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James Hartsfield February 17, 1993

RELEASE: 93-010

SPACEWALK ADDED TO APRIL SPACE SHUTTLE FLIGHT

A spacewalk has been added to Space Shuttle mission STS-57 aboard Endeavour, set for an April launch, as part of a series of spacewalk tests NASA will conduct during the next three years to prepare for the construction and maintenance of Space Station Freedom.

The main objectives of the STS-57 mission are to retrieve the European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) deployed during a Shuttle flight in August 1992 and to conduct research in the Spacehab module which more than doubles the amount of middeck research locker space aboard the orbiter.

In addition to accomplishing the general objectives of the spacewalk test series, the STS-57 extravehicular activity (EVA) will allow some of the spacewalking procedures, using the Shuttle's mechanical arm, planned for use in servicing the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), to be tested. Those procedures involve work by astronauts on a platform at the end of the Shuttle's arm. The arm will be aboard Endeavour for grappling the EURECA satellite.

"The EVA will benefit us in two ways: first, we'll gather generic data on human performance capabilities and limitations in space and secondly, we'll perform some tasks similiar to those required for the HST mission later this year," said Ron Farris, Chief of the Extravehicular Section at the Johnson Space Center."

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"We'll also demonstrate that the EVA community can plan, train and fly four missions this year and in that sense, it will be a banner year for EVA and will be somewhat representative of the EVA efforts required to build and maintain Space Station Freedom," Farris added.

The spacewalk tests, as performed during STS-54 in January, concentrate on defining the limits of spacewalking abilities, better understanding the differences between true weightlessness and the ground training facilities that simulate weightlessness and gaining more insight into the times required for various tasks to be performed while spacewalking. The tests also expand the spacewalk experience levels among the astronaut corps, Shuttle flight controllers and spacewalk training instructors.

The specific tasks to be performed on STS-57 are still being evaluated by flight planners, however they will concentrate on these goals and be similiar to the STS-54 tasks although they will feature use of the robot arm. The STS-57 spacewalk, as with the STS-54 spacewalk and other such spacewalk tests will be done without any impact on the mission's main objectives and will carry a low priority among the mission's tasks.

STS-57 crew members G. David Low and Jeff Wisoff will perform the EVAs.

With the spacewalk performed in January, those planned for April and July and the spacewalks planned for the STS-61 HST servicing mission in December, a total of four Shuttle flights this year feature spacewalks.

Four Shuttle missions with planned spacewalks in one year ties a NASA record for missions with EVAs set when four spacewalk missions were flown in 1984.

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