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tethered satellite system contingency investigation boardThe Tethered Satellite System (TSS-1) was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-46) on July 31, 1992. During the attempted on-orbit operations, the Tethered Satellite System failed to deploy successfully beyond 256 meters. The satellite was retrieved successfully and was returned on August 6, 1992. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Associate Administrator for Space Flight formed the Tethered Satellite System (TSS-1) Contingency Investigation Board on August 12, 1992. The TSS-1 Contingency Investigation Board was asked to review the anomalies which occurred, to determine the probable cause, and to recommend corrective measures to prevent recurrence. The board was supported by the TSS Systems Working group as identified in MSFC-TSS-11-90, 'Tethered Satellite System (TSS) Contingency Plan'. The board identified five anomalies for investigation: initial failure to retract the U2 umbilical; initial failure to flyaway; unplanned tether deployment stop at 179 meters; unplanned tether deployment stop at 256 meters; and failure to move tether in either direction at 224 meters. Initial observations of the returned flight hardware revealed evidence of mechanical interference by a bolt with the level wind mechanism travel as well as a helical shaped wrap of tether which indicated that the tether had been unwound from the reel beyond the travel by the level wind mechanism. Examination of the detailed mission events from flight data and mission logs related to the initial failure to flyaway and the failure to move in either direction at 224 meters, together with known preflight concerns regarding slack tether, focused the assessment of these anomalies on the upper tether control mechanism. After the second meeting, the board requested the working group to complete and validate a detailed integrated mission sequence to focus the fault tree analysis on a stuck U2 umbilical, level wind mechanical interference, and slack tether in upper tether control mechanism and to prepare a detailed plan for hardware inspection, test, and analysis including any appropriate hardware disassembly.
Document ID
19930016042
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
November 6, 1992
Subject Category
SPACECRAFT DESIGN, TESTING AND PERFORMANCE
Report/Patent Number
NASA-TM-108704
NAS 1.15:108704
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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