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USC: GTS-3

Posted 08-31-2011 at 03:02 AM by diogom

Five and a half hours ago, GTS-3 ended with the safe landing of the Delta Glider Columbia.
It was the first flight of the Delta Glider carrying a payload, the MTKS-SAT, a communications sattelite. It orbited the Earth 119 times, covering a distance of 3529575 miles. Included an EVA to activate the sattelite.

The following are the reports on the Ascent, MTKS-SAT/EVA deployment and De-Orbit/Re-entry portions of the mission.

Ascent
Quote:
The Columbia Delta-Glider lifted-off as planned at 6:00 PM EST, on August 23rd. 10 seconds after wheels-up, the landing gear was retracted, and Columbia's autopilot banked the ship to align itself to the desired orbital plane off 90. ~11 minutes after lift-off, the Main Engines cut-off, leaving the DG in a 300km x 300km orbit, with an inclination of 90. Radiators were deployed 5 minutes later, at 6:16 PM, and the window filter increased. After a flawless ascent, Columbia will stay at the circular 300 x 300 km orbit for approximately one day, before raising its orbit to 300km x 800km. After testing by the crew, the payload, the MTKS-SAT, is reported to have no damage.
-Diogo
MTKS-SAT Deployment
Quote:
At 11:42 AM EST, the radiators were retracted. Payload bay doors opening followed, which was completed at 11:54 AM. EV1 Brian Taylor egressed the DG at 11:55, and moved to the payload bay. The MTKS-SAT was deployed at 12:00. After EV1 having it safely in his hands, some checks were made, and the activation codes started to be inputed. Solar panels deployment was finished at 12:21, followed by optical covers opening. At 12:40, the satelitte's attitude control was activated. EV1 stood-by for 10 minutes, while system testing was run on MTKS-SAT. EV1 ingressed Columbia at 12:57, ending the flight's only EVA. A separation burn was carried out at 13:05, which slightly decreased Columbia's altitude to 800km x 296km, nothing critical though. Columbia will stay in this orbit for 2 more days, in case a rendezvous with MTKS-SAT is required, and lower its orbit back to 300km x 300km on Flight Day 5.
-Diogo
De-orbit/Re-Entry:
Quote:
Columbia landed at Kennedy Space Centre, after a flawless re-entry, on August 30th. De-orbit burn occurred at 5:48 PM EST, off the West coast of Australia, followed by a fuel dump 5 minutes later to make the spacecraft light enough for re-entry. Entry Interface happened off the West coast of Peru. Columbia approached KSC from the South. Touchdown was at 6:39 PM EST, followed by a 2 minute roll-out. Wheelstop occurred at 6:41 PM. After that, followed the power-down checklists.
Columbia spent 7 days in orbit, during which it deployed a communications sattelite, and certified the Delta-Glider for higher orbital altitudes. Despite a glitch in its computers that prevented the orbital change maneuvre back to 300km x 300km and delayed it for one day, it was quickly fixed, and nothing else went wrong during the flight.
Reccomend a small investigation of the computer issues, though its nothing critical and all is Go for the next GTS flight.
-Diogo
GTS-4 will be the next launch for the Delta Glider on a still to be determined date. It is planned to be a joint docking mission with GTS-5. It will launch and land at KSC.

Thank you to Diogo for flying this mission for the VSA.

This was done in real time.

For pictures of the flight, go to: http://unionspacecommand.webs.com/ap...bumid=12176648

Also, be sure to check in on our on-going expedition at the ISS, Expedition 56, which you can follow at this blog: http://www.orbiter-forum.com/blog.php?b=808
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  1. Old Comment
    diogom's Avatar
    Update:

    A date has been set for GTS-4 and GTS-5 joint mission. GTS-4 will launch September 10th, GTS-5 will launch the day after. Mission duration will be 3 days. The plan is for the two spacecraft to dock.
    Posted 08-31-2011 at 11:27 PM by diogom diogom is offline
 

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