STS-77 Day 4 Highlights
Back to STS-77 Flight Day 03 Highlights:
- On Wednesday, May 22, 1996, 6 a.m. CDT, STS-77 MCC Status Report # 7
- With the Spartan satellite's mission completed, Endeavour's six
astronauts turned their attention today to the deploy of a small
technology demonstration satellite known as PAMS.
- The Passive Aerodynamically Stabilized Magnetically Damped Satellite
uses aerodynamic stabilization to orient itself properly and
demonstrates a technique that could prolong the lifetime of a
satellite by reducing or eliminating the requirement for attitude
- After Mission Specialist Mario Runco deployed the satellite from a
canister in the rear of Endeavour's payload bay on time at 4:18
a.m. Central time, it drifted away from the orbiter in a rotating,
unstable attitude by design to evaluate how quickly and effectively
the spacecraft could stabilize itself using the aerodynamic
stabilization method rather than with thrusters.
- Commander John Casper and Pilot Curt Brown backed Endeavour away to
a distance of 48,000 feet to begin one of three planned rendezvous
with the satellite to measure its stability using lasers mounted in
the payload bay. The first rendezvous approach was scheduled later
this morning as the crew placed Endeavour at a station-keeping
distance of about 2,000 feet. The second and third rendezvous are
scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
- Meanwhile, the Inflatable Antenna, jettisoned from the Spartan
satellite after its mission Monday, was expected to enter the Earth's
- Endeavour is in a 176-mile high circular orbit, completing one
revolution of Earth every 90 minutes. The crew will go to sleep at
3:30 today and awaken at 10:30 tonight.
- On Wednesday, May 22, 1996, 4 p.m. CDT, STS-77 MCC Status Report # 8
- Endeavour's crew spent another day in space devoted to precision
flying as they deployed the second satellite of their mission, moved
nine miles away, and then returned to within a half-mile to study the
- Four and one-half hours after releasing and separating from the
Passive Aerodynamically Stabilized Magnetically Damped
Satellite-Satellite Test Unit, or PAMS-STU, early this morning,
Endeavour returned to a position about 2,000 feet from the satellite.
Commander John Casper and Pilot Curt Brown kept Endeavour near
PAMS-STU to allow ground-based researchers to attempt to track the
satellite with instruments mounted in Endeavour's cargo bay.
- PAMS-STU was ejected from its canister in Endeavour's payload bay at
4:18 a.m. central time today. It was placed in an intentionally
unstable orientation and it is anticipated that it should slowly
reorient itself to a stable attitude. The PAMS-STU technology
demonstration investigates the use of natural, aerodynamic
stabilization to orient a spacecraft properly, a technique that could
prolong the lifetime of future satellites by reducing or eliminating
the requirement for attitude control propellants.
- During the two hours Endeavour held position this morning,
investigators noted that the satellite had not yet stabilized and they
did not obtain a strong lock on the satellite using the laser-based
tracking instruments aboard the shuttle. However, two more such close
encounters with the satellite are planned later in the flight to check
its progress. Those stationkeeping exercises are expected to last up
to six and one-half hours each.
- The astronauts have begun an eight-hour sleep period and will awaken
to begin Flight Day 5 at 11:30 p.m. central time today. Flight Day 5
will be dedicated to continued scientific investigations in the
- All of Endeavour's systems continue to perform well as the orbiter
circles the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of 175 statute
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