The primary objective of STS-95 is to conduct a variety of science experiments being carried in the pressurized Spacehab module, the deployment and retrieval of the Spartan free-flyer payload, and operations with the HST Orbiting Systems Test (HOST) and the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (IEH) payloads being carried in the payload bay.
Once on orbit, the astronauts are ready to begin the work needed to accomplish the mission's goals. These goals range from deploying, retrieving and repairing satellites to docking with space stations to conducting important scientific research that is used to benefit people on Earth. Each mission has its own profile designed to meet primary and secondary objectives, which require years of preparation by hundreds of scientists, engineers and technicians. As the shuttle orbits the Earth, flight controllers, engineers and scientists on the ground carefully watch over shuttle and payload systems, helping the crew accomplish the mission goals safely and effectively, making the most of the extremely limited time they have in the weightless environment of space. Various other control centers may be involved in this support, depending on the objectives and payloads involved on the flight.
"The space shuttle is the world's greatest all-electric flying
machine," according to former Astronaut Kim Crippen, one of its first
pilots. Here are details about the machine, the astronauts who work
aboard it and the tasks they perform, the payloads that are launched or
retrieved and, now, the other spacecraft with which it docks.
Since 1965, the Mission Control Center has been the nerve center for America's manned space program. The men and women who work in Building 30 at the Johnson Space Center have been vital to the success of every manned space flight since Gemini 4. These teams of experienced engineers and technicians monitor systems and activities aboard spacecraft 24 hours a day during missions, using some of the most sophisticated communication, computer, data reduction, and data display equipment available and provide the expertise needed to deal with the unexpected.
Among the primary objectives for all shuttle missions are the
scientific and technical goals of the onboard payloads. While on orbit,
most crew time is occupied with the varied tasks required to meet these
goals. A payload may be as simple as a seedling or as complex as a
multi-stage deployable satellite. It might be small enough to fit in a
middeck locker, or it might fill the entire cargo bay. Most shuttle
missions fly a combination of several payloads of differing size and
complexity. Here is a description of the payloads for this mission.
Flight controllers in NASA's Mission Control Center monitor thousands
of parameters of data on the performance of the shuttle and its systems
during the orbit phase. Here are several streams of telemetry downlinked
directly from the shuttle and seen much as flight controllers see them.
A glossary of terms is
available for the telemetry data.
| Launch |
Orbit | Landing