WIRE in trouble

Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@cpmx.saic.com)
Fri, 5 Mar 1999 12:38:54 -0800

Hi All,

Here's the latest report on WIRE's troubles... --Rob

Don Savage
Headquarters, Washington, DC                     March 5, 1999
(Phone:  202/358-1727)

Lynn Jenner
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
(Phone:  301/286-0045)

RELEASE:  99-34


       Ground controllers are attempting to recover a NASA 
spacecraft that was unable to maintain a stable position in orbit 
after launch Thursday.

      The Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) spacecraft began to 
experience a problem during its second pass over a ground 
station, following a successful launch at 9:57 p.m. EST from 
Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The Poker Flats, AK, ground 
station determined that WIRE was still spinning instead of 
maintaining a stable position in orbit and was warmer than 
expected.  The WIRE team has declared a spacecraft emergency and 
is communicating with the spacecraft while attempting to slow the 
spin rate and cool the WIRE spacecraft.

       "Recovery of the spacecraft is our top priority," said Ken 
Ledbetter, Director of the Mission and Payload Development 
Division in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, 
Washington, DC.  "The spacecraft carries frozen hydrogen to cool 
its instrument, and we believe that the hydrogen is venting as it 
warms up, causing the spacecraft to spin.  However, at this time, 
spacecraft controllers do not know what specifically caused the 

        A spacecraft recovery team has been formed, headed by 
David Everett of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, 
MD. In addition to the recovery team, an anomaly investigation 
board is being formed.