- Press Release
- Oct 31, 2023
Kennedy Space Center ends another year successfully – Greets the new millennium with a full slate of activities
A Kennedy Space Center news release No. 154-99
During 1999, Kennedy Space Center continued its tradition of excellence as the nation’s launch site for
manned missions and in its development as a Spaceport Technology Center. Here are some of the highlights
of the year:
Kennedy Space Center celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 and man’s first footsteps
on the moon. Building on such past successes, the KSC Team during the past year paved the way for treks
even farther from home and prepared elements for NASA’s new outpost in space.
Astronauts outfitted and prepared that outpost, the International Space Station, for occupancy during a
supply mission launched from KSC in May. The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched in July.
KSC’s most recent launch, the Third Hubble Telescope Servicing Mission on Dec.19, set into motion the
repair and improvement of the Hubble Space Telescope. The servicing mission will allow the observatory to
continue providing us with spectacular visions of the cosmos for another decade.
Orbiters launched by the KSC Team carried 19 crew members into space, logged more than 9 million miles
and carried many major payloads into orbit. In addition, KSC coordinated the launch of ten expendable
launch vehicle (ELV) missions during the past year.
Eight Shuttle missions and 13 ELV missions are currently scheduled for 2000.
Preparing for a new millennium of space exploration, KSC provided significant research and development
support for work on new space vehicles. The center’s leadership also began positioning the spaceport for
the future through a reorganization effort called KSC 2000. The reorganization is designed to make better
use of resources and allow KSC to participate in NASA’s cutting edge engineering initiatives, such as the
Mars Ascent Vehicle.
KSC will begin the new century with a new area code – 321 – chosen because of the area’s 50-year launch
history. In honor of the change, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and KSC Director Roy Bridges initiated on
November 1 a video teleconference call to KSC’s Deputy Director for Business Operations Jim Jennings.
Center Director Roy Bridges continued to lead the way in keeping safety and health as the center’s No. 1
priority by initiating a series of safety “walkdowns” designed to detect and resolve problems that could lead
to accidents or failures. KSC again held a centerwide Super Safety Day, one full day devoted to safety
awareness and education.
Among KSC’s other accomplishments during 1999:
Advanced Development and Shuttle Upgrades
Major upgrades to Atlantis, including a “glass cockpit,” were unveiled in April. Among 130 modifications
made during the ten months the orbiter was off-line: The replacement of outdated electromechanical cockpit
displays with 11 full-color flat panel screens. Other improvements included an Integrated Vehicle Health
Management System, which monitors the Shuttle’s health while on orbit through a network of hi-tech
sensors placed throughout the orbiter.
As a result of an electrical short on mission STS-93, a vast electrical inspection commenced for the entire
orbiter fleet. These inspections were recently completed on the orbiter Discovery, prior to its recent mission
STS-103. Similar work is virtually complete on Endeavour as it is prepared for the first mission of 2000,
STS-99. Atlantis will have its inspections conducted prior to its next scheduled mission.
Columbia, the oldest of the four orbiters in NASA’s fleet was sent to Palmdale, CA, in September for a
nine-month overhaul after the Chandra mission. Workers are performing more than 100 modifications on
the vehicle and they will conduct extensive electrical inspections before returning the vehicle to KSC next
Shuttle Mission Highlights
Three Shuttle missions were launched in 1999, starting with STS-96 in May. The mission marked the first
visit to a new star on our horizon, the International Space Station. Space Shuttle Discovery’s international
crew of seven spent six days preparing and outfitting the station with 5,000 pounds of cargo. It’s now
ready for the arrival of its early living quarters — the Russian-built Service Module.
STS-93, launched in July, was the first Space Shuttle mission commanded by a woman, Eileen Collins.
Columbia carried the Chandra X-ray Observatory into space. Because of Chandra’s ability to detect X-rays,
scientists around the world are getting new perspectives on some of the most distant, powerful and dynamic
objects in the universe.
During STS-103 the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery upgraded and repaired the Hubble Space Telescope.
The 9-year-old observatory was shut down temporarily in November when the fourth of its six gyroscopes
The gyroscopes are part of the system that keeps Hubble pointed in the right direction. This servicing
mission originally was scheduled for June 2000, but after the third of Hubble’s six gyroscopes failed, it
was split into two separate missions. Because of the installation of new gyroscopes, Hubble will soon be
back in business again.
All three 1999 Shuttle missions ended with nighttime landings at KSC.
Expendable Launch Vehicles
As lead center for NASA’s acquisition and management of expendable launch vehicle launch services, KSC
enjoyed a second successful year.
KSC’s Expendable Launch Vehicle team supported many major missions carrying NASA payloads
launched from Cape Canaveral Air Station – including the Mars Surveyor in January, Stardust spacecraft in
February and the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) spacecraft in June.
From Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the KSC expendable launch team supported the successful
launch of ARGOS in February, the Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) spacecraft in March, Landsat 7 in
April, the TERRIERS satellite in May, the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) mission in June, and the Terra
and AcrimSat spacecraft in December.
A contract award to launch the Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) satellite on an Athena I rocket from a launch
pad located on Kodiak Island, Alaska, was announced in April. The scheduled launch will be the first to
low Earth orbit from the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation’s new commercial launch facility.
International Space Station
The Italian Space Agency’s “Raffaello” Multi-Purpose Logistics Module , the second of three Italian
modules for the International Space Station arrived at KSC in August. The reusable logistics carrier was
transported to the United States by a special Airbus “Beluga” air cargo plane from the factory of Alenia
Aerospazio in Turin, Italy.
The International Space Station truss, which will become the backbone of the orbiting International Space
Station (ISS), arrived at KSC in June after having been completed by a division of the Boeing Company in
Huntington Beach, CA.
The Canadian Space Agency’s first contribution to the International Space Station, the 56-foot-long Space
Station Remote Manipulator System, was delivered to KSC in May. The arm is the primary means of
transferring payloads between the orbiter payload bay and the station for assembly.
A series of Multi-element Integration Tests on International Space Station components were held during the
year to help avoid problems that would be costly to address in space.
Reusable Launch Vehicles
NASA engineering technicians from KSC’s Engineering Prototype Lab assisted Orbital Sciences
Corporation and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in the complex process of converting the X-34
A-1 vehicle from captive carry status to unpowered flight status. The X-34 is a reusable launch vehicle
technology demonstrator and the modified vehicle is now known as A-1A.
A team of Kennedy Space Center experts designed, fabricated and tested the X-33 umbilical system and
delivered the finished products to Lockheed Martin in July. Under construction at Lockheed Martin Skunk
Works in Palmdale, CA, X-33 is a half-scale prototype of the planned operational reusable launch vehicle
Contracts and Facilities
KSC marked its first full year under its Joint Base Operations and Support Contract (J-BOSC). Through
J-BOSC, a single set of base operations and support service requirements have been established for KSC,
Cape Canaveral Air Station and Patrick Air Force Base, collectively known as Cape Canaveral Spaceport.
Eighteen different contractors, often with overlapping and duplicate responsibilities, previously performed
these services. Vice President Gore recognized the partnership between the KSC and the Air Force with the
The LC-39 Emergency Power Plant went online with a grand opening in July. The plant provides the
Launch Complex-39 area with increased reliability, double power capacity and saves about $770,000 every
year in the process. The new control system allows NASA to participate in the Commercial Industrial Load
Control program offered by Florida Power & Light (FPL), by using the new plant to reduce KSC’s
electrical demand on FPL’s power grid during peak periods. In turn, FPL charges KSC a lower billing rate
which translates into hundreds of thousands in annual cost savings.
The 14,000-square-foot NASA Technical Records Center opened in September, solving several space
issues for NASA and Boeing through an innovative agreement and excellent teamwork. Boeing gained the
space they needed to support their new Delta IV program and NASA gained a new records storage site.
One of two Kennedy Space Center high-altitude chambers formerly used to test Apollo Program flight
hardware was reactivated in February for use in leak testing International Space Station pressurized
To better safeguard Space Shuttle assemblies and keep assembly procedures on track, the Vehicle Assembly
Building (VAB) is being outfitted with a third stacking area. The new area, in high bay 2, will allow NASA
to preassemble stacks and still have room in the VAB to pull a Shuttle back from the pad if severe weather
threatens. In addition, workers will restore the Apollo-era crawlerway, offering greater flexibility in rolling
an orbiter back from the pad and into the building during hurricane season.
Tourist Destination Upgrades
A new entryway to the KSC Visitor Complex and several new educational presentations opened in April.
The $13 million expansion, which was opened to the public earlier this month, includes a new International
Space Station-themed ticket plaza, the new Universe Theater with “Quest for Life,” and the Robot Scouts
Community Outreach and Education
KSC’s contributions through the 1999 Combined Federal Campaign exceeded its goal of $216,000 by 14
percent, with more than $245,644 given by KSC Civil Service employees.
KSC Director Roy D. Bridges, Jr., and other KSC senior managers met with business and government
leaders from Brevard County and the State of Florida at the annual Community Leaders Breakfast in June.
The KSC leadership presented projections for future plans of America’s space program and the economic
impact these plans may have in the local community.
Thirteen Brevard County schools received 81 excess contractor computers valued in excess of $90,000
through efforts lead by NASA’s K-12 Education Services Office at Kennedy Space Center. The Astronaut
Memorial Foundation was a strategic partner in the effort. Former USBI employees volunteered to put the
computers into working order.
KSC participated in the NASA-wide sponsorship of the Summer High School Apprenticeship Research
Program. The program is a mentor-based, 8-week program for underrepresented students with NASA
scientists, engineers and other research specialist serving as professional role models.
The FIRST robotics competition was hosted at KSC Visitor Center in March through the cooperation of
NASA, KSC contractor organizations and the surrounding communities. FIRST’s goal is to expose
students to engineering, help them discover the important connection between classroom lessons and
real-world applications and inspire kids to want to learn more. Brevard County high schools participating in
the regional event include Titusville, Astronaut, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Rockledge, and Satellite