The Discovery Channel and the Chrysler Corporation are proud to bring you the best in quality documentary television this presentation of the Space Shuttle presented in partnership with Chrysler Plymouth deep eagle and dodge divisions of the Chrysler Corporation Houston were one minute away from the start of the deorbit ignition Pompeii now fasting over Australia landing expected at the Kennedy.
Space Center at about 7:10 a.
Central time this morning weather in the area reported to be good approaches flown in the shuttle training aircraft by astronaut hoot.
Gibson reports recently that the skies are clear seven miles plus visibility light winds no concern for a crosswinds on this first landing well we’re looking over the runway for anything we can find it.
Would be a problem for the orbiter lots of times we find twigs rocks whatever might be out here some of us brought across by Birds we’re in the middle of a Game Preserve the shuttle is a difficult.
Aircraft to flight it doesn’t have engines when it comes back to earth.
It has a very what we call high wing loading it has the short stubby wings and I guess you could say it as a low lift-to-drag ratio it sings like a brick and it was watched with considerable amusement by members of the aeronautical fraternity who called it the flying Brickyard because it had the.
Aerodynamic characteristics of a pair of pliers and in fact many people expected that if the shuttle were going to have an accident it would be on landing because it’s flying characteristics were practically nil it’s sort of lands in a control the big surprise is the sonic things the thing nounce –is it’s arrived with this boom boom sound of the leading.
Of the wing and the tail breaking the sound barrier people are self-motivate they came here to be in this business to do this job.
To feel like they are an important part of it and that alone motivation to the point where the thing you’re more likely to do.
Is get trampled in the rush to get things done you don’t have to lure people out to.
Do work not in our business the thing is full of all kinds of toxic stuff from its on-orbit propellant system so you see these trucks go out to so called safe the orbiter and that’s making sure that none of these fumes are loose or can affect the ground.
Crew or the astronauts as they depart you’ve rolled to a stop you’ve come to the conclusion of a successful mission and there’s a real feeling of euphoria but at the same time your big.
Experience has ended and you’re back to the end of the line in terms of getting ready to go for.
Another one so there’s it’s a bittersweet experience from this vantage point we do a detailed look at the main engines to make sure they operated correctly during launch all those black tiles on the base heat shield have to be checked and we have a little bit.
Of tile damage on the lower surface which may be the result of either ice or some kind of debris dropping off of.
The external tank the solid rocket boosters so that normally be seen every boy right now there they are removing these PSC experiments which are the two experiments that now see of the rats about four hours after landing here that astronauts are off the ship the orbit systems have all been saved togs hooked up to the orbiter and we’re in the process of getting the final go to.
Tow the shuttle was invented after the Apollo program and NASA proposed.
Going to Mars and of course the price tag was phenomenal so NASA invented at.
That time what it came to call the next logical step which was to go to Mars but do it by incremental steps to get to Mars you really had to launch the mission from the space station to get to the space station UN to have a vehicle that could fly routinely into low-earth orbit and back again so how about building a shuttle and you weren’t throwing away your launch vehicle every time you used it it is the most marvelous machine.
Ever built but there’s no destination for the shuttle the shuttle was designed to go to a space station so it goes up and down to space without doing the primary mission that it was independent and if we don’t have a space station as the destination.
For shuttle one can’t justify the enormous shuttle course that we have the Kennedy Space Center is an incredible place where the real hardware comes together and it produces its own set of difficulties JSC is.
More cerebral I mean it’s it’s a.
Paper project and it’s a mental project we think what we’re going to do with that vehicle once it’s flying the Johnson Space Center is the.
Place that astronauts live and work it’s the place where people.
Prepare for the missions where the astronauts are trained where the missions are simulated and ultimately when the orbiter is in space where the missions are controller people are gonna be mostly worrying about the.
Trajectory the orbiter where it’s going and if we’re making the the places in space we’ve got to get to the second round consoles is mostly going to be worrying about the systems on board the spacecraft is mostly going to be concerned at the command.
Of the vehicle sending the commands the flight director and overall decision that Capcom communicating with the crew back here the people in the hot seat are going to be the boosters they’re going to be monitoring the main engines and hydraulics.
Officers on the flight directors.
As hours and hours of boredom interspersed with moments to start her most of the time everything goes very well and but then there are these moments where suddenly and very unexpectedly you’re in a situation where your performance has ultimate consequences I like to listen to the tapes of the missions and of the teams because.
After you’ve done a pilot it’s like music and when a good team is working with a good flight director it is like beautiful music my name is Eileen Collins.
And I’m an Air Force lieutenant colonel I’m currently training to fly on STS 63 which is a.
Space shuttle flight scheduled for February of 1995 and we’ve never had a woman fly in the right seat of the space shuttle as a space shuttle pilot well is.
A shuttle pilot we need to keep up our proficiency in between shuttle flights and before our first shuttle flight predominantly we fly the t-38 we.
Fly about ten times a month I’m keeping your hands on sticking throttles when I first decided I wanted to be an astronaut it was such a far off wild dream I was I was embarrassed to tell anybody that I wanted to do it of course back then as a youngster there were only men astronauts three after this pattern will be requesting departure to the local area whenever we say we want some astronauts we get hundreds.
And hundreds even thousands of applicants it’s easy to go fishing in a pool it’s this deep you know we’ve picked 20 or 25 every couple years our superb individuals the Maverick isn’t exactly what you want and you don’t want a computer nerd or something you don’t want.
Somebody that’s very very guide to good in just one subject and not broad so what we look for is somebody who is of course intelligent and willing to work hard and.
In fact subvert their own desires for somebody else’s because in many cases you carry somebody else’s science up in orbit and do their work somebody who who can get.
Situation and behave pretty well in an emergency in airplanes the convenient thing is though you can put an instructor pilot in with a pilot and you can go putzing around the countryside and learn how to do things spaceflight is still.
So expensive you can’t do that you can’t.
Send a rookie into orbit because the time and the expense so we try.
To recreate the environment on the ground now when we do the simulator training we have an astronaut crew in the actual simulator itself we have a training crew which is.
Which is down at the console and they have a script that they have written ahead of time on a list of malfunctions but they’re going to input into the simulator and then we have.
Flight controllers over in Mission Control and they don’t know what kind of malfunctions are coming and the astronaut crew doesn’t know what’s coming okay like controlling one we’re about to start an integrated simulation we’re about to launch discovery Roger roll discovery so what you do is literally launch and you meet.
All starting about functions and what the pilot needs to do in a commander and a mission specialist is identify what is wrong and that’s that’s difficult mr. Eileen would be a leak on the Left engine unit so for the.
Procedure in training they pound on us incessantly but after.
A while you even get used to an environment where there.
Are 20 or 30 malfunctions an hour coming at you and you get used to it Perry has been managed and limits inhibit second effect can AHS to simulate that pressure and the way we make up for it in training is to put in a large number of problems which leads to the same kind of feelings of pressure that you get on a.
Real flight day and maybe one thing that’s not working it’s starting to clean up a little now it’s not looking too bad survived at.
This poor little man Cruz come back laughing they say if you can survive the simulators that space flight itself is a drinking trying to.
Keep up with the vehicle oh it’s it’s better than the workout at the gym my name’s al strainer I’m a psych test conductor with his Space Shuttle Endeavor and second-generation space.
Worker our job is getting her ready and space flight worthy from the orbiter processing facility if you owned a recreational vehicle and you were gonna take it on a very long trip before you did that you.
Would probably put it in a garage and you would ask the mechanics to check everything when you put the space shuttle.
In the orbiter in the orbiter processing facility in the OPF you do just that it’s very tight and we look at it very close we’re less than six inches in a lot of places we’ve got it spotted in here and it’s less than.
Eight hours from being in space we’re back here in the OPA there are thousands upon thousands of individual tiles on a space shuttle we inspect every one of.
Those the tires the main gear come off the brakes are come off and are refurbished.
And respected reinstalled every landing on the bird comes in we check for meteor strikes scratches that may occur the.
End of your hair if you looked at it that’s the size we’re looking for on the window and you have to locate everyone we inspect it and then the technicians come in and clean it behind us so that astronauts can see for the next mission an inspection to take about two to three days polishing will take two.
Ships have to scrub on eight hours if there’s a certain amount of damage within a specified area on the window they have to pull it.
Send it back to morning when you get into the payload bay area where we have the cargo you’re getting into a cleanroom environment we have bunny suits which are an ensemble to stop hair or any type of contamination into humans from getting into the machine like a hair and 0g can affect an astronauts breathing inside the crew crew module the radios are check navigating radars check at all the communications panels the computers run through a series of checks all those systems get a check out and.
I think you have to realize that when the shuttle is built in the late 70s computer power was not very readily available so that now the shuttle is out shown by your PC that sits at.
Your house in fact each of the five flight computers only has 256 K of memory probably have more compute power under the hood of your car in order to sell the shuttle to congress nasa kept downsizing it.
To a more and more modest vehicle and a vehicle that could increasingly use existing technology in the early 70s the shuttle was designed to satisfy not just NASA’s missions of civil space but it was designed to handle all the military payloads and it was designed to handle all.
The commercial payloads that’s putting all the eggs in one basket the shuttle they ended up the way the clearly was a cable that is it was a horse designed by a committee and it served no one’s purposes it was a good design there were some compromises but do we want to continue to whip NASA for a decision.
That was made 20 years ago unless I get to walk away from my desk and look at a spaceship father worked out.
Here Jim and I Apollo and the start of the shuttle it’s.
Always been very admirable to help put men in space Space Flight is.
Is a unique environment starts with the lack of apparent gravity but when you.
Take it away here in a department deal that my sister was not designed to be in and even if you had all the money in the world you cannot simulate zero gravity so and that often times presents the biggest challenges when you get up there it’s dealing with that and operating in that environment up there you around a different time the Sun goes up and down.
Every hour and a half and depending upon your kind of work and sleep schedule you.
Have a different form of time.
Up there right now what we can identify is that there are risks well both for things such as bone loss muscle loss equilibrium changes blood pressure changes heart muscle changes we’re trying.
To see what those risks are the cardiovascular system it doesn’t have to move blood uphill doesn’t have to move blood out of my feet to get up to my heart and bones after a long period of time they become more porous and they started to go away the loss of calcium from the bones it begins immediately.
But it continues probably at the rate of about one percent of your long bone calcium per month in the middle ground things that occur over a week or two weeks and that is the loss of muscle because I don’t.
Need to use muscle to move around I walk with my hands instead it was my feet up there everything takes longer to do when you first get up there whether it be going.
To the bath bathroom we’re preparing and eating your meal or getting ready to exercise on a on a bicycle that.
We carry up there or or anything if I’m sitting here in this room and I were to drop a pencil I would begin looking on the floor on the tops.
Of the tables and the tops of the chairs in the room but in zero gravity the pencil.
Could be floating right here behind.
My head like it’s been you know minutes looking forward until some.
Other crew mate says well turn and look it’s right there sleeping up there is really pleasant they advertise waterbeds as being so good because there are.
No pressure points well in zero gravity there are absolutely no pressure points and it’s a you can just close your eyes and drift off very very easily pilots have to be able to land the space shuttle despite changes in their vestibular system they may be confused about up and down and.
And whether they’re rotating or translating forward and backwards so their inner.
Ear may be off they can’t fly as well by the seat of the pants because their seat feels different and so there’s a real adaptation when you get back down on the ground you feel like you weigh about 300 pounds when you come back down and land so you’re gonna notice the guys moving a.
Little bit sluggishly a little bit heavily particularly this flight where they’re at the end of 14 days of being up there we’ve had a few people that needed to be assisted we’ve had a few people that needed to have some fluids administered how close are we to an edge here are we going to have problems personally I was confident I could egress myself I.
Wouldn’t claim it would be pretty in fact it may have been I stumble and fall and crawl and get.
Back up and go again but that’s why we practiced so much in the launch an injury suit well my.
Name is Robin Brack I work in the crew escape Department and what we do in crew escape is we take care of all the life-support equipment that the astronauts.
Need to fly in space what we look for in the equipment is to make sure that.
Everything that’s in the suit mechanically is functioning properly so if they had a rapid decompression let’s say the suit would do his job save the.
Crew man’s life and they would be.
Able to survive if an astronaut was getting ready for launch the first thing he would do was it he put on his diaper.
This diaper is just like a Pampers diapers that a little kid would wear except it’s made for big adults the next thing what he would do is put on his Patagonia underwear it’s a liquid-cooled underwear lay on your back on the floor with your feet above your head for five and a half hours when you’re lying the launch pad out there my guarantee in short order you’ll wish you.
Were wearing a diaper if you have no other means of relieving yourself we pull on a anti-g suit and then over that comes to the rest of.
The spacesuit which is a pressure suit essentially we call the pumpkin seed right it’s orange and international orange for rescue so they can find you.
To bail out feel good okay okay green apple you’re saving somebody’s life and if something should happen and it’s very important inside the parachute besides the parachutes our life raft and survival water and radios and everything you’d need to survive in the ocean hopefully.
Long enough for them to find you there are scenarios you can paint where the shuttle comes down intact but can’t make a landing strip and you essentially were writing the crew off in that case previously but now we have the option to at least bail out yesterday thanks you’re gonna fly no not.
Tonight Howard Americans want humans in space it is part of our psyche one of the problems with manned spaceflight is as soon as you put people on a spacecraft you change the mission and.
The purpose of the spacecraft its primary mission.
Then becomes getting them back alive there is no scientific finding from the space program obtained by humans including the return of samples.
From the moon that could not be obtained more cheaper and more safely by robotic spacecraft so yes I can understand the symbolic value of sending links up into space but it is certainly not essential for science good.
Evening and welcome to mission status Center the United States has spent two-thirds of its space budget on manned spaceflight and yet all of the real pale from spaceflight has come from the unmanned vehicles from the scientific satellites and.
Satellites the communication satellites the earth resources satellites so again instead of the astronauts allowing us.
To do things in space that are exciting and helpful the astronauts are a burden on the program we cannot have a program just with.
Robots in the end the American public lives through the experience of the astronauts the unmanned people the scientists have hated the shuttle and hate the space station and hate everything I could do with them because they.
Say it amounts essentially the clowning around in orbit to highwire acts trapeze and that sort of stuff and that in fact it is antithetical designs shuttles scientific perspective is extremely narrow and I know things too much to say boring I think.
Little careful when you listen.
To the scientists criticize the human spaceflight program because by and large those are the scientists that have grown up with robotic missions that don’t require human presence and there’s another whole set of scientists material scientists life sciences biomedical science that are eager to get on with shuttle experiments the human.
Brain is the best adaptive computer that I know of there.
Things that robots could do and there are things that humans can do there is the extension of human experience we are explorers it’s written into our genetic code but it’s not you keep going to the same dull place in which there is nothing and call it.
Exploration you degrade the currency of the word exploration whereas if we were going somewhere to some new world then I think public support could much more.
Readily sustained we are lost in an obscure backwater of space and time a small planet that goes around one of four hundred billion other stars located on the periphery of a minor spiral arm of one of a hundred billion other galaxies that’s the fact that’s where we are if we find that daunting then it’s time to work on our daunting machinery not to ignore the numbers I was incredibly beautiful was an.
Aesthetic kind of spaceship I mean it is magnificent you understand you are a threat out there your very presence rubbing and touching anything produce contamination.
By definition you flake little things off dust off you try not to touch anything we were trying to.
Turn work into art just how good a craftsman can you be working out there is is working with a really bulky glove it’s working with a suit that weighs 500 pounds and you’re dealing with screws two or three millimeters in size that were non captive because in 0g everything is free and you’ll just watch these screws they do their little dance every time you touch one of those things she imparted energy and it.
Starts a dance dance of the spheres I remember waking up at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and turning on the television seeing story hanging out on the edge of the.
Hubble without stray up on during it’s probably one of those 1 the lifetime things.
When I get to be an old guy I can see myself with my grandkids on my knee telling about remem the big telescope up there I help train astronauts to fix that now how was.
The most powerful instrument in terms of looking at the universe did we have ever had now that’s why Hubble touches people but not only as a literal physical scientific instrument it is a.
Symbol for humanity’s quest what is our place in the universe what is our universe if anything I think NASA’s failed to communicate how really complicated it is to do spaceflight but certainly not American Airlines running on some.
York there’s a matter of fact it’s an enormous challenge to get one of these things off the ground I’m always amazed that it works at all you know and that’s from being inside of it shuttle main engines are high-performance engines operated a hundred and four percent of their design capabilities and so we’re having to look at the turbo pumps and.
Pieces of the engine after each mission and often replace them the aft compartment of the shuttle is kind of like a maze.
I refer to it as a space rated Swiss Family Robinson Street house the paradox is they’re unbelievable you have a titanium thrust structure that holds.
Thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds of thrust right next to it you have a phenomenal amount of plumbing and.
Wiring and it’s all very sensitive and very delicate imagine being back here eternal forever liftoff you’ve got gallons and thousands of gallons of liquid oxygen flowing through the speed line it’s coming from the external disk tank disconnect looking it down there everything that we do down here has to be perfect because when you.
Go in door of it there is no way of getting back there working on anything I thought well the shuttle will just be another easy system you know it’s in a matter of.
Weeks a couple weeks after getting the books and I’ll study it up and I’ll be ready to go fly it and.
It turned out to be not the case aircraft is a.
Highly modified Gulfstream to flies almost exactly like the Space Shuttle the performance has been modified so it descends like the Space Shuttle in.
The same descent rate the same type of drag it’s very very.
Important training for shuttle pilots because the shuttle is a very difficult aircraft to fly and it’s very different from any other airplane that I’ve flown in my life we have a instructor pilot in the right seat who gets the airplane up to about 35,000 feet and at that point we put the engines into reverse and you’re rapidly on your way down to earth at the rate of 22,000 feet of that commercial.
Airlines you come in at about a two percent glide angle coming down shuttle comes in twenty two percent that’s going.
Downhill real fast before your fly as a commander you typically have about a thousand approaches and you get about ten a flight so about 100 flights in the shuttle training aircraft it’s.
A really nice process coming back when you hit the Earth’s atmosphere you’re doing Mach 25 or about 18,000 miles an hour and and the way you slow down is by pancaking or sort of speed break in the orbiter into the Earth’s atmosphere and that’s why the Tile are so critical in the bottom is that they absorb.
That heat though we’re surface tiles can protect up to 2,500 degrees it is sometimes hard to believe that it protects it like it does it’s strictly.
Real thin aluminum underneath this audience it’s a giant jigsaw puzzle that has 35,000 different shapes and sizes of tiles the tiles were masterpieces of thermodynamic engineering but they were also a nightmare for developing and building a new vehicle there were 31,000 tiles on the first shuttle on the Columbia they all had to be put on by hand and it did seem like an endless job like.
Something we would never perfect they were so fragile it seemed like every time you were working on him something went wrong it took a total of six hundred and seventy thousand hours to put them on three hundred thirty-five man years the worker could install I bow.
To you in a week it was a nightmare if one sees an infrared image of the shuttle you see that there are extremely hot places on the forward edges of the wings and the tails and other places on the fuselage we got quite a life here.
Out here right now it was really like flying inside of a neon tube we were looking out through there and all of a sudden this glow started about three hundred thousand feet there’s this nice soft orange light that surrounds the the vehicle it doesn’t look all that hot but it’s there because it is.
Odd we’re sure looking at two to three thousand degrees right outside the window it was awesome and very impressive it worked in the Apollo days when the capsules came in all the heat protection burned off but what we do now keeps the astronauts safe without us it doesn’t come back then she rolls out of the orbiter processing facility take it to.
The VAB which is the Vehicle Assembly Building the big building and then it’s brought to this 48 story immense a modern cathedral that was designed for the Saturn 5 rocket which was much bigger than the shuttle stack and then it’s taken with a crane and grabbed by the nose and and hauled vertical and then moved over and made it with its external tank it’s.
It’s expendable fuel tank and the solid rockets which themselves have been prepared for several months for this mating although it appears we go overboard in some cases and things do seem to be laborious there’s a.
Lot of thought presses put into that carpenter cell we measure twice and cut once clearly the shuttle was.
Sold on some false promises and most the most important of those false promises is that it would be routine and.
Inexpensive not only were there no savings but the space shuttle has been fabulously more expensive than the expendable launch vehicles are replaced and.
It was very clear to many people from the very beginning that this was going to be a cost ineffective white elephant and in fact it has been I wish I wish there was an easy answer to how’d you.
Ignite people’s very interest and exciting and tremendous idea man going into space when when you think back on the old days and one of the things that JFK was famous for having said and that is you take your very best.
Hat and you wear it down the street and when you.
Come to a wall you know you can’t scale you throw it over and then you just try to go get it try to get it back because you know you can if it means enough to you that’s the way you find out how.
Much you really can do achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on.
The what you can say about this room and if you look in here down to where they met up with the Apollo spacecraft was the final step off to the moon this is a pretty historic piece of hardware to be laying out here in the sand but brings back a.
Lot of memories that are looking in and to see all these arms serviced the big Saturn and what you see when you look at all this is you start to see and I haven’t been here down here been near this hardware in years but you start to see the.