Chapter Two Footnotes
6555th Aerospace Test Group
The Commander's office and most of the Support Division's people were located at Patrick Air Force Base. The ATLAS Systems Division and the TITAN III Systems Division operated out at the Cape's launch facilities approximately 20 miles north of Patrick.
Vehicle Systems Division
The new division was created by joining the ATLAS Mission Management Branch and ATLAS/AGENA Launch Operations Branch with the TITAN III Systems Division's Engineering and Launch Operations Branch, the Launch Services Branch, and the Program Management Branch.
Satellite Systems Division
The Satellite Systems Division had no formal organizational structure per se, but personnel assigned to various payload programs (e.g., Defense Support Program, DSCS, FLTSATCOM, GPS, etc.) reported directly to the Division Chief.
personnel were transferred
The 1st Space Launch Squadron was created from the 6555th's DELTA II program resources previously assigned to the Medium Launch Vehicle Division. The 1st was assigned directly to ESMC, and its first commander was Lt. Colonel R. M. Moyer. The Squadron was authorized 16 officers, 12 enlisted people and five civilians by the end of December 1991. The remaining portions of the Medium Launch Vehicle Division became the ATLAS II CTF. The ATLAS II CTF was directed by Lt. Colonel J. T. Brock, and it was authorized 11 officers, seven enlisted people and four civilians at the end of October 1991. The Space Launch Vehicle Systems Division became the TITAN IV CTF, and it was directed by Lt. Colonel William H. Barnett. By the end of October 1991, the TITAN IV CTF was authorized approximately 48 officers, 32 enlisted people and 13 civilians. The Spacecraft Division and the Resource Management Division (a.k.a. Programs/Analysis Division) continued to operate after the transfer to AFSPACECOM as "Payload Operations" and "Ops Resource Management" under Colonel Michael R. Spence in his capacity as ESMC's Deputy for Launch Operations. Payload Operations was authorized 23 officers, 27 enlisted people and seven civilians in October 1991. During the same period, Ops Resource Management had authorizations for three officers, four enlisted people and six civilians.
The 45th Spacecraft Operations Squadron's first commander was Lt. Colonel Ivory J. Morris. The Squadron was authorized 24 officers, 23 enlisted people and seven civilians by the middle of January 1992.
spacecraft agency training aids
Training lesson plans existed in the 6555th as far back as the old LARK and MATADOR programs in the early 1950s, but much of the 6555th's training program under AFSC was oriented toward apprenticeship (i.e., training someone by having that person watch another person perform tasks). Our knowledge of Test Group training is thus largely undocumented. In the interest of making their new launch resources "operational," AFSPACECOM insisted on written study guides and operating instructions at the squadron level (i.e., like other operational commands). Following ESMC's transfer to AFSPACECOM, the 1st Space Launch Squadron, the CTFs and the Payload Operations Office began writing the required study guides and operating instructions.
updates from the SLOCs
On launch day, four SLOCs were assigned to supervise the following operations: 1) white room closeout, tower walkdown and Mobile Service Tower (MST) rollback, 2) lanyard tensioning, Umbilical Tower walkdown and MST rollback, 3) launch deck closeout, solid motor arming and MST rollback, and 4) postlaunch securing and scrub turnaround tasks. In addition to this supervision, the Squadron's Chief of Operations Flight conducted his own walkdown of both towers to ensure equipment was properly configured for the MST rollback.
Johnson Controls World
Johnson Controls acquired the old range support contractor, Pan American World Services, in February 1989. The company kept the Pan Am logo until July 1990. Pan American World Services had supported the Eastern Range (a.k.a., Eastern Test Range) under an unbroken string of contracts since December 1953.
Systems Division and the Space Launch Systems Division
On 12 June 1990, the ESMC Vice Commander approved the merger of those two divisions into a new 37-member Heavy Launch Vehicle Division. Nine personnel were transferred from the Aerospace Systems Division to the Director of Quality's office and other divisions.
agent for the Space and Missile Systems Center
Systems Program Offices (SPOs) assigned to the Space and Missile Systems Center "owned" the various spacecraft contracts and exercised authority over the individual Payload Support Contractors (PSCs), but the Field Program Manager (FPM) managed individual programs at the Cape and KSC on behalf of the various SPOs. The reader should note that this relationship went back to the 6555th Aerospace Test Group, the Space Systems Division and the Division's predecessor organizations. Space Systems Division became the Space and Missile Systems Center as a result of the merger of AFSC and AFLC into Air Force Materiel Command on 1 July 1992. The Space and Missile Systems Center was headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
two years before a spacecraft arrived
Typically, detailed spacecraft planning and scheduling began 18 months before launch, but processing requirements might be considered as much as four years before launch.
of the 6555th Test Group's TITAN III Systems Division
Lt. Colonel Ansel L. Wood became "Acting Commander" of the Division after Lt. Colonel Conti transferred to a new assignment at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma in November 1971. Lt. Colonel Robert D. Woodward succeeded Lt. Colonel Wood as TITAN III Systems Division Chief in May 1972. Lt. Colonel Edwin W. Brenner became Chief of the TITAN III Systems Division after Colonel Woodward assumed command of the 6555th Aerospace Test Group on 16 July 1973. Woodward's predecessor, Colonel Arthur W. Banister, had succeeded Colonel Davis P. Parrish as Group Commander on 24 August 1972.
The ITL consisted of launch complexes 40 and 41, the Vertical Integration Building (VIB), the Solid Motor Assembly Building (SMAB), the Solid Rocket Motor Processing Area, offices, warehouse space, railroads and the TITAN IIIC transporter system. The Solid Rocket Motor Processing Area consisted of a Missile Inert Storage Building for warehousing and processing solid rocket motor components, Segment Arrival Storage (SAS) areas, and a Receiving Inspection Storage (RIS) Building.
L and Missile Assembly Buildings I and II
All payload fairing activities at Hangar L were phased out in July 1971, and the building was returned to the Air Force Eastern Test Range (AFETR) organization. TITAN payload fairing storage and processing operations shifted to missile assembly buildings I and II following the completion of modifications to those buildings in July and August 1971. Missile Assembly Building I (MAB I) was used for payload fairing processing operations (e.g., the application of thermal protective coatings, ordnance installation, mechanical and electrical testings and fairing modifications). Missile Assembly Building II provided an air-conditioned storage area for flight-ready payload fairings.
On 1 July 1971, Martin Marietta had 232 people working its TITAN III operations at the Cape. During the same period, United Technologies had 49 people on the Range, and DELCO and Aerojet had 14 employees apiece. Aerospace Corporation was represented on the Eastern Test Range with 19 employees. By January 1973, TITAN III Systems Division authorizations had declined to 18 officers, 31 airmen and 12 civilians and actual manning dropped to around 60 people. The ratio of contractors to Division personnel changed to around 6:1 at that time, but it gradually moved back to around 4:1 in later years.
Defense Support Program
According to a synopsis of the DSP program printed in Airman Magazine in September 1993 (Volume XXXVIII, Number 9), Defense Support Program payloads were designed to detect missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations. From the early 1970s onward, the DSP system provided an uninterrupted early warning capability, feeding data to NORAD and (later) U.S. Space Command early warning centers at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. The DSP constellation of satellites orbited approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth and employed infrared sensors to detect missile and space booster exhaust plumes against Earth's background. Though the first-generation DSP satellites weighed approximately 1,800 pounds apiece, the latest DSP spacecraft weighed about 5,000 pounds. The newest DSP satellites measured 32 feet 8 inches long and 22 feet in diameter. TRW was the prime contractor for DSP spacecraft.
the first two Phase II Defense Satellite Communications Program (DSCP)
The flight plan called for the injection of the TITAN IIIC's second stage, transtage and payload into an initial 82 x 108-nautical-mile parking orbit. The transtage and payload proceeded to a highly elliptical transfer orbit (e.g., 19,571 nautical miles at its apogee) and a final near synchronous orbit (19,494 x 19,323 nautical miles) before each of the two 1,130-pound satellites were injected into their proper orbits. One of the satellites was placed above the Atlantic Ocean, and the other was positioned over the Pacific. The Air Force Satellite Control Facility (AFSCF) in Sunnyvale, California encountered some command problems with the spacecraft initially, but both satellites were soon functioning normally. The satellites were built by TRW to meet the military's demand for high capacity, super-high frequency secure voice and data communications. Each DSCP satellite could relay as many as 1,300 duplex voice channels in an anti-jamming, secure voice environment.
vehicles (e.g., C-25 and C-28)
Core vehicles C-28 and C-25 arrived at the Cape on 25 October 1973 and 17 April 1974 respectively. Following their Acceptance CSTs, Launch Vehicle C-28 was accepted by the Air Force on 18 April 1974, and Launch Vehicle C-25 was accepted on 27 September 1974. The next core vehicle-C-29-arrived at the Cape on 24 October 1974. Erection of that vehicle began in the VIB on 28 October 1974, after C-28 was transferred to a storage stand in Cell #4 of the VIB. In effect, C-29 bumped C-28 in the launch lineup.
testing after the lightning strikes
In addition to that testing, Stage III propellants and fuel were off-loaded, and all flight ordnance electrical systems were disconnected and checked for damage.
of the 6555th Aerospace Test Group
During the three-week interval between the two commanders, the 6595th Aerospace Test Wing Commander (Colonel William C. Chambers) visited the Cape and assumed temporary command of the 6555th Aerospace Test Group.
Division was merged
The TITAN III Systems Division had 16 officers, 22 airmen and 13 civilians assigned to its various activities during the summer of 1975, but it lost Major Jerry H. Freer and his Space Satellite Systems branch to the new Satellite Systems Division on 1 November 1975. (The Satellite Systems Division also took over the Satellite Assembly Building in addition to Building 34705, Complex 14's ready building and the north half of Hangar AA.) What was lost in satellite systems was more than gained back in ATLAS booster facilities and people under the new division: the new Space Launch Vehicle Systems Division was authorized 20 officers, 31 airmen and 13 civilians at the end of 1975, and it had 19 officers, 30 airmen and 13 civilians assigned to its activities during that period. It also picked up ATLAS/AGENA facilities on Complex 13.
Launch Vehicle C-30
Launch Vehicle C-30 was mated to its SOLRAD and LES payloads on February 18th and February 25th, and the Launch CST was completed on 7 March 1976. The countdown for the mission got underway at Complex 40 on March 14th. Vehicle lift-off occurred at 2025:39 Eastern Standard Time on the 14th, which was equivalent to 0125:39 Greenwich Mean Time on 15 March 1976.
The Lincoln Experimental Satellites were experimental communications satellites built for the Air Force by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Each LES was ten feet long and weighed approximately 1,000 pounds. The satellites were placed in synchronous Earth orbit at an altitude of 22,300 miles to experiment with improved methods for maintaining voice or digital data circuits among widely separated, fixed or mobile communications terminals. The circuits were jam-resistant to allow operation in a hostile environment.
SOLRAD 11A and 11B
The SOLRAD spacecraft were built by the Naval Research Laboratory to monitor solar conditions and forecast disturbances severe enough to affect long-range communications and navigation systems. Each SOLRAD was 15 inches in diameter and 58 inches high, and each weighed about 400 pounds.
Eastern Daylight Time
During the 1970s and most of the 1980s, Eastern Daylight Time was used from 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in April to 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in October. During that portion of the year, clocks were advanced one hour ahead of standard time. Thus, Eastern Daylight Time was one hour later than Eastern Standard Time and four hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time. On 8 July 1986, President Reagan signed a bill to move the start of Daylight Savings Time to the first Sunday in April.
Checkout Facility (RVCF)
The RVCF was an extension of the New Hampshire Tracking Station, and it was used to determine if commands sent from a remote tracking facility (in this instance, the New Hampshire Tracking Station) could be received by a satellite in the RVCF. Other tests in the RVCF also confirmed a satellite's ability to send telemetry to a remote tracking facility. The 6555th's Satellite Systems Division was responsible for the RVCF.
As we noted earlier, Core Vehicle C-31 was placed in storage in Cell #3 of the VIB on 6 December 1976. It was moved to Cell #4 and erected on Transporter #3 on 2 June 1977, and then it was moved to the SMAB on June 3rd. The core vehicle and solid rocket motors were mated a few days later, and Launch Vehicle C-31 was moved out to Complex 40 on June 16th. The vehicle remained at Complex 40 for ten weeks to support a scheduled mission, which, unfortunately, did not materialize. The vehicle was returned to the SMAB on 6 September 1977, and the solid rockets were demated from the core. Core Vehicle C-31 returned to Cell #3 for storage on September 19th. The core was retested in Cell #2 toward the end of September, and it was put back in storage in Cell #3 on 8 October 1977. Interestingly enough, the vehicle's transtage (Stage III) had been used for a shock test at the Arnold Engineering Center in Tennessee, but it had been refurbished for flight prior to its arrival at the Cape in June 1976. The transtage had been flight-worthy in the summer of 1977, but the extended wait in storage began to take its toll: a crack in one of the transtage's longerons was noticed on 21 February 1978, and soon more cracks and soft aluminum patches were discovered. A decision was made to replace the transtage's control module entirely, and the transtage was shipped back to Martin Marietta's plant in Denver on 29 August 1978 to have the work done. The transtage was repaired, and it was returned to the Cape on 8 January 1979. Core Vehicle C-31 was moved out of storage on 16 January 1979, and it was transferred to Cell #2 of the VIB for reacceptance testing. The Reacceptance CST was completed successfully on March 9th, and the core vehicle was moved to the SMAB for its solid rocket mate on 14 March 1979.
Launch Vehicle C-37
The Space Division history for FY 1980 notes only two significant problems with C-37: 1) replacement of the vehicle's Stage I hydraulic pump during acceptance testing and 2) a battery malfunction five days before launch.
The first operational IUS (IUS-1) was assigned to NASA's Tracking and Data Relay System satellite (TDRS-A), which was scheduled for launch on Challenger's maiden flight (i.e., the sixth Shuttle flight in the program). IUS-2 was launched on 30 October 1982, and IUS-1 was launched later, on 4 April 1983. As a point of interest, IUS-1 completed its acceptance testing on 22 May 1982, and it was moved to the SMAB on July 19th. After processing was completed at the SMAB, IUS-1 was moved to NASA's Vertical Processing Facility (VPF) on Merritt Island on November 8th. The IUS was mated to the TDRS-A satellite at the VPF on 24 November 1982. The IUS and spacecraft were installed in the orbiter's cargo bay on 24 February 1983. Following Challenger's launch on 4 April 1983, IUS-1 and the TDRS-A satellite were spring-ejected from the orbiter's cargo bay about ten hours into the mission. Though the IUS' first stage "burn" went well, the second stage's rocket nozzle malfunctioned during the second stage burn. The Air Force Satellite Control Facility in California and a ground control station at White Sands, New Mexico managed to separate the IUS from the spacecraft, but the second stage burn was cut off early. Several months of altitude correction were required before the TDRS-A reached the proper geosynchronous orbit and entered normal service.
DSCS II/III payload
The payload consisted of two DSCS satellites: one operational DSCS II communications satellite and the first flight model DSCS III satellite. (Author's note: a contract for full-scale development of the DSCS III had been awarded to General Electric in 1977. Under that contract, GE agreed to build and test one qualification model of the DSCS III satellite and deliver two flight models of the satellite. The company also agreed to build two engineering models of the electronic equipment, computer programs and communications hardware that would be needed to control the satellites from the ground.) The operational DSCS II satellite was nine feet in diameter and nine feet long. It weighed approximately 1,350 pounds. The DSCS III satellite measured 6 x 6 x 7 feet. In its operational configuration, the DSCS III weighed approximately 2,500 pounds.
Greenwich Mean Time
Mission-related times were presented in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in 1982 and later-year ESMC and 45th Space Wing histories to avoid the confusion inherent in Eastern Daylight Time and Eastern Standard Time references. The Air Force specified Greenwich Mean Time with a "Z" (Zulu) suffix. The "Z" designation will be used for all times appearing in the remainder of this chapter.
The TITAN 34D Program Requirements Document was revised in early 1982 to allow the transition of classified payloads from TITAN IIICs to TITAN 34Ds equipped with transtages (TSs) as well as IUSs. The transtages were required due to slips in the IUS program schedule.
ground to a halt
As we noted in Chapter I, the TITAN 34D-9 launch disaster at Vandenberg AFB on 18 April 1986 effectively grounded TITAN 34D launch operations on both coasts until an aggressive recovery program was implemented to reconfirm the TITAN 34D's reliability.
D-13's acceptance testing
Core Vehicle D-13 was moved from Cell #1 to Cell #2 after Core Vehicle D-11 was moved from the VIB to the SMAB in February 1984. D-13's first stage was replaced in Cell #2, and the vehicle was moved back to Cell #1 for acceptance testing.
Under the command
Colonel Martinelli assumed command of the 6555th on 25 February 1985. His predecessor, Colonel Charles A. Kuhlman, commanded the Test Group for one of the longest periods on record (10 August 1981 through 24 February 1985). Colonel Kuhlman's predecessor was Colonel Walter S. Yager, who succeeded Colonel George L. Rosenhauer as Test Group Commander on 28 February 1980.
The facility consisted of three cells-A, B and C. Cells A and B were identical 20 x 32-foot reinforced concrete rooms with removable roof panels which allowed rocket motors to be lowered into the cells. Cell C was built the same way, but its floorspace was considerably larger (e.g., 47 x 58 feet). A central control area joined cells A and B in one wing of the facility with Cell C in the other wing. Together with its environmental enclosure and 85-ton crane, the facility cost approximately $27.8 million to build and equip.
refurbish Launch Complex
Complex 41 had been deactivated at the end of 1977 after NASA's last VOYAGER mission was launched to the outer planets. For the next eight years, the Cape's corrosive salt air environment ate away at the site unchecked. Under the circumstances, Complex 41's renovation had to be extensive. The project included: 1) tearing out or modifying structural, mechanical and electrical systems, 2) sandblasting, priming and painting Complex 41's towers, 3) changing fuel systems and 4) installing air pollution control devices on fuel and oxidizer systems. Though Martin Marietta was responsible for the project, the Eastern Space and Missile Center formed a TITAN IV Site Activation Working Group (SAWG) to monitor the project's progress. The Test Group and various ESMC agencies (e.g., contracts, quality assurance, range facilities engineering, range systems development, safety, range contractors, ETR program management and the Aerospace Corporation) sent representatives to the SAWG's monthly meetings.
corrosion was discovered
In the fall of 1987, signs of corrosion were detected under the UT's new paint job. Some corrosion was also discovered on a propellant piping chase in May 1988, but a preliminary propellant "hot flow" review in September 1988 confirmed the integrity of Complex 41's fueling system. After the first TITAN IV launch in June 1989, it was apparent that some portions of the towers would have to be sandblasted, primed and painted all over again. At the end of July 1989, the Test Group asked Range Facilities Engineering to task the Launch Base Services contractor to reaccomplish the work. Pan American's remedial work was accomplished in the summer of 1990.
Payload Operations Control Center (CPOCC)
The CPOCC was originally designed to control and monitor CENTAUR vehicle, spacecraft and support systems operations for Shuttle/CENTAUR missions. The facility was linked to spacecraft/CENTAUR integration at the SPIF and Shuttle/CENTAUR systems at NASA's Vertical Processing Facility on Merritt Island. It was also linked to ATLAS/CENTAUR integration and testing systems on Launch Complex 36.
second floor redesigned
Sterns-Roger was contracted to redesign and modify the second floor to provide Test Group and higher headquarters commanders and managers with information displays and communications outlets to their agencies. The modifications included new walls, LMCC consoles, fire suppression and air-conditioning systems, new cable raceways and consoles for the Command Management Control Center (CMCC). The work was completed in December 1988. The LMCC was activated in July 1989, and it was fully operational in the spring of 1990.
The three alternatives were: 1) modify the existing SMAB, 2) build a duplicate of the old SMAB, and 3) build an improved SMAB (i.e., the SMARF). A new improved SMAB would cost more to build than modifications to the old SMAB, but (surprisingly) it would be cheaper to build than a duplicate of the old SMAB. A persuasive point in favor of the SMARF was that it could be designed to allow the stacking and storage of two flight sets of SRMUs in a vertical, checked out configuration, thereby optimizing the operators' ability to return a TITAN IV to the SMARF if a problem developed at the launch pad. (Author's note: though the basic TITAN IV vehicle was designed to carry two seven-segment solid rocket motors, the new three-segment SRMU design was expected to be introduced once TITAN IV operations were underway. Each of the SRMU segments would measure 12 x 30 feet, as opposed to the seven 10 x 10-foot motor segments carried on the basic TITAN IV vehicle. Consequently, an SRMU stack was significantly taller and heavier than a basic seven-segment SRM stack, and it posed a bigger storage problem. Both types of solid rocket motors would continue to be used with the TITAN IVs, but the SRMUs would be used for heavier payloads and/or higher energy orbits.)
launch vehicle (D-8)
Core Vehicle D-8 arrived at the Cape on 19 February 1985. It was erected on Transporter #2 in Cell #1 of the VIB by February 27th, and its Acceptance CST was completed there on 7 May 1985. The vehicle was transported to the SMAB for solid rocket mating on July 15th. As luck would have it, a severe thunderstorm developed near the SMAB on July 16th, and a lightning strike evidently damaged some of D-8's guidance system components. The damage was discovered after Launch Vehicle D-8 was moved to Complex 40, but Baseline CSTs at the pad were completed successfully at the end of August 1985 after the components were repaired or replaced. In the meantime, news of the TITAN 34D-7 failure at Vandenberg prompted a complete reassessment of D-8's propulsion systems, and that new requirement delayed the launch by at least several months. A second Baseline CST was completed on D-8 on 28 February 1986, but the vehicle had to be returned to the VIB for a thorough solid rocket motor inspection in July 1986 after the TITAN 34D-9 launch failure in April grounded the TITAN fleet. A Reassessment CST was completed on D-8 in the VIB on 27 May 1987, and the core vehicle was moved to the SMAB for another solid rocket mate on July 8th. Launch Vehicle D-8 was moved out to Complex 40 on July 10th, and a third Baseline CST was required as a retest for extensive "black box" (avionics) replacements and other improvements. Final preparations for the November 1987 launch continued in a relatively routine fashion through the summer and early fall of 1987.
The first unscheduled hold occurred at T minus 10 minutes when vessels were detected in the launch danger zone. A 29-minute delay in the countdown was required to get the intruders to safety. The second unscheduled hold was called at T minus five minutes when the umbilical retract mechanism on Solid Rocket Motor #1 failed to lock. A technician was sent out to the pad to lock the mechanism manually, and the hold was terminated after 69 minutes.
beginning of the TITAN
The first TITAN IV liquid rocket engines arrived at the Cape on 18 December 1987, and the roll-out ceremony for stages I and II of the TITAN IV pathfinder vehicle took place at Complex 41 on 14 January 1988. Colonel Bourne succeeded Colonel Dominick R. Martinelli as Test Group Commander on 15 January 1988. As noted earlier, Colonel Michael R. Spence assumed command of the 6555th Aerospace Test Group on 2 October 1990, and he succeeded Colonel Bourne.
upper stage flight failures
Both of the failures involved commercial ATLAS I/CENTAUR vehicles launched from Launch Complex 36B on the Cape. The first failure occurred on 18 April 1991 when one of the CENTAUR's Pratt & Whitney engines failed to start about six minutes after lift-off. Range Safety sent destruct commands, and the vehicle's destruction was confirmed seconds later. The second failure occurred on 22 August 1992. The flight on that date went well until the CENTAUR upper stage malfunctioned, and Flight Control Officers (FCOs) had to destroy the vehicle about eight minutes after launch.
IUS was mission-specific
The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in Los Angeles provided overall program management for the IUS, and Boeing Aerospace was SMC's prime contractor for IUS operations. During the period in question, the 6555th Aerospace Test Group served as the "on-scene" launch support agency for Shuttle/IUS operations at KSC and the Cape. The 45th Operations Group's Launch Vehicle Directorate also contributed to the effort after the 45th Space Wing was activated on 12 November 1991.
support an astronaut bailout
One HC-130 aircraft was on cockpit alert at Patrick. One KC-130 was on ready alert at Cherry Point, North Carolina, and two E-2C Hawkeyes were on ready alert at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia. One Coast Guard cutter (with helicopter) was stationed about 100 nautical miles downrange, and one Navy ship (with helicopter) was positioned 150 nautical miles downrange. An HC-130 aircraft orbited about 175 nautical miles downrange, and C-130s were on cockpit alert at Moron Air Base (Spain), Banjul (the Gambia), Zaragoza (Spain) and Ben Guerir (Morocco). Two P-3C aircraft were also on ready alert at Jacksonville, Florida and at Lajes in the Azores. Two H-60 Army medical evacuation helicopters and four H-1 support helicopters were also on alert at Edwards Air Force Base, California to handle medical, security and photographic support tasks.
orbiter's three main engines
The solids produced 2,650,000 pounds of thrust apiece, and each of the orbiter's main engines produced 390,000 pounds of thrust at sea level. At altitude, each main engine's performance increased to approximately 488,000 pounds of thrust.
As we noted earlier, the SYNCOM IV constellation was sent into space to replace aging FLTSATCOM satellites that provided worldwide defense communications for submarines and ships at sea. The SYNCOM IV was a Hughes HS381 satellite with a life expectancy of ten years. In its stowed configuration, the satellite measured 14 feet 1 inch by 13 feet 9 inches. It weighed 17,081 pounds. The satellite was deployed horizontally by means of a rotational pivot. The SYNCOM IV was pushed off the port side of the Shuttle's cargo bay at a velocity of 1.4 feet per second. The satellite's perigee kick motor (e.g., a MINUTEMAN III TU-882 upper stage) fired 45 minutes later, injecting the payload into an elliptical transfer orbit. Subsequently, a liquid apogee motor circularized the SYNCOM IV's orbit at an altitude of 19,300 nautical miles and established final synchronous orbit.
all-military Shuttle mission
The term "all-military Shuttle mission" refers only to the major payload or payloads carried into space, not the composition of the crew. Civilians were not excluded from crew duty, and a civilian crewmember (Dr. Kathryn C. Thornton) served on an all-military mission in November 1989.
two unscheduled holds
The first hold was called at 1255Z after a cargo vessel was detected in the surveillance area. The second unscheduled hold was called at 1305Z for foul weather, and it lasted 45 minutes.
mission at 0750:22Z on 28 February 1990
The mission experienced a total of five launch delays and scrubs between February 21st and February 28th. The launch was slipped 24 hours due to a crew member illness on February 21st. A forecast of poor weather (compounded by uncertainty concerning the crew member's health) pushed the launch to February 24th. The countdown on the 24th was scrubbed at L minus 15 hours due to weather constraints, and another launch attempt on February 25th was scrubbed at T minus 31 seconds when the Eastern Range's Cyber B computer failed. The countdown on February 26th was scrubbed due to high upper level winds, but the final countdown on February 28th was successful despite unscheduled holds for weather in the launch area.
Shuttle Pallet Satellite
The Shuttle Pallet Satellite II (SPAS II) was an advanced version of the SPAS I spacecraft that flew on two civilian Shuttle missions in June 1983 and April 1984. The Shuttle's Remote Manipulator System (RMS) deployed the satellite. Once the SPAS II's altitude control system was checked out, Discovery maneuvered about ten kilometers away from the spacecraft. At that distance, the SPAS II took "far-field" measurements of the Shuttle's OMS and primary control system exhaust plumes to characterize their spectral and radiometric signatures. Similar observations and measurements were made of Earth and Earthlimb fields to provide a background model for boost detection and target tracking purposes. Following the far-field measurements, Discovery moved to a distance of about 2.25 kilometers to let the SPAS II capture near-field measurements. A rendezvous followed, and the RMS grappled the SPAS II and brought it aboard. The three Chemical Release Observation (CRO) sub-satellites were also carried aboard Discovery in get-away special canisters. The CRO sub-satellites were ejected into space, and they were commanded to release three different rocket fuel clouds (e.g., monomethyl hydrazine, unsymmetrical dymethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide) for observation by the IBSS and other instruments during the mission.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|