The Hughes Astronauts–compiled by Jack Fisher

Greg  Jarvis trains for shuttle mission–Carol Hazard Hughes News February 22, 1985

“What has been the most memorable part of your training as a payload specialist for a Space Shuttle mission?”

“There’s been a lot of ‘gee-whiz stuff, such as training for zero gravity,” responded Hughes engineer Greg Jarvis, “but it’s the people at Johnson Space Center who have made a difference.”

“First-rate people,” added Bill Butterworth, backup specialist for the March 19 mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery.  Returning “home” from their assignments in Houston, the Space and Communications Group employees made a brief and busy stop at Hughes to answer questions from the press.

Both are in training for Mission 51-D, which will launch the third SCG-idesigned and built Leasat communications satellite.

SCG’s John Konrad and Steve Cunningham were chosen for an August Space Shuttle flight that has been scheduled to deploy the fourth Leasat.

The wide-bodied Leasat is owned by Hughes Communications Services, Inc., a subsidary, which provides telecommunications services to the Navy.  A series of four spacecraft will provide telecommunications services to all branches of the armed forces.

As payload specialists, Mr. Jarvis and Dr. Konrad will observe the unique Frisbee-motion deployment of Leasat.

At Johnson Space Center, Mr Jarvis and Mr. Butterworth have learned how to live within the small confines of the shuttle and how to perform the basic functions of life such as eating and sleeping, in zero gravity.

In training fo a March Space Shuttle mission, Greg Jarvis appears undaunted by weightlessness as he makes attempt to capture droplets of water in a cup.  (NASA Photo)

In training fo a March Space Shuttle mission, Greg Jarvis appears undaunted by weightlessness as he makes attempt to capture droplets of water in a cup. (NASA Photo)

Both have moved “lock, stock and barrel,” wives and dogs included, to Houston where they have begun the last leg of their simulated journey intot space.

They are in training for the events of the mission, experiencing simulated perfect and not-so-perfect shuttle take-offs, on-orbit activities, and landings.

Mr. Jarvis also is preparing to conduct experiments in fluid dynamics.  Fifty hours of his space flight will be dedicated to videotaping fluid activity and recording data for Hughes engineers.

He will examine the motion of fluids in sealed containers and the interaction of fluid activity with spacecraft maneuvers.

“We hope these experiments will improve our understanding of how fluids affect the stability of spacecraft and how they behave in zero gravity,” said Mr. Butterworth.

He explained that as larger, more massive satellites are built, the quantity of liquid fuel that is required to position and maintain them also increases.  The greater amount of fuel can affect the overall balance.

The data that will be obtained is expected to lead to the design of more efficient and less costly satellites.

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About Jack Fisher

Jack was a systems engineer at Hughes from 1961 to 1992. He contributed to various programs including Surveyor, Pioneer Venus, Galileo, Intelsat VI and innumerable proposals. He was the manager of of the Spacecraft Systems Engineering Lab until his retirement. Upon retirement Jack taught systems engineering at a number of national and international venues.