Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

June 28, 1997
STATUS REPORT : S-19970628
3:00 PM EDT

KSC Public Affairs Contact: George Diller (fax 407-867-2692)

MISSION: STS-94 -- Microgravity Science Laboratory-1

VEHICLE: Columbia/OV-102
KSC LAUNCH DATE/TIME: July 1 at 2:37 p.m.
LAUNCH WINDOW: 2 hours, 30 minutes
TARGET KSC LANDING DATE/TIME: July 17 at 7:13 a.m.
MISSION DURATION: 15 days, 16 hours, 36 minutes
CREW: Halsell, Still, Voss, Gernhardt, Thomas, Crouch and Linteris
ORBITAL ALTITUDE and INCLINATION: 160 nautical miles/28.45 degrees
NOTE: The countdown for the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia and the reflight of the Microgravity Science Laboratory began on schedule today at 3 p.m. EDT. Also as planned, the STS-94 astronauts arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility in their T-38 jet trainers at 12:25 p.m. Checkout of Columbia’s avionics systems is currently underway and will continue through midnight.

On Sunday, the launch pad will be closed for a checkout of the firing chain and the Space Shuttle onboard ordnance systems. This will be followed by the loading of cryogenic reactants into the onboard fuel cell storage tanks located beneath the payload bay. The fuel cells will generate power for Columbia and the Microgravity Science Laboratory during the 16-day mission. Because of the extended duration mission, the reactant loading will take approximately 12 hours to complete instead of the usual eight hours.

On Monday, many of the late stowage time-critical middeck science experiments will be stowed aboard. Also on Monday, the startracker will undergo a functional check and the mission specialists’ seats will be installed in the crew cabin. The orbiter’s communications systems will be turned on and checked out, and in the cockpit, the switches will be configured for launch. At 8:30 p.m. on Monday evening, the gantry-like rotating service structure which provides the primary access and weather protection for the Space Shuttle will be retracted from around the vehicle, weather permitting.

Loading of propellants aboard the external tank is scheduled to begin at approximately 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday. The astronauts will depart the crew quarters for the launch pad at 11:17 a.m. and begin boarding Columbia about a half hour later. The hatch will be closed and sealed at 1:07 p.m., leading to a launch at 2:37 p.m. EDT. The launch opportunity extends until 5:07 p.m.

If the weather forecast is unfavorable for early in the launch period, the astronaut’s boarding of Columbia could be deferred to provide a launch opportunity as late as 8:08 p.m. That decision could come at the L-1 final review by mission managers on Monday morning; however, the decision need not be made until late Monday afternoon. At this time, there is a 90% probability of not meeting the launch weather criteria on Tuesday due to afternoon thunderstorms in the Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral vicinity.


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