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Part of STS
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Carried the Orfeus astronomy satellite, Wake Shield Facility. The shuttle's exit hatch would not open and NASA cancelled the planned spacewalks of the mission.

AKA: Columbia. Launched: 1996-11-19. Returned: 1996-12-07. Number crew: 5 . Duration: 17.66 days.

The Orfeus satellite was deployed on November 20. It carried an ultraviolet telescope and spectrographs. Wake Shield Facility was deployed on November 22 and retrieved on November 26 . On 1996 Nov 29, crewmembers Tamara Jernigan and Thomas Jones were to conduct the first of several planned EVAs. However the shuttle's exit hatch would not open and NASA cancelled this and the other planned spacewalks of the mission. On December 4 at the astronauts retrieved the Orfeus satellite using the RMS arm. Reentry attempts on Dec 5 and Dec 6 were called off due to bad weather. Columbia finally landed at 11:49 GMT December 7 on Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center, making STS-80 the longest shuttle mission to that date .

The Space Shuttle Orbiter OV-102 Columbia was launched at 19:55:50 GMT on November 19 from Kennedy Space Center. The SRBs separated at 1957 GMT and main engine cutoff was at 20:04 GMT. The OMS 2 burn at around 20:40 GMT placed Columbia in a circular orbit.

Mission STS-80 carried the Orfeus astronomy satellite, the Wake Shield Facility, and spacewalk equipment. A hold was called at 19:52 GMT, T-31s just prior to entering computer RSLS control because too much hydrogen was in the aft compartment. After a two minute pause permission was given to continue.

The Orfeus satellite was deployed on November 20 at 04:11 GMT. It carried an ultraviolet telescope and spectrographs. Wake Shield Facility was deployed on November 22 at 20:38 GMT. OV-102, Orfeus and WSF were in a 91.6 min, 346 x 358 km x 28.5 deg orbit. Columbia retrieved WSF at 02:03 GMT on November26 and berthed it in the payload bay at 02:36 GMT.

On 1996 November 29, STS-80 crewmembers Tamara Jernigan and Thomas Jones were in Columbia's airlock. At 02:09 GMT they depressurized, and by 02:21 GMT the airlock was fully depressurized. However, the astronauts were unable to open the airlock due to a stuck handle. At 03:07 GMT, the airlock was partially repressurized to 4psi, and the airlock thermal cover was blown off for inspection. After further fruitless attempts to open the hatch, full repressurization began at 03:48 and was complete at 04:01, with the astronauts still in their suits. Story Musgrave came in without a suit and again tried to free the hatch - internal pressure in the airlock would have prevented a leak if he had succeeded.

After thinking hard for a couple of days, NASA decided to cancel any further attempts at spacewalks on this mission. There are cases where a contingency EVA (emergency spacewalk) would be necessary, for instance if the payload bay doors refused to close. They would try and force the hatch open in that case.

On December 3, Columbia began its re-rendezvous with the ORFEUS-SPAS astronomy satellite. On December 4 at 08:23 GMT, the astronauts retrieved the ORFEUS-SPAS vehicle using the RMS arm. The doors were closed and opened again on December 5, closed on December 6 and opened yet again, following reentry attempts on December 5 and December 6 which were called off due to bad weather. Columbia finally landed at 11:49 GMT December 7 on Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center, making STS-80 the longest shuttle mission to that date at 17 days 15 hr 53 min.

NASA Official Mission Summary:

Pad B
80th Shuttle mission
21st flight OV-102
Longest Shuttle flight to date
Musgrave sets 2 human spaceflight
1st time 2 free-flyers deployed and
33rd KSC landing
Kenneth D. Cockrell, Commander (3rd Shuttle flight)
Kent V. Rominger, Pilot (2nd)
Tamara E. Jernigan, Mission Specialist (4th)
Thomas D. Jones, Mission Specialist (3rd)
Story Musgrave, Mission Specialist (6th)
Orbiter Preps (move to):
OPF - July 7, 1996
VAB - Oct. 9, 1996
Pad - Oct. 16, 1996


November 19, 1996, 2:55:47 p.m. EST. Launch date of Oct. 31 first threatened by changeout of STS-79 boosters with those slated to fly on STS-80 and delay of STS-79 liftoff. Hurricane preparations because of Hurricane Fran in early September halted STS-80 booster stacking operations in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), prompting mission managers to reschedule launch date to Nov. 8. At Flight Readiness Review (FRR) Oct. 28, mission managers declined to formalize launch date pending analysis of erosion in STS-79 booster nozzles. At Delta FRR Nov. 4, launch date changed to no earlier than Nov. 15 to allow engineers more time to complete study of nozzle erosion.

At follow-up FRR Nov. 11, Nov. 15 set as official launch date, pending a commercial Atlas launch Nov. 13, and launch countdown began. Just two days later, launch postponed to Nov. 19 due to scrub of Atlas launch and predicted bad weather in KSC vicinity for period of several days, and count remained in an extended hold. Launch Nov. 19 occurred about three minutes after scheduled opening of window due to hold at T- 31 seconds to assess hydrogen concentrations in aft engine compartment. Initial post-retrieval inspection of STS-80 nozzles indicated pocketing and wash erosion, but less extensive than that which was noted on STS-79 nozzles; analysis was continuing.


December 7, 1996, 6:49:05 a.m. EST, Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Rollout distance: 8,721 feet (2,658 meters) Rollout time: one minute, two seconds. Mission duration: 17 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes, 18 seconds. Landed revolution 279. Landing originally scheduled for Dec. 5, but Columbia waved off two days in a row due to weather conditions in Florida. Longest Shuttle flight to date. At age 61, Musgrave became oldest human being to fly in space. He also set new record for most Shuttle flights (six) and tied fellow astronaut John Young's record for most spaceflights total.

Mission Highlights:

Final Shuttle flight of 1996 highlighted by successful deployment, operation and retrieval of two free-flying research spacecraft. Two planned extravehicular activities (EVAs) canceled. Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer- Shuttle Pallet Satellite II (ORFEUS-SPAS II) deployed on flight day one to begin approximately two weeks of data-gathering.

Making its second flight aboard the Shuttle, ORFEUS-SPAS II featured three primary scientific instruments: the ORFEUS-Telescope with the Far Ultraviolet (FUV) Spectrograph and Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Spectrograph. A secondary but highly complementary payload was the Interstellar Medium Absorption Profile Spectrograph (IMAPS). Non-astronomy payloads on ORFEUSSPAS included the Surface Effects Sample Monitor (SESAM), the ATV Rendezvous Pre-Development Project (ARP) and the Student Experiment on ASTRO-SPAS (SEAS). ORFEUS-SPAS II mission dedicated to astronomical observations at very short wavelengths to: Investigate nature of hot stellar atmospheres; investigate cooling mechanisms of white dwarf stars; determine nature of accretion disks around collapsed stars; investigate supernova remnants; and investigate interstellar medium and potential star-forming regions.

All ORFEUS-SPAS II mission goals were achieved and there were no significant problems with either instruments or support hardware. Some 422 observations of almost 150 astronomical objects were completed, including the moon, nearby stars, distant Milky Way stars, stars in other galaxies, active galaxies and quasar 3C273. In comparison to the first ORFEUS-SPAS mission in 1993, the ORFEUS-SPAS II instruments were more sensitive and yielded higher-quality data. In addition, more than twice the data was obtained than on the first ORFEUS-SPAS flight.

Wake Shield Facility-3 (WSF-3) deployed on flight day 4. WSF is a 12-foot diameter, free-flying stainless steel disk designed to generate ultravacuum environment in which to grow semiconductor thin films for use in advanced electronics. Third flight was highly successful, with maximum seven thin film growths of semiconductor materials achieved and satellite hardware performing nearly flawlessly. WSF-3 retrieved after three days of free-flight.

Two planned six-hour EVAs by Jernigan and Jones were designed to evaluate equipment and procedures that will be used during construction and maintenance of the International Space Station. However, crew could not open outer airlock hatch and when troubleshooting did not reveal cause, mission managers concluded it would not be prudent to attempt the two EVAs and risk damage to hatch or seals. Crew was able to evaluate new Pistol Grip Tool, similar to handheld drill, in middeck.

Post-landing assessment of hatch indicated a small screw had become loose from an internal assembly and lodged in an actuator - a gearbox-type mechanism that operates linkages that secure the hatch - preventing crew from opening hatch. Hatch opened easily when replacement actuator installed. Analysis was under way to determine what additional checks needed to be made on hatches to preclude recurrence of problem. All airlock hatch actuators later removed and recertified for flight.

Other experiments: Space Experiment Module (SEM) to provide increased educational access to space; NIH-R4, fourth in series of collaborative experiments developed by NASA and National Institutes of Health, to investigate role of calcium in blood pressure regulation; NASA/CCM-A, one of series of Shuttle bone cell experiments; Biological Research in Canister (BRIC)-09 experiment to study influence of microgravity on genetically-altered tomato and tobacco seedlings; Commercial MDA ITA experiment (CMIX-5), the last in series of Shuttle experiments; and Visualization in an Experimental Water Capillary Pumped Loop (VIEW-CPL), a middeck experiment, to investigate method for spacecraft thermal management.

Crew also worked with Space Vision System, designed to monitor position and alignment of structures in space.

More at: STS-80.

Family: Manned spaceflight. People: Cockrell, Jernigan, Jones, Musgrave, Rominger. Country: USA. Spacecraft: Columbia. Projects: STS. Launch Sites: Cape Canaveral. Agency: NASA, NASA Houston.

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