Carried Atlas-3 laboratory; deployed and retrieved CRISTA-SPAS. Payloads: Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS) 3, Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmo-sphere (CRISTA)-Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS) 1, Experiment of the Sun for Complement-ing the ATLAS Payload for Education (ESCAPE) II, Inter-Mars Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (ITEPC), Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) A, Physiological and Anatomical Rodent Experiment (PARE/NIH-R), Protein Crystal Growth (PCG-TES and PCG-STES), Space Tissue Loss (STL/NIH-C-A), Shuttle Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS), Heat Pipe Performance (HPP).
NASA Official Mission Narrative
Mission Name: STS-66 (66)
Pad 39-B (31)
66th Shuttle Mission
13th Flight OV-104
EAFB Landing (43)
Donald R. McMonagle (3), Commander
Curtis L. Brown Jr. (2), Pilot
Ellen Ochoa (2), Payload Commander
Scott E. Parazynski, M.D. (1), Mission Specialist
Joseph R. Tanner (1), Mission Specialist
Jean-Francois Clervoy (1), Mission Specialist
OPF -- 5/30/94
VAB -- 10/3/94
PAD -- 10/9/94
The Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Sciences - 3 (ATLAS-03) is the primary payload aboard STS-66. It will continue the series of Spacelab flights to study the energy of the sun and how it affects the Earth's climate and environment. The ATLAS 3 mission will make the first detailed measurements from the Shuttle of the Northern Hemisphere's middle atmosphere in late fall. The timing of the flight, when the Antarctic ozone hole is diminishing, allows scientists to study possible effects of the ozone hole on mid-latitudes, the way Antarctic air recovers, and how the northern atmosphere changes as the winter season approaches.
In addition to the ATLAS-03 investigations, the mission will include deployment and retrieval of the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometer Telescopefor Atmosphere, or CRISTA. Mounted on the Shuttle Pallet Satellite, the payload is designed to explore the variability of the atmosphere and provide measurements that will complement those obtained by the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite launched aboard Discovery in 1991. CRISTA-SPAS is a joint U.S./German experiment.
Other payloads in Atlantis cargo bay include the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV-7) payload and the Experiment on the Sun Complementing ATLAS (ESCAPE-II). Payloads located in the middeck include the Physiological & Anatomical Rodent Experiment (PARE/NIR-R), Protein Crystal Growth-Thermal Enclosure (PCG-TES), Protein Crystal Growth- Single Locker (PCG-STES), Space Tissue Loss/National Institute of Health (STL/NIH-C), Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and the Heat Pipe Performance-2 Experiment (HPP-2).
Launch November 3, 1994. 11:59:43.060am EDT from LC-39B. Launch window was from 11:56am EDT to 12:58pm EDT.Window was 1 hr 02 min. Weather at KSC was excellent but a cold front approaching the Iberian Peninsula caused weather concerns at the Transatlantic Abort Landing (TAL) sites in Spain and Portugal. Weather at Zaragoza, Spain and Moron, Spain was unacceptable for launch but Ben Guerir, Morocco was initially marginal with cross wind in excess of 18 knots. Cross winds were showing a downward trend so the count was resumed at the T-9min mark at 11:47am EDT with a plan to reaccess the weather situation in Morocco at the T-5min mark. The countdown was held for three minutes and 43 seconds at the T-5 minute mark as managers discussed the weather at the transoceanic abort landing sites. At T-5min, cross winds were at 14-15 knots and a go was given for launch.
No significant technical issues were worked throughout the duration of the countdown. Post launch inspections of the pad reveal no unusual damage to the pad surface or the mobile launcher platform. The solid rocket booster retrieval ships have reached the spent boosters. Divers have recovered the parachutes and the ships will begin towing the boosters back to Port Canaveral later today.
Had Atlantis not launched by Monday, it would have been delayed until at least November 14 so that Helium in the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers & Telescope (CCRISTA-SPAS) payload could be replenished.
The launch was originally scheduled for October 27 but the the need to refurbish three more engines for Atlantis after the RSLS abort of the initial launch attempt of STS-68 caused a week delay. Earlier during launch processing, on Monday, October 3, 1994 at 10 a.m. CDT, STS-68 MCC Status Report #5 reports that one of Columbia's windows was removed and placed on Atlantis which was found to have a tiny scratch in one of the overhead windows. Other concerns included a check of Atlantis's plumbing after a water leak onboard Endeavour during the landing of STS-68 on October 11, 1994.
Inclination: 57 degrees
Duration: 10 days, 22 hours, 34 minutes, 2 seconds.
Distance: 4,554,791 miles
ET : SN-67
11/14/94 at 10:33:45am EST. Edwards Air Force Base Runway 22. Landing was originally scheduled for KSC but was diverted to California due to high winds, rain and clouds caused by Tropical Storm Gordon. Fourth diverted landing in 1994 and third in a row. 43rd landing at Edwards. Main wheel touchdown at 10:33:45 EST, Nose wheel touchdown at 10:33:56 and wheel stop at 10:34:34. Rollout distance 7,657 feet (2,334 meters). Rollout time: 49 seconds.
APU #1 was requested shutdown shortly after landing due to fuel line temperature fluxuations. All other post landing activites were normal. Mission Control requested the Ammonia Boiler B to be activated at 10:38am EST. This is a normal procedure anytime the orbiter avionics need to loose excess heat beyond what can be done by cold soaking before deorbit.
Planned KSC landing on 11/14/94 at 7:31 a.m. EST was passed over due to a tropical storm system off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic. This storm is expected to bring a chance of clouds and thunderstorms into the Kennedy Space Center for tomorrow's two east coast landing opportunities. The two landing times in Florida are 6:31 a.m. and 8:04 a.m. central time with the deorbit burn occurring about an hour prior to landing. Two landing opportunities available for California's Edwards Air Force Base were at 9:34 a.m. and 11:07 a.m. central time. The weather is expected to be favorable on the west coast tomorrow. Mission Highlights:
Shortly after launch, on of Atlantis's Reaction Control System (RCS) steering jets on the Left Aft side failed. This is not expected to cause any problems due to the number of redundant RCS jets.
On Thursday, November 3, 1994 at 5pm CDT, STS-66 MCC Status Report #1 reports: Commander Donald R. McMonagle, Pilot Curtis L. Brown Jr., Payload Commander Ellen Ochoa and Mission Specialists Jean-Francois Clervoy, Scott E. Parazynski, and Joe Tanner immediately began configuring Atlantis and its Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 payload for 11 days of scientific investigations that should provide clues on how the environment is changing and how humans contribute to those changes.
The astronauts were given a "go" for orbit operations at 12:33 p.m. Central, and immediately began activation of the Spacelab pallet and its experiments. Ochoa and Tanner successfully checked out the 50-foot robot arm, and at 3:54 p.m. Central Ochoa reported that she had grappled the German-built Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS) and was beginning to power up its systems.
Using the Canadian-built remote manipulator system, Ochoa will lift SPAS out of the payload bay Friday morning and deploy it for eight days of free-flying observations with its primary instruments -- the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere and the Middle Atmosphere High Resolution Spectrograph Investigation. The instruments will be measuring a variety of gases in the middle atmosphere and lower thermosphere. Also onboard SPAS will be the Surface Effects Sample Monitor, which will measure the decay of surfaces in the near-Earth environment of space.
The astronauts are split into two teams to provide around-the-clock support for the scientific investigations. The Red Team of McMonagle, Ochoa and Tanner worked the first duty shift, while the Blue Team of Brown, Clervoy and Parazynski began a six-hour sleep shift at 3 p.m. Central that will put the astronauts on a night-shift schedule by Houston standards.
On Friday, November 4, 1994 at 7:30am CDT, STS-66 MCC Status Report #2 reports: The CRISTA-SPAS science satellite was released from Atlantis`s payload bay early this morning for an eight-day flight free from the Shuttle to measure the Earth's atmosphere and ozone layer.
After a complete checkout of the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA) and the Middle Atmosphere High Resolution Spectrograph Investigation, Mission Specialist Jean-Francois Clervoy used the Shuttle's robot arm to gently raise the satellite out of the payload bay and released it at 6:50 a.m. Central. The release took place as Atlantis flew 164 nautical miles above Germany on the 14th orbit of the mission. Payload Commander Ellen Ochoa will use the robot arm again on November 12 to capture the satellite and place it back in the payload bay for the trip home.
Overnight, Curtis L. Brown Jr., Parazynski and Clervoy worked with the Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor, one of seven instruments that comprise the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 payload. The payload complement is designed to study the Earth's atmosphere with particular attention to the ozone layer and will help researchers determine how human activity is affecting the atmosphere.
Brown also took sightings on several stars to calibrate and test Atlantis's heads up display and Course Optical Alignment Site instruments. These instruments are used to backup the Inertial Measurement Units on board the orbiter that keep Atlantis oriented in space.
Mission Commander Donald R. McMonagle, Ochoa and Mission Specialist Joe Tanner began their second day in space at about 4 a.m. today. The other three astronauts are scheduled to go to bed at about 1 p.m. this afternoon
On Friday, November 4, 1994 at 5pm CDT, STS-66 MCC Status Report #3 reports: The Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite (CRISTA-SPAS), released from Atlantis this morning to fly free and study the sun for eight days, is now trailing Atlantis by about 22 nautical miles, separating from the orbiter at a rate of about three miles per orbit. During the afternoon, controllers for the satellite prepared CRISTA-SPAS for the hands-off operations over the next several days. Controllers refined the satellite's navigation via ground commands to solve a brief problem with its precise pointing ability, but CRISTA-SPAS is now working well as it aims the scientific instruments at their planned targets.
Ochoa took two brief breaks from her work today first to explain the Measurement of Solar Constant Experiment, or SOLCON, to ground controllers and then to answer questions about her research from high school honor students during an interview with WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.
The crew reported a minor problem with the resistance settings on an exercise bicycle carried on board Atlantis, however the problem was solved by manually setting the bike's tension for each astronaut. Exercise is a constant feature of all shuttle missions for both ongoing medical studies and as a method of counteracting the effects of weightlessness on the body.
On Saturday, November 5, 1994 at 9am CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #4 reports: The rate at which the CRISTA-SPAS separates from the orbiter has been smaller than expected, but the distance between the two spacecraft is well within safe limits for Atlantis' scheduled maneuvering engine firings. In fact, one of those periodic engine firings that had been scheduled for this morning was not needed as the satellite and shuttle continued to separate at a sufficient rate, a deletion that resulted in fuel savings for the orbiter.
The Blue Team of astronauts -- Pilot Curt Brown and Mission Specialists Jean-Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski -- began their day about nine last night. Parazynski worked with a student-designed payload, Experiment of the Sun for Complementing the ATLAS Payload and for Education (ESCAPE). ESCAPE is conducting research in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, a field in which little research has been done over the last 20 years.
On Saturday, November 5, 1994 at 5pm CDT, STS-66 MCC Status Report #5 reports: The astronauts on board Atlantis gathered spectacular views of a late season hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean as they continued supporting scientific observations being made with the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science. Mission commander Donald R. McMonagle shared images of Hurricane Florence during an interview this morning with The Weather Channel.
Throughout the day, McMonagle and his crew mates on the Red Team -- Payload Commander Ellen Ochoa and Mission Specialist Joe Tanner -- tended to a variety of middeck experiments on board Atlantis and continued supporting both the ATLAS-3 and CRISTA-SPAS payloads. The CRISTA-SPAS satellite currently is trailing Atlantis by about 42 miles, and the distance between the two spacecraft is increasing by about 2 miles each orbit.
On Sunday, November 6, 1994 at 9am CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #6 reports: With the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science operating in Atlantis' payload bay, the six astronauts are continuing round-the-clock studies of the Earth's atmosphere and ozone layer. The Blue Team -- Pilot Curt Brown and Mission Specialists Jean-Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski -- began its fourth day on orbit about 8 p.m. CST Saturday. Throughout their shift, the three astronauts have worked with the instruments comprising the ATLAS-3 payload.
Atlantis is station-keeping in front of the CRISTA-SPAS science satellite at a distance of about 48 nautical miles. The Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere satellite was deployed Friday and will be retrieved Saturday following eight days of atmospheric data gathering.
Clervoy devoted most of his work day with the Heat Pipe Performance experiment designed to evaluate fluid transfer through various types of pipes for possible use on future spacecraft.
Today the Red Team -- Mission Commander Donald R. McMonagle, Mission Specialist Joe Tanner and Ochoa -- will support a number of secondary experiments housed in Atlantis' middeck. McMonagle will work with the Heat Pipe Performance experiment. Each of the Red Team astronauts will exercise on the Shuttle's bicycle ergometer during their workday.
On Monday, November 7, 1994 at 8 a.m CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #7 reports: The Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere satellite is trailing Atlantis at a distance of about 55 nautical miles. On Sunday, Commander Donald R. McMonagle performed a station-keeping burn to keep the two spacecraft at a relative distance of about 40 n.m. until CRISTA-SPAS is retrieved on Saturday following eight days of atmospheric data gathering.
Throughout the night, the Blue Team -- Pilot Curt Brown and Mission Specialists Jean- Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski -- maneuvered Atlantis to allow one of the seven instruments to measure fluctuations in the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun. Middeck payload activities included a status check of the protein crystal growth experiment and activation of the student-designed ESCAPE experiment which is studying extreme ultraviolet wavelengths.
After completing his shift, Clervoy discussed the mission and his experiences thus far with French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, Minister of Defense Francois Leotard, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Jose Rossi and European Space Agency Director General Jean-Marie Luton. Crew members also used cameras on board Atlantis to document environmental changes as they orbited at an altitude of approximately 160 n.m.
On Monday, November 7, 1994 at 5 p.m CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #8 reports: As the crew worked through its fifth day in space, Mission Commander Don McMonagle spent some time testing heat pipe designs and a special type of cooling radiator that has no moving parts. The tests are part of the Heat Pipe Performance experiment which involves applying specifically-measured amounts of heat to the various heat pipe designs, measuring the cooling capacity of the pipe, and determining the limits of each design's operation. McMonagle found time for additional experiment runs with the heat pipes today beyond those originally planned. The tests will provide designers with insight into how well the pipe designs operate in weightlessness. Heat pipes, because of their efficiency and reliability, already are used on some permanent satellites as cooling devices.
Earlier today, ground controllers noticed performance of one of the channels of Atlantis' Ku-band communication system was degrading. The system is used for high data rate communications with the ground, such as the ATLAS science data. The problem was traced to the connections between one of Atlantis's network signal processors and the Ku- band system. Ground controllers switched to a backup processor aboard Atlantis and full communications capability has been restored. The original network signal processor still works well for all modes of communication except the single Ku-band channel.
Around midday today, Atlantis performed a slight engine firing to maintain its distance from the CRISTA-SPAS satellite. CRISTA-SPAS is now trailing Atlantis at a distance of approximately 47 nautical miles, and is extending that distance by about 1 nautical mile per orbit.
On Tuesday, November 8, 1994 at 8 a.m CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #9 reports: With Atlantis' systems performing without problem, the six astronauts that make up the STS-66 crew took time to discuss the progress of the mission with reporters during the traditional in-flight press conference. Questions from reporters in Texas, Florida and France covered a variety of subjects ranging from the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 activities to election day. Besides stating that he was pleased with the progress of the mission thus far, Mission Commander Don McMonagle also confirmed that all five U.S. astronauts had the opportunity to vote prior to the flight.
Over night, the Blue Team of Curt Brown, Jean-Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski worked supporting the ATLAS-3 instruments and a Heat Pipe Performance unit designed to test various types of cylinders that could provide a more effective and efficient method of dissipating heat on future spacecraft and space stations.
Brown oversaw a small maneuvering engine firing performed just after five this morning to refine Atlantis' orbit in front of the Shuttle Pallet Satellite which was deployed on the second day of the mission. The series of engine firings maintain the proper distance from the satellite prior to its capture and return to the payload bay scheduled for Saturday.
The Red Team of Commander Don McMonagle and Mission Specialists Ellen Ochoa and Joe Tanner took over control of the orbiter and payloads about six o'clock this morning as the crew continues to divide the day into two 12-hour shifts.
On Tuesday, November 8, 1994 at 5 p.m CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #10 reports: Throughout the day, the Red Team of Don McMonagle, Ellen Ochoa and Joe Tanner worked with the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3, maneuvering the orbiter to provide the scientific instruments with the best view of the Earth and the Sun. Crew members also spent time with a variety of middeck payloads, including the protein crystal growth experiment and a space tissue loss study designed to validate Earth- based models on how microgravity affects the human body.
This afternoon, McMonagle commanded a small maneuvering engine firing to increase the closing rate between CRISTA- SPAS and Atlantis. The maneuver will keep the relative distance between the two spacecraft at 40 to 60 nautical miles prior to its capture and return to the payload bay scheduled for Saturday morning.
The Blue Team, now in its seventh flight day, is awake and preparing for another busy shift. Pilot Curt Brown, and Mission Specialists Jean- Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski will perform routine communications health checks with CRISTA-SPAS and Brown will maneuver Atlantis in support of ATLAS-3 observations of cloud tops and atmospheric gasses.
On Wednesday, November 9, 1994 at 8 a.m CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #11 reports: Overnight, Pilot Curt Brown commanded a maneuvering burn that placed Atlantis in a station keeping orbit 35 miles ahead of the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere satellite. The satellite will continue to gather data about t he Earth's atmosphere and protective ozone layer until Saturday when Brown and Mission Commander Don McMonagle are scheduled to complete a rendezvous with CRISTA-SPAS.
In the orbiter's payload bay, the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science continues its observations of the chemical processes that affect the Earth's atmosphere. Throughout the day, both teams of astronauts will continue to monitor the ATLAS -3 investigations with Brown and McMonagle commanding Atlantis into a series of attitudes to enhance the scientific observations.
The Blue Team, consisting of Brown and Mission Specialists Jean-Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski, supported the Heat Pipe Performance and Protein Crystal Growth Experiments. Parazynski also demonstrated a new resistive exercise device comprised of a series of tethers which allowed him to use his own body weight for resistance. Data indicate that load-bearing exercise may minimize bone density loss during extended space flights. Parazynski also discussed mission objectives and Tuesday's election results with KCBS television in Los Angeles, Calif., during an interview late last night.
On Wednesday, November 9, 1994 at 5 p.m CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #12 reports: The crew told Mission Control that night time passes are becoming shorter as the shuttle's orbit aligns more with the line between night and day, called the terminator. By the last day of the flight, Atlantis' orbit will be almost parallel to the terminator, putting the crew in continual daylight for several orbits.
Payload Commander Ellen Ochoa told controllers the crew can see as many as 13-14 layers in the atmosphere during sunsets, while Commander Don McMonagle said they are collecting photographs of the sunsets with a 300 millimeter telephoto lens to supplement the atmospheric data obtained by cargo bay instruments.
Throughout the day, McMonagle performed a series of maneuvers to position the ATLAS instruments for solar science gathering, rotating the orbiter toward the sun during observations and away from it between observing opportunities. During one maneuver, several "failed jet" messages were observed.
Flight controllers are studying the possibility that one of two hand controllers used to fire the shuttle's large steering jets may have sent spurious firing commands to the shuttle's jets when it was powered on for a maneuver. The jets were turned off at the time and did not fire. The problem does not impact any of the shuttle's current scientific work, since the smaller steering jets, or verniers, are used to point the shuttle for the atmospheric observations. An analysis of the problem, including a possible checkout of the hand controller, is continuing.
On Thursday, November 10, 1994 at 8 a.m CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #13 reports: After several "failed jet" messages were observed following a maneuver earlier today, ground controllers had the crew check the forward hand controller to verify its operation. Checkout validated performance in all axes and flight controllers continue to study the possibility that contacts in the hand controllers were transiently energized when the flight control power was turned on. The problem does not impact any of the Shuttle's current scientific work, since the smaller steering jets, or verniers, are used to point the shuttle for the atmospheric observations.
Clervoy took time to discuss the science and objectives of the STS-66 mission with European media representatives during an interview overnight.
With the mission past its halfway point, the Red Team -- Mission Commander Don McMonagle, Payload Commander Ellen Ochoa and Mission Specialist Joe Tanner -- are scheduled to take a half day off today and the Blue Team will take a half day off following wakeup late this afternoon. The half day off is a standard practice for Shuttle missions lasting more than 10 days.
On Thursday, November 10, 1994 at 5 p.m. CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #14 report: During space flights lasting more than 10 days, flight controllers schedule a few hours of off-duty time for each crew member. This break from the steady pace of activities helps astronauts maintain their high performance levels throughout the mission. The Red Team - - Mission Commander Don McMonagle, Payload Commander Ellen Ochoa and Mission Specialist Joe Tanner -- had its off-duty time Thursday afternoon while the Blue Team -- Pilot Curt Brown, and Mission Specialists Jean-Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski -- has Thursday evening off.
Maneuvers to orient Atlantis to enhance the science gathering efforts of the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science continued throughout the day. During the first half of its day, the Red Team also worked with a variety of middeck experiments being carried on Atlantis.
On Friday, November 11, 1994 at 8 a.m.CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #15 reports: The Blue Team -- Pilot Curt Brown, and Mission Specialists Jean-Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski -- spent time attempting to fix a hand-held laser device being carried on board Atlantis. The laser is part of a technology demonstration to show that the hand held radar can provide reliable range and range rate information during shuttle rendezvous operations.
Maneuvers to orient Atlantis to enhance the science gathering efforts of the ATLAS-3 payload continue on board, as do operations with several middeck payloads including the Protein Crystal Growth and Space Tissue Loss experiments.
On Friday, November 11, 1994 at 5 p.m. CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #16 reports: The ATLAS-3 observations were put on hold for a little more than an hour today due to an electrical problem. A power inverter that converts direct current electricity to alternating current electricity for the ATLAS instruments and their support equipment shut down unexpectedly. Payload Commander Ellen Ochoa aboard Atlantis quickly switched to a backup inverter that repowered the equipment. However, to ensure there was not an electrical problem with the instruments themselves, flight controllers delayed observations for a short while to analyze the situation. Observations with the ATLAS-3 instruments resumed about 4 p.m.
Also, the crew switched the onboard flight control computer being used for systems management to a backup mass memory unit after a connection between the computer and the primary MMU proved faulty. Both the computer, one of five flight control computers on board Atlantis, and the MMU are in excellent condition. The problem was only in the connection between the two devices. To restore full backup capability onboard, flight controllers may eventually ask the crew to switch the Systems Manager function to a different computer and assign another function to the current SM computer.
During the day, Mission Specialist Joe Tanner took a brief break to talk with a Chicago radio station, answering questions about Atlantis's. Commander Don McMonagle took a phone call from Dr. Herman Smith, a retired Marine Corps Captain in Houstan's VA Medical Center, to commemorate Veterans Day and christen a new patient bedside telephone system.
On Saturdy, November 12, 1994 at 5 a.m. CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #17 reports: The Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA) satellite ended its eight-day mission this morning when the STS-66 crew retrieved the science satellite and returned it to the orbiter's payload bay for the trip home.
Payload Commander Ellen Ochoa captured the Shuttle Pallet Satellite, with its CRISTA and Middle Atmosphere High Resolution Spectrograph Investigation (MAHRSI) instruments, with the robot arm at 7:05 a.m. Central this morning as Atlantis traveled southeast of New Zealand on Orbit 141. Following additional testing while on the end of the robot arm, the satellite is scheduled to be placed back into the payload bay at about 9:30 a.m. today.
During the rendezvous sequence, Atlantis flew an elliptical pattern in front of the satellite called a MAHRSI Football maneuver to allow the instrument to gather Shuttle glow data. Investigators will use the information to calibrate data obtained from the atmospheric instruments by detecting and measuring the gas hydroxyl in the proximity of the orbiter.
Crew Commander Don McMonagle also tested a new rendezvous technique to demonstrate the approach that will be used on Atlantis' next flight in June 1995 to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. The technique, which has the orbiter approaching from beneath its target, minimizes thruster jet firings that could "plume" or contaminate the space station systems and solar arrays.
Throughout the night, the Blue Team of astronauts -- Pilot Curt Brown and Mission Specialists Jean-Francois Clervoy and Scott Parazynski -- supported the rendezvous activities, maneuvering Atlantis through a series of burns to place it in the correct position for its rendezvous with CRISTA-SPAS. The Red Team -- McMonagle, Ochoa and Mission Specialist Joe Tanner -- woke up at 2 a.m. to oversee the final stages of the satellite rendezvous and retrieval. Tanner used a hand-held laser device that will be used on the Shuttle/Mir docking missions to gather precise range and range rate data throughout the rendezvous.
On Saturday, November 12, 1994 at 8 p.m. CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #18 reports: Atlantis' crew safely tucked an atmosphere-observing satellite into the shuttle's cargo bay today ending eight days of independent science gathering activities taking measurements of the Earth's atmosphere and sun. The Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA) instrument mounted on its Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS) is now latched securely in Atlantis' payload bay for its return trip to Earth. Observations with the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science instruments aboard Atlantis continued throughout the day.
With CRISTA securely in place, Ochoa again commanded the shuttle's robot arm to view an icicle that formed on the exterior of the left hand cargo bay door during a routine water dump Friday. The television views showed the door's edges and latches to be free of ice. Flight controllers are considering a variety of options to dislodge the icicle, including using the shuttle's robot arm to break it off of Atlantis' payload bay doors.
On Sunday, November 13, 1994 at 10 a.m. CST, STS-66 MCC Status Report #19 reports: Today, crew members continued supporting observations of the instruments that make up the third dedicated Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science. They also checked the small thruster jets to ensure their health for tomorrow's landing activities, deactivated several of the middeck secondary experiments and began packing up equipment for the trip home.
Mission managers have decided not to use the robot arm to dislodge an icicle that developed on the left payload bay door and extends to the water dump nozzles on the left side of the orbiter. The decision was made after the camera on the end of the robot arm which would provide ground controllers with insight into the operation malfunctioned overnight. Since the ice is not a safety concern, managers opted to not perform the procedure without the ability to watch it on the ground.
First Launch: 1994.11.03.
Last Launch: 1994.11.14.
Duration: 10.94 days.