minor problem reports
were being worked. They related to slight leakages in some Ground
Servicing Equipment (GSE) on the Mobile Launch Platform liquid oxygen
system. Also, due to high seas, the Solid Rocket Booster recovery
ships were kept in port at the time of the launch. They left port
shortly after launch and met up with the boosters 140 miles off the
coast of Cape Canaveral around midday on 3/5/94.
- Launch attempt on March 3, 1994 was canceled due to the USAF Range
Weather Operations Forcast Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station predicting the probability of a launch weather criteria
violation at 90%. The Spaceflight Meteorology Group at JSC predicted
winds of 18 mph to 33 mph would be present at the shuttle landing
facility and flight rules cause for a launch attempt to be scrubbed if
runway crosswinds exceed 17 mph. By canceling the launch attempt 11
hours before tanking operations were scheduled to begin, launch
options for the following two days were preserved where the
probability of weather violation was predicted to be only 10% on
3/4/94 and 3/5/94.
- Columbia main engine cutoff at MET 8min 21sec or 9:01:40 a.m. EST after
a burn time of 510.4 seconds. OMS-1 burn was not required. Initial orbit
153.7nm. Go for APU Hydraulic shutdown at 9:08am EST. Onboard computers
were reloaded to support the OMS-2 burn to circularize Columbia's orbit to
the desired 160nm x 163nm. OMS-2 burn of 2min 46sec (269fps) occured at
9:36a.m EST. Columbia's empty weight 181,299 lbs. and total launch weight
- Altitude: 163nm
- Inclination: 39.00 degrees
- Orbits: 224
- Duration: 13 days, 23 hours, 16 minutes, 41 seconds.
- Distance: 5,820,146 miles
- SRB: BI-064
- SRM: 360L/W036
- ET : SN-062
- MLP: 1
- SSME-1: SN-2031
- SSME-2: SN-2109
- SSME-3: SN-2029
- KSC 3/18/94 at 8:10am EST. Shuttle Landing Facility Runway 33. Columbia
landed on the first opportunity. Main gear touch down was at 8:09.41 am EDT,
nose gear touchdown was at 8:10.00 and wheels stop was at 8:10.35. Landing
speed was 211 knots (242 mph). Columbia touched down about 3500 feet from
the threshold (rollout was 10,166 feet). Just as the main landing gear
dropped and locked, infrared cameras at KSC saw several objects drop from
the vicinity of Columbia wheel well. Post flight inspection detected a
4-inch square heat protection tile and six strips of thermal barrier were
missing from the orbiter around the area of the wheel well. One camera
angle also showed the orbiter cross the center line, compensate and cross
again. The vehicle was then towed to OPF bay 2 to be prepared for it's
next flight on STS-65.
KSC Home Mission Index
Last Mission STS-60
Next Mission STS-59
- Flight Day One consisted of Ascent operations and orbiter reconfiguration
to support orbital operations, an OMS-2 burn to circularize Columbia's
orbit to a 163nm x 160 nm orbit, USMP-2 activation, PSE operations,
APCG activation, CPCG operations, RMS checkout, DEE operations, CGBA
activation. Payload bay doors were opened at 10:26am EDT.
- On Flight Day Two, the astronauts took turns on the crew cabin exercise
facility in an effort to slow down the effects of muscle atrophy. Pilot
Andrew M. Allen and mission specialist Charles D. Gemar also spent time in
the Lower body negative pressure container. Mission specialists
Pierre J. Thuot and Marsha S. Ivins started the Protein Crystal Growth
Experiment (PCGE) and the Physiological Systems Experiment (PSE) while
scientists on the ground in the Payload Operations Control Center
controlled 11 other experiments mounted in Columbia's cargo bay. Mission
controllers in Houston also investigated a problem in a fuel line
pressure sensor on one of Columbia's three Auxiliary Power Units (APU's).
Higher than normal pressures were detected and then returned to normal
after engineers powered up heaters on the unit. The APU's provide
hydraulic power to operate key landing systems and only one of the three is
needed for a successful landing. However flight rules call for a shorted
mission in the event a single unit is lost.
- On Flight Day Three (Sunday, March 3, 1994), following a morning of
medical studies, the crew spent the last half of the day exercising and
continuing to study the behavior of a space station truss model in
weightlessness. Pilot Andrew M. Allen and Mission Specialists Marsha Ivins
and Charles D. Gemar each took a turn on a stationary bicycle mounted in
Columbia's middeck. The stationary bike has long been a staple of
shuttle flights to allow exercise that counters the effect of
weightlessness on the muscles. The bike aboard Columbia, however,
features a new mounting system of shock-absorbing springs that is being
evaluated as a method of keeping vibrations from exercise, which can
disturb sensitive experiments, to a minimum.
- Also, Gemar set up a model of the scaffold-like truss structure that may
be used on a future space station in the lower deck. The model, linked to
sensitive recorders in a shuttle locker, was used to determine the
characteristics of such structures in orbit. The model and its
reactions were studied in several different configurations during the day.
- Other activities for the crew included photography of the glow created
as the shuttle's outer skin interacts with atomic oxygen in orbit and
continued monitoring of protein crystal growth experiments in the cabin.
- Although not highly visible except to the Earth-bound scientists watching
over them, Columbia's wide assortment of cargo bay payloads continued
their investigations throughout the day. The second United States
Microgravity Payload (USMP-2) experiments, continue to produce a wealth
of data for scientists on the ground.
- The Critical Fluid Light Scattering Experiment, or ZENO, science
team reported that they expect to locate the critical temperature of
xenon at "any time." Team members closely watched computer
data traces which indicate their experiment was very near the
critical temperature -- the goal of a lengthy, methodical
"sensitive" search process. This is a more precise search for the
critical temperature after its location has been determined within
a narrow band. Once the temperature is located, the team will
spend nearly 24 hours taking a good look at the phenomenon they've
waited years to see. They will study the properties of xenon at
its critical point, taking subtle optical measurements in the
region surrounding it. A fluid's "critical point" occurs at a
condition of temperature and pressure where the fluid is
simultaneously a gas and a liquid. By understanding how matter
behaves at the critical point, scientists hope to gain a better
insight into a variety of physics problems ranging from phase
changes in fluids to changes in the composition and magnetic
properties of solids.
- The Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) continued to
measure the microgravity environment on the USMP-2 carrier in
support of the four other experiments onboard. The SAMS team
began sending results of their data collection during various
orbiter activities to STS-62 crew members. The crew was interested
in how they can minimize their influence on the microgravity
environment. Measurements are made with the system at specific
times when microgravity disturbances may be caused by events such
as crew exercise and movement of the Shuttle's Ku-band antenna.
Such observations also collect "signatures" which the team will be
able to easily identify in future data.
- A related system, the Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment
(OARE), is managed by NASA's Johnson Space Center. It is useful on
missions such as USMP-2 where it is important to accurately
characterize a wide variety of disturbances in the microgravity
environment. Working closely with SAMS, the OARE records any
low-frequency activity such as the Shuttle's friction with the
rarefied upper atmosphere. SAMS is most suitable for recording
higher-frequency activity such as crew exercise. The OARE
instrument continues to process data in support of the USMP-2
experiments, and team members say all is going well.
- The Isothermal Dendritic Growth Experiment (IDGE) continued to
assemble data to test theories concerning the effect of
gravity-driven fluid flows on dendritic solidification of molten
materials. When the USMP-2 mission is over, the IDGE team will
study hundreds of photographs taken of the dendrites grown in
microgravity. Learning more about how dendrites grow is one
valuable key to developing better metal products and improving our
- Upon completion of its first phase of pre-programmed operations
last night, the dendritic experiment entered its second phase of
crystal growth when team members began sending commands to their
experiment from the ground using a unique set of capabilities known
as "telescience." This allows them to get the best possible data
from their investigation.
- The Advanced Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (AADSF)
studies the directional solidification of semiconductor materials
in microgravity. Downlinked experiment data indicates that
solidification of a crystal of mercury cadmium telluride is taking
place, and the AADSF science team is constantly monitoring this
slow but steady progress. Testing the AADSF in microgravity is
beneficial because on Earth, gravity causes fluids to rise or fall
within the melted portion; a warm liquid is less dense than a cool
one and will rise to the top of the melt. These convective
movements of molten material contribute to physical flaws in the
internal structure of the growing crystal. Such flaws affect a
crystal's overall electrical characteristics, and consequently, its
usefulness in electronic devices.
- The MEPHISTO team reported that they have gathered good data with
their directional solidification furnace. Currently, however, the
team is still troubleshooting a problem discovered on Saturday
night with a troublesome "Seebeck measurement." This electronic
signal measures changes in the microstructure of a solidifying
metal, and is conducted on one of three experiment samples of
bismuth-tin. Other measurement techniques will be used on the two
remaining samples later in the mission; both these samples are
operating nominally. Measurement data from the three samples will
give scientists insight into the precise nature of solidification
in reduced gravity.
- Flight controllers had a quiet Sunday in Mission Control with no
significant troubles seen aboard the spacecraft. A reading of high
pressure that was seen in a fuel line to one of the shuttle's three
auxiliary power units earlier in the flight has dissipated, and
controllers have confidence the APU would operate well if needed.
However, they will continue to closely watch the readings from that area.
All of the three APUs, which supply power to the hydraulic systems,
operated well during launch. They are not used again until landing.
The crew began eight hours of sleep at 4:53 p.m.
- Flight Day 4 began Monday, March 7, 1994 at 12:53 a.m. The crew
started its day with a medley of armed forces anthems sung by
the U.S. Military Academy Glee Club. The medley honored all four branches
of the service which are represented by the STS-62 crew. Commander John
Casper is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Pilot Andrew M. Allen is a major
in the U.S. Marine Corps, Mission Specialist Sam Gemar is a lieutenant
colonel in the U.S. Army, and Mission Specialist Pierre Thuot is a
commander in the U.S. Navy.
- After completing their post-sleep activities, the crew got started on the
payload work for the day. Astronauts performed checks of the protein
crystal growth experiment and the rodents that are housed in the middeck
as part of the Physiological Systems Experiment. Gemar also continued his
work with the Middeck 0-Gravity Dynamics Experiment. MODE is designed to
study the fundamental, non-linear, gravity-dependent behavior of hybrid
scaled structures. Understanding these structures is important for
designers of large space structures such as the International Space
- Casper conducted a special presentation about the Space Acceleration
Measurement System. A frequent flyer on the shuttle, SAMS uses sensors
called accelerometers to take measurements of on-board vibrations and
accelerations. Such disturbances, though slight, could affect the
sensitive microgravity experiments. SAMS measurements allow scientists to
adjust their experiments to improve their scientific results.
- Columbia astronauts Andrew M. Allen and Charles D. Gemar got a half day
off from their busy schedule operating the many microgravity experiments
on STS-62. Due to the long duration of STS-62, each crew member will get
two half-days off during the 14 day mission.
- The other astronauts spent the first half of the day working with the
Middeck 0-Gravity Dynamics Experiment, or MODE, and a model of a truss
structure which may be used on a future space station. The truss model,
set up to float free in the middeck, was analyzed to determine its behavior
in weightlessness. It will be the subject of more test runs as the flight
- Around the clock, experiments with the U.S. Microgravity Payload-2, the
Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-2, the Space Shuttle
Backscatter Ultraviolet instrument and the Limited Candidate Duration
Materials Exposure experiments all continue to operate, many of them
being controlled by scientists on the ground. The SSBUV instrument operated
since the first day of the flight, and plans were made by its ground
controllers today to attempt to detect sulphur dioxide emissions from
volcanoes in Central America. The objective of the observations by
SSBUV are to investigate whether such emissions low in the atmosphere
are detectable from orbit. SSBUV's measurements in
general are used to fine-tune satellites that monitor the ozone and other
gases in the Earth's atmosphere. The crew began its eight hours sleep
period at 4:53 p.m. EST.
- During USMP-2 operations on Flight Day 4, the Critical Fluid Light
Scattering Experiment, or ZENO, team reported overnight that they started
seeing behavior in the fluid xenon unlike any they have seen on Earth. They
believe this may mean the experiment has passed through the
xenon sample's critical point. Meanwhile the team continued their delicate
temperature manipulations in order to verify what they have seen. Once the
team is certain they have located the critical point, they will conduct a
series of precise measurements in the area surrounding it using laser light
scattering. When xenon is at or extremely near its critical point -- the point
where it is simultaneously a liquid and a gas -- patches of the otherwise clear
substance briefly take on a "milky" irridescence. Closer to the critical
point, the milky-white areas are larger and exist for longer periods. When a
laser light is passed through the sample in these areas, fluctuations in the
sample's density cause the light to be scattered.
- Team members for the MEPHISTO furnace began running a series of metal
solidification studies and received analyzable data. On Monday, the
team made much progress in overcoming some difficulty they had been
experiencing with one of the experiment's electronic measurements and
successfully completed a Seebeck run. The Seebeck measurement is an electrical
signal which measures temperature variations during crystal growth at the
boundary where liquid becomes solid -- the solidification front. MEPHISTO is
used to conduct a series of melting and solidification cycles on three
identical rod-shaped samples of a bismuth-tin alloy. During these runs,
temperature, velocity and shape of the solidification front are measured in
order to study the behavior of metals and semiconductors as they solidify.
- Team members of the Isothermal Dendritic Growth Experiment (IDGE), say they
were pleased with the performance of their apparatus and the data they
acquired during USMP-2. While dendrite growth was taking place, two 35mm
cameras took photographs for post-mission analysis. When a dendrite
growth cycle is completed, the tiny crystalline structure is re-melted and
another grown at a different "supercooling" temperature. Dendrites were
grown at 20 different levels of supercooling ranging up to approximately 1.3
degrees C. Supercooling is the term used to describe the condition in which a
liquid is slowly cooled to below its normal freezing point, but due to its
purity, does not solidify. The level of supercooling refers to the difference
between the temperature of the liquid and its normal freezing point. IDGE is a
fundamental materials science experiment performed in the microgravity
environment of space in order to increase understanding of the solidification
processes. This knowledge should be useful in improving industrial production
of a wide range of metals used in applications from aluminum foil to jet
- The Advanced Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (AADSF) continued
to operate smoothly, growing a single cylinder-shaped crystal of mercury
cadmium telluride, an exotic material used as an infrared radiation detector.
The AADSF provides scientists with a unique apparatus in which to test
theories of semiconductor crystal growth without the effects and limitations
caused by Earth's gravity. The information gained by growing crystals of
a semiconductor material in microgravity can be used to study the physical
and chemical processes of many materials and systems. A greater
understanding in these areas could aid researchers in the discovery of
processes and materials that perform better and cost less to produce.
- The crew was awaken at 11:53 p.m. for the start of Flight Day Five
activities. The middeck payloads took center stage as the STS-62 crew
worked through the second half of its fifth day on orbit. Pilot
Andrew M. Allen (1hr 45min) and Mission Specialist Sam Gemar (1hr 45min)
took turns in the Lower Body Negative Pressure Unit. The sack-like
device seals at the waist so that pressure around the lower
body can be gradually decreased. The lowered pressure draws body
fluids down to the legs and lower torso, similar to the body's normal
state on Earth. The LBNP protocol is being tested as a countermeasure
to the condition "orthostatic intolerance" in
which a person feels lightheaded after standing. Some astronauts
experience such sensations upon standing after the shuttle lands. Today,
Allen and Gemar performed the 45-minute ramp test but at the direction
of ground controllers,terminated the test 40 seconds early.
- STS-62 Commander John Casper, Mission Specialist Pierre Thuot and Mission
Specialist Marsha Ivins relaxed on board Columbia for the first half of
the day. On long duration flights, mission planners schedule off duty
time for each crew member to keep them well rested throughout the flight.
Gemar and Allen had their off duty time on Monday.
- With those activities complete, the crew turned its attention to the
assortment of secondary payloads. Astronauts checked on the protein
crystal growth experiments, the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing
Apparatus experiments and the rodents which were flying as part of the
Physiological Systems Experiment. They also continued the Middeck 0-
Gravity Dynamics Experiment activities.
- On Flight Day 5 (Tuesday, March 8, 1994) Columbia's crew continued a
daily regimen of daily exercise, photography and monitoring the progress
of crystal growth and bioprocessing experiments aboard the Shuttle.
- Meanwhile, ground-based researchers remotely operating experiments in
Columbia's cargo bay continued their observations. Scientists working
with the Space Shuttle Backscatter Ultraviolet instrument continued
probing the layers of Earth's atmosphere and recorded data on
tropospheric emissions from Mexican and Central American volcanoes;
sulfur dioxide from industrial by-products in the troposphere above China
and Japan; and observations in the mesophere above the Mexican volcano
- Among the experiments of the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-2
package, materials being designed for future spacecraft in the SAMPIE
experiment were exposed to the orbital environment for the first time.
Results included the operation of an advanced solar energy cell and
plasma interactions with various materials while the Shuttle's payload
bay was pointed toward Earth.
- Other OAST-2 accomplishments included 10 freeze and thaw cycles of a new
cooling technology for future spacecraft; spectrometer readings of
airglow phenomena in the upper atmosphere with the EISG instrument; and
studies of the Shuttle's interaction with atomic oxygen using the SKIRT
- Three members of the crew had a half-day off (Casper, Thuot, Ivins), and
all of the crew will get one more half-day off before the mission, planned
as the second longest in history, concludes on March 18. Columbia is
operating well with few problems encountered by the crew or Mission Control.
The spacecraft remains in an orbit with a high point of 163 nautical miles
and a low point of 161 nautical miles. The crew began eight hours of
sleep at 2:53 p.m. central and will awaken at 10:53 p.m. central to start
a sixth day in space.
- On Flight Day 6, (Wednesday, March 9, 1994) the STS-62 crew
members devoted their time to the secondary experiment housed in Columbia's
middeck. Mission Specialist Sam Gemar returned to his work with the
Middeck 0-Gravity Dynamics Experiment. MODE is an instrumented model of a
truss structure which may be used on a future space station. Engineers
will use data from the 77 experiment protocols to improve upon designs and
procedures for building large structures such a the International Space
- Pilot Andy Allen took time from his day to talk with reporters in Cleveland,
Ohio; Philadelphia, Penn.; and Knoxville, Tenn. Prior to his interview, Allen
discussed the medical tests that crew members are performing before during and
after the flight. Astronauts are collecting blood and urine samples to help
researchers determine the chemical regulatory changes the human body undergoes
while in space. Pre- and post-flight test study the crew members' gait,
steadiness while standing and exercise capacities.
- Other crew members checked on the protein crystal growth experiments,
performed some Auroral Photography experiments and checked the orbiter
windows for any debris impacts. Later today, crew members will exercise
using the Shuttle's ergometer.
- Spacelab Mission Operations Control at the Marshall Space Flight Center
reported the second United States Microgravity Payload (USMP-2)
completed yet another day of successful operations in orbit aboard
the Space Shuttle Columbia.
- On Tuesday, scientists with the Critical Fluid Light Scattering
Experiment, or ZENO, concluded that they had indeed pinpointed the
location of the long-sought-after critical point of the substance
xenon. For the next 24 hours, a series of subtle optical
measurements will be made in the area surrounding this phenomenon
where a fluid acts like both a liquid and a gas.
- Critical point experiments are difficult to perform on Earth
because at the critical point the fluid becomes highly
compressible, or elastic. The sample being studied cannot be
maintained at the critical point because the substance's own weight
compresses part of the sample to a density greater than that of the
critical density. This causes the sample to literally collapse
under its own weight. During USMP-2, researchers have found that
the absence of gravity has the effect of "widening" the critical
zone, giving them a much "crisper" picture of the critical point
phenomenon and allowing them to take measurements not possible on
- In the materials science field, the Advanced Automated Directional
Solidification Furnace (AADSF) continued to grow a single crystal
of mercury cadmium telluride in the microgravity environment of the
Shuttle cargo bay. The AADSF scientists say that telemetry from
their experiment indicates crystal growth is proceeding
"exceptionally well." By using a furnace with three temperature
zones -- each independently controlled -- and growing the crystal
slowly in one direction, a flatter solidification front, or
crystallization boundary, is achieved. This grows a crystal that
will allow a more detailed post-mission study of the influence of
gravity on crystal defects and chemical component distribution.
- After several days of successfully growing crystalline dendrites in
microgravity, team members for the Isothermal Dendritic Growth
Experiment (IDGE) report that their instrument can do what it was
designed to do and more. The team reports they are very pleased
with the performance of the IDGE as well as the number and quality
of the dendrites grown so far during the STS-62 mission. The IDGE
experimenters will continue to monitor slow-scan video images of
dendrites growing in their apparatus in order to maximize the
efficiency of the instrument and the science results.
- The Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) continued to
provide a running account of vibrations aboard the Shuttle to the
other USMP-2 experiment teams. It recorded detailed
measurements to characterize how smooth and stable a platform
Columbia is providing for the experiments. SAMS has flown eight
times previously, and is scheduled for all upcoming USMP flights,
in a continuing program to enhance understanding of the
- On Flight Day 7 (March 10, 1994) Columbia's commander, John H. Casper
had the pleasure to inform pilot Andrew M. Allen that he was selected
for promotion from Major in the US Marine Corps to Lt. Colonel.
- On Flight Day 8 (March 11, 1994), marking the mid-point of the mission,
Commander John H. Casper switched several of the environmental control
systems to their backups for on-orbit check out. The procedures require
crew members to switch to the alternate humidity separator, cabin
pressure and temperature control systems, orbiter heaters, and carbon
dioxide removal system.
- Columbia also changed attitudes for the first time since launch day.
Columbia orbited with its tail pointing toward the Earth and the
payload bay pointing in the direction of travel or the "ram" position.
With the maneuver, Casper closed and opened sample trays for the Long
Duration Space Environment Candidate Material Exposure (LDCE) experiment.
The LDCE consists of three identical sample plates with 264 samples of
various materials used in space vehicles. One of the sample plates will
be exposed to the space environment for most of the mission. One will be
exposed only when the payload bay is pointing in the ram position - or
pointing into the direction of travel - and a third is exposed only when
the orbiter is not in the ram position.
- Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins was interviewed by students at the Bronx
High School of Science. The students asked a variety of questions about
the microgravity experiments being conducted during the mission on living
and working in space.
- Also, Mission Specialist Sam Gemar and Pilot Andrew M.Allen each
completed 45-minute ramp tests in the lower body negative pressure unit,
and performed more tests with the Middeck 0-Gravity Dynamics Experiment.
Astronauts also performed the standard checks of the protein crystal
growth and rodent experiments housed in Columbia's middeck.
- Flight controllers in Houston put the finishing touches on a plan to
uplink more digital video to the crew on Flight Day 9. The plan required
procedural changes on the ground, but no action by the crew. The STS-62
crew began its sleep shift on time at 1:53 p.m. CST, and was scheduled to
be awoken at 9:53 p.m. CST to begin its ninth day of orbit operations.
- On Flight Day 9 (March 12, 1994) plan called for the operations of the
Auroral Photography Experiment, the Commercial Protein Crystal Growth
experiment and the Limited Duration Space Environment Candidate Exposure
(LDCE) experiment. During the latter part of the day on Saturday, the
crew will unlatch the shuttle's robot arm and use it to help troubleshoot
some off-nominal reception from the Experimental Investigation of
Spacecraft Glow instrument in the payload bay. The arm's end effector
camera will be used to get a birds-eye view of EISG in operation.
- On Flight Day 10 (March 13, 1994) Commander John Casper, Pilot Andy
Allen and Mission Specialists Pierre Thuot, Sam Gemar and Marsha Ivins
enjoyed a relatively light day of work, taking the first half of the day
off, and spending the second half working with middeck experiments.
- During an in-flight news conference, the crew responded to questions ranging
from budget cutbacks and safety, to experimentation and life on the planned
international space station. Activities in the Mission Control Center
focused on preparing,reviewing and uplinking messages outlining changes to the
crew's scheduled activities for flight day eleven in space. The crew began
its standard eight hour sleep shift a little before 2 p.m. and is scheduled
to wake up at 9:53 pm CST.
- The Flight Day 11 (March 14, 1994) plan called for two OMS burns
OMS-3 of 37.9fps at MET 9/17:44 to lower the orbit to 157nmx140nm and
an OMS-4 of 31.8fps at MET 9/18:34 to lower the orbit even further to
a 140nm x 139nm orbit.
- Awakened for their tenth day in space to the song "Starship Trooper"
performed by the group Yes, Columbia's crew started the day by lowering
the Shuttle's orbit by about 20 nautical miles and shifting the focus of
science onboard to the second major goal of the flight.
- Experiments and observations in the cargo bay focused on the interaction of
the Shuttle with atomic oxygen, nitrogen and other gases in orbit, an
interaction that causes a well-known glowing effect around the surfaces of the
spacecraft. The lower orbit increases the effect, and instruments with the
Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-2 (OAST-2) package have now taken
center stage for the mission.
- Early in the morning, Commander John Casper and Pilot Andy Allen fired
Columbia's orbital maneuvering system engines twice to descend from a
161 by 157 nautical mile high orbit to a 140 nautical mile circular orbit.
Shortly thereafter, observations by OAST-2 began with a three-minute
release of nitrogen gas from a canister in the cargo bay and a study of
its effect on the glow of a special plate, constructed of materials that
may be used on future satellites. Later, Columbia, with tail pointed
toward Earth, performed a 25- minute long series of 360-degree spins to
allow observations by OAST-2's Spacecraft Kinetic Infrared Test instrument.
Such observations by both instruments will set the pace for the ensuing
days of the flight.
- Mission Specialists Marsha Ivins and Sam Gemar each took a turn evaluating a
tracking system for Columbia's mechanical arm today as well. Part of the
Dexterous End Effector (DEE) experiment, the system uses a mirror near the end
of the arm, flashing light-emitting diodes, a cargo bay camera and a portable
computer to assist an astronaut in finely aligning the arm, an alignment that
may one day be required for delicate construction tasks. Each crew member also
took a turn at exercise as has been the daily routine during the long-duration
- The astronauts continued to work with these experiments for the remaining
part of their day, and began an eight-hour sleep period at 1:53 p.m.
central and awaken at 9:53 p.m. to start Day Eleven. On its 159th orbit,
Columbia was in excellent condition and flight controllers have noted no new
problems with the spacecraft's systems.
- As payload cameras showed the Earth vista from 140 nautical miles up, the The
STS-62 crew of Columbia sent a special goodnight message -- the Bette Midler
song "From a Distance" -- for the men and women watching over them from below
- The message came at the end of a busy 11th day of on-orbit operations that
featured a shift in focus from United States Microgravity Payload-2 to work
with the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-2 (OAST-2) package.
- Observations in the cargo bay are now concentrating on the interaction of
Shuttle surfaces with atomic oxygen, nitrogen and other gases as they ram
through the rarified atmosphere at 17,500 miles an hour. Early in the day,
Commander John Casper and Pilot Andy Allen lowered Columbia's orbit by 20
nautical miles to support the OAST-2 shuttle glow observations.
- Mission Specialists Marsha Ivins, Sam Gemar and Pierre Thuot each took a turn
evaluating a tracking and grapple system for Columbia's robot arm. The
Dexterous End Effector (DEE) demonstration also looked at the forces generated
by arm movements when its magnetic end effector was engaged. The forces were
recorded by a Force Torque Sensor that also is part of the DEE equipment.
- The astronauts were scheduled to awaken at 9:53 p.m. to start their 12th
day of work in space. Columbia is in excellent condition and flight
controllers have noted no new problems with the spacecraft's systems.
- The Flight Day 12 (March 15, 1994) plan called for Gemar and Allen to
spend another 1hr 45min in the LBNP, the operation of the Dexterous End
Effector experiment (DEE), and the Experimental Investigation of
Spacecraft Glow (EISG) experiment. The crew was awakened to the song
"View From Above," written and performed by Allison Brown, who was inspired
to write the song by Ivins. Columbia's crew spent the first
half of their 12th day in space evaluating new technologies that may
one day expand the reach of the Shuttle's mechanical arm.
- Mission Specialists Marsha Ivins, Pierre Thuot and Sam Gemar took turns
operating the arm to test new technology called the Dexterous End Effector
(DEE). DEE includes a magnetic grasping mechanism, a sensor that determines
the force being applied by the arm and displays that information to the
operator, and a tracking system that allows the arm to be precisely aligned.
- The crew gave good reviews to the technology during the morning, testing
it by using the 50-foot-long arm to insert pins into sockets that had
progressively smaller clearances, ranging from 12/100ths of an inch of
clearance for the loosest to 3/100ths of an inch for the tightest. Later,
a foot-wide flat beam was inserted into a slot and then moved back and forth
to correlate readings by the force sensor, technology that also was highly
complimented by the crew.
- While DEE operations progressed on the flight deck, Gemar and Pilot Andy
Allen each had one ramp session in the Lower Body Negative Pressure (LBNP)
device. A medical experiment, LBNP imitates gravity by using low air
pressure around the lower half of the body to pull body fluids downward.
Body fluids shift upward in weightlessness, away from the lower extremeties,
and LBNP, in addition to gathering medical data, serves to counteract this
effect and helps astronauts more easily readapt to gravity upon their
return to Earth.
- The Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-2 payload took center stage
among the scientific investigations in the payload bay. The crew cooperated
with investigators of the Experimental Investigation of Spacecraft Glow
instruments, positioning the robot arm's camera above its sample plate in
between DEE runs. A low-light camera in the payload bay that was supposed to
have recorded the effects of gaseous nitrogen releases and their effect on
shuttle glow failed earlier in the mission.
- The Space Shuttle Backscatter Ultraviolet instruments in the payload bay also
continued to take readings that will be used to help calibrate free-flying
satellites that continually monitor the ozone content of Earth's atmosphere.
The crew began an eight-hour sleep shift at 1:53 p.m. CST, and will be
awakened at 9:53 p.m. CST. About 2:08 a.m. CST, a fifth orbital maneuvering
system burn will lower the perigee of Columbia's orbit to 105 nautical miles
for additional spacecraft glow measurements.
- The Flight Day 13 (March 16, 1994) plan called for another orbit change,
an OMS-5 burn of 56.6fps at MET 11/18:08 which is planned to lower the
orbit to 138nm x 105nm. Also included is more work with the DEE
experiment, a waste water dump and operation of both the
Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) and the Commercial
Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) experiment.
- Columbia's Commander John Casper and Pilot Andy Allen started out their 13th
day in orbit with an eye toward the trip home, performing a standard check of
the systems Columbia will use for entry and landing.
- For the first part of the morning's flight control systems checkout, the crew
used auxiliary power unit 3, one of three units that supply power for the
spacecraft's hydraulic systems during launch and landing. APU 3, which had
been the subject of scrutiny early in the mission due to high pressure readings
in a fuel line, operated normally.
- Following the checkout, the crew fired Columbia's orbital maneuvering system
engines for 38 seconds, dropping one side of the Shuttle's orbit by about 35
nautical miles to the lowest orbital altitude of any Shuttle flight to date.
Columbia is now in an elliptical orbit with a high point of 140 nautical miles
and a low point of 105 nautical miles. The lower orbit is required for
continuing observations of the glowing effect created as the Shuttle interacts
with atomic oxygen and other gases in low orbit.
- During the first shuttle glow observations in the new orbit, Mission
Specialist Pierre Thuot reported the glowing effect was much more pronounced
at the lower altitude. The crew also activated the Limited Duration
Candidate Materials Exposure, or LDCE, experiment, exposing materials to the
low-orbit environment that are under study for use on future spacecraft.
- The crew also began another series of evaluations of the Dexterous End
Effector equipment using the shuttle's mechanical arm, testing the
technology's magnetic grapple system, alignment system and force sensor.
- The crew was awakened by the song "Traveling Prayer" performed by
Billy Joel. Columbia remains scheduled for a landing Friday morning.
- The Flight Day 14 (March 17, 1994) plan calls for a hot firing of the
Reaction Control System (RCS) in preperation for the return flight,
flight control system checkout, cabin stowage, SSBUV Deactivation,
and a final run in the Lower Body Negative Pressure device for Gemar.
The crew was awakened for the 14th day of the flight to the song "Living in
Paradise" by the Brothers Cazimero.
- Columbia's five astronauts this morning performed final checks of their
spacecraft, wrapped up their experiments and began packing their bags in
preparation for the return to Earth.
- Columbia was scheduled to fire its orbital engines at 6:18 a.m. Central on
Friday to begin a descent that will culminate with a touchdown on the Kennedy
Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility runway at 8:09 a.m. EST. Weather
conditions in Florida are forecast to be favorable for the landing.
- Commander John Casper and Pilot Andy Allen test-fired Columbia's 38 primary
steering jets early this morning, finding them all in good shape for the trip
home. Later, Casper and Allen each spent time practicing landings using a
portable computer simulation designed for the Shuttle.
- Meanwhile, Mission Specialist Sam Gemar spent four hours in the Lower Body
Negative Pressure Device (LBNP) a medical device that may assist astronauts to
more easily readapt to Earth's gravity. The LBNP is a bag-like device that
lowers the pressure around the lower half of the body, pulling body fluids down
in an imitation of the effects of gravity on the body.
- Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins powered down Columbia's mechanical arm and
latched it in its cradle for the trip home, and Pierre Thuot completed
operation of the two protein crystal growth experiments onboard, preparing them
for the entry and landing.
- Several final observations of the Shuttle glow effect, a phenomena created as
atomic oxygen and other gases impact the spacecraft, were conducted. Columbia
performed another series of spins for the investigations that included more
releases of nitrogen gas from cargo bay canisters.
- The final few hours of the crew's day will be devoted to stowing gear and
preparing Columbia for the mission's end. Columbia is in an orbit with a
high point of 139 nautical miles and a low point of 105 nautical miles.
- The Flight Day 15 (March 18, 1994) plan called for deorbit preps
and a deorbit burn of 209fps at MET 13/22:04 with a planned landing
at KSC. Landing occured at KSC 3/18/94 at (approx) 8:10am EST. Runway 33
Last Updated Friday June 29 11:21:08 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (email@example.com)