21 MARCH 1997
Volume 1, Number 1

Gregory A. Smith

A service of

P.O. Box 61206
Honolulu, HI 96839-1206


Living in Space Updates

 MIR Space Station
 Space Shuttle
 International Space Station
* * * * * * *
 Planetary Probe Updates

* * * * * * *

Living in Space Updates
MIR 23

390km altitude


Vasily Tsibliev, Commander
Alexander Lazutkin, Flight Engineer
Jerry Linenger, Flight Engineer

For more Mir information see:




Mir Status

Oxygen Generation Problems

The Mir stations's primary oxygen-generation unit aboard Mir has malfunctioned and has been offline for over a week. Called the Elektron, the generator uses electrolysis to separate the oxygen out of the onboard waste water and return it to the cabin atmosphere. A second Elektron system also developed problems and had to be shut down.
The crew is now maintaining proper oxygen levels by using a lithium perchlorate system; solid candles that generate oxygen. On February 23, a leak in the LP system sparked a 90-second flash fire.
The crew and Russian flight controllers are planning their repair strategy. The crew is manufacturing parts and waiting for parts to be delivered with a Progress launch in early April.

Mir Events

March 22 marks the first anniversary of the launch of mission STS-76, which brought astronaut Shannon Lucid to the Mir space station and initiated a continuous American presence in space since that date.

Upcoming Mir-Shuttle Rendevous:

May 15, 1997 - STS-84 launch. To rendevous and pick up Jerry Linenger and drop off U.S. astronaut Michael Foale for a four-month stay.

September 18, 1997 STS-86 launch. Wendy Lawrence to replace Michael Foale.

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The Microgravity Science Laboratory-1

VEHICLE: Columbia

April 3 at 2:01pm EST

April 19 at ~ 7:37am EDT

15 days, 16 hours, 36 minutes


James D. Halsell, Mission Commander
Susan L. Still, Pilot
Janice E. Voss, Payload Commander
Donald A. Thomas, Mission Specialist
Michael L. Gernhardt, Mission Specialist
Roger K. Crouch, Payload Specialist
Gregory T. Linteris, Payload Specialist

For more Space Shuttle infomation see:

 NASA Space Shuttle Current Status

 The NASA Shuttle Web

 Future Shuttle Missions

 STS News Reference Manual

Space Shuttle Current Status

Launch countdown for STS-83 begins at 2:00pm March 31.

The primary payload, the Microgravity Science Laboratory-1 (MSL-1), features 19 materials science investigations. There are 5 government agencies, 12 commercial industries and 32 academic instutions listed as partners in the MSL-1 mission. MSL-1 is considered a "key component of the bridge between present Spacelab and future Space Station operations." (Ref:

Mission Specialist Donald A. Thomas, who broke his ankle on January 29, has been cleared to fly as planned. (Ref: KSC Press Release 49-97, March 20)

Upcoming Space Shuttle Events


STS-84 -- Atlantis -- May 15, 1997

STS-85 -- Discovery -- July 17, 1997

STS-86 -- Atlantis -- September 18, 1997

STS-87 -- Columbia -- October 9, 1997

STS-88 -- Endeavor -- December 4, 1997

Space Shuttle Info Bytes

Crew Capacity: 8 (10 could be carried in an emergency)
Max Acceleration Load < 3Gs.
Orbital Altitude: 100 to 217 nautical miles.
Cargo bay dimensions: 15 feet diameter, 60 feet long.
Basic Mission Length: 7 days in space

Enterprise (OV-101):
used for Approach and Landing Tests, the Enterprise now is property of the Smithsonian Institution and is at Dulles Airport, Va.
Columbia (OV-102): the first operational orbiter, STS-1 first launched on 12 April 81.
Challenger (OV-099): the second orbiter, flew 10 missions between 1983 and 1986 for a combined total of 69 days in space. On January 28, 1986, Challenger and her crew were lost in a launch accident.
Discovery (OV-103): the third orbiter, Discovery has flown 22 missions since its maiden voyage on August 30, 1984.
Atlantis: (OV-104): Atlantis has flown 18 missions since its first launch on October 3, 1985.
Endeavor: (OV-105): Replacing the Challenger and completing the 4-orbiter space shuttle fleet, Endeavor has flown 11 missions since its first launch on May 5, 1992.

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PHASE I - SHUTTLE/MIR - 1994-1997 Remaining Phase I Shuttle Missions:
STS-84 May 1997 Atlantis/Mir
STS-86 Sep 1997 Atlantis/Mir

PHASE II - ASSEMBLY - 1997-1999
15 flights; 7 Russian, 7 U.S., 1 combined.
(Phase II completion = 3 person permanent crew)

PHASE III - ASSEMBLY - 1999-2002
29 flights: 21 U.S., 7 Russian, 1 French

ISS assembly will require 44 flights and take over 4.5 years to complete.

For more International Space Station information see:

 NASA International Space Station

 Space Station This Week
Human.Space.Flight/Space.Station/ Space.Station.This.Week/

 Space Station Web - MSFC

 ISS - Office of Space Flight - NASA HQ

Space Station Status

Astronauts conduct hardware tests.

Astronauts and Boeing space station employees conduct hatch tests. Hatch tests involve opening and closing a hatch over 3,100 times while engineers inspect for wear and tear around the seals. Astronauts took turns opening and closing the hatch as part of the tests. Further testing on mechanical systems and electronic bonding, and a leak rate test will be conducted.
(From Space Station This Week - March 17, 1997)

Upcoming Space Station Events

Remaining Phase I Shuttle Missions:
STS-84 May 1997 Atlantis/Mir (U.S. astronaut transfer)
STS-86 Sep 1997 Atlantis/Mir (U.S. astronaut pickup)

PHASE II, the assembly phase, begins with a U.S./Russian mission in November 1997.

Space Station Info Bytes


Total Crew Size = 6
Altitude: 190 to 230 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: ~ 51.6 degrees
Total pressurized volume: ~ 46,200 cubic feet

International Partners:

Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, United States

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Planetary Probe Updates
Launch / Arrival
18 Oct 1989/7 December 1995

Galileo Jupiter Orbit Tour
June 96 - Nov 97
From Galileo Mission Status - March 13, 1997: Playback from the latest Europa encounter on Feb 20 continues. Other data expected this week include observations of hot spots on Io and observations of the small moon Amalthea which will be used to determine the body's global shape and morphology. Galileo's next flyby will occur April 4 at Ganymede. Galileo has five more encounters of Jupiter's moons scheduled through November 1997. (Ref: )
Mars Pathfinder
Launch / Arrival
4 December 1996/4 July 1997
From Mars Pathfinder Mission Status 14 March 1997: The Mars Pathfinder spacecraft remains in good health.

March 7 the spacecraft reached the halfway point on its way to Mars. Mars Pathfinder is scheduled to land in Ares Vallis, (19.5N,35.8W) Mars, on July 4, 1997. (Ref: )

Mars Global Surveyor
Launch / Arrival
7 Nov 1996/12 Sep 1997
From Flight Status Report 14 March 1997: All systems continue to be in excellent condition.

Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) burn to occur 12 Sep 1997. Orbit Insertion phase will last 5 months using aerobraking and propulsive maneuvers. Mapping phase from 15 March 98 to 31 Jan 2000.
(Ref: )

Launch / Arrival
17 Feb 1996/10 Jan 1999
Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)
NEAR Weekly Report - March 14, 1997: spacecraft state is nominal.

The NEAR spacecraft will flyby asteroid Mathilde on June 27, 1997, and swingby Earth on January 23, 1998 on its way to rendezvous with its target; asteroid Eros, on January 10, 1999.
(Ref: )

Lunar Prospector
Launch / Arrival
24 Sep 1997/29 Sep 1997
One year Lunar Orbit Tour
The Lunar Prospector will conduct a low polar orbit investigation of the moon. Data from the spacecraft will allow the compositional mapping of the moon, including possible water ice deposits trapped in permanently shadowed areas near the lunar poles. Other instruments will measure the crustal magnetic field, gravity fields and radon outgassing.
(Ref: )
Launch / Arrival
Oct-Nov 97/1 Jul 2004
The European Space Agency's Huygens probe will be delivered to the Kennedy Space Center for testing and then mating with the Cassini Saturn orbiter. Huygens will descend to the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. The Cassini spacecraft is to orbit Saturn for a 4 year tour. Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI) is scheduled for 1 July 2004. Huygens Probe is scheduled to land on Titan on 27 Nov 2004 and is expected to operate about 4 hours.
(Ref: )
Mars Surveyor `98

Launch Date: December 1998
NASA Orbiter mission to Mars.
Mars Surveyor `98

Launch Date: January 1999
Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor 1998 Lander
(Ref: )
Feb 1999/Jan 2004/Jan 2006
NASA sample return mission to Comet P/Wild 2.
(Ref: )
Launch / Arrival
Jan 2003 / August 2012
ESA rendezvous and lander mission to Comet P/Wirtanen.
(Ref: )

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