STS-77 (77)

Endeavour (11)
Pad 39-B (36)
77th Shuttle Mission
11th Flight OV-105
KSC Landing (30)


John H. Casper (4), Commander
Curtis L. Brown Jr. (3), Pilot
Daniel W. Bursch (3), Mission specialist
Mario Runco, Jr.(3), Mission Specialist
Marc Garneau (2), Mission Specialist (CSA)
Andrew S. W. Thomas (1), Mission Specialist


OPF -- 1/20/96
CEIT - 3/26/96
VAB -- 4/09/96
PAD -- 4/16/96
TCDT - 4/23/96
FRR -- 5/07/96



Mission Objectives:

NASA's flight of shuttle Endeavour is devoted to opening the commercial space frontier. During the flight the crew will perform microgravity research aboard the commercially owned and operated SPACEHAB module. The mission will also deploy and retrieve the Spartan-207/IAE (Inflatable Antenna Experiment) satellite and will also rendezvous with a test satellite. A suite of four technology experiments known as the Technology Experiments for Advancing Missions in Space (TEAMS) will also fly in the Shuttle's payload bay.

The SPACEHAB single module will be carrying nearly 3,000 pounds of experiments and support equipment for 12 commercial space product development payloads in the areas of biotechnology, electronic materials, polymers and agriculture as well as several experiments for other NASA payload organizations. One of these, the Commercial Float Zone Facility (CFZF) has been developed through international collaboration between the U.S., Canada and Germany. It will heat various samples of electronic and semiconductor material thru the float zone technique. Another facility on SPACEHAB will be the Space Experiment Facility (SEF) which will grow crystals by vapor diffusion.

The Goddard Space Flight Center. s (GSFC) Spartan-207 satellite will be used to deploy and test the Inflatable Antenna Experiment (IAE) which will lay the groundwork for future technology development in inflatable space structures. It will test the performance of a large inflatable antenna during a ninety-minute mission. The antenna structure will then be jettisoned and the SPARTAN-207 spacecraft recovered at mission end.

Inside Endeavour's cargo bay the four TEAMS experiments will operate throughout the mission. They include the Global Positioning System (GPS) Attitude and Navigation Experiment (GANE) which will determine to what accuracy the GPS system can supply attitude information to a space vehicle; the Vented Tank Resupply Experiment (VTRE) will test improved methods for in-space refueling; the Liquid Metal Thermal Experiment (LMTE) will evaluate the performance of liquid metal heat pipes in microgravity conditions and the Passive Aerodynamically Stabilized Magnetically Damped Satellite (PAMS) payload will be a technology demonstration of the principle of aerodynamic stabilization in the upper atmosphere. Cameras on the shuttle will record the PAMS satellite as it is deployed and track its movements.

Secondary experiments on the flight will include the Brilliant Eyes Ten Kelvin Sorption Cryocooler Experiment (BETSCE), the Aquatic Research Facility (ARF) and the Biological Research In a Canister (BRIC) experiment.


Launch Sunday, May 19, 1996 at 6:30:00.066 a.m. EDT Launch window was 2 hours 30 min.

The countdown proceeded very smoothly. The crew suited up, ate breakfast and was transported to the space shuttle Endeavour on Launch Pad LC-39B. By 3:30am EDT 5/19/96 the crew was in the White Room boarding the shuttle and 6:22am the Countdown clock picked up at the T-9 minute mark. Crew visors closed at 6:29am EDT. Liftoff occured exactly on time. MECO at 6:40am. EDT.

On Friday, 5/17/96 the countdown was proceeding on schedule and cryogenic propellant loading operations began shortly before 10:00pm on Saturday 5/18/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/17/1996).

On Monday, 5/13/96, the access doors were installed on the orbiter's aft engine compartment. The launch countdown began at 4 a.m. Thursday, May 16th, 1996 and the crew arrived from the Johnson Space Center in Houston at 9 a.m. later that day. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/13/1996).

On 5/7/96, the Mission Management Team met at the STS-77 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) and set May 19, 1996 as the official launch date. The original target date of May 16 was not available on the Eastern Range schedule.

On 4/30/96, hypergolic loading was completed. The SPACEHAB, TEAMS and Spartan-207/IAE payload interface verification tests were completed. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/02/1996). And on 5/3/96, the payload bay doors were closed for flight. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 5/06/1996.

On 4/9/96, rollover of Endeavour occured from OPF Bay 3 to the VAB. The Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB's) have been stacked and mated with external tank. At 10:00am on 4/16/96, the shuttle began it's roll from the VAB to Launch Pad 39-B and arrived at 3:30pm (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 4/17/1996).

On 3/25/96, Payload premate testing was complete and the tunnel adapter was installed and leak checked. The external tank had been mated to the solid rocket boosters and close-out operations were underway. The Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) and the landing gear functional test was conducted 3/26/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/26/1996).

The Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME's) were installed on Endeavour in OPF bay 3 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/13/1996).

The payload bay doors were opened on 1/24/96 for the first time since Endeavour landed from STS-72. The Japanese satellite retrieved during the mission and the OAST-Flyer were removed. Testing continued on the Flash Evaporator System (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 1/24/1996) and a decision was made to remove and retest the robotic arm prior to the next flight


Altitude: 153 nm (176 statute miles)
Inclination: 39 degrees
Orbits: 161
Duration: 10 days, 0 hours, 40 minutes, 10 seconds.
Distance: 4.1 million miles


SRB: BI-080
ET : SN-78
SSME-1: SN-2037
SSME-2: SN-2040
SSME-3: SN-2038


KSC May 29, 1996 at 7:09:18 a.m. EDT Shuttle Landing Facility Runway 33. At 6:00 am EDT, the crew was given a go for the deorbit burn and the burn was performed at 6:09am EDT. Main Gear touchdown at 7:09:18 EDT (MET of 10 days, 0 Hours, 39 Min and 18 sec), Nose Gear touchdown at 7:09:33 (MET of 10 days, 0 hours 39 min 33 sec) and Wheels Stop at 7:10:10 a.m. EDT (MET of 10 days, 0 hours 40 min 10 sec). KSC Weather at the time of landing was favorable. (Reference KSC Weather History 05/29/1996 0700).

There were a total of four landing opportunities for Endeavour on Wednesday -- two to KSC and two to Edwards Air Force Base. The 1st KSC Landing Opportunity on 5/29/96 was selected for a 7:09 a.m. touchdown. KSC Weather at the time of the deorbit burn was favorable. (Reference KSC Weather History 05/29/1996 0600).

The 2nd KSC Landing Opportunity on 5/29/96 would have been at 8:44 a.m. EDT, requiring a deorbit engine burn at 7:43 a.m. EST. The California landing opportunities would have been at 8:36a.m. EST and 10:11am EST. (2nd EAFB Landing Opportunity on 5/29/96).

Mission Highlights:

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