- Endeavour (6)
- Pad 39-A (50)
- 62nd Shuttle Mission
- 6th Flight OV-105
- EAFB Landing (40)
- Sidney M. Gutierrez (2), Commander
- Kevin P. Chilton (2), Pilot
- Linda M. Godwin (2), Payload Commander
- Jay Apt (3), Mission Specialist 1
- Michael R. Clifford (2), Mission Specialist 2
- Thomas D. Jones (1), Mission Specialist 4
- OPF-1 -- 12/14/93
- VAB -- 3/14/94
- PAD -- 3/19/94
- SRL-1, MAPS, CONCAP-IV, SAREX-II, STL, TUFI, VFT-4, GAS(x3)
Scientists around the world will be provided a unique vantage point
for studying how the Earth's
global environment is changing when Space
is launched on Shuttle mission STS-59. During the
9-day mission, the Space Radar Laboratory (SRL) payload in
cargo bay will give scientists highly detailed information that will
help them distinguish human-induced environmental changes from other
natural forms of change.
The Space Radar Laboratory (SRL) payload is comprised of the Spaceborne
Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) and the
Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellite (MAPS). The German Space Agency
(DARA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) are providing the X-SAR instrument.
The imaging radar of the SIR-/X-SAR instruments have the ability to make
measurements over virtually any region at any time, regardless of weather or
sunlight conditions. The radar waves can penetrate clouds, and under
certain conditions, can also "see" through vegetation, ice and extremely dry
sand. In many cases, radar is the only way scientists can explore
inaccessible regions of the Earth's surface.
- The STS-59 launch occured April 9, 1994 at
7:05am EDT from the
Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., at the start of it's 2 1/2 hour
launch window. No OMS-1 burn was required. After
APU #2 show
signs of over heating and was shutdown at 7:21am EDT. APU's are only
entry operations and are typically powered off
shortly after launch. APU #1 and
APU #3 were shut off shortly after
APU #2. Main Engine Cutoff was at MET of 8:33 with
at 25,777 feet per second. At MET, Endeavour
was in an orbit of
117nm by 29nm. OMS-2 Burn was at an MET of 37 min for 1min, 42 sec for a
burn of 164 fps. This placed Endeavour in an orbit
of 121nm by 120nm.
- The shuttle Endeavour completed it's six hour
3.5 mile journey to Pad 39A
atop th crawler
transporter at 1 p.m. on Saturday, 3/19/94.
- A launch attempt on April 7 was delayed at least one day so that
inspections could be done to insure Endeavour does has
vanes of the
proper radius in its liquid oxygen engine preburner. Inspectors at
Rocketdyne's engine plant in Canoga Park, California discovered flaws
in two components being tested and concerns were raised that
Endeavours engines could contain similar components. The preburner's
3-inch nickel alloy vanes should have rounded tips while the vanes
discovered by Rocketdyne had sharper tips. Engineers were concerned
the sharper tips have a higher probability of cracking and that could
cause a piece of debris to be pulled into the Liquid Oxygen High
Pressure Oxydizer Turbopump (HPOT).
This, in turn, could cause a
premature engine shutdown. The inspections involved snaking a
borescope thru the engine components on Endeavour
and inspecting the
engine vanes. Endeavour was verified to be in
the proper configuration.
- The launch attempt on April 8 was scheduled for 8:07am but the
protected an option in the countdown timeline which would allow
launch one hour sooner at 7:07 a.m. EDT. By building flexibility into the
launch time, NASA managers can evaluate predicted climatological and
atmospheric conditions for the KSC area during the final part of the
countdown and then select the optimum time for launch. The launch attempt
on April 8 was delayed due to low cloud cover and then finally
scrubbed at T-5 min due to bad weather (cross winds out of limits) at the
Shuttle Landing Facility. A 24-hour turnaround scrub was initiated.
- Altitude: 121nm
- Inclination: 57 degrees
- Orbits: 183
- Duration: 11 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, 30 seconds.
- Distance: 4,704,875 miles
- SRB: BI-065
- SRM: 360W/H037
- ET : SN-063
- MLP: 2
- SSME-1: SN-2028
- SSME-2: SN-2033
- SSME-3: SN-2018
- Edwards AFB April 20 at 12:55pm EDT Runway 22.
Main landing gear
touchdown at MET 11 days 5 hours 49 minutes 30 seconds. Nose gear touchdown
15 seconds later and wheel stop at 11 days, 5 hours, 50 minutes and 23
OMS safing complete by 12:59pm EDT.
for KSC April 20 at 11:29 a.m EDT and 1:01 p.m. EDT were passed over due
to cloud cover obscuring visibility at the
shuttle landing facility.
- Landing was originally scheduled 11:52am on Tuesday, April 19, 1994
on KSC's runway 33. The landing was postponed a day (from
Status Report #30) due to weather violations in the landing area. The
first opportunity was waived off due to cloud cover obscured clear
visibility of the runway. The second (and last) KSC landing
opportunity for April 19th (which would have resulted in a landing at
12:23 pm) was also waived due to clouds and high winds in the vicinity
of the Shuttle Landing Facility.
The decision was made following near
continuous review of the weather conditions by flight controllers at
the Johnson Space Center
and Astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson flying the
Shuttle Training Aircraft at the landing site.
- On Tuesday, April 19, 1994, 11:30 a.m. CDT
(from STS-59 MCC
Status Report #31) Endeavour and its six
astronauts will remain in
space an additional day. Four landing opportunities are available
Wednesday -- two in Florida and two at Edwards Air Force Base in
California. KSC remains the prime landing site with Edwards serving
as the backup. The Florida landing times are 10:29 a.m. and 12:01
p.m. central. The California landing times are 11:54 a.m. and 1:26
p.m. central. The deorbit
burn designed to drop
Endeavour out of
orbit for the landing phase will occur about 50 minutes prior to
Last Mission STS-62
Next Mission STS-65
- Endeavour began its sixth mission
this morning with an on-time
launch at 7:05 am eastern time. Soon after, the six astronauts
began activating the sensitive radar equipment in the payload bay
that will be operated around the clock during the next 10 days.
- By Saturday, April 9, 1994, 8 pm EDT, The Space Radar Laboratory-1
experiments of NASA's Mission to Planet
Earth were all activated and
began their study of the
- STS-59 ground controllers
finished activating Spaceborne Imaging
Radar-C (SIR-C) and began
processing its first images of the
engineers working with the X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
worked their way through some initial activation problems.
- Meanwhile, the Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellite
instrument took data on the carbon monoxide content and distribution
in the atmosphere since shortly after launch and scientists are
processing its data.
- During the initial activation of the
X-SAR package, controllers
reported they were unable to fully power up the high power amplifier
that provides power to the radar. The problem was in the low voltage
circuit internal to the power amplifier. Engineers were not
immediately able to explain the problem, so they temporarily turned
off the power amplifier for about three hours while developing a
troubleshooting plan. The problem was traced to an oversensitive
protection circuit, a type of circuit breaker in the
The radar lab engineers then bypassed the protection circuit and began
again turning on the instrument, called the X-band Synthetic Aperture
Radar, or X-SAR, at about 4:20 p.m. Saturday, and it has worked
without incident since being repowered, completing 100 percent of its
scheduled observations overnight.
- Since then, X-SAR controllers have continued a deliberate, step by
step check of the instrument and successfully bounced X-band radar
pulses off the Earth and recorded data. All of the instrument's
circuits recorded normal readings. The crew also activated the Space
Tissue Loss investigations on the middeck, and the
Get Away Special
experiments in the cargo bay.
- As of Sunday morning, April 10, 1994, the radar laboratory has taken
data readings on more than 40 targets including Howland, Maine;
Macquarie Island; the Black Sea; Matera, Italy; and the Strait of
Gibraltar. Scientists also have gathered information on three of the
19 "supersites." The supersites are the highest priority targets and
the focal points for many of the scientific observations. Sunday's
supersite observations have included global carbon and hydrologic
cycles in Duke Forest, North Carolina; hydrological cycles around
Otzal, Austria; and geological data on Lake Chad in the Sahara.
Observation sites for Sunday afternoon included Gippsland, Australia;
Sable Island; Toronto, Canada; Bermuda; Bighorn Basin, Wyoming; Chung
Li, China; and Mammoth Mountain, Calif. The supersite opportunities
are Raco, Michigan, and the Gulf Stream.
- By Sunday, April 10, 1994, 8 p.m. EDT (MCC
STS-59 Status Report #5),
Space Radar Laboratory-1 has taken data readings over targets
including Nelson House, Manitoba, and Sable Island, Nova Scotia,
Canada; the Azores Islands; Gippsland and Alice Springs, Australia;
Toronto, Ontario, Canada; the Bermuda Islands, Cuiaba and Pantanal,
Brazil; Wyoming's Big Horn Basin; Chung Li, China; Sarobetsu, Japan;
Mammoth Mountain, Calif., Cerro Aconcagua, Argentina; Cerro Laukaru,
Chile and the Baikal Forest and Kamchatka Peninsula in
- Sunday evenings supersite observations by the Spaceborne Imaging
Radar-C (SIR- C) and the X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
those taken over 19 areas that have been deemed especially significant
by the scientists planning the observations -- focused on the
interaction of plants and animals in the ecology of the forests of
Raco, Mich.; hydrologic cycles around Bebedouro, Brazil; tectonic
plate activity around the
Galapagos Islands in the South Pacific; and
the transfer of heat through wave energy in the Southern Ocean.
- The Measurement of Atmospheric Pollution from Satellite instrument
also continued to take readings of the concentration and distribution
of carbon monoxide throughout the troposphere.Crew members reported
good Earth observation photography opportunties
over the Northeast
Pacific Ocean and the frozen lakes of the Raco supersite area, as well
as fires in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico.
- On flight day two, the Red Team crew of Commander Sidney M.
Gutierrez, Pilot Kevin P. Chilton
and Payload Commander Linda M.
Godwin began its sleep shift about 5 p.m. CDT, and will awaken at 2
a.m. The Blue Team crew members,
Michael R. Clifford and
Thomas D. Jones awakened about 4 p.m. to begin their third flight day
on orbit, and will go to bed about 5 a.m.
- As of Monday, April 11, 1994, 6:30 a.m. CDT
(from MCC STS-59 Status
Report #6) three real-time radar images were downlinked from
overnight. A view of the Sahara Desert in Algeria, one of the geology
sites, will help scientists to map surface and subsurface structures.
The Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and the X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
can penetrate the Sahara's dry sand cover to reveal centuries-old
drainage patterns. The desert salt flat regions showed up on the
image as bright ridges.
- Also, the two radar imaging systems were calibrated over Matera,
Italy, and Oberpfaffenhoffen, Germany, near Munich. Students
from the University of Munich are participating in a concurrent
ecology project. The students measure soil moisture, forestry
parameters, and the biomass of agricultural crops in the area at
the same time the radar data is gathered. The students'
measurements will be compared with the radar images to help
scientists verify information about the interactions of the
various elements of Earth's environment.
- Thus far in the mission, all 16 "supersites" planned for
observations have been completed. Supersites are those with
highest priority throughout the flight. Of the 51 total science
sites thus far, 40 have been obtained. The 11 that have been
missed due to recalibration operations will be replanned and
obtained during the rest of the flight.
- Mission Specialist
Thomas D. Jones gave scientists real-time
observations of thunderstorms over Taiwan, the Philippines and
New Guinea to augment data being gathered by the Measure of
Atmospheric Pollution from Satellite
(MAPS) experiment. Jay Apt
described a "good-sized" dust storm on the northwest coast of
Australia. MAPS takes readings of the levels of carbon monoxide
in Earth's lower atmosphere.
- The MAP project's Vickie Connors reported to
Team of crew members that there is good correlation between what
the instruments on board are reading compared to data gathered on
the ground. The air pollution measuring experiment has been in
operation since about 3 hours after launch and has collected more
than 38 hours of science data. It has mapped nearly half of the
Earth's carbon monoxide distribution.
- Concluding Flight Day 3, the Blue Team of
Jay Apt, Michael R.
Clifford and Tom Jones started their sleep period beginning about 8
a.m. The Red Team of
Sidney M. Gutierrez,
Kevin P. Chilton, and Linda
M. Godwin went to work a few minutes after five this morning.
- By Monday, April 11, 1994, 6 p.m. CDT, (from
STS-59 MCC Status Report # 7)
several more real-time images were processed by the X-Band Synthetic
Aperture Radar today, looking at the Sahara Desert in Algeria, a
geology site, and the area around the Japanese Islands, an
oceanography site. Endeavour
flew over the southern portion of Japan,
and the quick-look processor showed oil slicks covering the ocean.
Scientists from a Tokyo research laboratory are working with an
oceanographer from Hamburg, Germany, to interpret the radar images.
Of particular interest to those scientists was the ocean front where
cold and warm currents meet.
- The X-SAR images
were being complemented by Spaceborne Imaging
Radar-C images recorded on board for analysis after the flight, and
with Earth observations
photography and notes recorded by the crew.
- Mondays radar work included calibration passes over Palm Valley,
Australia, and the Amazon forests of Brazil; oceanography observations
over the Northeast Pacific Ocean, the Gulf Stream, the Southern Ocean
and the gulf of Mexico; ecology observations over Altona, Manitoba,
Canada; geology observations over the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming;
hydrology studies of Mammoth Mountain,
California, and geology studies
of the tectonic activity around the
Galapagos Islands of the
- Payload Commander Linda M. Godwin
reported good photography of
"tremendous" thunderstorms over South America and ocean wind
patterns around the Galapagos. She also reported three
Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment contacts with students at Ealy
Elementary School in West Bloomfield, Mich., and Country Club
School in San Ramon, Calif., and Boy Scouts in Richardson, Texas.
- Endeavour continues its
flawless performance allowing the crew to
devote all its time to science work. The crew has reported air
bubbles in the water supply for Endeavour's
galley, and flight
controllers are working on a plan to alleviate this nuisance for
the crew. The orbiter circles
Earth every 89 minutes at an
altitude of 120 nautical miles.
- On Tuesday, April 12, 1994, 3 a.m. EDT a real-time image was
downlinked from the X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar showing a region
of the Andes Mountains in Bolivia. The
X-SAR quick-look processor in
the Payload Operations Control Center at
JSC allows scientists to see
a radar image as it is being recorded on special high-density tapes
aboard Endeavour. Scientists hope to learn
more about the topography
and climate in the Central Andes including the movement of the
crust, called plate tectonics, and erosion, such as mudslides, caused
by climatic changes.
- During the Blue Team's shift, the X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
and the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C collected images of oceanography
sites including the South Pacific Ocean, the East Australian Ocean
currents, and the North Atlantic ocean; geology sites at Cerro
Laukaru, Chile, snow cover at Otztal, in the Austrian Alps, and Ha
Meshar, Israel; and ecology sites at Howland, Maine, and Duke Forest,
- Jay Apt reported a large thunderstorm
area over the central Pacific
Ocean, and later mentioned clear weather over South America with no
fires spotted. Tom Jones commented on the largest lightning storm
seen so far on the mission over western Africa, and good
observations photography over Altai, China, and the Yellow River.
- Thomas D. Jones, Mission
Specialist 4 on this flight, had the second
half of his workday off duty today. Crew members are routinely given
off-duty time during the longer Shuttle flights to relax. Other crew
members will alternate time off as the mission progresses.
- The Red Team began their work about 7 a.m. EDT on Tuesday April 12,
1994. Gutierrez and Chilton slept in an extra hour because they were
about an hour and a half late going to sleep the night before after
working on an in-flight maintenance procedure to eliminate air bubbles
that were collecting in the drinking and food preparation water. The
astronauts connected the water dispensing hose directly to the supply
tank, bypassing the galley
water outlet. A later test during the Blue
Team's shift indicated that bubbles still may get into the drink bags
through the opening where water goes into the drink container.
- Also overnight, a real-time image was downlinked from the X-Band
Synthetic Aperture Radar about 2 a.m. central time showing a region of
the Andes Mountains in Bolivia. Scientists hope to learn more about
the topography and climate in the Central Andes including the movement
of the Earth's crust, called plate tectonics,
and erosion, such as
mudslides, caused by climatic changes.
- On the blue shift as well,
Jay Apt reported a large thunderstorm
area over the central Pacific Ocean, and later mentioned clear weather
over South America with no fires spotted. Tom Jones commented on the
largest lightning storm seen so far on the mission over western
Africa, and good Earth observations
photography over Altai, China, and
the Yellow River. Jones had the second half of his workday off duty.
Crew members are routinely given off-duty time during the longer
Shuttle flights to relax, and the other crew members will alternate
time off as the mission progresses. The blue team will again take
over operations onboard for the next shift beginning at about 6 p.m.
- During this shift, live X-SAR moving images were downlinked of
the area surrounding Sarobetsu, Japan, one of the high-priority
calibration sites for the X-band antenna. Scientists on the
ground measured the strength of the radar signal and the size of
the swath being imaged.
- Ground investigators also were developing topographic maps of Japan
and searching for the optimum way in which to use the three radar
antennas for mapping rice fields.
- X-SAR's quick-look processor also showed images of the Bay of
Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the land around Veracruz,
Mexico. Ground investigators were taking simultaneous measurements of
the ecological test site, looking for soil and vegetation information
during the dry season of the tropical forest there. Comparative
readings will be taken during the wet season with the
SRL-2 flight in August. Endeavour's
crew was asked to document the weather
and human disturbances of the area's ecology, looking in particular
for evidence of fires, storm damage and clear cutting.
- The SIR-C L- and C-band radars continue to record data on board
Endeavour and to downlink selected data takes for processing at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
- Godwin reported that the crew had a cloud-free opportunity to
photography Chickasha, Okla., one of the 19 "supersites" that are
receiving special attention by the radar instruments, and that
they had seen sea ice along the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula
- Crew members reported that bubbles are continuing to form in
their galley water supply, and flight
controllers were preparing
to uplink and in-flight maintenance procedure that is expected to
eliminate the nuisance.
- On Wednesday, April 13, 1994, 7a.m. EDT, the
STS-59 Blue Team -- Jay
Apt, Rich Clifford and Tom Jones -- completed its fifth working day in
space with a handover to the Red Team of Sid Gutierrez, Kevin Chilton
and Linda Godwin.
- During the Blue shift, researchers watched televised downlinks of
live X-SAR moving images of
surface and subsurface structures in the
Namib Desert in South Africa to improve researchers' understanding of
radar back scatter. Scientists also viewed radar images of sea ice
and seasonal melt in the Sea of Okhstok off the coast of Siberia and a
critical region of expanding drought in the Sahel area of the Sudan in
Africa. At the high-priority calibration site at Matera, Italy,
ground- based engineers measured the strength of the radar signals and
the size of the swath being recorded on the radar tapes aboard
- While the X-SAR quick look processor in JSC's Payload Operations
Control Center fed the real-time images to scientists, the SIR-C and
X-SAR instruments recorded the information on special high-density
tapes in Endeavour's crew cabin.
- At about 2:45 a.m. Houston time while
Endeavour passed over
Australia, Jay Apt exchanged
greetings with the Russian Cosmonauts
aboard the MIR space station aboard
Endeavour as the two spacecraft
passed within 1,200 nautical miles of each other above Australia.
Both crews used amateur radio equipment for the contact which was
monitored real-time by many amateur radio stations via telebridge
systems and rebroadcasts.
- All three Blue Team astronauts exercised on the bicycle ergometer
during their work shift for an ongoing biomedical study of exercise as
a possible countermeasure for the deconditioning which astronauts
experience in their cardiovascular systems during space missions. The
study will evaluate a total of 72 astronauts over several Shuttle
- Mission Specialist 2 Rich Clifford had off-duty time for the second
half of his work day. The astronauts will alternate off-duty time
over the course of the flight. Also, an in-flight maintenance
procedure to install a make-shift seal for drink bags and food
containers at the
galley water dispenser helped reduce bubbles in the
drinking and food preparation water.
- On Wednesday, April 13, 1994, 10:30 a.m. CDT, Red Team crew members
Sid Gutierrez, Kevin Chilton and Linda Godwin were on duty for their
fifth shift of the mission. New observations by the Space Radar Lab-
instruments during the past day have included Shuttle
Imaging Radar-C (SIR-C) data on the Kamchatka Peninsula in
calibration data taken simultaneously by the
SIR-C and its companion
instrument, the X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar, of Oberpfaffenhofen,
Germany. Observation data obtained by
SRL-l has already been used to
produce a vegetation and biomass map for a forest in Raco, Michigan as
well, and more data has been taken of the rain forest around Manaus,
Brazil, in the Amazon River Basin.
- On Wednesday, April 13, 1994, by 6 p.m. CDT, the Shuttle Imaging
Radar-C (SIR-C) and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
information on sites including the Kamchatka Peninsula in
Ruiz, Colombia, and Sonora, Mexico, for geologists; the
Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, and Sarobetsu, Japan, calibration sites for
the radar's designers; the Raco, Michigan, and Amazon River Basin
forests for ecologists; and the Southern Ocean for oceanographers.
The Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellite instrument continues
to record how much carbon monoxide is present in the troposphere and
where it is located.
- The crew reported good photography opportunities over Manitoba,
Canada, saying the lakes appear more "bluish" than anticipated. They
also reported their first opportunity to photograph Chickasha, Okla.,
one of the 19 supersites that is of special interest to hydrologists
studying the globe's water cycle.
Gutierrez was interviewed by CNBC Television's Tom Snyder and Clifford
will answer questions from Mutual Radio network listeners during an
interview for the Jim Bohannan show at 11:15 p.m. central.
- On Thursday, April 14, 1994, 3:30 a.m. CDT, Mission Specialist Rich
Clifford answered listeners' questions about space flight, the
mission objectives, and the quality of life aboard the Space Shuttle
Endeavour during a 20-minute interview on Mutual Radio Wednesday
- At 12:13 a.m. central time, six minutes of real-time radar images
were televised for scientists as Endeavour flew across Europe. The
Otztal, Austrian Alps, hydrology super site is important to scientists
studying how the snow cover influences runoff in the area and the
amount of water available to surrounding areas from the melted snow.
Recent heavy snows in Bavaria will contribute even more information to
researchers. The new images from the
Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C
(SIR-C) and the X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
(X-SAR) will be
compared to previous radar images obtained from radar systems mounted
- The SIR-C and
X-SAR instruments have recorded images for ecological
studies at Baikal Forest,
Russia, Mabira, Uganda, and Western Sayani,
Siberia; for oceanography research at the East Australian coast, the
North Atlantic, and the Gulf Stream; for studies of
cycle at Mammoth Mountain,
California, Chickasha, Oklahoma, and
Bebedouro, Brazil. Images were gathered for geologists at Cerro
Laukaru, Chile, Altai, China, and Mount Pinatubo, Philippines; along
with calibration of the systems' radar beams at the Amazon River in
South America, and at the Flevoland, Netherlands, super site.
- The Blue Team reported good photography of a gigantic fire-scarred
area in China that burned in 1987.
This region is of special interest
to the Measurement of Atmospheric Pollution experiment for studies of
forest regrowth after a fire event. The
MAPS experiment measures the
carbon monoxide in
Earth's lower atmosphere to help investigators
determine how well the atmosphere can clean itself of "greenhouse
gases," chemicals that can increase the atmosphere's temperature.
- apt.html">Jay Apt had off-duty time for the first
half of the Blue Team's
sixth work day in space. During his off-duty time, Apt exercised on
the bicycle ergometer and recorded his heart rate and perceived
exertion for biomedical investigators. Apt was back on duty at 1 a.m.
central time until 7 a.m. when the Blue Team will hand over to the Red
Team of Sid Gutierrez, Kevin Chilton and Linda Godwin.
- On Thursday, April 14, 1994, 6 p.m. CDT the Spaceborne Imaging
Radar-C and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar observations included
passes over the Northeast Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea
of Okhotsk and the Southern Ocean for oceanographers; Ruiz, Colombia,
Kliuchevskoi, Kamchatka, Stovepipe Wells, Calif., and the Galapagos
Islands for geologists; Sena Madureira, Brazil, for ecologists; and
Bebedouro, Brazil, and Chickasha, Okla., for hydrologists.
The X-SAR science team's quick-look data processor produced moving
video images of the Chickasha site, starting just north of the
Oklahoma border in Kansas and ending just south of the Oklahoma River
in Texas. Hydrologists will study the data to learn how well the
radar is able to determine the soil moisture content as it fluctuates
from day to day and week to week, taking advantage of recent storms
that have brought rain to the area. Dr. Ted Engman of
Flight Center is working with a team of 15 students from Ninnekah
(Okla.) High School to take ground measurements that will tell
scientists exactly how deep the radar is measuring the soil moisture.
- On Friday, April 15, 1994, 3 a.m. CDT (per
STS-59 Status Report #17)
The STS-59 Blue Team --
Jay Apt, Rich Clifford and Tom Jones -- are
monitoring, along with ground-based Payload scientists, 26 separate
data takes on their shift. Fifteen of those radar imagery sessions
are for oceanographers studying wave patterns, how the ocean
temperatures affect atmospheric heating and cooling, and the surface
features of ocean and sea floors. Geology sites imaged today include
Ruiz, Colombia, Merv, Iran, and Siberia. The radar antennae were
calibrated on the flight day seven Blue Shift at Mount Fugendake,
Japan, and Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Researchers studying the water
cycles of Earth at the Bebedouro, Brazil,
super site; the Khumba,
Himalayan, site; and the Orgeval Watershed, France, site will get
radar data from today's orbits to compare with flyovers on other
mission days. Ecology targets recorded overnight include Baikal
Forest in Russia, Thetford, England, and Gujarat, India.
- Tom Jones commented that the pollution cloud noted over Manilla Bay
in the Philippines on flight day six was almost invisible today. At
about 1:50 a.m. central time, Jones reported that the astronauts had
seen fires along the west coast of Burma and smoke over Tasmania.
These visual observations supplement data being gathered on the
Measurement of Air Pollution by Satellite
(MAPS) experiment, which
measures how well
Earth's lower atmosphere can cleanse itself of
"greenhouse gases" that affect atmospheric temperatures.
- Payload investigators watched a live downlink of X-Band Synthetic
Aperture Radar (X-SAR) images from the coast of Spain over the
Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, calibration super site. While the
and the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C (SIR-C) recorded the images aboard
Endeavour, students on the ground simultaneously took agricultural
biomass measurements and soil moisture samples. The radar image
investigators will include the students' data in the postflight
analysis of the Mission to Planet
- As of Friday, April 15, 1994, 11:30 a.m. CDT, on
day of around-the-clock observations of
Earth winds down, scientists
on the ground are elated with the view already afforded them by the
radar observations completed.
- One of the instruments aboard, the Measure of Atmospheric Pollution
from Satelllites, or
MAPS, has exhausted its supply of infrared film,
and a preliminary composite of the distribution of carbon monoxide in
Earth's atmosphere it measured is being developed. MAPS' information
may assist scientists as they study the amounts of "greenhouse gases"
in the atmosphere, gases that could lead to a general warming of the
- Other notable images in work on the ground include views of the Mt.
Pinatubo volcano in the Phillipines and a composite image of Hawaii's
Kilauea volcano using all three radar frequencies aboard
In addition, views of the Galapagos Islands and a stereo view of the
Russia, are being prepared. Still, the vast
majority of information obtained by the Space Radar Lab remains stored
on data-recording tapes aboard Endeavour
and will not be available for
processing until after landing.
- The Red Team -- Sid Gutierrez, Kevin Chilton and Linda Godwin -- are
now in their seventh 12-hour work shift onboard, continuing to
supplement the radar data with still photography as
above the various sites. More than 14,000 still photographs are
expected by the end of the flight as a bonus to the radar information.
- On Friday, April 15, 1994, 6 p.m. CDT, Chilton explained to the
public how a vast network of ground scientists and students camped in
the field at many of the worldwide sites assist with the radar
observations, and Godwin answered questions supplied by Cable News
Network viewers around the world.
- The crew is continuing to work on a nuisance with it
presence of bubbles in the water used for drinking and rehydrating
food. Engineers on the ground developed the in-flight maintenance
procedure in an effort to provide some relief for the crew and to
fully understand the problem so that it can be eliminated on future
- On Saturday, April 16, 1994, 3 a.m. CDT (from
STS-59 MCC Status
Report #20), At about 11:30 p.m. and again at 1:15 a.m. central time,
Jay Apt used Endeavour's Shuttle Amateur
Radio to talk with fellow
astronauts Norm Thagard and Bonnie Dunbar and two Russian cosmonauts
at the Star City training center outside Moscow,
Russia. At the Star
City facility, Thagard is training as the prime U.S. crew member and
Dunbar as a backup for a 1995 joint U.S./Russian mission aboard the
Russian MIR space station.
- The Blue Team --
Jay Apt, Rich Clifford and Tom Jones -- reported
several visual observations including fires burning in Africa and a
line of thunderstorms over northeastern Brazil. Payloads scientists
asked the crew to add the Rugen Island, off Germany's northern
coastline in the Baltic Sea, to their list of
- Among the numerous radar images recorded on the Blue shift were
views for oceanographers over the North Sea and the Labrador Sea; for
ecologists over sites at Chulchaca,
Yucatan, Mexico, Duke Forest,
North Carolina, and Manaus Cabaliana, Brazil; and for geologists at
Fort Zinder in the Sahara Desert, the Karakax Valley, China, and
- On Saturday, April 16, 1994, 12:30 p.m.CDT,
(from STS-59 MCC
Status Report #21), the Space Radar Lab-1 instruments also are
continuing to operate well, and all observations are being made on
schedule. Although the majority of information that has been gathered
is stored aboard the shuttle, scientists remain intrigued by data that
has been transmitted to the ground. Recent images processed on the
ground include a composite map of the ancient riverbeds detected
beneath the sands of the Sahara desert. The map will help scientists
study what the region looked like in ancient times and how
once-productive areas can become desert.
- The crew was sent a preliminary composite map of carbon moxide
distribution in Earth's atmosphere
derived from measurements made the
the MAPS instrument aboard Endeavour,
an instrument that studies air
- The sites being observed today include areas of Japan and Italy.
All of the observation sites have been recorded at least once at this
point in the flight, and remaining observations are to supplement the
data already obtained.
- On Saturday, April 16, 1994, 7 p.m.CDT (from
STS-59 MCC Status
Report #22), the Space Radar Lab-1 instruments are continuing to
record their observations of the
Earth below according to schedule.
The sites being observed today included areas of Japan, Italy,
Chile, China, Uganda and Saudia Arabia. All of the observation sites
have been recorded at least once, and remaining observations are to
supplement the data already obtained.
- One annoyance that has been worked since the first day of the
flight has been laid to rest with the successful in-flight maintenance
procedure to get rid of air bubbles in the crew's water supply, and
the crew has worked with experts on the ground to pinpoint how those
bubbles were getting into food and water containers.
- Godwin spent 15 minutes being interviewed by television reporters
in Atlanta and Nashville.
- On Sunday, April 17, 3 a.m. CDT (from
STS-59 MCC Status Report
#23) the Blue Team --Jay Apt, Rich Clifford and Tom Jones -- is
recording radar images for scientists studying how elements of
land surfaces, water resources, and plant and animal life work
together to create Earth's livable environment.
Geology sites covered
on the Blue shift include Puerto Aisen, Chile, Charana, Bolivia, and
Bangladesh; ecology sites at Les Landes,France, Western Sayani,
Siberia, and Chimalapas, Mexico; and oceanography sites over the North
Sea and, later this morning, the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.
- Two televised downlinks of moving radar images from the X-Band
Synthetic Aperture Radar system fed through the X-SAR quick-look
processor at JSC allowed mission
scientists to view regions from the
Sahara Desert to Russia, with a calibration data take at Matera,
Italy. The Payload Operations Control Center
later told the Blue Team
that the Matera calibration "was perfect." Another moving image
downlink covered an ecology site at Les Landes, France, south of
Bordeaux, followed by another calibration at the Oberpfaffenhofen
super site. There students from the University of Munich gathered
agricultural crop biomass measurements and soil moisture readings at
the same time aircraft-mounted radar systems, sponsored by the
European Space Agency, also measured the radar beams emitted by the
SIR-C and X-SAR instruments.
- On Sunday, April 17, 12:30 p.m. CDT (from
STS-59 MCC Status Report
# 24), Endeavour's flight control
surfaces and thruster jets were
checked out today to ensure they are in good working order for
Tuesday's planned landing at the Kennedy Space Center.at 10:53 a.m.
CDT. The latest weather forecast at landing time shows scattered
clouds and only a slight chance of rain offshore.
- While consoles in Mission Control concentrated on the
systems checks, the payload community continued to gather data using
the Space Radar Laboratory equipment located in the payload bay. The
round-the-clock observations with two types of radar and an air
pollution monitoring system is monitored by two teams of astronauts
aboard the Orbiter and three teams
of scientists in the payload
control room adjacent to the primary flight control room.
- The STS-59 mission's six
astronauts held their traditional in-flight
news conference answering questions about the significance of the
mission. Following the news conference, Commander Sid Gutierrez, Pilot
Kevin Chilton and Flight Engineer Rich Clifford checked the
systems while the payload crew of Mission Specialists Linda Godwin,
Jay Apt and Tom Jones documented activity with the payload.
- On Monday, April 18, 1994, 2 p.m. CDT, (from
STS-59 MCC Status
Report # 26), Endeavour's crew is
starting to pack up while final
radar observations of Earth are being
made and Shuttle mission STS-59
winds down, aiming toward a 10:52 a.m. central landing Tuesday at
Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
- Aboard Endeavour, the Red
Team crew members -- Commander Sid
Gutierrez, Pilot Kevin Chilton and Payload Commander Linda Godwin --
are in the last half of their 10th 12-hour work shift of the flight.
Early in the shift, Gutierrez and Chilton performed a standard
checkout of the systems Endeavour will use
for tomorrow's return home
and found them in excellent shape. Meanwhile, observations with the
Space Radar Lab-1 instruments have continued without interruption.
- The radar lab will continue observations until just after
midnight central time, when it will be powered off for the landing.
The instruments have taken advantage of one extra day in orbit, added
to the flight because of abundant supplies, to gain observations of
several unscheduled areas around the globe. Some of the unplanned
observations made include glaciers in Alaska, flooding in the midwest,
areas of Cambodia in Southeast Asia, and Almaz, Russia.
- The weather forecast is favorable for a landing in Florida
tomorrow, although flight controllers will be watching a possibility
of low clouds and a slight chance of showers in the area.
first opportunity for landing Tuesday, and the time at which all
activities are aiming toward, would begin with an engine firing at
9:58 a.m. central, on Endeavour's
165th orbit, to begin a descent to a
touchdown on KSC's runway 33 at 10:52 a.m. central. A second
opportunity exists on
Endeavour's166th orbit beginning with a
burn at 11:28 a.m. central leading to a touchdown in
Florida at 12:23
p.m. central. Two opportunities also exist tomorrow for a landing at
Edwards Air Force Base,
California, but shuttle managers do not plan
to use them, and would stay in orbit for an extra day for more
attempts at a Florida
landing before landing in California.
- On Monday, April 18, 1994, 5 p.m. CDT (from
STS-59 MCC Status
Report #27) Endeavour's Red Team --
Commander Sid Gutierrez, Pilot Kevin
Chilton and Payload Commander Linda Godwin -- is in the last hours of
its 10th shift of the
STS-59 mission. Early in the shift, Gutierrez
and Chilton performed a standard checkout of the systems
will use for Tuesday's return home and found them in excellent shape.
Gutierrez and Chilton also maneuvered the the shuttle to a new
attitude and calibrated the Heads-Up Display they will use for
- Observations with the Space Radar Laboratory-1
instruments continued without interruption. SRL-1 also switched to
its backup electronics package. Scientists switched from the primary
electronics systems -- which have worked flawlessly throughout the
flight -- to verify that the redundant system functions as well.
Endeavour and its six
astronauts will remain in
space an additional day. Clouds and high winds in the vicinity of the
runway precluded a return to the
Kennedy Space Center.today.
Four landing opportunities are available Wednesday -- two in
Florida and two at Edwards Air Force Base in California. KSC remains
the prime landing site with Edwards serving as the backup. The
Florida landing times are 10:29 a.m. and 12:01 p.m. central. The
California landing times are 11:54 a.m. and 1:26 p.m. central. The
deorbit burn designed to drop Endeavour
out of orbit for the landing
phase will occur about 50 minutes prior to touchdown.
- Mission Control's
entry team will evaluate
weather conditions and
make a final decision on the landing site after taking over control of
the mission about 4:30 Wednesday morning.
- Following today's wave off, the crew reconfigured the
systems for the added day
and reactivated a portion of the
Space Radar Laboratory payload in the cargo bay. The Space Imaging
Radar system (
mission would fill the
equivalent of 20,000 encyclopedia volumes. Payload managers reported
late Monday night that more than 70 million square kilometers of the
Earth's surface, including land and sea, have been mapped on this
flight. This figure represents about 12 percent of
surface. The Space Radar Laboratory obtained radar images of
approximately 25 percent of the planet's land surfaces.
- The full complement of payloads will fly again on the
mission aboard Endeavour in August.
The spacecraft remains in a
stable 116 nautical mile orbit.
Click here to return to the
SPACE EDUCATORS' HANDBOOK HOME PAGE.