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DEPLOY

Redeployment and Return
February 19-21, 1997

Summary:

Field Day's 9-11 had no scheduled EVA's. The Hubble Space Telescope was released from the Shuttle, tested, and redeployed. All equipment was stowed and the Shuttle Bay readied for return to Earth. Then the astronauts returned to Earth and landed the Discovery. See below for details and mission updates.


Report #021
Friday, February 21, 1997 3 a.m. CST

Commander Ken Bowersox and Pilot Scott Horowitz guided the Shuttle Discovery to a night landing at the Kennedy Space Center in the predawn darkness this morning, setting the orbiter down at 2:32 a.m. Central time to wrap up a 4.1 million mile mission to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope. It was the ninth night landing in Shuttle program history, the fourth at the Florida spaceport.

After the first landing opportunity of the day at the Kennedy Space Center was waved off because of low clouds over the Shuttle Landing Facility, the weather cleared and the green light was given to permit the seven astronauts to return home. The landing was the sixth straight at the Kennedy Space Center and the 13th in the last 14 flights.

Discovery swooped out of the nighttime darkness and landed at the 3-mile long landing strip at KSC, which had additional illumination available through the recent installation of 52 halogen lights positioned every 200 feet down the centerline of the runway.

Image of HST floating on Earth's horizon


Left in orbit was the 12-ton Hubble Space Telescope, equipped with two new scientific instruments and other upgraded engineering hardware for enhanced performance until another crew of astronauts returns to the observatory in late 1999 for its third servicing. Hubble is expected to resume scientific observations in several weeks after its new equipment is calibrated.

Discovery's astronauts are expected to return to Ellington Field in Houston for a welcome home ceremony at about Noon Central time.

Image of Discovery making a night landing


Touchdown time was 2:32 a.m. CST (08:32 GMT).

Unofficial landing times are as follows:

Touchdown:
MET - 9 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes, 9 seconds
CST - February 21, 1997, 2:32:26 a.m.
GMT - February 21, 1997, 8:32:26
Nosegear Touchdown:
MET - 9 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes, 20 seconds
CST - February 21, 1997, 2:32:37 a.m.
GMT - February 21, 1997, 8:32:38
Wheelstop:
MET - 9 days, 23 hours, 38 minutes, 9 seconds
CST - February 21, 1997, 2:33:26 a.m.
GMT - February 21, 1997, 8:33:26

Report # 020
Thursday, February 20, 1997 6 p.m. CST

With a successful mission behind them, the STS-82 crew is getting set to return home to the Kennedy Space Center in the early morning hours Friday. Landing is planned for 12:50 a.m. CST with backup opportunities on succeeding orbits.

The STS-82 crew poses together in matching T-Shirts with a makeshift sign, reading 'MORE POWER'


The crew began its final day in space by sending morning greetings to the Mission Control team in the form of the song 'Sloop John B.' by the Beach Boys. The control team in return told the crew it was time to 'get your motor running' with the song 'Born To Be Wild' by Steppenwolf.

Once the crew has completed its post-sleep activities, astronauts will begin preparations for tonights deorbit and landing opportunities. The first deorbit opportunity is on orbit 148 with an engine firing at 11:38 p.m. CST followed by landing at 12:50 a.m. Landing on the second opportunity would occur at 2:32 a.m. There are landing opportunities at the backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 2:23 and 4:04 a.m. Central time.

According to forecasters, the weather conditions in Florida look promising, but there is a slight chance off-shore showers.

If all goes as planned, Discovery's payload bay doors will be closed at about 9 p.m. with a final go-no go decision for the first KSC landing opportunity expected at about 11:15 p.m..

Discovery is currently orbiting at an altitude of 365 statute miles with all systems in excellent condition.


Report # 019
Thursday, February 20, 1997, 6:30 a.m. CST

Before wrapping up what is expected to be their final day in orbit, the astronauts held a press conference to discuss the flight, which saw a record-tying five spacewalks conducted to service the Hubble Space Telescope for the second time.

Commander Ken Bowersox and Pilot Scott Horowitz tested the orbiter's aerodynamic surfaces that will be used once Discovery reenters the Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The traditional hot-fire test of Discovery's steering jets was not required since 31 of the 38 jets were fired during the time the Hubble Space Telescope was housed in the Shuttle's cargo bay. The remaining jets will either be fired during normal operations tonight or will be tested during deorbit preparations.

The crew is scheduled to go to bed at 8:25 this morning and wake up at 4:25 this afternoon. If all goes as planned, Discovery's payload bay doors will be closed at about 9 p.m. with a final go-no decision for the first KSC landing opportunity expected at about 11:15 p.m. There are two landing opportunities at both KSC and the backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Discovery is currently orbiting at an altitude of 365 statute miles following an orbital adjustment maneuver to set the Shuttle up for its landing opportunities late tonight. All of Discovery''s systems are in excellent condition.


Report # 018
Wed., February 19, 1997 6 p.m. CST

The STS-82 astronauts begin packing up their tools and preparing for the return trip home, having completed all their work with the Hubble Space Telescope and releasing it back into orbit.

Commander Ken Bowersox and his crew will fill the 10th day of their mission with activities that will prepare themselves and Discovery for the return home. Bowersox and pilot Scott Horowitz will begin the day by verifying the orbiters aerodynamic surfaces, the elevons, speed brake and rudder. The traditional test of the steering jets will not be required since 31 of the 38 jets have been fired during the rendezvous and redeployment operations. The remaining jets will either be fired during normal operations tonight or will be tested during deorbit preparations. Crew members also will stow their cabin equipment including the tools used during the mission's five spacewalks.

At crew wake up at 5:25 p.m. Weduesday, Discovery was about 55 miles in front of the Hubble Space Telescope, opening the distance from the observatory by five miles every orbit. All systems on the telescope are performing well as controllers transition to their normal mode of operations.

System on Discovery also are performing well and are ready to support landing at the Kennedy Space Center early Friday morning at 12:48 a.m. Central time.


Report # 017
Wednesday, February 19, 1997, 6:00 a.m. CST

Discovery's astronauts bid farewell to the Hubble Space Telescope early this morning as they placed the orbiting observatory back into its own orbit to continue its investigation of the far reaches of the universe.

Mission Specialist Steve Hawley, who first deployed Hubble during the STS-31 mission on April 25th, 1990, again used the Shuttle's robot arm to gently release the telescope at 12:41 a.m. Central time. At the time of deployment, the Shuttle was at an altitude of 334 nautical miles over the southwest coast of Africa. Hubble is now operating at the highest altitude it has ever flown, a 335 by 321 nautical mile orbit.

Within minutes after Hubble was set free, Commander Ken Bowersox and Pilot Scott Horowitz fired jet thrusters to begin Discovery's seperation from the telescope. Shortly after deployment, payload controllers reported that the telescope had resumed standard operations and was processing commands from the ground through the Tracking Data Relay Satellite system. Over the next several weeks, calibrations of the newly installed instruments will be made as Hubble resumes its scientific efforts, equipped with two new science instruments, updated guidance systems and a state of the art data recorder. The first images and data from the newly installed scientific components, the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), may be acquired from Hubble in about eight to ten weeks.

A few hours after Hubble's deployment, the crew received a congratulatory phone call from NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin. The four spacewalking crewmembers also answered questions from several news networks regarding their work over the past week to upgrade the telescope.

Discovery's crew will begin an nine hour sleep period at 8:25 this morning and will be awakened at 5:25 this afternoon to begin routine prelanding checks of Discovery's flight control systems and reaction control system jets. Discovery is scheduled to return to the Kennedy Space Center early Friday morning, with landing scheduled at 12:48 a.m. Central time.


Overview Launch EVA 1 EVA 2 EVA 3 EVA 4 Unscheduled Deploy & Return

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