STS-58 (58)

Pad 39-B (27)
58th Shuttle Mission
15th Flight OV-102
EAFB Landing (39)


John E. Blaha (4), Commander
Richard A. Searfoss (1), Pilot
M. Rhea Seddon (3), Mission Specialist 1
William S. McArthur Jr. (1), Mission Specialist 2
David A. Wolf (1), Mission Specialist 3
Shannon W. Lucid (4), Mission Specialist 4
Martin Fettman (1), Payload Specialist 1


OPF -- 5/17/93
7/24/93 Spacelab Tunnel installed
VAB -- 8/12/93
PAD -- 9/17/93



Mission Objectives:

Click here for Press Kit
Click here for Additional Info on STS-58


October 18, 1993 10:53 a.m. EDT. Launch attempt on October 14, 1993 was delayed 2 hours by bad weather. When it cleared and the count resumed, a failure in an Air Force Range Safety command message encoder verifier at the Range Control Center canceled the launch at the T-31 seconds mark. This system is used to transmit a vehicle destruct signal if it should become necessary. The Space Shuttle Columbia's STS-58 mission was postponed the following day because one of the two TRW S-Band communication transponders failed onboard the shuttle. Flight rules require that both communication transponders be functional for launch. Technicians at the Kennedy Space Center performed an extended scrub turn-around activities with Monday, Oct. 18, 1993, being the next launch attempt.
October 18, 1993 10:53 a.m. EDT. Launch occurred at just ten seconds inside the scheduled liftoff window. The minimal delay was due to a stray U.S. Navy aircraft in the range safety restricted zone. No serious technical issues were worked during the countdown. This was the 75th space launch from complex 39 pads A and B.

All Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) systems performed as expected. Preliminary data indicate that the flight performance of both RSRMs was well within the allowable performance envelopes, and was typical of the performance observed on previous flights. Both RSRMs experienced normal pressure perturbations with temporary pressure spikes of 8-12 psi for 1-2 seconds between 65-70 seconds into the flight. Nominal pressure is 650 psi for that time frame. These short duration pressure perturbations are the result of molten propellant solids that are generated during the flight and expelled through the nozzle. This is an expected characteristic of the motor.
Both SRBs were successfully separated from the External Tank (ET) at T + 123.8 seconds, and reports from the recovery area, based on visual sightings, indicate that the parachute deceleration subsystems performed as designed.

During recovery of the boosters, engineers observed one of the four forward booster separation motor covers was missing from the right-hand booster. These covers protect the motors that are used to separate the boosters from the external tank after the boosters have been expended. An investigation team has been formed to determine the cause and when during the flight of STS-58 the booster separation motor cover came off. Past occurrences of missing forward separation motor covers (STS-28, STS-48) have been found to occur during SRB descent, frustum water impact, or frustum retrieval from the ocean when parachute lines often become entangled with the doors and cause damage to doors. Therefore these were not safety of flight issues.
The External Tank (ET-57) performed as expected. ET separation was confirmed, and since Main Engine Cutoff (MECO) occurred within expected tolerances, ET reentry and breakup is expected to be within the predicted footprint.
Preliminary flight data indicate that the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSMEs 2024, 2109, 2018) performance during mainstage, throttling, shutdown and propellant dump operations was normal. High Pressure Oxidizer Turpopump (HPOTP) and High Pressure Fuel Turbopump (HPFTP) temperatures appeared to be well within specification throughout engine operation. Space Shuttle Main Engine Cutoff (MECO) occurred at T + 515.56 seconds. Payload Weight up: 23,188 lbs.


Altitude: 155 nm
Inclination: 39 degrees
Orbits: 225
Duration: 14 days, 0 hours, 12 minutes, 32 seconds.
Distance: 5,840,450 miles


SRB: BI-061
SRM: 360L/W034
ET : 57
MLP : 1
SSME-1: SN-2024
SSME-2: SN-2109
SSME-3: SN-2018


November 1, 1993. 10:05.42 am EST Runway 22 Edwards AFB, Calif. Main gear touchdown: 14:00:12:32 MET, Nose gear touchdown: 14:00:12:44 MET, Wheel stop 14:00:13.34 MET (10:06.44 EST). Rollout Distance was 9,640 ft. Landing Weight was 227,400 lbs. The two day ferry back to KSC began on November 7th and the shuttle returned to KSC on November 9th. Payload Weight down: 23,188lbs. Orbiter Landing Weight: 229,753 lbs.

Mission Highlights:

STS-58 was the 4th longest mission in US manned space history and was dedicated to life sciences research. Columbia's crew performed a series of experiments to gain knowledge on how the human body adapts to the weightless environment of space. Experiments focused on cardiovascular, regulatory, neurovestibular and musculoskeletal systems of the body. The experiments performed on Columbia's crew and on laboratory animals (48 rats held in 24 cages), along with data collected on the SLS-1 mission in June 1991, will provide the most detailed and interrelated physiological measurements acquired in the space environment since the Skylab program in 1973 and 1974.

Crew members conducted experiments aimed at understanding bone tissue loss and the effects of microgravity on sensory perception. Two neurovestibular experiments investigating space motion sickness and perception changes were performed on the 2nd day as well. Astronauts Lucid and Fettman wore a headset, called an Accelerometer recording Unit, designed to continually record head movements throughout the day.

Only one minor issue came up on Tuesday, October 19, 1993 associated with a circuit breaker that tripped, cutting off power temporarily to one of the rodent cages in the module. Flight controllers in Houston reported it was not caused by a short in the electrical system and the breaker was reset, restoring power to the cage.

McArthur and Blaha began using the Lower Body Negative Pressure device on flight day 3, which is being tested as a countermeasure for the detrimental effects of microgravity. All three flight crew members will collect urine and saliva samples and keep logs of their exercise and food and fluid intake as part of the Energy Utilization detailed supplementary objective. DSO 612 looks at the nutritial and energy requirements of crew members on long-duration space flights and the relationship between fluid and food consumption

On Wednesday, October 20, though the space toilet is working fine, the crew detected a slight leak around the filter door before going to bed. They removed the filter and cleaned up about a teaspoon of water -- much less than had been expected. As a precaution, a secondary fan separator unit was used to separate fluid from the air before cycling the air back into the cabin through the filter.

On Thursday, October 21, Payload Commander Rhea Seddon, Mission Specialists Shannon Lucid and David Wolf and Payload Specialist Martin Fettman collected additional blood and urine samples for the series of metabolic experiments. Some of the samples will follow-up on the calcium absorption experiment performed yesterday. The experiment, sponsored by Dr. C.D. Arnaud of the University of California at San Francisco, studies the mechanisms of how calcium is maintained and used in bone metabolism in space. Based on preliminary results from the 1991 SLS-1 mission, Dr. Arnaud believes the decrease in bone density is due to increased bone breakdown that is not compensated for by a subsequent increase in bone formation.

On Friday, October 22, 1993, using the on-board ham radio called SAREX for Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment, Blaha and Searfoss contacted school children at the Sycamore Middle School in Pleasant View, TN, and Gardendale Elementary in Pasadena, TX.
The Standard Interface Rack, or SIR, was tested today by Searfoss to demonstrate that equipment can be removed from one rack location and reintegrated into another by a single crew member during orbital operations while maintaining reliable mechanical, data and power interfaces.
Another new test flying aboard Columbia is a laptop computer simulator that is being flown to see if it will qualify as a tool for helping the mission commander and pilot maintain their proficiency for approach and landing during longer duration Space Shuttle flights. The laptop is controlled using a joy stick hand controller similar to the one used to fly the orbiter in the final minutes before landing.

On Saturday, the payload crew members will devote much of their time to metabolic studies of the 48 rodents on board the Spacelab science workshop. Payload commander Rhea Seddon, and crewmates David Wolf, Shannon Lucid and veterinarian Marty Fettman are scheduled to draw blood from the tails of some of the rodents, then inject a special isotope into the rodents to measure the volume of their plasma. Another blood draw will follow, to measure how weightlessness may be affecting the red blood cell count of the animals.

After several ham radio contacts around the country and work in a vacuum bag designed to ease the body's readaptation to Earth's environment, the orbiter crew made up of Commander John Blaha, Pilot Rick Searfoss and Mission Specialist Bill McArthur oversaw a short firing of one of the orbital maneuvering system engines to drop the low end of Columbia's orbit from 150 to 142 nautical miles to increase the landing opportunities should the mission be extended for weather or a system problem that would keep the crew in orbit two extra days.
On Wednesday, October 27, 1993, Pilot Rick Searfoss put Columbia through some maneuvers as part of the Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment. The main goal of the experiment is to accurately measure the aerodynamic forces that act on the shuttle in orbit and during the early stages of entry. The information will be useful to scientists and engineers planning future Spacelab microgravity research flights in which experiments will need a quiet, motion- free environment to produce the best possible data.

On Thursday, October 28, 1993, After enjoying a half a day off, the astronauts aboard Columbia continued to collect scientific data on how humans and animals adapt to the absence of Earth's gravity.
Payload Commander Rhea Seddon sent down a special message to her husband, Astronaut Office Chief Hoot Gibson at 4:1 p.m. CDT when she surpassed his total of 632 hours, 56 minutes in space. "He's still a really good guy, I still love him a lot, but I've got more hours in space than he does, so there!" she teased. Seddon acknowledged, however, that he has more launches and landings, having flown four times to her three.
Pilot Rick Searfoss took time out from snapping some infrared photography of the wildfires burning in southern California to say that the crew's thoughts are with the firefighters working to quell the flames and the residents whose homes are being threatened. He said he hoped the fires would be brought under control soon, and added that the photographs he was taking will be among some 4,000 frames that will be returned to Earth for meteorologists, geologists, ecologists and archeologists to study after the flight.

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Last Updated Friday June 29 11:21:08 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (Redacted)