Columbia to spend extra day in space
Astronauts upbeat despite canceled spacewalk
December 2, 1996
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EST
ATLANTA (CNN) -- The space shuttle Columbia will stay in space
an extra day to allow an ultraviolet telescope to take a
closer look at newborn and dying stars.
Meanwhile, two astronauts told CNN they were disappointed
that a jammed hatch forced their spacewalks to be canceled
but said they remained upbeat about the overall mission.
The 16-day mission was scheduled to end Thursday with
Columbia's landing at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, but
NASA managers made a decision Monday to extend it.
The U.S.- German telescope, released on November 19 and
trailing Columbia by about 26 miles (42 km), was being used
to study interstellar matter in an effort to learn more about
the life cycles of the stars. It has already made more than
300 observations of planets and stars that emit ultraviolet
The jammed hatch caused two scheduled spacewalks by
astronauts Tammy Jernigan and Tom Jones to be canceled. The
spacewalks had been planned to test tools and techniques for
building an international space station.
When Jernigan and Jones were unable to turn the latch on the
hatch, NASA decided it was too risky for the astronauts to
try to pry open the jammed door, because they might not have
been able to secure it again for re-entry.
"Initially I thought we just had a sticky hatch and the
fact that Tammy's initial rotation wasn't able to free it up
was just an indication that we'd have to put a little more
elbow grease into it," Jones told CNN Monday in an interview
"I think certainly that we are feeling some combination of
disappointment at the failure of the hatch, but yet pleasure
in being part of this mission that's been in every other way
very successful," said. Jernigan.
Despite the setback, Jernigan, who had trained a year for her
spacewalk, said the crew was able to perform a number of
other important experiments and maneuvers aboard Columbia. (243K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
"One thing I've learned in this is the real value to have
people working in space," she said.
Jones told CNN, "The fact that our hatch failed on this
flight is a good reminder that spaceflight's a complex
business and we have to pay particular attention to all the
details, including the ones we've taken for granted on past
flights." He added, "We'll learn from this experience and go
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