31 October 1997

Volume 1, Number 6

Edited by

Gregory A. Smith

Published by

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


All images are courtesy of NASA unless otherwise noted.


Living in Space
MIR 23

Current Mir Location:
Earth Orbit, ~390km altitude

Current Crew:

Anatoly Solovyev , Commander
Pavel Vinogradov , Flight Engineer
Dr. David A. Wolf Flight Engineer

Upcoming Mir Events

Next Mir-Shuttle Rendevous:
STS-89 Launch: January 15, 1998
Orbiter: Endeavour

Dr. Andrew S.W. Thomas
will replace
Dr. David A. Wolf

Final Mir-Shuttle Rendevous:
STS-91 Launch: May 28, 1998
Orbiter: Discovery

For more Mir information see:

 MIR 24 Weekly Mission Status Report


 NASA Office of Space Flight - MIR Space Station



 The Soyuz-TM ferry & lifeboat

UPDATED: 24 October 1997

Mir 24 Current Status

The "hermaplate."

All systems on the Mir Space Station are functioning normally.

Solovyev and Vinogradov conducted an internal spacewalk to the damaged and depressurized Spektr module to redirect cables from the Spektr solar array avionics box to a similar avionics box in the Kristall module.

The Spektr's avionics box became inoperative due to its exposure to vacuume conditions.

Two of three cables were successfully redirected, but a third cable could not reach the hermaplate on Spektr's hatch. The two successfully redirected cables will enable two solar power arrays to track the sun. The third cable which could not be redirected serves the fishtail array on the Kristall side of the Mir space station. This array will provide power but it will not be able to track the sun until its avionics cable can be attached to the operable avionics box.

- Gregory A. Smith

Check out David Wolf's "Letters Home"

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USMP-4 (U.S. Microgravity Payload-4)
SPARTAN-201-04 (Solar Physics Mission)

VEHICLE: Columbia

November 19, 1997 at 2:47 p.m. EST

December 5, 1997 at 7:19 a.m. EDT

16 days


Kevin R. Kregel (3), Commander
Steven W. Lindsey (1), Pilot
Winston E. Scott (2), Mission Specialist
Kalpana Chawla (1), Mission Specialist
Takao Doi (1), (NASDA) Mission Specialist
Leonid K. Kadenyuk(1), (NSAU) Payload Specialist
Upcoming Space Shuttle Flights

STS-89 -- Endeavour -- January 15, 1998

STS-89 will be the next Mir-Shuttle rendevous. Dr. Andrew S.W. Thomas will replace Dr. David A. Wolf at the Mir Space Station during this flight.

STS-90 -- Columbia -- April 2, 1998

STS-88 -- Endeavour -- July 9, 1998

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 1981.
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.
Endeavour: (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.

For more Space Shuttle infomation see:

 NASA Space Shuttle Current Status /status/stsstat/current.htm

 The NASA Shuttle Web

 Future Shuttle Missions

 STS News Reference Manual /technology/sts-newsref /stsref-toc.html

UPDATED: 24 October 1997

Space Shuttle Current Status

The STS-87 crew preparing for their mission.

STS-87 Mission Objectives (edited):

STS-87 will fly the United States Microgravity Payload (USMP-4), the Spartan-201, the Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE), the EVA Demonstration Flight Test 5 (EDFT-05), the Shuttle Ozone Limb Sending Experiment (SOLSE), the Loop Heat Pipe (LHP), the Sodium Sulfur Battery Experiment (NaSBE), the Turbulent GAS Jet Diffusion (G-744) experiment and the Autonomous EVA Robotic Camera/Sprint (AERCam/Sprint) experiment. Two middeck experiments are the Middeck Glovbox Payload (MGBX) and the Collaborative Ukrainian Experiment (CUE).

The United States Microgravity Payload (USMP-4) is a Spacelab project managed by Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama. The complement of microgravity research experiments is divided between two Mission-Peculiar Experiment Support Structures (MPESS) in the payload bay. The extended mission capability offered by the Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) kit provides an opportunity for additional science gathering time.

Spartan 201-04 is a Solar Physics Spacecraft designed to perform remote sensing of the hot outer layers of the sun's atmosphere or corona. The objective of the observations are to investigate the mechanisms causing the heating of the solar corona and the acceleration of the solar wind which originates in the corona. See Spartan 201 for more information.

STS-87 will fly a small, unobtrusive, free-flying camera platform for use outside a spacecraft. Known as the Autonomous EVA Robotic Camera/Sprint (AERCam/Sprint), The free-flyer has a self contained cold gas propulsion system giving it the capability to be propelled with a 6 degrees of freedom control system. On board the free-flyer are rate sensors to provide data for an automatic attitude hold capability. AERCam/Sprint is a spherical vehicle that moves slowly and is covered in a soft cushioning material to prevent damage in the event of an impact. The free-flyer platform is controlled from inside the Orbiter by using a small control station.

The Collaborative Ukraine Experiment (CUE) is a middeck payload designed to study the effects of microgravity on plant growth. The CUE is composed of a group of experiments that will be flown in the Plant Growth Facility (PGF) and in the Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC). Investigators in Ukraine and the United States selected the experiments as a model for scientific collaboration between the two countries. The PGF will support plant growth for up to 30 days by providing acceptable environmental conditions for normal plant growth. Edited from:
STS-87 (88) at

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June 1998 FLT 1A/R Russian

July 1998 FLT 2A US Orbiter

December 1998 FLT 1R Russian

December 1998 FLT 2A.1 US Orbiter

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

For more International Space Station information see:

 NASA International Space Station

 Space Station Web - MSFC

 ISS - Office of Space Flight - NASA HQ

 ISS Assembly Flights Chronology
(June 1998 - December 2003)

UPDATED: 28 October 1997

Space Station Status

Brazil Joins ISS

On October 14, 1997, Brazil joined the International Space Station team when NASA Administrator Dan Goldin and Brazilian Space Agency President Dr. Luiz Gylvan Meira signed an agreement for Brazil to design, develop, operate and support certain flight equipment and payloads for the ISS. A flight opportunity for one Brazilian astronaut to visit the International Space Station is also provided for in the agreement.

Reference: NASA Release H97-233

Upcoming Space Station Events

The International Space Station (ISS) assembly begins with a U.S./Russian mission in July 1998 called 1A/R for the 1st American/Russian ISS assembly mission. The 1A/R mission will be launched on a Russian Proton and carry the Functional Cargo Block known by the Russian acronym (FGB). The FGB will provide the initial propulsion and power for the International Space Station.

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Robotic Space Exploration
Planetary Probe Updates

Jupiter orbiter and atmospheric probe

Launch: 18 October 1989

Jupiter Arrival: 7 December 1995

Galileo Home Page

Galileo Jupiter Orbit Tour
Jun 96 - Nov 97

Where's Galileo Right Now?

Remaining Galileo Spacecraft Satellite Encounters:

"E11" 6 Nov 1997

UPDATED: 27 October 1997

This week the Galileo spacecraft is on the last orbit of its primary mission.

Galileo's next satellite flyby will occur on November 6, 1997 when the spacecraft swings by Jupiter's moon Europa . The current orbit of the Galileo spacecraft is known as Europa 11, as it is the eleventh orbit of the eleven orbit primary mission and it includes a close flyby of the moon Europa. After playback of the data recorded on its current orbit, the Galileo team will proceed with the Galileo Europa Mission which is an extension of the primary mission.

The Galileo Europa Mission will include 8 more consecutive flybys of Europa .

Ref: This week on Galileo (October 27 - November 2, 1997)

Mars Pathfinder
Mars lander and rover

Launch: 4 December 1996

Landing: 4 July 1997

Mars Pathfinder - Current Status

Mars Pathfinder Mission

Ares Vallis Landing Site
Mars Pathfinder (NSSDC)

JPL Mars Missions Mirror Sites

UPDATED: 27 October 1997

The last signal received from the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft occurred on Sol 93, which was October 7, 1997.

The Mars Pathfinder mission operations team believes the spacecraft may still be functioning, however they suspect that the spacecraft may not be receiving commands from Earth due to problems associated with degredation of the spacecraft's battery. In the "no battery" mode of operations, the spacecraft will be powered on for less time each day, requiring the hardware to operate at colder than normal temperatures. It is thought that the colder temperatures could cause the transmitter to operate outside its normal radio frequencies. Ground controllers are attempting to signal the spacecraft through a wider frequency range to get the spacecraft receiver to lock onto the transmitted signal.

Mars Pathfinder is the first mission to land on Mars since two "Viking" spacecraft touched down there in 1976.

Mars Global Surveyor
Mars orbiter

Launch: 7 Nov 1996

Arrival: 12 Sep 1997

Mars Global Surveyor Home Page Mars Global Surveyor (NSSDC)

Current Flight Status Report

Upcoming Mission Events

JPL Mars Missions Mirror Sites

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft is currently orbiting Mars and all systems are performing as expected.

Aerobraking to resume on November 7 - after a two-week hiatus

The MGS mission requires the spacecraft to "aerobrake" using the thin Martian atmosphere to slow the spacecraft and place it into a circular orbit for mapping. On October 6, 1997, the MGS spacecraft's solar panel that had not fully deployed to its latched position, a minor malfunction thought to be caused by a piece of debris, moved past its fully deployed and latched position during the 15th aerobraking pass through the Marian atmosphere. The movement of the panel is thought to have occurred because the Martian atmosphere had unexpectedly doubled in density during this pass, causing higher than planned pressure on the panel.

The spacecraft's flight controllers temporarily halted the aerobraking phase until they could assess the situation. Aerobraking will proceed at a more gradual pace than before. Aerobraking will take much longer, perhaps eight to 12 months, at this more gradual rate.
Reference: NASA Release: 97-249

Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous

Launch: 17 February 1996

Asteroid 253 Mathilde Encounter:
June 27, 1997

Earth Swing-by: January 23, 1998

Asteroid 433 Eros Rendevous:
10 January 1999

NEAR Home Page

Weekly Status Reports
Mission Timeline
NEAR Event Countdowns
NEAR Schedule of Events
Trajectory Diagram

UPDATED: 28 October 1997

"NEAR spacecraft state is nominal." The NEAR team is preparing for the spacecraft's January 23, 1998 Earth/Moon flyby.
Reference: NEAR Weekly Report - 10/24/97

On September 15, 1997, the NEAR spacecraft's Gamma Ray Spectrometer detected a major gamma-ray burst that lasted for about 10 seconds. Since then, six more bursts have been detected.

NEAR's gamma ray spectrometer was originally planned to begin its work once the spacecraft arrived at its destination, 433 Eros in January 1999, however the NEAR team found that their system worked so well that they had time to upload gamma ray burst mode detection programming to the instrument. NEAR's planetary gamma ray spectrometer is now working in conjunction with two other spacecraft, the Ulysses solar physics spacecraft currently in polar orbit around our Sun and NASA's Wind spacecraft near Earth, to provide astrophysical data on one of the most mysterious phenomena in the Universe.

Reference: The Planetary Society - Headlines

Lunar Prospector
Lunar orbiter

Launch: 5 January 1998

Lunar Arrival: 9 January 1998

Lunar Prospector Home Page
Ames Research Center
Lockheed Martin
National Space Science Data Center
LANL - History of Space Exploration

The Lunar Prospector launch date has been rescheduled for January 5, 1998.

Reference: NASA Release: 97-242 - October 22, 1997

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.

Saturn orbiter & Titan lander

Launch: 15 October 1997

Saturn Arrival: 1 July 2004

Huygens Probe Titan Arrival:
November 27, 2004

Venus swingbys: April 21, 1998, June 20, 1999
Earth swingby: August 16, 1999
Jupiter swingby: December 30, 2000

Cassini Mission (JPL)
Cassini Mission info (LANL)
Cassini Mission Description (LANL)
Cassini (NSSDC)
Huygens Probe (NSSDC)
Huygens Probe (ESA)

UPDATED: 29 October 1997


The Cassini spacecraft's "Spectacular launch occurred at 4:43 a.m. EDT, October 15, 1997." - reports the JPL Cassini home page.

"The spacecraft is operating beautifully" said Cassini Program Manager Ronald Draper. - Reference: Cassini Status Report - October 28, 1997

The Cassini Mission is the last of the multibillion dollar unmanned planetary missions that marked space exploration.

Deep Space 1
Asteroid, Mars, Comet flyby

Launch: July 1998

Asteroid McAuliffe Flyby:
January 1999
Mars Flyby: April 2000
Comet West-Kohoutek-Ikemura Encounter:
June 2000

Deep Space 1 (JPL)

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Deep Space One is the first deep space mission of NASA's New Millennium Program. The New Millennium Program (NMP) is an agressive technology demonstration established to validate advanced technologies while returning science data.

To be launched in July, 1998, Deep Space 1 will validate 12 advanced technologies and instruments while conducting a flyby of asteroid McAuliffe, then Mars , and finally by comet West-Kohoutek-Ikemura.

"The goal is at least one flight each month" - Kane Casani, manager of the New Millennium Program. Reference: NMP press release - February 10, 1995 - Which will make keeping SPACEUPDATE up-to-date a very much more demanding job!

Japanese Mars aeronomy orbiter

Launch: 6 August 1998

Mars Arrival: 11 October 1999


UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Planet-B is the first Japanese space mission to Mars.

Planet-B is an aeronomy mission.

Planet-B (NSSDC)

Mars Surveyor `98 Orbiter

Launch: December 10, 1998

Mars Arrival: September 1999

Mars Surveyor `98 Mission
Mars Surveyor `98 Orbiter Configuration
Mars Surveyor `98 Orbiter

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

NASA Orbiter mission to Mars.

Mars Surveyor `98 Lander

Launch: January 3, 1999

Mars Landing: December, 1999

Mars Surveyor `98 Mission
Mars Surveyor `98 Lander

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor 1998 Lander

Deep Space 2
Mars Microprobe Impactors

Launch: January 3, 1999

Mars Landing: December, 1999

Deep Space 2 (JPL)
Deep Space 2 (NSSDC)
NASA New Millennium Program

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Deep Space 2 - Mars Microprobe Project

Comet Wild-2 sample return

Launch: February, 1999

Comet Wild-2 Rendezvous:
January, 2004

Earth Return: January, 2006

Stardust Home Page
Stardust (NSSDC)

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

NASA sample return mission to Comet Wild-2.

ISAS (Japan)
Lunar orbiter and penetrator mission

Launch: February 1999

Lunar-A (NSSDC)

UPDATED: 30 October 1997


Mars Surveyor 2001 Orbiter

Launch: 7 March 2001

Mars Orbit: 10-23 December 2001

Mars Surveyor 2001 Orbiter (NSSDC)
See also NASA Release: 97-51, March 25, 1997

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Mars 2001 Orbiter

Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander

Launch: 5 April 2001

Mars Landing: January/February 2002

Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander (NSSDC)

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Mars 2001 Lander

Asteroid 4660 Nereus
lander and sample return

Launch: January 2002

Asteroid Nereus Landing:
September, 2003

Return: January, 2006

MUSES-C (NASA press release)

UPDATED: 30 October 1997


MUSES-C will be launched on a Japanese M-5 launch vehicle in January 2002 from Kagoshima Space Center, Japan and touchdown on the asteroid Nereus in September 2003. A NASA-provided miniature robotic rover will conduct in- situ measurements on the rocky surface and collect samples.

The asteroid samples will be returned to Earth by MUSES-C via a parachute-borne recovery capsule in January 2006.

Reference: NASA press release 97-95

multiple comet mission

Launch: 4-28 July 2002


UPDATED: 30 October 1997

CONTOUR multiple comet mission.

ISAS (Japan)
Lunar orbiter and lander mission

Launch: 2003

Selene (NSSDC)

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Selene is an ISAS (Japan) Lunar orbiter and lander mission.

Comet Wirtanen rover mission

Rovers: Champollion & RoLand

Launch: January, 2003

Asteroid 2530 Shipka flyby
Asteroid 3840 Mimistrobell flyby

Comet Wirtanen Arrival: August, 2012

Rosetta (ESA)
Rosetta (NSSDC)
RoLand rover
Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

European Space Agency rendezvous and lander mission to Comet Wirtanen.

The mission is named for the Rosetta Stone which was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. (The stone was named for the seaside town of Rosetta, Egypt, where it was found by Napoleon's troops in 1799.)

The rover Champollion is named after Jean Francois Champollion, a French Egyptologist who, collaborating with Thomas Young, deciphered the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic and demotic text on the stone by comparing it with the known Greek text on the same stone.

Here's The Light Curve of Periodic Comet Wirtanen (JPL)

Mars Surveyor 2003
orbiter/lander/rover mission to Mars

Launch: May/June 2003

Mars Surveyor 2003 lander/rover (NSSDC)

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Mars Surveyor 2003 lander/rover

Mars Surveyor 2005
orbiter/lander/rover/sample return

Launch: July/August 2005

Mars Surveyor 2005 lander/rover (NSSDC)

UPDATED: 30 October 1997

Mars Surveyor 2005 lander/rover/sample return.

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The Apollo Society is a non-profit educational and scientific research organization dedicated to the advancement of space exploration and the establishment of human communities beyond Earth.

The Apollo Society can be reached at:

The Apollo Society
P.O. Box 61206
Honolulu, Hawaii 96839-1206

SPACEUPDATE is a tradename of The Apollo Society.
(C)1997, The Apollo Society. All rights reserved.

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