STS-76 Day 1 Highlights
Return to STS-76 Mission Summary
- On Friday, March 22, 1996, 7 a.m. CST, STS-76 MCC Status Report # 1
- Atlantis was launched from the Kennedy Space Center.on time at 2:13
a.m. CST today to begin Shuttle mission STS-76, the third shuttle
mission to dock with the Russian Mir space station.
- Currently in a 157 by 123 nautical mile orbit, Atlantis is now
trailing Mir by 13,100 nautical miles and closing in on the Russian
station at 694 nautical miles with each hour and a half -long orbit of
Earth. Docking with the station remains targeted for about 8:34
p.m. CST Saturday.
- Atlantis' crew -- Commander Kevin Chilton, Pilot Rick Searfoss,
Payload Commander Ron Sega, and Mission Specialists Rich Clifford,
Linda Godwin and Shannon Lucid, who will join two cosmonauts as a
member of the Mir-21 crew after docking -- is now setting up the
shuttle for an extended stay in orbit. All of Atlantis' systems
are currently functioning well.
- Flight controllers did notice an apparent small leak of hydraulic
fluid from one of three hydraulic systems aboard the shuttle shortly
after liftoff. The hydraulic systems are only used during launch and
landing, and the leak from the backup system was observed only while
that system was in operation during the climb to orbit. When all three
hydraulic systems were shut down after reaching orbit, as is normal,
no further indications of a leak were observed.
- Only two hydraulic systems are actually needed for the shuttle to
land safely, although flight controllers prefer to have all three
operating to ensure a backup system is available in the event of a
problem. Shuttle managers believe it is unlikely that the leak in the
backup system will cause any change to the planned mission, although
they are continuing to evaluate the situation.
- The leaking hydraulic system, which is powered by Auxiliary Power
Unit 3 aboard Atlantis, still has sufficient hydraulic fluid to be
used during landing operations, the next time it would normally be
powered up. None of the hydraulic systems are needed for Atlantis'
operations in orbit, and flight controllers have ample time to analyze
the leaking system and assess any impact it could have on the flight.
- On Friday, March 22, 1996, 5:30 p.m. CST, STS-76 MCC Status Report # 2
- Closing on the Russian Space Station Mir at a rate of 661 nautical
miles per orbit, the STS-76 crew will perform several rendezvous burns
today as the third Shuttle docking mission proceeds as planned.
- This afternoon, the Mission Management Team met in Houston to
discuss a leak seen in one of the hydraulic systems during the ascent
portion of the flight. After an examination of the data, engineers
concluded that the leak began as the high pressure hydraulic fluid
system pumps were started shortly before launch. Data showed a leak
rate of about 1 percent of the system's total reservoir per minute
leading flight controllers to believe that about 20 percent of the
reservoir leaked from the system.
- The leak stopped when the system was shut down after ascent, and no
further leakage has been detected. Since the leak only appears while
the system is operating, mission managers are confident that the
system will remain stable on orbit, and that there is no reason to
change the duration of the mission. Controllers will continue to
monitor the system for any changes in its status.
- Today, crew members will configure the SPACEHAB module for its
on-orbit operations, check out the spacesuits that will be used by
Mission Specialists Rich Clifford and Linda Godwin later in the
flight, and test the equipment that will be used for the rendezvous
- The crew began its day today at 3:13 p.m. Central with the song
"Anywhere Is" by Enya. Atlantis, making its 16th flight, is performing
well as it circles the Earth in a 159 by 127 n.m. orbit.
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