STS -400 (English Space Transportation System) is the name for a mission not conducted a rescue mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour ( OV -105 ) from NASA. It would be the 23rd flight of Endeavour and the 127th and final flight may have been in the Space Shuttle program. Objective of the mission was to rescue the seven crew members of the Hubble Servicing Mission STS -125 in the event of irreparable damage to the Atlantis.

Planned team

The crew of the rescue mission consisted of four of the astronauts, the STS-126 mission conducted in November 2008: Commander, Pilot and two mission specialists with experience in spacewalks:

  • Chris Ferguson ( third space flight), Commander
  • Stephen Bowen ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Robert Kimbrough ( second space flight), Mission Specialist

Originally this four members of the crew of STS -123 were provided in March 2008:

  • Dominic Gorie ( fifth space flight), Commander
  • Gregory H. Johnson ( second space flight), Pilot
  • Michael Foreman ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Robert Behnken ( second space flight), Mission Specialist

Meanwhile, however, Mike Foreman mission STS -129 and Bob Behnken mission STS -130 have been allocated. Both flights were carried out until late 2009 or early 2010. For this reason, was assigned to a different team STS -400.

Main differences to a normal rescue mission

While the International Space Station ( ISS) serves as a safe haven for the main mission for a normal rescue mission, this is not reachable from the orbit of Hubble. Therefore had to be developed for the rescue of a Hubblewartungsmission a new rescue plan. This includes a system based on three spacewalks transition.


After their last mission, the Endeavour was brought to the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF ) where the routine Nachinspektionen were performed. Then she was ready for the event that the crew of the STS -124 mission would have been forced due to a defective heat shield to stay on the ISS as a rescue shuttle for the STS- 326. After a successful end of the STS -124 mission began on July 11, 2008 in the Vehicle Assembly Building ( VAB), the preparations for the flight by was begun to assemble the Solid Rocket Booster. On August 11, the external tank arrived, which was installed on August 29 between the booster. The assembly of the Endeavour on the external tank was made on September 12, a day after the rollover from the OPF to the VAB, so the rollout to the launch 39B could take place on September 19.

Change of plan

By Hubble's scientific formatting computer that precipitated the end of September and was replaced during STS -125, STS -125 mission was postponed until at least January 2009. The Atlantis was discharged on 13 October and returned on 20 October in the VAB. The Endeavour was transferred on 23 October to the launch base 39A and launched from there to the STS -126 mission.

Since the Endeavour was already prepared at this time as a rescue shuttle, their main mission STS -126, however, was now brought forward and it was replaced by the Discovery as a rescue shuttle, this is the only shuttle mission, were actively prepared for the two shuttles. Due to this change, a change of mission STS -401 designation in could not be excluded.

On 30 October it was announced that the spare part is not available before April 2009, which is why the role of the rescue shuttle was passed back to the Endeavour.

In early 2009 it was announced that we draw a previously rejected option again into consideration in order to ensure a July launch of Ares IX. This "single pad" called option would bring the Endeavour before Atlantis to the launch base 39A and as far as possible to prepare, so it can be rolled into the VAB again. The Atlantis would then drive to the launch and start normally. Then, it would prepare the starting line for another start, so that the Endeavour could launch later than 15 days after Atlantis. If you choose this option, the Constellation program starting unit 39B would take over immediately and can modify as much as for the launch of Ares IX. However, it remained with the "Dual Pad " version, since the preparations were on Ares IX behind schedule and the greatest work was already completed at the launch site.

The Endeavour was transferred on 10 April to the VAB where it was mounted over the Easter weekend on the external tank. It was moved on April 17 to the launch base 39B. To ensure a fast start in an emergency, the crew went on May 11, 2009 in quarantine. A few days later, the Endeavour reached the state it before the countdown starts, three days before the start, must have. She remained in this configuration until the countdown has started on May 20 in order to shorten the reaction time. Just one day later, the Atlantis has been granted permission to return and the Endeavour freed from their rescue mission. The Atlantis landed on May 24 at Edwards Air Force Base. A week later, the Endeavour to the launch 39A was converted, from which they launched on mission STS -127 on July 15.

Mission plan

Been during the first flight of the day, the loading bay doors were opened and the Orbiter Boom Sensor System ( OBSS ) for the inspection of the heat shield on the second flight day prepared by the manipulator from the remote system (RMS) would have been taken. During the first flight of the day several engine start for the necessary orbital altitude of 600 km would have taken care of. During the flight day two you would have the OBSS away again and there would be preparations have been made ​​for the astronauts to be rescued. In addition, you would have the present on the rescue shuttle space suit ( Extravehicular Mobility Unit EMU ) for the transfer to the Atlantis prepared. Finally, the rendezvous with Atlantis had been carried out and this one would have taken with the Endeavour robot arm.

On the third day a spacewalk was planned. During the exit Megan McArthur and Andrew Feustel were switched. In addition, the EMU would be transferred in the opposite direction and a rope between the airlocks been strained. John Grunsfeld would also be switched, however, would have participated in the second exit on the following day, during which he four Advanced Crew Escape Suits ( Suits ACE ) would have helped the Atlantis in the transport of two spacesuits for and. In addition, Gregory H. Johnson would be switched. Grunsfeld would have also increased in the Endeavour and replaced by Michael Massimino, who would have participated in the second and third exit. During the last exit he had, Scott Altman and Michael Good and changed the last three takeoff and landing suits to the rescue shuttle Endeavour, but the Hubble servicing mission shuttle would have to be re- released by the rescue shuttle. In addition, one would have the rope away and kept ready to solve the robot arm of the Endeavour manually if necessary.

On flight day five, the late inspection of the heat shield would have taken place on flight day six we would have tried to land at the Kennedy Space Center.

The Atlantis would have been brought to burn-out by a destructive re-entry and the debris would come down north of Hawaii.