STS-80 Day 4 Highlights
Back to STS-80 Flight Day 03 Highlights:
- On Friday, November 22, 1996, 6:00 a.m. CDT, STS-80 MCC Status Report # 6
- As crew members begin their fourth day of STS-80, all systems on
board Columbia are ready for the second satellite deployment of the
flight and the beginning of the Wake Shield Facility's third mission
- Astronaut Tom Jones is scheduled to release the Wake Shield Facility
at 7:11 p.m. CST this evening to begin three days of thin film
semiconductor wafer growth in an ultravacuum produced by its wake. A
television camera survey and systems checkout of the Wake Shield on
Thursday showed it to be in good health and ready to be deployed.
- The stainless steel satellite from the University of Houston Space
Vacuum Epitaxy Center will push aside the gas atoms that remain 220
miles above the Earth's surface so that scientists may produce
films 100 to 1,000 times better than those that can be grown on
Earth. These thin films of aluminum gallium arsenide could be used to
make the next generation of semiconductors for use in computer chips
and other advanced electronic devices.
- STS-80 Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Kent Rominger performed a
fifth maneuvering burn late Thursday to increase the distance between
Columbia and the ORFEUS-SPAS satellite and provide a safe margin for
the Wake Shield deployment. ORFEUS-SPAS was deployed on launch day for
14 days of extreme ultraviolet observations of stars and
galaxies. ORFEUS-SPAS is trailing Columbia by about 33 miles and that
distance is increasing by about three miles every orbit. The two
spacecraft will be about 50 miles apart when the Wake Shield is
- Final preparations for the Wake Shield release will begin about 1
p.m. Friday, when Jones powers up the shuttle's Canadian-built
robot arm and grapples the satelllite. Shortly before 2 p.m, Payload
Commander Tammy Jernigan will power up the Orbiter Space Vision
System, which will be used to track precisely the Wake Shield's
location,.and Cockrell will place Columbia in a gravity gradient
attitude to minimize disturbances during the release. Jones will use
the robot arm to hold Wake Shield in position for a two-and-a-half
hour cleansing by atomic oxygen molecules before moving the arm to the
- On Friday, November 22, 1996, 3:00 p.m. EST, STS-80 Payload Status Report # 03
reports: (ORFEUS-SPAS II Mission Status Report # 3)
- In the past 24 hours, all three ORFEUS-SPAS II science teams
at the Kennedy Space Center.in Florida completed their final checkouts
and calibration of their instruments. All instruments are functioning
extremely well with sensitivity at or near pre-flight expectations.
- Overall, scientific data quality is better than expected.
Each science team is being given an eight-hour shift to conduct
astrophysical observations. NASA mission scientist Dr. Ronald Polidan
reports that the ORFEUS-SPAS II science mission has begun in earnest!
- The Interstellar Medium Absorption Profile Spectrograph
(IMAPS) being controlled by Princeton University scientists located at
the Kennedy Center began normal science observations in the past 24
hours. They have obtained data on four targets and IMAPS continues to
work exceptionally well. Science team members indicate that the
instrument sensitivity is several times what it was on the first
flight in September 1993.
- The University of California at Berkeley Extreme Ultraviolet
(EUV) Spectrograph is also conducting its normal science program,
having obtained 25 science observations. The instrument is operating
extremely well with sensitivity at or slightly above pre-launch
expectations. Science operations are progressing well.
- The German Far Ultraviolet (Echelle) Spectrograph (FUV)
finished its checkout/calibration phase in the past 24 hours and has
begun normal science observations. The instrument is functioning
extremely well with nine science observations having been obtained
- On Friday, November 22, 1996, 5:00 p.m. CDT, STS-80 MCC Status Report # 7
- Columbia's crew is poised to release the second satellite of shuttle
mission STS-80 -- the Wake Shield Facility -- at 7:06 p.m. CST.
- Astronaut Tom Jones unberthed the WSF satellite from its latched
position in the shuttle cargo bay on schedule today at 2:56 p.m. Jones
positioned the satellite over the left-hand edge of the cargo bay with
the WSF underside facing into the direction of travel. This position
allows atomic oxygen to "cleanse" the satellite's
underside in preparation for its experiment operations. WSF will
investigate using the ultra-pure vacuum of space to create advanced
- The atomic oxygen cleaning is scheduled to last about two and a half
hours. At about 5:45 p.m. CST, Jones will maneuver Columbia's
mechanical arm to position the satellite over the opposite side of the
shuttle cargo bay, facing in the same direction it will during its
free flight. In this position, controllers will verify and calibrate
the operation of the WSF's attitude control system. For release,
Jones will position the satellite high above Columbia's payload
bay, with the underside of the WSF facing away from the direction of
travel. The release window that opens at 7:06 p.m. will be 41 minutes
long. Two backup opportunities to release the satellite exist this
evening as well.
- At the time WSF is released, the first satellite deployed by
Columbia, the ORFEUS-SPAS astronomy satellite, will be about 58 miles
behind the shuttle. During the time both satellites are flying free of
the shuttle, WSF will remain about 28 miles from ORFEUS-SPAS and about
23 miles from Columbia.
- On Friday, November 22, 1996, 8:00 p.m. CST, STS-80 MCC Status Report # 8
- Columbia's crew released the Wake Shield Facility at 7:38
p.m. central as the two spacecraft flew about 200 miles above the
western Pacific on the 51st orbit of the STS-80 mission.
- Shortly after release from the shuttle's remote manipulator system,
or robot arm, the Wake Shield Facility's ground control team issued
a command to fire a tiny nitrogen thruster that produced about a tenth
of a pound of thrust to gently separate the spacecraft from Columbia.
The thruster fired for 19 minutes to eventually put the Wake Shield
about 20 to 30 miles away from the orbiter for three days of free
flight operations before its scheduled retrieval late Monday night.
- Science operations begin tomorrow morning about 8 o'clock with
the first investigations into thin film semiconductor growth occuring
in the wake of the saucer-shaped satellite as it produces an
ultravacuum to create advanced semiconductor materials.
- The Wake Shield was grappled by the shuttle's robot arm at 1:25
Friday afternoon. It was then unlatched from the payload bay at 2:56
p.m. After pointing the experiment side of the Wake Shield into the
direction of travel allowing atomic oxygen to "cleanse" the
satellite's underside in preparation for experiment operations the
satellite was maneuvered over the side of the shuttle payload bay
allowing controllers to verify and calibrate the operation of the Wake
Shield's attitude control system.
- At the time of release, Columbia and the Wake Shield were about 58
miles ahead of the ORFEUS-SPAS astronomy satellite deployed on launch
day Tuesday. During the time both satellites are flying free of the
shuttle, Wake Shield will remain about 28 miles from ORFEUS-SPAS and
about 23 miles from Columbia.
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