http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/snews/spnews_toc.html Kennedy Space Center celebrates 45 years of excellence
By Bill Parsons Center Director
he men and women of Kennedy Space Center have Tbeen extending humanity’s reach and knowledge for 45 years. As we push to return to the moon, it is important that we look back on a remarkable record of scientific and technological achievement for the United States. The launch complexes dotting Cape Canaveral’s shores had been launching rockets for 12 years before ground was broken in 1962 on what would become Kennedy Space Center. With a mandate to build a launch center, NASA and FORMER PRESIDENT Lyndon Johnson (in blue suit above) and former Kennedy’s first director, Dr. Kurt Vice President Spiro Agnew (in beige suit) view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from H. Debus, set out to build an the Kennedy Space Center VIP viewing site. The two political figures were infrastructure to support the at KSC to witness the launch of the first manned lunar landing mission, biggest rockets ever devised. which took place from Pad 39A on July 16, 1969 (at left). Facilities such as the Opera- handled the business of launching Kennedy workers continue to tions and Checkout Building, planetary probes and satellites prepare the orbiter fleet for Launch Complex 39 and the dispatch the first of six teams of with the use of the Expendable important missions to finish the landmark Vehicle Assembly astronauts to the surface of the Launch Vehicle program in the International Space Station and Building quickly took shape on moon during the Apollo program. late 1980s. Private contractors modify facilities to handle the new the barren sands of the northern tip The Kennedy Space Center took on a larger role in testing and Orion vehicles. of Merritt Island. work force next turned its focus to processing spacecraft while NASA The record of success may The agency’s cutting-edge the space shuttle and the chal- maintained oversight of the launch seem like a finish line to some, but team of engineers, technicians and lenges of readying a reusable facilities. we see it as a starting point for contractors launched astronauts spacecraft for orbit. Columbia As NASA readies new space- NASA’s explorations that power aboard Redstone, Atlas and Titan lifted off from Launch Complex craft for a return to the moon, the future. rockets while the larger Apollo 39A on April 12, 1981, to kick off structures were built. They also a program that has seen 118 sent the earliest unmanned launches in 26 years. Complex spacecraft toward planets in our missions called for Kennedy to solar system that were previously ready spacecraft and equipment for out of reach. Missions to Mars, flights that would launch planetary Venus, Mercury and Jupiter probes, repair the Hubble Space complemented the great strides of Telescope and process the largest the manned programs. space complex in history: the Seven years from its inception, International Space Station. Kennedy Space Center would NASA also evolved how it Special Issue This commemorative issue of Spaceport News is a tribute to the achievements of the men and women who have worked at the Kennedy Space Center during the past 45 years. From the early achievements of the Apollo launches to the successes of the Space Shuttle Program, we SPACE SHUTTLE Columbia arrives at Launch Pad 39A on Dec. 29, 1980. salute the employees who have made spaceflight possible. The orbiter lifted off on April 12, 1981. Page 2 SPACEPORT NEWS July 13, 2007 Land purchased to give NASA space for new center
By Kay Grinter appreciated NASA’s efforts to keep Reference Librarian him in business.” One of Greenfield’s assign- ome mayAwards not think of NASA ments was with the NASA team as a real estate mogul, but in analyzing the mobile launch SSeptember 1961, the platform concept. agency’s focus was on the pur- “ ‘How do you best distribute chase of space. Eighty thousand the weight of the mobile launcher acres of Florida land were needed with the stacked vehicle on it?’ for the creation of a large complex was the question,” he recalled. to support manned launches using “Use of a crawler transporter, rather the Saturn and Nova boosters than a railway or a barge, was the already in their conceptual stages. most practical solution because The property lay north and you could spread the weight over west of the U.S. Air Force Missile its shoes.” Test Center facilities at Cape All of the buildings were Canaveral. Numerous privately eventually removed to make way owned homes and businesses were for the new launch pads and situated on the tract on Merritt THIS BUSINESS across from Sunrise Beach provided the community supporting infrastructure. with groceries and services so families did not have to drive to Titusville. Island. Approximately 50 homes Dredged fill from the Banana comprised the Sunrise Beach driveway. He recalled: “There was a barber River and surrounding area was housing development, near the “Twenty miles was a signifi- shop, too. After NASA purchased used to alleviate the swampy location of Pad 41 today. cant distance. We only drove into the property, arrangements were conditions in the Launch Complex Space program employees Titusville twice a week: to the made for the barber to continue 39 area as site preparation began in Charlie and June Buchanan grocery store on Fridays and to cutting hair from a trailer installed 1962. purchased a home in Sunrise church on Sundays.” beside the E&L Building. I Beach in 1959. Charlie transferred June began her NASA career in AN AERIAL from Baltimore with the Martin Public Affairs. Retired since 1995, view of the road Company on the Pershing project. she recalled: “Sunrise Beach was construction an active community of young In the ensuing 48 years, he has for the remained an aerospace contractor families. At its main entrance was a intersection of and is currently with Space little restaurant where you could 2nd Street Gateway Support. also buy milk and bread between and C Avenue He recalled: “My daughter was trips into town.” in the center’s born in 1960 while we were living ASRC Aerospace Corp.’s Terry industrial in Sunrise Beach. When I visited Greenfield relocated from Hunts- area. the home site a few years ago, I ville, Ala., with the Redstone could still make out her initials program in 1956 and still works in carved in the cement of the the space program 51 years later. Book review: ‘A History of the Kennedy Space Center’
ublication of KSC’s new describe the events leading up to and launch, which were still history book, “A History of the Apollo 9 launch: “How did taking about 1.25 million Pthe Kennedy Space Center,” things look for this, the first person-hours. With three is almost here after six years in mission to test all of the hardware shifts, seven days a week, and the making. for the moon descent and landing? 10 percent or more overtime, Authors Kenneth Lipartito “During a chill-down test, two it was just possible to get the and Orville R. Butler have of the three valves failed and had job done, but each orbiter combed through the archives and to be replaced. Workers discovered flow was like ‘running on the interviewed key players in the a fault in a spacecraft battery line, beach with a backpack.’ ” daily drama of the launch center and the “Z” Pipa Bias was out of to capture the essence of tolerance. In other words, pretty “A History of the Kennedy Space Center” will be Kennedy: “A spaceship has to fly much the normal daily events of available on Aug. 12 for on the ground before it can fly in preparing for a launch.” $39.95 in bookstores. Copies space.” Readers may feel a connection, may also be purchased In the 469-page book, the as well, through this analogy from directly from the University writers display a kinship with the the post-Challenger era: “The Press of Florida by calling 800- engineers and technicians shuttle went through some 226-3822 or by visiting the processing the vehicles as they 1.25 million steps between landing Web site, http://www.upf.com/ book.asp?id=LIPARS07. July 13, 2007 SPACEPORT NEWS Page 3 Dr. Kurt H. Debus: The father of Kennedy Space Center
By Cheryl Mansfield transferred to the National Aero- program, Debus secured support Staff Writer nautics and Space Administration. for the first visitor center, as well. On July 1, 1962, the Florida By the time Debus retired as r. Kurt H. Debus may have launch facility at Cape Canaveral center director in 1974, the list of served a long tenure as the was officially designated as human space achievements under Dfirst center director of the NASA’s Launch Operations Center his leadership represents some of John F. Kennedy Space Center, and Debus was officially named its the greatest in U.S. history. Among from 1962 to 1974, but his roots at first center director. them: Cape Canaveral and in the United By that time, construction of • 1961: Alan Shepard Jr. States space program reach even the spaceport under Debus’ became the first American in space further back in time. leadership was well under way. • 1962: John Glenn Jr. became Born in Frankfurt, Germany, in While the space hardware was the first American to orbit Earth 1908, Debus’ education and under development, physical • 1969: The Apollo program’s rocketry experience in his home structures like the launch pads and first lunar landing; Neil Armstrong country landed him in the post- the Vehicle Assembly Building was the first man on the moon World War II ballistic missile rose on what had been coastal • 1973: Skylab, a science and systems development program in wilderness. engineering laboratory, was the U.S. He and about 100 German Amid the flurry of building launched into Earth orbit colleagues, led by rocket pioneer facilities and developing rockets To this day, the landmarks Wernher von Braun, worked first at that would take men into orbit and accomplished in less than 20 years, Fort Bliss, Texas, before relocating on to the moon, Debus had the from early rocket testing to man’s DR. KURT H. Debus, the first to Huntsville, Ala. forethought to consider the natural first footprint on the moon, are still director of the Kennedy Space Their work became the focal environment that surrounded the astonishing. Center from 1962 until 1974. point of the Army’s rocket and center. He arranged for the U.S. After leaving the space center space projects and Cape Canaveral Department of the Interior to in 1974, Debus continued to live everyday benefits that have come became their launch site. establish and maintain a wildlife in nearby Cocoa Beach until his from the space program. Debus came to the Cape in the refuge at the space center. Thanks death in 1983. Despite the vast And what would her father early 1950s to set up a launch site, to his efforts, the 140,000-acre accomplishments that occurred think of the direction of space and permanently moved to the area Merritt Island National Wildlife under his watch, his daughter, Sigi exploration today? “I think he’d with his family by the middle of Nature Refuge exists today. Northcutt, said he always empha- be very excited about going to the decade. By 1960, the Army With growing pride on the part sized that teamwork made it all Mars, the prospect of going back Ballistic Missile Agency was of the public toward the space possible. “He did not take credit to the moon, and going into outer himself; he felt it was everybody’s space and discovering the uni- baby,” she said. verse,” she said. Northcutt describes her father’s So it’s fitting that the develop- legacy in more down-to-Earth ments Debus helped mastermind in terms: “His main purpose in doing both facilities and rocketry live on what he did was to further today at KSC, helping to usher in mankind’s standard of living and NASA’s new goals to go back to standard of knowledge.” She adds the moon, then travel to Mars and that he’d be proud to see all the beyond.
AT THE opening of the Early Space Education and Conference Center in February 2000 at the KSC Visitor Complex, the facility is dedicated to Dr. Kurt H. Debus. Attending the dedication, from left, are former Delaware North President Rick Abramson, Ute Debus, former KSC Director Roy DR. WERNHER von Braun (left) and Dr. Kurt H. Debus attend the Saturn Bridges and Sigi Debus Northcutt. Ute and Sigi are the daughters 500F rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building in May 1966. of Debus. Page 4 SPACEPORT NEWS July 13, 2007 1962-69: Transforming swamps into a spaceport
By Steven Siceloff including contractor employees. Staff Writer Construction began for the monumental Vehicle Assembly e don’t know exactly Building in May 1963 with the where the first fire was driving of the first of 4,225 steel Wbuilt, or who made it. pipe piles. By the time it was But we know where humans turned finished, the structure had con- that fire into thrust and rode it into sumed enough steel in its frame to the heavens. build 58,000 cars. That place is here, and there are The launch pads of Launch still plenty of people to testify Complex 39A and 39B for the about the days when Kennedy Saturn V presented fresh chal- Space Center was still emerging lenges. The flame deflector alone from an oceanside wilderness for the Saturn V was half as tall as punctuated by the occasional the whole Mercury-Redstone citrus grove. rocket that shot Alan Shepard into “The mosquitoes were hor- space in 1961. rible,” said NASA retiree Charlie Four years after Shepard’s Parker. “If you think we’ve got flight, NASA had its starting point mosquito problems now, multiply for moon missions. Another year it by tenfold, or a hundredfold.” after that, 1966, saw the first THE LAUNCH Complex 39A area in 1964. The first Saturn V rocket lifted Parker came to the Cape Saturn V lift off the pad. off two years later. Canaveral launch area in 1960 to “The Saturn V had quite a big work on the Army’s Pershing determination on the part of corps of astronauts in 1959. Still, impact on the range,” said Angelo missile program. NASA. For the rocketeers, that Norris Gray, a former NASA rescue J. Taiani, who worked on several Ambitions to put men into meant making stronger engines, and safety officer known as projects back then and helped space were tempered by the bigger fuel tanks and, above all, “Chief,” said the requirement for a develop a weather balloon that is realization that there was still a lot safer designs. permanent base was unexpected. still used today. to learn about even simple rockets For the burgeoning space “We thought (spaceflight) was It would be only a few more before entrusting them with the agency, it meant building a just a passing fancy,” he said. months before that optimism was lives of astronauts. This was a time permanent launch base on Merritt Kennedy Space Center offi- tested on Jan. 27, 1967. “That was when the health of a rocket’s Island while still launching cially opened as the NASA Launch when we lost our three astronauts,” engine was judged by the knowing satellites and astronauts from Operations Center in 1962, when Gray said. eye of an engineer looking at the launch pads at Cape Canaveral Air four astronauts had reached space There were plenty of tests color of the exhaust flame instead Force Station. and only two of them had seen during the first decade, but the of by a studied reading of The Army and Air Force had orbit. But that didn’t stop the rush spectacular successes of launching telemetry. been launching missiles from Cape of construction crews onto the base astronauts into space, then landing But it was also a time when Canaveral for nine years by the to build the Operations and them on the moon, showed what global political ambitions dictated time NASA selected its first elite Checkout Building and Headquar- the young agency and its fast- ters Building. maturing cadre of workers could The work force itself also saw accomplish. fast changes. Dr. Kurt H. Debus As big as the change was in directed fewer than 300 workers less than a decade, it did not shock when NASA was chartered in 1958. most of the folks closest to it. “Our Ten years later, his KSC work force technology was moving ahead; I peaked at more than 26,000, expected to see it,” Gray said.
THIS JULY 1963 aerial photograph shows the early steel construction of the Operations and Checkout Building. The same building used to build Saturn V rockets will be utilized to ANGELO TAIANI (left), Charlie Parker and Norris Gray have worked at the construct the center since the early 1960s. The three now volunteer to assist the KSC Orion News Center during launches, landings and other events. spacecraft. July 13, 2007 SPACEPORT NEWS Page 5 The ’70s: Apollo lessons contribute to shuttle program
By Jennifer Wolfinger surfaces that NASA astronauts Staff Writer explored in the 1970s. During the decade, NASA launched five he 1970s marked a decade of Apollo missions including the multitasking, and spaceport triumphant Apollo 13 and the Tworkers perfected that skill. program’s final mission, Apollo They juggled the alpha and omega 17. Via these missions, 15 of several programs, were respon- astronauts journeyed into space sible for all aspects of a mission and eight actually walked on the from design through landing, moon. Also, a small sub-satellite created many programs still was left in lunar orbit and crews supported today, and built a strong drove the lunar roving vehicle. foundation for future exploration Russel Rhodes, a technical endeavors. management aerospace technolo- The agency began the 1970s gist in the Engineering Director- with the development of the Titan- ate, said that before and during Centaur, an unmanned expendable this era, NASA disproved precon- launch vehicle that provided ceived notions about spaceflight unprecedented strength for and the work force was immersed missions to the sun, Mars, Jupiter, in all mission phases. This Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. These allowed him to perform daunting missions are in addition to the tasks such as independently dozens of spacecraft launched fueling a Saturn rocket in 1962. during the decade, by vehicles “We were breaking new such as the Delta and Atlas- ground and many people thought IN PREPARATION for their April 16, 1972, launch, Apollo 16 astronauts Charles Duke and John Young simulate navigating the lunar surface at a Centaur, which provided photo- we were crazy for attempting to training area located at KSC. graphs and original scientific data travel to the moon,” said Rhodes, of our solar system. who was a U.S. Army draftee recalled many firsts from the ance of the launch umbilical tower, Exotic regions like the assigned to the space program decade. These included supporting and now we’re returning to those Descartes Highlands, Hadley- in 1959. the first space shuttle main engine systems and rebuilding the Apennine and Fra Mauro may Long before the International test, accepting delivery of the umbilical tower,” Wiley said. sound like a tourist’s dream Space Station’s Expedition crews original three Columbia engines “It feels really good to watch destinations, but these are lunar started calling space a second for NASA, testing new methods to the programs come along. From home, NASA proved humans remove engine components, and Apollo to Skylab to shuttle, it was could thrive in space through the developing new heat shields. very busy, but there was some Skylab Program. When NASA’s Wiley, who joined NASA in 1971 downtime regarding launches first space station was launched as a systems engineer, sees many during these transitions. We’re into orbit on May 14, 1973, it parallels between the transition to going to see that again, but people suffered damage that made its the shuttle and the current segue to will be motivated by the exciting temperatures soar to an uninhabit- Constellation Program work. exploration goals and the develop- able 126 F. Once these issues were “We went to reusable aircraft- ment and activation of new resolved, three different three-man like spacecraft from traditional facilities.” crews lived on the outpost rocket systems and the discontinu- between May 1973 and February 1974 conducting nearly 300 experiments. At the decade’s midpoint, the U.S. and Russia began their first joint effort, known as the Apollo- Soyuz Test Project, to test compatibility of the rendezvous and docking systems of two spacecraft. For two days between July 15 and 24, 1975, the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft were joined while crew members conducted experiments. During the late ’70s, NASA ON AUG. 20, 1977, the Voyager 2 A PLANE flies over the developing Launch Complex 39 area, including the focused on and embraced the new mission launched from Vehicle Assembly Building on May 21, 1976. After President Gerald Ford Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air space shuttle era. Warren Wiley, selected KSC as the site of the U.S Bicentennial Exposition on Science Force Station aboard a Titan III- special assistant for engineering and Technology, exhibit domes were erected and the assembly building Centaur-7 launch vehicle. and technical operations, fondly became a canvas for the largest American flag ever painted. Page 6 SPACEPORT NEWS July 13, 2007 A look back at 45 years of the K
THIS AERIAL view of Missile Row at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was photographed Nov. 13, 1964. The view is looking north. AN ATLAS-AGENA 5 carrying the Mariner 1 spacecraft lifted off July 22, 1962 from Cape Kennedy Launch Complex 12. The Mariner spacecraft was the first to orbit Venus.
THE APOLLO Saturn V 500F facilities test veh after conducting stacking operations inside th Vehicle Assembly Building, rolls out to Pad 39 perform crawler, launch umbilical tower and p operations in May 1965.
A VIEW from inside bay three of the Vehicle Assembly Building shows Space Shuttle THE SPACE Shuttle Atlantis thunders skyward from Discovery as it makes a nighttime departure Launch Pad 39A. Liftoff of Mission STS-45 occurred on IN SPACECRAFT Assembly and Encapsulation Facilit on its way to Pad 39B on July 4, 1988. March 24, 1992. On board for the 46th shuttle flight petals of the Mars Pathfinder lander in October 1996. Discovery flew on mission STS-26 with a were a crew of seven and the Atmospheric Laboratory visible on one of the three petals. five-man crew in September 1988, the first for Applications and Science-1. flight after the Challenger accident. July 13, 2007 SPACEPORT NEWS Page 7 Kennedy Space Center
ehicle, the IN AUGUST 1972, Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan and Lunar 39A to Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt prepare the Lunar Roving Vehicle and the d pad Communications Relay Unit. Astronaut Gordon Fullerton, standing at left, discusses test procedures to be performed in the high bay of the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building, now called the Operations and Checkout Building.
IN NOVEMBER 2004, the Delta II launch vehicle for NASA’s Swift spacecraft is silhouetted against a rosy sky at sunrise, THIS MOTHER eagle turns away from one of her offspring, at left, in their waiting for liftoff from Launch Pad 17-A on nest at the north end of State Road 3 near Kennedy Space Center. The ility-2, employees close the metal the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Swift refuge includes several wading bird rookeries and approximately 2,500 6. The Sojourner small rover is was a first-of-its-kind multi-wavelength Florida scrub jays. It also is a major wintering area for migratory birds. observatory dedicated to the study of More than 500 species of wildlife inhabit the refuge, with 14 considered gamma-ray burst science. federally threatened or endangered. Page 8 SPACEPORT NEWS July 13, 2007 1980-89: Space shuttle, ELV programs accomplish many firsts
By Linda Herridge TO HONOR the 25th anniversary of the first space shuttle Staff Writer launch on April 12, 1981 (pictured left), STS-1 Pilot Bob Crippen (below left) and Commander John Young sit in ASA ushered in a new era front of a mockup of a shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in April 2006 to share their experiences on of spaceflight with the that historic flight. Nspace shuttle’s inaugural launch in 1981, setting the pace for a decade that would bring monumental leaps in aeronautic achievements. After a two-year checkout of the orbiter, the program kicked off on April 12, 1981, with the successful launch of Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-1. The first operational test flight from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A carried Commander John Young and Pilot Bob Crippen into orbit. Young said KSC did a lot of work to prepare the vehicle for launch after it arrived in 1978. “We were delighted when we got into orbit,” Young said. “We learned that we can build a complicated vehicle and make it work very well.” takes,” Crippen said. demonstrate the benefits of quality and reliability operations. The early flights helped NASA Dr. Guion Bluford, the first diversity in manned space opera- Space shuttle flights resumed build on its knowledge of the African-American astronaut to fly tions,” Bluford said. with the launch of Discovery on vehicle and its capabilities. on a space shuttle, was a mission The agency accomplished mission STS-26 on Sept. 29, 1988. “We learned that humans in specialist on STS-8, launching many firsts, such as retrieving solid During the ’80s, expendable space are very adaptable and aboard Challenger on Aug. 30, rocket boosters, landing the shuttle launch vehicle operations at KSC capable. And we also learned that 1983. “I wanted to set the stan- at White Sands, New Mexico, were evolving into what would the vehicle required a lot of care dards of excellence for African- deploying two commercial later become NASA’s Launch and was not forgiving of mis- American astronauts and to help communications satellites, and Services Program. KSC planned performing tethered and and conducted 47 launches from untethered spacewalks. The first Launch Complexes 17, 36 and 41 deep-space probe (Magellan) was at Cape Canaveral Air Force carried aboard Atlantis on mission Station, and from Space Launch STS-30 on May 4, 1989. Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air After 18 operational flights Force Base, Calif. that safely carried 116 astronauts Atlas-Centaurs launched and more than 30 major payloads Intelsat international communica- into orbit aboard shuttles Colum- tions satellites into orbit, while bia, Challenger, Discovery and Delta vehicles launched SATCOM Atlantis, challenging times arrived. domestic communications satel- The NASA family lost the lites. seven-member crew of Challenger During the 1988-89 timeframe, on Jan. 28, 1986, when a solid the agency took initial steps to rocket booster failure caused the transition from owning and shuttle to break apart just 73 directing the flight hardware to the seconds after launch on mission role of buying a launch service. 51-L. Gene Thomas was launch The Delta and Atlas launch teams director on that fateful day. were merged into one launch “We learned the reality of operations division and the launch space travel can be extremely pads were transferred to the U.S. hazardous and that it will never be Air Force. completely safe and routine,” This progression led to the Thomas said. After the agency overall Expendable Launch THE EXPENDABLE Launch Vehicle program relied upon the Atlas (at left, investigation, he led the effort to Vehicle program’s location at KSC. launching Intelsat V in December 1981) and Delta (launching the Solar reorganize the center’s safety, Maximum Mission in February 1980) launch vehicles in the ‘80s. July 13, 2007 SPACEPORT NEWS Page 9 The ’90s: A decade of renewal for NASA By Anita Barrett instance, hydrogen leaks were Staff Writer traced to plate attachments, which were redesigned. The result of this he Space Shuttle Program of and other lessons learned were the 1990s was a rebirth fewer launch delays after 1995, Tfollowing the Challenger other than those caused by accident in 1986. It was not easy, weather. according to former Shuttle Even the weather has been less Launch Director Bob Sieck, now of an issue, Leinbach said, as there retired. have been improvements in “We had to ramp up to a weather forecasting. realistic launch schedule and Sieck points to another needed to meet new requirements technical milestone of the modifi- in safety resulting from Chal- cation of the landing equipment. lenger, as well as new tools and “The drag chute modification was upgrades.” The team was learning the result of lessons learned about to service complex vehicles under the need to relieve some of the FRAMED BY the Vehicle challenging conditions. stress on the main landing gear Assembly Building Sieck considers the results of system on landing,” he said. (above), Space Shuttle the ramping up a real milestone as Leinbach added that lessons Columbia glides onto the the program achieved six launches learned and resilience of the team Shuttle Landing Facility on in 1990 and 1991, eight in 1992, contributed to the STS-83 mission July 17, 1997, at the end of seven per year from 1993 to 1996, in 1997 “when one of the fuel cells mission STS-83. and eight again in 1997. failed shortly after launch.” The FORMER KSC Director of A look at the launch history in shuttle flight rules require all three Shuttle Operations Robert the decade reveals technical fuel cells to be functioning well to Sieck (center) shakes problems that delayed liftoffs, such ensure crew safety and provide hands with former as hydrogen leaks. sufficient backup capability Secretary of State According to current Shuttle during reentry and landing. Madeleine Albright after launch of Space Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach, “In the event of a failure, the Endeavour on mission “Each instance was an opportunity rules say to return as soon as STS-88 in to learn the nuances of the possible. Since the trans-Atlantic December 1998. hardware and software in order to landing site was not available, we The mission management team the details with Goddard (Space overcome the problems.” For were told to wait a day,” said finally opted to end the mission Leinbach. “The orbiter continued Flight Center) and Lewis (now early, four days after launch, but a NASA Glenn Research Center) of to function well, so landing was number of experiments planned for put off another day. The team’s what models, tools and codes, and the mission were completed in what people to include. From an understanding of the hardware that time. enabled a consensus decision to original organization of 50 Expendable Launch Vehicles employees, we had to recruit and change the rules and allowed the On the expendable launch mission to continue a few days.” hire, then find office space. vehicle side, the late ’90s offered “It was an exciting time the major milestone putting something new together. of the decade, Looking back, we did OK,” said according to Ray Lugo. Lugo, deputy The transition also enabled manager of the lessons learned to come into play. Launch Services The transition team benchmarked Program. procedures at the other sites and “That was when adopted the best of each. Accord- KSC transitioned ing to Lugo, they were able to from a launch-only document what worked or didn’t. site to one providing “We tried to take the variability processing, spacecraft out of the processes, using lessons integration and learned of the people involved.” launch services,” said A successful milestone was the EMPLOYEES PROCESS NASA’s Cassini Lugo, who was the launch of the Cassini spacecraft on spacecraft (above) in the Payload Hazardous NASA launch Oct. 15, 1997, which Lugo Servicing Facility in June 1997. Cassini launched manager at the time. aboard an Air Force Titan IV rocket Oct. 15, 1997 oversaw. “It was the last big “Executing the (left). The mission was the first launch of a Titan IV planetary mission, a multibillion- rocket. transition plan was a dollar one, and the first launch of a big effort to work out Titan IV rocket,” said Lugo. Page 10 SPACEPORT NEWS July 13, 2007 Kennedy gains newfound strength in new millennium By Anna Heiney Staff Writer
obert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang had their work Rcut out for them. With mission STS-116 drawing to an end, time was running out to retract the P6 solar array. It had to be retracted completely to allow station assembly to continue. The world waited as the two mission specialists used their gloved hands to work the kinks out of the balky array in the vacuum of space. Finally, after six-and-a-half hours, controllers applauded as the arrays were retracted and safely tucked away. That spacewalk represents a IN THE Space Station Processing Facility (left), triumph over adversity that workers and the STS-98 crew gather for a ceremony to turn over the key for the U.S. Lab exemplifies the NASA spirit. As we Destiny to NASA. Above is Stephanie Stilson, stand on the edge of a new Discovery flow director. Stilson oversaw many challenge, we should reflect on modifications to the orbiter, including changes some of the highlights of NASA’s to the wing leading edge sensor system. many achievements since the turn of the new century. NASA’s Launch Services Program during launch, leading to the loss Discovery Flow Director Stephanie Assembly of the International launched several spacecraft on of seven astronauts and Columbia Stilson. “In addition, Space Station took center stage expendable vehicles. Many were on Feb. 1, 2003. The shuttle fleet modifications such as the orbiter early in the decade. As the space Earth-observing spacecraft, was grounded as the agency coped boom subsystem and wing leading shuttle fleet carried new residents including a series of weather with the loss and began working edge sensor system gave us the and hardware to the station, high- forecasting satellites. A host of on safety improvements and ability to search for damage while flying construction crews ex- scientific and planetary missions modifications. on orbit and evaluate any areas of panded the orbiting lab’s capabili- featured the Mars Odyssey Two bright sources of light in a interest prior to reentry. ties. The STS-101 mission marked spacecraft and Genesis. The HETE- dark year for NASA were the “These modifications paved the first servicing mission. Mission 2 launch in 2000 marked NASA’s launches of the twin Mars Explora- the way for getting the fleet back STS-92, the 100th shuttle flight, remotely managed liftoff and first tion Rovers, Spirit and Opportu- in space to continue the all- delivered the Z-1 truss segment. launch from the Kwajalein Missile nity. The duo lifted off on separate important task of building the Subsequent missions brought the Range in the South Pacific. vehicles one month apart during International Space Station,” she installation of the Destiny lab, the The NASA family was dealt a the summer of 2003 and embarked added. first crew shift change in orbit, and heavy blow when foam from Space on a journey to the red planet. Discovery lifted off on STS- other station components. Shuttle Columbia’s external tank Spirit descended through the 114 on July 26, 2005, on a mission During the same period, punctured the orbiter’s left wing Martian atmosphere on Jan. 4, highlighted by an orbital backflip, 2004, and quickly began beaming new equipment and procedures, breathtaking photographs to and the first in-space orbiter repair. delighted scientists on Earth. But a chunk of foam came off the Spirit’s twin, Opportunity, tank during liftoff, touching off followed with a landing on Jan. 25. several additional months of On Jan. 14, only 10 days after redesign work. Spirit’s arrival at Mars, President On July 4, 2006, Discovery George W. Bush announced the again blazed a trail toward orbit on nation’s Vision for Space Explora- STS-121. The tank performed well tion: to build new vehicles for and regular shuttle flights and journeys to the moon and beyond. station assembly resumed. The first step — returning the Meanwhile, the Launch shuttle fleet safely to flight and Services Program sent an impres- completing the station — sive array of spacecraft on a variety prompted extensive shuttle and of Earth-observing, scientific and external tank upgrades and planetary missions. These included redesigns. MESSENGER, Deep Impact, New IN THE Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at KSC, the Mars Exploration “Changes to the external tank Horizons, STEREO and many Rover-2, also known as Opportunity, is tested for mobility and others. maneuverability. The spacecraft lifted off in the summer of 2003. gave us confidence,” explained July 13, 2007 SPACEPORT NEWS Page 11 Dignitaries discover out-of-this-world experience at spaceport
By Elaine Marconi to view the first attempt of the Staff Writer STS-121 launch. Kennedy has hosted tours and f there was an eighth wonder of events for musicians like Jerry the world, some might argue it Vale, Gary “U.S.” Bonds, the 5th Icould be Kennedy Space Dimension, Paul Revere and the Center, the launch capital of the Raiders, Donny Osmond and United States. Aerosmith. Where else on Earth have so Manny Virata, who leads many kings, queens, presidents, media projects for KSC Public heads of state, politicians, movie Affairs, has escorted hundreds of stars, musicians and everyday notables in his 30-plus years with people stared in awe at the NASA. “Singer Jerry Vale was in vehicles that soar into space? awe of the space center after Visitors to Kennedy Space finding out what we did here,” said Center have numbered in the tens Virata. John Denver was a “space of millions throughout the 45 nut” who came to many launches years the center has served the with his son Zack, Virata said. nation’s space program. Royalty included Emperor During those years, many Haile Salassie I of Ethiopia, Prince distinguished visitors and VIPs Philip of England, Nehru of India, have been given a “red carpet” King Hussein of Jordan and Queen tour of the center. Beatrix of the Netherlands. The FORMER PRESIDENT Jimmy Carter (second from right) and former First President John F. Kennedy was Saudi royal family was at Kennedy Lady Rosalyn Carter listen to NASA employee Bill Dowdell’s explanation the first dignitary to visit KSC in for the launch of Discovery on of the modules in the Space Station Processing Facility in January 2002. 1962. Since then, the KSC guest mission STS-51G in June 1985 to With them are former Center Director Roy Bridges Jr. (right of Jimmy book has read like a “who’s who” support family member Sultan Carter) and Tip Talone (left of Rosalyn Carter), now associate manager of the Constellation Program at KSC. of the world. Other U.S. presiden- Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The tial visits to the center included sultan flew as a payload specialist the center. Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, representing the Arab Satellite Virata remembers touring race George Lucas, Warren Beatty, George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton. Communications Organization. car drivers Ryan Newman and James Garner, Bruce Willis and First Lady Laura Bush wit- Major television journalists Jimmy Johnson. He said he Tommy Lee Jones, to name just nessed the historic launch of Space including Walter Cronkite, Peter showed them “our race car, which a few. Shuttle Discovery on return-to- Jennings, Katie Couric, David was the crawler (transporter),” and “Hanks is a huge supporter of flight mission STS-114 in July Hartman, Charles Gibson and news kidded them, “We get 38 feet per the space program,” said Virata. 2004. She is only the third First anchors from around the world gallon.” He remembers how much Crews from the Discovery Lady to attend a shuttle launch. have traveled to KSC to report on they enjoyed exploring the Channel and CNN are two of many More recently, Vice President Dick the exciting launches and partici- crawler. media outlets that have come to Cheney was on hand in July 2006 pate in special events held at Space-related movies like KSC to film documentaries about “Apollo 13,” “Contact,” “Space the space program and the shuttle. Cowboys,” “Armageddon” and After 45 years, visitors to the “The Right Stuff” brought film space center, whether well-known crews here. The fascinating or not, still leave with a keener activities at Kennedy enticed visits understanding and deeper interest by celebrities such as Tom Hanks, in the nation’s space program.
NASCAR DRIVER Jimmie Johnson tries out a seat of another vehicle known for speed: the orbiter Endeavour. Johnson and other drivers were on a tour of KSC in July ACTOR TOM Hanks (left), film director Ron Howard (wearing hat) and a 2003. production crew film scenes at KSC in December 1994 for the movie “Apollo 13.” July 13, 2007 SPACEPORT NEWS Page 12 Constellation Program to transform Kennedy’s landscape
By Corey Schubert Scott Colloredo, NASA’s senior Copy Editor project integrator for Constellation ground systems. “Our budget is on’t believe your eyes. That limited early in the program, and may be the best advice to we’re trying as best we can to reuse Dgive anyone who gazes KSC infrastructure and only upon the Kennedy Space Center replace what makes sense.” skyline in the coming months, and The biggest and perhaps most wonders when its appearance will noticeable conversions will be transform for NASA’s Constella- Launch Pad 39B, which will tion Program. become what’s known as a “clean It might appear at first glance pad,” and a new mobile launcher. that little has changed at KSC’s Almost everything the vehicle facilities to prepare for launching needs for liftoff will be on the the next generation of spacecraft mobile launcher, including the that will take mankind back to the launch tower. moon, then to Mars and beyond. The new mobile launcher will But many of the most sweeping more closely resemble the kind future advancements already are in used for the Saturn V rather than motion. the launcher platform now used to Now, as the center celebrates lift off the shuttle. The crawler its 45th successful year as the transporter’s service will be agency’s launch operations center, extended once again to transport those upcoming changes – the Ares I launcher to and from the THIS ARTIST concept reveals major changes to Launch Pad 39B, including a revamped launch pad, pad. including a new lightning protection and emergency egress systems. a new mobile launcher and a While most of the pad’s new different layout in the Vehicle look will be in the design phase for Assembly Building are still being to serve as the initial firing room Assembly Building – mainly at least two years, KSC plans to considered, the current plan calls for the Constellation Program. involve improving existing begin building one aspect of it for modifying high bay 3, Workers have removed the facilities and concepts instead of later this year: a new lightning Colloredo said. equipment used to launch the creating new ones from scratch. protection system at the pad with “Today, you have a set of eight shuttle and the room will be “We’re trying to pretty much three massive towers, each about big platforms that service the modernized with a different launch build on what we have, drawing 600 feet tall, that will form a shuttle and wrap around it,” he team layout, and new command from the best ideas out there,” said protective shield around the said. “As of today, our plan is to and control systems, consoles and vehicle. take those out and replace them architectural designs. The pad and with new platforms that go much Other KSC facilities, including launcher will work higher to service the much taller the Operations and Checkout together to support an Ares I.” Building’s high bay, will receive emergency egress Those upgrades, if approved in upgrades. known as a “rail the design phase, will begin in “Even though a lot of people system,” which re- about two to three years. aren’t seeing visible changes right sembles a rollercoaster, The Launch Control Center’s now, it’s an exciting time,” for flight and ground Firing Room 1 is being remodeled Colloredo said. crews to quickly leave the pad if necessary. Engineers already John F. Kennedy Space Center have started designing the basic infrastructure Spaceport News of the mobile launcher, with fabrication planned to begin in a Spaceport News is an official publication of the Kennedy Space Center and year. Employees will be is published on alternate Fridays by External Relations in the interest of KSC able to see the launcher civil service and contractor employees. being built at a site Contributions are welcome and should be submitted two weeks before currently used to park publication to the Media Services Branch, IDI-011. E-mail submissions can be sent to Jeffery.Stuckeyemail@example.com. one of the mobile launcher platforms, just Managing editor...... Amber Philman SCOTT COLLOREDO (left), NASA senior north of the Vehicle Editor...... Jeff Stuckey Copy editor ...... Corey Schubert project integrator for Constellation ground Assembly Building. systems, examines Launch Pad 39B with Don Burris, NASA engineer, and Curt Although specific Editorial support provided by InDyne, Inc. Writers Group. Satterthwaite of Science Applications changes to the Vehicle NASA at KSC is located on the Internet at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy International Corporation. USGPO: 733-049/600137