STS-99 Day 4 Highlights
Back to STS-99 Flight Day 03 Highlights:
- On Monday, February 14, 2000, 6:30 a.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 7
- Endeavour crewmembers successfully completed their second "flycast
maneuver" trim burn early Monday, as the spacecraft continued to
gather data that will greatly improve our topographical knowledge of
the Earth's surface. Scientists already have expressed delight with
low-resolution "quick look" data, which revealed features not shown on
today's best maps.
- By early Monday morning, about 20 million square miles had been
imaged. By the planned end of the mission, more than 45 million square
miles will have been imaged twice.
- Processing of the huge amount of data gathered by Endeavour -
enough to fill about 13,500 CDs if all goes according to plan -
will result in maps 30 times more accurate than the best global data
available now. The maps also will be of unprecedented uniformity.
- The flycast maneuver reduces stress on the almost-200-foot mast
extending from Endeavour's cargo bay. The orbiter flies tail-first
during mapping operations. For the maneuver, it was moved to a
nose-first attitude with the mast extending upward. A brief reaction
control system pulse began the maneuver. The mast rebounded forward
after a slight deflection backwards. As it straightened, a stronger
thrust stopped its motion while increasing the orbiter's speed.
- Endeavour is in a low orbit, and is slowed by the upper
atmosphere. The crewmembers make daily flycast maneuver trim burns to
keep the spacecraft in the proper altitude for mapping.
- Flight controllers and crewmembers are troubleshooting a cold gas
jet, a thruster on the SRTM outboard antenna. The jet is designed to
help control the mast's attitude, a function now being performed by
Endeavour's reaction control system jets. The mapping mission
continued uninterrupted as flight controllers worked to develop
- Members of the Blue Team, Pilot Dom Gorie and Mission Specialists
Janice Voss and Mamoru Mohri, continued to manage the Payload High
Rate Recorders, changing the high-density tapes that will return the
mapping data to Earth. About 270 of those tapes are expected to be
- Members of the Red Team, Commander Kevin Kregel and Mission
Specialists Janet Kavandi and Gerhard Thiele, are sleeping. They are
scheduled to be awakened at 10:14 a.m. Central Standard Time.
- On Monday, February 14, 2000, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 8
- "As excited as a kid on Christmas day" is how Shuttle Radar
Topography Mission project engineer Ed Caro described his reaction to
the progress of the radar-mapping mission thus far. Operations
onboard Endeavour continued without interruption, even without the
availability of a small nitrogen thruster on the end of the extended
boom. By midday, about 24 million square miles had been mapped once,
and 9 million square miles twice. That's more than half the
planned coverage for the mission.
- Mission scientists continue to express delight with the "quick-look"
data seen so far. SRTM project scientist Dr. Michael Kobrick notes
that Endeavour is mapping 100,000 square kilometers every minute, and
that after only three days of flight, the mission has tripled the
world's supply of digital terrain elevation data. The
low-resolution images processed so far show many topographic features
that until now have been difficult to detect on the best maps in
- A continuing problem with a small nitrogen thruster on the end of the
200-foot-long mast has had no impact on mapping operations or data
quality. Both radar systems -- C-band and X-band -- continue to
perform flawlessly. Flight controllers are continuing to troubleshoot
the problem with the thruster, which helps control the mast's
attitude. This function currently is being performed by
Endeavour's reaction control system. Mission managers are
implementing propellant conservation measures and hope to meet the
full nine-day science objective. The mast continues to provide an
extremely stable platform for the mapping operations.
- As their workday concluded, Blue Team members Dom Gorie, Janice Voss
and Mamoru Mohri spent a few minutes on Endeavour's flight deck
discussing various mission activities. The Blue Team turned in
shortly after 2 p.m., with a wake-up call set for 10:14 tonight. The
Red Team's Kevin Kregel, Janet Kavandi and Gerhard Thiele was
awakened a few minutes after 10 a.m. to continue mapping operations.
- As of this morning, 525 images had been taken by students using the
EarthKam, which allows photos of Earth to be taken using a camera on
the shuttle. So far, 20 of the 84 schools participating in the
program have requested and received photos.
- All of Endeavour's systems are functioning normally as it circles
the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of about 150 miles. The
next mission status report will be issued at 6 a.m. Tuesday, or as
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