Musgrave was named to his third mission (STS-33) on 30 November 1988. This was a classified military Shuttle mission that was launched on 22 November 1989 and landed on 27 November, after a flight of 5 days 6 minutes 48 seconds and 79 orbits. Six months later, on 24 May, Musgrave was named to the crew of STS-44, another Department of Defense (DoD) Shuttle mission. This flight launched on 24 November 1991 and landed on 1 December, after a flight of 6 days 22 hours 50 minutes 44 seconds and 110 orbits.
Military missions on the Shuttle were, by the nature of the cargo, more classified than the other Shuttle flights. Little information and few photographs would be released on the activities of the crew or the purpose of the mission. In 2005, Musgrave did comment that "after you have done what you can do, you can tell people you deployed something - though [this is] no big deal since amateur astronomers watch you do it.'' There were two such Shuttle flights in 1985 (STS 51-C and 51-J), a single DoD mission in 1988 (STS-27), two flights in 1989 (STS-28 and STS-33) and another two in 1990 (STS-36 and STS-38). They were all more secretive than the scientific or
commercially-orientated missions. By 1991, the DoD was pulling away from Shuttle missions and transferring its payloads to expendable launch vehicles. However, three remaining missions (STS-39 and 44 in 1991, and STS-53 in 1992) were linked to military research in technology and procedures, but were more scientifically orientated, receiving a less classified status than those that preceded them.
The primary payloads of STS-33 and STS-44 were military satellites. The STS-33 crew deployed the Mentor (SIGINT) signal intelligence satellite, via an IUS, into a geosynchronous orbit. Two years later, as part of the STS-44 crew, Musgrave supported the deployment of a Defense Support Program early warning satellite called Liberty, also by IUS into geosynchronous orbit.23 Though reports of crew activity on the STS-33 mission were restricted, with both Story Musgrave and Sonny Carter aboard (both medical physicians), a number of human physiological experiments seemed to be part of the mission's secondary objectives. The pilot of the mission, John Blaha, remarked on a personal tape during the mission that there was not much time for "tourism" or looking out of the window until they were given a three-hour wave-off for landing due to high surface winds. Apart from recording his perspective from orbit, Blaha managed to observe his crewmates as they took the opportunity for extra "free-time in orbit": "Story Musgrave is suspended next to my right shoulder, trying to photograph the clouds. The geologists at JSC will really love Story's pictures.'' Then Musgrave ran out of film and hurried down to the mid-deck for more, floating up through the open hatchway back into the flight deck. Musgrave asked Blaha if he was going to document the views out of the window as well as talking about them: "Look at all the little ripples in the clouds down there, John; all the little waves and rhythms of thunderstorms and lightning.''24
On STS-33, Musgrave flew as MS 2/FE, repeating the role he had performed on STS 51-F four years earlier. This additional experience enabled him to repeat those duties for STS-44. His crew task assignments included photo equipment (still, movie and TV cameras), medical issues and Earth observations. As flight engineer, his orbiter-related tasks included DPS, Main Propulsion System (ET/SRB/SSME), OME/RCS, APUs and Hydraulics, EPS, Environmental Control Life Support Systems, communications and instrumentation. He was also assigned as prime crew member on eight DSOs and served as back-up to the DPS payload.25 "I'm the chief cook and bottle washer on this flight,'' Musgrave explained in the pre-flight crew press conference at the end of October 1991.
Originally, STS-44 was just a US deployment mission and thus a relatively short flight, but when the mission extension and the medical DSOs were added, Musgrave felt these were a big bonus for flying the mission. He had not really been a doctor within NASA, despite his medical qualifications. He had been able to do some experiments prior to astronaut selection on negative pressure and also worked on the Spacelab simulations, but had flown as an engineer on his previous flights. This time, he got the chance to actually perform some medical experiments in space.26
After the deployment of the military satellite early in the flight, the crew settled down to their secondary objectives. These involved the US Army Terra Scout military observation programme of experiments (for which Musgrave assisted US Army pay-load specialist Tom Hennen as a support crew member) and a range of medical
Musgrave conducts one of the medical DSO objectives during STS-44. His test subject is Mario Runco.
experiments aimed at supporting the gradual increase of Shuttle mission durations up to thirteen days, as part of the Extended Duration Orbiter programme. The ten-day mission was unavoidably shortened to just under seven days by the failure of a critical element of the navigation system - Inertial Measurement Unit No. 2. As a result, the crew tried to squeeze as much work as possible into their remaining time on orbit.
One of the more good-natured crews to fly the Shuttle, they soon adopted nicknames for each other. As the veteran commander on his third space flight, Fred Gregory became known as "Dad", while Musgrave, with his experience and new space flight endurance record, became known as "Granddad". Jim Voss picked up the moniker 'Bilge Man' for his work in troubleshooting a humidity separator in the lower mid-deck of Atlantis, while. Mario Runco became known as ''Spock'' for his affinity to Star Trek. Payload Specialist Tom Hennen used a trash compactor to save space on the flight and was promptly awarded the nickname ''Trash Man''. Musgrave was also called ''Dr. Story'' or ''Dr. Cryo'' for his work on the mid-deck experiments The DSOs Musgrave was assigned to as primary crew member were:27
• DSO 316: Bioreactor Flow and Partial Trajectory in Microgravity: All planned activities were successfully completed and an additional test performed.
• DSO 472: Intraocular Pressure: Early data for fluid shifts were recorded. However, late flight data were not recorded due to the shortened mission.
• DSO 478: In-flight Lower Body Negative Pressure: Though this unit was used
throughout the flight by Musgrave, with Henricks, Runco and Voss assisting, no protocol combinations were completed, again due to the shortened mission.
• DSO 603: Orthostatic Function During Entry, Landing and Egress: Pre-flight data were recorded, and further data were collected during entry, egress and post landing.
• DSO 613: Changes in Endocrine Regulation of Orthostatic Tolerance Following Space Flight: Pre-flight and post-flight data were collected.
In addition he was responsible for:
• DSO 901 Documentary Television;
• DSO 902 Documentary Motion Picture Photography; and
• DSO 903 Documentary Still Photography.
These were all accomplished, with large numbers of images taken during the flight.
Despite the shortening of the mission, Musgrave still surpassed the cumulative duration record for time spent in space on the Shuttle, accumulating over 596 hours on four flights. However, Musgrave, like his colleagues, was disappointed to have come home early: "For all of us, it was an incredible disappointment. It really hurt that we didn't get everything done, but that's the way it is.''
As with all missions, the post-flight crew report indicated to engineers, mission managers and training staff exactly what worked and what didn't. Not all of the crew's
recommendations get accepted or taken up. As Musgrave recalled, "Life is a compromise. You try, you suggest some things which you know are the ideal and what would be best, but some of them may be too expensive or too hard to apply. If you are a long-term player in the programme, which of course I was, you get to know what would get accepted and what would not. A lot of astronauts were there only five years, so they did not know what the outcome of their recommendations was. I knew what came out of the Skylab programme in terms of science operations in space and the whole integration and payload processing process.''26
Was this article helpful?
Insider Secrets Revealed By the Pro Showing You How to Become a Professional Photographer! Discover The Secret Tips & Techniques On How To Be A Professional Photographer, Start Producing High Quality Pictures and Skyrocket Your Photography Business Income Revenue To The Roof TODAY! You're About to Discover the Powerful Strategies and Method to Start Taking Sharp, Clear and High Quality Pictures Like the Professional Photographer Without Paying a Single Penny to the Expert!