NASA Astronaut Don Thomas Double Signed Commemorative STS-70 Mission
Patch and Photo Combination
(A Limited Edition of only 100)
25th Anniversary Commemorative Patch.
Patch measures approximately 130 mm x 116 mm and is signed on the reverse side.
The STS70 mission patch element of this fully embroidered piece measures approximately 115 mm x 75 mm
Numbered and signed photo measures 150 mm x 100 mm
(More than 20 patches have already gone, numbered photos will be on a first come, first served basis and the actual photo number you will receive cannot be guaranteed. We will respond to requests wherever possible).
The mission affectionately became known as the 'Woodpecker Mission' due to Northern Flicker Woodpeckers at Pad 39B, they poked about 200 holes in the foam insulation of Discovery's external tank. Attempts to repair the damage at the pad were unsuccessful, and shuttle stack returned to VAB on June 8, with new launch date set for July 13.
Lift off was first targeted for June 22, after STS-71 Shuttle-Mir docking mission scheduled earlier same month. However, due to Russian space program scheduling delays affecting STS-71, mission managers opted to flip-flop 70 and 71 launch dates, and accelerated processing flow to ready Discovery and her payloads for lift off no earlier than June 8, with Atlantis to follow on STS-71 later in June. This schedule thrown off following extended Memorial Day holiday weekend, when Northern Flicker Woodpeckers at Pad 39B poked about 200 holes in foam insulation of Discovery's external tank. Attempts to repair damage at the pad were unsuccessful, and shuttle stack returned to VAB on June 8, with new launch date set for July 13. Holes ranged in size from large excavations about four inches (10 centimetres) to single pecks and claw marks. Countdown to July 13 lift off proceeded smoothly; brief 55-second hold at T-31 seconds occurred when engineers had to verify signal from range safety system was being properly received by destruct device on external tank. Interval between landing of STS-71 on July 7 and launch of STS-70 six days later on July 13 marked quickest turnaround to date between shuttle missions. Post-landing inspections of STS-70 boosters showed gas path in right-hand solid rocket motor nozzle internal joint number 3, extending from the motor chamber to, but not past, the primary O-ring. STS-70 gas path similar to what was seen in nozzle joint number 3 post-flight on previous mission, STS-71. Gas paths or small air pockets are result of nozzle fabrication involving backfilling of the joint with insulation material. Similar paths had been expected and observed following previous flights, but Missions STS-71 and STS-70 marked first time slight heat effect was noted on the primary O-ring.
Primary objective of the mission accomplished when Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-G deployed from orbiter payload bay about six hours after lift off. Approximately one hour after deployment, Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster attached to TDRS-G completed first of two scheduled burns to place TDRS-G in geosynchronous orbit. Once it completes on-orbit checkout, TDRS-G will become operational spare, completing existing TDRS network of advanced tracking and communications satellites.
During remainder of mission, five crew members completed variety of experiments. Biological Research in Canister (BRIC) experiments study effects of microgravity on wide range of physiological processes in plants, insects and small invertebrate animals. BRIC-4 examined how hormone system and muscle formation of tobacco hornworm affected by microgravity; BRIC-5 tested whether cell division changes in daylily are due to microgravity or other causes. Also, Bioreactor Development System (BDS), composed of device developed at Johnson Space Center, used colon cancer cells to test bioreactor performance in microgravity; this experiment worked extremely well, yielding tissue cultures better than any seen previously.