All primary mission objectives and all detailed test objectives of Apollo 11 were met, and all crew members remained in good health.
A failure in switchology led the automatic landing sequence to be not armed at the same time the reaction control system was still active. When the Apollo hadn't begun the parachute deployment sequence by 7,000 metres altitude, Brand hit the manual switches for the apex cover and the drogues. The manual deployment of the drogue chutes caused the CM to sway, and the reaction control system thrusters worked vigorously to counteract that motion. When the crew finally armed the automatic ELS 30 seconds later, the thruster action terminated.
During that 30 seconds, the cabin was flooded with a mixture of toxic unignited propellants from the thrusters. Prior to drogue deployment, the cabin pressure relief valve had opened automatically, and in addition to drawing in fresh air it also brought in unwanted gases being expelled from the roll thrusters located about 0.6 meter from the relief valve. Brand manually deployed the main parachutes at about 2,700 meters despite the gas fumes in the cabin.
By the time of splashdown, the crew was nearly unconscious from the fumes, Stafford managed to get an oxygen mask over Brand's face. He then began to come around. When the command module was upright in the water, Stafford opened the vent valve, and with the in-rush of air the remaining fumes disappeared. The crew ended up with a two-week hospital stay in Honolulu. For Slayton, it also meant the discovery of a small lesion on his left lung and an exploratory operation that indicated it was a non-malignant tumour. Additional Details: Landing of Apollo (ASTP).
For Western Europe the Mir-complex merely comes in range during the night hours and so there is not much traffic via the VHF-channels. During the working day Mir-TsUP communications take place during one window. In the period from 10 to 17.07.98 Altair-2 was in use for other purposes. On 16 and 17.07.98 the 10 GHz channel was in use for the relay of audio and TV transmissions of the ceremonies for the burial of Czar Nikolay-II and his family. Just before the conclusion of the ceremonies, as soon as the first salute of guns was fired the relay of Altair-2 stopped and this satellite could be used for Mir-TsUP traffic again. On 22.07.98 during a communications session via Altair-2 the cosmonauts called someone with the call sign Agata. They spoke about the BDD-2 (Betriebstechnik Deutschland Direkt), so they used the same system which was operational during the ESA-expedition to Mir (Euromir-95). The crew had received 2 diskettes with a program to activate a computer for BDD experiments. They exchanged data of the experiment Dakon. The communications took place via a station in Russia and not via Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany as was the case during Euromir-95.
The a.c. BKV-3 still shows hiccups just after switching on. An alarm signal points out that something is wrong with the pressure. After switching off and on a few times, the BKV-3 worked well. On 19.07.98 there was again smoke alarm. There was no smoke at all and in this case the smoke sensor was to blame. The malfunction of one of the gyrodynes was also mentioned and one of the solar panels of the Spektr module does not produce enough energy due to the malfunction of the driver which has to change the angle of that panel. (To eliminate this problem the crew of the next expedition has to execute an internal spacewalk -IVA- inside Spektr). The life support systems are performing well in this period, possibly due to the fact that they have to serve only 2 men. The crew keeps a sharp eye on the CO-2 values, especially during and after physical exercises.
Plans for the near future:
In fact the uncertainty phase still continues. Russian spaceflight organisations are still waiting for the promised funding needed to continue Mir operations until June 1999. The Russians expect that the money will be remitted in due time. And there was another development: the Russian Menatep bank promised to sponsor the last Mir-Mohicans, i.e. Mir's ME 27 from February to June 1999.
Almost certain is:
that Soyuz-TM28 with Padalka, Avdeyev and Baturin will be launched on 13.08.1998 and dock with Mir on 15.08.1998, that the freighter Progress-M39 will separate from Mir on 14.08.1998 for an autonomous flight until the departure of the relieved crew and Baturin with the Soyuz-TM27 on 25 or 26.08.1998 and that the launch of the next freighter Progress-M40 will take place not before 15.10.1998. Znamya-2: Several Television programs used the Itar-Tass publication about the execution of the experiment Znamya-2 in November this year to enlighten the dull season program with an interesting item. A Progress-M freighter should deploy a circular reflection sail for the spectacular illumination of a number of cities on earth.
That this operation might be possible in November is doubtful for after an experiment like this, the freighter has to decay in the earth's atmosphere and cannot return to the Mir-complex to redock to the aft (Kvant-1) docking port. Because of the necessary thermal protection of that port and the Kvant-1 itself, a Progress-M ship has to be docked there until the next Progress-M ship. The period until the docking of the Progress-M41 (not before March 1999) would be pretty long. (And there is also the question if the Progress-M can be redocked after the experiment.)
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.
The exit hatch of the Sh.S.O. (airlock of the Module-D) was opened 9 minutes before the scheduled time. So for a while some profit of time, but all activities during the EVA lasted longer than planned and so did the EVA. The hatch swung open at 1106 UTC and was closed behind the cosmonauts at 1713 UTC, so a duration of 6 hrs and 7 minutes, 28 minutes longer than had been foreseen in the original plan.
The number of tasks was quite substantial and not all of them could be accomplished. One item had been added to the schedule, i.e. the search for an air-leakage in the hull of the module Kvant-2 (Module-D). We still remember how difficult it was to find the leakage in the hull of the module-O (Spektr) during EVA-s and also with the help of gaseous dye markers for observations from departing Shuttles, and so it is not difficult to conclude that this task would be a mission impossible. The fact that the cosmonauts at least had to give it a try clearly indicates that specialists at TsUP consider the leakage, though very small, to be a serious problem. Ultimately they did not find the leakage.
A lot of time was consumed during attempts to deploy a new system for the deployment of antennae for satellites. This antenna was a Russian-Georgian project. The parabolic reflector antenna had to be installed at the Sofora girder and deployed with a remote control.
Afanasyev was able to open the antenna for 80 or 90%. During the following EVA the cosmonauts will try to achieve 100%. If they do not succeed the antenna they will get rid of it.
During the EVA the cosmonauts had to retrieve some experiments from the outer surface. They succeeded to do so with the experiments Exobiology and Dvikon.
Exobiology is a study to determine the possibility for survival in open space of organic samples wrapped up in meteorite-like materials. Dvikon is a study to determine and measure the effects of the exhaust of Mir's engines on materials nearby. Due to lack of time they did not try to retrieve the experiment Spica.
The EVA ended in a great hurry due to a failure of the thermoregulation in the spacesuit of Afanasyev. A filter was overheated.
Communications: A serious handicap for cosmonauts who have to do EVA-s is the fact that there is not a single geostationary communication satellite available. A lot of crucial activities they had to do when they were out of range of ground facilities, for instance the opening of the exit hatch. The communications between Mir and TsUP took place on 143.625 mc (UKW-1) as well as on 130.165 mc (UKW-2). As always during EVA-s 7 kc/s lower than normal.
When Mir came in range during orbit 76715 at 1640 UTC, the hatch was still open. During the first passes within my range TsUP and the cosmonauts experienced a lot of noise caused by cross modulation from air-traffic control centres. So the help of Haignere as a relay station was very useful.
The cosmonauts got orders to close the hatches between the air lock and the P.N.O. and the P.N.O. and P.G.O (respectively the scientific-instrument compartment and the instrument-cargo compartment) of the module which is leaking air, Module-D.
3rd EVA: This EVA is scheduled for 28.07.1999 between 1020 and 1530 UTC.
Which of the Russians will make this EVA together with Haignere was not yet known during the hard disc preparation of this report.
Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202