STS-80 (80)

Columbia (21)
Pad 39-B (38)
80th Shuttle Mission
21st Flight OV-102
Longest Mission to date

NOTE: Click Here for Countdown Homepage


Kenneth D. Cockrell (3), Mission Commander
Kent V. Rominger (2), Pilot
Tamara E. Jernigan (4), Mission Specialist
Thomas D. Jones (3), Mission Specialist
F. Story Musgrave (6), Mission Specialist


OPF -- 7/07/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/07/1996)
VAB -- 10/09/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/09/1996)
PAD -- 10/16/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/16/1996)
TCDT - 10/22/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/22/1996)
FRR -- 11/11/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/11/1996)

(Reference KSC Shuttle Status Sep 1996)
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status Oct 1996)
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status Nov 1996)



Mission Objectives:

Click here for Press Kit
Click here for Additional Info on STS-80

STS-80 marks the third flight of the WSF that flew on STS-60 and STS-69 and the third flight to use the German-built Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph-Shuttle Pallet Satellite II (ORFEUS-SPAS II). The ASTRO-SPAS program is a cooperative endeavor between NASA and the German Space Agency, DARA. Both satellites will be deployed and retrieved during the mission. STS-80 is the seventh and last Space Shuttle mission of 1996, the 21st flight of the orbiter Columbia and the 80th flight overall in NASA's Space Shuttle program. Columbia last flew on mission STS-78 in the summer of this year.

Other experiments on STS-80 are the Space Experiment Module (SEM), The National Institutes of Health NIH-R4 Experiment, a series of bone cell experiments known as CCM-A (formerly called STL/NIH-C-6), the Biological Research in Canister (BRIC-09) Experiment, the Commercial MDA ITA Experiment (CMIX-5), the Visualization in an Experimental Water Capillary pumped Loop (VIEW-CPL) Experiment

ORFEUS-SPAS II, a free-flying satellite, will be deployed and retrieved using the Space Shuttle Columbia's Remote Manipulator System (RMS). The goal of this astrophysics mission is to investigate the rarely explored far- and extreme-ultraviolet regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, and study the very hot and very cold matter in the universe.

ORFEUS-SPAS II will be attempting a large number of observing programs. Among the many areas in which scientists hope to gain new insights during this mission are the evolution of stars, the structure of galaxies, and the nature of the interstellar medium, and others. Many of the objects they are planning to look at have never before been observed in the far-ultraviolet.

ASTRO-SPAS is a carrier designed for launch, deployment and retrieval by the Space Shuttle. Once deployed from the Shuttle's RMS, ASTRO-SPAS will operate quasi-autonomously for 14 days in the vicinity of the Shuttle. The carrier's inclination will be 28.4 degrees with an altitude of 218 statute miles. After completion of the free flight phase, the satellite will be retrieved by the RMS, returned to the Shuttle cargo bay and returned to Earth.

The one-meter diameter ORFEUS-Telescope with the Far Ultraviolet (FUV) Spectrograph and the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Spectrograph comprises the main payload. A secondary, but highly complementary, payload is the Interstellar Medium Absorption Profile Spectrograph (IMAPS). In addition to the astronomy payloads, ORFEUS-SPAS II carries the Surface Effects Sample Monitor (SESAM), the ATV Rendezvous Pre-Development Project (ARP), and the Student Experiment on ASTRO-SPAS (SEAS).

The free-flying Wake Shield Facility (WSF-3) will be making its third flight into orbit. The Facility is a 12-foot diameter, free-flying stainless steel disk designed to generate an "ultra-vacuum" environment in space in which to grow semiconductor thin films for use in advanced electronics. The STS-80 astronaut crew will deploy and retrieve the WSF during the 16-day mission using Columbia's "robot arm," or Remote Manipulator System. Wake Shield is sponsored by the Space Processing Division in NASA's Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications. Wake Shield was designed, built and is operated by the Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center at the University of Houston--a NASA Commercial Space Center--in conjunction with its industrial partner, Space Industries, Inc., also in Houston.

Wake Shield has flown twice before. The first flight on STS-60, in 1994, although experiencing a hardware problem that resulted in the vehicle remaining attached to the robot arm, proved the vacuum wake concept, and realized the space epitaxy concept by growing the first-ever crystalline semiconductor thin films in the vacuum of space.

Astronauts Tammy Jernigan and Tom Jones will perform two six- hour spacewalks during STS-80, one on Flight Day 10 and another on Day 12, to evaluate equipment and procedures that will be used during construction and maintenance of the International Space Station.

The spacewalks are the fifth in a continuing series of Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) called the EVA Development Flight Tests (EDFT). This flight test series of spacewalks is designed to evaluate equipment and procedures planned for the station and to build spacewalking experience in preparation for assembly of the station. Jernigan is designated Extravehicular Crewmember 1 (EV- 1) and will be distinguished by red bands worn on the legs of her spacesuit. Jones is designated EV-2. Astronaut Story Musgrave will serve as the Intravehicular (IV) crewmember, assisting Jernigan and Jones from inside Columbia's crew cabin. STS-80 Pilot Kent Rominger also will assist with the spacewalks, controlling the robotic arm from inside the cabin.

The astronauts also will evaluate a variety of work aids and tools designed for use during station operations, including a Body Restraint Tether (BRT), a type of "third hand" stabilizing bar for spacewalkers; a Multi-Use Tether (MUT), a type of stabilizing tether similar to the BRT that can be anchored to either round U.S. handrails or square Russian handrails; and a power tool designed for the station.

Space Experiment Module (SEM) is a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Shuttle Small Payloads Project education initiative that provides increased educational access to space. The program targets kindergarten through university level participants. SEM stimulates and encourages direct student participation in the creation, development, and flight of zero-gravity and microgravity experiments on the Space Shuttle.

The SEM system provides reusable modules for experiments within a 5-cubic-foot Getaway Special Canister. The system uses a Goddard-provided internal support structure, battery, power distribution system, data sampling and storage device and harness. Experiments may be active (requiring power to run mechanisms) or passive (having no mechanisms or requiring no power). Customized data sampling schemes are programmed before flight for each experiment, and data reduction and processing are completed after flight.


November 19, 1996 2:55:47 p.m EST. Launch window was 2 hours and 30 minutes. Launch was held at T-31 seconds due to a Launch Commit Criteria (LCC) violation at 2:52pm EST due to a slight hydrogen leak in the AFT. Per the LCC, the launch team held at the T-31 second mark for 2 minutes and monitored the concentration of hydrogen in the AFT. Values were at acceptable limits and the CPROP console location of the launch team recommended to proceed. Count resumed at 2:54pm EST with a T-0 at 2:55pm EST.

On Tuesday, 11/19/96, the STS-80 crew wakeup was at 9:58am. They then ate breakfast around 10:30am and departed to Launch pad 39B around 11:38am. By 1:05pm EST all crew members were inside Columbia. Crew communications checks were done at 1:25pm EST and the hatch was closed at 1:38pm EST.

On Friday, November 13, 1996, launch controllers reset the countdown clock from the T-11 hour mark to the built-in hold point at the T-19 hour mark. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/15/1996) and on Monday, November 18, the countdown clock resumed from the T-19 hour hold point at 1am. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/18/1996)

On Wednesday, November 13, 1996 the Mission Management Team rescheduled the STS-80 launch from Friday November 15 to Tuesday November 19, 1996 due to scheduling conflicts with the range.

On Tuesday, November 12, 1996 the countdown for the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia today began at 1 p.m. EST at the T-43 hour mark. The KSC launch team is conducting the countdown for mission STS-80 from Firing Room 3 of the Launch Control Center. The countdown contains 30 hours, 50 minutes of built-in hold time leading to the opening of the launch window at 2:50 p.m. (EST) on Friday, Nov. 15. The crew arrived at 6:30pm on 11/11/96. The weather forcast for 11/15/96 shows an 80 percent chance that weather will violate launch criteria. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/12/1996)

On 11/11/96, technicians performed leak checks on the freon line that provides coolant to fuel cell No. 1. A routine review of the cooling system revealed the freon line's leak rate to be right at the acceptable limit. Managers decided to off load the freon and then refill, taking several opportunities to analyze the system in the process. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/11/1996)

On 11/8/96, mission managers were assessing an issue regarding Columbia's fuel cells. A suspect technique used to assemble the fuel cell's regulator diaphragm, which is internal to the cell, is being reviewed. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/08/1996)

On 11/4/96, the Mission Management Team decided to delay for about a week the launch of Columbia. This extra time will be used by managers to fully understand the issue regarding the nozzle erosion seen during the launch of STS-79. Managers will meet early next week to confirm a new launch date that will be no earlier than November 15, 1996. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/04/1996)

On 10/29/96, preparations were underway to complete loading hypergolic fuel into Columbia's Reaction Control System (RCS). Fueling was not completed due to the failure of a fuel pump at Pad LC39B. That pump has been replaced and fueling is set to begin following ordnance installation operations. The payload interface verification test on ORFEUS-SPAS was completed and the interface verification test on Wake Shield Facility was underway. The payload doors will be closed for flight on Nov. 5. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/29/1996)
On 10/20/96, Columbia's crew arrived at KSC for the Countdown Demonstration Test (CDT) which lasts 2 days. On 10/21/96, STS-80 payloads were installed into the payload bay and the orbiter mid-body umbilical unit (OMBU) was mated to the orbiter and checked for leaks. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/22/1996)

On 10/16/96, Columbia traveled the 4.2 mile journey to Pad 39B. First motion was at 4:21am and the Mobile Launcher Platform was hard-down on the pad at about 10:30am EST. APU No. 1 was hot fired for about 7 minutes on 10/17/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/17/1996) The Rotating Service Structure was then retracted for one day late Friday to allow the public to view Columbia during KSC's Community Appreciation Day on Saturday 10/19/96. (Reference KSC Press Release 99-96).

On 10/11/96, the vertical payloads arrived at Pad 39B at about 2:31 a.m. and the payload transport canister was lifted to the payload changeout room at about 5:30am. From there it was transfered into Columbia's cargo bay. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/11/1996)
On 10/9/96, Columbia was rolled over to the VAB to be mated to the External Tank (ET) in VAB High Bay 3. The rollover was completed by 1:30pm and hardmated to the external tank at 2:28pm on 10/11/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/10/1996)

On 10/7/96, Columbia's windows No. 3 and No. 4 were replaced after an engineering analysis suggested that windows with a high number of flights could tend to fracture more easily. One of the windows had flown eight times and the other seven times. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/08/1996)

On 10/3/96, closeouts of the orbiter's mid-body and aft engine compartment were performed. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/07/1996)

Installation of the 3 SSME's were completed on 8/19/96 and Getaway Special (GAS) beams installed in the payload bay. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 8/19/1996)

Operations to deservice the hypergolic system was completed on 7/22/96. The fuel cells were checked and the flash evaporator system flushed. The remote manipulator system was installed into Columbia's payload bay 7/25/96. APU No. 1 was installed on 7/26/96. Checks of the Flash Evaporator System and General Purpose Computers took place on July 29, 1996. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/29/1996)


Altitude: 218 statute miles
Inclination: 28.45
Orbits: 279
Duration: 17 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes, 18 seconds.
Distance: Over 7 million statute miles


SRB: BI-084
ET : SN-80
SSME-1: SN-2032
SSME-2: SN-2026
SSME-3: SN-2029


KSC December 7, 1996 6:49:05 a.m. EST. Deorbit burn occured at 5:43 a.m. EST. Columbia landed on KSC's 1st Opportunity landing track. Main Gear Touchdown was at 6:49:05 a.m. EST (17 days 15 hr 53 min 18 sec), nose gear touchdown was at 6:49:19 a.m. EST (17 days 15 hr 53 min 32 sec), and wheel stop was at 6:50:07 EST a.m. (17 days 15 hr 54 min 20 sec).

Both landing opportunities for KSC on Friday, December 6, 1996 were waved off due to low level fog. Edward's opportunities were waved off due to high winds.

The two landing opportunities for KSC on Thursday, December 5, 1996 were waved off due to cloudcover.

Mission Highlights:

STS-80 Flight Day 1 Highlights:
STS-80 Flight Day 2 Highlights:
STS-80 Flight Day 3 Highlights:
STS-80 Flight Day 4 Highlights:
STS-80 Flight Day 5 Highlights:
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STS-80 Flight Day 19 Highlights:

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Last Updated Friday June 29 11:36:57 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (