Shop Windows to the Universe

Hands On Mineral Identification helps you to identify over 14,500 minerals! By M. Darby Dyar, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.

Click on image for full size
NASA

A Game of Capture the Satellite
News story originally written on November 25, 1997

It was late in the evening when two astronauts approached the spinning 3,000 pound satellite. They delicately reached out to grab the lost satellite and bring it safely back to the U.S. space shuttle. This may sound like a clip out of a recent science fiction movie, but this is the story of the lost SPARTAN satellite.

The SPARTAN satellite was sent in the payload bay of the U.S. space shuttle, mission STS-87. It was to be released from the bay for two full days. During this time it was to make solar observations that would act as verification of the SOHO mission. The satellite failed to begin its maneuvers soon after it was deployed. Columbia tried to catch the failed satellite, only to nudge it into a slow spin while attempting to capture it with the robotic arm.

NASA decided to send astronauts Scott and Doi on a spacewalk to capture the satellite. Both men had underwater training in case an emergency retrieval of the satellite was necessary. However, the rehearsals never included a satellite that was spinning. The two men completed a successful retrieval of the satellite around 9p.m. last night.

A captured satellite is not the only excitement involved in this mission. Doi, age 43, became the first Japanese spacewalker last night during the rescue mission.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games section of our online store includes a climate change card game and the Traveling Nitrogen game!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Excellent Landing Doesn't Do Away with Disappointment

Columbia wrapped up its 16-day, six and a half million mile mission early this morning. Touchdown was at 6:20 a.m. CDT. The landing was an excellent one. On the mission, astronauts completed microgravity...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA