Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-81



ists81.jpg
STS-81
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Crew: Baker Mike, Grunsfeld, Ivins, Jett, Wisoff. Transferred 2,715 kg of equipment to and from Mir.

After a night launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Shuttle docked with Mir at 03:55 GMT on January 14. STS-81 transferred 2,715 kg of equipment to and from the Mir, the largest transfer of items to that date. During the docked phase, 640 kg of water, 515 kg of U.S. science equipment, 1,000 kg of Russian logistics, and 120 kg of miscellaneous material were transferred to Mir. Returned to Earth aboard Atlantis were 570 kg of U.S. science material, 405 kg of Russian logistics and 98 kg of miscellaneous material. At 02:16 GMT January 19, Atlantis separated from Mir after picking up John Blaha, who had arrived aboard STS-79 on September 19, 1996, and dropping off Jerry Linenger, who was to stay aboard Mir for over four months. The Shuttle backed off along the -RBAR (i.e. toward the Earth) to a distance of 140 m before beginning a flyaround at 02:31 GMT. Most of the flyaround was at a distance from Mir of 170 m. The first 'orbit' around Mir was complete at 03:15, and the second was completed at 04:02 GMT. Then the Orbiter fired its jets to drift away from the orbit of Mir. NASA's first Shuttle mission of 1997 came to a close with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center at 14:22 GMT on January 22 (after the first opportunity was waved off due to cloud cover at the Cape).

Cargo Bay Payloads: SPACEHAB-Double Module; Orbiter Docking System. In-Cabin Payloads: VIS; Biorack; KidSat; CREAM; Orbiter Space Vision System; MSX.

Developmental Test Objectives Detailed Supplementary Objectives Risk Mitigation Experiments

  • DTO 255: Wraparound DAP Flight Test Verification
  • DTO 256 Alt PRCS Flight Test
  • DTO 312: ET TPS Performance
  • DTO 700-10: Orbiter Space Vision System Flight Video Taping
  • DTO 700-12: GPS/Inertial Navigation System Test
  • DTO 700-14: Single String Global Positioning System Test
  • DTO 805: Crosswind Landing Performance
  • DTO 840: Hand Held Lidar Procedures
  • DTO 1118: Photographic and Video Survey of Mir Space Station
  • DTO 1125: Measurements of Dose as a Function of Shielding Thickness
  • DSO 487: Immunological Assessment of Crewmembers
  • RME 1302: Electric Fields High Inclination for the Mir
  • RME 1303: Shuttle/Mir Experiment Kit Transportation
  • RME 1307: Optical Properties Monitor
  • RME 1317: Mir Structural Dynamics Experiment Joint Operations
  • RME 1318: Treadmill Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System (TVIS)
  • RME 1319: Inventory Management System Test for the SPACEHAB
  • Payload And Vehicle Masses: Orbiter (Atlantis) empty and 3 SSME's 81,975 kg; Shuttle System at SRB Ignition 2,046,619 kg; Orbiter Weight at Landing with Cargo 113,375 kg; Spacehab-Double Module 4,774 kg; Orbiter Docking System 1,821 kg.

    NASA Official Mission Summary:

    STS-81
    (5th Shuttle-Mir docking)
    Atlantis
    Pad B
    81st Shuttle mission
    18th flight OV-104
    5th Shuttle-Mir docking
    4th U.S. crew member on Mir
    34th KSC landing
    Crew:
    Michael A. Baker, Commander (4th Shuttle flight)
    Brent W. Jett Jr., Pilot (2nd)
    Peter J.K. "Jeff" Wisoff, Mission Specialist (3rd)
    John M. Grunsfeld, Mission Specialist (2nd)
    Marsha S. Ivins, Mission Specialist (4th)
    Embarking to Mir Mir 22/23 crew member: Jerry M. Linenger, Mission Specialist and Cosmonaut Researcher (2nd Shuttle, 1st Mir)
    Returning from Mir Mir 22 crew member: John E. Blaha, Mission Specialist and Cosmonaut Researcher (5th Shuttle, 1st Mir)
    Orbiter Preps (move to):
    OPF - Sept. 26, 1996
    VAB - Dec. 5, 1996
    Pad - Dec. 10, 1996

    Launch:

    January 12, 1997, 4:27:23 a.m. EST. Liftoff occurred on time following smooth countdown.

    Landing:

    January 22, 1997, 9:22:44 a.m. EST, Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Rollout distance: 9,350 feet (2,850 meters). Rollout time: One minute, nine seconds. Mission duration: 10 days, four hours, 55 minutes, 21 seconds. Landed revolution 160, on the second KSC opportunity for the day.

    Mission Highlights:

    First Shuttle flight of 1997 highlighted by return of U.S. astronaut John Blaha to Earth after 118-day stay aboard Russian Space Station Mir and the largest transfer to date of logistics between the two spacecraft. Atlantis also returned carrying the first plants to complete a life cycle in space - a crop of wheat grown from seed to seed. This fifth of nine planned dockings continued Phase 1B of the NASA/Russian Space Agency cooperative effort, with Linenger becoming the third U.S. astronaut in succession to live on Mir. Same payload configuration flown on previous docking flight - featuring SPACEHAB Double module - flown again. Blaha joined Mir 22 crew of Commander Valeri Korzun and Flight Engineer Aleksandr Kaleri on Sept. 19, 1996, when he arrived there with the crew of STS-79. Linenger was to work with the Mir 22 crew until the arrival in February of the Mir 23 crew of Commander Vasili Tsibliev, Flight Engineer Aleksandr Lazutkin and German researcher Reinhold Ewald. Ewald was to return to Earth with the Mir 22 cosmonauts after a brief stay on the station. Astronaut Michael Foale will replace Linenger on Mir when the STS-84 mission arrives in May 1997.

    Docking occurred at 10:55 p.m. EST, Jan. 14, followed by hatch opening at 12:57 a.m., Jan. 15. Linenger officially traded places at 4:45 a.m. with Blaha who spent 118 days on the station and 128 days total on-orbit. During five days of mated operations, crews transferred nearly 6,000 pounds (2,722 kilograms) of logistics to Mir, including around 1,600 pounds of water; around 1,138 pounds of U.S. science equipment; and 2,206 pounds of Russian logistical equipment. About 2,400 pounds of materials returned with Atlantis from Mir.

    Crew also tested on Shuttle the Treadmill Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System (TVIS), designed for use in the Russian Service Module of the International Space Station. Another activity related to International Space Station involved firing the orbiter's small vernier jet thrusters during mated operations to gather engineering data.

    Undocking occurred at 9:15 p.m. EST, Jan. 19, followed by flyaround of Mir.

    No significant in-flight anomalies experienced with orbiter.

    AKA: Atlantis.
    First Launch: 1997.01.12.
    Last Launch: 1997.01.22.
    Duration: 10.21 days.

    More... - Chronology...


    Associated People
    • Blaha Blaha, John Elmer (1942-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-29, STS-33, STS-43, STS-58, Mir NASA-2. Flew 361 combat missions in Vietnam. More...
    • Ivins Ivins, Marsha Sue (1951-) Jewish-American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-32, STS-46, STS-62, STS-81, STS-98. NASA flight engineer. More...
    • Baker, Mike Baker, Michael Allen 'Mike' (1953-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-43, STS-52, STS-68, STS-81. More...
    • Wisoff Wisoff, Peter Jeffrey Kelsay 'Jeff' (1958-) American physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-57, STS-68, STS-81, STS-92. Was married to astronaut Tammy Jernigan. More...
    • Jett Jett, Brent Ward Jr (1958-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-72, STS-81, STS-97, STS-115. 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...

    Associated Countries
    Associated Spacecraft
    • Atlantis American manned spaceplane. 33 launches, 1985.10.03 to 2011.07.08. The space shuttle Atlantis was the fourth orbiter to become operational at Kennedy Space Center, and the last of the original production run. More...

    See also
    Associated Flights
    • Mir NASA-2 Crew: Blaha. Blaha relieved Lucid as NASA resident on the Mir station. Backup crew: Linenger. More...
    • Mir NASA-3 Crew: Linenger. Linenger relieved Blaha as NASA resident on the Mir station. Backup crew: Foale. More...

    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
    • Mir The Mir space station was the last remnant of the once mighty Soviet space programme. It was built to last only five years, and was to have been composed of modules launched by Proton and Buran/Energia launch vehicles. These modules were derived from those originally designed by Chelomei in the 1960's for the Almaz military station programme. As the Soviet Union collapsed Mir stayed in orbit, but the final modules were years late and could only be completed with American financial assistance. Kept flying over a decade beyond its rated life, Mir proved a source of pride to the Russian people and proved the ability of their cosmonauts and engineers to improvise and keep operations going despite all manner of challenges and mishaps. 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-81 Chronology


    1997 January 12 - . 09:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-81.
    • STS-81 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Baker, Mike; Jett; Wisoff; Grunsfeld; Ivins; Linenger. Payload: Atlantis F18 / Spacehab Double Module. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Baker, Mike; Jett; Wisoff; Grunsfeld; Ivins; Linenger. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22; STS-81; Mir NASA-3. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 10.20 days. Decay Date: 1997-01-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 24711 . COSPAR: 1997-001A. Apogee: 380 km (230 mi). Perigee: 343 km (213 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 91.80 min. After a night launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Shuttle docked with Mir at 03:55 GMT on January 14. STS-81 transferred 2,715 kg of equipment to and from the Mir, the largest transfer of items to that date. During the docked phase, 640 kg of water, 515 kg of U.S. science equipment, 1,000 kg of Russian logistics, and 120 kg of miscellaneous material were transferred to Mir. Returned to Earth aboard Atlantis were 570 kg of U.S. science material, 405 kg of Russian logistics and 98 kg of miscellaneous material. At 02:16 GMT January 19, Atlantis separated from Mir after picking up John Blaha, who had arrived aboard STS-79 on September 19, 1996, and dropping off Jerry Linenger, who was to stay aboard Mir for over four months. The Shuttle backed off along the -RBAR (i.e. toward the Earth) to a distance of 140 m before beginning a flyaround at 02:31 GMT. Most of the flyaround was at a distance from Mir of 170 m. The first 'orbit' around Mir was complete at 03:15, and the second was completed at 04:02 GMT. Then the Orbiter fired its jets to drift away from the orbit of Mir. NASA's first Shuttle mission of 1997 came to a close with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center at 14:22 GMT on January 22 (after the first opportunity was waved off due to cloud cover at the Cape).

    1997 January 14 - .
    • Mir News 340: Atlantis/Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22; STS-81; Mir NASA-3. Atlantis (mission STS-81) has been launched on 12.01.1997 at 09.27.33 UTC for her 5th docking mission. At 0950 UTC Atlantis was within our range and commander Baker could be heard on 259.700 Mc AM/W in a short contact with Houston via Zaragossa in Spain. The rendezvous operations will begin on 14.01.1997 at 2212 UTC. Atlantis arrives near Mir on 15.01 at 0247 UTC and will dock 15.01 at 0353 UTC. Let us hope that the docking will take place a few minutes earlier for the window during the first pass of both enormous objects within our range will close at 0352 UTC. Hard mate will take place on 15.01 at 0427 UTC and the hatches will be opened on 15.01 at 0537 UTC. John Blaha will conclude his experimental activities on board Mir with some experiments related to the docking and immediately thereafter he will be relieved by Jerry Linenger. Blaha will remain in space for a while as payload specialist on board Atlantis and Linenger will continue his flight as 2d Board Engineer/researcher in Mir.

      Radio traffic: If they stick to the same frequencies as in the past we can expect radio traffic on 121.750, 130.165 and 143.625 Mc. Extensive use of the American TDRS-s after the docking van be expected. Possibly the Russians will now and then use their (almost) geostationary satellites Altair-1 and 2. During the 4th docking mission (STS-79 in Sept. 1996, most communications took place via the American TDRS-s.

      Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


    1997 January 15 - .
    • Mir News 341: Atlantis links up with Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22; STS-81; Mir NASA-3. The soft docking took place on 15.01.1997 at 03.54.57 UTC so almost 2 minutes later than planned. Radio communications revealed that Houston preferred to perform the docking when both objects were in daylight. In comparison with the last docking mission (STS-79) there was more radio traffic on the Mir-frequencies. This had been caused by some problems the Shuttle had with communications with Houston. During the first pass of both objects in Mir's orbit nr. 62313 the approach was in its final phase. At 035106 UTC Korzun reported that the 'final approach' was going on, that permission for the docking had been given and that the distance between Mir and Atlantis was abt 6.5 Meters. During the next pass over here in orb. 62314 again a lot of radio traffic conducted by Korzun and Blaha. Blaha told his 'successor' Linenger that Houston had asked to inform Atlantis that they had to connect an antenna for communications with Houston. The Mir crew was in the SO (docking compartment at the Kristall module) and had already opened the hatch from that side. This had taken place at 052918 UTC. The opening of the hatch between Shuttle and Mir was far behind schedule due the above mentioned communication problems. In the SO the Mir-trio was cutting capers and making gestures to urge Baker to open the hatch. The permission to open that hatch should have been given at 054321 UTC. Possibly they wished to blow a lot of fresh air in the fusty Mir-atmosphere before opening. At last the hatch swung open at 055754 UTC and Baker and Korzun met each other and he and the rest of the Shuttle crew invaded Mir. After the welcome ceremony the first activity was the transfer of the seat liner for Linengers place in the Soyuz-TM24. When this work had been accomplished Linenger was a crew member of Mir. Officially this was at 0945 UTC. In orbit 62315 Mir communicated with TsUP Moscow via Altair-1. In the beginning they transmitted recordings of the approaching Atlantis and later on images of both crews in Mir. After the transmission of images they continued this contact with speech. In this period the huge Atlantis/Mir combination could be seen passing almost through the zenith as a very clear star. This was at 070012 UTC.

      Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


    1997 January 20 - .
    • Mir News 342: Atlantis/Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22; STS-81; Mir NASA-3. During the period in which Atlantis and Mir were linked together the American TDRS-facilities were in use for the bulk of radio communications, thus anticipating the communication procedures of the future International Space Station Alpha. The Russians used their facilities only to discuss matters regarding the Mir-complex itself. With a few exceptions the Atlantis also took care for the movements (attitude) control of the huge space combination.

      Atlantis separated from the Mir:

      Atlantis undocked from the Mir on 20.01.1997 at 02.15.44 UTC. At 0357 UTC the engines of the Atlantis gave the separation burn for the ride home. After the undocking Atlantis remained in the free drift until the distance permitted firing of steering rockets. During the 2 flights of Atlantis around the Mir-complex no images have been transmitted from Mir. These had been recorded and transmitted to Earth later that day via Altair-1. Among them good images, for instance Atlantis flying away from under a Mir solar panel and several views of Atlantis moving away with a sight of the Earth in the background.

      Soyuz-TM25: The next important operation will be the launch of Soyuz-TM25 from Baykonur on 10.02.1997 at 1409 UTC. Soyuz-TM25 will bring the 23d Main Expedition (Tsibliyev and Lazutkin) and the German astronaut Ewald to the Mir. (Stand-in crew: Musabayev, Budarin and Schlegel)

      Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


    1997 January 22 - .
    Home - Browse - Contact
    © / Conditions for Use