- Atlantis (16)
- Pad 39-B (35)
- 76th Shuttle Mission
- Night Launch (13)
- 3rd MIR Docking
- 16th Flight OV-104
- EAFB Landing
- 1st Launch and Landing using new MCC
- NOTE: Click Here for Countdown Homepage
- Kevin P. Chilton (3), Commander
- Richard A. Searfoss (2), Pilot
- Shannon W. Lucid (5), Mission Specialist
- Linda M. Godwin (3), Mission Specialist
- Michael R. Clifford (3), Mission Specialist
- Ronald M. Sega (2), Mission Specialist
- Shannon W. Lucid will remain on MIR
- OPF -- 11/20/95 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/21/1995)
- CEIT - 2/8/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/09/1996)
- VAB -- 2/19/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/20/1996)
- PAD -- 2/28/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/29/1996)
- CTDT - 3/5/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/06/1996)
- FRR -- 3/11/96 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/12/1996)
- S/MM-03, SPACEHAB-SM, SAREX-II, MEEP (PPMD, ODC, POSA-I, POSA-II), TRIS (GAS),WNE, KidSat
Click here for Press Kit
Click here for Additional Info on STS-76
- The primary mission objective will be the third docking between
the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Space Station Mir. It
will include a crew transfer, an extravehicular activity (EVA),
logistics operations and scientific research.
- Rendezvous and docking with Mir is scheduled to occur on flight
day three using the same approach as previously used during STS-74.
Docking will occur between the Orbiter Docking System in the forward
area of Atlantis' payload bay and the Docking Module installed during
STS-74 on Mir's Kristall module docking port.
- The mission will also feature a SPACEHAB module, middeck
experiments, a Get Away Special (GAS) canister and a 6-hour EVA.
Over 1,900 pounds (862 kilograms) of equipment are being transfered
from Atlantis to Mir including a gyrodyne, transformer, batteries,
food, water, film and clothing.
- Planned Experiments include the Mir Electric Field Characterization
(MEFC) experiment, numerious European Space Agency's (ESA) Biorack
life sciences experiments, the Queen's University Experiment in Liquid
Diffusion (QUELD) experiment, the Optizone Liquid Phase Sintering
Experiment (OLIPSE) and a Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Get Away
Special (GAS) payload Trapped Ions in Space (TRIS) experiment. TRIS
will measure low-energy particle radiation in the inner magnetosphere.
Another experiment conducted on Mir during STS-76 will be the
Mir Wireless Network Experiment (WNE) which was launched on STS-74 in
November 1995. It will test the first wireless client-server network
in the space environment.
- The mission will also include KidSat, a prototype of Earth viewing
cameras and instruments that allows students in grades Kindergarden to
Grade 12 (K-12) to see and direct the capture of pictures from space.
- Mission Specialists Godwin and Clifford are also scheduled to perform a
six-hour spacewalk on flight day six. They will attach four
experiments, known collectively as the Mir Environmental Effects
Payload MEEP, onto handrails located on the Mir Docking Module.
These experiments include the Polished Plate Micrometeoriod Debris
(PPMD) experiment, the Orbital Debris Collector (ODC) experiment, and
the Passive Optical Samples (POSA) I and II experiments.
- Launch March 22, 1996 at 3:13:04 a.m. EST. Launch Window was 7 min.
- The countdown began at the T-43 hour mark at 2 a.m. Monday, March
18th, 1996. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/14/1996). The countdown
was conducted from Firing Room 1 of the Launch Control Center
(LCC) and included 30 hours and 33 minutes of build-in holds.
(Reference KSC Press Release 32-96). The launch countdown proceeded
smoothly and launch occured exactly on time at the start of the
available window. During ascent, the only problem noted was a small
leak of hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic system powered by APU # 3.
( Reference STS-76 MCC Status Report # 1)
- Post flight inspections of the mobile launcher platform (MLP) at
Pad 39-B revealed a 63 foot long crack on one of the MLP steel plates
running from the north end of the left-hand flamehole to the north end
of the MLP surface. Cracks are sometimes found and easily repaired on
the MLPs following launch operations. No impact to later scheduled
launches is expected. MLP-3 will next be used for Mission STS-79 in
July. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/25/1996).
- On 3/20/96, the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) at Launch Pad-39B was
rolled back and external tank fueling operations were set to begin for a
launch at 3:34am EST 3/21/96. However, there were high winds and rough
seas in the launch area which would violate RTLS constraints at the
Shuttle Landing Facility. Weather forecasts showed only a 20% chance of
favorable weather. (Reference KSC Weather History 03/20/1996 1800). The
shuttle mission management team decided at 6:45pm to delay the launch 24 hours
with a new T-0 at 3:12 a.m. EST on 3/22/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/21/1996).
- The Payload interface verification tests were completed 3/12/96 and
the payload bay doors closed for fight. The Flight Readiness Review
and the mission management team selected March 21, 1996 as the official
launch date. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/12/1996).
- The SPACEHAB single module has been installed into the payload bay and
connected to the tunnel adapter. The Space Shuttle main engine flight
readiness test was conducted 3/1/96. The Helium signature test was done
on 3/4/96. The STS-76 crew arrived at KSC 3/3/96 at about 8 p.m. for the
Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) with a simulated engine
cut-off at 11am 3/6/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/04/1996).
- On 11/27/95, Post flight access was being established. The payload
bay doors were opened in preparation for removing the Orbiter Docking
System data analysis is complete with no issues or concerns.
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/27/1995).
- Altitude: 160 nm
- Inclination: 51.6 degrees
- Orbits: 145 (estimated)
- Duration: 9 days, 5 hours, 16 minutes, 48 seconds.
- Distance: 3.8 million miles (estimated)
- SRB: BI-79
- ET : SN-77
- MLP : 3
- SSME-1: SN-2035
- SSME-2: SN-2109
- SSME-3: SN-2019
- Edwards AFB March 31, 1996 at 8:28:57 a.m. EST. Runway 22.
Conditions at EAFB were clear and calm with no weather concerns.
Landing was 11min before daylight at 5:29am local time which
under flight rules is considered a daylight landing. The deorbit burn
fired at 7:24 a.m EST. Atlantis executed a 275degree left overhead
turn into the landing strip and twin sonic booms were heard at Edwards
3min before landing. Main Gear Touchdown at 9 days 5 hours 15 min 53 sec
or 8:28:57 EST. Nose gear touchdown at a MET of 9 days 5 hrs 15 min 4 sec
or 8:29:08 EST and wheels stop at 9 days 5 hours 16 min 48 sec or 8:29:52 EST.
- Time critical science experiments were removed while Atlantis was
on the runway and the orbiter was towed from the runway at 5:35pm EST.
Towing was completed by 7:23pm EST. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/01/1995).
Residual cryogenic reactants were offloaded and technicians entered the
aft main engine compartment to inspect the hydraulic system.
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/02/1995).
- The decision to aim Atlantis toward the one-day-early landing in
Florida was made by shuttle managers on 3/28/96. KSC was the only
landing site considered for Saturday, 3/30/96 however the landing
opportunities were waived off due to trends of clouds forming to the
south of the Shuttle Landing Facility. KSC landings on Sunday
3/31/96 would have required a deorbit burn on orbit 143 at 5:57am EST
or 7:33am EST and led to landings at either 7:00am EST or 8:29am EST.
The KSC landings were waived off due to weather.
(Reference KSC Weather History 03/31/1996 0700).
- Three landing opportunities existed for a Sunday landing at Edwards
Air Force Base on orbits 144, 145 and 146. The three Edwards
opportunities were: an orbit 144 deorbit burn at 7:25 a.m. EST with a
8:29 a.m. EST landing; an orbit 145 deorbit at 9:02 EST a.m. landing
at 10:06 EST; and an orbit 146 engine firing at 10:38 EST a.m. landing
at 11:42 a.m EST. ( Reference STS-76 MCC Status Report # 17)
- Weather conditions Sunday at KSC were a concern. Early morning ground
fog, scattered clouds at 1000 ft and thunderstorms within 30 miles of
the landing strip. Weather at Edwards Air Force Base was predicted to
be acceptable on Sunday. A total of five opportunities were present
for a Sunday landing, two to KSC and three to Edwards.
( Reference STS-76 MCC Status Report # 16)
- After the landing opportunity on Saturday was waived off, the crew
was given the go to open Atlantis' payload bay doors. Latches 5 thru
8 on the doors released (starboard side) but latches 9-12 on the
starbord side not release. The latching system consists of 16
bulkhead latches (eight aft and eight forward) and 16 payload bay door
centerline latches. Astronaut Linda Godwin inspected the latches thru
the payload bay door windows and the SPACEHAB windows and reported
that the latches appeared to be open. The astronauts manually commanded
the latches to open and the payload bay doors opened as expected.
- On 4/6/96, the orbiter Atlantis, bolted atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
(SCA), aborted its departure from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. after
being airborne for only 15 min. The orbiter/SCA departed EAFB at 4:55 EST
en route back to Kennedy Space Center.but about 5 minutes after departure,
the flight crew of the SCA observed a fire warning indicator light for
engine No. 3, the right inboard engine. Pilots Gordon Fullerton and Tom
McMurtry shut down the engine and returned to Edwards on the remaining
three engines without further incident. The engine was replaced and
the SCA carrying Atlantis arrived at KSC on 4/12/96
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/9/1996).
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Last Updated Friday June 29 11:36:49 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (email@example.com)