STS-93 (95)

Columbia (26)
Pad 39-B (44) (estimated)
94th Shuttle Mission (estimated)
26th Flight OV-102 (estimated)
1st Female Shuttle Commander


Eileen M. Collins (3), Mission Commander
Jeffrey S. Ashby (1), Pilot
Steven A. Hawley (5), Mission Specialist
Catherine G. Coleman (2), Mission Specialist
Michel Tognini (CNES) (2), Mission Specialist


OPF --
VAB -- 02/1/99
PAD --



Mission Objectives:

The primary objective of the STS-93 mission is to deploy the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility. AXAF is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory ever built. It is is designed to observe X-rays from high energy regions of the universe, such as hot gas in the remnants of exploded stars. This facility was recently renamed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel Laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. "Chandra" also means "Moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit.

The Observatory has three major parts: (1) the X-ray telescope, whose mirrors will focus X-rays from celestial objects; (2)the science instruments which record the X-rays so that X-ray images can be produced and analyzed; and (3) the spacecraft, which provides the environment necessary for the telescope and the instruments to work.

Other payloads on STS-93 are the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX), Shuttle Ionospheric Modification with Pulsed Local Exhaust (SIMPLEX), Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System (SWUIS), Gelation of Sols: Applied Microgravity Research (GOSAMR), Space Tissue Loss - B (STL-B), Light Weight Flexible Solar Array Hinge (LFSAH), Cell Culture Module (CCM), and the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment - II (SAREX - II), EarthKam, Plant Growth Investigations in Microgravity (PGIM), Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA), Micro-Electrical Mechanical System (MEMS), and theBiological Research in Canisters (BRIC).


July 22, 1999 12:28 a.m. EDT (Under Review) 46 minute launch window.

On Thursday, May 6, 1999, Payload bay radiator inspections concluded yesterday. Final inspection of Columbia's thermal protection system is under way and auxiliary power unit lubrication oil servicing resumes tomorrow. Tomorrow, Columbia's drag chute door will be installed. The orbiter's nose and main landing gear is slated for installation next week.

On Tuesday, April 20, 1999, Columbia is powered up in OPF bay 1. Orbiter mass memory unit loadingis complete and workers opened the payload bay doors last night. Orbiter processing for mission STS-93 resumes following routine OPF receiving inspections.

On Thursday, March 18, 1999 Columbia is jacked and leveled in VAB high bay 2 undergoing routine system observation during a temporary storage period. Columbia will remain in the VAB until mid-April, when Shuttle Discovery rolls out of OPF bay 1. Columbia will then be transferred to OPF bay 1 to complete STS-93's orbiter pre-launch preparations.

On Wednesday, January 20, 1999 NASA announced that it will delay the planned shipment of the Chandra X-ray Observatory from prime contractor TRW Space and Electronics Group, Redondo Beach, CA, to NASA's Kennedy Space Center., FL. The postponement will allow TRW to evaluate and correct a potential problem with several printed circuit boards in the observatory's command and data management system. This will result in approximately a five-week slip in the observatory's launch readiness date, which will allow for integration and testing of the units at Kennedy. If boards in the remote units must also be replaced, a more extensive slip is anticipated. (Reference NASA Press Release N99-4)

On Monday, January 11, 1999 Columbia's forward and midbody compartment closeouts continue. Technicians will cycle the left-hand payload bay door today to check recently replaced seals. Managers plan to close the orbiter's payload bay doors Friday in preparation for an early February transfer to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Leak checks on two of the orbiter's hypergolic line disconnects are in work today and this week Ku-band system stowage is scheduled.

On Monday, December 21, 1998, Columbia's payload bay doors were closed for the holiday down period. In the Vehicle Assembly Building, external tank and solid rocket boosters are in high bay 1 and closeouts will resume after the holidays.

On Friday, December 11, 1998, leak tests of Columbia's crew compartment were complete. Shimming of the orbiter's payload bay aft bulkhead continued. The routine modification ensures proper payload bay door closure. Auxiliary power unit No. 2 fuel tank pressurization was performed. In the Vehicle Assembly Building, external tank and solid rocket booster closeouts continued.

On Thursday, October 15, 1998 Columbia's main engine installation begins and engine heat shield installation follows in two weeks. The AXAF payload is now expected to arrive at KSC in early January and the payload premate test will move accordingly to mid-November. Shuttle managers are reviewing the possible impact to the STS-93 major milestones.
On Monday, July 6, 1998, Corrosion repair of Columbia's external tank umbilical doors continues. Workers are servicing the coolant loops for the orbiter's three fuel cells. Replacement of water spray boiler No. 3 is in progress. Auxiliary power units No. 1 and No. 3 will be installed beginning Thursday.


Altitude: 153 nm
Inclination: 28.4
Duration: 4 days, 23 hours, 3 minutes, seconds. (Estimated)
Distance: miles


ET : SN-99
SSME-1: SN-2031 (HPOTP 2133, HPFTP 6012)
SSME-2: SN-2034 (HPOTP 4307, HPFTP 2128)
SSME-3: SN-2019 (HPOTP 2526, HPFTP 2136)


KSC July 26, 12:35 a.m. EST (ESTIMATED)

Mission Highlights:

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