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Mission Launch

Mission Launch
and Preparation
Feb. 11-13, 1997

Daily Updates from NASA


Four Spacewalks for STS-82 - The second space shuttle mission of the year will feature a trip to the Hubble Space Telescope. During four ExtraVehicular Activities (EVAs) or "space walks," the crew will upgrade or replace existing instruments and add new ones. Prior to releasing the telescope, the orbiter will reboost it to a higher altitude.

All four EVAs will be performed by teams of two spacewalking crewmembers, with support from fellow astronauts inside the crew cabin operating the shuttle's robotic arm.

In His Own Words
The mission as seen by
NASA Astronaut Steve Smith
STS-82 Mission Specialist


Well, you know, I've been an astronaut for over 4 years now. So, 70% of that time is usually the number we give out, is spent training, preparing. So that's kind of a global figure.

On a standard shuttle mission, you're assigned about 10 months to a year before the flight. So on my first flight, I was assigned about 10 months before the flight. And it was 10 very busy months to get prepared for my first flight.

On a real complicated mission, you're assigned much earlier. And in this case, I was assigned in May of last year. So, May of '95. So I had almost, oh, about a year and 3 quarters to prepare for this flight. And that's because it's so complicated.

The Launch Site

We're on Discovery. It's its 22nd flight, and, of course, we launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Everybody wonders if we launch from Houston or Florida, because we live in Houston. But we launch from Florida because it's near the water, and you can launch out over the ocean. The earth is spinning to the east, so you can launch in the east, and basically, technically, that's why we launch from Florida. We're lifting off in the middle of the night at 3:56 eastern time, Florida time. And the launch time is determined by where Hubble is.

Basically if you think of it as the moment Hubble flies overhead, you take off, that's a very simple way of thinking about it, but you don't want to take off when Hubble's over India, for example, because then you have to catch up. So the simple answer is the launch time is a strange one because we launch depending on where Hubble is. The date is just based on when we can get Discovery ready basically.

Night Launches

Night launches are spectacular. The launch window is about an hour long. So for one hour we can sit on the pad past our nominal launch time of 3:56 a.m. and still catch up to Hubble. And that's based on how much gasoline we have basically.

We're going to be up there 10 days. We'll be up about 316 miles; in nautical miles it's about 320. We'll be up there as I said for 10 days. It's a crew of 7; it just happens to be all men. But, of course, it's important for your young audience to know we have a bunch of girl astronauts too. Just coincidental that it's all men.

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




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