Camera views of STS-78 Columbia
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STS-78 Liftoff Status Page

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Shuttle Columbia Launch Status

Launch June 20, 1996 10:49:00.0075 a.m. EDT. Launch window was 2 hours 30 min. The STS-78 launch countdown was conducted in Firing Room 3 of the Launch Control Complex (LCC) and it included 35 hours 49 minutes of built in holds. (For hold times, Reference KSC Shuttle Status 6/18/1996).

On 6/20/96, the payload crew was woken up at 5:39am EDT and the flight crew at 5:54am EDT. The crew had breakfast in the Operations and Checkout Building at 6:25am EDT. At 7:29am EDT, the countdown clock came out of a scheduled two hour hold and was at T-3 hours and counting. At 7:31am EDT, the crew departed the O&C building on their way to Launch Pad 39A. The crew entered Columbia and the hatch was closed out by 9:29am EDT. At 10:19am EDT the countdown clock picked up the T-20 minutes and counting.

On 6/19/96, workers completed closeout of the aft engine compartment and the Master Events Controller (MEC) #1 was retested and no problems were found relating to its critical control functions. The MEC has been cleared for flight. All late access stowage of experiments in the Spacelab module and middeck were completed. The RSS was retracted around 10:30 pm. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 6/19/1996).

On 6/18/96, the mission management team decided to have the aft main engine compartment reopened and X-ray the Power Drive Units (PDU) for the orbiter's external tank doors. The units were suspected of having possible loose screws in the PDU terminal circuitry boards because of inspections on the orbiter Atlantis PDU's. After the X-rays were developed, it was verified that all suspect screws are secure and properly installed and the aft compartment was closed again for flight. Cryogenic reactant loading into the power reactant storage and distribution system and the extended duration orbiter (EDO) pallet was completed and late access stowage of experiments into the Life and Microgravity Spacelab (SPACELAB-LMS) payload will begin on 6/19/96. KSC area weather forcases indicate a 60 percent probability of good weather on launch day. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 6/18/1996). (Reference KSC Weather History 06/18/1996 2000). Another issue has arisen concerning the No. 1 Master Events Controller (MEC). During routine testing, engineers noticed incorrect BITE (Built In Test Equipment) indications from the MEC. Further analysis revealed the software errors were not critical to this mission, but managers want to insure the errors are not masking other potential problems that might come to light later in the countdown. There are two MECs in the orbiter's aft engine compartment. They process signals to arm and safe pyrotechnics and command and fire pyrotechnics during SRB / external tank separation and orbiter / external tank separation.

On 6/17/96, the Countdown began at the T-43 hour mark at 4:00am EST. A countdown status briefing was held 9:30am EST and crew arrived at KSC SLF at 3:30pm. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 6/17/1996).

On 6/3/96, Columbia's crew arrived for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. The TCDT is a countdown rehearsal for the crew and launch team at KSC and is conducted prior to each flight. The test ends on 6/4/96 with a simulated main engine shutdown at the pad. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 6/03/1996).

On 5/29/96, the Shuttle Columbia began moving out of the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad 39B at around 11:50pm. The shuttle arrived at the pad about 5 hours later. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/29/1996).
On 4/18/96, in OPF Bay 2, the installation of the three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME's) was completed as well as the removal and replacement of the No. 3 TACAN unit used in landing navigation. In the O&C Building, closeouts of the Spacelab Life Sciences LMS Payload were completed. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/18/1996). The LMS payload moved to the Orbiter Processing Facility and was installed in Columbia. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/29/1996) and the tunnel adapter was installed 4/30/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/01/1996).

On 3/27/96, in Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) Bay 2, the drag chute was installed on orbiter Columbia and test were started on the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS). The Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME's) are scheduled to be installed April 15. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/27/1996). The nose landing gear wheel and tires were installed on 3/29/96 and
the payload bay was prepared for the Spacelab Life and Microgravity Science Laboratory. Also Tacan No. 1 did not pass functional testing and was removed. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/29/1996). In the OPF, Columbia's Windows No. 3 and 4 were polished and in the VAB, stacking of the left Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) on the Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) was underway. A Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) was also being conducted on Spacelab LMS experiments in the Operations and Checkout (O&C) building. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/02/1996). On 4/5/96, leak and functional checks of the LOX side of the MPS was completed and work was done to remove one of the orbiter's S-Band transponders which did not pass testing. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/05/1996)

STS-78 Movies and Images

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STS-78 Countdown Last Mission STS-77 Next Mission STS-79


Developed under the direction of the NASA KSC Public Affairs Office
Author: Jim Dumoulin (dumoulin@titan.ksc.nasa.gov) / NASA - Payload Operations
Coordinator: Paula Shawa (Paula.Shawa-1@ksc.nasa.gov) / SHER-10
Last Updated: Sunday July 7 09:12:42 EDT 1996(J.Dumoulin)

A service of NASA/Kennedy Space Center Public Affairs Office, Hugh Harris,Director (Hugh.Harris-1@kmail.ksc.nasa.gov)