STS-85 (86)

Discovery (23)
Pad 39-A (63)
86th Shuttle Mission
23rd Flight OV-103
KSC Landing (39)

NOTE: Click Here for Countdown Homepage


Curtis L. Brown, Jr (4), Mission Commander
Kent V. Rominger (3), Pilot
N. Jan Davis (3), Mission Specialist
Robert L. Curbeam, Jr. (1), Mission Specialist
Stephen K. Robinson (1), Mission Specialist
Bjarni Tryggvason (1),(CSA) Payload Specialist

Note: Jeffrey S. Ashby (1), Pilot was previously assigned
as pilot of STS-85.


OPF-2 -- 02/21/97 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 2/21/1997)
VAB -- 07/07/97 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/07/1997)
PAD -- 07/14/97 Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/14/1997)
TCDT -- 07/22/97 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/22/1997)
FRR -- 07/24/97 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/24/1997)
Countdown - 08/04/97 (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 8/04/1997)



(Reference KSC Shuttle Status Jun 1997)
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status Jul 1997)
(Reference KSC Shuttle Status Aug 1997)

Mission Objectives:

Click here for Press Kit
Click here for Additional Info on STS-85

The deployment and retrieval of a satellite designed to study Earth's middle atmosphere along with a test of potential International Space Station hardware will highlight NASA's sixth Shuttle mission of 1997. The prime payload for the flight, the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite-2 (CRISTA-SPAS-2) is making its second flight on the Space Shuttle (previous flight STS-66 in 1994) and is the fourth mission in a cooperative venture between the German Space Agency (ARA) and NASA.

During the flight, Davis will use Discovery's robot arm to deploy the CRISTA-SPAS payload for about 9 days of free-flight. CRISTA-SPAS consists of three telescopes and four spectrometers that will measure trace gases and dynamics of the Earth's middle atmosphere. Davis also will operate the robot arm for CRISTA-SPAS retrieval. The Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS) on which the scientific instruments are mounted is a self-contained platform that provides power, command, control and communication with Discovery during free-flight.

Two other instruments mounted on the SPAS also will study the Earth's atmosphere. The Middle Atmosphere High Resolution Spectrograph Instrument (MAHRSI) will measure hydroxyl and nitric oxide by sensing UV radiation emitted and scattered by the atmosphere, while the Surface Effects Sample Monitor (SESAM) is a passive carrier for state-of-the-art optical surfaces to study the impact of the atomic oxygen and the space environment on materials and services.

The crew also will support the Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) experiment being sponsored by NASDA, the Japanese Space Agency. MFD consists of three separate experiments located on a support truss in the payload bay. The primary objective is to demonstrate the newly designed dexterous robot arm in the space environment, before installing on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) of the International Space Station.

Several Hitchhiker payloads, including the Technology Applications and Science Payload (TAS-01), the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (SEH), and the Ultraviolet Spectrograph Telescope for Astronomical Research (UVSTAR) will be housed in Discovery's payload bay, operating independently of crew support during the flight.

The Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount (MIM) experiment will be operated by Canadian Space Agency astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason. The MIM experiment is a small double-locker size device designed to isolate International Space Station payloads and experiments from disturbances created by thruster firings or crew activity. MIM will be operated for 30 hours with real-time data transmission to investigators on the ground. (Reference NASA Press Release 96-224)

Another experiment onboard STS-85 is the Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System (SWUIS-01) from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) along with scientific collaborators from JPL, APL, and the University of Maryland. SWUIS (pronounced, "swiss") is a wide-field UV imager to which will be used to observe comet Hale-Bopp. It is based around an 18-cm Maksutov UV telescope and a UV-sensitive, Xybion image-intensified CCD camera that frames at video rates (30 Hz). Each SWUIS observation period will last approximately 3 hours, and should garner 10^5 images in up to 7 filter bandpasses. SWUIS will be operated from a 2-axis mount inside the Shuttle mid-deck cockpit, and looks out of the Shuttle through a quartz window. SWUIS can be pointed anywhere in a 4.5 deg cone around the centerline of the comet. Mission specialists will set up and operate the instrument.


Launch August 7, 1997 10:41:00.069 am EDT. Launch window is 1 hour, 39 minutes (1 Launch COLA due to Mir overhead between 10:53am - 10:55am).

On Thursday, 8/7/97 at 6:00am, the countdown was at a two hour planned hold at the T-minus 3 hour mark. Weather forcasters predicted a 60% chance of favorable weather. Discovery was fully fueled and a go was given to wake the flight crew. Crew breakfast began at 6:18am, followed by a weather briefing, suitup at 6:46am and then departure for Pad 39A at 7:26am EDT. The coundown came out of the hold at 7:21am EDT. By 8:30am EDT, the crew were all strapped into their launch seats and communication checks were performed. The hatch was closed by 9:18am EDT and leak checks complete by 9:30am EDT. At 9:28 am EDT, RSO reported a no go due to ground fog leading to a visability of less than 5 miles but predicted that the fog would burn off as the sun rises. (Reference KSC Weather History 08/07/1997 0900). The countdown clock picked up at 9:38am at the T-minus 44 minute mark. The white room crew reported to OTC that the white room was secure. At 10:03am EDT, the count entered the automatic hold at the T-minus 20 minute mark. At 10:09am EDT, SRO reported to NTD that Range Safety cleared the Launch Commit Criteria (LCC) Violation and gave a go to launch. The countdown picked up at 10:11am EDT and held at the planned hold at the T-minus 9 minute mark. At 10:28am EDT, the NASA Test Director (NTD) conducted a final poll of the launch team in the firing room and the Launch Director Jim Harrington conducted a final poll of the mission management team. There were no constraints to launch and the count came out of the T-minus 9 minute mark at 10:32am EDT. Liftoff occured at 10:41am EDT.

On Tuesday, 8/5/97, The orbiter's mid-body umbilical unit was demated and retracted into the Fixed Service Structure. Preparations were underway to retract the Rotating Service Structure to the launch position at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Loading of the external tank with cryogenic propellants began at about 1:50 a.m. on Thursday 8/7/97. The STS-85 crew arrived at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at about 5 p.m. 8/5/97 and took opportunities to complete a few familiarization activities. Commander Curtis Brown and Pilot Kent Rominger practiced SLF approaches in the Shuttle Training Aircraft this morning as well. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 8/06/1997)

Discovery's aft compartment close-outs concluded on Saturday 8/2/97 with installation of the aft access doors. External tank purge activities were also completed on Saturday. The launch countdown for STS-85 began 8/4/97 at 3 p.m. Loading of cryogenic fuels into the power reactant storage distribution system began at 7:30 a.m. 8/5/97. Testing of Discovery's pyrotechnic initiator controllers began at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Servicing of the CRISTA-SPAS payload continued and final payload bay door closure was 5 a.m. 8/5/97. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 8/05/1997)

On Wednesday, 7/30/97, Space suit installation and check-out were complete. Discovery's aft compartment close-outs continue through the weekend. Ordnance installation was delayed due to work on the orbiter's connections to a ground coolant unit. The connections are being replaced to ensure that no further freon leakage occurs. Replacement of Mass Memory Unit No. 1 is in work and reload is also slated. Because of the damaged oxidizer drain line found on Columbia, inspections of Discovery's oxidizer drain line are being performed as well. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/30/1997)

On Tuesday, 7/22/97, the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) began in the Launch Control Center and at Pad 39A. The payload Interface Verification Test (IVT) was successfully concluded and preparations were underway for servicing the CRISTA-SPAS with cryogenic helium next week. Preparations continue for loading hypergolic propellants aboard the Space Shuttle on Thursday. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/22/1997)

The Shuttle helium signature test was successfully concluded over the weekend and the payload interface verification testing was performed on monday, 7/21/97. Preparations continue for loading hypergolic propellants on Thursday. The astronauts arrived at KSC Sunday evening for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) starting 8 a.m. EST Tuesday 7/22/97 and concluding 11 a.m. Wednesday. The crew will be on the flight deck for the last three hours of the test as is customary. The TCDT is an electrical test of the Space Shuttle vehicle and a procedural exercise for the launch team and astronauts. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/21/1997)

On Friday, 7/18/97, the payload Interface Verification Test (IVT) and the Shuttle helium signature test were conducted and preparations continued for loading of hypergolic propellants. The crew is scheduled to arrive at KSC Sunday evening for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) July 22-23. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/18/1997)

In the VAB, orbiter/external tank interface leak checks concluded on Friday, 7/11/97. Functional testing of the liquid oxygen 17-inch disconnect were completed and the Shuttle Interface Test wrapped up. Discovery is slated to roll out to Pad 39A on Monday, 7/14/97 beginning at about 2 a.m. At pad 39A, the CRISTA-SPAS payload was moved to the payload ground handling mechanism. It will be installed into the orbiter. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/11/1997)
On 6/25/97, potable water servicing was complete and a 24-hour decay check was in work. Tile replacement work continued on Discovery's forward reaction control system. Close-outs of Discovery's aft compartment continues through Thursday and preparations were underway for payload bay door closure. In the Vehicle Assembly Building, ordnance installation on the solid rocket booster holddown posts was in work. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 6/25/1997)

On 6/10/97, heat shield installation continues through Tuesday and mid-body close-outs continue on schedule. Repair work on the lower portion of Discovery's rudder speed brake are continuing through Tuesday. Tile inspections resulted in the removal of 7 suspect tiles on the FRCS. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 6/10/1997)

On 3/25/97, Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) No. 1 and 3 have been removed and Engine No. 2 will be removed. The forward Reaction Control System (RCS) functional checks continue today. Work to remove and replace fuel cell No. 2 will begin 3/27/97. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/25/1997)

On 3/5/97, deservicing of Discovery's hypergolic system began. This hazardous operation to remove residuals from the Reaction Control System (RCS) keeps the bay closed to non-essential personnel and other work through most of the day. An orbiter navigational aid activation test is scheduled for 3/6/97 and hydraulic system inspections will begin. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 3/05/1997)

The launch was originally scheduled for July 17, 1997 at 10:06am but was slipped to early August so that Columbia could refly the STS-83 MSL-1 mission that was cut short due to a fuel cell problem.


Altitude: 160nm
Inclination: 57
Orbits: 189
Duration: 11 days, 20 hours, 28 minutes, 07 seconds.
Distance: 4.7 million miles


SRB: BI-088
ET : SN-86
SSME-1: SN-2041
SSME-2: SN-2040
SSME-3: SN-2042


KSC August 19, 1997. 7:07:59 am EDT. Runway 33. Main Wheel Touchdown at 7:07:59 am EDT. (MET 11days 20hr 26min 59sec) Nose Wheel Touchdown at 7:08:09 am EDT. (MET 11days 20hr 27min 09sec) Wheel Stop at EDT 7:09:07 (MET 11days 20hr 28min 07sec).

At 5:44 a.m. EDT, commander Curtis L. Brown, Jr was given the go to take Discovery out of orbit with a 2 minute 14 second deorbit burn of its twin Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engines. The burn occured on orbit 189 at 6:08am EDT while Discovery was over the Pacific Ocean. Entry Interface occured at 6:37am. KSC's 1st opportunity landing track took Discovery over the Yucatan peninsula and then over the Gulf of Mexico. At 7:00am EDT, with 8 minutes to touchdown, Discovery was 135nm from the Shuttle Landing Facility, traveling at an altitude of 18000ft and 3,300mph. At 5 min to touchdown, Discovery was at 58,000ft and 10nm west of KSC. Sonic booms were heard at KSC at 7:06am, 3 min from touchdown while Discoverey was being flown around the final Heading Alignment Circle (HAC) at 38,000ft and dropping below 500mph. At 2 minutes to touchdown, Discovery was southeast of the SLF, traveling 230mph setting up on final approach to Runway 33. At 1 minute 20 seconds to touchdown, Discovery was at 13,000ft. At 300ft, Pilot Kent Rominger dropped the landing gear and Commander Brown pitched the nose up. Touchdown occured at 8/19/97 at 7:07a.m. EDT.

Discovery's mission was scheduled to end Monday August 18, 1997 with landing scheduled at the Kennedy Space Florida at about 6:14 a.m. central time but the landing attempt for was waived off due to low fog in the area of the Shuttle Landing Facility. Forecasters had predicted favorable weather for landing and . Flight controllers only targeted a single Florida landing opportunity on Monday and did not consider opportunities for landing at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.

Mission Highlights:

STS-85 Flight Day 1 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 2 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 3 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 4 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 5 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 6 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 7 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 8 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 9 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 10 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 11 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 12 Highlights:
STS-85 Flight Day 13 Highlights:

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Last Updated Friday June 29 11:36:57 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (Redacted)