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Science & Exploration

N° 29–1993: 20 June set as new launch date for the STS-57 Shuttle mission to retrieve EURECA

9 June 1993

Space Shuttle Endeavour is now scheduled to lift-off from Kennedy Space Centre on 20 June 1993 for a 7 day mission highlighted by the retrieval of ESA's EURECA satellite. The launch window on June 20 opens at 9:38 hrs local time (15:38 hrs Paris time) and will extend for 1 hour and 11 minutes. In the nominal case, EURECA would be grappled and retrieved in the late afternoon hours of Wednesday 23 June.

On 8 June 1993 at 20:25 hrs Paris time, an orbit trim manoeuvre was successfully carried out while EURECA was passing over the Perth ground station (Australia). The single burn lasted approximately 1 minute and slightly raised the perigee of EURECA's orbit. The manoeuvre grants stability of good conditions for Endeavour's rendezvous with EURECA for several months to come, protecting against the eventuality of an unexpected significant further slip of the STS-57 mission. The rate of orbital decay at EURECA's current altitude of 476 km is approximately 1,5 km per month. "The operations of EURECA's science and technology payload, that have been going on successfully during the almost 10 month long mission, have been suspended in preparation for the orbit trim manoeuvre and will be resumed in the course of Wednesday 9 June, following the confirmation of the success of this manoeuvre" said W. Wimmer, EURECA Flight Operations Director at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

"Practically all the multi-user microgravity experiments had already been successfully accomplished by the end of January 1993. Most of the associated payloads had therefore been deactivated several months ago and are passively waiting for their return to Earth", Wimmer said.