Static Camera view of STS-82 Discovery at Liftoff
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STS-82 Liftoff Status Page

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Shuttle Discovery Launch Status

Launch February 11, 1997 3:55:17 am. Window was 65 minutes. The exact window was announced a few hours before launch and adjusted at the T-9 minute mark based on the final computation of the location of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). In Firing Room 3, of the Launch Control Center (LCC), a final poll of the launch team and the Mission Management Team was conducted and the countdown clock picked up at the T-9 minute mark at 3:47am EST. The Orbiter Access Arm (OAA) was retracted at T-7 minute 21 seconds (3:50am EST) and a go was given for APU prestart at 3:50am EST. The APU's were started at the T-5 minute mark and the flight crew reported 3 good APU's. Discovery's aero surfaces were sequenced and the three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME's) were moved into launch position. Launch occured exactly on schedule. Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB's) were seperated at 2 minutes 2 seconds with Discovery at an altitude 35nm and a distance of 40 miles from launch site.

The launch countdown was conducted with minimal problems. Loading of the cryogenic reactants into the external tank began at 8:30 p.m. EST on February 10, 1997. Tanking was delayed about 1 1/2 hours in order to send a contingency team into the Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) at the pad to assess the integrity of the gaseous nitrogen purge system. This was done as part of the troubleshooting effort to understand why unusually high concentrations of oxygen were appearing in the orbiter's payload bay. Once the team cleared the pad, tanking commenced. The high readings of oxygen in the orbiter's midbody and payload bay had stabilized but engineers continued to monitor them as the countdown proceeded. Tanking started about 1.5 hours late and engineers determined the excess oxygen in the payload bay was due to trapped gas in the honeycomb structures of the payload bay. An earlier concern with fuel cell No. 3 was cleared and the fuel cell was operating properly. An additional check of the fuel cell's pH level was taken at about T-3 hours before launch as a final confirmation.
The seven members of the STS-82 crew were awakened at 7:30 tonight and departed the Operations and Checkout Building for the pad at about 12:31am. Milestones for launch day (Reference KSC Press Release 20-97) start the day with close-out preparations in the white room and the checking of cockpit switch configurations. Then at about 1:01 a.m. EST, the Flight crew begins entry into the orbiter and the atronauts perform air-to-ground voice checks with Launch Control and Mission Control. At about 2:26 a.m., Discovery's crew hatch should close and the Eastern Range begins final network open loop command checks. Then the hatch is sealed and cabin leak checks performed. Then white room is closed-out and the Close-out crew moves to fallback area.

At L-1 day, Air Force weather forecasters indicated a 30 percent probability of weather prohibiting launch on Tuesday. By launch day that estimate was changed to 20 percent. A disturbance developing over the South Central U.S. is expected to possibly increase cloudiness through Monday. At launch time, the only concerns are for low and mid level clouds. At launch time, the temperature at the pad is expected to be about 56 degrees; relative humidity about 86 percent; clouds scattered at 2,500 feet and 14,000 feet and broken at 25,000 feet; pad winds from the northwest at 12-18 knots.

On Sunday, Febuary 9, 1997, Pad 39A was cleared early in the morning to load the onboard cryogenic tanks with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen reactants. Reactant loading was completed and off-load of several hundred pounds of the cryogenics not required for this mission continued through most of the day. The reactants provide electricity for the orbiter and crew while in space and drinking water as a by-product for the 10-day mission. At about 10 a.m. on 2/10/97, checks of the fuel cells were done to evaluate the pH content of the water by-product. Also, engineers evaluated higher than allowable oxygen readings in the orbiter's midbody following cryogenic loading today. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/09/1997)

On Thursday, February 6, 1997, during aft close-out operations, cycle tests on two aft engine compartment vent doors revealed an intermittent failure of the doors to operate properly. Troubleshooting of this problem concluded that the power drive unit (PDU) for the vent doors had a bad circuit. Managers this afternoon decided to replace the PDU. The additional work will delay aft close-outs but should not impact launch on Tuesday. The aft doors are now scheduled to be installed Saturday night. The countdown remains on schedule to begin at 4 a.m. on February 8, 1997. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/07/1997)

The seven STS-82 crew members arrived at KSC on Friday, Feb. 7, at 7:30am. The launch countdown will begin at the T-43 hour mark at 4 a.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 8. Launch is currently targeted for 3:56 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the opening of a 65-minute launch window. (Reference KSC Press Release 20-97)

On 2/4/97, cryogenic servicing of the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) continued and the payload end-to-end test began. Aft engine compartment close-outs continued and the aft doors scheduled to be installed on Saturday (2/8/97). The crew is scheduled to arrive at KSC Friday morning (2/7/97) and the countdown is set to begin Saturday. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/04/1997)

On 1/31/97, during the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) in the mission briefing room of the Operations and Checkout Building (O&C) at KSC, the mission management team selected February 11, 1997 as the official launch date for STS-82. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 1/31/1997)

On 1/29/97, payloads were installed into the orbiter's payload bay and space suits used for the mission were installed into the orbiters airlock. This weekend, workers will remove and replace the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) nozzle plugs from the SRBs at the pad. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 1/29/1997)
On 1/17/97, Discovery began its journey from the VAB to the launch pad shortly after 7 a.m. Rollout was stopped at approximately 8:25 a.m. after engineers heard a "load band" and noticed that a crack had developed on deck plating of MLP-1. The 24-foot long "Y"-shaped crack is on the surface of the MLP and runs from near the left hand SRB flame hole toward the near corner of the MLP. Structural engineers have determined the integrity of the MLP has not been compromised and Discovery's trip to the launch pad resumed shortly after noon EST. (Reference KSC Press Release 13-97)

On 12/18/96, work on the airlock hatch actuators continued. The Ku-band deployable assembly (DA) will be removed and replaced with the DA from Columbia. A retest of the antenna is scheduled for 12/19/96 and the payload bay doors will be closed for the holidays on 12/20/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/18/1996)

The left hand orbital maneuvering system pod was installed on 11/16/96 and interface verification testing will begin 11/21/96. Fuel cell No. 1 will be removed and replaced on Friday. Stacking of the solid Vehicle Assembly Building. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 11/20/1996)

On 11/4/96, the orbiter docking system was stowed for flight and the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) #2 wiring work was completed. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 10/11/1996)

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Author: Jim Dumoulin ( / NASA - Payload Operations
Coordinator: Paula Shawa ( / SHER-10
Last Updated: Wednesday February 26 09:07:57 EDT 1997(J.Dumoulin)

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