Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-70



ists70.jpg
STS-70
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Crew: Currie, Henricks, Kregel, Thomas, Weber. Deployed TDRS 7.

Deployed TDRS 7. Payloads: Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) G/ Inertial Upper Stage (IUS); Bioreactor Demon-stration System (BDS) B; Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC); Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG); Hand-Held, Earth-Oriented, Real-Time, Cooperative, User-Friendly, Location-Targeting and Environmental System (HER-CULES); Microcapsules in Space (MIS) B; Physiological and Anatomical Rodent Experiment (PARE)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rodents (R); Radiation Monitoring Experiment (RME) III; Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II; Space Tissue Loss (STL)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) Cells (C); Military Applications of Ship Tracks (MAST); Visual Function Tester (VFT) 4; Window Experiment (WINDEX).

NASA Official Mission Narrative

Mission Name: STS-70 (70)
Discovery (21)
Pad 39-B (33)
70th Shuttle Mission
21st Flight OV-103
1st Flight Block 1 mission
24th KSC landing
9th Rollback
Click Here for Countdown Homepage

Crew:
Terence T. Henricks (3), Commander
Kevin R. Kregel (1), Pilot
Nancy Jane Currie (2), Mission Specialist
Donald A. Thomas (2), Mission Specialist
Mary Ellen Weber (1), Mission Specialist

Milestones:
(Flow 1)
OPF -- 02/11/95
VAB -- 05/03/95
PAD -- 05/11/95
(Flow 2- Rollback)
VAB -- 06/08/95
PAD -- 06/15/95
(Reference KSC Payload Status Jun 1995)
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status Jun 1995)
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status Jul 1995)

Payload:
TDRS-G/IUS-26, MSX-01, PARE/NIH-R-02,BDS-02,CPCG-07,STL-05(B)/NIH-C,BRIC-04,BRIC-05, SAREX-II, VFT-4-02, HERCULES-03,AMOS-25,MIS-B-01,WINDEX-02,RME-III-19, MAST
Mission Objectives:
The primary mission is the launch and deployment of the 7th Tracking Data and Relay Satellite (TDRS) and will be the 6th placed in operational use. The first TDRS was launched aboard STS-6 on 4/5/83 with a scheduled lifetime of 7 years. The second TDRS (TDRS-2) was lost aboard Challenger on mission 51-L . Other TDRS satellites have flown on STS-26 (TDRS-3), STS-29 (TDRS-4), STS-43 (TDRS-5) and STS-54 (TDRS-6). The on-orbit TDRS network is currently being rearranged and will include two fully operational spacecraft occupying the TDRS East and West slots, one on-orbit fully functional spare, a nearly depleted TDRS which has exceeded its planned lifetime, and a partially operational TDRS devoted to supporting the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO). It is also used to cover an area that can't be seen by the other satellites known as the Zone of Exclusion.
The TDRS system is a space-based network that provides communications, tracking, telemetry, data acquisition and command services essential to the Space Shuttle and other low-Earth orbital spacecraft such as the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO), the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE), TOPEX-Poseidon, Landsat and many more. TDRS-G will reside in geosynchronous orbit at 22,300 miles (35,888 kilometers) at 178 degrees West longitude. It was built by TRW and weighs about 4,900 pounds.
The deploy operations utilize 3 separate control centers to manage orbit operations. The White Sands ground station will control the TDRS, the JSC Mission Control Center (MCC) will control the shuttle, and the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) control center at Onizuka Air Force Base in Sunnyvale California will control the boster stage. Deploy operations will begin six hours into the mission. Once deployed, the TDRS satellite has a wingspan of 57 ft. TDRSS-G will add to the complement of satellites already in orbit.
Secondary objectives of the mission are to fulfill the requirements of the Physiological and Anatomical Rodent Experiment / National Institutes of Health-Rodents (PARE/NIH-R); Bioreactor Demonstration System (BDS), Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG); Space Tissue Loss/National Institutes of Health-Cells (STL/NIH-C); Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC); Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment-II (SAREX-II), Visual Function Tester-4 (VFT-4); Hand-Held, Earth Oriented, Real-Time, Cooperative, User-Friendly, Location-Targeting and Environmental System (HERCULES); Microcapsules in Space-B (MIS-B); Windows Experiment (WINDEX); Radiation Monitoring Equipment-III (RME-III); and the Military Applications of Ship Tracks (MAST).
STS-70 will mark the maiden flight of the new Block 1 orbiter main engine. Engine number 2036 features the new high-pressure liquid oxygen turbopump, a two-duct powerhead, baffleless main injector, single-coil heat exchanger and start sequence modifications. The modifications are designed to improve both engine performance and safety. The Block I engine will fly in the number one position on Discovery. The other two engines are of the existing Phase II design.

Launch:
Launch July 13, 1995 at 9:41:55.078 a.m. EDT. The launch window was 2 hours 30 min. The hatch was closed at 8:13am EDT and the count proceeded smoothly until T-31 sec. The count was held for 55 seconds at T-31 sec by the Booster Range Safety Engineer (CBRS) Tod Gracom at the LCC C-5 Console due to fluxuations seen on the external tank automatic gain control (AGC) ET range safety system receiver . Launch Commit Criteria contigency procedures were worked and the count then proceeded on schedule.
STS-70 had originally moved ahead of the launch of STS-71 because of a delay in the launch of the Russian Spektr laboratory module to the Russian space station Mir. However, on 5/31/95 NASA shuttle managers assessed damage to the external tank of STS-70 caused by nesting Flicker Woodpeckers. The damage consisted of about 71 holes (ranging in size from 4 inches in diameter to 1/2 inch in diameter) in the ETs thermal protection foam insulation. Technicians installed safeguards against additional damage. On 6/2/95, NASA managers decided to delay the launch of Discovery on Mission STS-70 in order to make repairs to foam insulation on the vehicle's external fuel tank. STS-71 was moved ahead of STS-70 and Discovery was rolled back to the VAB.
(Reference KSC Payload Status 6/05/1995, KSC Shuttle Status 6/16/1995)
Orbit:
Altitude: 160 nm (184 statute miles)
Inclination: 28.45 degrees
Orbits: 143
Duration: 8 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes, 5 seconds.
Distance: 3.7 million miles

Hardware:
SRB:
SRM:
ET : SN-71
MLP :
SSME-1: SN-2036
SSME-2: SN-2019
SSME-3: SN-2017

Landing:
KSC July 22,1995 at 8:02 a.m. EDT on Runway 33. Nose gear touchdown at 8:02:11am EDT (Mission Elapsed Time of 8days 22hr 20min and 16sec) with wheels stop at 8:02:57am (MET of 8 days 22hr 21min and 2 sec.) The KSC landing opportunity on 7/22/95 at 6:26 a.m. EDT was waived off due to marginable yet improving weather conditions at KSC. The KSC landing opportunities at 7:54am EDT and 9:31 a.m on 7/21/95 were waived off due to a buildup of ground fog over the Shuttle Landing Facility.
Two landing opportunities were available at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday. The first called for a deorbit burn at 4:26 a.m. CDT with a landing at 5:26 a.m. CDT. the second opportunity calls for a deorbit burn at 6 a.m. CDT with a landing at 7:02 a.m. If the weather didn't cooperate at KSC, Discovery would have been directed to land at California's Edwards Air Force Base. The one Edwards opportunity would have started with a deorbit burn at 7:28 a.m. CDT with a landing at 8:29 a.m. CDT.
Flight Director Rich Jackson directed the five STS-70 astronauts to remain aloft for another day after poor visibility prevented Discovery's homecoming on two consecutive landing opportunities. Landing support was not called up at the backup landing site at California's Edwards Air Force Base for today.
Discovery's astronauts were informed that their landing had been waved off for the day at 7:10 AM CDT after astronaut Steve Oswald, flying weather reconnaissance in a Shuttle Training Aircraft over the landing strip, reported that he could not see the 3- mile long runway from his vantage point.
The STS-70 crew had two opportunities to land at the Kennedy Space Center on Friday 7/21/95. For the first opportunity, Discovery's orbital maneuvering system engines would have fired for the deorbit burn at 6:53 a.m. EDT, resulting in a touchdown in Florida at 7:54 a.m. EDT. The deorbit burn for the second opportunity would have occured at 8:28 a.m. EDT, with landing at 9:31 a.m. EDT. Weather forecasters watched the formation of scattered cloud layers and ground fog that prohibited a KSC landing There are two KSC landing opportunities on Saturday (6:26 am and 8:01 am EDT) and one Edwards Air Force Base opportunity (9:28am EDT). (Reference KSC Press Release 71-95)

Mission Highlights:
STS-70 Flight Day 1 Highlights:

On Thursday, July 13, 1995, 5 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #01 reports:
After a flawless launch this morning, the crew of Discovery accomplished the main objective of their flight this afternoon with the trouble-free deploy of a NASA communications satellite.
Following an 8:42 a.m. launch, the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-G, the sixth and last such satellite to be deployed from a space shuttle, was ejected from Discovery's cargo bay exactly on time at 2:55 p.m. Central. The release of the satellite was overseen by Mission Specialists Don Thomas and Mary Ellen Weber. About 15 minutes later, Discovery's Commander Tom Henricks fired the shuttle's engines to raise the orbit and move away from the vicinity of the satellite and its Inertial Upper Stage booster. At about 3:55 p.m., the satellite's IUS booster fired the first of two burns that will put TDRS-G into its proper, 22,000-mile-high geostationary orbit above the central Pacific Ocean.
In Mission Control, operations are in the process of being moved to a new facility. Following the satellite deploy, flight controllers are planning to vacate the current room which has been used for three decades, since Gemini 4 in 1965, to control human space flights. Beginning at about 6:30 p.m. Central, the overnight shift of flight controllers will be the first to operate from the New Mission Control Center, and all further orbit operations for STS-70 and future flights will be performed from the new control center.
STS-70 Flight Day 2 Highlights:

On Friday, July 14, 1995, 6 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #02 reports:
For the first time since June 1965, a human spaceflight mission is being controlled from a different flight control room in the Mission Control Center. Before going to sleep late yesterday, Discovery's crew was notified that operations had been transferred down the hall to the new control room known as the "White FCR" (pronounced ficker), or Flight Control Room.
The remainder of the on-orbit phase of the flight will be controlled from the new room, except the entry and landing which will be controlled from the old Mission Control.
The crew of STS-70 was awakened shortly after three this morning Central time to the theme from "Woody Woodpecker," a cartoon character adopted as the mascot for the mission when real woodpeckers plucked holes in protective insulation on Discovery's external fuel tank last month causing a delay in the mission.
Overnight, controllers in Sunnyvale, California, monitored the progress of the deployment of the communications tracking satellite called TDRS (Tracking and Data Relay Satellite), which was the prime objective of Discovery's mission. Riding atop a solid rocket motor called an Inertial Upper Stage, the satellite was placed in an orbit high above the equator over the Pacific. All of its appendages have been deployed and command and checkout of the spacecraft has begun. The satellite deployment followed launch of Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center at 8:42 a.m. CDT 7/13/95.
Commander Tom Henricks, Pilot Kevin Kregel and Mission Specialists Don Thomas, Nancy Currie, and Mary Ellen Weber came on duty about 6 a.m. for their work day in space.

On Friday, July 14, 1995, 5 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #03 reports:
Discovery's crew began a steady pace of working with a variety of secondary experiments aboard the shuttle today, their first full day in orbit.
The primary objective for Discovery -- releasing a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite -- was accomplished on Thursday. On Friday, July 14, the crew worked with experiments ranging from the HERCULES camera, a camera that can imprint the latitude and longitude of areas photographed on Earth, to the Windex, a study of the glow created as the shuttle surfaces interact with atomic oxygen in low Earth orbit.
Commander Tom Henricks also fired Discovery's engines to lower the shuttle's orbit, a firing that enhanced the landing opportunities that will be available at the end of the flight and provided a viewing opportunity for the Windex experiment. Mission Specialist Nancy Currie set up Windex to observe the effect of the engine firing on the glowing phenomenon. Investigators with the experiment hope to better characterize the glow, which occurs on all spacecraft in low orbit, and thus better design future Earth orbiting, sensitive astronomy satellites with which such a glow could interfere.
Also, Henricks, Pilot Kevin Kregel and Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber answered questions from the general public via the New York Times On-Line Services. The crew will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 6:12 p.m. They will awaken at 2:12 a.m. Saturday.
STS-70 Flight Day 3 Highlights:

On Saturday, July 15, 1995, 9 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #04 reports:
Halfway through its third day in space, Discovery's crew has settled into a routine of conducting and monitoring nearly 20 different science experiments on the orbiter's middeck and flight deck.
Pilot Kevin Kregel and Mission Specialist Don Thomas began the day working with the HERCULES camera which will record pinpoint data on the surface location of Earth observations images. A first attempt to align the camera's Inertial Measurement Unit was unsuccessful, but the crew attributed this to a need for some practice with the procedure, which involves locating two stars with the camera in different orientations.
Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber checked the Bioreactor Demonstration System and found the cells there to be developing well. She also participated in visual function data gathering. Weber's test followed a report that Kregel had successfully extricated a mote from her eye.
The workday began shortly after two o'clock this morning with a wakeup call from Kate Smith singing "Beautiful Ohio" in honor of four of the five crewmembers being from that state. Kregel claims New York as his home state.

On Saturday, July 15, 1995, 3 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #05
With Discovery performing as flawlessly as has any spacecraft in history, crew members completed a steady pace of experiment work during their third day in orbit, taking a few breaks to speak with media and other guests.
The day's work centered on the HERCULES video camera, a camera experiment sponsored by the Department of Defense Space Test Program that allows the video to be automatically marked with the latitude and longitude of its subject areas. Pilot Kevin Kregel and Mission Specialist Nancy Currie worked with the camera, attempting to finely align its internal navigation equipment by using star sightings. Payload controllers are currently evaluating various methods that may make it easier for the crew to take sights on stars and align the camera as the flight progresses.
Other work included operations with an experiment that gauges astronauts' reflexes and hand-eye coordination by having a subject respond to quick questioning from a laptop computer using a touch screen. Another observation was made with the Windex experiment as well, a study that observes the glowing effect created by the shuttle's surfaces as they encounter atomic oxygen in low orbit. Windex observed the effect of an engine firing on the glow yesterday and today observed the effect of a waste water dump from the shuttle.
The crew also is maintaining a variety of biological experiments ranging from tissue loss in space to the growth of cell cultures in weightlessness to the effect of space flight on the early development of animals.
During the day, the crew spoke with World War II veteran Harland Claussen at the Clement Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI, celebrating the installation of the first phone in that VA facility for the free use of patients. Later in the day, ABC's Mike and Maty show interviewed crew members as did the Toledo Blade newspaper of Toledo, Ohio.
STS-70 Flight Day 4 Highlights:

On Sunday, July 16, 1995, 7 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #06 reports:
As Discovery's crew began its fourth day in orbit, all of the space shuttle' systems continued to perform exactly as designed, providing a "no hassles" workplace for the astronauts' scientific investigations.
The crew was awakened at 1:11 a.m. CDT to the sounds of Mission Specialist Nancy Currie's 8-year-old daughter, Stephanie, and her Ferguson Elementary School second- grade classmates singing "God Bless the USA"
Pilot Kevin Kregel is still having difficulty aligning the internal navigation equipment on the HERCULES video camera, a payload sponsored by the Department of Defense Space Test Program that allows the video to be automatically marked with the latitude and longitude of its subject areas. Payload controllers continued to investigate methods that may make it easier for the crew to take sightings on stars and align the camera as the flight progresses.
Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber also reported that the colon cancer tissue samples growing in the Bioreactor Development System so far look better than those cultured on the ground. The BDS is designed to use ground-based and space-bioreactor systems to grow individual cells into organized tissue that is morphologically and functionally similar to the original tissue or organ. The BDS is composed of a rotating cylinder that suspends cells and tissues in a growth medium, simulating some aspects of microgravity. The system has been in use for several years for ground-based research.
Other work today will include operations with a microbial contamination monitor that will be used to check the purity of drinking water samples, additional measurements of the astronauts' visual acuity with the Visual Function Tester, and continued study of the glowing effect created by spacecraft surfaces as they encounter atomic oxygen in low orbit.

On Sunday, July 16, 1995, 2 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #07 reports:
With its spacecraft continuing to perform flawlessly, Discovery's crew sailed through a third day of work with the various experiments, ranging from biological studies to Earth-observing cameras.
Although the crew has experienced some difficulty with aligning the HERCULES camera using star sightings, investigators with the Department of Defense study said they are delighted with the views they have seen from the device so far. The crew sent Mission Control views of Florida and the Bahamas today taken by the camera, which automatically prints the latitude and longitude of the subject matter on the video. The crew members also sent video of star alignments they have performed, and investigators say the video provides excellent insights into possible improvements to the device.
Other experiments included observations of a series of small steering jet firings by Discovery using the Windex experiment, an optical device that studies the glowing phenomena created as the shuttle encounters atomic oxygen in orbit. The crew also reported at least 60 contacts with amateur radio operators around the world using the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment. During the mission, the astronauts will speak with students at 10 schools worldwide using the ham radio. In another study, the Visual Function Tester, crew members reported their eyesight is affected slightly by weightlessness, taking somewhat longer to adjust and focus on near objects. The experiment studies this reaction to weightlessness, which has been noted since the early flights of the Gemini Program.
The crew also took time out to hold a press conference this morning, answering questions from reporters in Florida and Ohio, the home state of four out of the five astronauts aboard Discovery.
The crew is wrapping up their day now and preparing to begin an eight-hour sleep period at 4:12 p.m. They will awaken for Day 5 of STS-70 at 12:12 a.m. CDT Monday.
STS-70 Flight Day 5 Highlights:

On Monday, July 17, 1995, 7:30 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #08 reports:
The Space Shuttle Discovery continues to travel smoothly around the globe as the five men and women on board began a fourth full day of work with biological and materials processing experiments.
The four Ohio natives and one New Yorker were awakened shortly after midnight CDT to the fight song for the Cleveland Indians, "Talkin' Tribe." Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber responded with "Good mornin' Houston, how `bout them Indians?"
Mission Specialist Nancy Currie sent down video images of developing Medaka fish eggs as part of the Space Tissue Loss experiment and filled out responses to a human factors research project looking at ways to optimize astronaut performance on orbit. Weber checked on the progress of the Bioreactor Development System, which is growing human tissue samples better than Earth-bound methods.
Commander Tom Henricks and Pilot Kevin Kregel continued to work with alignment of the HERCULES camera using star sightings. So far, they have not succeeded in accomplishing alignment, which is required to calibrate the HERCULES geolocation equipment.
The crew also took time to answer questions from CNN reporter John Holliman, and to voice down answers to queries posed by Internet surfers visiting NASA's Shuttle Web.

On Monday, July 17, 1995, 4 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #09 reports:
Discovery's crew passed the halfway point of their mission today, continuing to encounter minimal problems as they worked on a variety of experiments.
The crew again today worked with the HERCULES video camera and the WINDEX observations of Shuttle glow. With HERCULES, the crew continued to have difficulty performing star alignments but have obtained very good Earth views, gathering 95 percent of the data planned for the investigation thus far, according to the experiment's sponsors. For WINDEX, Commander Tom Henricks fired Discovery's thrusters to allow the instrument to record the effects of such firings on the glow seen around Shuttle surfaces.
The only problem reported by the crew today was a faulty vacuum cleaner cord that caused a circuit breaker to trip aboard the spacecraft. While performing some routine cleaning onboard, the breaker tripped and the crew found several cuts in the cleaner's electric cord. The crew plans to splice the cord together, removing the nicked portions, and test it out after checking with flight controllers tomorrow.
STS-70 Flight Day 6 Highlights:

On Tuesday, July 18, 1995, 7 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #10 reports:
Discovery's crew downlinked video images of bioreactor tissue cultures that were described as better than any seen before by investigators who are working to qualify the machinery for use on orbit. The video showed orange colon cancer cells coalescing into globules, some of which were described by Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber as being as large as a pea.
Bioreactors are extensively used by researchers on Earth to grow three-dimensional cell cultures that cannot be produced by traditional culture methods. The Bioreactor Development System is being used to determine how effective the equipment is for supporting tissue growth with minimal cell damage.
Pilot Kevin Kregel and Mission Specialist Don Thomas spoke with the "Good Day, America" radio show out of Boston today, and answered several questions posed by visitors to NASA's Shuttle Web site on the Internet.
The crew also made HERCULES and WINDEX observations. Although several attempts to align the HERCULES Inertial Measurement Unit were unsuccessful, a previous alignment continued to allow geolocation of targets below with sufficient accuracy. Commander Tom Henricks twice fired Discovery's thrusters to allow the instrument to record the effects on the glow seen around shuttle surfaces in an effort to identify methods for protecting sensitive instruments from the phenomenon.
The crew repaired a faulty vacuum cleaner cord that had tripped a circuit breaker, although it will not be necessary to use the vacuum again during the flight. For most flights, the vacuum is used only three times -- early in the flight, at the midway point and just before landing -- to clean dust and debris from air circulation filters. The crew will use the sticky side of multipurpose gray tape available on board to clean the filters if necessary.

On Tuesday, July 18, 1995, 5 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #11 reports:
Discovery completed another trouble-free day on orbit as the crew continued to tend a host of experiments ranging from optical studies to biological investigations.

Today the crew activated one study for the first time thus far, the Microencapsulation in Space experiment, a device that will attempt to produce a timed-release antibiotic medication in weightlessness. The lack of gravity allows the encapsulation process to be performed with much greater purity than can be achieved on the ground, according to experimenters. The automated investigation will operate while the crew sleeps.

Earlier, the crew downlinked video images of bioreactor tissue cultures that were described as better than any seen before by investigators who are working to qualify the machinery for use on orbit. The video showed orange colon cancer cells coalescing into globules, some of which were described by Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber as being as large as a pea. The bioreactor is a rotating cylinder in which cells can be grown suspended in weightlessness aboard the shuttle thus making them more perfect than ground-grown cultures. The bioreactor experiment has now moved to its second phase, an observation of the currents created in the fluid inside the device that uses colored plastic beads to record the movements.

Also in the morning, the crew noted a small nick on the outside of one of the shuttle's exterior window panes apparently caused by the impact of a micrometeorite sometime during the sleep period. The tiny crater is estimated to be only a sixteenth of an inch in diameter and one thirty-second of an inch deep, posing no problems for the spacecraft. The exterior window pane alone is more than half an inch thick, and several more window panes -- together almost two inches thick -- are located between the exterior and the interior of the cabin.

In other work, the astronauts continued observations of Earth using the HERCULES video camera and of the shuttle itself using the Windex experiment. Windex observed the environment around the shuttle during a simultaneous waste and excess drinking water dump from the spacecraft.

Mission Control put the crew to bed for the day with the theme from the movie Starman. The eight-hour sleep period began at 2:42 p.m. CDT today. The crew will awaken at 10:42 p.m. tonight.
STS-70 Flight Day 7 Highlights:

On Wednesday, July 19, 1995, 7 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #12 reports:
Discovery began what promised to be another trouble-free day on orbit, obtaining a successful alignment of the HERCULES geolocating camera and evaluating the manual setup procedures for the rotating wall bioreactor.
Pilot Kevin Kregel downlinked both live and videotaped images from the HERCULES camera following the successful alignment of the camera's navigation equipment, which earlier in the flight had been troublesome. The crew kept the camera out longer than planned in an effort to record additional images.
Mission Specialist Don Thomas activated and deactivated the Microencapsulation in Space experiment, a device that will attempt to produce a timed-release antibiotic medication in weightlessness. The lack of gravity allows the encapsulation process to be performed with much greater purity than can be achieved on the ground, according to experimenters. Thomas also made contacts with ham radio operators on the ground with the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment.
Mission Specialist Nancy Currie checked on the status of the Commercial Protein Crystal Growth Experiment, helped Commander Tom Henricks and Kregel operate HERCULES and conducted a photo survey of a debris impact on one of the Shuttle's windows. The film was tucked way in a bag marked for return to Houston after the flight. The debris impact poses no hazard for the Shuttle.
Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber continued her work with the Bioreactor Development System and reported no problems with the manual setup procedures.

On Wednesday, July 19, 1995, 4 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #13 reports:
The crew of Discovery, continuing a near-perfect flight, began to wrap up their experiment work today, after a week of gathering a host of data ranging from Earth observations to biological studies.
After final sessions with the HERCULES camera and the WINDEX experiment, the crew has stowed them away for the trip home Friday. Early today, the crew successfully aligned the HERCULES camera's navigation equipment and sent the ground both live and videotaped images of regions from the device. Also, Commander Tom Henricks fired Discovery's steering thrusters several times for a final observation by the WINDEX experiment, which shares a camera with HERCULES. WINDEX records the environment around the spacecraft in low orbit and the effects of a variety of events, including water dumps and larger engine firings earlier in the flight.
Mission Specialist Don Thomas also reported success with the SAREX amateur radio aboard the Shuttle, counting around 50 contacts with ground radio operators a day for several days of the mission. The crew also spoke with students at 10 schools scattered around the globe.
Several experiments continue on Discovery--including the evaluation phase of the Bioreactor device, a cell culture growth experiment that already has successfully grown colon cancer cells during the early days of the flight. The current portion of the study characterizes the currents and environment inside the rotating cylinder that serves as the cell growth chamber.
The crew began an eight-hour sleep period at 2:42 p.m. CDT and will awaken for their eighth day in space at 10:42 p.m. CDT. Attention will then be turned toward the return home as the crew performs checks of Discovery's equipment to be used during landing and starts packing up its gear. Discovery is scheduled to land Friday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with a touchdown at 6:54 a.m. CDT.
STS-70 Flight Day 8 Highlights:

On Thursday, July 20, 1995, 7 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #14 reports:
The crew of Discovery overnight wrapped up its experiment work and checked out the systems that will be used for landing at Kennedy Space Center Friday.
Discovery's orbital maneuvering system engines are currently scheduled to be fired for the deorbit burn at 5:54 a.m. CDT Friday, resulting in a touchdown in Florida at 6:54 a.m. CDT. The weather forecast was favorable enough for mission managers to decide not to call up landing support at Edwards Air Force Base in California and to press for landing in Florida on either Friday or Saturday.
The second half of the crew's last full day on orbit will be spent packing up the experiments and stowing gear in preparation for landing. Earlier, Mission Specialists Don Thomas, Nancy Currie and Mary Ellen Weber completed the final data takes on the middeck experiments, and Commander Tom Henricks and Pilot Kevin Kregel successfully checked out the flight control surfaces and hot-fired the reaction control system steering jets they will use to pilot Discovery to a safe touchdown.
Flight controllers are once again working out of the old Mission Control Center following an orderly midnight transition from the new control center so that it can be used for a simulation. Launches and landings are scheduled to be controlled out of the old MCC for the next several flights until the new facility can be certified for the most dynamic flight phases.

On Thursday, July 20, 1995, 5 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #15 reports
With their experiments stowed and the orbiter prepared for landing, Discovery's five crew members are ready to come home Friday and conclude their successful eight-day mission.
The STS-70 crew has two opportunities to land at the Kennedy Space Center on Friday. For the first opportunity, Discovery's orbital maneuvering system engines would be fired for the deorbit burn at 5:53 a.m. CDT, resulting in a touchdown in Florida at 6:54 a.m. CDT. The deorbit burn for the second opportunity would occur at 7:28 a.m. CDT, with landing at 8:31 a.m. CDT. The weather predictions do look favorable, but forecasters will be watching for the formation of scattered cloud layers and ground fog that could hinder landing operations.
STS-70 Flight Day 9 Highlights:

On Friday, July 21, 1995, 8 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #16 reports:
Low clouds and fog at the Kennedy Space Center have caused mission managers and flight controllers to postpone Discovery's landing 24 hours until early Saturday morning.
Flight Director Rich Jackson directed the five STS-70 astronauts to remain aloft for another day after poor visibility prevented Discovery's homecoming on two consecutive landing opportunities. Landing support was not called up at the backup landing site at California's Edwards Air Force Base for today.
Discovery's astronauts were informed that their landing had been waved off for the day at 7:10 AM CDT after astronaut Steve Oswald, flying weather reconnaissance in a Shuttle Training Aircraft over the landing strip, reported that he could not see the 3- mile long runway from his vantage point.
Commander Tom Henricks, Pilot Kevin Kregel and Mission Specialists Don Thomas, Nancy Currie and Mary Ellen Weber climbed out of their launch and entry suits after the wave-off was declared and prepared to begin another eight-hour sleep period at 1:42 p.m. CDT. They'll be awakened at 9:42 p.m. to resume preparations for another try at coming home tomorrow.
Two landing opportunities are available at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday. The first calls for a deorbit burn at 4:26 a.m. CDT with a landing at 5:26 a.m. CDT. the second opportunity calls for a deorbit burn at 6 a.m. CDT with a landing at 7:02 a.m. If the weather does not cooperate at KSC, Discovery will be directed to land at California's Edwards Air Force Base. The one Edwards opportunity tomorrow will start with a deorbit burn at 7:28 a.m. CDT with a landing at 8:29 a.m. CDT.

On Friday, July 21, 1995, 2:30 p.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #17 reports:
Discovery's crew spent a quiet extra day aloft after canceling efforts toward a landing this morning due to fog and low clouds at Florida's Kennedy Space Center shuttle runway.
The crew began an eight-hour sleep period at 1:42 p.m. CDT and will awaken at 9:42 p.m. to refocus landing efforts toward a Saturday morning touchdown in either Florida or at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Discovery has a total of three landing opportunities Saturday, two to Florida and one to California. The first opportunity would have the shuttle fire its engines at 4:25 a.m. CDT to descend to a Florida landing at 5:26 a.m. CDT. A second opportunity would begin with an engine firing at 6 a.m. CDT culminating in a Florida touchdown at 7:02 a.m. CDT.
The third opportunity, to California, would begin with an engine firing at 7:26 a.m. CDT and result in an 8:29 a.m. CDT touchdown at Edwards.
The forecast for Florida tomorrow morning again calls for a possibility of fog and low clouds that could prohibit landing. The forecast for California calls for excellent landing weather, with only high, scattered clouds and light westerly winds.
STS-70 Flight Day 10 Highlights:

On Saturday, July 22, 1995, 7:30 a.m. CDT, STS-70 MCC Status Report #18 reports:
After almost nine days in space, the STS-70 crew returned home to Florida this morning to complete a mission that included a successful satellite deployment and work with a variety of middeck experiments.
STS-70 Commander Tom Henricks brought Discovery smoothly down on Runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center at 7:02 a.m. CDT, ending the 70th flight of the Space Shuttle system at a mission elapsed time of eight days, 22 hours and 21 minutes. The landing occurred on the second Florida deorbit and landing opportunity of the day. Even though weather looked good for the first opportunity, flight controllers opted to pass on it to allow weather conditions to improve even more.
Discovery performed flawlessly during its descent to Earth, as has been the case throughout its 21st flight. Discovery will now be prepared to be transported to California for a routine inspection and maintenance period.
The STS-70 crew will return to Houston later today. The five astronauts are expected to arrive at Ellington Field at about 5 p.m. today. The public is invited to attend the traditional welcoming ceremonies at NASA's Hangar 990 at the north end of the airfield.
Disassembly of the RSRM factory joint after landing identified that the solid rocket boster (SRB) motor factory joint experienced an o-ring problem similar to what was discovered on STS-71 (after STS-70 launched). This will impact the launch date of STS-69.

AKA: Discovery.
First Launch: 1995.07.13.
Last Launch: 1995.07.22.
Duration: 8.93 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Henricks Henricks, Terence Thomas 'Tom' (1952-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-44, STS-55, STS-70, STS-78. More...
  • Thomas Thomas, Dr Donald Alan 'Don' (1955-) American materials scientist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-65, STS-70, STS-83, STS-94. More...
  • Kregel Kregel, Kevin Richard (1956-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-70, STS-78, STS-87, STS-99. More...
  • Currie Currie, Nancy Jane nee Sherlock (1958-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-57, STS-70, STS-88, STS-109. US Army engineer. More...
  • Weber Weber, Dr Mary Ellen (1962-) American chemical engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-70, STS-101. Chemist. 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-70 Chronology


1995 July 13 - . 13:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. Launch Platform: MLP2. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-70.
  • STS-70 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Currie; Henricks; Kregel; Thomas; Weber. Payload: Discovery F21 / TDRS 7 [IUS]. Mass: 20,159 kg (44,442 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Currie; Henricks; Kregel; Thomas; Weber. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-70. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 8.93 days. Decay Date: 1995-07-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 23612 . COSPAR: 1995-035A. Apogee: 257 km (159 mi). Perigee: 257 km (159 mi). Inclination: 28.4500 deg. Period: 90.50 min. Deployed TDRS 7. Payloads: Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) G/ Inertial Upper Stage (IUS); Bioreactor Demon-stration System (BDS) B; Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC); Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG); Hand-Held, Earth-Oriented, Real-Time, Cooperative, User-Friendly, Location-Targeting and Environmental System (HER-CULES); Microcapsules in Space (MIS) B; Physiological and Anatomical Rodent Experiment (PARE)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rodents (R); Radiation Monitoring Experiment (RME) III; Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II; Space Tissue Loss (STL)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) Cells (C); Military Applications of Ship Tracks (MAST); Visual Function Tester (VFT) 4; Window Experiment (WINDEX).

1995 July 22 - .
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