STS-67 Day 1 Highlights
Return to STS-67 Mission Summary
- STS-67 MCC Status Report # 01 reports: The crew --
Commander Stephen S. Oswald, Pilot William G. Gregory, Payload
Commander Tamara E. Jernigan, Mission Specialists John M. Grunsfeld
and Wendy B. Lawrence, and Payload Specialists Samuel T. Durrance and
Ronald A. Parise -- readied the shuttle and ASTRO-2 to support 15 and
a half days of astronomical observations. The Blue Team of crew
members -- Jernigan, Lawrence and Durrance -- were on duty mornings
aboard the spacecraft while their fellow crewmembers, called the Red
Team, slept. The Red crew members took over duties at about 10:52
- On Thursday, March 2, 1995 at 6 a.m. CST, STS-67 Payload Status Report # 01
states: (0/5:22 MET) Payload Commander Tammy Jernigan completed initial
activation of the Spacelab pallet systems just before 4 a.m then began
activating the Spacelab Instrument Pointing System. At 5:47 a.m., she
raised it upright in the Shuttle cargo bay to face the heavens. Astronomers
will use the pointing system to precisely track the stars and galaxies
they study during the nearly 16-day mission.
- Payload controllers and science teams at NASA's Spacelab Mission
Operations Control center in Huntsville watched closely as Payload
Specialist Samuel T. Durrance supplied power from the Spacelab to the
telescopes shortly after 4 a.m., then started step-by-step procedures
to activate the individual instruments. Samuel T. Durrance, an
astronomer from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., is a
veteran of the Astro-1 mission on STS-35 in December 1990, which was
the maiden Shuttle flight for all three Astro telescopes.
- On Thursday, March 2, 1995 at 8:00 a.m. CST, STS-67 MCC Status Report # 02
reports: The Blue Team -- Payload Commander Tammy Jernigan,
Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence and Payload Specialist Sam Durrance
will wrap up its first day on orbit shortly before noon Central
time. The Red Team -- Commander Steve Oswald, Pilot Bill Gregory,
Mission Specialist John Grunsfield and Payload Specialist Ron Parise
will then continue with the science activities.
- On Thursday, March 2, 1995 at 5:00 p.m. CST, STS-67 MCC Status Report # 03
reports: Activation and calibration of the Astro-2 ultraviolet
telescopes are continuing slightly behind schedule following a
steering jet leak that has twice forced closure of the instruments
protective doors. The leak is in a reaction control system thruster
designated R4R, a jet in the right aft orbital maneuvering system pod
that is aimed to the right of the shuttle. Flight controllers worked
with the crew to close the manifold that supplies oxidizer and fuel to
that jet, which effectively stopped the leak.
- The doors on the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, the
Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment and the
Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope were first closed to protect the
instruments from any remaining oxidizer coming out of that jet
after the manifold was closed. Once the thruster's propellant lines
had been evacuated, the telescope doors were reopened. The doors were
briefly closed again while residual propellant downstream of the closed
manifold dissipated, but are now open and all scheduled operations have
- The failed jet, which is not being used to position the orbiter for
its science operations, is not a safety hazard in any way, and does
not affect the mission duration. The flight control team is looking at
options in dealing with the jet, but has not yet decided whether any
additional actions will be necessary.
- On Thursday, March 2, 1995 at 6 p.m. CST, STS-67 Payload Status Report # 02
reports: (0/17:22 MET) Payload Commander Tammy Jernigan
continued checkout of the Instrument Pointing System, on which the
three ultraviolet telescopes are mounted. The crew reported success
with their first automatic star identification procedure at about 6:30
a.m. CST, verifying that the pointing system can center accurately on
the celestial objects Astro-2 science teams will choose to view.
- Payload Specialist Sam Durrance finished activating the Ultraviolet
Imaging Telescope, then completed the more complicated procedures to
put the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope into operation. Pilot Bill
Gregory, Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld and Payload Specialist Ron
Parise took over operations from the first crew at 11:30 a.m. The two
crew teams are working 12-hour shifts, so astronomical observations
can continue around the clock.
- Activation and verification of the Wisconsin Ultraviolet
Photo- Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE) detector was delayed by
difficulties keeping it aligned with a test target, but the WUPPE
science team and Parise corrected the problem after several attempts.
Alternate Payload Specialist John-David Bartoe reported from the
ground, "Ron, the WUPPE folks are ecstatic down here, and they like
everything they see."
- Astro telescope verification was interrupted briefly at around
1:15 p.m., when ground controllers closed the telescope doors to
prevent contamination by oxidizer leaking from one of Endeavour's
reaction control system thrusters. The thruster was closed less than
hour later, and Parise reopened the doors.
- During the telescope shutdown, Grunsfeld continued checking
out the Instrument Pointing System and the Image Motion Compensation
System, which keeps the WUPPE instrument and the imaging telescope on
target despite subtle disturbances. Johnson Space Center controllers
declared the Instrument Pointing System operational at 1:53 p.m., and
they transferred control of the equipment to the Marshall Center
payload team for science activities.
- Parise and Grunsfeld then began an extended procedure called Joint
Focus and Alignment, one that is unique for space telescopes to the
Astro-2 payload. Since all three instruments often make simultaneous
observations of the same objects, science teams must be certain they
are pointing in precisely the same direction and are in near-perfect
focus. Final focusing and calibration of the Hopkins and Wisconsin
instruments will continue through the first half of the upcoming
shift. Astro-2 observations of the ultraviolet sky will then begin.
- On Thursday, March 2, 1995 at 8 a.m. CST, STS-67 MCC Status Report # 04
reports: The Instrument Pointing System continues to perform
well. The preliminary assessments of IPS stability and accuracy show
that the system is operating well. Control loop software, gyro and
accelerometer response have been good, and Optical Sensor Package
performance has been excellent with two of three trackers slightly
exceeding performance expectations. IPS controllers in Houston are
currently tracking no problems or issues, and team members do not
anticipate a change in the IPS's performance.
- The payload control team at the Marshall Space Flight Center,
Huntsville, Ala., however, is looking at several reported excursions
in ASTRO-2's pointing abilities that have required the crew to
repeatedly fine tune the instruments after establishing the platform's
reference point for celestial observations. Controllers in Houston and
Huntsville are working on procedures that will reduce the number of
- On Thursday, March 2, 1995 at 6 a.m. CST, STS-67 Payload Status Report # 03
reports: (1/5:22 MET) Pilot William Gregory maneuvered the
orbiter into different attitudes, or positions throughout the night.
Payload Commander Tammy Jernigan, Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld
and Wendy Lawrence, and Payload Specialists Ronald Parise and Samuel
Durrance coordinated with science teams at Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Alabama, performing procedures to align and
focus the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT), Ultraviolet Imaging
Telescope (UIT) and Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment
(WUPPE) last night. Approximately 23 hours after launch, the Astro-2
instruments, nestled in Endeavour's cargo bay, were being calibrated
before observations of the invisible universe began.
- While still in the calibration, or Observatory Commissioning
Phase, two of the three Astro-2 instruments, HUT and UIT science
teams, were locked onto an ancient supernova remnant. This supernova
remnant is the result of a powerful explosion, which ended the life of
a massive star many thousands of years ago, and was used as a
calibration target for the telescopes. During this mission, HUT's
spectrographs will help scientists determine temperatures, densities
and chemical compositions of gases in the supernova remnant while the
UIT will image the filaments of excited gas in the supernova remnant.
HUT Guest Investigator Dr. John Raymond of Cambridge, Mass., will
obtain information about the shock waves energizing these nebulae.
- The first science observation for Astro-2, a supernova remnant
known as Cygnus Loop, began just before the Space Shuttle Endeavour
crossed the South Atlantic Anomaly early this morning. Since this
South Atlantic area is a region of intense particle radiation that can
affect detectors in the telescopes, crew members secured the
instruments until the orbiter had moved away from the anomaly. The
observation of Cygnus Loop then continued until the supernova remnant
was out of the telescopes' field of view.
- The HUT telescope continues in the calibration phase. HUT,
developed at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, has
a 36-inch mirror to focus ultraviolet light into a spectrograph in the
middle of the telescope. This spectrograph "spreads" light into a
spectrum, or band of colors, based upon the wavelength of the light.
Principal Investigator Dr. Arthur Davidsen and his colleagues will
study these spectra to determine the chemical composition,
temperature, densities and motion of the celestial objects being
observed during Astro-2.
- The UIT made its first deep, wide-field photographs in ultraviolet
light overnight. After Endeavour lands, Principal Investigator
Theodore Stecher and the UIT science team in Greenbelt, Maryland, will
study the images made by this telescope during this 16-day mission,
looking for answers to astronomical questions such as the shapes of
nearby galaxies in the ultraviolet, the properties of massive hot
stars in these galaxies, the evolution of low-mass stars in clusters,
and the nature of the dust and gas that fill the space between stars.
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