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STS-116 MCC Status Reports


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#16    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 09:33 PM

12.17.06
9:30 a.m. CST Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-16


STS-116 MCC Status Report #16


Astronauts will spend much of today getting ready for a fourth spacewalk during Discovery’s mission to the International Space Station.

On Saturday, Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam and Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams finished rewiring the International Space Station during a 7-hour, 31-minute spacewalk.

After planned tasks had been completed smoothly and ahead of schedule, they also shook a balky solar array wing in hopes of completing its retraction. That helped gain some ground – the wing is about 65 percent retracted, compared to less than 50 percent before the spacewalk. About 11 bays remain deployed, compared to about 17 before.

Managers decided Saturday afternoon to add that fourth spacewalk to Discovery’s visit to the station. This one will be done by Curbeam, who participated in all three of the previous spacewalks, and Christer Fuglesang, a spacewalker on the first two. While Curbeam and Williams were still outside Saturday, mission managers decided to add the spacewalk, scheduled to start at 12:47 p.m. CST on Monday, and to add a day to Discovery’s stay at the station.

Today the station’s Canadarm2 will be moved into position to support the Monday spacewalk. Discovery’s arm will be used to provide camera views. Discovery crew members will reconfigure spacesuits and transfer them to the station’s Quest airlock. At 8:02 p.m., Discovery and station crews will hold a procedure review for the spacewalk.

Curbeam and Fuglesang will begin an overnight “campout” in the airlock, its pressure reduced to 10.2 psi. The crew goes to bed at 12:17 a.m. Monday. The campout is part of a process to avoid any possibility of the two spacewalkers developing decompression sickness in the relatively low pressure of their spacesuits. The suits are pressurized to a little less than 5 psi.

In other activities, transfer of equipment and supplies between the spacecraft is about 70 percent complete. Crewmembers and flight controllers believe it should be mostly finished after today’s work. Shuttle crewmembers Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein and Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick, Curbeam, Fuglesang, Joan Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter, were awakened at 8:17 a.m. CST to the “Beautiful Blue Danube" performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The music was for Fuglesang.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Sunday evening, or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #16

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#17    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 01:45 AM

12.17.06
7 p.m. CST Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-17


STS-116 MCC Status Report #17


Flight controllers today put the finishing touches on plans for the fourth spacewalk recently added to the mission. On board the Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station astronauts finished transferring the bulk of supplies between the two spacecraft.

Monday’s spacewalk is set to begin at 1:12 p.m. as veteran spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang go out to continue attempts to retract a solar array wing. The team has allotted six hours and 30 minutes for the spacewalk, but hopes to have the work completed in about four hours and 30 minutes.

Plans call for Curbeam to work from the end of the station’s Canadarm2 to reach specific areas of the solar array. Today the arm was moved atop its mobile platform into position on the truss railway to support the spacewalk. From the arm, Curbeam can use Kapton tape-insulated tools, including a scraper, needle-nose pliers and an extended bail puller to free up the array for retraction.

The techniques designed to fix the array include lightly pulling on guide wires along the length of the panels, flipping grommets that the wires may be hung up on and gently pushing on hinges in the panels to allow them to fold up.

Fuglesang will work from the truss to assist Curbeam and shake the solar array, as was done in Saturday’s spacewalk, if needed. He will also take photographs of the solar array wing on the other side of the truss to document its configuration before its retraction on the next joint shuttle and station mission.

After the crewmembers work on the array and change its configuration they will move clear as the crew inside the shuttle and station complex attempts to retract the array one bay at a time.

Astronauts Sunita Williams and Joan Higginbotham will operate the station’s robotic arm during the spacewalk. Pilot Bill Oefelein will serve as the spacewalk coordinator.

In other activities, transfer of equipment and supplies between the spacecraft is almost complete. Crewmembers and flight controllers planned for the last bit of transfer to include tools and equipment remaining after the final spacewalk. That work is set to be completed before Discovery undocks from the station Tuesday afternoon.

Shuttle Commander Mark Polansky and astronauts Nicholas Patrick, Curbeam, Oefelein and Higginbotham participated in media interviews at 6:27 p.m.

This evening, the crew has time to review the spacewalk plans before Fuglesang and Curbeam enter the Quest airlock for their third overnight campout together. Lowering the pressure of the airlock to 10.2 psi is part of a process to avoid any possibility of the two spacewalkers developing decompression sickness in the relatively low pressure of their spacesuits. The suits are pressurized to a little less than 5 psi.

The crew goes to bed at 12:17 a.m. Monday and will awaken at 8:17 a.m. for another spacewalk day.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Monday morning or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #17

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#18    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 07:00 PM

12.18.06
10 a.m. CST Monday, Dec. 18, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-18


STS-116 MCC Status Report #18


Discovery and International Space Station crew members will conduct their fourth spacewalk of the week today, an excursion aimed at freeing a snagged, partially retracted station solar array so it will fully fold properly.

Astronaut Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang, a European Space Agency astronaut from Sweden, will venture outside the station at 1:12 p.m. CST. It will be Curbeam's fourth spacewalk of the mission, more than any astronaut has performed during a single shuttle flight, and it will be Fuglesang's third. Using a variety of specially prepared, tape-insulated tools, they will work to complete the retraction of the port solar array wing of the station's P6 truss.

Curbeam and Fuglesang spent the night in the station's Quest airlock in a procedure called a "campout." The air pressure in the compartment was reduced to 10.2 pounds per square inch to assist in purging nitrogen from their bodies, a measure that helps prevent decompression sickness.

The shuttle crew was awakened at 8:17 a.m. CST to the song “Good Vibrations,” performed by the Beach Boys. The song was played for the entire crew in honor of the vibrations the spacewalkers may create today to attempt to free the balky solar panels. As part of the suite of potential activities they have on hand to assist with folding the array, Curbeam and Fuglesang will shake the solar blankets by pushing on the boxes into which they fold. If needed, the spacewalk could last as long as six and a half hours.

Curbeam will be on the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm during the spacewalk. He will be equipped to work on two problems believed to be experienced by the array. One is the apparent jamming of the guide wires in the grommets designed to guide them. The other is some backward, balky folding of hinges between solar panels that has been seen during attempts at retraction. As those issues are dealt with by the spacewalkers, crew members inside will send commands to further fold the array.

Fuglesang will be on the P6 truss. He will push the blanket boxes into which the arrays fold to shake the wing. He also will take pictures, including some of the P6 starboard solar wing. That wing is to be retracted on the next shuttle flight to the station. The photos taken by Fuglesang will assist in the planning of that task.

Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Suni Williams and Discovery Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham will operate the station’s robotic arm during the spacewalk. Pilot Bill Oefelein will serve as the spacewalk coordinator, or intravehicular officer, inside the spacecraft.

The transfer of equipment and supplies between the shuttle and station will continue today as well. Almost all of the 4,292 pounds brought up aboard Discovery has been moved to the station, and the loading of 3,725 pounds of gear in those areas for return to Earth is nearing completion as well. Discovery's undocking from the station is now planned for 4:09 p.m. on Tuesday. Discovery is planned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 2:56 p.m. on Friday.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Monday evening, or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #18

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#19    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 04:01 AM

12.18.06
8 p.m. CST Monday, Dec. 18, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-19


STS-116 MCC Status Report #19


Space Shuttle Discovery Astronauts Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang guided the port overhead solar array wing neatly inside its blanket box during a 6-hour, 38-minute spacewalk.

The coordinated effort with flight controllers finished the retraction begun on Wednesday and set the stage for the shuttle’s spring mission, when the International Space Station’s starboard overhead array will be similarly stowed. The arrays will be moved to the far end of the port truss on STS-120, and redeployed.

Applause broke out in Mission Control when the arrays glided into the retention box at 5:54 CST. Crewmembers aboard the shuttle-station complex praised the ground support team after latches along the array’s two blanket boxes locked at 6:34 p.m. Fuglesang took pictures, including some of the P6 starboard solar wing set to be retracted in March. The photographs will assist in planning for that task.

The P6 arrays were first deployed on the station in November 2000, when they were delivered on STS-97. On Wednesday, flight controllers retracted the array almost halfway, leaving 17 of its 31 bays extended. Then, on Saturday, at the end of the mission’s third spacewalk, Curbeam and helped flight controllers retract six more bays, leaving 11 exposed. In all, flight controllers initiated 71 commands.

During the fourth spacewalk of the mission, Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams and STS-116 Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham used the station's robotic arm to position Curbeam and Fuglesang near the array. Pilot Bill Oefelein choreographed the spacewalk from inside the spacecraft. The two spacewalkers also firmly secured some multi-layer insulation that had been installed on the robotic arm during an earlier spacewalk.

Curbeam set a record as he made his fourth spacewalk of the mission -- more than any astronaut has performed during a single shuttle flight -- and his seventh in support of the station. Curbeam has a total of 45 hours, 34 minutes of spacewalking time. Astronaut Mike Fincke also conducted four spacewalks on the station during Expedition 9.

The total time for spacewalks on this STS-116 mission is 25 hours, 45 minutes.

Also today, the crew completed the transfer of about two tons of equipment and supplies between the shuttle and station and one and a half tons between the station and the shuttle’s pressurized cargo carrier.

Discovery is set to undock from the station tomorrow at 4:09 p.m. CST, and land at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at 2:56 p.m. CST on Friday.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Tuesday morning or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #19

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#20    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 03:33 PM

12.19.06
8:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-20


STS-116 MCC Status Report #20


Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts will leave the orbiting laboratory today after four successful spacewalks, delivery and installation of a new segment of the International Space Station’s main truss and reconfiguring the station’s power system.

During their eight days docked to the station, the shuttle crew also dropped off more than two tons of additional equipment and supplies and a new station crew member.

After some final equipment transfers between the two spacecraft, Discovery crew members will bid their station colleagues farewell. Hatch closing is scheduled for 12:57 p.m. CST. Undocking is to occur at 4:09 p.m.

With Pilot Bill Oefelein at the controls, Discovery will slowly move away from the station. A partial fly-around of the station will give the crew a look at the orbiting laboratory, with its new P5 spacer truss segment and the port wing of the P6 solar array fully retracted and firmly secured in its retention box.

Discovery will begin its departure from the area at about 6 p.m. The crew is to begin its scheduled sleep period at 10:47 p.m. Landing is scheduled for 2:56 p.m. CST Friday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Highlights of docked operations include the four spacewalks. Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam participated in all of them, giving him the record for the number of spacewalks during a single shuttle mission. He teamed up with Sunita Williams, the new station crewmember for the third spacewalk, and with Mission Specialist Christer Fuglesang for the other three.

The first spacewalk was for the P5 truss segment installation, the second and third focused on the power reconfiguration, and the fourth was dedicated to completing retraction of the port solar wing of the P6 truss.

The P6 arrays were deployed in late 2000. On Wednesday almost half the port wing was retracted, leaving 17 bays out. Saturday spacewalkers Curbeam and Williams helped retract six more bays. In a dramatic Monday spacewalk, Curbeam and Fuglesang helped complete the retraction.

Discovery crewmembers -- Commander Mark Polansky, Oefelein and Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick, Curbeam, Fuglesang, Joan Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter, the European Space Agency astronaut from Germany who will be coming home after about six months in space -- were awakened at 7:47 a.m. CST to “The Zamboni Song,” performed by the Gear Daddies. The song, dedicated to the entire crew, was requested by the training team who sent a message to Oefelein saying they had arranged for him to fly the shuttle half a lap around the station.

Aboard the station, Expedition 14 Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Williams got their wakeup tone at 8:17 a.m.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Tuesday afternoon or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #20

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#21    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 02:49 AM

12.19.06
7 p.m. CST Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-21


STS-116 MCC Status Report #21


Crews aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station bid one another farewell at 4:10 p.m. CST today, wrapping up eight days of docked operations.

Staying behind on the newly rewired space station were Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams, and departing with Discovery’s crew was Thomas Reiter, a European Space Agency astronaut on his way home after a six-month space voyage.

Expedition 14 Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin rang the ship’s bell in Navy fashion and saluted the shuttle and crew as they departed. “From the crew of Discovery – we wish you smooth sailing – thank you for the hard work, and we hope you enjoy the new electrical system on the station,” STS-116 Commander Mark Polansky radioed back from a distance of 650 feet during a half-lap fly-around.

Pilot Bill Oefelein was at the controls for the fly-around, which gave Discovery’s crew a look at its handiwork, a new P5 spacer truss segment and a fully retracted P6 solar array wing. During 7 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes of docked operations, the combined crew installed the newest piece of the station’s backbone and completely rewired the station’s power grid over the course of four spacewalks.

Before the hatches closed at 1:42 p.m., Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham and her cargo team had transferred more than two tons of food, water and equipment for use by the Expedition 14 crew and its newest member. They also filled Discovery’s pressurized cargo carrier with equipment and experiment samples returning to Earth.

Discovery fired its orbital maneuvering system engines to finish separation from the station at 6:12 p.m., bound for a landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:56 p.m. Friday, weather permitting.

On Wednesday, Polansky, Oefelein and Mission Specialist Nicholas Patrick will use the shuttle’s robotic arm and the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to inspect Discovery’s heat shield for damage from orbiting debris or micrometeoroids. Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang will work with Higginbotham and Reiter to stow equipment and supplies used during the mission in preparation for landing.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Wednesday morning or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #21

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#22    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 03:32 PM

12.20.06
7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-22


STS-116 MCC Status Report #22


Discovery crew members will make a final check of the shuttle’s heat shields today, using a sensor-equipped 50-foot extension of the shuttle’s robotic arm.

After the inspection, Discovery will deploy two small scientific satellites. A third will be deployed Thursday.

Discovery Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein and Mission Specialist Nicholas Patrick will use the boom and sensor to look at thermal tiles on the shuttle’s underside. They also will inspect the reinforced carbon-carbon that protects the leading edges of the wings and the nose.

The heat shield inspection activities begin at 9:52 a.m. CST with the unberthing of the boom extension. Scanning of the heat shield with the sensor system begins at 10:52 a.m. and should take about five hours. The boom is to be reberthed into its cradle along the right side of the shuttle cargo bay at 4:22 p.m.

During the inspection, other Discovery astronauts will stow equipment in preparation for landing. Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam, Christer Fuglesang, Joan Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter will begin packing up in the shuttle’s cabin and the Spacehab module in its cargo bay.

At about 6:19 p.m. CST, the Microelectromechanical System-Based PICOSAT Inspector (MEPSI) mini-satellite will be released from Discovery's cargo bay. The coffee cup-sized satellite will demonstrate the use of tiny, low-power satellites to observe larger spacecraft. It will test the function of small camera systems and gyroscopes.

At about 7:56 p.m. CST, the Radar Fence Transponder (RAFT) satellite will be released from the cargo bay. The satellite is a student experiment from the United States Naval Academy that uses picosatellites to test the Space Surveillance Radar Fence.

All activities aboard Discovery are aimed toward a landing that would begin with a deorbit engine firing by the shuttle at 1:53 p.m. CST Friday that would lead to a touchdown at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 2:56 p.m. CST Friday. Mission Control continues to monitor the weather in Florida, and shuttle landing opportunities at both Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and at White Sands Space Harbor, N.M., also will be considered on Friday.

Fuglesang and Reiter are European Space Agency astronauts. Fuglesang, from Sweden, participated in three of the four spacewalks during Discovery’s stay at the station. Curbeam set a record for spacewalks on a shuttle mission, performing four. Reiter, from Germany, is returning aboard Discovery after six months on the station.

Discovery’s crew was awakened at 6:47 a.m. by “Say You’ll be Mine,” performed by Christopher Cross. It was for Reiter.

On the orbiting laboratory, Expedition 14 Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Sunita Williams are beginning a light-duty day after eight days of joint operations with Discovery. At 6:30 a.m. CST they were trailing Discovery by about 730 statute miles. The gap was increasing by more than 80 miles with each 91-minute orbit of the Earth.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Wednesday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #22

12.20.06
7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-22


STS-116 MCC Status Report #22


Discovery crew members will make a final check of the shuttle’s heat shields today, using a sensor-equipped 50-foot extension of the shuttle’s robotic arm.

After the inspection, Discovery will deploy two small scientific satellites. A third will be deployed Thursday.

Discovery Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein and Mission Specialist Nicholas Patrick will use the boom and sensor to look at thermal tiles on the shuttle’s underside. They also will inspect the reinforced carbon-carbon that protects the leading edges of the wings and the nose.

The heat shield inspection activities begin at 9:52 a.m. CST with the unberthing of the boom extension. Scanning of the heat shield with the sensor system begins at 10:52 a.m. and should take about five hours. The boom is to be reberthed into its cradle along the right side of the shuttle cargo bay at 4:22 p.m.

During the inspection, other Discovery astronauts will stow equipment in preparation for landing. Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam, Christer Fuglesang, Joan Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter will begin packing up in the shuttle’s cabin and the Spacehab module in its cargo bay.

At about 6:19 p.m. CST, the Microelectromechanical System-Based PICOSAT Inspector (MEPSI) mini-satellite will be released from Discovery's cargo bay. The coffee cup-sized satellite will demonstrate the use of tiny, low-power satellites to observe larger spacecraft. It will test the function of small camera systems and gyroscopes.

At about 7:56 p.m. CST, the Radar Fence Transponder (RAFT) satellite will be released from the cargo bay. The satellite is a student experiment from the United States Naval Academy that uses picosatellites to test the Space Surveillance Radar Fence.

All activities aboard Discovery are aimed toward a landing that would begin with a deorbit engine firing by the shuttle at 1:53 p.m. CST Friday that would lead to a touchdown at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 2:56 p.m. CST Friday. Mission Control continues to monitor the weather in Florida, and shuttle landing opportunities at both Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and at White Sands Space Harbor, N.M., also will be considered on Friday.

Fuglesang and Reiter are European Space Agency astronauts. Fuglesang, from Sweden, participated in three of the four spacewalks during Discovery’s stay at the station. Curbeam set a record for spacewalks on a shuttle mission, performing four. Reiter, from Germany, is returning aboard Discovery after six months on the station.

Discovery’s crew was awakened at 6:47 a.m. by “Say You’ll be Mine,” performed by Christopher Cross. It was for Reiter.

On the orbiting laboratory, Expedition 14 Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Sunita Williams are beginning a light-duty day after eight days of joint operations with Discovery. At 6:30 a.m. CST they were trailing Discovery by about 730 statute miles. The gap was increasing by more than 80 miles with each 91-minute orbit of the Earth.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Wednesday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #22

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#23    Waspie_Dwarf

Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 02:16 AM

12.20.06
8:30 p.m. CST Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-23


STS-116 MCC Status Report #23


Inspection of Discovery’s heat shield was conducted today as the seven crewmembers began the task of preparing their ship for their high-speed return to Earth on Friday.

One hour after removing the sensor-equipped 50-foot Orbiter Boom Sensor System from the payload bay with the shuttle’s robotic arm, Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein and Mission Specialist Nicholas Patrick began to scan the reinforced carbon-carbon surface of Discovery’s wings and its nose cap to ensure the shuttle incurred no micrometeoroid debris damage during its time in space. The six-hour inspection was completed at 4:22 p.m. Imagery and damage assessment teams at the Johnson Space Center immediately began analyzing the data. A report will be offered to mission managers on Thursday.

While the inspection was conducted, Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam, Joan Higginbotham and European Space Agency astronauts Christer Fuglesang and Thomas Reiter began to pack up equipment for Discovery’s scheduled landing Friday at the Kennedy Space Center. With only one wave-off day available on Saturday, backup landing sites at Edwards Air Force Base, CA and the White Sands Space Harbor, NM are being activated for landing support Friday in the event weather diverts the shuttle and its crew from the Florida spaceport. Discovery’s scheduled landing time at the Kennedy Space Center Friday is 2:56 p.m. CST.

Late today, Discovery’s astronauts sent commands to deploy small technology demonstration satellites for the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program.

The crew deployed a pair of coffee cup-sized satellites at 6:19 p.m. CST to demonstrate how a small, low-powered autonomous satellite can observe larger spacecraft. The Micro-Electromechanical System-Based PICOSAT Inspector, known as MEPSI, may one day use on-board imagery to assess spacecraft damage.

The crew then released another pair of small scientific satellites as part of a student experiment sponsored by the United States Naval Academy at 7:58 p.m. CST. The Radar Fence Transponder, or RAFT, experiment is designed to test technology for new spacecraft design.

The last satellite experiment, the Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment, or ANDE, will be deployed from Discovery’s payload bay Thursday afternoon. ANDE consists of two spherical microsatellites that will measure the density and composition of the low Earth orbit atmosphere while being tracked from the ground. The data will be used to better predict the movement of objects in orbit.

Aboard the International Space Station, the newly comprised Expedition 14 crew, Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Suni Williams, enjoyed their first full day together after Discovery’s departure yesterday.

Discovery’s astronauts will begin its sleep period just after 10 p.m. CST and will be awakened Thursday at 6:17 p.m. for a day in which they will check out the shuttle’s aero surfaces and steering jets in preparation for Friday’s landing.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Thursday morning, or earlier, if events warrant.


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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #23

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 21 December 2006 - 05:31 PM.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#24    Waspie_Dwarf

Waspie_Dwarf

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  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

    Oscar Wilde

Posted 21 December 2006 - 05:30 PM

12.21.06
11 a.m. CST Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-24


STS-116 MCC Status Report #24


Discovery’s astronauts will spend today preparing to return to Earth. They will test flight control surfaces, steering jets and other entry and landing systems while they stow equipment in Discovery’s cabin.

The crew, Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein, and mission specialists Bob Curbeam, Nicholas Patrick, Christer Fuglesang, Joan Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter, were awakened at 6:17 a.m. CST to the song “The Road Less Traveled,” performed by Joe Sample. It was played for Higginbotham.

The crew began stowing gear away at 8:47 a.m., with all seven crewmembers participating off and on during the day.

Polansky, Oefelein and Curbeam, who serves as flight engineer, checked out flight control surfaces – the wing and body flaps and the rudder – beginning at 9:17 a.m. CST. At 10:27 a.m., they began a test firing of the shuttle's steering jets used during the early portions of descent from orbit.

Fuglesang and Higginbotham will deploy the third of three small satellites from Discovery's cargo bay today. The first two were successfully pushed into space Wednesday. The Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment (ANDE) microsatellite will be deployed at 12:19 p.m. The satellite will gather information on atmospheric drag in low orbit.

After lunch, all seven crewmembers will talk with reporters from CNN and ABC, and with students at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai, Alaska.

The crew will review deorbit procedures at 2:32 p.m. CST. The KU-band antenna, used as the primary method to transmit television to the ground among other communications, will be stowed for landing at 7:17 p.m. CST. The crew begins a sleep period at 10:17 p.m.

Shuttle landing sites at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.; and at White Sands Space Harbor, N.M. all will be active for a landing on Friday. The weather forecast currently calls for a chance of rain and low clouds at Kennedy; potential strong crosswinds at Edwards; and acceptable landing conditions at White Sands.

Discovery’s first landing opportunity Friday is to Kennedy, beginning with a deorbit engine firing at 1:49 p.m. CST with wheels touching down at 2:56 p.m. CST. The next opportunity is to Edwards with an engine firing to begin descent at 3:19 p.m. CST leading to a 4:27 p.m. touchdown. The first opportunity to land at White Sands begins with an engine firing at 3:20 p.m. CST leading to a touchdown in New Mexico at 4:32 p.m.

Opportunities also exist for Discovery to land at Edwards with a descent beginning with an engine firing at 4:54 p.m. CST leading to touchdown at 6 p.m. CST. A second opportunity to land at White Sands begins with an engine firing by the shuttle at 4:57 p.m. CST leading to a 6:02 p.m. touchdown.

The final landing opportunity available for Discovery on Friday is to Edwards, beginning with an engine firing at 6:32 p.m. CST leading to a touchdown at 7:36 p.m. CST.

Discovery is now about 2,200 statute miles ahead of the International Space Station. The distance increases by about 92 miles with each orbit.

Two station crew members, Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, are about half way through their six-month increment. The third crewmember, Flight Engineer Sunita Williams, came to the station aboard Discovery and is just beginning her six months on the station with the last half of Expedition 14 and the first half of Expedition 15.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Thursday evening, or earlier, if events warrant.
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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #24

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#25    Waspie_Dwarf

Waspie_Dwarf

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  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

    Oscar Wilde

Posted 22 December 2006 - 03:49 AM

12.21.06
11 a.m. CST Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-25


STS-116 MCC Status Report #25


Discovery’s astronauts completed preparations for a planned return to Earth on Friday and received word from Mission Control that their final inspection showed the shuttle’s heat shield is in good shape.

STS-116 Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein, and Flight Engineer Bob Curbeam started checking out Discovery’s aerodynamic control surfaces at 9:31 a.m. CST, and test firing the shuttle's steering jets at 10:11 a.m. The commander and pilot also practiced landings on a laptop computer trainer, and performed final checks of the communications systems that will be used for landing.

A little later in the day, Mission Specialists Christer Fuglesang and Joan Higginbotham deployed a third small satellite from the shuttle’s cargo bay. The Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment (ANDE) microsatellite, ejected at 12:23 p.m., will gather information on atmospheric drag in low-Earth orbit. The first two microsatellites were deployed Wednesday.

Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick joined the rest of the crew in talking with reporters from CNN and ABC. Oefelein, who considers Anchorage, Alaska, to be his hometown, was the main focus of questions from students at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai.

Throughout the day, the crew took turns securing their gear for landing. The crew will awaken at 6:17 a.m. Friday, and begin final deorbit preparations at 9:48 a.m.

Entry Flight Director Norm Knight said landing sites at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.; and White Sands Space Harbor, N.M., all will be activated to support landing. The Friday forecast calls for a chance of rain and low clouds at Kennedy; potential strong crosswinds at Edwards; and acceptable landing conditions at White Sands.

Knight said the entry team’s strategy will be to watch weather conditions carefully, focusing – in order – on the first landing opportunity in Florida, the second opportunities in Florida and California, and the third opportunities in California and New Mexico. A fourth California opportunity is available, but may not be used. Saturday landing opportunities are available at all three locations if weather prohibits a Friday landing.

Discovery’s first landing opportunity Friday is to Kennedy, beginning with a deorbit engine firing at 1:49 p.m. CST with wheels touching down at 2:56 p.m. CST. The next opportunity is to Edwards with an engine firing at 3:19 p.m. CST leading to a 4:27 p.m. touchdown. The first opportunity to land at White Sands begins with an engine firing at 3:20 p.m. CST leading to a touchdown in New Mexico at 4:27 p.m.

Opportunities also exist for Discovery to land at Edwards with an engine firing at 4:54 p.m. CST leading to touchdown at 6 p.m. CST. A second opportunity to land at White Sands begins with an engine firing by the shuttle at 4:57 p.m. CST leading to a 6:02 p.m.

touchdown. The final Friday landing opportunity is to Edwards, beginning with an engine firing at 6:32 p.m. CST leading to a touchdown at 7:36 p.m. CST.

Meanwhile, the Expedition 14 crew aboard the International Space Station, is settling back to normal operations with its new member, Flight Engineer Sunita Williams. Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, are about halfway through their six-month increment. Williams, who arrived aboard Discovery, is just beginning her six months on the station. She’ll span the last half of Expedition 14 and the first half of Expedition 15.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Friday morning or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #25

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#26    Waspie_Dwarf

Waspie_Dwarf

    Space Cadet

  • 32,144 posts
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  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

    Oscar Wilde

Posted 22 December 2006 - 09:02 PM

12.22.06
9 a.m. CST Friday, Dec. 22, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-26


STS-116 MCC Status Report #26


Discovery’s wakeup call said it all. The song was “Home for the Holidays,” sung by Perry Como for the crew, requested by the Mission Control Center.

That 6:18 a.m. CST call began a day that the crew and their support teams on the ground hope will see Discovery return to Earth after a successful flight to the International Space Station. After eight docked days and four spacewalks, the shuttle left the station with a new truss segment, a new crew member and a reconfigured power system.

All three U.S. landing sites will be activated today. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the preferred shuttle landing site, will be the first opportunity, which would see a landing at 2:56 p.m. On the subsequent orbit the focus will be on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and KSC. On the orbit after that Edwards and White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico would be the centers of attention.

Weather at Kennedy and Edwards is questionable. If the crew does not don its entry suits for the first Kennedy opportunity, a final landing chance of the day at Edwards is available to Discovery. Here are predicted CST times.

linked-image

A total of seven landing opportunities scattered among the three sites are available Saturday if the shuttle is not able to land today.

For today’s opportunities, Discovery crew members, Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein, and mission specialists Bob Curbeam, Nicholas Patrick, Christer Fuglesang, Joan Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter, who is returning home after about six months on the station, will begin deorbit preparations at 9:52 a.m. Payload bay door closing would be at 11:13 a.m. for the first landing opportunity.

Aboard the station, Expedition 14 Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Sunita Williams, the new crew member who came up on Discovery, are back to their regular schedule. They got their wakeup tone today at midnight CST (6 a.m. in the GMT kept aboard the orbiting laboratory) and will begin a sleep period at 3:30 p.m.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Friday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.
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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #26

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#27    Waspie_Dwarf

Waspie_Dwarf

    Space Cadet

  • 32,144 posts
  • Joined:03 Mar 2006
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  • Location:Bexleyheath, Kent, UK

  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

    Oscar Wilde

Posted 23 December 2006 - 02:38 AM

12.22.06
5 p.m. CST Friday, Dec. 22, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-116-27


STS-116 MCC Status Report #27


The crew of Space Shuttle Discovery made it home in time for Christmas, gliding to a perfect landing as the sun set over NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Discovery touched down on Runway 15 of the Shuttle Landing Facility at 4:32 p.m. CST. The crew had spent 12 days, 20 hours and 44 minutes in flight. Discovery’s nose gear touched down at 4:32 p.m. exactly, and the shuttle's wheels came to a stop 52 seconds later.

After an afternoon in limbo, weather conditions along Florida’s Space Coast took a dramatic turn for the better, giving flight controllers confidence that a band of approaching showers would dissipate before the orbiter’s arrival. The first opportunity for landing at Kennedy was waved off because of stormy weather, and first chance at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., passed due to gusty winds.

The landing was the 63rd to touch down in Florida, but did not qualify as a night landing.

Discovery crew members, Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein, and mission specialists Bob Curbeam, Nicholas Patrick, Christer Fuglesang, Joan Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter, who is returning home after about six months on the station, will return to Houston on Saturday. A welcoming ceremony for the crew's return to Houston is planned at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at NASA Hangar 276 at Ellington Field.

During Discovery’s mission to the International Space Station, the crew continued construction of the outpost adding the P5 spacer truss segment during the first of four spacewalks. The next two spacewalks rewired the station’s power system, preparing it to support the station’s final configuration and the arrival of additional science modules. A fourth spacewalk was added to allow the crew to retract solar arrays that had folded improperly.

Discovery also delivered a new crew member and more than two tons of equipment and supplies to the station, most of which were located in the SPACEHAB cargo module. Almost two tons of items no longer needed on the station returned to Earth with STS-116.

The next shuttle mission, targeted for March, will deliver a second starboard truss segment and a third set of solar arrays and batteries during the Space Shuttle Program's 21st mission to the station.

This is the final STS-116 mission status report.
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Source: NASA - STS-116 MCC Status Report #27

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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