- Discovery (20)
- Pad 39-B (32)
- 67th Shuttle Mission
- 20th Flight OV-103
- 9th Night Launch
- MIR Rendezvous / Fly around
- 1st Mission with Female Pilot
- EVA Operations
- James D. Wetherbee (3), Commander
- Eileen M. Collins (1), Pilot
- C. Michael Foale (Ph.D.) (3), Mission Specialist
- Janice E. Voss, Ph.D. (2), Mission Specialist
- Bernard A. Harris, Jr., M.D.(2), Mission Specialist
- Vladimar G. Titov (4), Cosmonaut
- OPF -- 9/28/94
- VAB -- 1/05/95
- PAD -- 1/10/95
- 1/17/95 Start of Terminal Countdown
Demonstration Test (TCDT)
- 1/18/95 Flight Readiness Review
- 1/21/95 Load hypergolics
- 1/23/95 Hot fire APU No. 2
- 1/26/95 Ordnance install and hypergolic pressurization
- 1/27/95 Install and checkout spacesuits
- 1/29/95 Crew arrival for launch (12 midnight)
- 1/29/95 Begin S0007 Countdown procedure (4:30pm)
- 2/01/95 Begin 24-Hour Scrub Turnaround
- 2/03/95 Launch
- SPACEHAB-3, Spartan-204,
MIR-Rendezvous, CSE, GLO-2, ODERACS-II,
IMAX, SSCE, AMOS, MSX
STS-63's primary objective was to perform a rendezvous and fly
around of the Russian space station MIR. The objectives of the
Rendezvous/Flyby are to verify flight techniques,
navigation aid sensor interfaces, and engineering analyses associated
with Shuttle/Mir proximity operations in preparation for the
Other objectives of this flight are to perform the operations
necessary to fulfill the requirements of experiments located in
Spacehab-3 and to fly captively, then deploy and retrieve the
Spartan-204, the Shuttle Pointed Autonomous
Research Tool for Astronomy, is a free-flying retrievable platform.
It is designed to obtain data in the far ultraviolet region of the
spectrum from diffuse sources of light. Two crewmembers will also
perform a five hour spacewalk.
Payloads flying aboard STS-63
include the Cryo Systems Experiment
(CSE), the Shuttle Glow
sites were setup at Zaragoza, Spain; Ben Guerir, Morocco and
Moron, Spain but were not needed.
MPS Main Engine cutoff was on
schedule at MET of 8min 33 sec. A go was given for
APU shutdown at
12:36am EST. There were two
RCS thruster problems during launch.
Thruster L2D failed and
RCS R1U experienced a minor thruster leak
ascent. These jets
have redundancy and are not expected to
cause any violations with the MIR Rendezvous/Flyby
rules. One flight waiver was processed for upper level winds at Mach
1.4 in the event of a single
MPS engine out. The
SRB booster recovery
ships are in the recovery area and have spotted the SRB's. Due to 9ft
seas in the area, recovery operations are not expected to begin until
The launch was originally scheduled for February 2, 1995 at 12:49am
EST but a 24 hour scrub turnaround was put into effect due to a
failure in Inertial Measurement Unit
(IMU) #2. Although 3
installed onboard the shuttle, if necessary, a flight can be
accomplished with only one. The
IMU's are located on the flight deck
forward of the flight deck control and display panels. The failed unit
was removed and replaced and the countdown was set to pick up at the
T-11 hour mark at 8:31am EST 2/3/95. Launch window is 5 min. The
actual launch time is expected to vary by several minutes based on new
MIR state vectors for Shuttle rendezvous phasing requirements which
will be updated an hour before launch.
Rollout to Pad 39-B occured 1/10/95.
1st motion was around 12:40 p.m.
with hard down at around 8pm. The rollout to Pad 39-B
scheduled for 1/11/95 but was moved up one day when the pressure in a
right hand orbital maneuvering system
pod oxidizer manifold dropped
from 150 psi to about 15 psi. The manifold serves 4 of the
thrusters on the right hand pod. One of these thrusters (R3A) has a
documented very minor leak which was managed and controlled during the
past two flights. However, from the time the
orbiter left the
(1/5/95) to the time it was first powered up in the
VAB , the manifold
pressure dropped significantly. Engineers think this radical drop was
caused by cold weather effects on the thruster's seal this past
weekend. The manifold pressure was brought up to about 65 psi in the
VAB, the maximum available with equipment in the
VAB and after the
rollout to the pad, the mainfold pressure was returned to the standard
150psi. Low pressure in the manifold over a period of time may cause
other thruster seals to dry-out and leak.
On 1/12/95, it was decided to proceed with plans to replace the
leaking thruster on the right hand
orbital maneuvering system pod. On
1/19/95, workers replaced both leaking thrusters (R3A and R3R) and
leak checks are complete and good. Also, a faulty seal and quick
Auxiliary Power Unit
(APU) No. 2 was successfully
- Altitude: 213nm
- Inclination: 51.6 degrees
- Orbits: 129
- Duration: 8 days, 6 hours, 28 minutes, 15 seconds.
- Distance: 2,992,806 miles
- SRB: BI-070
- SRM: 360Q/L042
- ET : SN-68
- MLP : 2
- SSME-1: SN-2035
- SSME-2: SN-2109
- SSME-3: SN-2029
- KSC February 11, 1995 at 6:51 a.m EST on
Shuttle Landing Facility
Last Mission STS-66
Next Mission STS-67
- On flight day one (2/03/95) at 9:20am EST, Commander James D. Wetherbee
performed a 39sec OMS
burn to place it on a intercept course with the
Russian MIR Space
Station. At that time, Discovery was located 7000nm
behind MIR at an altitude of 190nm.
Payloads in the middeck and in the
SpaceHab module were powered up and the
RMS arm was checked out.
- On Friday, Feb 3, 1995 at 6:30 a.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 1
reports that flight controllers were troubleshooting a problem with
AFT RCS thruster R1U which has a slow leak
of 2-3lbs/hr. Though
thruster leaks are a common occurrence, the leaky jet is slightly more
of a concern for STS-63 because of the
Mir rendezvous. Flight rules
for mission dictate that Discovery must have all its
thrusters operational before it moves within 1,000 feet of Mir. In
past missions, leaks frequently cleared themselves once the jets were
warmed by either thruster firings or the sun. Subsequently, flight
controllers asked Commander James D. Wetherbee to position the
that sun would shine on the top side of the vehicle for several hours
to help warm up the leaking jet. Currently, controllers are
proceeding with the rendezvous as planned but will continue to watch
- Checkouts of the robot arm also went smoothly. The arm will be used later
in the mission to position and deploy the
Spartan-204 payload for its far
ultraviolet measurements of the space phenomena.
- On Friday, Feb 3, 1995 at 1:15 p.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 2
states: The leaking
RCS thruster is losing between 1-2 pounds of
propellant every hour, a manageable loss according to mission
managers. Temperatures on the thruster remain constant at about 54
degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below 40 degrees
Fahrenheit, controllers may have to close a manifold that supplies
propellant to the leaking jet. Closing that valve would preclude the
use of another healthy maneuvering jet which is to be used for
close-in maneuvering around Mir. In that case,
Discovery would not
maneuver any closer than 1,000 feet from Mir.
- Crew members also activated the
SPACEHAB module and began working
with the experiments housed inside. Twenty different experiments
ranging from protein crystal growth to a robotics demonstration
SPACEHAB payload complement. The
conducted a photographic survey of
Discovery's payload bay using the
shuttle's robot arm.
- On Saturday, Feb 4, 1995 at 8:30 a.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 3
states: One of the first tasks for the crew during its second day is
space was to deploy the Orbital Debris and Radar Calibration Spheres, or
ODERACS, from a canister in the shuttle's cargo bay. The three spheres
and three wire strands, all of varying sizes and composition, were
released from Discovery on time at
about 10:57 p.m. CST Friday and
will be used to fine-tune ground radars and optics worldwide that
track space debris. The spheres and wires may remain in orbit for
times ranging from as short as 20 days to 280 days.
- Mission Specialist and Russian Cosmonaut Vladimir Titov later used
the shuttle's mechanical arm to lift the
SPARTAN-204 satellite from
the cargo bay shortly after midnight for several hours of studying the
shuttle glow phenomenon and shuttle steering jet firings. Shuttle glow
is an effect created by the interaction of the shuttle's surfaces with
atomic oxygen in low Earth orbit and
is being observed on the mission
by the Far Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer aboard SPARTAN. Following
the conclusion of the SPARTAN-204 operations, the satellite was
latched down in the payload bay.
- Throughout the day,
Discovery has continued to close the distance
with Mir at a rate of
about 180 nautical miles with each
orbit. Discovery is now in an orbit
of 200 by 182 nautical miles,
about 4,400 miles behind Mir. One of
Discovery's steering jets
continues to slowly leak
- On Saturday, Feb 4, 1995 at 4:30 p.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 4
states: On the ground, flight controllers are assessing plans for
up-close maneuvers with Mir after a forward
reaction control system
thruster (RCS thruster F1F) on
Discovery began leaking during a hot
fire test earlier today. The thruster's oxidizer supply line has been
closed and Discovery has been maneuvered
to a nose-toward-the-sun
attitude to warm the thruster. Flight controllers report they are
seeing a gradual increase in temperature on the forward jet.
Throughout the evening, flight controllers will continue to look at
what effect the failure may have on the planned rendezvous as well as
their options for restoring thruster operations.
- On Sunday, Feb 5, 1995 at 7:30 a.m. CST, the Mission Update status
briefing reported that the problem with forward
RCS thruster F1F is
now resolved. Previously it was leaking at the rate of 3-5lbs per
hour. The forward part of the shuttle was placed in sunlight and
allowed to head up and
RCS manifold #1 was turned off. In an attempt
to stop the leak, Commander James D. Wetherbee and Pilot
Eileen M. Collins
closed and reopened the manifold of the leaky thruster several times.
Pressure was allowed to build up in the manifold and then the manifold
was open and the thruster commanded to fire. This cleared out any
residual fuel left in the thruster and stopped the leak. This same
procedure was repeated on the leaking
AFT R1U thruster to no avail.
At this time, Discovery 2000nm behind
MIR and closing at a rate of
190nm per orbit. The next orbital burn is scheduled for approximately
- On Sunday, Feb 5, 1995 at 10 a.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 5
reports: Discovery is expected to catch
up with the Russian space
station Monday morning, but mission managers are still discussing how
close the orbiter will come
to the Mir. The original plan calls for
Discovery to come within 33 feet of the
Mir complex, but because of a
leaking steering thruster, controllers also are looking at back-up
plans for having the shuttle fly around Mir at a distance of 400
feet. Mission managers in both countries are continuing to work toward
- Meanwhile in the
SPACEHAB module, activities with its 20 experiments
are progressing smoothly. Among those activities, crew members tested
a small robot called Charlotte. Designed by McDonnell Douglas
Aerospace, Charlotte is designed to service other experiments in the
absence of the crew. The robot moves along cables and has the
capability to change experiment samples and perform many routine
procedures. The crew also activated an experiment that studies how
materials burn in weightlessness. In this instance, the Solid Surface
Combustion Experiment is examining how Plexiglas burns.
- On Sunday, Feb 5, 1995 at 5 p.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 6
reports: Commander Jim Wetherbee and Pilot Eileen Collins closed and
reopened the jet manifold several times in an attempt to stop the
leak, but those attempts were not successful. Shortly before the crew
went to sleep, the manifold was closed. The crew will receive a
wake-up call at 11:21 p.m. CST to begin Flight Day 4.
Discovery is in
a 208 by 197 nautical mile orbit, less than 1,000 nautical miles
behind Mir and closing that distance by about 78 miles with each
- On Monday, Feb 6, 1995 at 7 a.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 7
reports: Discovery's crew has
begun preparations for a close encounter
with the Russian Mir
space station this afternoon, although two
possible plans for the rendezvous exist -- one that would have
Discovery move to about 35 feet from Mir at its closest point and
another that would have Discovery remain about
400 feet from Mir.
- Regardless of how close Discovery
approaches the station, for either
plan, Discovery will fire
its engines at 8:16 a.m. central and again
at 9:02 a.m. central in maneuvers designed to decrease the present
rate -- 79 nautical miles per orbit -- that the shuttle is closing in
on the station. Next, Discovery will
fire its engines at 10:37
a.m. central, when the shuttle is about 8 nautical miles from
begin the final phase of the rendezvous.
Discovery will arrive at a
point about 400 feet directly in front of
Mir at 12:16 p.m. central.
- For the plan which has
Discovery stay 400 feet from
Mir, the shuttle
would then begin a flyaround of Mir at 1:30 p.m., circling the station
completely by about 2:16 p.m. and firing its engines to depart the
vicinity of the station at 2:28 p.m. Under a plan where
would approach to 35 feet from Mir,
Discovery would reach that closest
point to the station at 1:20 p.m. The shuttle would then back away
and reach a point 400 feet distant again at about 2 p.m..
would begin a flyaround of Mir from a distance of 400 feet at 2:26
p.m., completing the circle and firing its engines to separate from
the vicinity at 3:13 p.m.
- Which plan will ultimately be used depends on an evaluation of a
leaking right aft
maneuvering jet aboard Discovery that is on going by
both shuttle flight controllers and
Mir flight controllers. A final
decision is expected as the morning progresses, although both
rendezvous plans are identical until 12:16 p.m. central, the time when
Discovery arrives a a point 400 feet from Mir.
- On Monday, February 6, 1995 at 8:23am, Commander James D. Wetherbee
and Pilot Eileen M. Collins
performed a minor orbital burn (NH burn)
that adjusted Discovery's
altitude and places the oribiter about 48nm
behind MIR. The burn lasted 13 sec (8.6ft/sec).
Vladimar G. Titov
began 2-way raido communications with
MIR via a special hand-held VHF
radio. First radio contact was made at about 550,000ft.
- The 8sec NC-4 burn occured at 9:02am CST with
Discovery at 48nm away
from MIR. This places the
orbiter in position for the NCC-burn. The
NCC-burn is the first burn calculated by onboard computers using
onboard navigation derived from
orbiter star tracker sightings) After
the NCC-burn, the TI-Burn puts Discovery into
the final phase of
rendezvous at 8nm behind MIR. This will start Dicovery on an arc that
will take it below MIR.
- On Monday, Feb 6, 1995 at 9:30 a.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 8
reports: Discovery's crew was given a "go"
to fly within 35 feet of
the Russian Mir space station at 9:25 a.m. CST.
- F. Story Musgrave
communicated to the crew that flight controllers
worked out a plan that will give them a GO to approach
MIR to 10
Meters. The rules setup with this plan require 3 conditions; 1) That
the right RCS
Manifold #1 providing fuel to the leaking R1U thruster
be closed before 300 meters; 2) That
Discovery approach no closer than
10meters; and 3) That in the event of any further loss of "Low Z"
thruster capability, that the crew open the closed manifold, back out
to 400ft and hold position.
- Discovery fired its engines
at 8:16 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. CST in
maneuvers that decreased the rate that the shuttle is closing in on
the station. At 2/6/95 at 11:38 CST, Discovery
is 2nm away from MIR
closing the distance at 19ft/sec. The 3rd mid-course correction was
successful at 11:41 CST and
Discovery is now closing at 16.5ft/sec.
Cosmonauts on MIR reported that they were able to see
jets firing. At 11:48am CST, with
MIR flying above and
just north of Hawaii. Discovery was
1.3nm away from MIR, nose pointing
forward with the payload bay pointing towards MIR.
moving toward MIR at 9ft/sec. At 11:59am CST
Discovery was about
1700ft from MIR and moving at 3ft/sec. Cosmonauts onboard
that they were able to see commander James D. Wetherbee waving in the
- At 2/6/95 at 12:06 CST (.9ft/sec and 960ft from
switched to a Low-Z attitude mode that restricts
RCS thrusters firings
that point away from the MIR space station.
Discovery is slightly in
front of and below MIR. At 12:22pm CST,
Discovery matched the
velocity vector of MIR and linked up orbits at 422ft. Both
and MIR downlinked video of each other from close proximity.
Discovery station kept at this location for about 1 hour before moving
in to closest approach at 10meters. Closest approach with
at 13:23pm CST while
Discovery was over the Pacific Ocean and at an
altitude of 213 nautical. It lasted for 10 min.
- On Monday, Feb 6, 1995 at 5 p.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 9
reports: "As we are bringing our space ships closer together, we are
bringing our nations closer together," said
STS-63 Commander Jim
Wetherbee after Discovery reached
the point of closest approach. "The
next time we approach, we will shake your hand and together we will
lead our world into the next millennium."
- Wetherbee reported that
Discovery performed well during the
operations. The orbiter's performance, he said, was identical to that
of the flight simulators the crew trained in.
Mir Commander Alexander
Viktrenko reported that the orbiter's thruster firing did not affect
the Mir's solar arrays. All insights collected today will be used to
refine planning for the first time a shuttle docks with
Mir later this
- The close approach operations went as planned and achieved a
distance of 37 feet between the top of the
SPACEHAB module and the
surface of the MIR module.
Discovery then backed out to 400 feet
and started MIR/Fly around operations. At 3:13pm CST
initiated the burn that would seperate
Discovery from MIR.
As the two
spacecraft seperated, Discovery
gathered data that will be used for
the MIR Docking
approach on STS-71.
On 2/6/95 at 5:23pm CST Discovery
was seperated from MIR and orbiting the earth at 214nmx207nm,
had been slowly closing the distance between it and
Mir since a few hours after it reached orbit. Today, the final phase of
rendezvous brought the
from behind the Russian station to a
point about 400 feet in front it.
Discovery then moved down the
velocity vector (an imaginary line extending in the direction of
travel of a space vehicle) toward Mir. After reaching the point of
closest approach over the Pacific Ocean at an altitude of 213 nautical
miles and maintaining that position for 10 minutes,
Mir and initiated a fly-around of the station.
- On Tuesday, Feb 7, 1995 at 8 a.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 10
and PAO commentary on NASA Select reports: As
Discovery was over
Brazil, it prepared to release the
Spartan 204 payload. The
were inhibited and the
Remote Manipulator System
(RMS) Robot arm was
placed in its derigidized position. Mission Specialist and Russian
Cosmonaut Vladimir G. Titov released the
Spartan 204 satellite and its
Far Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph instrument from the shuttle's
mechanical arm on time at 6:26 a.m. central. At 6:31am CST, Commander
James D. Wetherbee backed
Discovery away and
Vladimar G. Titov
confirmed that Spartan was in
good health by reporting the satellite
has performed its first solo maneuvers.
Discovery will move away from
Spartan 204 at about 4nm per orbit.
- The Spartan 204 satellite will spend about two days flying free of
Discovery, studying the gas and dust that fills space between stars
and planets. Spartan's observations will be recorded aboard the
satellite for analysis by scientists after
Discovery's return to
Earth. The satellite will be retrieved by the orbiter's robot arm
Thursday just prior to a spacewalk by Mission Specialists Bernard
Harris and Mike Foale.
- On Tuesday, Feb 7, 1995 at 5 p.m. CST,
Discovery's fifth day in space has come to a close as the
STS-63 crew turns its attention from rendezvousing with a Russian
space station to scientific investigations, satellites and spacewalks.
Crew members continued working with the 20 experiments residing in the
Spacehab module. The experiments -- which represent a diverse
cross-section of technological, biological and other scientific
disciplines -- include plant studies, crystal growth studies and a
- Just before the crew turned in, flight controllers faxed several
pictures taken from video sent by Mir during the rendezvous activities
Monday. The pictures showed how
Discovery looked to the
Mir crew while
it approached the Russian station.
- On Wednesday, Feb 8, 1995 at 6 a.m. CST,
Discovery's crew focused on preparations today -
- for a spacewalk
planned for Thursday and the shuttle's return to
Earth planned for
- Payload Commander
Bernard A. Harris and Mission Specialist
C. Michael Foale spent several hours this morning unstowing and checking
the spacesuits they'll use tomorrow for a five hour spacewalk. The
spacewalk will evaluate the warmth provided by thermal garments added
to the spacewalkers' gear and as well as the astronauts' ability to
maneuver large objects, in this case, the
Spartan satellite. Harris
and Foale reported the suits and other gear are in excellent shape and
ready for the spacewalk.
- Also, Commander James D. Wetherbee and Pilot
Eileen M. Collins
checked out the flight control systems
Discovery will use for landing.
displays and controls,
navigation aids and the shuttle's
aerosurfaces were tested and found in excellent shape as well.
- On Wednesday, Feb 8, 1995 at 2 p.m. CST, Commanders of two
space vehicles talked about their
missions and their historic rendezvous in space today during a special
ship-to-ship conversation from the Space Shuttle
Discovery and the
Russian Space Station Mir.
- STS-63 Commander
James D. Wetherbee and Mir Commander Alexander
Viktorenko spoke through an interpreter in Houston's Mission Control
Center. The conversation focused on the missions of the two crews and
the success of their rendezvous on Monday. Wetherbee said he
especially enjoyed the point in the joint operations when
maneuvered to a new attitude while
Discovery was circling it. "It was
like dancing in the cosmos," Wetherbee said. "It was great." The
commanders also said they were looking forward to meeting each other
on Earth and exchanged compliments
about the two space vehicles and
the teams that designed them. "Together our programs will be even
better," Wetherbee said.
- The six crew members officially began their eight-hour sleep period at
1:52 p.m. Central. When they wake for their seventh day in space,
Mission Specialists Bernard A. Harris and
C. Michael Foale will begin preparing
for their four and a half hour spacewalk. Harris and Foale will test
improvements in their spacesuits and perform several mass handling
exercises. The two spacewalkers checked out their suits earlier today
and confirmed that they were ready for Thursday's activities.
- The spacewalk will begin around 6 a.m. Central, shortly after the
retrieval of the Spartan-204 satellite.
has been flying free
of Discovery since
Tuesday morning, collecting data on the
- On Thursday, Feb 9, 1995 at 6:30 a.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 14
reports: Discovery's crew
performed the second rendezvous of the mission today
and are now in the midst of a spacewalk in one of the busiest days
ever aboard a Space Shuttle.
- Commander James D. Wetherbee and Pilot
Eileen M. Collins flawlessly eased the
shuttle to the Spartan-204 satellite this morning, which had been released
from Discovery on Tuesday, to allow
astronaut Janice E. Voss to capture
it using the mechanical arm. Voss locked on to the satellite and its
cargo of research on the material in interstellar space at 5:33 a.m.
CST as Discovery flew 240 miles
above the Pacific Ocean south of the
- While free-flying from Discovery,
Spartan's Far Ultraviolet Imaging
Spectrograph gathered more than 40 hours of observations to study the
interstellar medium, the gas and dust that fills space between stars
and planets and of which new such bodies are formed.
- Just after the satellite was captured, crewmates
C. Michael Foale and
Bernard A. Harris began a five-hour spacewalk to test new thermal devices
designed to warm their spacesuits and evaluate how well they can
manipulate the 3,000-pound
Spartan-204 satellite in weightlessness. Harris
became the first African-American to walk in space as the EVA started
at 5:56 a.m. CST.
- On Thursday, Feb 9, 1995 at 3 p.m. CST, Two of
astronauts performed at 4 hour, 39 minute,
spacewalk to test modifications in their spacesuits and gain
experience in handling large masses in space.
- Mission Specialists
Bernard A. Harris and
C. Michael Foale floated into
Discovery's payload bay shortly after 6 a.m. Central to begin the
shuttle program's 29th spacewalk. After arranging their tools in the
payload bay, Harris and Foale were lifted out of the payload bay on
the robot arm to evaluate how well new space suit undergarments would
keep them warm.
- For the test, Mission Specialist Vladimir C. Titov positioned the arm so
that the two spacewalkers were high above and away from the relative
warmth of the payload bay. They stayed in position for about 15
minutes, subjectively rating their comfort levels while sensors in
their gloves collected objective data that will be compared to
temperatures taken of the space environment around them.
- For the second part of the spacewalk, Harris conducted a mass handling
exercise with the Spartan-204 satellite to gain experience in moving
While Harris was finishing his portion of the
exercise, both astronauts reported that their hands were beginning to
get cold. Flight controllers subsequently decided to cancel Foale's
mass handling tasks and end the spacewalk early.
- Harris and Foale re-entered
airlock and finished their
spacewalk around 10:30 a.m. Central. All the information collected
during the extravehicular activity will be used to refine and develop
spacewalk techniques and systems for future shuttle and International
Space Station EVAs.
- As the spacewalk was beginning, Mission Specialist
Janice E. Voss was
using the robot arm to pluck the
Spartan-204 satellite from orbit and
secure it in the payload bay.
Spartan-204 had been flying free of
Discovery for two days, collecting information on the material in
- On Friday, Feb 10, 1995 at 7 a.m. CST,
Discovery's crew began
powering off experiments and packing
up the shuttle cabin in preparation for Saturday's trip home. Two
final observations were performed during the morning with the GLO
experiment, a study of the glowing effect created as the shuttle's
surfaces interact with atomic oxygen in orbit. Commander James
D.Wetherbee and Pilot Eileen M. Collins
fired Discovery's steering
jets to allow the experiment to observe their effect on the glow.
- On Friday, Feb 10, 1995 at 3 p.m. CST, STS-63 MCC Status Report # 17
reports: Shuttle astronauts got one last look at the Russian Space
Station Mir before they return home Saturday, a fitting end to
Discovery's historic 20th flight.
At about 12:35 p.m. Central, Mir
performed an on-orbit maneuver during which
STS-63 crew members
reported that they could see the station near the horizon as it
trailed behind the orbiter at a
distance of 850 nautical miles. To
Discovery's payload bay cameras, Mir looked like a small flashing
star. The sighting occurred as crew members were in the last stages
of putting away their experiments and equipment to configure the
orbiter for Saturday's trip back to Earth.
- Discovery is scheduled to land at
Florida's Kennedy Space Center
Shuttle Landing Facility Saturday, firing its engines at 4:44 a.m. CST
to lead to a touchdown at about 5:51 a.m. CST. The weather forecast
for Florida is currently
favorable for the landing, although flight
controllers will be watching a possibility of low clouds and strong
winds there closely as the forecast is continually updated.
weather is forecast to deteriorate on Sunday.
- Two other landing opportunities exist for
Discovery Saturday at
Edwards Air Force Base, Ca., as well. The first, which is unlikely to
be used since it occurs prior to the first
Florida opportunity, would
have the shuttle fire its engines at 4:38 a.m. CST leading to a
touchdown at 5:43 a.m. CST. The second opportunity for Edwards occurs
one orbit after the
Florida opportunity and would have
its engines at 6:13 a.m. CST leading to a touchdown at 7:19 a.m. CST.
Edward's weather is forecast to be excellent for a landing Saturday ,
and managers may opt to land there if Florida's weather prohibits a
also has backup landing opportunities available in
both Florida and California on Sunday.
- On Saturday, Feb 11, 1995 at 7 a.m. CST,
STS-63 MCC Status Report # 18
reports: The Shuttle
Discovery swooped to a dawn landing at the
Kennedy Space Center this morning on time to complete an historic
eight-day mission highlighted by the first rendezvous by a Shuttle
with the Mir Space Station.
Commander Jim Wetherbee and Pilot Eileen
Discovery to a textbook touchdown on KSC's Runway 15 at
5:51 AM CST to complete a 2,992, 806 million mile mission spanning 129
complete orbits of the
Earth, the 20th flight for
- With nearly perfect weather at KSC awaiting him and his crewmates,
orbital maneuvering system engines to
Discovery to drop out of its orbit for an hour-long descent
through the Earth's atmosphere.
Discovery cut a blazing path through
the pre-dawn skies over the heartland of America as it raced toward
its Florida landing site.
- Live television pictures of the landing were transmitted to the
Russian Mission Control Center
in Kaliningrad, Russia, where flight
controllers beamed them up to the three cosmonauts travelling aboard
the Mir Space Station.
- Less than an hour after completing their flight,
astronauts left their vehicle for post-landing medical exams and
reunions with their families. The
astronauts returned to Houston's
Ellington Field for a welcoming ceremony at 5:30pm CST.
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