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OV-102 (Columbia)
April 12-14, 1981

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National Press Interviews Prime Crew Astronauts

From the Rockwell News - February 4, 1981
Rockwell International, Space Operations
When the Space Shuttle Columbia takes off in April, it will be with a full vote of confidence from prime crew astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen.

"If there is a vehicle we can have confidence in, I believe it's this vehicle," Young said during a press confer- ence late in January. There are something like 3600 tests run on this vehicle as well as 9000 analyses run on computers, Young told a reporter when questioned about confidence in the Columbia.

The astronauts' press conference was conducted at Johnson Space Center, Houston, after conclusion of the sixth 54-1/2 hour Mission Simulation Test there. Reporters at six different loca- tions throughout the United States were linked to the Columbia's prime crew via television.

"The major problems are now behind us and right now the vehicle is looking super down at the Cape," Crippen said.

Both astronauts agreed that the Shuttle will put America into a whole new era of space operations, with the potential of people working and living in space colonies.

Routine access to space, with the Shuttle, is very important to developing the kinds of science and technology, Young said, that will lead to the colonization of space.

Right now the vehicle is 10 years ahead of what any other country in the world can do, Young said, and it will enable us to do in space in five or ten years, what it would take 20 to 30 years to do without it.

"We think that the United States, one of these days, ought to have a permanently orbiting, manned space station," said Young, "and with this vehicle we'll be able to do it for one tenth of the cost it would take to do so without it."

As we move closer to launch in April, the astronauts will continue numerous training exercises. They will undergo another 54-1/2 hour Mission Simulation Test this month in conjunction with the Flight Readiness Firing at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

They will also continue at least weekly flights of their Shuttle Training Aircraft, a modified Gulfstream II, which they fly from landing strips at Edwards AFB, Calif., White Sands Missile Range, N.M., and Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Crippen and Young will also practice simulations of Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) with the payload bay doors and continue work in the water immersion facility, at Johnson Space Center which simulates zero gravity conditions.

The astronauts will arrive at the Cape two days before the launch. The day before launch, they will fly the Shuttle Training Aircraft in a profile similar to the Return To Launch Site abort profile. They will receive briefings on systems and weather and will also fly a T-38 aircraft.

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