Past and future satellite service

Space was and remains an aggressive environment for us, in which a person can live on the strength of one and a half minutes, having spent in consciousness only a few seconds of them. However, we completely compensate our physiological deficiencies with the engineering genius of designers of space ships and spacesuits.

STS-135 mission start July 8, 2011 - the last shuttle mission

One of such manifestations was the Space Shuttle program - according to which 6 ships were built (one of which, instead of lost in an accident), which were able to transport 355 astronauts (out of a total of 551 people flying to outer space) during their 135 flights spending a total of 1,322 days in orbit and also becoming the most expensive program in NASA history with a price of $ 210 billion for 2010 (more expensive than $ 150 billion spent on the ISS at that time, and $ 193 billion spent on the Apollo program in 2010 prices).

But the Space Shuttle program is remarkable not only for its wild value and the fact that it transported 2/3 of all people who have been in space: during this program 8 repairs were made in open space (5 of which were from the Hubble telescope ) and 5 satellites orbiting in 4 missions.

Mission STS-41C (April 6-13, 1984)

It was only the 11th flight of the Space Shuttle program and its golden era was just beginning (which will soon end with the Challenger disaster ). In this flight there was almost everything that fiction experts expected from the flight of the space shuttle: launching a new satellite into orbit and repairing the old one, catching a satellite with the aid of a manipulator and flying an astronaut in a spacesuit without a tether to the ship.

The shuttle was launched into an orbit at a height of 533 km, and then the next day after launch, the crew of the Challenger unloaded with the Canadarm manipulator the installation for long-term exposure of samples in space ( LDEF ) —b is a 9-cylinder 12-body. , 7 tons, which housed 57 samples of materials provided by 200 scientists from 8 countries.

The next day, the crew raised the orbit to 560 km to meet with a failed SMM satellite (Mission Solar Maximum). In November 1980, SMM failed one of the fuses in the orientation system, as a result of which only an electromagnetic orientation system remained in operation, which “rested” on the Earth’s magnetic field. But this system had insufficient pointing accuracy, as a result of which only 3 of the 7 satellite instruments could follow the sun.

First of all, the satellite for repair had to be placed in the cargo hold of the shuttle, but James van Hoeften and George Nelson in three attempts failed to do this with the help of a special capture tool (due to a sleeve that was not on the apparatus drawings). As a result, the astronaut had to improvise and Nelson, clutching his solar panels, began to slow down the satellite using the engines of his manned maneuvering module ( MMU ).

Since the force was applied far not to the axis of rotation of the apparatus, the rotation did not slow down at all, but became uncontrollable along several axes at once. The SMM control center had to urgently turn off all non-critical devices (since the orientation to the Sun was completely lost and the device began to quickly lose battery power), but eventually it was possible to cancel the rotation using the electromagnetic orientation system, after which it was captured by Canadarm and immersed in the cargo compartment. After that, the SMM replaced the orientation system, the coronagraph electronic control unit, and installed a gas casing over the X-ray polychromatograph. As a result, after two astronaut exits into space, the device was restored, and after a month of tests it was put back into operation.

The main and alternative mission stripes: the main one above the astronaut who catches SolarMax is the Sun which he studied; on the alternative patch there is a black cat with burning eyes, under which the shuttle flies - symbolizing the landing of the mission on Friday the 13th, which, among other things, also originally had the designation STS-13.

Mission STS-51A (November 8-16, 1984)

This was already a mission for a full-fledged space shuttle: two Canadian satellites Anik D2 and Syncom IV-1 had to be put into orbit, and two satellites, Palapa B2 and Westar 6, which were launched by the STS-41B mission, were also removed from orbit for engine failures could not get to the calculated orbit. Even before the launch of Discovery, the satellites were transferred from orbit to 970 km per 340 km (since the shuttle could not reach such a high orbit). Satellite Anik D2 was launched on the second day of the mission, and Syncom IV-1 - on the third.

This was followed by two days of orbital maneuvers, which eventually brought the shuttle to a meeting with the satellite Palapa B2. Joseph Allen flew by the MMU to him and put in a tool called “Capture device for the cruise engine” or simply “Sting” into the nozzle of the satellite propulsion engine (since this engine is located on the line of the center of mass of the satellite, this was the most convenient place to capture).

Using the tool, he managed to reduce the satellite’s rotational speed to 1 rpm, but the first attempt by Dale Gardner (docked at the end of the Canadarm manipulator) to capture the satellite was not successful. However, the second time, with the support of Anna Fisher (who managed Canadarm), they still succeeded. The whole operation took about 2 hours.

The next day, they were expected by the second satellite (Westar 6), which without any problems was captured by the same instrument by Dale Gardner, and transported with the support of Joseph Allen to the cargo compartment of Discovery.

Gardner was jokingly photographed with a sign “For sale” (referring to the status of these satellites). Westar 6 was eventually sold to AsiaSat , and flew as satellite No. 1 of this company after 6 years (April 7, 1990).

Frames of these two missions (STS-41C and STS-51A), along with shots of a number of other shuttle flights, ended up in the movie “The Dream Is Alive” , whose name turned out to be prophetic - the number of flights of the shuttles grew not by years but by months, and the dream of a cheap space shuttle really stayed alive until the next event.

Challenger disaster January 28, 1986

It is believed that the second disaster ( Columbia shuttle) led to the closure of the Space Shuttle program. However, in my opinion, the program had no chance after the first one. The Ministry of Defense, which was going to use the shuttles for its own purposes, set wild requirements for them with a payload capacity of 30 tons, due to which the program had practically no chance of reaching the calculated level of 50 flights per year (which would ensure the system cost about 1.5 Thousands of $ per kg).

Moreover, the military had already built the SLC-6 platform at the Vandenberg base to launch the shuttles with their cargoes (the first flight from it was to take place already on October 15 in the same year) washed their hands and abandoned the shuttles in favor of the Titan IV rocket. Thus, the shuttles lost many orders, and the polar orbit was forever closed to them. NASA recognized the MMU too dangerous and never used again. Both MMUs that flew into space were kept in a clean NASA room until 1998, after which they were sent to the National Museum of Aeronautics and Aeronautics and the Rocket and Space Center in Huntsville .

Mission STS-32 (January 9-20, 1990)

After the launch of the 12-ton Syncom IV-F5 satellite on the second day, the crew proceeded with the return of the installation with samples for displaying LDEF , which, due to numerous delays, hung in orbit for 4.5 years longer than the 11 months planned, and was already close to to burn in the atmosphere dropping too low. The crew took about 4.5 hours to take samples on the surface of the LDEF, then picked it up with Canadarm and loaded it into the cargo hold. For the sake of medical research for a long stay in space, the crew stayed in orbit, setting a new record for 11 days of the space shuttle’s presence.

Mission STS-49 (May 7-16, 1992)

The mission of this mission was the repair of the Intelsat 603 satellite which could not reach the geo-transfer orbit due to the fact that the third stage of the Titan CT-3 launch vehicle was not separated from the upper stage. The crew needed to attach the satellite to the new upper stage, but first of all it was necessary to dock with the satellite. Pierre Tuot and Richard Hib went into space twice (for 3.7 and 5.5 hours) trying to attach the satellite to the rod, but they did not succeed. As a result, they had to improvise: Thomas Akers joined the two astronauts who had left before, and the three of them still managed to catch a 4.2-ton satellite (albeit spending another 8.5 hours).

Despite such delays, Tuot and Akers conducted another (already the fourth) 7.7-hour spacewalk in order to conduct tests confirming the possibility of assembling the Freedom station in orbit (though this output still had to be reduced, but the station in the end, she did not fly anywhere, but was eventually transformed into the ISS ). As a result, the astronauts for this mission spent 25 hours and 27 minutes in open space.

Mission STS-57 (June 21 - July 1, 1993)

In this mission, the crew needed to return the European returnable carrier ( EURECA ) on which the samples were placed for exposure in conditions of weightlessness and vacuum. On the shuttle "Endeavor" the wrong side was installed connector, through which the satellite was supposed to be powered, due to which the satellite double antenna had to be folded manually during an almost 6-hour spacewalk. However, everything else went as it should and the rest of the mission, the astronauts conducted experiments in SpaceHab .

Mission STS-61 (December 2-13, 1993)

Almost immediately after the Hubble telescope was put into orbit by the Discovery shuttle on April 24, 1990, it became clear that the telescope’s main mirror was defective: the edges of the mirror were made with less bend than was supposed to be, and although the deviation was only 2.2 microns - the spherical aberration produced by him spoiled the images very seriously:

Pictures of the galaxy M100 before and after installing the correction system

The main mirror weighed 828 kg with a diameter of 2.4 meters and it was almost impossible to make and replace it. Therefore, it was decided to install an optical correction system ( COSTAR ) on Hubble that would compensate for the aberration. Because of the hurricane that reached Cape Canaveral on October 30, the hangar where the shuttle was going was contaminated, and the assembly of Endeavor had to be moved from the hangar of the launch pad 39A to position 39B. On November 18, the shuttle discovered a malfunction of one of its 4 Elevon amplifier sensors, but since access to it was possible only through the rear landing gear support (which required installing the shuttle back to the assembly shop and dismantling part of the structure), the commission allowed 3 out of 4 amplifiers - the sensor was disabled and was not used in flight. The first attempt to start on December 1 was canceled due to weather conditions, so the shuttle started from the launch pad 39B on December 2.

In preparation for the upcoming repair, the entire second day of the flight was allocated to the crew for rest. On the third day of the flight, the Hubble Operations Control Center handed over a command to the telescope to fold its two directional antennas, and the crew made several orbital maneuvers to come close to the telescope. After a visual inspection, the Hubble was captured by the shuttle's manipulator, and the crew returned to rest.

In this mission, the crew of the shuttle set a record for the duration of spacewalks among all the missions of shuttles at that time (35 hours and 28 minutes for 11 days of flight) and not to exhaust two astronauts to the end (which threatened to lose their attention and telescope or even serious risks for the crew itself) during the spacewalks the rotations were carried out: 1, 3 and 5 were carried out by Franklin Musgrave and Jeff Hoffman , while 2 and 4 by Thomas Akers and Catherine Thornton (who also participated in the second according to duration of the STS-49 mission).

Hubble with new roll-type solar batteries (two red cylinders on the sides), old batteries with the logo of the European Agency ESA - stacked in the foreground

On the fourth day, the first spacewalk was planned, taking almost 8 hours (the second longest spacewalk for NASA astronauts at that time). Since the crews of the shuttle had no MMU anymore, a mechanical connection with the shuttle or telescope during operation was vital for the astronauts. Therefore, immediately after leaving the airlock, Jeffrey Hoffman installed a platform for attaching legs to the shuttle's manipulator. Franklin Masgrave got up on it and installed protective covers on the omnidirectional antenna and its bearing (under voltage), opened the telescope equipment compartment door and installed the second leg mount inside it.

Then the repair began directly: two pairs of gyroscopes and two gyro control units were replaced, after which 8 Hubble electrical fuses were replaced, after which its gyroscopes completely restored their performance. To close 2 of 4 locks on the doors of the gyroscopic compartment, both astronauts had to make efforts (engineers suggested that this was due to the temperature difference that occurred while the doors were open).

The next day, during the 6.6-hour exit, the solar panels were replaced. At the same time, Thornton had problems with pressure in the spacesuit at the beginning, and then problems with communication, so that all information was transmitted to Thornton via the Akers. The damaged wing of the solar panels was removed from the telescope during the night passage over the Sahara (to reduce the negative effect of its absence), after which a new one was installed. The faulty wing was dropped on the day side over Somalia, after which the shuttle made a small maneuver at 1.5 m / s to move away from it. The second wing was loaded into the cargo hold and returned to the European Agency ESA for analysis.

During the third 6.8-hour exit the next day, a planetary and wide-angle camera was installed, and both telescope magnetometers were replaced, which served as a compass for the coarse orientation of the Hubble. The planetary camera had improved characteristics in the ultraviolet spectrum, as well as its own aberration correction system (from this point on all the cameras of the telescope were supplied with a similar system). The fourth output, which lasted 6.8 hours, was replaced by a high-speed photometer and the COSTAR optical correction system was installed , which allowed the telescope to achieve those amazing resolution characteristics that should have been obtained initially. After the exit was completed, the pilot Kenneth Bowersox performed an orbital maneuver that raised the orbit of the Endeavor and Hubble connectives from 587 km at 594 km to an altitude of 594.3 km at 595.8 km ( perigee / apogee ).

The output of 7.4 hours, performed on December 8, was replaced by the solar control electronics, after which the crew transferred commands to their disclosure, but no effect followed. After that, a command was issued to uncover one wing of the solar panels using both engines, but this too was not a success. The solar panels began to unfold only after the astronauts manually folded the disclosure mechanism, and again gave the command to open the batteries. After that, the Goddard high-resolution spectroscope was back connected and covers for magnetometers, made right on board the Endeavor, were installed. After that, the spacewalk was completed, and the Hubble straightened its directional antennas, after which it was released into free flight.

Mission STS-72 (January 11-20, 1996)

This mission was to return the Japanese satellite Space Flyer unit who studied microgravity and carried samples for display in space. Shuttle manipulator in this mission was managed by Koichi Wakata - 4 astronaut of the Japanese space agency JAXA for which it was the first of its 4 flights. On command from the Earth, the satellite’s solar batteries were folded, but the sensors indicated incomplete packing of them in containers, which made them to be shot off together with the containers. However, this only delayed the meeting of the shuttle Endeavor with the satellite for 1.5 hours, and the seizure of the satellite by the manipulator and its loading into the cargo hold were completed normally.

On the 4th day of the mission, the OAST-Flyer was unloaded from the cargo compartment, which carried several experiments: comparing the real impact of spacecraft pollution with a computer model, a GPS technology demonstrator and an amateur radio experiment from the University of Maryland . The device in free flight moved away from the shuttle by 72 km, but after 50 hours, according to the plan, it was returned by the manipulator back to the cargo hold. Also during the mission, two space missions were made at about 6 and 7 o'clock each, for testing the technologies necessary for the construction of the ISS.

Mission STS-82 (February 11-21, 1997)

Astronaut training on a Hubble telescope model in a neutral buoyancy simulator

This was Hubble’s second maintenance mission, which was supposed to be much simpler and require only 4 space exits.On the third day of the mission, the Discovery shuttle was docked and the first 6.7-hour spacewalk, during which Goddart High-Resolution Spectrograph and Dim Objects were dismantled, the Space Telescope Recording Spectrograph and Near Infrared Camera were installed in their place and multi-object spectroscope ( NICMOS ).

The next day, the second 7.5-hour output was carried out, in which the Precise guidance sensor was replaced (along with the installation of a new unit to increase its accuracy) and a tape recorder for engineering scientific recordings, and the insulation was worn on the side facing the Sun and directed in the direction of the telescope. In the third 7.2-hour output, the data interface unit and engineering and scientific reel-to-reel tape recorder for engineering and scientific records (with a solid-state drive) was replaced a day later.

After this spacewalk, it was decided to add another plan to the plan to repair the insulation. On day 6 of the mission, the last, according to plan 4, spacewalk of 6.5 hours duration was carried out, in which the electronic control unit of the solar batteries was replaced and the thermal blanket around the telescope magnetometer was replaced with multilayer insulation. On the same day, two other astronauts were preparing a replacement for the isolation of the Hubble, which they installed the next day, entering an unscheduled spacewalk. In addition, during the mission, the telescope's orbit was raised almost 15 km, thus becoming a record flight altitude of 620 km for both the shuttle and the Hubble. The total time spent by astronauts in outer space was 33 hours and 11 minutes.

For the rest of the crew, the same way as last time, astronauts going out into space were rotated: Mark Li and Stephen Smith carried out 1, 3 and 5 spacewalks , while Gregory Harbaugh and Joseph Richard performed 2 and 4 .

STS-103 mission (December 20-28, 1999) This mission was originally planned for June 2000, but due to the failure of 3 of 6 Hubble gyroscopes successively in 1997–1999, it turned out to be one failure to make it impossible to continue his mission (without 3 working gyroscopes, accurate telescope aiming at the target was impossible). It would be a real disaster for astronomers because the telescope’s time is literally signing years ahead, and only

1/5 of the proposals for observations is accepted — it even led to the development of the Science Planning and scheduling system ( SPSS ) for the Space Research Institute using the Space Telescope .

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An improved set of battery voltage and temperature controls was also installed, which was supposed to prevent them from failing when the telescope went into protection mode, and one of the two S-band transmitters intended to communicate with the Earth via the NASA TDRS network was replaced (in exchange for out of service in 1998). In addition to all this, 2 of 3 Hubble reel-to-reel tape recorders were replaced with a solid-state drive. Also, this flight was notable for the fact that one of the twin astronauts Scott Kelly , who has a thirdfigure for the total duration of flights among NASA astronauts (520 days), but at that moment it was for him only the first flight. In total, the crew spent 3 spacewalks a little longer than 8 hours each.

STS-109 mission (March 1-12, 2002) Hubble telescope and Columbia shuttle performing its penultimate mission

Since the gyro failures required a forced shift of the previous mission to the left, this mission had to complete what was planned to be completed during the third service mission: to install an Advanced Surveillance Camera, new solid solar batteries, a power management unit, to install an experimental cryogenic cooler for the Near Infrared Camera and multi-object spectrometer. In total, it took 5 days and 5 spacewalks lasting 35 hours and 55 minutes. As in previous times, the astronaut composition changed: at the beginning, John Gransfeld and Richard Linnehan went out into space , then they were replaced by James Newman and Michael Massimino , after which everything repeated again.

STS-125 mission (May 11-24, 2009)

The crash of the shuttle Columbia that occurred when it returned from orbit on February 1, 2003, finally crippled the project. All missions except the critical ones (which included the assembly of the ISS and one Hubble maintenance mission) were canceled, and after each launch of the shuttle with the help of a camera on its manipulator, it was completely checked for the presence of damaged tiles. In case of the need to evacuate the crew from the "wrecked" shuttle, at almost every launch, the second of them was on duty, who, after checking the surface, was sent back to prepare for their flight. Flying for the first time to a meeting with the Hubble "Atlantis" and insuring his "Endeavor" (from behind) It was the final mission

repair of Hubble and others was no longer planned, so the crew had to do everything more meticulously and clearly than usual, since they no longer had a chance to return and fix something. On the third day of the flight, the crew made docking with the Hubble and carried out a visual inspection of the telescope. The first 7.3-hour spacewalk was replaced by a wide-angle camera and a partially malfunctioning computer processing and transmission of data, and a soft capture mechanism compatible with the NASA docking system was installed, which was intended to further control the telescope from orbit will even be used for another mission of his service).

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The next day, during the 8-hour exit, the power supply of the recording spectrograph was repaired. Because of the jammed thread on one of the 4 screws, the handle on the body of this device had to be pulled out by force, fortunately the remaining 107 screwsturned out to be in order, but it still took too much time, and the second task had to be moved to the final output. Instead of the old power supply cover with 100 screws, a new one was installed - with two latches: it remains only to guess what the designers thought about when inventing such an intricate fastening. A day later, the fifth in a row 7-hour spacewalk was carried out, during which the second pack of 3 telescope batteries was replaced, and 3 heat-insulating panels were installed (one of which was not installed last time). At the end of the exit, the astronauts removed the protective covers from the antennas and issued a command to open them.

The next day (May 19, 2009) the telescope was undocked from the mountings in the cargo hold, and using the shuttle's manipulator at 12 57 hours UTC .

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«» - . / : « -13»(about which you can read in the book “Notes from the dead station” from one of its two participants, VP Savinykh) and the collision of the cargo ship “Progress M-34” with the station “MIR” (during which the solar batteries and the station's radiators, as well as the hermetic housing of the “Spectr” module , which, despite repeated attempts to repair it, flew 2 years before the station was flooded in an unsealed state , was punched .

There was also a remarkable case with the recently deceased Georgi Grechko.who was fascinated by the repair of the OST-1 solar telescope at Salyut-4 station: the MCC believed that the telescope could not be repaired and did not allocate time for astronauts to repair it, so he snatched this time from sleep (for which he was reprimanded), but in the end he managed to fix it, for which later Nikolay Chernykh called him one of the asteroids discovered by him (number 3148 ). In addition, there were a lot of current equipment repairs at the Salyut stations , all of which are simply impossible to list.

Present and Future

Since the ISS was completed - almost all spacecraft maintenance has been reducedto the current repair of the station and the launch of the cubsat (which also sometimes can be repaired):


Thus, there was a lull in the manned satellite service missions, but it should not last long: despite the loss of Sierra Nevada Corporation in the CCP program (for the delivery of astronauts to the ISS ) they still have an order for 6 flights under the CRS program (for cargo delivery). And their “Running for a Dream” space plan does not intend to surrender: it has already passed the tests with discharge at height and the tests of the brake system. The possibility of using their spaceplane for a maintenance mission is being considered. the Hubble telescope in the 2020s.

There are certain advances in automated systems. Since March 9, 2007, two satellites were launched into space : NEXTSat, which performed the role of a target, and ASTRO, which did the docking with it on June 29. During the test flight was docked, the transfer of fuel (hydrazine) and batteries.

There are currently two commercial satellite service projects, SIS and MEV , which are very different: Space Infrastructure Servicing developed by Canadian company MacDonald ; Mission Extension Vehicle ViviSat ( «» ) - — .

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