Mary Sandy Headquarters, Washington, D.C. (Phone: 202/453-2754) Jean Clough Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

(Phone: 804/864-6122) RELEASE: 90-11

January 24, 1990

LONG DURATION EXPOSURE FACILITY SHOWS FEW SURPRISES Television views, astronaut commentary and post-retrieval photos of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) from the STS-32 Shuttle mission suggest that the condition of LDEF is about as NASA officials expected. The objective of LDEF, which orbited Earth for nearly 6 years, was to measure the effects of atomic oxygen, space radiation, micrometeoroids, man-made debris, vacuum and other space-related phenomena on more than 10,000 test specimens. Some of those effects were immediately observable on LDEF during in-flight recovery operations. Some thin film test specimens appeared to be degraded or completely eroded. Some thin film balloon material test specimens were broken away at one end. These are expected results that will be fully analyzed when the principal investigators have access to their LDEF experiments. The Kapton thermal covers on two Heavy Ions in Space experiment trays were partially peeled back "like a sardine can" in the words of one astronaut. In addition, the thermal cover strips around the detectors of a space plasma high voltage drainage experiment appear to have eroded away. Impact on these experiments will not be known until researchers can examine them.

At least one of the thermal covers of an ultra-heavy cosmic ray nuclei experiment, located adjacent to LDEF's leading edge, exhibited more apparent debris or meteoroid impacts than anticipated but there probably was no effect on the cosmic ray data obtained. Investigators will pay particular attention to this area during post-flight examination of the satellite to determine the nature of the deterioration. - more -2LDEF program officials also noted discoloration around the high voltage leads of an interstellar gas experiment. Just what this means will be studied in the data analyses that are the next step in the LDEF program. Space Shuttle orbiter Columbia and LDEF are expected to arrive at Kennedy Space Center on January 26. The orbiter will be de-mated from the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) shortly thereafter. Current plans call for the removal of LDEF from Columbia's payload bay about January 29. LDEF will be transferred to the Operation & Checkout (O&C) Building about January 30 and loaded onto a special transporter. Around January 31, the satellite will be moved to the Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facilty II (SAEF II) where researchers will inspect and photograph its structure and experiment trays from February 5 through 17. Program officials estimate that removal of the experiment trays will begin around February 22. A meeting of the LDEF Investigator Working Group will take place at Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., this summer on a date to be announced later. A press release summarizing the preliminary results will follow the meeting. LDEF contains 57 science and technology experiments representing more than 200 investigators, 33 private companies, 21 universities, seven NASA centers, nine Department of Defense laboratories and eight foreign countries. Experiment analysis is expected to provide invaluable data for the design of future spacecraft as well as insight into Earth's cosmic origins. - end -

Photographs are available to illustrate this release by calling NASA Headquarters Audio Visual Branch at 202/453-8375: Color: 90-HC-41 B&W: 90-H-41 90-HC-42 90-H-42 90-HC-43 90-H-43 90-HC-44 90-H-44 NOTE TO EDITORS: Media representatives will have an opportunity to view LDEF's removal from Columbia about January 29 and may participate in an informal news briefing with LDEF Chief Scientist Bill Kinard at that time. Approximately 8 days later, there will another photo opportunity and a media briefing to discuss results of the initial LDEF inspections. The press conference will be carried live on NASA Select television. Media representatives wishing to participate in these events should contact the KSC Public Information Office, 407/867-2468. TO: MDS/PRA Group 1615 L Street, N.W. - Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20036 DATE & TIME: JANUARY 24, 1990 ORDERED BY: Edward Campion NASA Headquarters/LMD 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20546 PHONE: 202/453-8400 PROJECT TITLE: Release No: 90-11 PRINT ORDER: 2196 PRINTING: Camera Ready, lst pg on NASA logo, other pages plain ENCLOSE & MAIL: Release of 2 pages MAIL DATE: JANUARY 25, 1990 EXTRA COPIES: Deliver specified quanities to locations below:

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