Flying for work not comfort

Flying in the Shuttle, at least on the earlier, short missions, was not exactly "comfortable", but it was far better than the early capsules. Knowing the mission would only last five days, the crew were not overly concerned about habitability. Each of them had "roughed it'' on camping trips lasting far longer than a flight on the Shuttle. As Lenoir put it, "We didn't think we were going up to be comfortable. We were going up to do some work.''9 Habitability engineers thought that the crew would each use a sleeping bag down in the mid-deck, but it did not work out that way in reality. Brand did not like floating around and used a small bungee cord from a clipboard to attach himself to the most suitable location, still floating but tethered while asleep. Lenoir squeezed into a place in the aft port side of the flight deck, which was small enough that if he relaxed he would not float out and inadvertently flip any switches. Joe Allen was the "freewheeler", going to sleep in the mid-deck but waking on the flight deck. Overmyer ended up as the evaluator of the sleeping bag for the engineers, attached by Velcro to one of the mid-deck bulkheads.

Although they were "up there to work,'' this was the first flight for both Lenoir and Allen, and neither could resist taking in the view out of the windows. What struck Lenoir was the way in which the view changed so quickly in such a short time, bringing home the realisation that he was orbiting a planet at five miles per second. After a while, a mere glance out of the window was enough to pinpoint which continent they were flying over and he even found it possible, eventually, to recognise the oceans, because the meteorology over each was so different. Bill Lenoir had long been interested in the remote sensing of the Earth and its resources, with particular emphasis on the role of man. Flying on STS-5 finally gave him the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of looking at Earth from space to help determine the potential of humans to support remote sensing of the planet.

Allen was awestruck by the view of Earth from space: "You know the Earth is round because you see its roundness, and then you realise there is another dimension, because you see layers as you look down. You see clouds towering up, you see their shadows on sunlit plains, a ship's wake in the Indian Ocean, bush fires in Africa and the reds and pinks of the Australian desert. In space the sun truly comes up like

Lenoir participates in a vision test during the STS-5 mission.

thunder, and sets just as fast, but in that time at least eight different bands of colour come and go, from a brilliant red to the brightest and deepest blue. No sunset or sunrise is ever the same [and] night falls with breathtaking abruptness. One moment you see the Earth, the next you don't.'' Allen assumed he would know where the Earth would be even in darkness, due to city lights or light from the sunrise and sunset, but he encountered the darkest black he had ever seen. To try to find the Earth, he would track stars until they disappeared behind the planet.12

Courage Conqueror

Courage Conqueror

Do You Want To Be More Courageous, Push Negativity Out Of Your Life, and Have More Self Belief? Learn How, In Just A Very Short Time, You Can Put an END To Your Lack Of Bravery And Feel More In Control Of Your Life Than Ever Before... GUARANTEED.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment