STS-96 (94)

Discovery (26)
Pad 39-B (43)
94th Shuttle Mission
26th Flight OV-103
Rollback (13)
KSC Landing (47)
Night Landing (11)
KSC Night Landing (6)


Kent V. Rominger (4), Commander
Rick D. Husband (1), Pilot
Ellen Ochoa (3), Mission Specialist
Tamara E. Jernigan (5), Mission Specialist
Daniel T. Barry (2), Mission Specialist
Julie Payette (1), (Canada) Mission Specialist
Valery Ivanovich Tokarev (1), (Russia) Mission Specialist


Flow A:
OPF -- 11/07/98
VAB -- 04/12/99
PAD -- 04/23/99

Flow B: (Rollback due to hail damage 5/8/99)
VAB -- 05/16/99
PAD -- 05/20/99


Space Station Assembly Flight ISS-02-2A.1 (S/HAB-DM), ICC(STRELA,SHOSS,OTD), STARSHINE, SVF, IVHM

Mission Objectives:

STS-96 is a logistics and resupply mission for the International Space Station. It will be the first flight to dock to the International Space Station. The SPACEHAB double module will carry internal and resupply cargo for station outfitting.

The Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) will carry the Russian cargo crane, known as STRELA, which will be mounted to the exterior of the Russian station segment, the SPACEHAB Oceaneering Space System Box (SHOSS) and a U.S. built crane called the ORU Transfer Device (OTD).

Other payloads on STS-96 are the Student Tracked Atmospheric Research Satellite for Heuristic International Networking Equipment (STARSHINE), the Shuttle Vibration Forces Experiment (SVF) and the Orbiter Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring - HEDS Technology Demonstration (IVHM HTD).

The STARSHINE satellite consists of an inert, 19-inch hollow sphere covered by 1,000 evenly-distributed, flat, polished mirrors, each 1 inch in diameter. The payload consists of the STARSHINE satellite, integrated with the Pallet Ejection System (PES), then mounted inside a lidless carrier. The HH equipment consists of one HH Lightweight Avionics Plate (LAP), then mounted inside a lidless carrier. Additional HH equipment consists of one Hitchhiker Ejection System Electronics (HESE), one 5.0 cubic-foot HH canister, and one Adapter Beam Assembly (ABA). The purpose of the mission is to train international student volunteer observers to visually track this optically reflective spacecraft during morning and evening twilight intervals for several months, calculate its orbit from shared observations, and derive atmospheric density from drag-induced changes in its orbit over time.

The Shuttle Vibration Forces (SVF) Experiment will provide flight measurements of the vibratory forces acting between an aerospace payload and its mounting structure. The force transducers will be incorporated into four custom brackets which will replace the existing brackets used to attach the 5 ft standard canister to the side wall GAS adapter beam. The payload will be activated automatically by the Orbiter Lift-off vibration and will operate for approximately 100 seconds. STS-96 will be the second flight of the SVF experiment

The purpose of the Orbiter Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring- HEDS Technology Demonstration (IVHM HTD) is to demonstrate competing modern, off-the-shelf sensing technologies in an operational environment to make informed design decisions for the eventual Orbiter upgrade IVHM. The objective of IVHM is to reduce planned ground processing, streamline problem troubleshooting (unplanned ground processing), enhance visibility into systems operation and improve overall vehicle safety.


Launched May 27, 1999 6:49a.m. EDT. Window was 5-10 min.

On Thursday, May 27, 1999, at 1:49 a.m., the flight crew ate breakfast in the dining room of the astronauts quarters in the Operations and Checkout Building (O&C) and received a weather briefing at 2:19 a.m. EDT. The crew then suited up and departed for Launch Pad 39-B at 3:05 a.m. EDT. At 3:30 a.m. EDT the crew entered the white room and began boarding the Discovery. At 4:14 a.m. EDT boarding was complete and by 5:36 a.m. EDT the hatch was closed and locked for flight. At 6:15 a.m. EDT, with countdown clock at the hold at the T-minus 9 minute mark, the only concern being tracked was a sailboat in the SRB recovery area. It has been contacted and will be out of the area shortly. At 6:33 a.m. EDT, after a final poll of the launch team, the mission management team gave a clear to launch. The countdown clock came out of the T-minus 9 minute mark at 6:41 a.m. EDT. At 6:43 a.m. the Orbiter Access Arm (OAA) was retracted. Liftoff at 6:49 a.m. EDT. Good SRB separation at 6:52 a.m EDT.

On Wednesday, May 26, 1999 Preparations for launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on Thursday continue as scheduled. The Rotating Service Structure was retracted away from the vehicle and placed in launch configuration early this afternoon. Earlier today, the orbiter's inertial measurement units were activated and the flight crew's equipment was stowed in the orbiter. The crew began final preparations for launch when they awoke at 6:30 p.m. They are scheduled to begin donning their launch and entry suits at 2:19 a.m. tomorrow and depart for the launch pad at about 3 a.m. At 9:30p.m. EDT, the mission management team gave the go to begin loading of the 528,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants into the Shuttle's external tank. The 3 hour loading operations began at 9:54 p.m. EDT as the launch team came out of the planned 2 hour hold at the T-minus 6 hour mark.

On Monday, May 24, 1999, the launch countdown for STS-96 began on schedule at 9 a.m. EDT at the T-43 hour mark. Over the weekend, workers completed ordnance connections and pressurization of Discovery's maneuvering system and reaction control system. Yesterday morning, aft compartment close-outs concluded and aft confidence checks are in work today. Mating of the orbiter midbody umbilical unit is also complete. This morning, pyrotechnic initiator controller testing began.

On Sunday, May 26, 1999, at about 11 p.m. EDT the STS-96 flight crew arrived at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility. In the three days prior to launch they will undergo routine medical exams and participate in standard orbiter and payload familiarization activities. The commander and pilot will also take practice flights in the Shuttle Training Aircraft and T-38 jets this week.

On Wednesday, May 20, 1999 , shuttle managers today confirmed May 27 as the launch date for Shuttle mission STS-96. Based on an updated weather forecast and prompt repairs of Discovery's hail-damaged external tank foam insulation, managers decided to transfer Space Shuttle Discovery back to Launch Pad 39B Thursday morning. Shuttle close-out work will commence once Discovery arrives at the pad and will conclude in time for May 27 launch. The launch countdown begins at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 24. Discovery's external tank repairs were completed today and tonight workers will remove access platforms and scaffolding in preparation for Thursday's move to the pad. If weather continues to cooperate, Discovery will begin moving out of VAB high bay 1 about 2 a.m. tomorrow and will be hard down at Pad 39B by midday.

On Monday, May 17, 1999, technicians completed evaluations on Discovery's hail-damaged external tank foam insulation and began repair efforts. Having much closer access than what is available at the launch pad, inspections in the VAB revealed a total of 648 divots in the tank's outer foam. Managers consider 189 of the divots acceptable to fly without repair. Blending or sanding work is required for 211 hits and 248 divots will be patched with new foam. The current schedule indicates that foam repair efforts will be complete tomorrow.

On Thursday, May 13, 1999, NASA Shuttle managers decided to move the launch date from May 20, 1999 at 9:32a.m. EDT to May 27, 1999 no earlier than 6:48a.m EDT. The decision was made to roll Space Shuttle Discovery back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to complete repair work on the hail-damaged external tank foam insulation. After much evaluation, managers determined that necessary repair work could not be performed at Launch Pad 39B due to limited access to damaged areas. Managers expect Discovery's move toward the VAB to begin early Sunday morning, May 16. Current work plans indicate that the foam repairs will take 2 to 3 days, allowing Discovery to roll back to Pad 39B by midweek. Managers expect the Shuttle to be ready for launch no earlier than May 27.

On Monday, May 10, 1999, APU pressurization is under way. Orbiter crew compartment purge testing concluded over the weekend. At the pad, the Rotating Service Structure was placed around the Shuttle on Friday and the payload bay doors are open. SPACEHAB interface verification testing concludes today and the payload bay doors will be closed for flight tomorrow afternoon. Equipped with new instrumentation, the drag chute door has been installed and will undergo tests this week. Mating of the orbiter midbody umbilical unit and subsequent leak checks are in work. Technicians are also inspecting the orbiter and external tank for possible hail damage from a weekend storm at KSC.

On Friday, May 7, 1999, workers completed a hot-fire test on Discovery's auxiliary power unit No.

On Thursday, May 6, 1999, the SPACEHAB tunnel has been mated to Discovery inside the payload bay and leak checks are complete. The orbiter's prelaunch propellant loading began yesterday and will continue through Saturday. Tomorrow, auxiliary power unit No. 2 will be hot-fired as part of planned launch preparations. This coming weekend, workers will complete SPACEHAB payload testing and drag chute door installation. During yesterday's Flight Readiness Review, Shuttle managers confirmed plans to use a functional drag chute and strengthened drag chute door assembly on the upcoming flight. Inconel hinge-pins will replace the aluminum pins that failed during the STS-95 flight, allowing the drag chute door to fall off during liftoff.

On Tuesday, April 27, 1999 The SPACEHAB payload is at the pad and will be installed in the payload changeout room later today. The payload will be installed in the orbiter April 28, 1999.

On Monday, April 26, 1999, the STS-96 flight crew arrived at KSC in preparation for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT). The crew will conduct orbiter and payload familiarization activities over the next few days and then participate in a launch dress rehearsal on Thursday.

On Friday, April 23, 1999, Shuttle Discovery rolled out to Launch Pad 39B. Over the weekend, workers conducted routine launch pad

On Tuesday, April 20, Standard Shuttle interface testing revealed that an electrical cable on the left solid rocket booster was not conveying necessary signals between the left aft segment and left forward segment integrated electronic assembly boxes. Troubleshooting efforts revealed that one connector on the cable needs to be replaced. Workers will replace the connector and retest it in the VAB tomorrow, accommodating a Friday morning Shuttle transfer to the launch pad. Managers expect no impact to the target launch date.

On Monday, April 19, Discovery has been mated to the external tank and solid rocket boosters in Vehicle Assembly Building high bay 3. The Shuttle was powered today to support Shuttle Interface Testing that continues through noon tomorrow. The entire Shuttle stack is scheduled to move out to Launch Pad 39B Wednesday morning.

On Monday, April 12, 1999, Over the weekend, workers removed "D" hatch from Discovery's transfer tunnel adapter to accommodate structural and latch inspections. Workers replaced it with orbiter Endeavour's "D" hatch. Due to the additional work, managers now plan to transfer Discovery to the VAB on Thursday, but do not expect Discovery's arrival at the launch pad to be delayed. Orbiter aft and midbody compartment close-outs continue on schedule. Today, workers will close Discovery's payload bay doors and tomorrow orbiter weight and center of gravity tests are planned.

On Thursday, March 18, 1999, drag chute sensor instrumentation modification is in progress. Auxiliary power unit leak and functional checks are under way and installation of the integrated vehicle health monitoring system for the orbiter's main propulsion system continues. Engine heat shield fastener modifications continue as well. The rest of this week, workers will perform ammonia servicing and install the orbiter's transfer tunnel.

On Wednesday, March 17, 1999, workers completed installation of Discovery's three main engines. Functional tests of the orbiter's

On Monday, March 1, 1999, workers performed functional checks on the orbiter's new docking mechanism. Replacement of the orbiter's water spray boiler continues. Installation of the integrated vehicle health monitoring system for the orbiter's main propulsion system proceeds on schedule and base heat shield fastener modifications continue. Drag chute instrumentation installation continues as well. Booster stacking operations continue in VAB high bay 3.

On Friday, February 26, 1999, technicians completed verification tests on Discovery's remote manipulator system or robot arm.

On Thursday, February 25, 1999, technicians tested Discovery's remote manipulator system (RMS) or robot arm. Replacement of the orbiter's water spray boiler was under way with removal of the old system already complete. Functional tests of the International Space Station docking system are scheduled this week. Installation of the integrated vehicle health monitoring (IVHM) system for the orbiter's main propulsion system continues and base heat shield modifications are on schedule. Drag chute instrumentation installation continues. Tests of Discovery's power reactant storage and distribution system and auxiliary power units are ongoing. Booster stacking operations continue in VAB high bay 3.
On Thursday, February 11, 1999, Technicians have completed checks of Discovery's recently replaced orbital maneuvering system (OMS) thrusters. Workers have completed preparations to install the orbiter's new docking system and installation efforts are ongoing. Installation of the integrated vehicle health monitoring system for the orbiter's main propulsion system is in progress and base heat shield modifications continue.

On Monday, January 11, 1999, Removal of Discovery's caution and warning box is complete. The orbiter's ammonia controller has been replaced and the forward reaction control system (FRCS) has arrived in the OPF for installation tomorrow. Last week, radiator functional tests and inspections revealed a probable micrometeroid ding on a portion of the radiator and engineering evaluation is now under way. Main propulsion system functional tests are ongoing and corrosion control modifications on the engine heat shields continue. Replacement of Discovery's window No. 1 is complete and window No. 7 replacement is in work today. Workers will evaluate window No. 5 this week.


Altitude: 173 nm
Inclination: 51.6
Orbits: 153
Duration: 9 days, 19 hours, 13 minutes, 57 seconds.
Distance: miles


ET : SN-100


June 6, 1999 KSC's SLF 2:02:43 a.m. EDT (Runway 15)

A go for the deorbit burn was given at 12:36 a.m. EDT from mission control in Houston. The deorbit burn took place on time at 12:54 a.m. EDT. The burn to bring Discovery back to KSC lasted 3 minutes, 30 seconds.

Main gear touchdown occured at 02:02:43 am EDT at a mission elapsed time (MET) of 9 days, 19 hours 13 min 1 second. Nose Wheel Touchdown occured at at 02:02:58 am EDT (9 days, 19 hours, 13 minutes, 16 seconds) and wheel stop at 02:03:39am EDT. (9 days, 19 hours, 13 minutes 57 seconds).

Discovery had two landing opportunities at KSC on Sunday. The first opportunity required a 12:54 a.m. deorbit burn and touchdown on Runway 15 at 2:03 a.m. The second opportunity called for a deorbit burn at 2:30 a.m. and touchdown at 3:38 a.m. Edward Air Force Base will not be called to support as an alternate landing site on Sunday.

Weather officials expect generally favorable weather for a Shuttle landing at KSC on Sunday. Preliminary reports call for scattered clouds at 3,000 feet and 10,000 feet and broken at 20,000 feet; visibility at 7 miles; easterly winds at 6 knots peaking to 12 knots; temperature at 75 degrees F; humidity at 91 percent and the chance of showers within 30 nautical miles of the runway. Forecasters continue to monitor the development of a surface low over the Bahamas and its impact on landing day weather conditions.

The landing is the 47th landing at Kennedy Space Center. and the 19th consecutive KSC landing. It is also the 11th night landing in the history of the shuttle program, and the 6th KSC night landing.

Mission Highlights:

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