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  STS-400: Endeavour's rescue role for STS-125

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Author Topic:   STS-400: Endeavour's rescue role for STS-125
Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-21-2009 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Crew training for the STS-400 launch-on-need rescue mission to support (if called upon) the STS-125 Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission is scheduled to begin again this upcoming week -- with a new crew, collectSPACE has learned.

The previously assigned STS-400 crew, who flew together as the astronauts seated aboard the flight deck for STS-123 (Dom Gorie, Greg "Box" Johnson, Bob Behnken and Mike Foreman) have been replaced by the flight deck crew of STS-126: Chris Ferguson, Eric Boe, Steve Bowen and Shane Kimbrough.

Meanwhile, the external tank (ET-131) that will be used to launch space shuttle Endeavour if STS-400 is needed (and STS-127 if not), arrived at Kennedy Space Center by barge today, having departed the Michoud Processing Facility in New Orleans on February 15.

Max Q
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posted 02-22-2009 03:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You know I often wonder about the logic of a system that requires a complete second copy of itself as emergency backup. What would happen if they launched the launch on need shuttle only to find it was faulty? My wouldn't the Russians be busy.

hlbjr
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posted 02-22-2009 07:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This change begs the question, has the original STS-400 crew (Gorie, Johnson et al) been reassigned to something new?

Delta7
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posted 02-22-2009 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike Foreman is assigned to STS-129 and Bob Behnken to STS-130.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 02-23-2009 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Max Q:
You know I often wonder about the logic of a system that requires a complete second copy of itself as emergency backup. What would happen if they launched the launch on need shuttle only to find it was faulty? My wouldn't the Russians be busy.

I remember reading and seeing illustrations of one shuttle rescuing another in orbit, using the rescue spheres, without any indication of what the emergency might be. Evidentally, the shuttle was to be so airliner-like, both in maintenance and operations, that there was little thought that what could disable one shuttle could also disable its rescuer, that any emergency would be a unique event.

RMH
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posted 02-23-2009 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RMH   Click Here to Email RMH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A new crew was assigned to STS-400 to keep a fresh crew on hand that has both recent training and flight experience.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-21-2009 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
External tank mating:

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-21-2009 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Max Q:
You know I often wonder about the logic of a system that requires a complete second copy of itself as emergency backup. What would happen if they launched the launch on need shuttle only to find it was faulty? My wouldn't the Russians be busy.

The Russians wouldn't be able to do much anyway as they can't launch into low inclination orbits like what the Hubble flight will have, nor the altitude of it. Now if you mean normal flights to the ISS, yes I can see that in terms of having to send Soyuz craft up, but the chances of two shuttles not being able to return is an extremely low probability (odds of winning a couple lotteries would be higher).

OV-105
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posted 03-27-2009 10:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any chance that they will have the STS-400 crew do a TCD test or a just a quick refresher with Endeavour on the pad? By the time STS-125 flies it will have been about six months since the STS-126 crew has been in a real Shuttle.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-31-2009 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to roll out to Kennedy's other launch pad, 39B, on Friday, April 17. Endeavour will be prepared for liftoff in the unlikely event that a rescue mission is necessary following Atlantis' launch. After Atlantis is cleared to land, Endeavour will move to Launch Pad 39A for its upcoming STS-127 mission to the International Space Station, targeted to launch in mid-June.

Endeavour will roll over from Kennedy's Orbiter Processing Facility 2 to the Vehicle Assembly Building on April 10. In the assembly building, crews will attach the spacecraft to its external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters in preparations for its move to pad 39B.

NASA managers decided to proceed with the dual-pad approach after carefully reviewing the manifest options to complete the International Space Station and to ensure it is in the most robust condition possible following shuttle retirement.

The dual-pad approach requires one month less processing time than the single-pad approach and will help complete both STS-125 and STS-127. Endeavour will deliver the Japanese Exposed Facility and make the space station more robust to support cargo delivery for a six-person crew.

Voyager1975
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posted 04-01-2009 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Voyager1975   Click Here to Email Voyager1975     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But what about the lightening mast? They removed it about a month ago from launch pad 39B?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-01-2009 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The three lightning masts erected around Pad 39B for the Constellation Program offer more protection than did the single mast atop the fixed service structure.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-10-2009 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space shuttle Endeavour was rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building on Friday morning, April 10 to be lifted into High Bay 1 and mated to its external tank and solid rocket boosters, already installed on the mobile launcher platform.

Blackarrow
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posted 04-10-2009 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Max Q:
You know I often wonder about the logic of a system that requires a complete second copy of itself as emergency backup. What would happen if they launched the launch on need shuttle only to find it was faulty?
In life there are some risks you just have to take. On the Apollo J-missions they had a "buddy-system" to allow an astronaut with a faulty back-pack to share cooling-water, giving the two astronauts about 75 minutes to get back to the LM. They only drove the lunar rover as far from the LM as an astronaut could walk back if the rover failed. If they had a rover failure AND a back-pack failure at the same time it would have been a very bad day. But if they had had to make allowances for multiple failures like that they would never have gone to the Moon in the first place.

Jay Chladek
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posted 04-10-2009 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Plus, such a concern is not mutually exclusive to shuttle either. Apollo had similar concerns during the Skylab program when preparations were made to bring back the Skylab 2 crew with the five person Apollo CSM rescue vehicle. What if it had the same thruster problem?

Then there was the recent issue with Soyuz as two TMA missions for Expeditions 15 and 16 did ballistic reentries and one of the pyro bolts was removed from the craft used by Expedition 17 in orbit due to similar concerns.

Chances of two shuttles running into the same or similar problems is so statistically improbable that one would more likely win multiple lotteries with that luck. Even then, to fly in space, you can not be THAT risk averse (might as well not fly at all then).

ilbasso
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posted 04-10-2009 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The probability of the same failure happening to two successive vehicles is not as remote as we would like to think it is. Witness the parachute entanglement issued that killed Komarov on Soyuz 1, which was also present and would have killed the crew of Soyuz 2 had it launched. More recently, there were the pyro failures that caused the landing modules of two successive Soyuz TMAs not to separate cleanly from the instrument sections, causing the crew to experience high-G ballistic reentries.

I agree that space flight will never be completely safe, and we can't let that stop us. But there have been plenty of close calls that we can't discount as statistical improbabilities.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-13-2009 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the Vehicle Assembly Building on April 10, space shuttle Endeavour was mated with its external tank and solid rocket boosters.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-20-2009 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release and collectSPACE photos
Space Shuttle Endeavour Moves To Launch Pad 39B

Space Shuttle Endeavour completed a 4.2-mile journey to launch pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Friday, April 20 at approximately 6:15 a.m. EDT and was secured to the pad at 7:17 a.m.

Endeavour left Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building at 11:57 p.m., Thursday, traveling at less than 1 mph atop a massive crawler-transporter.

Endeavour will stand by at pad B in the unlikely event that a rescue mission is necessary during space shuttle Atlantis' upcoming mission to upgrade NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Atlantis is targeted to launch May 12. After Endeavour is cleared from its duty as a rescue spacecraft, it will be moved to Launch Pad 39A for its STS-127 mission to the International Space Station. That flight is targeted for launch June 13.

With the space shuttle fleet set for retirement in 2010, this is expected to be the final time two shuttles will be on launch pads at the same time.

Delta7
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posted 04-29-2009 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm just curious as to what the seating configuration would be in the event of a rescue mission, with Endeavour returning to earth with 11 people on board. How and where do they fit everyone? Will some people be sitting on the floor and/or in the airlock?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-29-2009 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The flight deck configuration remains the same with the STS-400 crew. The STS-125 crew rides in the middeck, as illustrated:

Feustel, Johnson and McArthur (as well as I believe Grunsfeld) will be seated in special chairs developed for the rescue mission:

OV-105
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posted 04-29-2009 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am surprised they do not have one of the STS-400 crew members on the middeck to operate the escape system. Then again it is only set up for 8 if I remember right and not 11. I would think they could add 3 more rollers to the system.

One more thing will Endeavour be taking up launch and entry suits for the Atlantis crew? That could make for a a big crowd on the mid deck with all of the EVA suits, launch and entry suit, chairs, and crew members. I know in orbit in zero-g it will not be too bad but they still have to come back. Let's hope this is not something we have to find out.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-29-2009 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If, in the very unlikely scenario, that a crew escape was needed during Endeavour's return to Earth, I do not see why the STS-125 crew members could not operate the system.

As for the transfer of ACES and EMU suits, the following graphic (via Wikipedia) provides an overview of the process.

OV-105
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posted 04-29-2009 09:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I do not see why the STS-125 crew members could not operate the system.
Since they were showing them in the same seats as members returning from the ISS, I was thinking that they are going to have a problem coming back to 1G.

teopze
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posted 04-30-2009 02:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for teopze   Click Here to Email teopze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Obviously the security of STS-125 crew would be the priority, but what about the orbiter itself? Would it be desired to save it somehow as well, or some parts of it perhaps? Or just let it 'drift' there?

I know it's difficult to say how to fix stuff before it's broken but have any options on what to do with the empty orbiter been even considered or not really?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2009 08:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If a rescue mission is launched, it will be because repairing Atlantis for a safe reentry was first deemed not possible.

As such, after Endeavour lands with both crews, Atlantis will be directed by the ground to a destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean.

embangloy
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posted 04-30-2009 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for embangloy   Click Here to Email embangloy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I cannot remember where I read it, but I thought that one of the tentative measures was to remote land Space Shuttle Atlantis to Vandenberg Air Force Base, this way if there was a destructive reentry, it would be out of harms way, but would also provide a way of salvaging the orbiter. Any other info in regard to this option?

Jay Chladek
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posted 05-01-2009 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Vandenberg I believe is a bit too far north of a Hubble shuttle's reentry/landing track (perhaps not, but not as ideal). I don't recall them having the facilities to work with a shuttle should one land there as when SLC-6 was deactivated, all the equipment related to shuttle support was removed. For one thing, the portable mate/de-mate facility at Vandenberg got removed and erected at Palmdale to support OMDP operations.

If such a scenario were to occur, Edwards AFB would be a more likely candidate since it has runways and a dry lakebed (in case a landing on a runway can't be done) and it has a relatively close proximity to Palmdale, where the orbiters were built.

Another problem with either scenario is that the California coast has plenty of shipping traffic off shore and air traffic to and from Hawaii. That is one reason why NASA prefers to opt instead for sending the orbiter to reenter somewhere over an unoccupied stretch of the Pacific. If the damage sustained by an orbiter is too great to guarantee a safe reentry for a crew, then it is probably less likely to survive an unmanned descent under control from the onboard computers and the ground.

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