Space Shuttle: Columbia
Launch Pad: 39B
Launch Weight: 256,385 pounds
Launched: December 2, 1990, 1:49:01 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: December 10, 1990, 9:54:09 p.m. PST
Landing Weight: 225,329 pounds
Rollout Distance: 10,566 feet
Rollout Time: 58 seconds
Mission Duration: 8 days, 23 hours, 5 minutes, 8 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 190 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.45 degrees
Miles Traveled: 3.7 million
Image above: STS-35 Crew photo with Commander Vance D. Brand, Pilot Guy S. Gardner, Mission Specialists Jeffrey A. Hoffman, John M. Lounge, Robert A. Parker and Payload Specialists Samuel T. Durrance and Ronald A. Parise. Image Credit: NASA
The launch was first scheduled for May 16, 1990. Following the Flight Readiness Review (FRR), announcement of a firm launch date was delayed to change out a faulty freon coolant loop proportional valve in orbiter's coolant system. At subsequent Delta FRR, date set for May 30. Launch on May 30 scrubbed during tanking due to minor hydrogen leak in tail service mast on mobile launcher platform and major leak in external tank/orbiter 17-inch quick disconnect assembly. Hydrogen also detected in orbiter's aft compartment believed associated with leak involving 17-inch umbilical assembly.
Leakage at 17-inch umbilical confirmed by mini-tanking test June 6. Could not repair at pad and orbiter returned to VAB June 12, demated and transferred to OPF. Changeout of orbiter- side 17-inch umbilical assembly made with one borrowed from orbiter Endeavour; external tank fitted with new umbilical hardware. ASTRO-1 payload reserviced regularly and remained in Columbia's cargo bay during orbiter repairs and reprocessing.
Columbia rolled out to Pad A for second time August 9 to support a September 1 launch date. Two days before launch, avionics box on BBXRT portion of ASTRO-1 payload malfunctioned and had to be changed out and retested. Launch rescheduled for September 6. During tanking, high concentrations of hydrogen detected in orbiter's aft compartment, forcing another postponement. NASA managers concluded that Columbia had experienced separate hydrogen leaks from beginning: one of umbilical assembly (now replaced) and one or more in aft compartment which had resurfaced. Suspicion focused on package of three hydrogen recirculation pumps in aft compartment. These were replaced and retested. Damaged Teflon cover seal in main engine number three hydrogen prevalve replaced. Launch rescheduled for September 18. Fuel leak in aft compartment resurfaced during tanking and mission scrubbed again. STS-35 mission put on hold until problem resolved by special tiger team assigned by the space shuttle director.
Columbia transferred to Pad B October 8 to make room for Atlantis on Mission STS-36. Tropical storm Klaus forced rollback to VAB October 9. Vehicle transferred to Pad B again October 14. Mini-tanking test conducted October 30, using special sensors and video cameras and employing a see-through Plexiglas aft compartment door. No excessive hydrogen leakage detected. Liftoff December 2 delayed 21 minutes to allow Air Force range time to observe low-level clouds that might impede tracking of the shuttle ascent.
The primary objectives were round-the-clock observations of celestial sphere in ultraviolet and x-ray astronomy with ASTRO-1 observatory consisting of four telescopes: Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT); Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE); Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT); and Broad Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT). Ultraviolet telescopes mounted on Spacelab elements in cargo bay were to be operated in shifts by flight crew. Loss of both data display units (used for pointing telescopes and operating experiments) during mission impacted crew-aiming procedures and forced ground teams at Marshall Space Flight Center to aim ultraviolet telescopes with fine-tuning by flight crew. BBXRT, also mounted in cargo bay, was directed from outset by ground-based operators at Goddard Space Flight Center and not affected. Other experiments: Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment-2 (SAREX-2); ground-based experiment to calibrate electro-optical sensors at Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) in Hawaii; and crew conducted Space Classroom Program: Assignment: The Stars, to spark student interest in science, math and technology. Crew experienced trouble dumping waste water due to clogged drain, but managed using spare containers. Mission cut short one day due to impending bad weather at primary landing site, Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Science teams at Marshall and Goddard Space Flight Centers estimated 70 percent of planned science data achieved.
STS-35 crew members pose in OV-102’s middeck for their onboard crew portrait. The crew consists of Commander Vance D. Brand, Pilot Guy S. Gardner, Mission Specialists Jeffrey A. Hoffman, John M. Lounge, Robert A. Parker and Payload Specialists Samuel T. Durrance and Ronald A. Parise. STS-35 was Columbia’s 10th flight, and the mission’s objective was the deployment of ASTRO-1, an observatory consisting of four telescopes. The mission began on Dec. 2 and lasted eight days before landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Dec.10.
Explanation: During the Astro-1 astronomy mission of December, 1990, Space Shuttle astronauts photographed this stunning view of the setting full moon above the Earth's limb. In the foreground, towering clouds of condensing water vapor mark the extent of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the planet's life-sustaining atmosphere. Strongly scattering blue sunlight, the upper atmospheric layer, the stratosphere, fades dramatically to the black background of space. Moon and clouds are strong visual elements of many well known portraits of planet Earth, including Ansel Adams' famous "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico", photographed in 1941.
MS Robert Parker manually points ASTRO-1's instruments using a toggle on the aft flight deck.
Explanation: In December of 1990, the Space Shuttle Columbia carried an array of astronomical telescopes high above the Earth's obscuring atmosphere to observe the Universe at ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths. The telescopes, known by the acronyms UIT, HUT, WUPPE, and BBXRT, are seen here in Columbia's payload bay against a spectacular view of the constellation Orion. The ultraviolet telescopes were mounted on a common structure - HUT is visible in this view along with a star tracker (the silver cone at the left). The mission studied solar system, galactic, and extra-galactic sources.
Onboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia (STS-35), the various components of the Astro-1 payload are seen backdropped against a blue and white Earth. Parts of the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT), the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT), and the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimetry Experiment (WUPPE) are visible on the Spacelab pallet. The Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT) is behind the pallet and is not visible in this scene. The smaller cylinder in the foreground is the igloo. The igloo was a pressurized container housing the Command Data Management System, that interfaced with the in-cabin controllers to control the Instrument Pointing System (IPS) and the telescopes. The Astro Observatory was designed to explore the universe by observing and measuring the ultraviolet radiation from celestial objects. Astronomical targets of observation selected for Astro missions included planets, stars, star clusters, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, quasars, remnants of exploded stars (supernovae), clouds of gas and dust (nebulae), and the interstellar medium. Managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center, the Astro-1 was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia (STS-35) on December 2, 1990.
Coastal Namibia photographed from the Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-35.