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[AS] 'What Did You Guys Do?' 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G
« dnia: Październik 05, 2019, 21:12 »
'What Did You Guys Do?' 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G and America's First Female Spacewalk (Part 1) (1)
By Ben Evans, on October 4th, 2014

On Mission 41G, which took place 30 years ago, this week, Kathy Sullivan became the first U.S. female spacewalker. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this week, on 5 October 1984, history was made when Shuttle Challenger rocketed into orbit on Mission 41G, an ambitious science and technology flight. On-board was the largest crew ever launched—a seven-strong team, commanded by veteran shuttle flier Bob Crippen—which included the first U.S. woman to embark on a second spaceflight, the first U.S. female spacewalker, Canada’s first man in space, and the first Australian-born astronaut. During their eight days aloft, the crew of 41G deployed a large Earth resources satellite, imaged the Home Planet with powerful synthetic aperture radar, and embarked on a risky EVA to rehearse techniques for the on-orbit fueling of future spacecraft.

The NASA “core” crew of Crippen, pilot Jon McBride and mission specialists Kathy Sullivan, Sally Ride, and Dave Leestma had been named in November 1983, with the intention that they would launch aboard Columbia as STS-17 in August 1984. They would deploy the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) and operate an expansive payload called “OSTA-3,” provided by NASA’s Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications. It promised to be an exciting mission, but caused a problem, for Crippen was halfway through training for another flight, the 41C capture and repair of Solar Max, planned for April 1984. It meant that he would be unable to join the 41G crew until late in their training regime.

As a result, Sally Ride—who had flown with Crippen on STS-7 and knew how he liked to run a mission—oversaw the training of the rest of the crew until he became available. She served as a surrogate commander, shepherding the rookies through their training until Crippen joined them in late April 1984. By the time 41G took place, it had also picked up a pair of payload specialists: Paul Scully-Power, an Australian-born oceanographer, employed by the U.S. Navy, and Marc Garneau, who became Canada’s first man in space.

Unlike several other missions in 1984, which suffered delays due to booster problems, 41G kept its cargo and its approximate place in the shuttle launch manifest, because ERBS and OSTA-3 were unique payloads. “It was sure exciting to see our flight kind of hold its position while others slipped,” Dave Leestma told the NASA oral historian, “because we figured, as they slipped, then we’d slip. But because of the requirements of our payload, we had to fly at a certain time of the year and a certain inclination.” This also made Leestma the first member of his astronaut class (selected in May 1980) to fly a mission.

The seven-member crew of 41G was the largest ever sent into orbit on a single spacecraft. Seated (from left) are Jon McBride, Sally Ride, Kathy Sullivan and Dave Leestma, with (from left) Paul Scully-Power, Bob Crippen and Marc Garneau standing. Photo Credit: NASA

Years later, Leestma wondered if having a fellow mission specialist (Ride) help train them, in place of a temporarily absent commander, was being deliberately done to assess its effect upon crew preparations. At this stage, in the pre-51L era, NASA was actively looking at flying astronauts two or three times per year and 41G’s training cycle gathered valuable, “real-world” data in support of this goal. Having said this, in his 1987 book, Before Liftoff, journalist Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., wrote that using Crippen so often—he had already flown STS-7 in June 1983, 41C in April 1984, and would lead 41G in October 1984—went against the grain of building a pool of experienced astronauts. In Cooper’s mind, the building of such a pool was “essential if [NASA] is ever to achieve a rate of one flight a month.”

In addition to marking the second flight of Ride, 41G would also include the first EVA by a U.S. female astronaut, Kathy Sullivan. In the eyes of the media, the pair become unofficial spokespeople for the crew. “Jon and I could easily just stand in the background and be just one of the crew,” joked Leestma. “It took a lot of the spotlight off us, which was fine.” By the late summer of 1984, with Crippen having finally joined them, the crew averaged 80-90-hour working weeks in the simulator, tracking an early October liftoff.

Original plans called for a late August launch, but originally they were assigned to fly Columbia. Her additional cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen tankage allowed a longer-duration mission than was possible by her sisters, Challenger and Discovery, and NASA’s manifests from November 1983 and January 1984 show her flying 41G for 10 days. Unfortunately, problems arose when she began a period of modification at Rockwell International’s facility in Palmdale, Calif., and repairs and upgrades took longer than anticipated. NASA managers began to consider the roomier Challenger as a more attractive alternative, particularly in view of the large 41G crew.

For the astronauts, Columbia was preferable in terms of her ability to remain in space for longer, but it was hoped that 41G would perform a landing at the swamp-fringed Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Unlike Challenger, Columbia did not yet have a Heads-Up Display (HUD), which would have enabled to make such a precision touchdown with confidence. In fact, Flight International explained in May 1984 that a Columbia-flown Mission 41G would be forced to land at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., due to the absence of the HUD. Landings in Florida were highly desirable, as NASA sought to make shuttle flights “routine,” and when its May 1984 manifest was released it was official: 41G would fly on Challenger, although the mission would be shortened from 10 to eight days.

Within weeks of returning from 41C, Bob Crippen asked the instructors to schedule himself and his new crew for a fully-integrated simulation on 8 May. Normally, such “sims” involved not just the astronauts, but also the whole flight control team for the mission, and were only undertaken in the last eight weeks before liftoff. It proceeded smoothly. By this point, Crippen had three shuttle flights under his belt and was the most experienced astronaut in training at the time. “With Crippen there, we had a harder time fooling the crew,” lead instructor Ted Browder told Henry S.F. Cooper. “Crippen has seen about every training scenario there is!”

The official 41G crew patch, designed by the seven astronauts, and emblazoned with their surnames. Image Credit: NASA

Also in May, payload specialists Scully-Power and Garneau joined the crew, expanding it to become the largest team of spacefarers ever launched aboard a single spacecraft. The former, nicknamed “PSP” by the crew and labeled “a little bit of a loose cannon” by Crippen, only flew because the prime payload specialist, oceanographer Bob Stevenson, had resigned his place to care for his cancer-stricken wife. She died a few days before 41G launched. “The funeral was the day of the launch,” Stevenson remembered. “The whole crew called me from the crew quarters that morning. They sent a beautiful arrangement; all orchids.”

The relatively late arrival of the payload specialists caused concern, particularly for Kathy Sullivan, who felt the five-strong NASA “core” crew had by now knitted itself into a team. “And then there’s this other guy,” she said of Scully-Power, “who’s being advertised as The Oceanographer. Excuse me, I have a PhD in this subject. This guy has a bachelor’s degree!” At the very least, Scully-Power became the first person to venture into orbit, aboard a U.S. spacecraft, wearing a beard. …

Not only the high inclination (57 degrees to the equator, enabling the crew to “see” much of Earth’s surface) but also the altitude of 220 miles (350 km) would be unusual, for the astronauts would adjust Challenger’s orbit in order to support two very different payloads. The large ERBS satellite sought to explore the impact of solar radiation on our planet, including its absorption and re-emission by the atmosphere. When NASA began developing ERBS in 1978, the agency hoped it would provide a clearer understanding of the radiation “balance” between the Sun, Earth, atmosphere, and space. This, in turn, would expand knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for terrestrial weather and climatic change. It was strange-looking machine, but to Dave Leestma it was “a beautiful satellite, coated with gold foil insulation and dark, purplish-blue solar arrays,” and would be deployed by Ride using Challenger’s Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) robotic arm.

After a perfect, on-time launch at 7:03 a.m. EST on 5 October 1984, which, according to Sullivan, was a “huge, huge vibration spectrum” with “tons of noise,” the ERBS deployment effort got immediately underway. Its systems were activated, pre-deployment checks executed, and, with the satellite held high above the payload bay, the procedure to extend the solar arrays and other appendages (including communications hardware) got underway. “The solar arrays,” said Leestma, “were folded up to the sides of the satellite, so we were getting ready to put them out and the ground checked to make sure they were getting current and everything was powered up and looking good.”

All five NASA crew members, by this time, were crowded into Challenger’s tiny flight deck: Ride and Leestma at the RMS controls, Sullivan handling the cameras, McBride flying the spacecraft, and Crippen, in his own words, “sitting back and managing.” Scully-Power and Garneau were confined to the middeck. Through their headsets, the crew heard the voice of Capcom Dave Hilmers, telling them to release the arrays. “We sent the command for the first solar array to deploy and it went up,” said Leestma, “but when we hit the command for the second one, nothing happened!”

Challenger roars into orbit on the morning of 5 October 1984. Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/

Several more tries, including one initiated from the ground, to unfurl the stubborn array were also fruitless. Next, they attempted to “jostle” ERBS by rolling the RMS end effector, without success, and finally McBride oriented Challenger’s payload bay toward the Sun to thaw out possibly frozen hinges. “We were talking inside the cabin, of course, about what we could do to free this solar wing,” Leestma continued. “This was back before we had all the TDRS coverage, so we went through long periods of time where we didn’t have to talk to the ground or they couldn’t see data. We were getting ready to come up over Australia and through the Canberra station and talk to the ground and then we would have a 15-20 minute period before we’d come up over the States; a big loss of signal time.”

As the crew awaited the reacquisition of signal, Ride and Leestma considered trying again to shake the array open with the RMS. “We changed the payload identification, which tells the arm what’s on the end of it,” said Leestma, “and changed the payload in the software to ‘zero’, which meant there was nothing on the end of the arm. Now we could go to the max rates on the arm and play with it.” After receiving authorization from Crippen—on condition that they did not break ERBS—Ride jerked the arm as sharply as possible from left to right and back again. During her second attempt, Leestma suddenly noticed something move. Ride put the satellite back into its deployment position and the array slowly juddered, then stopped, juddered again, and finally sprung open.

“We came up over the States,” Leestma exulted, “the ground said ‘Okay, we’re with you’. I don’t remember the exact quote, but they asked ‘What did you guys do?’ We said ‘We aren’t going to tell you, but just check it out and make sure that it’s ready to deploy’.” The glitch, which was later attributed to “thermally-induced problems,” delayed ERBS’ deployment from Challenger’s sixth orbit to her ninth circuit of the globe. During this time, controllers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., uplinked new telemetry data to the satellite to activate its attitude control system. For Bill Holmberg, the keeper of 41G’s crew activity timeline for the mission, their carefully choreographed, minute-by-minute schedule had been swept into disarray. However, he later told Henry S.F. Cooper that it was easier to rewrite an already extant plan than to write a new one from scratch.

After the satellite left the RMS at 6:18:22 p.m. EST, Crippen and McBride pulsed Challenger’s thrusters to separate and, two days later, ERBS made the first of a series of thruster firings to raise its orbit to 350 miles (560 km). The next problem cropped up almost immediately, when the crew began operations with their other major payload, the second flight of the Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-B), part of the OSTA-3 package, which experienced difficulties transmitting data through Challenger’s Ku-band antenna. This had already proved to be something of a headache in pre-mission simulations because of its flimsy nature. Some scientists wanted it to commence radar observations of Earth while Challenger was at her ERBS-deployment altitude and continue doing so while she lowered her orbit to SIR-B’s 160-mile (260 km) operating altitude.

However, reducing the shuttle’s orbit required two Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) “burns” and it was feared that the shock could impart structural damage to the radar. On its first flight, STS-2 in November 1981, SIR had amply demonstrated its unique ability to gather data in support of geographical, geological, hydrological, oceanographic, vegetation, and ice-monitoring applications, by acquiring imagery of more than 15.4 million square miles (40 million square km) at resolutions as fine as just 130 feet (40 meters). During typical science-gathering activities, it radiated pulses of energy and measured the characteristics of the reflected “echoes” from the surface. Its STS-2 data had allowed for the construction of 3-D models of subtle geological features on California’s Mount Shasta, as well as contour mapping of eastern and southern Africa.

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Odp: [AS] 'What Did You Guys Do?' 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Październik 05, 2019, 21:12 »
'What Did You Guys Do?' 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G and America's First Female Spacewalk (Part 1) (2)

The Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR)-B antenna aboard Challenger’s payload bay during Mission 41G. Photo Credit: NASA

Shortly before ending their first day in space, the crew deployed the radar and, for about two minutes, it began transmitting scientific data through the Ku-band antenna via the first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-1) to the ground terminal in White Sands, N.M. Then, abruptly, it stopped. Engineering analysis quickly determined that the antenna had lost its “lock” on the geostationary TDRS, due to a failed motor in its “beta” gimbal. One axis by which the Ku-band dish could move was effectively dead and the other—the “alpha” gimbal—swung backwards and forward, operating sporadically.

To correct the gimbal problem, Mission Control directed Ride and Leestma onto Challenger’s middeck to unplug a wire that routed power to the antenna’s motors. It was hoped that, if the wire was removed at the correct time, just as it swung out at right angles to the spacecraft, the astronauts could reorient Challenger such that the Ku-band was refocused on TDRS-1. The wire was situated behind a row of lockers, so after the astronauts had removed them they waited for Crippen to announce the right time to unplug the wire. Peering at the waving antenna through the aft flight deck windows, as soon as it looked to be in the proper position, Crippen told Ride to pull the wire. The Ku-band antenna stopped its erratic motions and could thenceforth only move slightly in response to external forces, such as thruster firings which maneuvered the entire vehicle.

At this point, Sullivan retracted the delicate radar to enable Crippen and McBride to lower their ship’s orbit to 160 miles (260 km). Using controls on the aft flight deck, she attempted to fold the two outermost antenna “leaves” onto the central section and close the assembly into a storage canister. It should have gone smoothly, but as she watched the clunking radar components through the window it became clear that SIR-B was improperly stowed. Sullivan tried shutting it with backup controls, without success. A third option was to fire pyrotechnics, thus slamming it closed, but rendering it impossible to re-open. Flight rules dictated that the antenna had to be closed before an OMS burn could take place, for fear that it might be damaged during the orbit-lowering maneuver. Already, when she first deployed SIR-B, Sullivan had noticed that it wiggled around in what Henry S.F. Cooper later described as “a classic case of dynamic instability.” It seemed likely that if they conducted the OMS maneuver with the antenna still partially open, this would inflict damage.

Sally Ride’s dexterous handling of the RMS proved the savior of the day, when she employed its end effector to push the antenna leaves firmly into place. Mission Control was unhappy with this technique, because there was no way of accurately gauging the amount of force imposed on the fragile panels, but neither the arm, nor the radar, appeared dented or scraped. Ride also earned brownie points with Leestma and Sullivan, whose 3.5-hour EVA, scheduled for 9 October and later delayed until the 11th, might have been cancelled if SIR-B had not been latched back into place.

One of the objectives of the spacewalk was to test hardware for the refueling of satellites in low-Earth orbit. Mounted at the rear end of the payload bay was the Orbital Refueling System (ORS), containing 175 pounds (80 kg) of highly-toxic hydrazine, some of which the spacewalkers would transfer between two spherical tanks. “Satellites have standard refueling ports that engineers connect up when they’re on the ground,” explained Leestma. “One at a time, you very carefully have to handle the hypergolic fuels that go into it, because they’re pretty dangerous. Hydrazine is very much like water, but it’s got different properties, one of which is that it blows up if it’s not handled right! Crip and the safety folks were very concerned that we shouldn’t do this with hydrazine; we should just do it with water.”

Kathy Sullivan peers through Challenger’s flight deck windows during the mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Having studied hydrazine “detonation” tests at length, Leestma was keenly aware of its dangers. “You can’t breathe it,” he explained. “If you get it on your skin, you can get poisoned. There were concerns that if we used hydrazine and it sprung a leak or even got on our suits, how are we going to get back in the airlock? We didn’t want to bring this stuff back in.” Crippen also knew that hydrazine could prove explosive at temperatures above 230 degrees Celsius (450 degrees Fahrenheit), which could easily be surpassed in the intense sunlight of orbital daytime. On the other hand, during orbital darkness, it could freeze, contract, flow back, and over-pressurize and rupture its fuel lines. If Leestma and Sullivan got it on their suits, Crippen would need to orient Challenger toward the Sun to “bake” it out. The spacewalkers would then have to scrub their suits with towels and detergent, seal them into airtight bags, purge the airlock’s atmosphere, and pipe in fresh air. Only then could they safely remove their helmets.

Crippen was also worried that 175 pounds (80 kg) of hydrazine might “take off the back end of the vehicle” if it exploded. He flatly wanted to use water, but was overruled. NASA managers felt that only using the real thing would it be possible to test safety procedures, adding that the ORS tanks had been designed to be robust to shocks. At length, after watching Leestma perform the task in the Weightless Environment Training Facility (WET-F), and seeing the triple containment of all liquids at all times, Crippen was won over. However, in some minds, the 41G hydrazine tests presented another indication of NASA’s over-confidence in the shuttle’s capabilities and a growing cavalier attitude toward safety.


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Odp: [AS] 'What Did You Guys Do?' 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Październik 05, 2019, 21:13 »
'Desk in the Middle of a Prairie': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G and America's First Female Spacewalk (Part 2)
By Ben Evans, on October 5th, 2014

Dave Leestma (with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Kathy Sullivan work on the refuelling experiment during their historic EVA. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, today (on 5 October 1984), history was made when Shuttle Challenger rocketed into orbit on Mission 41G, an ambitious science and technology flight. On-board was the largest crew ever launched—a seven-strong team, commanded by veteran shuttle flier Bob Crippen—which included the first U.S. woman to embark on a second spaceflight, the first U.S. female spacewalker, Canada’s first man in space, and the first Australian-born astronaut. During their eight days aloft, the crew of 41G deployed a large Earth resources satellite—as described in yesterday’s AmericaSpace history article—and imaged the Home Planet with powerful synthetic aperture radar, as well as embarking on a risky EVA to rehearse techniques for the on-orbit fueling of future spacecraft.

The spacewalk began at 11:38 a.m. EST on 11 October, six days into the mission, when astronauts Dave Leestma and Kathy Sullivan pushed open the outer hatch of Challenger’s airlock and entered the floodlit payload bay. Leestma later told journalist Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., for the latter’s 1987 book Before Liftoff, that venturing outside the shuttle on an EVA was like moving from a desk in a large room to a desk in the middle of a prairie. Both astronauts needed about 30 minutes to acclimatize to their surroundings. The first thing Leestma noticed was that his heart rate shot up as soon as he saw Earth.

After his return home, one of the doctors pulled him to one side with his electrocardiogram results, which proudly included a sharp spike at one stage. “This,” they told him, “is when you came out the hatch.”

Leestma grinned. “Yeah, no kidding!”

As explained in yesterday’s article, the main task for the EVA was a series of transfers of 175 pounds (80 kg) of highly toxic hydrazine between two tanks, part of the Orbital Refueling System (ORS). On future missions, NASA hoped to repair and refuel the Landsat-4 and Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) with shuttle spacewalkers and 41G provided “real-world” experience of the techniques they might someday use. Small quantities of hydrazine were remotely transferred between the two ORS tanks on 6 October, controlled from Challenger’s aft flight deck, without incident, but the real test involved the astronauts. Leestma and Sullivan worked to modify the piping with a ball valve, leak-tested it, and transferred 110 pounds (50 kg) through the fuel lines.

Stopping periodically to allow Sullivan to photo-document his work, Leestma completed the task in one, 90-minute orbit of Earth. The task closely mirrored the planned GRO refueling operation. This observatory was scheduled to be launched by the shuttle in May 1988, loaded with almost 4,000 pounds (1,800 kg) of hydrazine, and equipped with a standardized refueling coupling. Refueling GRO promised to be one of the first instances that a fully functional satellites would be refilled with propellant in space. Contracts to develop the refueling coupling were awarded by NASA in December 1984, for delivery by March 1986, and it was envisaged that future missions might even replenish high-pressure helium and nitrogen and even cryogens. The loss of Challenger in January 1986, however, and the subsequent investigation put paid to these plans.

With this hazardous portion of the spacewalk over, Leestma and Sullivan’s next task was to ensure that Challenger’s Ku-band antenna could be retracted and stowed for re-entry. To do this, they had to move it by hand, such that a “pin,” activated from the aft flight deck, engaged to lock it in place; if they could accomplish this, they would leave the dish open so it could continue relaying data from the Earth-watching instruments. If, on the other hand, they could not engage all of the locking pins, they were to manually close, deactivate, and latch the antenna. Obviously, for the sake of maximum data return from the Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR)-B, it was hoped that the second option could be averted. Moreover, if the antenna could not be retracted at all, the crew would be forced to jettison it overboard in order to close the payload bay doors for re-entry. That, said Leestma, was equally unthinkable. “The Ku-band assembly and digital avionics was worth $1 million,” he said, “so it would have been a very big loss to the program if we had to jettison it.”

The repair involved not only the spacewalkers, but also their colleagues inside the cabin. In fact, because of her role in the effort, 41G mission specialist Sally Ride “missed” watching most of the 3.5-hour EVA. After she and Challenger’s pilot, Jon McBride, had unplugged the wire to the antenna’s electrical motors on 6 October, they also disabled a mechanism that drove the pins to “lock” the alpha and beta gimbal axes into place. Early on the day of the spacewalk, they rigged a “jump wire” which would allow them to reconnect power to the pins, though not the motors. Unfortunately, both plugs in the jump wire were “female” and they had to quickly rig up a new, 36-pin “adaptor.” As Ride labored in the middeck, Leestma manually moved the Ku-band in one axis, then the other, while Sullivan radioed her crewmates when the pins were correctly lined up with the holes they were meant to slot into. Crippen, meanwhile, told Ride when to plug in the two ends of the jumper. Working the current in pulses—plugging and unplugging the cable, such that the pins were “hammered” into position—the attempt succeeded.

Difficulties with SIR-B’s data gathering, though, continued and involved the link with the geostationary Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-1. “Now, that caused us problems, orbiter-wise,” admitted Leestma, “because to use the Ku-band, which the SIR-B required, we had to reorient Challenger so the antenna was pointed towards TDRS-1 and make the orbiter rotate. We’d take data and then do data ‘dumps’ and point the orbiter at the TDRS; then we’d go back and do data ‘writes’, rather than being able to take data the whole time and point the antenna and dump it. The SIR-B scientists didn’t get all the data that they wanted, but the mission was not a loss and they got almost everything.”

Prior to returning inside Challenger’s airlock at 3:05 p.m. EST, Sullivan took a long look at SIR-B, in an attempt to discover why it had been so difficult to automatically latch it into position. It looked, Henry S.F. Cooper wrote later, “like an over-stuffed sandwich”; its thermal insulation having billowed in space to make it “thicker” than it should have been. This pure white blanket had thus frustrated previous efforts to close it. “The insulation is billowing enough,” she told her crewmates, “to interfere with a single motor closing and you don’t need to miss by much to keep the latch from shutting.”

In the astronauts’ minds, the real deal had been the successful completion of the ORS tests, but to the media, back on Earth, Sullivan’s achievement as the first U.S. female spacewalker had seized headlines. Speaking to Cooper afterwards, she would admit that she could not care less that the Soviets had cynically beaten her to it by sending their own woman cosmonaut, Svetlana Savitskaya, on an EVA in July 1984, but admired her counterpart’s credentials and abilities. Like Sally Ride, she considered herself an astronaut first, and a female astronaut a distant second.

One aspect which did rankle was that Leestma was “EV1”, the chief spacewalker, with Sullivan as “EV2,” despite being more junior to her in the Astronaut Office. “I’m a class senior to Dave,” she told the NASA oral historian in May 2007. “I’ve been in the program longer than Dave. I’ve worked in the suits more than Dave. I worked this payload longer than Dave did and I’m number two to him on the spacewalk. That’s really bad optics.” Intuitively, Sullivan knew Bob Crippen had faith in her abilities, but she was still perplexed that an organization in which “class rank matters” and “the senior class guy leads” was apparently changing its position. The EV1/EV2 debate was not lost on the media, either, and several awkward questions were directed at both Sullivan and Crippen during this period. “Don’t be asking me to answer this,” Sullivan told Crippen, paraphrased from her oral history, “because I don’t see any particularly good reason I’m not EV1, but it’s your call.”

Privately, both Sullivan and McBride felt that the primary focus, at least in the eyes of the media and possibly NASA’s senior management, was the fact that this would be Sally Ride’s second mission. “In the early press stuff, it was very much slanted that way,” she recalled. “Sally was still right in the bull’s-eye of all the media interest. The flight was announced … about five or six months after her first landing, so there’s still a flood of interest surrounding her.” No one seemed interested in Sullivan, only Ride. Sullivan even went so far as to have a new name tag made for her flight suit, reading Sally, but with a bar through it. “Evidently, what I am is not Sally,” she reasoned. “Can’t help that. Sally was less than thrilled with that line of teasing.”

The crew poses for an in-flight photograph aboard Challenger. In the front row (from left) are Jon McBride, Sally Ride, Kathy Sullivan, and Dave Leestma, with (from left) Paul Scully-Power, Bob Crippen, and Marc Garneau behind. Photo Credit: NASA

Years later, Sullivan found it amusing that so much attention was given to the precise duration of her EVA; since Savitskaya had beaten her to it, there were some within NASA who wanted the 41G spacewalk to last a few minutes longer. In Sullivan’s mind, such matters were absurd. “The EVA flight team was actually watching the duration clock very carefully,” she said, “and was very mindful of where we were relative to Svetlana’s time … I think our duration was 3:29 and hers was 3:34, so it was a five- or six-minute difference, and in the wrong direction, as far as they were concerned. That was the melodrama around the spacewalk and spacewalking records.”

Challenger’s mission, meanwhile, at just over eight days, was the longest she would ever achieve in her short life. After checking her preparedness for re-entry and successfully stowing the troubled Ku-band antenna, the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engines were fired at 11:30 a.m. EST on 13 October 1984, beginning a hypersonic dive toward the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla. Touchdown was perfect on the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) Runway 33 at 12:26:38 p.m. EST, with the orbiter rolling 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) to a halt. For Crippen and Ride, it was also a personal achievement. “All the previous entries,” Crippen noted in his oral history, “because we were landing at Edwards … came in pretty much over the Pacific, so you weren’t flying over land that much. This one, we started up in Canada and pretty much came across the centre of the United States, headed for the peninsula of Florida, and it was a nice, clear day across all the states and you could see everything.”

At one stage, taking a quick peek out of his left window, he could see Jacksonville, Fla., whilst still flying over the Kansas-Missouri region! The peninsula of Florida was exceptionally clear. “I often joke that they’ve got a 15,000-foot runway,” at the swamp-fringed Cape, “but they built this moat around it and filled it full of alligators to give you an incentive to stay on the runway!”

Crippen’s triumphant landfall in Florida was not entirely without blemishes. Astronaut Dave Hilmers, sitting at the Capcom’s console in Mission Control, jovially radioed congratulations on finally making it to the East Coast. However, he alerted them that, judging from Crippen’s track record for making successful Florida landings, their “Welcome Home” case of beer had been delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., by mistake. …


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Odp: [AS] 'What Did You Guys Do?' 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Październik 05, 2019, 21:24 »
Space for Everyone: 30 Years Since STS-41G, Progress in Spaceflight Diversity
By Emily Carney, on October 5th, 2014

The crew of STS-41G, 1984: Seated (from left) are Jon McBride, Sally Ride, Kathy Sullivan, and Dave Leestma, with (from left) Paul Scully-Power, Bob Crippen, and Marc Garneau standing. This mission proved to be a watershed moment in spaceflight diversity in a year of firsts. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago yesterday (Oct. 5, 1984), STS-41G made history as Space Shuttle Challenger rocketed into orbit. Mission-wise, it was ambitious; according to an AmericaSpace article published days ago by Ben Evans, “On-board was the largest crew ever launched … During their eight days aloft, the crew of 41G deployed a large Earth resources satellite [Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, or ERBS], imaged the Home Planet with powerful synthetic aperture radar, and embarked on a risky EVA to rehearse techniques for the on-orbit fueling of future spacecraft.” (For those enamored of the early shuttle era, the IMAX film The Dream is Alive contains many highlights from this mission.)

However, the crew was also notable from a social standpoint, as it boasted the first Canadian in space (Marc Garneau), the first Australian-born citizen in space (Paul Scully-Power), and two women flying at the same time, one making a return to orbit after a glass ceiling-shattering first, one making the first U.S. EVA by a woman (respectively, Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan). The crew represented the increasingly diverse face of spaceflight in 1984. Since then, Canada’s space program has grown, and women in spaceflight have continued to make strides in the face of adversity, most recently evidenced as Elena Serova (Russia’s fourth female cosmonaut) rocketed to the International Space Station (ISS) just over a week ago.

Up until 1983, NASA in space had been represented by Caucasian men (predominantly test pilots, with a smattering of scientists) from its genesis; in addition, international “guests” (already flown on Salyuts 6 and 7 during the Soviet Intercosmos program) had not been flown as of yet aboard U.S. vehicles. During that year, several firsts were made as the first U.S. woman astronaut was launched on STS-7 (Sally Ride, who reluctantly became a celebrity during her first spaceflight), the first African-American astronaut flew during STS-8 (Guion “Guy” Bluford, who enjoyed a long career as he also flew on STS-61A, STS-39, and STS-53), and the first European Space Agency (ESA) payload specialist flew on STS-9/Spacelab 1 (German Ulf Merbold).

As 1983 progressed into 1984, space shuttle crews continued to grow more diverse, with the second African-American astronaut flying during STS-41B (Ronald McNair) and the first Jewish-American astronaut in space launched aboard the first Discovery mission (Judith Resnik on STS-41D). It seemed the “face” of the space shuttle program was finally reflecting face of the world, albeit in small ways. As 1984 closed out, milestones in Canadian spaceflight and space for women could be counted.

Chris Hadfield, a former CSA astronaut, electrified space fans the world over with his version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" aboard the ISS last year. Image Credit: Screengrab from the "Space Oddity" video on YouTube (from

Canada already had made a momentous contribution to the shuttle program as the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS, or most commonly known as “Canadarm”) had made its debut during November 1981’s STS-2 flight. This piece of hardware would become iconic, as it aided in payload deployment, retrieval, and construction duties during the shuttle’s 30-year history. While the shuttle program may have ended in 2011, its legacy is still felt, as the ISS’ Mobile Servicing System (MSS, consisting of Canadarm2, DEXTRE, and the Mobile Base) continues the spirit of cooperation between the U.S. and its Northern neighbors.

STS-41G’s addition of Marc Garneau (selected in 1983, transferred to the Canadian Space Agency in 1989) also began the era of the Canadian astronaut. Garneau would fly two more missions (STS-77 and STS-97) before retiring from spaceflight to go into politics.

In 2013, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) gained widespread visibility as Chris Hadfield became the nation’s first ISS commander. In addition to that first, he also became somewhat of a celebrity as he made well-received educational videos discussing various phenomena in space; at the end of his mission, he released a truly “out of this world” version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” which garnered millions of hits on YouTube. Just last week, NASA administrator Charlie Bolden (former shuttle astronaut, and first African-American NASA Administrator to serve permanently) related during an event in Ottawa, “My notes say [Chris Hadfield is] famous. Chris is not famous! Chris is infamous. Chris has revolutionized the way that people look at astronauts on orbit and he has brought spaceflight home to normal people down here. He has made them feel like: I can do this. I’m involved in this. And that’s really, really, really special.” Bolden is on point: Hadfield did make space seem accessible to people all over the world.

While Hadfield retired following his return to Earth last year, two CSA astronauts are still awaiting their spaceflight missions (Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques). As far as spaceflight is concerned, Canada’s influence is here to stay through its heritage, people, and hardware.

Women in space have also continued to make strides throughout the last three decades. In 1999, United States Air Force flyer Eileen Collins rocketed into history as she became the first female space shuttle commander on STS-93. In 2007, the spaceflight world saw two women commanders in space at the same time, as Peggy Whitson (ISS Expedition 16 commander) and Pam Melroy (STS-120 commander) met up on the international outpost in space. Most recently, the U.S. saw astronaut Karen Nyberg fly to the ISS in 2013. In the U.S., the idea of a “woman astronaut” no longer raises (many) eyebrows.

From NASA: “Russian cosmonaut Elena Serova, Expedition 41 flight engineer, floats through the Rassvet Mini-Research Module 1 (MRM1) of the International Space Station.” Serova is the fourth Russian woman to fly to space to date. Photo Credit: NASA

In Russian space news, just over a week ago Elena Serova became merely the fourth Russian woman to fly to space, but not without some controversy as she was met with questions about her daughter’s stability, her hairstyle, and her makeup during the requisite pre-flight press conference. However, she met the intrusive line of questioning like the professional she is: “Can I ask a question, too: Aren’t you interested in the hairstyles of my colleagues? My flight is my job. I feel a huge responsibility towards the people who taught and trained us and I want to tell them: We won’t let you down!” Serova seemed to not just speak for herself, but for all women with careers taking them away from the home front.

While it’s notable that the last U.S. astronaut class selected in 2013 is half comprised of women, Russia’s space program still seems resistant to the idea of women in orbit. The late Vladimir Popovkin (former head of Russia’s federal space agency) said of Serova in a Guardian article: “We are doing this flight for Russia’s image. She will manage it, but the next woman won’t fly out soon.” It is hoped that Serova’s flight is seen as a credit to women in space in her home nation, not as “an exception to the rule.” In future months, the ESA is set to send Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti into orbit for ISS Expedition 42/43, while the U.S. is currently preparing astronaut Kathleen Rubins for a long-duration ISS mission (Expedition 48/49).

As spaceflight begins its next “era” branching into commercial spaceflight, more ISS expeditions, and future deep space missions, diversity in space—spearheaded in part by those early “Golden Era” shuttle missions such as STS-41G—will continue to prove that space, indeed, is a place for everyone.