Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Oct. 29, 1998
STATUS REPORT : S-19981029
7:33 PM EST
Launch Day

VEHICLE: Discovery/OV-103
OFFICIAL KSC LAUNCH DATE/TIME: Oct. 29 at 2:19:34 p.m. EST
TARGET KSC LANDING DATE/TIME: Nov. 7 at about 11:50 a.m. EST minutes
MISSION DURATION: 8 days, 21 hours and 49 minutes
CREW: Brown, Lindsey, Parazynski, Robinson, Duque, Mukai, Glenn
ORBITAL ALTITUDE and INCLINATION: 300 nautical miles/28.45 degrees
NOTE: Space Shuttle Discovery and the seven-member STS-95 flight crew launched from KSC's Launch Pad 39B today at 2:19 p.m. and the orbiter is performing well on orbit. Launch managers worked very few technical issues throughout the day's countdown activities, but encountered a few delays in the last 9 minutes of the countdown.

The countdown clock remained in a planned T-9 minute hold for an additional 9 minutes while launch managers and Shuttle Commander Curt Brown verified three alarms heard in Discovery's cockpit. At T-5 minutes the NASA Test Director required an additional unplanned hold due to an Air Force Range Operations report of unknown aircraft flying in KSC's restricted airspace. When the countdown resumed, range officials reported again that several aircraft had been detected inside the restricted area. Once the restricted area was confirmed clear, the launch count continued to a successful liftoff.

Shuttle managers are investigating the loss of an item from the aft of the orbiter that could be the orbiter's drag chute door. The item appeared to fall from the Shuttle soon after main engine start. The KSC inspection team will review film of the launch and recover debris at the pad to determine the exact turn-of-events. The door covers the compartment where the drag chute is housed and is located beneath the orbiter's vertical stabilizer and above the three main engines. Though the drag chute is deployed after landing gear touchdown to assist in slowing the orbiter, it is not required for landing. The chute was an addition to the Shuttle's original configuration in 1992 after 46 successful landings without a drag chute.

Solid rocket booster recovery operations are under way off the eastern coast of Florida and NASA's recovery ships Freedom Star and Liberty Star are expected to return to Port Canaveral with the boosters in tow tomorrow afternoon.


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