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Matt 02-04-2006 01:31 PM

NASA STS Space Shuttle
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[COLOR="Red"]The information in these posts will not necessarily relate directly to the photos included in the posts. Overall, it will all relate. It would be way too much work to try to sort all the photos to coincide with the text.[/COLOR]


The Space Shuttle Enterprise never flew in space. It was the first Space Shuttle built (completed on September 17, 1976), and was used only for aeronautical flight testing. The Enterprise arrived at Dryden in January 1977 for a flight program involving a Boeing 747 airliner that had been modified for use as a shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA).

The first flights with the Space Shuttle attached to the SCA were done to find out how well the two vehicles flew together. Five "captive-inactive" flights were made during this test phase; there was no crew in the Enterprise. The next series of tests were done with a flight crew of two onboard the Space Shuttle during three captive flights, with the Enterprise piloted and its systems activated. All of this led to the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALT), which began on August 12, 1977.

The ALT program allowed pilots and engineers to learn how the Space Shuttle handled during low-speed flight and landing. The Enterprise was flown by a crew of two after it was released from its pylons on the SCA at an altitude of 19,000 to 26,000 feet.

The Enterprise did not have a propulsion system, but its first four glides to the Rogers Dry Lake runway provided realistic, in-flight simulations of how subsequent Space Shuttles would be flown at the end of an orbital mission. The fifth approach and landing test, with the Enterprise landing on the Edwards Air Force Base concrete runway, revealed a problem with the Space Shuttle flight control system that made it susceptible to Pilot-Induced Oscillation (PIO), a potentially dangerous control problem during a landing. Further research using other NASA aircraft, especially the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire aircraft, led to correction of the PIO problem before the first orbital flight.

The Enterprise's last free-flight was on October 26, 1977. The following spring it was ferried to other NASA Centers for ground-based flight simulations that tested the Space Shuttle systems and structure.

Wolf03 02-04-2006 01:34 PM

The last picture is just too cool. I wish I could go into space. :( It looks like an awesome experience.

Rockefella 02-04-2006 01:34 PM

I made a mistake in the voting, I meant to say no. I wasn't considering the actual 'crash' of the challenger when voting. I don't think it's necessary to post those photos.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:35 PM

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Space Shuttle (STS) SCA Ferry
NASA uses two modified Boeing 747 jetliners, originally manufactured for commercial use, as Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA). One is a 747-100 model, while the other is designated a 747-100SR (short range). The two aircraft are identical in appearance and in their performance as Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

The SCAs are used to ferry space shuttle orbiters from landing sites back to the launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center, and also to and from other locations too distant for the orbiters to be delivered by ground transportation. The orbiters are placed atop the SCAs by Mate-Demate Devices, large gantry-like structures which hoist the orbiters off the ground for post-flight servicing, and then mate them with the SCAs for ferry flights.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:38 PM

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Since the idea of a reusable rocket-plane was first seriously-studied by Eugen Sänger in the 1930s, the concept has exerted strong influence on the development of human spaceflight. In the United States, detailed proposals for a reusable space vehicle were developed as early as the 1950s, and several projects reached the design and test stage in the 1960s.

Initially, the Space Shuttle was envisioned as a fully reusable, commercial spaceplane. During the early 1970s, however, its development faced considerable obstacles, budgetary shortfalls, some congressional opposition, increasing public apathy, and design difficulties. What emerged was a smaller, semi-reusable vehicle, advertised as an economical and efficient means of space transport.

Whether the Shuttle has fulfilled these goals is a topic of some controversy. Even so, the Space Shuttle has been the cornerstone of the U.S. space program, and the driving force behind much of the budget and programs of NASA for over two decades.

America's Space Shuttle orbiters are named after pioneering sea vessels which established new frontiers in research and exploration. NASA delved through the history books to find ships that achieved historical significance through discoveries about the world's oceans or the Earth itself. Another important criterion in the selection process was consideration for the international nature of the Space Shuttle program. The name of NASA's newest orbiter, Endeavour, was selected from names submitted by school children around the world.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:39 PM

[quote=Rockefella]I made a mistake in the voting, I meant to say no. I wasn't considering the actual 'crash' of the challenger when voting. I don't think it's necessary to post those photos.[/quote]

Just to let everyone know: They are not gruesome photos. They are photos of the Challenger on it's previous flights. There are photos of the explosion. There are photos of the wreckage after it was collected. There are PR photos and training photos of the crew. And there are photos of the memorial to the accident and the crew.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:41 PM

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Space Shuttles are the main element of America’s Space Transportation System and are used for space research and other space applications. The shuttles are the first vehicles capable of being launched into space and returning to Earth on a routine basis.
Space Shuttles are used as orbiting laboratories in which scientists and mission specialists conduct a wide variety of scientific experiments. Crews aboard shuttles place satellites in orbit, rendezvous with satellites to carry out repair missions and return them to space, and retrieve satellites and return them to Earth for refurbishment and reuse.

Space Shuttles are true aerospace vehicles. They leave Earth and its atmosphere under rocket power provided by three liquid-propellant main engines withtwo solid-propellant boosters attached plus an external liquid-fuel tank. After their orbital missions, they streak back through the atmosphere and land like airplanes. The returning shuttles, however, land like gliders, without power and on runways. Other rockets can place heavy payloads into orbit, but, they can only be used once. Space Shuttles are designed to be continually reused.

When Space Shuttles are used to transport complete scientific laboratories into space, the laboratories remain inside the payload bay throughout the mission. They are then removed after the Space Shuttle returns to Earth and can be reused on future flights. Some of these orbital laboratories, like the Spacelab, provide facilities for several specialists to conduct experiments in such fields as medicine, astronomy, and materials manufacturing. Some types of satellites deployed by Space Shuttles include those involved in environmental and resources protection, astronomy, weather forecasting, navigation, oceanographic studies, and other scientific fields.

The Space Shuttles can also launch spacecraft into orbits higher than the Shuttle’s altitude limit through the use of Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) propulsion units. After release from the Space Shuttle payload bay, the IUS is ignited to carry the spacecraft into deep space. The Space Shuttles are also being used to carry elements of the International Space Station into space where they are assembled in orbit.

The Space Shuttles were built by Rockwell International’s Space Transportation Systems Division, Downey, California. Rockwell’s Rocketdyne Division (now part of Boeing) builds the three main engines, and Thiokol, Brigham City, Utah, makes the solid rocket booster motors. MartinMarietta Corporation (now Lockheed Martin), New Orleans, Louisiana, makes the external tanks.

Each orbiter (Space Shuttle) is 121 feet long, has a wingspan of 78 feet, and a height of 57 feet. The Space Shuttle is approximately the size of a DC-9 commercial airliner and can carry a payload of 65,000 pounds into orbit. The payload bay is 60 feet long and 15 feet in diameter. Each main engine is capable of producing a sea level thrust of 375,000 pounds and a vacuum (orbital) thrust of 470,000 pounds. The engines burn a mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. In orbit, the Space Shuttles circle the earth at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour with each orbit taking about 90 minutes. A Space Shuttle crew sees a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes. When Space Shuttle flights began in April 1981, Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, was the primary landing site for the Shuttles. Now Kennedy Space Center, Florida, is the primary landing site with Dryden remaining as the principal alternate landing site.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:44 PM

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Post-flight servicing of the orbiters, and the mating operation, is carried out at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, at the Mate-Demate Device (MDD).

When the orbiters land at Dryden, they are towed to the MDD. It is a large gantry-like structure where the orbiters receive post-flight servicing and are prepared for the ferry flights back to the Kennedy Space Center with the NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA).

Before the ferry flights begin, all orbiter systems are checked thoroughly and certain fuel lines and tanks are purged. Post-flight servicing and ferry flight preparations at the MDD normally take about five days. When the orbiter is ready for the ferry flight, it is lifted by the MDD and placed on special mounts atop the Boeing 747 SCA fuselage. Ferry flights back to the Kennedy Space Center usually take one to two days, based on weather along the route.

The 100-foot high steel truss cantilevered facility is capable of precision positioning of more than 220,000 pounds and is used to raise the orbiters onto jacks for ferry-flight servicing, and then hoist them higher to mate them atop the NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA).

The MDD, which features three seperate hoist units, each capable of lifting 100,000 pounds, was designed by Connell Associates, Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., and built by the George A. Fuller Co., Chicago, Ill., at a cost of $1.7 million.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:46 PM

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The STS-76 Atlantis launched 22 March 1996, from Pad 39-B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the 76th Shuttle Mission and the 3rd MIR docking.

The crew consisted of Kevin P. Chilton, Commander; Richard A. Searfoss, Pilot; and Mission Specialists Shannon W. Lucid, Linda M. Godwin, Michael R. Clifford, and Ronald M. Sega.

The primary mission objective was the third docking between the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Space Station Mir. It included a crew transfer, an extravehicular activity (EVA), logistics operations and scientific research.

Rendezvous and docking with Mir was on flight day three using the same approach as previously used during STS-74. Docking occured between the Orbiter Docking System in the forward area of Atlantis' payload bay and the Docking Module installed during STS-74 on Mir's Kristall module docking port.

The mission also featured a SPACEHAB module, middeck experiments, a Get Away Special (GAS) canister and a 6-hour EVA.

Over 1,900 pounds (862 kilograms) of equipment were being transfered from Atlantis to Mir including a gyrodyne, transformer, batteries, food, water, film and clothing. Launch was at 3:13:04 a.m. EST, with 145 (estimated) orbits.

The mission lasted 9 days, 5 hours, 16 minutes, and 48 seconds, with the shuttle traveling and estimated 3.8 million miles. Landing was at Edwards AFB (EAFB) 31 March 1996, at 8:28:57 a.m. EST, on Runway 22. Conditions at EAFB were clear and calm with no weather concerns. Landing was 11 min before daylight at 5:29 a.m. local time, which is considered a daylight landing under flight rules.

The deorbit burn fired at 7:24 a.m. EST. Atlantis executed a 275 degree left overhead turn into the landing strip and twin sonic booms were heard at Edwards 3 minutes before landing. Main gear touchdown occurred at 9 days 5 hours 15 min. 53 sec. or 8:28:57 EST.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:49 PM

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STS-92 was the 100th mission since the fleet of four Space Shuttles began flying in 1981. (Due to schedule changes, missions are not always launched in the order that was originally planned.) The almost 13-day mission was the last construction mission for the International Space Station prior to the first scientists taking up residency in the orbiting space laboratory the following month. The seven-member crew on STS-92 included mission specialists Koichi Wakata, Michael Lopez-Alegria, Jeff Wisoff, Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao, pilot Pam Melroy and mission commander Brian Duffy.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:50 PM

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Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at 12:33 p.m. February 20, 2001, on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, where NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center is located. The mission, which began February 7, logged 5.3 million miles as the shuttle orbited earth while delivering the Destiny science laboratory to the International Space Station. Inclement weather conditions in Florida prompted the decision to land Atlantis at Edwards.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:54 PM

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[B]Space Shuttle Program Begins with Launch of STS-1[/B]

Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on April 12, 1981, at 6 a.m. CST (12:00 GMT) to begin the first shuttle mission, STS-1. The primary mission objectives for STS-1 were to accomplish a safe ascent into orbit, check out all the systems on the space shuttle and to return to Earth for a safe landing. All of these objectives were met successfully.

The main payload carried on STS-1 was a Development Flight Instrumentation package, which contained sensors and measuring devices to record orbiter performance and the stresses that occurred during launch, ascent, orbital flight, descent and landing.

Postflight inspection of Columbia revealed that an overpressure wave, which occurred when the solid rocket boosters ignited, resulted in the loss of 16 heat shield tiles and damage to 148 others.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:56 PM

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RELEASE No: 81-39
March 18, 1981

David Garrett
Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Phone: 202/755-3090)

Dick Young
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Phone: 305/867-2468)

Terry White
Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
(Phone: 713/483-5111)


The Space Shuttle orbiter Columbia, first in a planned fleet of spacecraft in the nation's Space Transportation System, will liftoff on its first orbital shakedown flight in April 1981. Launch will be no earlier than 45 minutes after sunrise from the NASA Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.

Crew for the first orbital flight will be John W. Young, commander, veteran of two Gemini and two Apollo space flights, and U.S. Navy Capt. Robert L. Crippen, pilot. Crippen has not flown in space.

Columbia will have no payloads in the payload bay on this first orbital flight, but will carry instrumentation for measuring orbiter systems performance in space and during its glide through the atmosphere to a landing after 54 1/2 hours.

Extensive testing of orbiter systems, including the space radiators and other heat rejection systems, fills most of the STS-1 mission timeline. The clamshell-like doors on Columbia's 4.6 by 18-meter (15 by 60-foot) payload bay will be opened and closed twice during the flight for testing door actuators and latch mechanisms in the space environment.

Other tests will measure performance of maneuvering and attitude thrusters, the Columbia's computer array and avionics "black boxes," and, during entry, silica-tile heatshield temperatures.

The first of four engineering test flights, STS-1, will be launched into a 40.3 degree inclination orbit circularized first at 241 kilometers (130 nautical miles) and later boosted to 278 km (150 nm). Columbia will be used in these four test flights in proving the combined booster and orbiter combination before the Space Transportation System becomes operational with STS-5, now forecast for launch in September 1982.

After "tower clear" the launch team in the Kennedy Space Center Firing Room will hand over STS-1 control to flight controllers in the Mission Control Center, Houston, for the remainder of the flight.

Columbia's two orbital maneuvering system hypergolic engines will fire at approximately 53 1/2 hours over the Indian ocean to bring the spacecraft to a landing on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., an hour later. The approach to landing will cross the California coast near Big Sur at 42,670 m (140,000 ft.) altitude, pass over Bakersfield and Mojave, and end with a sweeping 225-degree left turn onto final approach.

Young and Crippen will land Columbia manually on this first test flight. A microwave landing system on the ground will be the primary landing aid in subsequent flights, with optional manual takeover. Kennedy landing teams will remove the flight crew and "safe" the orbiter after landing.

The first three test flights land on Rogers Dry Lake, the fourth on the main runway at Edwards Air Force Base, and STS-5 will land on the 4,570-m (15,000-ft.) concrete Shuttle Landing Facility runway at Kennedy Space Center.

STS-1 will be the first manned flight using solid rocket boosters. No previous U.S. space vehicle has been manned on its maiden flight.

Matt 02-04-2006 01:59 PM

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STS-1 and the three flights following are engineering test flights to prove out the Shuttle system in launch, orbital and landing operations. As the first manned orbital flight, STS-l's flight profile has been designed to minimize structural and operational loads on the spacecraft and its boosters. orbiter Columbia's cargo bay will be bare for this first test flight except for a data collection and recording package called developmental flight instrumentation (DPI) and an aerodynamic coefficient identification package (ACIP).

The data collection package consists of three magnetic tape recorders, wideband frequency division multiplexers, a pulse code modulation master unit and signal conditioners. The recorders can record 28 tracks of wideband analog data on systems conditions and performance simultaneously. This package will be removed after STS-4 from Columbia's cargo bay, where it is mounted at fuselage station 1069. The aerodynamic package is described under the "orbital Experiments Program."

A lengthy list of flight test objectives, detailed test objectives and two categories of supplementary objectives spell out what information is sought from STS-1, ranging from thermal responses to systems performance.

The basic STS-1 flight objective is to demonstrate safe launch into orbit and return to landing of Columbia and its crew. Secondarily, the flight will verify the combined performance of the entire Shuttle vehicle -- orbiter, solid rocket boosters, external tank -- up through separation and retrieval of the spent solid rocket boosters. The flight will also gather data on the combined vehicle's aerodynamic and structural responses to the stress of launch. At mission end, similar data will be gathered on orbiter energy characteristics, such as crossrange steering capabilities, structural loads on entry, and performance of silica-tile thermal protection system.

A major portion of the flight and detailed test objectives is aimed toward wringing out orbiter hardware systems and their operating computer software, and toward measuring the overall orbiter thermal response while in orbit with payload doors opened and closed. Still other test objectives evaluate orbiter's attitude and maneuvering thruster systems and the spacecraft's guidance and navigation system performance.


A complete and accurate assessment of Shuttle performance during the launch, boost, orbit, atmospheric entry and landing phases of a mission requires precise data collection to document the Shuttle's response to these conditions.

The office of Aeronautics and Space Technology, through its orbiter Experiments Program, is providing research-dedicated experiments on board the Shuttle orbiter to record specific, research-quality data. This data will be used to verify the accuracy of wind tunnel and other ground-based simulations made prior to flight; to verify ground-to-flight extrapolation methods; and to verify theoretical computational methods. The data will also be useful to the office of Space Transportation Systems in their efforts to further certify the Shuttle and expand its operational envelope.

The prime objective of the these experiments is to increase the technology reservoir for development of future (21st century) space transportation systems such as single-stage-to-orbit, heavylift launch vehicles and orbital transfer vehicles that could deploy and service large, automated, man-tended, multi-functional satellite platforms and a manned, permanent facility in Earth orbit.

The orbiter Experiments Program experiments include:

ACIP - Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package;
SEADS - Shuttle Entry Air Data System;
SUMS - Shuttle Upper Atmospheric Mass Spectrometer;
TFI - Technology Flight Instrumentation;
DATE - Dynamic, Acoustic and Thermal Environment Experiment;
IRIS - Infrared Imagery of Shuttle;
SILTS - Shuttle Infrared Leeside Temperature Sensing;
TGH - Tile Gap Heating Effects Experiment;
CSE - Catalytic Surface Effects.
Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package and Infrared Imagery of Shuttle are the experiments which will obtain data during the STS-1 mission.

ACIP - Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package

The Shuttle orbiter presents an unprecedented and continuing opportunity to obtain full-scale flight data for an aircraft-type reentry vehicle throughout the complete aerodynamic regime.

The primary objectives of ACIP are:

To collect aerodynamic data during the launch, entry and landing phases of the Shuttle;
To establish an extensive aerodynamic data base for verification of and correlation with ground-based test data, including assessments of the uncertainties in such data:
To provide flight dynamics data in support of other technology areas, such as aerothermal and structural dynamics.
The Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package incorporates three triads of instruments: one of dual-range linear accelerometers; one of angular accelerometers; and one of rate gyros. Also included in this package are the power conditioner for the gyros, the power control systems and the housekeeping components. The package will be installed co-linearly with the geometric axes of the orbiter and post-installation measurements will be made to establish the position within 1O arc minutes. The instruments continuously sense the dynamic X, Y and Z attitudes and performance characteristics of the orbiter through these critical flight phases. In addition, the package receives orbiter control surface position data and converts these into higher orders of precision before recording them with the attitude data. Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package Principal Technologist is D. B. Howes, Johnson Space Center.

IRIS - Infrared Imagery of Shuttle

The objective is to obtain high-resolution infrared imagery of the orbiter lower (windward) and side surfaces during entry from which surface temperatures and hence aerodynamic heating may be inferred. The imagery will be obtained using a 91.5 centimeter (36-inch) telescope mounted in the NASA C-141 Gerald P. Kuiper Airborne observatory positioned appropriately at an altitude of 13,716 m (45,000 ft.) along the entry ground track of the orbiter. A single image will be obtained during each flight.

The primary technology objective is to decrease the current level of uncertainty associated with various entry aerothermodynamic phenomena that affect the thermal protection system design. The phenomena include boundary layer transition, flow separation and reattachment, flow/surface interactions, and surface catalyses to flow chemistry. These data will provide for improved computational procedures and lead to the development of advanced thermal protection systems.

The Infrared Imagery of Shuttle system consists of the C-141 aircraft and its optical system, a 6-cm (2.36-in.) aperture acquisition telescope focal plane system with detector array, and a high-speed data handling and storage system. To conduct the observations, the aircraft will operate from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The aircraft will be stationed along the orbiter entry ground track about one hour prior to reentry. As the orbiter passes through the field of view of the telescope, the orbiter windward or side surface will be observed by the detector system and the data recorded on tape.

After the flight, these data will be supplemented by orbiter-derived data of velocity, altitude, angle-of-attack, yaw and roll conditions existing during the period of observation by the Infrared Imagery of Shuttle.

Analysis of these data involves computer arrangement of data into a two-dimensional image format, radiometric analysis and detailed comparisons of the aerodynamic heating rates with analytical predictions and ground-based experimental data. Infrared Imagery of Shuttle Principal Technologist is B. L. Swenson, Ames Research Center.

Matt 02-04-2006 02:02 PM

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Assembly of the Space Shuttle "stack" for the STS-1 mission began in December 1979, and January 1980, with the erection of the twin solid rocket boosters on a mobile launcher platform in the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building's High Bay 3.

The Space Shuttle orbiter Columbia arrived at Kennedy Space Center from Dryden Flight Research Center in California aboard the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on March 24, 1979, and was immediately moved into the orbiter Processing Facility for systems checkout and the completion of installing its thermal protection system.

The external tank arrived at Kennedy by barge from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La., in July 1979, and underwent processing in the Vehicle Assembly Building's High Bay 4.

The tank was mated with the solid rocket boosters on the mobile launcher platform in early November 1980.

The Columbia was moved from the orbiter Processing Facility on Nov. 24, 1980, to the adjacent Vehicle Assembly Building where it was mated with the external tank and solid rocket boosters to complete the space vehicle for the STS-1 mission.

The Shuttle Interface Test was conducted in the Vehicle Assembly Building in December to checkout the mechanical and electrical connections between the various elements and the functioning of onboard flight systems.

The assembled Space Shuttle aboard its mobile launcher platform was moved the 5.6 km (3.5 mi.) from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad A on Dec. 29, 1980, to undergo final processing for launch.

Pad/flight vehicle interfaces were validated during January and a further series of tests led to the wet (or fueled) Countdown Demonstration Test which culminated in the successful 20-second Flight Readiness Firing of Columbia's three main engines on Feb. 20, 1981.

Upon the conclusion of the readiness firing, steps were taken to repair a small portion of the external tank's super light ablator insulation which became debonded during a tanking test of the orbiter's supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants in January.

Major tests conducted during March included the Launch Readiness Verification runs in which flight and landing events were simulated and a "dry" Countdown Demonstration Test. The latter test was a dress rehearsal for launch in which prime crew astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen went through a countdown and simulated liftoff. The dry demonstration test differed from the wet one in that the Shuttle's external tank was not loaded with the orbiter's liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants and did not include a test firing of the orbiter's engines.

The completion of the dry Countdown Demonstration Test and other major tests cleared the way for countdown and launch.

The countdown for the STS-1 mission will be conducted in Firing Room 1 of the Complex 39 Launch Control Center by a government/industry launch team of about 200.

The STS-1 pre-count will be picked up at the T-73-hour mark and includes a number of built-in holds. The hypergolic propellants for the orbiter's orbital maneuvering and reaction control systems were loaded aboard prior to the wet Countdown Demonstration Test/Flight Readiness Firing. They were not de-tanked after the test and it will not be necessary to service these systems during the countdown.

The hydrazine-fueled auxiliary power units aboard Columbia and the solid rocket boosters' hydraulic power units will be serviced prior to the beginning of the STS-1 pre-count.

Among the early pre-count activities are powering up the Shuttle vehicle, pressurizing the orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control System propellant tanks, software loading of the orbiter's general purpose computer's mass memory units, battery connections and range safety checks and servicing the fuel cells with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

Among the major functions in the launch countdown are:

Count Time

T-15 hours
Retract external tank intertank access arm.

T-14 hrs
Start retraction of rotating service structure. Task completed by T-12 hours.

T-8 hrs
Lower vent hood (beanie cap) of external tank gaseous oxygen vent over nose cone of external tank.

T-7 hrs
Start clearing pad for countdown. Clearing completed by T-5 hours.

T-5 hrs
Begin countdown.

T-4 hrs, 30 min
Begin chilldown of liquid oxygen transfer system.

T-4 hrs, 20 min
Begin chilldown of liquid hydrogen transfer system. Begin liquid oxygen fill of external tank.

T-4 hrs, 10 min
Begin liquid hydrogen fill of external tank.

T-2 hrs, 15 min
Wake up flight crew.

T-2 hrs, 4 min
Two-hour built-in hold. External tank loading complete. External tank ice inspection and evaluation will be performed during this hold. Crew will also leave operations and Checkout Building for pad during hold.

T-1 hr, 50 min
Crew entry begins.

T-1 hr, 25 min
Crew entry complete.

T-20 min
20-minute built-in hold.

T-9 min
10-minute built-in hold.

T-9 min
Go for launch. Start launch processing system ground launch sequencer (automatic sequence).

T-7 min, 5 sec
Start orbiter access arm retraction (Fixed Service Structure). Retraction completed by T-4 min, 55 sec.

T-5 min
Start orbiter auxiliary power units.

T-3 min, 45 sec
Run orbiter aero surfaces profile.

T-3 min, 30 sec
orbiter placed on internal power.

T-3 min, 10 sec
Run gimbal slew profile, Space Shuttle main engines.

T-2 min, 55 sec
External tank liquid oxygen to flight pressure.

T-2 min, 50 sec
Start retraction of external tank gaseous oxygen vent arm.

T-1 min, 57 sec
External tank liquid hydrogen to flight pressure.

T-25 sec
Solid rocket booster hydraulic power units activated. orbiter onboard general purpose computer assumes control of terminal countdown. Ground launch sequencer remains on line supporting and monitoring launch commit criteria redlines.

T-18 sec
Verify solid rocket booster nozzle positions.

T-11 sec
Initiate pre-liftoff sound suppression system water.

T-3.8 sec
Main engine start sequence command.

T+0.24 sec
All engines at 90 percent thrust.

T+2.88 sec
External tank umbilical retracted. solid rocket boosters are ignited and holddown posts are released. Post-liftoff sound suppression water ("rainbirds") initiated.

LIFTOFF (Mission elapsed time begins with liftoff.)

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