STS-109 Mission Journal  

STS-109 Mission Journal - Part 3

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STS109 spacewalkers. Click for larger image (courtesy of NASA). Shuttle Columbia accomplishes mission STS-109 to service the Hubble Space Telescope!

STS-109 Mission Patch. NASA image.

LEFT: STS-109 astronauts James Newman (riding the robotic arm) and Michael Massimino, installing a new camera during EVA4.
RIGHT: Mission Patch.

 

  • 12 March - Morning Update - TOUCHDOWN!! - Shuttle Columbia glided through the early-morning darkness to land at Kennedy Space Center, capping a wildly successful 11-day mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Spending a record-breaking amount of time doing spacewalks, astronauts swapped out components for power, aiming, and observation. NASA reports:

    Columbia Lands, Ending Successful Hubble Telescope Mission
    NASA image of Space Shuttle Columbia.Space Shuttle Columbia landed at the Kennedy Space Center at 4:32 a.m. EST [0932 GMT] this morning marking the end of a successful mission to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope. Flawlessly conducting five complex space walks, the astronauts installed a new camera and other equipment that left the telescope with an imaging capability 10 times improved.
    The seven member crew, Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Duane Carey and Mission Specialists Nancy Currie John Grunsfeld, Rick Linnehan, Mike Massimino and Jim Newman touched down after almost 11 days in space, covering 3.9 million miles.
    Columbia astronauts fired the shuttle's orbital maneuvering systems engines at 2:23 a.m. CST [3:23AM EST/0823 GMT] Tuesday to begin their return to Earth. The 4-minute, 4-second OMS burn was done over the Indian Ocean.
    The picture-perfect night landing--the Space Shuttle Program's 19th--treated skywatchers from California to Florida with a view of the orbiter streaking through the dark sky headed toward Florida.
    Watch NASA TV to see coverage of STS-109's postflight events. NASA TV Schedule

    The mission lasted 10 days, 22 hours, 10 minutes. The astronauts covered a total of 3,941,705 statute miles. Landing videos here. Latest pics from KSC here.


  • 12 March - 3AM EST Update - Mission managers have just given the 'go" for de-orbit burn at 3:22AM EST! Landing is scheduled at KSC at 4:32AM EST. Good luck, guys!

    Videos from Flight Day 10 and Flight Day 11 are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery. Stay tuned to NASA TV...


  • 12 March 2002 - LANDING DAY - All packed up and heading to Florida - not a bad place to go on a winter's day, and a great place to go when you've just spent a week overhauling an international treasure like the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA reports:

    Landing Day for STS-109
    STS-109 Commander Scott "Scooter" Altman (left) and Pilot Duane "Digger" Carey. NASA photo. [Columbia's] crew is awake and preparing for landing. Weather is improving, with forecasters continuing to call for generally favorable conditions and no longer forecasting a chance of offshore showers. Low clouds could form in the vicinity of Kennedy's shuttle runway, however.
    [The] astronauts closed the orbiter's payload bay doors at 11:54 p.m. CST Monday, as they continued preparations to land at Kennedy Space Center. The crew will begin donning entry suits at about 1 a.m. CST [2AM EST/0700 GMT] Tuesday.
    Columbia's engines will be fired to begin a descent at 2:22 a.m. and touchdown is expected at 3:32 a.m. CST. A second opportunity for landing is available with an engine firing at 4:05 a.m. CST leading to touchdown in Florida at 5:13 a.m. CST.

    Follow the play-by-play at the links at top right, and watch NASA TV for live coverage of the landing.

 

  • 11 March 2002 - Evening Update - LANDING DAY - Flight Day 12 began tonight for the seven crewmembers of Columbia, who are on an overnight schedule for this mission. Early tomorrow morning, they are scheduled to bring STS-109 to a close, after spending a record-breaking 35 hours and 55 minutes doing spacewalks to upgrade the orbiting Hubble Telescope. NASA reports:

    Landing Day Arrives for STS-109
    The STS-109 crew awoke at 7:22 p.m. CST today [8:22PM EST Monday/0122 GMT Tuesday] to begin its last day in space. The crew will make final preparations for landing. STS-109 is returning home after a successful trip to service and enhance the Hubble Space Telescope. Columbia's crew is scheduled to close the shuttle's payload bay doors at 11:42 p.m. CST [12:42AM EST/0542 GMT Tuesday].
    Space Shuttle Columbia's first landing opportunity is at 3:32 a.m. CST [4:32AM EST/0932 GMT] Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Weather forecasts indicate generally acceptable conditions, but a slight chance of rain showers offshore. STS-109's second opportunity is also at Kennedy with touchdown at 5:13 a.m. CST [6:13AM EST/1113 GMT].
    If the first landing opportunity is selected, the de-orbit burn will occur at 2:22 a.m. CST [3:22AM/0822 GMT] Tuesday, and Columbia may be visible to people on the ground in parts of the southern United States as it re-enters the atmosphere. Its descent to Florida will bring it across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and off the coast of Alabama.

    More images and videos are up at NASA's SM3B site

    Check out these CNN interviews:
    Aboard Columbia: Richard Linnehan
    Aboard Columbia: Nancy Currie
    Aboard Columbia: Duane Carey
    Aboard Columbia: Scott Altman


  • 11 March - Afternoon Update - As we wrap up Flight Day 11, we look forward to tomorrow's scheduled touchdownNASA reports:

    Space Shuttle Crew Prepares for Landing
    Columbia's seven astronauts [devoted] most of their remaining time in orbit to preparing for landing. Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Duane Carey and Mission Specialist Nancy Currie [checked] out Columbia's mechanical maneuvering system and reaction control jets while the four astronauts who conducted STS-109's five space walks -- Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld, Rick Linnehan, Mike Massimino and Jim Newman -- [stowed] equipment used throughout the mission.

    The coolant loops in the payload bay doors are operating sufficiently well to keep things frosty during Columbia's descent, and the wheel bearings in the landing gear are predicted to hold up during the stresses of the spaceplane's touchdown.


  • 11 March 2002 - Flight Day 11, the last full day in orbit for STS-109, is almost over. The astronauts are stowing their gear and preparing Columbia for Tuesday morning's landingNASA reports:

    Columbia Astronauts Prepare for Landing
    The STS-109 astronauts listen to a question during their Crew News Conference. On the bottom row from left to right: Mission Specialist Nancy Currie, Commander Scott Altman and Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld. On the top row from left to right: Pilot Duane Carey and Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan, Jim Newman and Mike Massimino. NASA image.Columbia astronauts checked out flight control surfaces and reaction control system jets early Monday in preparation for their scheduled 3:32 a.m. CST [4:32AM EST/0932 GMT] Tuesday landing at Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
    Preliminary weather forecasts at the Kennedy Space Center for tomorrow's scheduled landing are generally favorable with some clouds in the area and the possibility of an isolated offshore shower.
    The crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 11:22 a.m. today [12:22PM EST/1722 GMT], waking at 7:22 p.m. central time to begin final preparations for the return trip to Earth.
    Watch NASA TV to see coverage of STS-109's return home from a successful mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA TV Schedule
    STS-109 Ask the Crew Answers
    STS-109 Ask the MCC Answers

    If rain forces a landing delay, there will be another opportunity at KSC at 6:13AM EST (1113 GMT).

 

  • 10 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight Day 11 begins - the last full day in orbit for STS-109. After 5 spacewalks, and successfully repairing and upgrading the Hubble Telescope, it's time to get back homeNASA reports:

    Crew to Prepare for Landing
    Bye-Bye Hubble! This image was captured during a TV interview on Flight Day 9. Notice the oribiter model in front of Scott Altman (center). NASA image. Space Shuttle Columbia's seven astronauts will devote most of their time during Flight Day 11 preparing for landing. Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Duane Carey and Mission Specialist Nancy Currie will check out Columbia's mechanical maneuvering system and reaction control jets early Monday morning. Meanwhile, the four astronauts who conducted STS-109's five extravehicular activities -- Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld, Rick Linnehan, Mike Massimino and Jim Newman -- will stow equipment used throughout the mission.
    In other activities, the crew will field questions from middle school students in an educational event with the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore and The Denver Museum of Nature and Science at 10:12 p.m. CST Sunday (0412 GMT Monday). Then at 11:57 p.m. CST Sunday (0557 GMT Monday), the seven astronauts will hold the Crew News Conference.
    STS-109, a successful mission to service and enhance the Hubble Space Telescope, is slated to land at 3:32 a.m. CST (0932 GMT) Tuesday. Weather forecasts indicate that conditions will be generally acceptable, with a slight chance of rain showers offshore. STS-109's second landing opportunity on Tuesday is at 5:13 a.m. CST (1113 GMT) at Kennedy.

    Landing groundtracks here. Videos from Flight Day 9 and Flight Day 10 are now available at NASA's SM3B site.


  • 10 March - Afternoon Update - We've wrapped up Flight Day 10, which saw a relatively easy day of activity for Columbia's crew. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Astronauts Talk to International Space Station Crew
    The STS-109 astronauts had a ship-to-ship conversation with the International Space Station's Expedition Four crew this morning. The two crews talked to each other for about 10 minutes.
    The STS-109 crew had a light day onboard Space Shuttle Columbia in order to rest after completing a successful week of servicing the Hubble Space Telescope.
    The seven crewmembers began their sleep period at 11:22 a.m. CST (1722 GMT) and will be awakened to begin flight day 11 at 7:22 p.m. CST tonight [8:22PM EST Sunday/0122 GMT Monday].

    Stay tuned to NASA TV tonight - there will be some live interviews starting around 11PM EST (details below). Follow the play-by-play and check out Columbia crewman John Grunsfeld's Notes From Space (hmmm, sounds familiar...). The STS-109 mission is due to wrap up Tuesday, with a Florida landing slated for 4:32AM EST (0932 GMT).


  • 10 March 2002 - Last night, the astronauts of Columbia made a ship-to-ship call to the crew of the International Space Station. This is the first non-ISS Shuttle flight since the Station has been inhabited. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Crew Talks to Expedition Four
    Crews of the shuttle Columbia and the International Space Station chatted with one another early Sunday while the two spacecraft orbited the Earth about 8,200 miles from one another. The station was southeast of Australia while Columbia was over the Atlantic off the coast of west Africa when the conversation, through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system, began about 2:19 a.m. CST [3:19AM EST/0819 GMT]. Both crews were enjoying a relatively relaxing Sunday.
    Columbia's astronauts are finishing a well-deserved day off and will go to sleep at 11:22 a.m. CST [12:22PM EST/1722 GMT]. When they awaken at 7:22 p.m. CST [8:22PM EST/1322 GMT], their attention will turn to preparations for the trip home. Standard day-before-landing checks are planned tonight, testing flight controls and steering jets used during the trip home.
    Space Shuttle Columbia is scheduled to land at 3:32 a.m. CST [4:32AM EST/0932 GMT] Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
    Watch NASA TV at 10:12 p.m. CST today [11:12PM EST Sunday/0412 GMT Monday] to see the STS-109 astronauts participate in an educational event with the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore and The Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Then at 11:57 p.m. CST today [12:57AM EST/0557 GMT Monday], the astronauts will hold their Crew News Conference. NASA TV Schedule

    Flight Day 9 videos are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery. More launch day videos are up at KSC.

 

  • 09 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight Day 10 is underway, and the astronauts will be taking it easy. They deserve a break after the week they've had! NASA reports:

    STS-109 Astronauts to Talk with International Space Station Crew
    STS-109 Mission Specialists Mike Massimino (left), and Jim Newman. NASA photo.The seven-member STS-109 crew will get some much-deserved off-duty time during Flight Day 10 onboard Space Shuttle Columbia. Saturday, the STS-109 astronauts completed a successful week of servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, which included five space walks in five days.
    The highlight of Flight Day 10 will be a ship-to-ship conversation between the STS-109 astronauts and the International Space Station's Expedition Four crew at 2:15 a.m. CST [3:15AM EST/0815 GMT] Sunday. STS-109 is the first shuttle mission not to visit the station since it has been inhabited by Expedition crews. The first Expedition crew arrived at the station in November 2000.
    Meanwhile, controllers at the Space Telescope Operations Center in Greenbelt, Md., report that Hubble is operating in good shape. They are scheduled to begin recovering the observatory's science instruments about 11 p.m. CST Sunday (0500 GMT Monday). The next Hubble servicing mission is slated for 2004.
    Space Shuttle Columbia is scheduled to land at 3:47 a.m. CST [4:47AM EST/0947 GMT] Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. NASA TV Schedule

    For details on the upcoming interviews, click here. Follow the play-by-play at the links at top right, and watch NASA TV.


  • 09 March - Afternoon Update - Flight Day 9 is over, with the newly-upgraded Hubble Telescope reboosted and released back to its own orbit. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Astronauts Deploy Hubble
    The Hubble Team's patch for Servicing Mission 3B. NASA image. A newly rejuvenated Hubble Space Telescope is flying solo once again, after its release at 4:04 a.m. central time [5:04AM EST/1004 GMT] today.
    On board Columbia, the STS-109 crew bid a farewell to the telescope as spacewalker John Grunsfeld said, "We have a beautiful view of Mr. Hubble, the telescope, over the Earth's horizon, ready to go and make new discoveries. From the crew of STS-109, we bid Hubble well on its new journey, with its new tools, to explore the universe. Good luck, Mr. Hubble".
    The seven crewmembers went to sleep at 11:52 a.m. CST [12:52PM EST/1552 GMT], and will be awakened at 8:52 p.m. CST [9:52PM EST Saturday/0252 GMT Sunday] to begin flight day 10.

    Flight Day 9 images are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery. More videos and images are up at NASA's SM3B site.


  • 09 March 2002 - With the record-tying 5 spacewalks complete, the crew of Columbia have redeployed the HST back to its own orbit to continue observing the universe. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Crew Deploys Hubble
    Space Shuttle Columbia's robot arm holds the Hubble Space Telescope over the payload as preparations continue for its deployment. NASA image.The STS-109 crew deployed an upgraded Hubble Space Telescope at 4:04 a.m. CST [5:04AM EST/1004 GMT] as the two spacecraft flew over the Atlantic Ocean. While Hubble was berthed in the orbiter's payload bay, the STS-109 crew conducted five space walks totaling more than 35 hours to service and enhance Hubble. The crew installed new solar arrays, a new power unit, a new steering mechanism, a new camera and an experimental cooling system for an infrared camera. The next servicing mission to Hubble is scheduled for 2004.
    NASA image of The Hubble Space Telescope being released from the cargo bay using the Shuttle's robotic arm.Now the crew turns its attention to the trip home. Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Duane Carey will fire Columbia's engines in two separate maneuvers to separate from Hubble and head home. The first occurred just after deployment. STS-109 is slated to land at 3:33 a.m. CST [4:33AM EST/0933 CST] Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

    Flight Day 8 videos are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.

 

This page will cover the STS-109 Space Shuttle mission from Hubble redeploy to landing. Part 2 covers liftoff to the last EVA. Part 1 covers preflight.

 

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