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Mission Control Center status reports 1-12 (thru 5/11/92) for Space Shuttle Mission 49--Intelsat Rescue.
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Mission Control Center status reports 1-12 (thru 5/11/92) for Space Shuttle Mission 49–Intelsat Rescue.
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STS-49 Launch

The maiden voyage of the Space Shuttle Endeavour began successfully with
liftoff at 6:40 p.m. CDT. The spacecraft and crew reached orbit 9 minutes and
27 seconds later.

The first Mission Control Status Report is normally issued around 12 hours
after launch.


STS-49 Mission Control Status 1

MISSION CONTROL CENTER
STATUS REPORT #1

STS-49, Friday May 8, 1992, 12 a.m. CDT

Endeavour and the INTELSAT-IV communications satellite, with
all systems working well on both spacecraft, have begun
closing in on one another in preparation for a spacewalking
repair planned to begin Sunday afternoon.

Endeavour lifted off at 6:40 p.m. CDT Thursday and made a
trouble-free climb to orbit to begin shuttle mission STS-49.
A normal engine firing to circularize Endeavour's orbit
ensued, putting the spacecraft into the planned 182 by 140
nautical mile orbit.

INTELSAT flight controllers in Washington D.C. ordered the
stranded satellite to fire its thrusters for a maneuver at
10:44 p.m. that successfully dropped the low point of
the 300 nautical mile orbit INTELSAT has occupied for almost
two years by about 110 nautical miles. The communications
satellite is now in an approximately 300 by 190 nautical mile
high elliptical orbit. Two more thruster firings are planned
by INTELSAT controllers as they continue to drop within reach
of Endeavour and circularize the lower orbit.

Endeavour fired its orbital maneuvering system engines
briefly at 11:52 p.m. to begin its preparations for an
encounter with INTELSAT, raising the shuttle's orbit to 182
by 147 nautical miles with the 13-second long burn.

The crew is scheduled to go to sleep for their first night in
space at 2:10 a.m. CDT today and awaken at 10:10 a.m. CDT to
begin their second day. Their second day's activities aboard
Endeavour will center on equipment checks of the spacesuits
and the shuttle's mechanical arm.


STS-49 Mission Control Status Report #2
8 a.m. CDT Friday May 8, 1992

Endeavour and the Intelsat-VI communications satellite are
set to continue their orbital rendezvous dance later this
morning when Intelsat flight controllers perform the second
of three planned burns to lower the satellite's orbit to an
altitude that the shuttle can reach.

The first maneuver took place at 10:44 p.m. CDT Thursday and
successfully lowered the low point of the 300 nautical mile
orbit to 191 nautical miles. The second burn will lower the
high point of the orbit to 223 nautical miles about 8:56 a.m.
CDT.

Endeavour fired its orbital maneuvering system engines
briefly at 11:52 p.m. Thursday to begin its preparations for
an encounter with Intelsat. That burn raised Endeavour's
orbit to 182 by 145 nautical miles.

Endeavour's next burn is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. CDT today,
and is intended to raise its apogee or highest point to 189
nautical miles.

Meanwhile, flight controllers on the ground continued their
overnight planning. Endeavour's crew is scheduled to
depressurize the cabin to 10.2 psi and check out the
space suits in anticipation of the flight day 4 space walk to
grapple Intelsat. The crew also is scheduled to power up the
remote manipulator system robot arm and perform a survey of
the payload bay with the arm's cameras.

All systems aboard the new orbiter are working well, with the
exception of a few minor anomalies. Controllers are checking
the status of one of the avionics bay fans because of a
pressure change reading that is slightly high. The crew
already has performed one in-flight maintenance activity to
check filters, but found no lint that might be clogging the
avionics bay's airways.

The crew was unable to activate one of its onboard personal
computers before going to sleep, but flight controllers have
been working to solve the malfunction and will suggest a
possible solution when the crew awakens.

Endeavour is currently in a 183 by 147 nautical mile orbit,
and Intelsat is in a 304 by 189 nautical mile orbit.


STS-49 Mission Control Status Report #3



MISSION CONTROL CENTER
Status Report #3

STS-49, May 8, 1992, 6 p.m. CDT Friday

Flight day 2 has proven busy for Endeavour's crew as it prepares
for Sunday's rendezvous, retrieve, repair and reboost of the Intelsat
VI satellite stranded in a useless orbit two years ago.

The final orbit lowering burn of the satellite occurred on time at
about 1:35 CDT this afternoon. The burn put the satellite in an orbit
196 x 191 nautical mile orbit on track to reaching its imaginary
rendezvous control box. One final burn is scheduled for about 3:30
tomorrow morning to refine and circularize the satellite's orbit at
about 197 nm.

While Intelsat headquarters in Washington, D.C., maneuvered its
spacecraft, flight controllers in Houston's Mission Control Center and
the crew aboard Endeavour continued maneuvering of the orbiter to
close the distance between the two spacecraft. The orbiter performed a
14 feet per second burn to raise the high point of its orbit to 189
from 183 nm. The current orbit is 189 x 148 nm. Endeavour's next burn
will slightly lower the low side of the orbit by about one nautical
mile. That burn is scheduled for midnight.

The crew depressurized the cabin atmosphere to 10.2 pounds per square
inch from 14.7 psi in preparation for the spacewalks on Sunday,
Monday and Tuesday. The crew also began unstowing equipment that will
be used for the spacewalks including the four spacesuits tucked in the
airlock. Complete checkout of the suits to make sure they are in
proper working order will take place later this evening.

Endeavour's robot arm was put through a complete checkout to make sure
it is working properly. The arm plays a significant role in all three
planned spacewalks as it will be used to transport astronauts and
payload equipment in and out of the payload bay.

Other activities today including removing a buildup of lint on a mesh
filter screen on one of the tactical air navigation units in the
avionics bay that experienced the higher than normal fan speed. After
clearing the lint, the fan speed appeared to slow down.

Prior to start of the sleep period tonight, Commander Dan Brandenstein
will become the astronaut with the most time in space aboard the Space
Shuttle. Norm Thagard holds the current Shuttle record with 604 hours
45 minutes 6 seconds. Brandenstein began the mission with 575:49:18.

A special visit to the Mission Control Center by His Excellency Leonid
Kravchuk, President of the Ukraine, occurred early this morning. He
spoke briefly with Brandenstein wishing the crew luck on the mission
and a safe return home.


STS-49 Mission Control Center Status Report #4

MISSION CONTROL CENTER
Status Report #4

STS-49, May 8, 1992, 11:30 p.m. CDT

Astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour spent their first full
day in space conducting key preparations for their feature performance
on Sunday - the capture and repair of the Intelsat VI satellite.

While Intelsat controllers in Washington, D.C. have had great success
in lowering their stranded satellite to the final capture altitude,
Endeavour's relative position and closing rate was also tweaked with a
height adjust maneuver this afternoon. The remainder of the
rendezvous maneuvers prior to the close encounter on Sunday, will
involve small precision burns to enhance lighting condition and
approach angle at the time of capture.

Early in the day the crew depressurized the cabin atmosphere to 10.2
pounds per square inch from 14.7 psi in preparation for the three
spacewalks on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. This lower cabin pressure
will serve to allow nitrogen in the crew's bloodstream to outgas,
lowering the overall content of nitrogen in their blood. This will
eliminate the need for a lengthy prebreathe of pure oxygen prior to
beginning the space walks. The intent is to eliminate nitrogen which
can expand in bloodstream when the crew is exposed to the decreased
pressure of the suits - about 4.5 ppsi - which could cause the bends.
Using this protocol, each space walker will need to prebreathe in
their suits for only 30-40 minutes.

A complete and thorough checkout of the space walkers' suits was
conducted to make sure they are in proper working order. All four
suits checked out and appear to be in excellent condition.

Endeavour's robot arm was also flexed as mission specialist Bruce
Melnick put it through a complete checkout also. The arm plays a
significant role in all three planned spacewalks as it will be used to
transport astronauts and payload equipment in and out of the payload
bay. The robot arm checked out and is in good shape.

Just prior to sleep tonight, the crew will trim Endeavour's orbital
perigee from 147 to 148 nautical miles to further refine the closing
rate between Endeavour and the Intelsat. Just about the same time,
Brandenstein becomes the astronaut with the most time in space aboard
the Space Shuttle. Norm Thagard held the previous Shuttle record with
604 hours 45 minutes 6 seconds. Brandenstein began the mission with
575:49:18.


STS-49 Mission Control Status Report #5

MISSION CONTROL CENTER
STS-49 Status Report #5


Saturday, May 9, 1992, 7 a.m. CDT

Planning shift flight controllers continued to review the
activities for Endeavour's third day in orbit, but the team's
duties were light as the newest shuttle in the fleet continues
to perform almost flawlessly.

The crew is scheduled to be awakened about 9:40 a.m. CDT Saturday.

After the crew completes its post-sleep activities, Mission
Specialist Bruce Melnick will power up the robot arm and move it
into position to shoot video of a simultaneous waste and supply
water dump. That activity is scheduled for about 1:25 p.m. CDT.

About 3:12 p.m. CDT, Endeavour's orbital maneuvering engines will
fire to put Endeavour in an orbit proportionally equivalent but
just below that of Intelsat, which is in a 198 by 196 nautical
mile orbit. Endeavour will converge with Intelsat at noon Houston
time Sunday. A plane change maneuver, intended to coordinate the
arrival of both spacecraft at their orbital apogees one hour
before capture, is scheduled for 11:17 p.m. Saturday.

Intelsat flight controllers reported earlier this morning that the
spacecraft's spin had been reduced from 9 to 5 rotations per
minute. A rotation of 0.6 rpm is required for Astronaut Pierre
Thuot to latch onto the Intelsat using a JSC-developed and built
capture bar.

Just before 9 p.m. CDT Saturday, the crew will talk with
Congressman Jim Bacchus and four of the original 7 Mercury
astronauts Sen. John Glenn, Wally Shirra, Scott Carpenter and Alan
Shepard. The Mercury astronauts will be honored at the "Give Kids
the World" annual gala at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando.


Mission Control Status Report #6


MISSION CONTROL CENTER
Status Report #6

STS-49, Saturday, May 9, 1992, 5 p.m. CDT

The Intelsat VI satellite officially reached the center of its
imaginary rendezvous box right on schedule at 4:45 p.m. CDT setting the
stage for tomorrow's rendezvous with Endeavour and crew for the repair
and reboost portion of the mission.

Endeavour performed two burns today to fine tune its orbit to 190 x 187
nautical miles. Following those burns, Endeavour was closing in on
the satellite at about 75 nautical miles per orbit.

The crew documented a simultaneous supply and waste water dump using
the camera mounted on the robot arm. The water dump was viewed to
verify the performance of the new nozzles.

Just before 9 p.m. CDT, the crew will talk with Congressman Jim
Bacchus and four of the original 7 Mercury astronauts Sen. John Glenn,
Wally Shirra, Scott Carpenter and Alan Shepard. The Mercury astronauts
will be honored at the "Give Kids the World" annual gala at the Peabody
Hotel in Orlando.

Intelsat Headquarters in Washington, D.C., continues to monitor the
health of its satellite reporting all systems remain very stable and
ready to support tomorrow's rendezvous.


STS-49 Mission Control Center Status 7

MISSION CONTROL CENTER
Status Report #7

STS-49, Saturday, May 9, 1992, 11:30 p.m. CDT

The Intelsat VI satellite reached its rendezvous target right on
schedule today at 4:45 p.m. CDT setting the stage for tomorrow's
rendezvous and repair. Intelsat's rate of rotation has been
slowed to 2.33 rpm and satellite nutation (or wobbling) has been
reduced from 2 degrees to .3 degrees - an extremely stable state.

Endeavour's crew performed three adjustment maneuvers today to
fine- tune their closing rate on the stranded satellite.
Circling Earth in a nearly identical but lower orbit than that of
the Intelsat, Endeavour is gradually closing the gap by about 80
nautical miles each orbit.

The objective of all remaining maneuvers will be to assure that
the terminal phase maneuver, set for about 2:33 pm central time
tomorrow, will occur at orbital apogee and coincident with
orbital noon. This will be critical in providing Endeavour
commander Dan Brandenstein with the proper lighting conditions
for manually flying his ship into position below the satellite.

Flight controllers in Houston are continually refining their
calculations for the remaining burns, and the start of terminal
phase tomorrow may be slightly adjusted based on those
refinements. But at this point, the burn is set for 2:33, and
changes should not be substantial.

Just before 9 pm central time tonight, the crew spoke with
Congressman Jim Bacchus and five of the original 7 Mercury
astronauts. Sen. John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper,
Deke Slayton, and Alan Shepard all spoke with the crew from the
Peabody Hotel in Orlando during the annual "Give Kids the World"
gala.

Major activities will begin Sunday morning at 8 am with the final
Intelsat spindown from 2.33 rpm to .65 rpm. At 8:40, the crew
will be awakened. After a couple of small adjustment maneuvers,
and Intelsat systems safing, the final phase will get underway.
Spacewalkers Pierre Thuot and Rick Hieb will emerge from
Endeavour's airlock at about 3:33 pm and, if all goes well,
Intelsat should be in the grasp of the robot arm by 5:00.


STS-49 MCC Status Report #8

MISSION CONTROL CENTER
STS-49 Status Report #8


Sunday, May 10, 1992, 8 a.m.

Planning shift flight controllers spent a quiet night reviewing
plans for today's rendezvous, capture, repair and reboost of the
Intelsat IV satellite.

With virtually no problems on board the space shuttle fleet's
newest orbiter attention focused on Intelsat and its position near
the center of the control box, or target area. The second
spindown maneuver of the spacecraft was successfully performed at
7:53 p.m. CDT Saturday, reducing Intelsat's spin from 5 to 2.33
revolutions per minute. A trim maneuver was performed about 1:45
a.m. Sunday to put the spacecraft in the capture attitude.
The third spindown maneuver at 8:21 a.m. will decrease the spin to
0.65 rpm.

Endeavour, now in a 191 by 188 nm orbit, will maneuver at 10:43
a.m. to decrease the distance between the two spacecraft. Then,
at 11:29 a.m., Endeavour will begin a phase adjustment maneuver to
refine the distance between the two spacecraft at the start of the
capture phase. The final rendezvous phase will begin at 2:33 p.m.
with the terminal phase initiation burn.

The earlier maneuvers are designed to assure that the terminal
phase maneuver will occur at orbital apogee and coincide with
orbital noon. This will be critical in providing Commander Dan
Brandenstein with the lighting he needs to be able to see Intelsat
as he manually flies his ship into position below the satellite.

Flight controllers in Houston continue to refine their
calculations for the remaining burns, and the start of final
rendezvous phase may change slightly based on those refinements.

Spacewalkers Pierre Thuot and Rick Hieb will emerge from
Endeavour's airlock about 3:33 p.m. and, if all goes well,
Intelsat should be in the grasp of the robot arm by 5 p.m.


Mission Control Status Report #9


MISSION CONTROL CENTER
Status Report #9

STS-49, Sunday, May 10, 1992, 8:30 p.m. CDT

Endeavour rendezvoused with the INTELSAT VI communications
satellite early this afternoon, but an attempt by the crew to
capture the free-floating satellite was unsuccessful.

After attempts by spacewalker Pierre Thuot to attach a capture bar
mechanism to the craft, Endeavour backed away to avoid the
spacecraft. The capture attempts had imparted a large wobble to
the INTELSAT that made further attempts unproductive.

After Endeavour reached a safe distance from INTELSAT, the
satellite's controllers in Washington D.C. stabilized the
spacecraft. Endeavour is now continuing to back away from the
INTELSAT at about 5 nautical miles per orbit, and flight
controllers and mission control are comparing notes as they plan a
second attempt to grasp the stranded INTELSAT tomorrow.

A description of the day's activities by the Endeavour crew is
expected later this evening as they show videotape of the attempts
to flight controllers.

Endeavour and INTELSAT remain in good health, with all systems
working well aboard both spacecraft.


STS-49 Mission Control Status Report #10



MISSION CONTROL CENTER
Status Report #10

STS-49, Sunday, May 10, 1992, 11:30 p.m. CDT

After a perfect high-speed rendezvous in orbit and a valiant but
unsuccessful attempt to grab the Intelsat VI satellite, the crew of
Endeavour will retire for the night with high hopes for a second
chance tomorrow.

The crew of Endeavour narrated some video they recorded of today's
capture attempts during a conference with the ground to discuss
factors which contributed to the unsuccessful attempt to lock a
capture bar to the base of the satellite. Prime contributors included
poor visibility on the dark side of the Earth, inadequate positioning
on the end of the robot arm, and the unexpected susceptability of the
Intelsat to tipoffs. Several attempts to attach the capture bar sent
the satellite tumbling, making further efforts impossible.

Since then, Endeavour and crew have begun a 5-mile per orbit drift
away from the satellite to reach the right distance to retry the
rendezvous tomorrow, while Intelsat controllers have been successful
in their early efforts to re-stabilize their spacecraft.

Flight engineers here in Houston will be working throughout the night
to develop detailed plans for tomorrow's attempt. Unless there are
new developments overnight, the final approach should begin around 3
pm central time tomorrow. Rick Hieb and Pierre Thuot should make
their exit from Endeavour's airlock at about 4.

The crew will head for bed tonight at 12:40 am central time and will

start their day Monday morning at 8:40.


MCC Status Report #11

MISSION CONTROL CENTER
STS-49 Status Report #11


Monday, May 11, 1992, 7 a.m. CDT

After a perfect high-speed rendezvous in orbit, but an
unsuccessful attempt to grab the Intelsat VI satellite, the crew
of Endeavour will try again today.

At 5:49 a.m.CDT today, flight controllers at Intelsat's
Headquarters in Washington, DC made a retrograde burn of their
spacecraft's large thrusters after conferring with the space
shuttle flight control team. The burn was made to improve the
spacing between the two spacecraft.

Endeavour and Intelsat are now about 12 nautical miles apart and
separating at a rate of about 8 nautical miles per orbit.

Planning shift flight controllers have been working diligently
through the night reviewing plans for today's capture attempts.
The mission management team will review those plans at 8 a.m. CDT
today. Based on the planning shift's work, the crew will begin
its maneuvers to rendezvous with Intelsat again at noon CDT.
Initiation of the final rendezvous phase is expected at 3:01 p.m.,
with the robot arm being powered up immediately thereafter.

Pierre Thuot and Rick Hieb are scheduled to exit the airlock at
4:05 p.m. A new, optional wrinkle is being added to the space walk
timeline. That would be for a capture bar bump test to help Thuot
get a better feel for the capture bar before he attempts to
capture the satellite. That bump test would take place about 5:10
p.m. CDT.

If all goes well, capture bar installation would be at 5:50 p.m.
and grapple by the robot arm at 6:10 p.m.

The crew has high hopes of a successful capture if it is able to
successfully utilize yesterday's learning experience. Mission
Specialist Thuot, who made the attempt while mounted on
Endeavour's robot arm portable foot restraint, reported that the
satellite was much more sensitive to contact than ground
simulations had predicted. Poor visibility on the dark side of
the Earth and inadequate positioning on the end of the robot arm
also contributed to the lack of success.


STS-49 Mission Control Status Report #12

MISSION CONTROL CENTER
STS-49 Status Report # 12

Monday, May 11, 1992 11:30 p.m. CDT


Space walking astronauts Pierre Thuot and Rick Hieb will get a day of
rest on Tuesday as the Mission Control Center works on plans for a
third attempt to grapple the errant INTELSAT 6 satellite on Wednesday.

The two astronauts were unable to capture the satellite during a second
spacewalk Monday afternoon and evening, and now flight controllers are
assessing alternate methods for accomplishing the INTELSAT retrieval
and repair. Mission Control now anticipates extending the flight by
one day to allow for another rendezvous and retrieval attempt on
Wednesday, followed by a fourth spacewalk on Thursday to investigate
various Space Station assembly techniques. Under the current plan,
reentry and landing would take place on Friday afternoon, May 15, one
day later than originally planned.

During the 5-hour, 30-minute spacewalk on Monday, astronaut Pierre
Thuot made five unsuccessful attempts to use a spring loaded capture
bar device to grapple the INTELSAT satellite. The EVA, or
Extravehicular Activity, began at 4:01 p.m. CDT. Thuot and Hieb have
now logged approximately 9 hours of EVA time so far on this flight.
The crew wakeup Tuesday morning will be at 9:40 a.m. CDT.



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