Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today in Space History

Boy, I remember this one:

From Wikipedia:

"During the June 26, 1984 launch attempt of STS-41-D there was a launch abort at T-6 seconds followed by a pad fire around ten minutes later.

Commentary: "We have a cut off."
"NTD we have a RSLS (Redundant Sequence Launch Sequencer) abort."
Commentary: "We have an abort by the onboard computers of the orbiter Discovery."
"Break Break, Break Break, DLS shows engine one not shut down."
"OK, PLT?"
"CSME verify engine one."
"You want me to shut down engine one?"
"We do not show engine start on one."
"OTC I can verify shutdown on verify on engine one, we haven't start prepped engine one."
"All engines shut down I can verify that."
Commentary: "We can now verify all three engines have been shut down."
"We have red lights on engines two and three in the cockpit, not on one."
"All right, CSME verify engine one safe for APU shutdown."
"If I can verify that?"
"OTC GPC go for APU shutdown."

Steve Hawley, one of the crew was reported to have broken the tense atmosphere following the abort in the shuttle cabin saying: "Gee, I thought we'd be a lot higher at MECO!"

About ten minutes later the following the following was heard on the live TV coverage:

"We have indication two of our fire detectors on the zero level; no response. They're side by side right next to the engine area. The engineer requested that we turn on the heat shield firewall screen between the engine valve and Discovery's three main engines."

While evacuating from the shuttle, the crew was doused with water from the pad deluge system, which was activated due to a hydrogen fire on the launch pad.

Changes to procedures resulting from this abort included more practicing of "safeing" the orbiter following aborts at various points, the use of the fire suppression system in all pad aborts, and the testing of the slidewire escape system with a real person (Charles F. Bolden, Jr.). It emerged that launch controllers were reluctant to order the crew to evacuate as the slidewire had not been ridden by a human."

To listen to the event, click here.

(The abort happens at about 10 minutes, in case you don't want to hear the entire thing.)

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