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A Passionate Life.... By Anne Lenehan /Page 9

There were a number of highlights for Story during this mission, including the sighting of the Russian space station Mir passing as a very bright "comet" at a distance of a mere 23 nautical miles. For this mission, the crew launched at night time on November 24 and Story made a note of it in his journal:

"I arrived prior to sunset, so took in the day, the sunset, the shadows on the spacecraft and of the spacecraft, then took in the night ocean and the night sky, the earth, the life and the heavens. For some unknown reason, I feel most at home going in the middle of the night, as if that is where this business belongs - it makes it even more unusual than it is already."

STS-44 ended prematurely on December 1 at Edwards Air Force Base due to the failure of one of the measuring devices used for navigation.

In March of 1992, Story was asked to become Payload Commander on the soon-to-be-historic first Hubble Space Telescope repair mission. He was 58 years old and still in peak form for the job. He wrote in his journal:

“What a marvellous mission, what an opportunity - I'm back in my EVA world..... will get to do a really significant human EVA to open our eyes to the universe. That Story, that little Linwood boy, that St Mark's drop-out gets to do it is still a dream. I feel so deeply about HST. I felt so deeply when I was Capsule Communicator for that deploy."

The training for this mission was extensive and involved literally thousands of people across the space industry - from the manufacturers of the telescope, to astronomers, to academics and the whole NASA community which trained for and launched each space shuttle. Story suffered a personal setback during training while testing the tools for the mission in a simulated environment of minus 170 degrees. Story emerged from the 13 hour simulation with 7 black fingers - the result of frostbite. Fortunately, Story was able to recover in time to resume spacewalking training and the mission continued as planned. The space shuttle Endeavour launched with the crew on December 2, 1993 - another nighttime launch.


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