Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-103



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STS-103
Credit: NASA
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STS-103
Credit: NASA
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STS-103
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Crew: Brown, Clervoy, Foale, Grunsfeld, Kelly Scott, Nicollier, Smith Steven. Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission SM-3A,

Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission SM-3A, delayed repeatedly by technical problems with the shuttle fleet after the near-disastrous previous launch. Finally launched after the last possible day to avoid Y2K computer problems; one spacewalk was cancelled so that the shuttle could return by December 28. Hubble was in a 591 km x 610 km x 28.5 deg orbit at launch. After separation of the external tank ET-101 the Orbiter was in a 56 km x 587 km x 28.5 deg transfer orbit. The OMS 2 burn at 0134 UTC raised the orbit to 313 km x 582 km. The payload bay contained:

  • Bay 1-2: External airlock/ODS
  • Bay 7-8: ORU Carrier (Spacelab pallet). Carried Hubble replacement spares arranged as follows: COPE protective enclosure with three RSU gyros, a new solid state recorder, and an S-band transmitter; LOPE enclosure with an HST-486 computer and voltage improvement kit; ASIPE enclosure with a spare HST-486 and spare RSU; FSIPE enclosure with a replacement FGS-2 fine guidance sensor; and NPE enclosure with New Outer Blanket Layer insulation.
  • Bay 11: Flight Servicing System (FSS). Contained the BAPS (Berthing and Positioning System) used to dock with the aft end of the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Bay 8: APC carrier with foot restraint
  • Bay 12: APC carrier with HST foot retstraint

Hubble was grabbed by the shuttle's robot arm at 0034 UTC on December 22. Following completion of repairs HST was released on December 25 at 2303 UTC. The deorbit burn at 2248 UTC on Dec 27 placed the orbiter in a 50 km x 616 km descent orbit. Discovery landed on runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center at 0001 UTC on December 28.

NASA Official Mission Summary:

STS-103
(3rd Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission)
Discovery
Pad B
96th Shuttle mission
27th flight OV-103
49th KSC landing
Crew:
Curtis L. Brown Jr., Commander (6th Shuttle flight)
Scott J. Kelly, Pilot (1st)
Steven L. Smith, Payload Commander (3rd)
C. Michael Foale, Mission Specialist (5th)
John M. Grunsfeld, Mission Specialist (3rd)
Claude Nicollier, Mission Specialist (4th) (European Space Agency)
Jean-Francois Clervoy (3rd) (European Space Agency)
Orbiter Preps:
OPF - 06/06/99
VAB - 11/04/99
Pad 39 B - 11/13/99

Launch:

Dec. 19, 1999, at 7:50:00 p.m. EST. Discovery faced nine delays and scrubs, some mechanical and some due to the weather, before launching successfully.

Before facing those postponements, the third Hubble Space Shuttle servicing mission had been advanced in the mission schedule. The servicing mission was originally scheduled for June 2000, but when the third of Hubble's six gyroscopes failed, the mission was split into two separate missions. The first mission, STS-103, was scheduled for Oct. 14 with the second mission to follow in 2001. (Hubble needs at least three of its six gyroscopes to be functioning to enable the telescope to point precisely at distant astronomical targets for scientific observation.)

In mid-August Shuttle managers decided to extend wiring inspections and maintenance across the Shuttle fleet after wiring problems were detected aboard Columbia. That orbiter was inspected and determined to have wiring problems after an irregularity occurred during the launch of STS-93 on July 23, 1999. Following inspections of Discovery, a new target launch date of no earlier than Oct. 28 was announced (first launch delay).

Because of the amount of wiring repairs needed, the planning date was shifted to no earlier than Nov. 19 (second delay). Shuttle managers decided to preserve the option to launch either STS-103 or STS-99, the Space Radar Topography Mission, first. On Nov. 13, a fourth gyroscope on Hubble failed and the observatory was put into "safe mode," a state of dormancy in which the telescope aims itself constantly at the sun to provide electrical power to its systems.

As repairs to Discovery came to a close, launch was targeted for Dec. 2. The launch date was put under review after a half-inch-long drill bit was discovered to be lodged in main engine No. 3. A new launch date of Dec. 6 was set (third delay). Rollout to the pad proceeded and Discovery's main engine No. 3 was replaced while the orbiter was on the pad.

After Discovery reached the pad, additional damaged wiring, which was found in an umbilical between the orbiter and the external tank, was detected and a new launch date of Dec. 9 was set to allow for repair and testing (fourth delay). The launch was then reset to Dec. 11 (fifth delay). The new target date allowed KSC workers to observe the Thanksgiving Holidays.

The mission was again put on hold after a dented main propulsion system line, which carries liquid hydrogen fuel for the Shuttle main engines, was found during closeout inspections of Discovery's engine compartment. A new target date of earlier than December 16 was set (sixth delay).

By Dec. 13, workers at Launch Pad 39B had completed inspections and leak checks on Shuttle Discovery's replaced liquid hydrogen recirculation line that was replaced and the target date confirmed to be Dec. 16.

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, 1999, the launch countdown for STS-103 began on schedule at 1:30 a.m. Later that day during routine inspections of the external tank's pressure lines, a suspect weld was detected. To ensure that the proper welding materials and procedures were used, a thorough review of process and paperwork used during the fabrication of the lines was conducted. It was determined that the same manufacturer performed welds on the 17-inch propellant feed lines and struts in the AFT engine compartment when Discovery was constructed. A 24-hour delay was called to give the Shuttle team time to review the manufacturing inspection records for those lines as well. It was determine the welds were correctly made and the launch was rescheduled to Dec. 17 (seventh delay).

On Dec.17, with an 80 percent chance of unfavorable weather, external tank cyrogenic loading was started at 11:29 a.m. EST. Tanking operations were complete at 3 p.m. EST. The launch countdown proceeded to the T-minus 9 minute mark and held due to weather constraints. At 8:52pm EST the launch director scrubbed the launch due to violations of weather launch commit criteria and the launch was rescheduled to Dec. 18 (eighth delay). Due to the prediction of poor weather on Dec. 18, the mission management team decided to preserve a launch option and rescheduled Discovery's launch from Dec. 18 to Dec. 19 at 7:50p.m. EST (ninth delay).

On Dec. 19, 1999, the weather outlook was favorable, so Shuttle managers decided to proceed with the STS-103 launch countdown. The Shuttle launched on time at the beginning of the 42 minute window.

To ensure that all flight and ground systems were secured for the transition to Year 2000, the mission was shortened from 10 days to 8 days.

Landing:

Dec. 27, 1999 at 7:01:34 p.m. EST. Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Rollout distance 7,005 feet. Rollout time: 47 seconds. Mission duration: 7 days, 23 hours, 10 minutes, 47 seconds. Landed on orbit 119, logging more than 3.267 million miles. It marked the 13th nighttime landing in the shuttle program and the 8th at Kennedy Space Center.

Mission Highlights:

STS-103 restored the Hubble Space Telescope to working order and upgraded some of its systems, allowing the decade-old observatory to get ready to begin its second scheduled decade of astronomical observations.

AKA: Discovery.
First Launch: 1999.12.20.
Last Launch: 1999.12.28.
Duration: 7.97 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Nicollier Nicollier, Claude (1944-) Swiss test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-46, STS-61, STS-75, STS-103. First Swiss astronaut. More...
  • Brown Brown, Curtis Lee Jr 'Curt' (1956-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-47, STS-66, STS-77, STS-85, STS-95, STS-103. Flew in space six times. More...
  • Foale Foale, Dr Colin Michael 'Mike' (1957-) British-American physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-45, STS-56, STS-63, Mir NASA-4, STS-103, ISS EO-8; 373 days in space. Appointed Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Operations in 2004. More...
  • Grunsfeld Grunsfeld, Dr John Mace (1958-) American physicist mission specialist astronaut 1992-2010. Flew on STS-67, STS-81, STS-103, STS-109, STS-125. More...
  • Clervoy Clervoy, Jean-Francois Andre (1958-) French engineer cosmonaut, mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-66, STS-84, STS-103. More...
  • Smith, Steven Smith, Steven Lee (1958-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-68, STS-82, STS-103, STS-110. More...
  • Kelly, Scott Kelly, Scott Joseph (1964-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-103, STS-118, ISS EO-25. Twin brother of astronaut Mark Kelly. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Discovery American manned spaceplane. 39 launches, 1984.08.30 to 2011.02.24. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NASA Houston American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Houston, Houston, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...

STS-103 Chronology


1999 December 19 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #01 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Clervoy; Foale; Grunsfeld; Kelly, Scott; Nicollier; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: In the final launch attempt available this year, Discovery and its seven astronauts blasted off tonight on the last human space flight of the 20th century to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 20 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #03 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Clervoy; Foale; Kelly; Kelly, Mark; Kelly, Scott. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. The seven members of the STS-103 crew of Discovery completed a day of preparation Monday for a Tuesday capture of the Hubble Space Telescope. During three days of space walks, Hubble's capability to conduct astronomical observations will be restored and some of its equipment upgraded. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 20 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #02 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Clervoy; Foale; Grunsfeld; Kelly, Scott; Nicollier; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Trailing the Hubble Space Telescope by about 3,700 nautical miles and closing, the seven Discovery astronauts were awakened at 9:50 a.m. CST today to the sounds of Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Taking Care of Business." The wake-up call from Mission Control began the crew's first full day in orbit. Discovery is closing on the telescope at a rate of about 340 nautical miles with each hour and a half long orbit of Earth. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 20 - . 00:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-103.
  • STS-103 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Brown; Kelly, Scott; Smith, Steven; Grunsfeld; Foale; Nicollier; Clervoy. Payload: Discovery F27. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Kelly, Scott; Smith, Steven; Grunsfeld; Foale; Nicollier; Clervoy. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: North American. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-103. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 7.97 days. Decay Date: 1999-12-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 25996 . COSPAR: 1999-069A. Apogee: 609 km (378 mi). Perigee: 563 km (349 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 96.40 min. Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission SM-3A, delayed repeatedly by technical problems with the shuttle fleet after the near-disastrous previous launch. Finally launched after the last possible day to avoid Y2K computer problems; one spacewalk was cancelled so that the shuttle could return by December 28. Hubble was in a 591 km x 610 km x 28.5 deg orbit at launch. After separation of the external tank ET-101 the Orbiter was in a 56 km x 587 km x 28.5 deg transfer orbit. The OMS 2 burn at 0134 UTC raised the orbit to 313 km x 582 km. The payload bay contained:

    • Bay 1-2: External airlock/ODS
    • Bay 7-8: ORU Carrier (Spacelab pallet). Carried Hubble replacement spares arranged as follows: COPE protective enclosure with three RSU gyros, a new solid state recorder, and an S-band transmitter; LOPE enclosure with an HST-486 computer and voltage improvement kit; ASIPE enclosure with a spare HST-486 and spare RSU; FSIPE enclosure with a replacement FGS-2 fine guidance sensor; and NPE enclosure with New Outer Blanket Layer insulation.
    • Bay 11: Flight Servicing System (FSS). Contained the BAPS (Berthing and Positioning System) used to dock with the aft end of the Hubble Space Telescope.
    • Bay 8: APC carrier with foot restraint
    • Bay 12: APC carrier with HST foot retstraint

    Hubble was grabbed by the shuttle's robot arm at 0034 UTC on December 22. Following completion of repairs HST was released on December 25 at 2303 UTC. The deorbit burn at 2248 UTC on Dec 27 placed the orbiter in a 50 km x 616 km descent orbit. Discovery landed on runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center at 0001 UTC on December 28.

1999 December 21 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #05 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Clervoy; Grunsfeld; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: After a 30-orbit chase, Discovery astronauts completed a successful rendezvous Tuesday evening with the Hubble Space Telescope, grappling it with the robotic arm and latching it into the orbiter's cargo bay.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 21 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #04 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Clervoy; Kelly, Scott; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Discovery is on track for its rendezvous with the Hubble Space Telescope this afternoon, culminating in the planned capture of the 12.5-ton observatory at 6:41 p.m. CST. In recognition of today's activities, the seven astronauts aboard Discovery were awakened at 9:20 a.m. today to the song "Rendezvous" by Bruce Springsteen. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 22 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #07 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Foale; Grunsfeld; Nicollier; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Discovery astronauts completed the two highest priority tasks of their Hubble Space Telescope servicing Wednesday with a space walk that was the second longest in history. Astronauts Steve Smith and John Grunsfeld installed six new gyroscopes and six Voltage/Temperature Improvement Kits in the telescope during their 8 hour, 15 minute spacewalk. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 22 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #06 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Clervoy; Foale; Grunsfeld; Nicollier; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: With the Hubble Space Telescope securely latched in the payload bay, the astronauts board Discovery today will turn their attention to the primary objective of their flight -- restoring the capability of the 12.5-ton telescope to observe the universe.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 23 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #08 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Foale; Grunsfeld; Nicollier; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: Discovery's seven-member crew began work early today, preparing for a busy day on orbit, including a second spacewalk and a final check of hardware installed on the Hubble Space Telescope during yesterday's spacewalk.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 23 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #09 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Foale; Grunsfeld; Nicollier; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. The Hubble Space Telescope received a new advanced computer Thursday from space-walking Discovery astronauts Mike Foale and Claude Nicollier. Their 8-hour, 10-minute space walk, the third longest in history, also saw replacement of a 550-pound fine guidance sensor. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 23 - . 18:54 GMT - .
1999 December 24 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #10 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grunsfeld; Smith, Steven; Wolf. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: The Hubble Space Telescope is scheduled to receive its final upgrades today as astronauts Steve Smith and John Grunsfeld perform the last of three planned space walks to refurbish the orbiting observatory.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 24 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #11 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grunsfeld; Ross; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Discovery astronauts completed their third and final space walk Friday evening, replacing a failed radio transmitter and installing a new solid state recorder. After the successful completion of those tasks, Lead Flight Director Linda Ham announced Friday evening that the STS-103 mission had met all criteria for complete success. Discovery astronauts are scheduled to release Hubble a little before 5 p.m. CST on Christmas Day. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 24 - . 19:06 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-103-2 - . Crew: Foale; Nicollier. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.34 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Foale; Nicollier. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-103. Spacecraft: Discovery; HST. Summary: Installed in the Hubble space telescope a new 486/25 mhz computer and replaced Fine Guidance Sensor FGS-2..

1999 December 25 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #13 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Clervoy; Foale; Grunsfeld; Nicollier; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: Discovery's astronauts delivered a Christmas present to the world today, putting the Hubble Space Telescope back in service after 24 hours and 33 minutes of repairs and upgrades that make the orbital observatory more capable than ever.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 25 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #12 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Clervoy; Foale; Grunsfeld; Nicollier; Smith, Steven. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: Christmas Day onboard the Shuttle Discovery began with seasons greetings for Commander Curt Brown, as the crew awoke to Bing Crosby's "I'll Be Home for Christmas.". Additional Details: here....

1999 December 25 - . 19:17 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-103-3 - . Crew: Smith, Steven; Grunsfeld. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.33 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Smith, Steven; Grunsfeld. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-103. Spacecraft: Discovery; HST. Summary: Completed part of the installation of new insulation to the Hubble space telescope. The rest was deferred to the next servicing mission..

1999 December 26 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #15 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Kelly, Scott; Ross. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: Following the successful deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope yesterday, the seven man crew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery turned its attention today to preparing for the return to Kennedy Space Center late tomorrow afternoon.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 26 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #14 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Kelly; Kelly, Mark; Kelly, Scott. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: With their primary mission objectives successfully completed, Discovery's astronauts today begin preparing their spacecraft for its scheduled return to Earth Monday, checking out the flight control system and reaction control jets that support re-entry.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 27 - .
1999 December 27 - .
  • STS-103 Mission Status Report #16 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brown; Clervoy; Ross. Program: STS. Flight: STS-103. Summary: With promising weather forecast for the Kennedy Space Center, preparations are under way to bring the seven-member crew of Discovery home following a successful mission to refurbish and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.. Additional Details: here....

1999 December 28 - .
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