Re: ERBS Having Problems

Philip Chien (kc4yer@amsat.org)
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 02:41:52 -0500

Richard Fredrick <rfredric@tfs.net> said:

>I haven't observed ERBS that many times, but when I did it evoked a
>strange feeling because of the shuttle from which it was released -
>Challenger.

Actually I found it more interesting because ERBS was released from
Challenger.  Before the accident Challenger was the most productive of the
shuttle fleet, and most versatile - flying satellite deployment, pure
science, and applied technology payloads on its nine successful missions.
Its firsts in the shuttle program include the first lightweight external
tank, the first IUS/TDRS, the first time a satellite was deployed and
retrieved (which was also the first shuttle rendezvous), the first
rendezvous with a satellite already in orbit, first solar pointing mission,
first satellite repair in orbit, etc. etc.

There are many Challenger-launched satellites in orbit which can be viewed
(OBJ Seesat comment), including three commercial comsats in GEO (no longer
functional AFAIK), the TDRS-A satellite, all of their associated PAM and
IUS upper stages, and ERBS.  Another Challenger-launched satellite, LDEF,
was one of the brightest visible satellites from the time it was deployed
in 1984 until it was retrieved in 1990.

Thursday marks the anniversary of the Challenger accident.  But in addition
to the loss of the shuttle, its payloads and its crew, I also think about
the nine successful missions which preceeded it.



Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News
world (in)famous writer, science fiction fan, ham radio operator,
all-around nice guy, etc.