Shuttle News 1997-2003: July 1997 Archives

General Stafford gave a general introduction and thanked members for attending. He stressed the importance of the upcoming safety and operational readiness assessment for STS-86. General Stafford explained that he was creating a Task Force Red Team, led by General Ralph Jacobson, to lead the Task Force STS-86 assessment effort to gain efficiencies due to the time constraints under which the Task Force was working.

Frank Culbertson briefed the Task Force on the Progress-Mir Mishap that occurred on June 25, 1997. He reported that during the attempted Mir docking of Progress 223 that led to the collision of the two vehicles and the depressurization of the Spektr module, the crew attempted to complete a manual docking using the TORU docking system without range or range rate. NASA had not historically participated in the test plans for these kinds of maneuvers. Ground controllers at Moscow Mission Control reported that they had good control over the Progress vehicle until they turned control over to the crew. It is not clear how the weight of the vehicle might have affected the performance of the Progress or TORU, but it was clear that the closure rates were higher than nominal.


Dear Mr. Goldin:

We are writing to request information regarding the recent decision by NASA to close the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator (NBS) at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). As you know, this facility holds a unique place in the history of our nation's space program. In addition, this facility provides a back-up capability for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) training for Space Shuttle operations and could also do so for the International Space Station program. Lastly, there are a number of commercial uses to which this unique facility could clearly be put.

We are concerned that the NBS has been closed without adequate consideration given to the considerable programmatic, commercial, and historic contributions that this unique, world class facility has to offer.

First of all, it is our understanding that representatives from NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) have stated that they do not have a requirement for either on-site or off-site back-up EVA training facilities to support the International Space Station and Space Shuttle programs. As such, we have been told by Dr. Littles that he cannot justify maintaining a facility for which he has been given no formal requirement to maintain.



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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News 1997-2003 category from July 1997.

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