26 June 1998

Volume 2, Number 5

Gregory A. Smith

Contributors to this issue
James Warnock
Laura Zoller

Published by

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



All images are courtesy of NASA unless otherwise noted.


Apollo Launch Pad
Space News Links

Top Story

U.S. Astronaut Andy Thomas' Heavy Homecoming

U.S. Astronaut Andy Thomas returned to Earth on June 12 after spending almost 5 months on the Russian Space Station Mir. Due his long exposure to the weightless environment of the Mir space station, Thomas suffered various ailments upon his return to Earth and one Earth gravity. Thomas remained in Florida for two days after his arrival at the Kennedy Space Center on the Space Shuttle Discovery in order to recuperate before returning to his home in Houston, Texas. - G.S.

References: Space Central > SCI-TECH > Space

Living in Space
MIR 25

Current Mir Location:
Earth Orbit, ~390km altitude

Current Crew:

Talgat Musabayev , Commander
(ARV 31JAN98/DPT ?98)
Nikolai Budarin , Flight Engineer
(31JAN98/DPT ?98)

Upcoming Mir Events

Status Reports are unavailable as of this issue.

Mir Reference Pages



NASA Office of Space Flight - MIR

Liftoff - MIR Station




The Soyuz-TM ferry & lifeboat

Progress Resupply Vehicle schematic

Mir 25 Current Status

As of this writing, there have been no official Mir 25 Status Reports posted since the May 29, 1998 Mir 25/NASA 7 Status Report.

Russian Space Station Mir-25 Commander Talgat Musabayev, and Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin are now without the company of U.S. Astronaut Dr. Andrew S.W. Thomas, whom departed Mir with the space shuttle Discovery, mission STS-91, on June 8, 1998.

There are no further plans for U.S. Astronauts to stay aboard the Mir Space Station. With Thomas' departure came the end of four-year old Shuttle-Mir program which brought seven U.S. astronauts for extended stays on Mir and helped prepare for U.S.-Russian partnership on the planned international space station.

The June 12 landing ends an 812-day continuous U.S. presence in space and culminates a total of 977 days spent in orbit by the seven U.S. astronauts who stayed aboard Mir since the Shuttle-Mir program began. Of those, 907 days were spent as actual Mir crew members.

Death by Fire:
The fate of Russian Space Station Mir

The fate of the Russian Space Station Mir will be death by fire of re-entry into Earth's atmosphere within 2 years if nothing is done to boost it to a higher orbit. The blazing end to this legacy of human space flight will come much sooner if plans to deorbit the space station are funded. Russian space officials say they need more funding for a controlled deorbit of Mir, and without a controlled deorbit, large pieces of Mir could hit populated areas. No funding, no controlled deorbit.

Or, Mir could be boosted to a higher orbit.

Check out the Keep Mir Alive page sponsored by the Space Frontier Foundation.

References: > SCI-TECH > Space

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Upcoming Space Shuttle Flights

STS-95 -- Discovery -- 29 October 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, Virginia.
Columbia (OV-102): the first operational orbiter, STS-1 first launched on 12 April 1981. Columbia has completed 23 flights to date.
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 24 missions since its maiden voyage on August 30, 1984.
Atlantis: (OV-104): Atlantis has flown 19 missions since its first launch on October 3, 1985. Atlantis is currently being upgraded and is scheduled to return to KSC on August 24, 1998.
Endeavour: (OV-105): Replacing the Challenger and completing the 4-orbiter space shuttle fleet, Endeavor has flown 13 missions since its first launch on May 5, 1992.

Space Shuttle Reference Pages

NASA Space Shuttle Current Status

The NASA Shuttle Web

Future Shuttle Missions

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

Space Shuttle Current Status



VEHICLE: Discovery (OV-103):
MISSION DURATION: 8 days, 22 hours and 4 minutes

Curtis L. Brown (5), Commander
Steven W. Lindsey (2), Pilot
Scott E. azynski (3), Mission Specialist
Stephen K. Robinson (2), Mission Specialist
Pedro Duque (1), (ESA) Mission Specialist
Chiaki Mukai (2), (NASDA) Payload Specialist
John H. Glenn (2), Payload Specialist

Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled for launch on October 29, 1998. The primary objective of this flight is to conduct a variety of science experiments being carried in the pressurized Spacehab module.

The STS-95 crew will be commanded by Curt Brown, who will be making his fifth Shuttle flight. The pilot, Steve Lindsey, will be making his second flight. There are three mission specialists assigned to this flight -- Scott Parazynski, making his third flight, Steve Robinson, making his second flight, and Pedro Duque from the European Space Agency (ESA) who is making his first flight. There are two payload specialist on STS-95. Chiaki Mukai, from the Japanese Space Agency (NASDA) will be making her second flight. John Glenn, who thirty-six years ago made history when he strapped himself into a nine-by-seven-foot capsule atop an experimental rocket and became the first American to orbit the Earth, will be making his second flight to space.

Since aging and space flight share a number of similar physiological responses, the study of space flight may provide a model system to help scientists interested in understanding aging. Some of these similarities include bone and muscle loss, balance disorders, and sleep disturbances.

Here is a cool Shuttle/Mercury comparision page by NASA:


    Space Shuttle: Discovery

    Launched: June 2, 1998
    MIR Docking: June 4, 1998
    MIR Undocking: June 8, 1998
    Landing: June 12, 1998 (KSC)

The space shuttle Discovery, mission STS-91, completed its nearly 10 day mission with a smooth landing at the Kennedy Space Center on June 12, 1998 at 2:00:17 p.m. EDT. STS-91 was the ninth and final Shuttle/Mir docking mission.

U.S. Astronaut Andy Thomas was picked up from the Russian Mir Space Station and returned to Earth with Discovery, marking the end of a consecutive 812-day U.S. presence in space and 802 consecutive days on the Mir by a U.S. astronaut. Since 1995, seven U.S. astronauts: Norm Thagard, Shannon Lucid, John Blaha, Jerry Linenger, Mike Foal, David Wolf and Andy Thomas spent a total of 907 days as Mir crew members. Thomas now faces a 45-day regimen of physical rehabilitation following his long stay in weightlessness.

STS-91 was the first flight of the space shuttle "Discovery" to Mir and the 6th flight for the SPACEHAB single module configuration. STS-91 also carried the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Investigation (AMS) to search for anti-matter and dark matter in space.

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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

International Space Station Reference Pages

International Space Station NEXUS
Marshall Space Flight Ceneter

International Space Station NEXUS News

NASA International Space Station

ISS Assembly Flights Chronology

The International Space Station Research Plan

Space Station Status


International Space Station partners revise assembly schedule

In meetings on May 30 and 31 at the Kennedy Space Center, representatives of all nations involved in the International Space Station officially agreed to revisions of the ISS assembly schedule. The first station component is now scheduled to be launched in November 1998. The remaining 43-flights of the assembly plan have also been rescheduled.

The Control Module (FGB) now named Zarya (Russian word for sunrise) will be launched in November and Node one, named Unity, will launch this December.

    "The International Space Station partners set an April 1999 target launch date for the Russian Service Module. The first station crew - Commander Bill Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev - will be launched aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in summer 1999 to begin a five-month inaugural stay. Launch of the U.S. Laboratory module is set for October 1999. Launches of other laboratory modules, provided by Europe, Japan and Russia, will take place later in the assembly sequence. The Canadian-provided station robotic arm, or Space Station Remote Manipulator System, will be launched in December 1999. The scientific research will commence aboard the station early in the year 2000.

    The expansion from a three-person crew to a six-person capability is planned in November 2002. And the final launch in the assembly sequence is set for January 2004, only one month later than in the previous assembly plan. Some issues in this assembly sequence remain under review and will be resolved at a Space Station Control Board meeting in September."
    - Reference KSC Release: 66-98

THE REVISED 1998-1999

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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 Jupiter Orbit Tour graphic
Jun 96 - Nov 97

Galileo Europa Mission
December 7, 1997-December 31, 1999

8 Europa encounters
December 16, 1997 - Feb 1, 1999

Next Galileo Spacecraft Satellite Encounter:
"Europa 16" - 21 July 1998

The Galileo Europa Mission
encounters schedule:

    E12 Europa - 16 December 1997
    E13 Europa - 10 February 1998
    E14 Europa - 29 March 1998
    E15 Europa - 31 May 1998
    E16 Europa - 21 July 1998
    E17 Europa - 26 September 1998
    E18 Europa - 22 November 1998
    E19 Europa - 1 February 1999

Perijove reduction/water/Io Torus study
May 5, 1999 - Sept 16, 1999

Io approaches
Oct 11, 1999 and Nov 26, 1999

End of mission: Dec 31, 1999

Galileo Reference Pages

Galileo Home Page

Galileo Europa Mission (GEM)

Galileo Europa Mission (GEM) Fact Sheet

Where's Galileo Right Now?

Galileo - Countdown

Galileo Status

On May 31st the Galileo spacecraft completed a close flyby of Jupiter's moon Europa . Called the Europa 15 encounter , Galileo flew over Europa at an altitude of only 2516 kilometers (1564 miles).

Data processing and transmission from Galileo's previous flyby of Europa is continuing. Science data on Jupiter and Io and also expected this week. The data is stored on the spacecraft's onboard tape recorder and transmitted during Galileo's cruises between planetary encounters.

Some of the data transmission was delayed last month so that the Deep Space Network's 70-meter (230-foot) antenna (which was being used to receive Galileo's signal) could be used to support radio frequency observations of a newly identified gamma ray burst.

Galileo's next encounter is Europa 16, July 20-22, when the spacecraft will fly within 1840 km of the surface of Europa at 6.3 km/sec.

Galileo may be showing signs of radiation sickness.

The Galileo spacecraft's attitude control system has been behaving anomalously since the spacecraft's closest flyby to Europa last December 16. Engineers believe that the anomaly may be caused by the spacecraft's repeated exposure to Jupiter's strong radiation. Thus far the Galileo flight team has been able to operate the spacecraft so that the anomaly has had very little effect on the spacecraft's performance.

The spacecraft successfully completed its primary mission in December 1997. Now in its two-year extension, called the Galileo Europa Mission, Galileo will conduct five more Europa flybys (including the May 30, 1998 encounter, four Callisto flybys, and one or possibly two flyby's of Io, depending on the spacecraft health.

On May 21st, The Galileo team released four more images of Europa from the previous, Europa 14, encounter in late March. They are in NASA's Planetary Photojournal at:

Mars Pathfinder
Mars lander and rover

Launch: 4 December 1996

Landing: 4 July 1997

Final successful data transmission:
27 September 1997
(Sol 83 of the mission)

Mars Pathfinder Reference Pages

Mars Pathfinder Home Page

Ares Vallis Landing Site

Mars Pathfinder (NSSDC)

JPL Mars Missions News & Information

JPL Mars Missions Mirror Sites

Mars Pathfinder Status

Final successful data transmission:
27 September 1997 - Sol 83 of the mission


    "Scientists involved with NASA's Mars Pathfinder will present their latest interpretations of results from the mission almost a year after the spacecraftsssssssss July 4, 1997, landing during a NASA Television live briefing at 1 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 29. The briefing will originate from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, CA."
    Reference: NASA NOTE TO EDITORS: N98-43

See the Directory of Pathfinder Images for the newly organized images from the Mars Pathfinder mission.

Analysis of Mars Pathfinder data continues, science results are available on-line. See: The Overview of the Mars Pathfinder Mission and Assessment of Landing Site Predictions - Science Online, and a link list of additional articles recently made available is at:

"At the time the last telemetry from the spacecraft was received, Pathfinder's lander had operated nearly three times its design lifetime of 30 days, and the Sojourner rover operated 12 times its design lifetime of seven days...

...Since its landing on July 4, 1997, Mars Pathfinder has returned 2.6 billion bits of information, including more than 16,000 images from the lander and 550 images from the rover, as well as more than 15 chemical analyses of rocks and extensive data on winds and other weather factors."
Reference: the November 4, 1997 Jet Propulsion Laboratory Press Release announcing the winding down of the highly successful Mars Pathfinder mission.

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 Reference Pages

MGS Current Orbit Display

Mars Global Surveyor Home Page

Mars Global Surveyor (NSSDC)

Current Flight Status Report

JPL Mars Missions News & Information

JPL Mars Missions Mirror Sites

Mars Global Surveyor Status

"The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft continues in good health as it completes its 388th orbit of Mars in an 11.6 hour period elliptical orbit."
Reference: Mars Global Surveyor Update - June 26, 1998, posted to alt.sci.planetary by (Ron Baalke), Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mars Global Surveyor emerges from Solar Conjunction

On May 27, 1998, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft emerged from behind the sun after a month long period known as a "solar conjunction." Near the sun, solar electromagnetic noise interfered with the radio signals sent to and from the spacecraft. During the middle of this conjunction, the Sun actually eclipsed Mars and blocked radio communications with the spacecraft.

Science operations temporarily suspended through the solar conjunction were resumed by the end of May. These will continue through a "Science Phasing" period until November 1998. Another period of aerobraking will restart on September 11th and continue through March 1999.

Aerobraking will lower the Mars Global Surveyor's current highly elliptical, 11.6-hour orbit around Mars to a low, circular, two-hour mapping orbit by April 1999 with a high point of 450km. MGS CURRENT ORBIT page for a cool real-time display of the MGS spacecraft position in Mars orbit.

by Laura Zoller
Space Update Writer

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-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
Reference Pages

NEAR Home Page

Weekly Status Reports

Mission Timeline

NEAR Event Countdowns

(NEAR) Status

"NEAR spacecraft state is nominal. All instruments are off" - NEAR Weekly Report - June 26, 1998

The NEAR team plans to image Eros on August 13, 1998; exactly 100 years after its discovery.

NEAR's study of Eros will be the first in-depth examination of a near-Earth asteroid and is expected to yield information that will help scientists better understand the evolution of our solar system. NEAR is the first mission of NASA's "Discovery" series.

Lunar Prospector
Lunar orbiter

Launch: 6 January 1998

Lunar Arrival: 9 January 1998

Lunar Prospector Reference Pages

Lunar Prospector Home Page

Lunar Prospector Science Results

Lunar Prospector (NSSDC)

Lunar Prospector Status

"The Lunar Prospector spacecraft continues to perform very well."
- June 5, 1998 Lunar Prospector Status Report

On March 5th, 1998 Lunar Prospector project scientist announced that the Lunar Prospector had returned data that indicates that there is a high probability of water ice existing at both the north and south poles of the Moon.

It is possible that the presence of a significant amount of water on the Moon will aid the establishment of human communities beyond Earth.

See the CNN SCI-TECH article on Lunar Prospector's ice discovery at: CNN SCI-TECH Space - 05 March 1998 - Scientist: There is ice on the moon

For more information about ice on the Moon, check out the "Planetary Science Research Discoveries" article "Ice on the Bone Dry Moon" by Dr. Paul D. Spudis.

Saturn orbiter / Titan lander

Launch: 15 October 1997

Venus swingbys:
21 April 1998, 20 June 1999
Earth swingby: 16 August 1999
Jupiter swingby: 30 December 2000
Saturn Arrival: 1 July 2004

Huygens Probe Titan Arrival:
November 27, 2004

Cassini/Huygens Reference Pages

Cassini Mission Home Page (JPL)

Cassini Press Releases/Status Reports

Cassini (NSSDC)

Cassini - VVEJGA Trajectory

Huygens Probe (NSSDC)

Huygens Probe (ESA)

Cassini/Huygens Status

"The most recent Spacecraft status is from the DSN tracking pass on Wednesday, 06/24, over Goldstone. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health..."
Reference: Cassini Update - June 26, 1998, posted to alt.sci.planetary by (Ron Baalke), Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Cassini spacecraft, on its way to Saturn, successfully flew by Venus on April 26th; on time and on target at 284 kilometers (176 miles) above the Venusian surface. Venus' gravity gave the Cassini spacecraft a boost in speed of about 7 kilometers per second (about 4 miles per second) to help the spacecraft reach Saturn in July 2004. Science instruments on the spacecraft searched for lightning in Venus' atmosphere during the flyby, and the radar instrument onboard was activated to test bouncing a signal off Venus' surface.

    The Venus flyby is the latest of dozens of similar "gravity-assist" flybys of planets and moons performed by JPL-controlled spacecraft over the past three decades. Cassini will perform three more similar gravity-assist flybys: Venus again in June of 1999, Earth in August of 1999, and Jupiter in December 2000. All the flybys use the gravitational pull of the target planets to impart more speed to the spacecraft to help it reach Saturn. The Venusian flyby was the lowest-altitude gravity-assist planetary pass Cassini will make - Reference: Cassini Mission Status Report, April 29, 1998

Arriving on orbit around Saturn in 2004, Cassini will study the great ringed planet, its moons and ring system for at least four years. It will also deliver a scientific probe called Huygens which will parachute to the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Japanese Mars aeronomy orbiter

Launch Window Opens: 4 July 1998

Mars Arrival: 11 October 1999

Planet-B Reference Pages

Planet-B (NSSDC)

Planet-B (ISAS/Japan)

Planet-B Status

Planet-B is the first Japanese space mission to Mars. A Mars orbiting aeronomy mission, Planet-B is designed to study the martian upper atmosphere and its interaction with the solar wind. Instruments on the spacecraft will measure the structure, composition and dynamics of the ionosphere, aeronomy effects of the solar wind, the escape of atmospheric constituents, the structure of the magnetosphere, and dust in the upper atmosphere and in orbit around Mars. The mission will also be returning images of Mars' surface and the martian moons Phobos and Deimos.

Planet-B will initially be put into an elliptical geocentric 7000 km x 400,000 km parking orbit with its apogee just beyond the orbit of the Moon. Assuming that launch occurs in the early August launch window as scheduled, the first lunar swingby will take place in September. swing by close to the Earth and slingshot into an escape trajectory towards Mars. It is scheduled to arrive at Mars on 11 October 1999.

Planet-B will be inserted into a highly eccentric Mars orbit 300 km x 47,500 km with an inclination of 138 degrees and a period of just over 38 hours.

The nominal mission is planned for one martian year (approximately two Earth years). An extended mission may allow operation of the mission well beyond the original two years.

Deep Space 1
Asteroid, Mars, Comet flyby

Rescheduled Launch Date:
October 15, 1998

New mission events/target encounter dates will be posted here.


Near-Earth Asteroid
"1992 KD"

Deep Space 1 Reference Pages

Deep Space 1 Home Page

New Millenium Program

Deep Space One Status

Deep Space One Launch Date Postponed to October 15, 1998

NASA Press Release 98-64 - April 17, 1998

The Deep Space 1 launch delay required a change in targets and encounter dates.

According to "Space News," June 8-14, 1998, Deep Space 1 is now targeted to encounter near-Earth asteroid "1992 KD."

Previous plans included the following flyby/encounter schedule: Asteroid McAuliffe Flyby: January 1999, Mars Flyby: April 2000, Comet West-Kohoutek-Ikemura Encounter: June 2000.

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.

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

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