STS-69 Day 5 Highlights
Back to STS-69 Flight Day 04 Highlights:
- On Monday, September 11, 1995, 7 a.m. CDT, STS-69 MCC Status Report # 08
- Endeavour's astronauts successfully deployed the 2-ton Wake Shield
Facility satellite this morning to begin its 50-hour free flight from
the Shuttle for the growth of thin films for semiconductor and
electrical component use.
- Astronaut Jim Newman used the ship's robot arm to release the
experimental satellite at 6:25 AM CDT over Western Africa at an
altitude of almost 250 miles above the Earth. Within seconds of the
deploy, the Wake Shield fired a small cold gas nitrogen thruster to
maneuver away from Endeavour for the start of the chemical growth of
the thin films. It was the first time a deployed satellite had
maneuvered itself away from the Shuttle, rather than the other way
- Wake Shield's deployment had been delayed for almost two hours to
enable flight controllers to troubleshoot a series of communications
dropouts between the satellite and the Wake Shield's carrier
platform in the Shuttle's cargo bay which acts as a radio relay
system for data, telemetry and television signals. Wake Shield hung at
the end of the robot arm during its night-long systems checkout.
- Before its deployment, the satellite was positioned over the port
side of the payload bay to allow a stream of atomic oxygen in low
Earth orbit to "cleanse" the side of the satellite which will
fly in the direction of travel around the Earth. The satellite will
create a wake behind it during its freeflight in which scientists
believe a nearly perfect vacuum will be created for the pristine
growth of thin film wafers to be used in semiconductors and other
hight-tech electrical components.
- The last major step prior to the deployment was the checkout of the
Wake Shield's attitude control system, which developed a problem
during the STS-60 mission in February 1994, preventing the satellite
from being set free. This time, the so-called Attitude Determination
and Control System checked out in good shape, clearing the way for
Wake Shield's release.
- The Wake Shield is scheduled to be retrieved by Newman through the
use of the robot arm on Wednesday, but not before the satellite is
used as a target for a series of jet thruster plume tests by Commander
Dave Walker and Pilot Ken Cockrell to collect data on the effect of
jet firings on a free-flying satellite.
- Endeavour is currently orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 250
statute miles, completing an orbit of the Earth every 90 minutes. All
of Endeavour's systems are functioning in excellent shape.
- On Monday, September 11, 1995, 5 p.m. CDT, STS-69 MCC Status Report # 09
- Trailing Endeavour by just over 14 nautical miles, the 2-ton Wake
Shield Facility began its first thin film processing run at 3:33
p.m. Central today.
- Payload controllers successfully commanded the Wake Shield through a
series of activities to prepare its surface for the epitaxial film
growth process, handing command duties over to Mission Specialist Jim
Newman when Endeavour moved out of range of the Tracking and Data
Relay Satellite System. With Wake Shield's sample materials and
substrate surfaces prepared, the first of seven planned thin film
growth runs began. The first run is expected to last about three hours
and be a "dirty" run, removing any residual contamination
present in the containers housing the sample growth materials.
- Earlier this afternoon, Commander Dave Walker and Pilot Ken Cockrell
fired Endeavour's reaction control system jets in a burn that
slowed the rate at which the two spacecraft are separating. By the
time of a scheduled rendezvous burn at 4:36 a.m. Tuesday, the Wake
Shield will be approximately 30 nautical miles behind Endeavour.
- The Wake Shield is scheduled to be retrieved on Wednesday following
more than 48 hours of thin film growth activities, but will spend the
final five hours of its free-flight serving as a target as Commander
Dave Walker and Pilot Ken Cockrell aim Endeavour's jet thrusters
toward Wake Shield, to determine the effects of the jet firings on a
- On board, the five astronauts are asleep. Mission Specialist Mike
Gernhardt will wake up at 9:09 p.m. following a 7-hour sleep period.
His four crew mates began an 8-hour sleep period at 4:09 p.m. and will
awaken at 12:09 a.m. Tuesday. Endeavour is currently orbiting the
Earth at an altitude of 250 statute miles, completing an orbit of the
Earth every 90 minutes. All of Endeavour's systems are functioning
in excellent shape.
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