NAL STS-1 40th Anniversary Panel, 1 Apr 2021 - Shared screen with speaker view
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Does anyone remember the words Dr. Kraft said to the MCC team right before the launch. I was in the SRR running the DOL wind trajectory analysis and was listening on the loop. My recollection it was something akin to we had done all we could in testing, etc and it was time for us to go earn our pay as NASA. I am not sure if he said them on the first attempt or the actual launch. For some reason as a relative new hire those words stuck with me to this day. Do audio tapes exist that may have captured those exact words.
In 1961 NASA met President Kennedy's goal of a moon landing and return before the end of the decade. Do you imagine now, in 2021, NASA could respond to that same challenge?
With the proper national motivation and funding, it's still possible today--especially with all the technology we have at our disposal today.
What would you say was the key to success for STS-1? Would you, in hindsight, have done anything different?
Approach and Landing was the most fun of all!
Considering all the uncertainties/unknowns, which was the one(s) that caused you most concern leading up to the mission?
How instrumental was having the SMS as a virtual vehicle as an operations development tool? Looking past it’s early technical problems.
Did the high lofting during first stage get you worried that something might be wrong with the guidance or vehicle performance?
SRB's were stronger.
Crip - How well did you sleep on your first night in orbit?
Higher is better than lower :>. Great quote!
But those of us in MPAD had some concerns whether PEG would converge or not. Once it did converge after SRB sep we were good.
NASA is relying more and more on commercial space companies with firm fixed price contracts to build, test, manage, and fly their own spacecraft. What advice can you give to the current NASA technical workforce that is slowly moving to a more oversite role and less of a detailed engineering role?
Here’s an introduction to the backstory paying homage to the puzzle people, the team of 1200 in the OPF who built ColumbiaOn April 5th. 1979 I walked through a tightly guarded set of yellow-rimmed double doors into the biggest jigsaw puzzle in human history. It had 31,763 pieces, no two alike, each of a different size, shape and thickness. What made this puzzle so mind blowing, was that a single mistake, like inadvertently swapping 2 pieces that looked alike, grabbing one piece too hard or not placing one precisely in its intended spot—and I mean PRECISELY—could have dire consequences. It would be a mental mistake that could turn into a fatal one . One that could obliterate 5 billion dollars and multiple human Iives in a heartbeat.Avoiding this catastrophe fell upon the shoulders of 1200 select people. People who worked around the clock wearing secret badges sequestered in a secret building for an interminable period of time fighting against an externally imposed critical deadline.
They were known as The Puzzle People and success in their struggle wouldn’t be measured like in a conventional jig saw puzzle with pieces fitting neatly together in an eye catching graphic. It would be measured by the biggest explosion since Hiroshima with no one getting killed.
Astronaut Bob Overmyer clued me in on my job the next day: I going to be a spy—go through Rockwell Internationalʼs tile school, be assigned to a tile team on the OPF floor wearing the Rockwell blues and then snoop around secretly to try and find out why things were going so badly. I soon discovered six different organizations were managing Columbiaʼs assembly -- Rockwell Palmdale, CA, Rockwell Downey, CA, Rockwell KSC, NASA KSC, NASA JSC and NASA Headquarters). I also discovered that not one of the six trusted any of the other 5.I had no clue how to cope with all this: What am I supposed to do I,” finally pleaded to Bob Overmyer.“How about carrying a little black book in your pocket and writing down everything you see that you donʼt like?”“Okay...but how, where? “Iʼm surrounded by people in there, they could get suspicious.” “You gotta take a dump now and again donʼt you?”“I guess.”“Use the john.”
The photo/tv group found significant motion of the Body flap of OV-102 after STS-30. It took a lot of time, but finally NASA decided to follow up on this problem and checked the body flap and found the worm gear was damaged. The OV-103 worm gear was damaged and replaced also.
Did any of the "Puzzle People" participate in the Columbia reconstruction effort following its accident?
I heard long ago the worst tile loss the Shuttle ever had was on a 747 transport flight because the tiles were incomplete, leaving CA flying to have the tile placements finished off in FL.Didn't the Shuttle and 747 have to do an emergency stopover in El Paso, TX?How did you'll replace the missing tiles temporarily to get them to FL?
Never replaced missing tile on 747 in transit. Arrival at the cape and opf was a reality check of how much we had to learn
Thanks to these NASA experts and legends for sharing their insights into the preparation for and flight of STS-1.
Absolutely fantastic recollections, stories, retrospectives .. thank you to all who organized and participated. Long Live These Luminaries and Memories!
Thank you to the NAL for an exceptional event.
Made 10 approaches with Dick in STA during ALT, really cool.
What an incredible walk down memory lane! Thanks to all the STS-1 super star team and especially to those sharing cherished memories with us this afternoon. Everyone of you blazed the trail and provided the strong shoulders in which all of us stand even today!Stay safe and God’s Peace!Charlie & Jackie B.
Speaking about the Simulator; I was a new hire the Nov after STS1 and the SMS Dynamics people had a mtg with Young/Crippen. I shook their hands and then we talked about how the Sim compared with the real Launch to orbit. We then tweeked some numbers!
The STAs major modification after Shuttle started flying was to remove the side forces controllers since the lateral acceleration was not what had been predicted before STS-1. Suggestion came from John Young.
STA comment from Ann Patterson
Thanks, all of you who asked questions. I sent Stokes a draft of your questions, clustered them, some were similar. I captured comments, too. All of your inputs were great! Thanks for joining us.
Great question from Michelle Brekke -- we actually saw similar pushback in training in the early days of Station … we can't do it the way they did it in shuttle.
Amen on George Lowe and Frank Borman
The Space Task Group had the best of the best in terms of leadership and that was the culture of leadership that lead to all the success at MSC/JSC.
As Tindall would say "Better is the enemy of Good".
Great event - thanks for the time!!
Thank you so much for what you contributed. Thank you so much for this.
Thank you! this was great!
Crip I got my Coors