STS-80 Day 12 Highlights
Back to STS-80 Flight Day 11 Highlights:
- On Saturday, November 30, 1996, 6:00 a.m. CST, STS-80 MCC Status Report # 25
- Columbia's astronauts concluded their 11th day in space with
discussions about troubleshooting measures they may undertake this
afternoon to open a balky airlock hatch if the shuttle mission
management team decides this morning to proceed.
- The failure of the hatch to properly open caused the cancellation of
Thursday's planned spacewalk by Mission Specialists Tammy Jernigan and
Tom Jones. Since that time, NASA engineers and managers have continued
to collect and analyze data on what may have caused the failure. The
leading candidate is a misalignment of the hatch against the airlock
seal. While this is the most likely reason for the problem, the
engineering team has been evaluating a number of possible causes.
- While discussions on the ground continued, Columbia was maneuvered
into an attitude that will keep sunlight on the hatch in hopes that
warming it will assist in any procedure attempted.
- The crew will be asleep when the mission management team meets and
will not be informed of the decision until Mission Control's wakeup
call at 2:56 p.m. today. If managers decide to proceed with
troubleshooting, the two astronauts would climb into their suits and
depressurize the airlock. If the hatch opens, they would proceed with
the spacewalk as originally planned.
- Early this morning, Commander Ken Cockrell, Pilot Kent Rominger and
Mission Specialists Story Musgrave, Jernigan and Jones talked to
fellow Astronaut John Blaha aboard the Russian Space Station Mir. The
conversation centered on each other's missions and well wishes for
safe, successful flights.
- Meanwhile, Columbia continues to lead the ORFEUS-SPAS astronomy
satellite by a comfortable 20 nautical miles. The satellite continues
in its observations of the origins and makeup of distant stars. The
satellite is scheduled to be retrieved by the crew on December 3 for
the return trip to Earth at the end of Columbia's mission.
- On Saturday, November 30, 1996, 10:00 a.m. CST, STS-80 MCC Status Report # 26
- The STS-80 Mission Management Team concluded at its 8 a.m. meeting
today that around-the-clock analysis and testing so far has not
identified a most likely cause of a jammed hatch that has prevented
astronauts aboard the orbiter Columbia from conducting the first of
two planned space walks.
- The MMT, chaired by Loren Shriver, Shuttle Launch Integration
Manager, asked engineering analysis teams at JSC, the Kennedy Space
Center, and at Rockwell in Downey, Calif., to continue efforts to
identify the likely cause of the hatch problem and report back at 2
- Investigations continue to center on possible problems with the
linkage and latch mechanisms located on the payload bay side of the
airlock hatch (called the "B" hatch) or with the gear actuator
mechanism driven by crew operated handles on either side of the hatch.
Analysis teams also are looking at the possibility of a small
misalignment of the hatch with respect to the orbiter structure which
might have resulted at installation or which could be caused by slight
deformation of the orbiter structure in space.
- A decision to proceed with a spacewalk today will hinge on progress
in the next few hours before the crew awakens at identifying a likely
cause of the problem and assuring that any corrective action attempted
will not adversely affect the safe operation and sealing of the hatch.
The crew wakeup is scheduled for 2:56 p.m. CST.
- NASA managers are viewing the hatch problem not only from the
perspective of completing the two space walks scheduled for the
flight, but also to develop a plan for opening the hatch in the
unlikely event that a contingency EVA becomes necessary, for example,
to close and latch the payload bay doors before entry.
- If additional time is required for analysis and testing of the
airlock hatch, a decision could be reached at the 2 p.m. MMT to defer
the EVA decision for another 24 hours and to look at dropping a second
EVA originally planned to follow two days after the initial EVA.
- An STS-80 mission status briefing is planned for 4 p.m. today at the
Johnson Space Center and on NASA Television.
- On Saturday, November 30, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-80 MCC Status Report # 27
- After a day of extensive ground analysis and testing of a balky
airlock hatch on Columbia, STS-80 mission managers decided to cancel
the two spacewalks that had been planned for astronauts Tammy Jernigan
and Tom Jones.
- Spacecraft communicator Dominic Gorie relayed the news to Jernigan
and Jones as the crew was awakened at 2:56 p.m. Central time for the
astronauts' 12th day in space.
- After detailed engineering analysis, shuttle managers could not
conclusively identify the problem that was causing the hatch handle to
jam and not allowing the hatch to open. Since the exact nature of the
problem could not be determined, managers decided it would not be
prudent to attempt the two planned spacewalks and risk unecessary
damage to the hatch or seals.
- Mission Operations Representative Randy Stone said one possible
suspect for the airlock hatch failure could be a mechanical problem in
the hatch handle's gearbox, a problem that cannot be fixed in
orbit. Stone said shuttle program officials are considering the
possibility of rescheduling the spacewalks on a future flight. The
spacewalks were designed to test tools and to refine techniques for
the assembly of the International Space Station, which is scheduled to
begin in about a year.
- Although the planned spacewalks have been canceled, engineers are
continuing an analysis of the problem to be as prepared as possible in
the highly unlikely event a contingency spacewalk is needed later in
the flight. Also, flight planning will minimize the use of mechanical
systems aboard Columbia which could require repair on such a
contingency spacewalk. With all other shuttle systems in excellent
shape, Columbia is scheduled to remain in orbit for the full 16 days
planned for STS-80, and managers will meet Monday to decide on a
possible extension of the flight to allow additional astronomical
observations by the German ORFEUS-SPAS satellite.
- Because of the cancelled spacewalks, the crew is spending a quiet
day in orbit, conducting secondary experiments and exercising. They
will go to sleep at 7:56 a.m. Sunday.
- Columbia is in a 223 by 212 statute mile orbit, leading the
ORFEUS-SPAS satellite by 27 miles.
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