Static Camera View of STS-84 Atlantis's Launch from 39-A.
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Shuttle Atlantis Launch Status

Launch May 15,1997 4:07:48.62 am EST. Launch window was 7 minutes. The exact time of launch was determined about 90 minutes before liftoff based on the location of the Mir space station. KSC Weather on launch day was excellent (Reference KSC Weather History 05/15/1997 0400). Mir docking should occur at a Mission Elapsed Time (MET) of 1day 18hr 31min or 10:39EDT 5/16/97 Friday.

On 5/15/97 the countdown continued on schedule. The crew ate breakfast at 11:15pm in the crew quarters of the Operations and Checkout Building and suited up around midnight. They then departed for Pad 39A at 12:30am. By 1:30am EDT, the final crew member, Carlos I. Noriega entered the orbiter and communications checks were performed with all crew members started at around 1:42am EDT and was complete by 2:13am EDT. The hatch closure was started at 2:28am EDT and completed at 2:39am at the T-38 minute mark. At 2:57am EST, the countdown entered the T-20 minute and holding mark and exited the hold at 3:07am EST. At T-10 minute and counting (3:16am EST), just before the 40 minute hold at the T-9 minute mark, the closeout crew cleared the white room and departed the PAD 39A 195ft level. At 3:56am NASA Test Director (NTD) John Guidi polled the launch team in Firing Room 3 and Launch Director Jim Harrington polled the Mission Management Team. There were no constraints to launch. The countdown came out of the T-9 Minute Hold at 3:59am EDT. The Orbiter Access Arm (OAA) was retracted at 4:00am and APU activation was at 4:03am. At 4:04am, the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) range saftey receivers were armed. The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME's) were then gimbled in a final test before launch. AT 4:05am EDT, the gaseous Oxygen vent hood was retracted and at T-2 minute mark and counting the flight crew as directed to close and lock their visors. Auto sequence started at 4:07am and launch occured at the start of the launch window. SRB Separation occured at 4:10am EDT. Main engine cutoff occured at T+9min at 4:16am EDT.

At 10 a.m. on the day before launch (Wednesday, 5/14/97), the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) was moved into its park position. The Mission Management Team met at 6pm to discuss launch weather and other technical issues. Loading of the External Tank cryogenic propellants began at 7pm. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/14/1997)

On 5/12/97, at the pad, aft engine compartment close-outs and final inspections were completed on Saturday. Cryogenic reactants will be loaded into the power reactant storage distribution system on board Atlantis beginning at about 7 p.m. tonight. Loading operations will be complete by 3 a.m. Tuesday. Weather forecasters currently indicate only a 20 percent chance of weather violations on launch day. The only concern at this time is for low cloud ceilings. There is no concern for weather prohibiting tanking operations, scheduled to begin on Wednesday at about 6:15 p.m. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/12/1997)

On 5/11/97, the STS-84 crew arrived at KSC at 10 pm EST (about 30 minutes ahead of schedule) and NASA began the countdown on May 11 at 11 p.m. at the T-43 hour mark. The KSC launch team is conducting the countdown from Firing Room 3 of the Launch Control Center (LCC). The countdown includes 34 hours and seven minutes of built-in hold time leading to the opening of the launch window at about 4:07 a.m. (EDT) on May 15. In order to accommodate the short window necessary to rendezvous and dock with Mir, some changes have been made to the standard launch countdown. Most significant is the addition of an extra 30 minutes to the normal 10 minute built-in hold at T-9 minutes. Tanking is scheduled to begin at about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 14. (Reference KSC Press Release 74-97)

On 5/7/97, STS-84 ordnance installation and connection was completed. Close-out activities continue in Atlantis' aft compartment. The battery and cable that provide power to an accelerometer on the right SRB have been replaced and closed-out. Hypergolic propellant pressurization is in work. Testing of the orbiter's global positioning and inertial navigation systems will occur today and tomorrow. The payload interface verification test is complete. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/07/1997)

Over the weekend of May 3-4, technicians completed final installation of fabricated parts to securely fasten the "pyro can" assemblies in Atlantis' aft compartment. Work to close-out the orbiter's aft compartment was in progress. Spacehab tunnel mating activities and leak checks were complete and good. The payload interface verification test was on 5/5/97. The countdown begins on 5/11/97. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/05/1997)

The STS-84 crew arrived at KSC on Sunday 4/27/97 to participate in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT). TCDT is scheduled to end at 11 a.m. Tuesday with the crew in the orbiter at the pad and with a simulated main engine cutoff. Atlantis' engine flight readiness test was completed over the weekend and the "pyro can" assembly plates were successfully fit checked with additional fabricated clamps on Saturday. Helium signature tests and installation of the Spacehab payload into Atlantis' cargo bay were performed (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/28/1997)

Atlantis began its roll out to Pad 39A at about 2:30am arrived at Pad 39A Thursday, 4/25/97 at about 8:30 a.m. At about 9:30 p.m., auxiliary power unit No. 3 was hot fired. The rotating service structure was moved into position at about 9 a.m. Friday 4/25/97. The engine flight readiness test was Saturday 4/26/97, and helium signature tests were on Monday 4/28/97. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/25/1997)

The Space Shuttle Atlantis rolled over to the VAB on Saturday, April 19, at about 5:30 p.m. and was hard mated to the external tank Sunday afternoon. Mating close-outs were in work on 4/21/97. Design and fabrication of the clamps that will help securely fasten the "pyro can" and base plate assemblies is in work. The Russian manufactured oxygen generator, which Atlantis will carry to the Mir space station, was installed in the Spacehab module over the weekend. The payload canister, housing Spacehab, will be transported to Pad 39A Monday night 4/21/97 and transferred to the pad's payload change-out room early Tuesday morning. Atlantis is scheduled to be rolled out to Pad 39A on Friday 4/25/97. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/21/1997)

On 4/18/97, inspections of the bolt holes on two "pyro cans" in Atlantis' aft compartment indicate possible deformation in the bolt holes of the plate assembly on the right hand orbiter/external tank attachment point. Shuttle managers decided to use three additional bolts and a fabricated clamp for added strength to securely fasten each of the two "pyro cans" and plate assemblies in addition to the original two bolts, three new bolts will be placed into existent holes in each assembly plate. Technicians reinstalled the "pyro cans" on 4/17/97 and the additional work on the assembly will be performed at the pad. Atlantis should roll over to the VAB at about 4 p.m. on Saturday and be hard mated to the external tank by late Sunday. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/18/1997)

On 4/15/97, managers delayed the rollover of Atlantis to the VAB in order to complete work on the nose landing gear strut. While the orbiter was being lowered, during weight and center of gravity checks, the strut retracted and demonstrated lower than normal pressure. The strut was repressurized and leak checks are complete and good. Shuttle managers are also discussing the possibility of conducting inspections of "pyro can" bolts in Atlantis' aft compartment. The bolts, which hold an exterior covering for the pyrotechnic device that separates the orbiter from the external tank, had shown signs of slight elongation after a previous flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103). A determination to conduct the inspection could delay Atlantis' roll over to the VAB by two days.
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/15/1997)

On 3/28/97, New thruster seals were installed in Atlantis' aft Reaction Control System (RCS). The forward Reaction Control System is scheduled to be returned to the OPF this weekend and reinstalled on the orbiter later. Close-outs of the orbiter's midbody continued and Main Propulsion System (MPS) vacuum line leak checks were performed. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/28/1997)

On 3/25/97, The forward reaction control system was removed from Atlantis to allow for additional checks of the thruster seal savers. X-rays of the FRCS will continue today. Securing of main engine No. 3 also continues. In the VAB, the external tank was mated to the solid rocket boosters 3/24/97. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/25/1997)

On 3/5/97, The forward reaction control system was mechanically installed on the orbiter overnight. Electrical connections continued and the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME's) will be installed beginning 3/6/97. Engine No. 1 has already been delivered to the OPF in preparation for this work. Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod close-outs and mid-body close-outs continue in work. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/05/1997)

On 2/27/97, The European Proximity Sensor (EPS) payload has been installed and the interface verification test is now in work. A functional check of the airlock hatches is also underway. Preparations continue for Space Shuttle main engine installation and forward reaction control system installation next week. Stacking of the solid rocket boosters in the Vehicle Assembly Building is complete and joint close-outs are underway. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/27/1997)

On 2/26/97, Decay checks on the Power Reactant and Storage Distribution System (PRSDS) and close-outs of the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) continue. The European Proximity Sensor (EPS) payload has been installed and the Interface Verification Test (IVT) is scheduled to take place tomorrow. Stacking of the solid rocket boosters in the Vehicle Assembly Building also continues. Mate of the external tank to the solid rocket boosters is now scheduled for March 24. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/26/1997)

On 2/18/97, Securing of APU No. 3 and work to hook-up the fuel line was completed. A leak and functional test of the newly installed APU was then performed. Also, the main landing gear's right inboard brakes were removed and replaced. The Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod functional checks were performed on 2/18/97 and 2/19/97. Stacking of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB's) in the VAB resumed following repairs to the fine control mechanism (hydraset) on the crane. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/18/1997)

On 2/14/97, removal of the left hand pod will not be required (removal was considered due to concerns with the engine actuator controller) and work is underway to complete the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) functional checks. Stacking of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB's) has been delayed several days due to problems with a fine control mechanism (hydraset) for the crane. Work is being rescheduled to least impact external tank/solid rocket booster mating operations. Workers hope to resume booster stacking operations on Monday (2/17/97). (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/14/1997)

On 2/13/97, functional checks of the orbital maneuvering system were performed. Removal of the FRCS was completed last weekend. Auxiliary power Unit (APU) No. 3 has been replaced and securing of the new APU is in work today. Stacking of the solid rocket boosters for mission STS-84 was underway in the VAB. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/13/1997)

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Author: Jim Dumoulin ( / NASA - Payload Operations
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Last Updated: Tuesday May 27 17:07:32 EDT 1997(J.Dumoulin)

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