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Waspie_Dwarf

STS-115 MCC Status Reports

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The MCC Status Reports issued by NASA are similar to the Shuttle Processing Status Reports except that they are updates on a mission in progress rather than shuttle ground activities.

Status reports for the previous mission can be found here: STS-121 MCC Status Reports.

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09.09.06
12 p.m. CDT, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-01

STS-115 MCC Status Report #01

Atlantis launched into an almost clear Florida sky this morning for an 11-day mission that marks the return to assembly of the International Space Station.

Today marks the first time in almost four years that a major new space station component has been launched. Atlantis' mission begins a series of complex station expansion missions that will be among the most challenging spaceflights in history.

Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut, lifted off at 10:15 a.m. CDT. The launch followed a flawless countdown.

During the climb to orbit, Mission Control asked the crew to reconfigure a cooling system that apparently had ice build up. The reconfiguration cleared the system, called the Flash Evaporator System, and it operated normally. Temporary ice in that cooling unit is not uncommon and has occurred on previous missions.

Moments after main engine cutoff, 8.5 minutes after liftoff, Tanner and MacLean used handheld video and digital still cameras to document the external tank after it separated from the shuttle. That imagery, as well as imagery gathered by cameras in the shuttle’s umbilical well where the tank was connected, will be transmitted to the ground for review.

As Atlantis launched, the space station was 220 miles above the northern Atlantic Ocean, between Greenland and Iceland. Aboard the outpost are Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, a Russian cosmonaut; Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams; and Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter of the European Space Agency. They watched the launch via a live television transmission from Houston. Atlantis is set to dock to the complex at about 5:46 a.m. CDT Sept. 11.

Atlantis' crew will install the 17.5-ton, bus-sized P3/P4 integrated truss section to the station that includes a second set of solar arrays, batteries and associated electronics. The addition eventually will double the station’s capability to generate power from sunlight. The girder-like P3/P4 truss is 45 feet long.

Three spacewalks are planned to install the truss, deploy the arrays and prepare them for operation. Two teams, Tanner and Piper and Burbank and MacLean, will conduct the spacewalks.

During the mission, a thorough inspection will be performed in orbit of Atlantis' heat shield as has been done on the past two shuttle flights. Atlantis' time at the station could be extended by one or two days if needed to allow more time to complete those inspections or other operations. A second inspection of the heat shield is planned after Atlantis departs the station near the end of the flight to ensure it remains in good condition for landing.

When Atlantis arrives at the station, it will mark only the second time that as many as four of the station's five international partners have been represented onboard.

STS-115 is the 116th space shuttle mission and the 19th to visit the station. Atlantis is making its 27th flight and sixth trip to the station.

Atlantis’ crew begins an eight-hour sleep period at 4:15 p.m. CDT. The astronauts will awaken at 12:15 a.m. CDT Sunday to begin their first full day in orbit.

The next STS-115 status report will be issued shortly after crew wakeup, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #01

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09.10.06
1:30 a.m. CDT, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-02

STS-115 MCC Status Report #02

After days of waking up in quarantine, the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis woke up in weightlessness for its first full day in space.

The six-person crew of Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Joe Tanner and Steve MacLean awoke at 12:17 a.m. CDT to Audrey Hepburn singing “Moon River,” played for Jett at the request of his wife, Janet.

Today’s busy schedule is typical of the mission ahead. After their initial post-sleep period, the crewmembers will begin preparations for the day’s many tasks.

Jett and Ferguson will start the day with a burn of the orbiter maneuvering system to help position the shuttle on its course to the International Space Station. Jett will then do shuttle system checks and maneuvers, camera setups and water configurations.

For Ferguson, the rest of the workday will be dedicated to shuttle survey activities. Operating the robotics visualization software program, Ferguson will work with Burbank and MacLean to survey Atlantis' thermal protection system. They will grapple and unberth the 50-foot-long orbiter boom sensor system, a crane extension for the shuttle's robotic arm. The extension uses two lasers and a high-resolution television camera to examine the shuttle’s wing leading edges and nose cap for any signs of damage that may have occurred during launch. Imagery analysts at the Johnson Space Center in Houston will examine data from the survey to assess Atlantis’ critical surfaces.

Tanner and Stefanyshyn-Piper will check out the spacesuits and tools that they, Burbank and MacLean will use during the mission’s three scheduled spacewalks. They’ll also make preparations of the items to be transferred to the station as well as perform photo and video setups. At the end of the day, Stefanyshyn-Piper and Ferguson will check out the rendezvous tools.

The next STS-115 status report will be issued Sunday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #02

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09.10.06
5 p.m. CDT, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-03

STS-115 MCC Status Report #03

It was a productive day for the six astronauts onboard Atlantis. The crew inspected the shuttle's heat shield, prepared for docking to the International Space Station and readied spacesuits for the upcoming three spacewalks.

The crew thoroughly examined Atlantis with the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, the 50-foot-long extension for the shuttle's robotic arm. Pilot Chris Ferguson and mission specialists Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean performed a slow, steady inspection of the reinforced carbon-carbon panels along the leading edge of Atlantis’ starboard and port wings and the nose cap. Imagery analysts at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will review data from the survey to assess Atlantis’ critical surfaces. As yet no decision has been made whether a more focused inspection will be performed later in the flight.

The crew worked ahead of schedule for most of the day readying the ship for docking and preparing for the mission’s three planned spacewalks.

Mission specialists Joe Tanner and Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper checked out the spacesuits and tools that they, Burbank and MacLean will use during spacewalks set for flight days 4, 5 and 7. The spacewalks are planned to install the girder-like P3/P4 truss, deploy new solar arrays and prepare them for operation.

On the space station, Expedition 13 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams prepared the orbiting laboratory for Atlantis’ arrival tomorrow. He readied the digital cameras that will be used to take high-resolution photos of the shuttle's heat shield. With help from Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Williams pressurized the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 at the end of the U.S. laboratory Destiny, where Atlantis will dock. Vinogradov also prepacked equipment that will be returned.

Tomorrow, flight day 3 of the mission, Jett will take over manual control of Atlantis and begin a slow back-flip rotation of the orbiter. This will allow Vinogradov and Williams to photograph the shuttle’s heat shield.

Once the back-flip is complete, Jett will maneuver Atlantis to docking, setting the stage for a week of joint operations between the two crews.

Even before the hatches are opened, Ferguson and Burbank will use the shuttle’s robotic arm to grapple the massive P3/P4 truss. Once the hatches are open, MacLean will join Williams at the robotic work station in the Destiny to maneuver the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm for a handoff of the truss from Ferguson and Burbank. The truss will remain grappled to the Canadarm2 overnight on flight day 3.

Crew sleep began at 3:15 p.m. CDT. Wake up is planned for 11:15 p.m. tonight. Docking is scheduled for 5:46 a.m. Monday, Flight Day 3.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Monday morning or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #03

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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09.11.06
2 a.m. CDT, Monday, Sept. 11, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-04

STS-115 MCC Status Report #04

The Space Shuttle Atlantis crew has begun a busy and exciting day. The shuttle and the International Space Station are scheduled to dock at 5:46 a.m. CDT and begin seven days of joint operations.

The crew awoke at 11:15 p.m. to a solo cello performance by Dan Burbank’s children. About an hour later the crew began rendezvous operations. As Atlantis approaches the station, Commander Brent Jett and Pilot Chris Ferguson will do the rendezvous pitch maneuver. The maneuver, essentially a back flip, lets the station crew photograph Atlantis' heat shield.

Throughout the morning, other shuttle crewmembers, mission specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean, will conduct other tasks including filling spacesuit water containers, photo and video setups, and exercise.

Once docked, they’ll do leak checks before opening the hatches to the space station. Meanwhile, Ferguson and Burbank will attach the shuttle's robotic arm to the P3/P4 Truss in the payload bay and prepare for its unberthing and handover to the station's Canadarm2. The two crews are expected to meet personally in space a little before 7 a.m. After their initial greetings, and a standard safety briefing, both teams move into one of the biggest tasks of the mission, moving P3/P4 to its new home in space.

Ferguson and Burbank will unberth the 17.5 ton truss from Atlantis’ cargo hold and maneuver it to the grapple position for the station arm. MacLean will join Expedition 13 NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams at the controls of the Candarm2, becoming the first Canadian to operate it in space.

Other crewmembers will begin transfer activities, check out spacewalk equipment and review procedures for the mission's three spacewalks. The day will end with Stefanyshyn-Piper and Tanner moving into the Quest Airlock, its pressure reduced to 10.2 psi, in the pre-spacewalk “campout” protocol. The station crew is scheduled for sleep at 2:45 p.m. and the shuttle crew 30 minutes later.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Monday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #04

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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09.11.06
5 p.m. CDT, Monday, Sept. 11, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-05

STS-115 MCC Status Report #05

The Space Shuttle Atlantis crew entered the International Space Station complex this morning at 7:35 a.m. CDT giving a wave and smiles to Mission Control operators on the ground in Houston.

“Station, we see you have visitors. Tell them to give us a wave,” said astronaut Pam Melroy, serving as CAPCOM for the space station.

The shuttle and space station docked this morning at 5:48 a.m. CDT to begin seven days of joint operations. Hatch opening between the two spacecraft occurred at 7:30 a.m. CDT with a joyful welcome of hugs and smiles.

Prior to docking, Commander Brent Jett flew Atlantis through an orbital back flip while stationed about 600 feet below the space station. The maneuver allowed the Expedition 13 crew to take a series of high-resolution photographs of the orbiter’s heat shield.

Following docking, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialist Dan Burbank attached the shuttle's robotic arm to the 17.5-ton P3/P4 truss, lifted it from its berth in the payload bay, and maneuvered it for handover to the station's Canadarm2.

After hatch opening, Mission Specialist Steve MacLean and Expedition 13 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams then used the Canadarm2 to take the truss from the shuttle’s robotic arm. MacLean is the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm2 in space.

The day ended with a “campout,” but no marshmallows, in the Quest Airlock. Mission specialists Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Joe Tanner are sleeping in the airlock tonight to prepare for Tuesday’s spacewalk. The “campout” protocol will help rid the two of nitrogen in their bloodstreams and will shorten their final spacewalk preparations.

Piper and Tanner will work to connect power cables on the P3/P4 truss, release restraints for the Solar Array Blanket Boxes that hold the solar arrays and the Beta Gimbal Assemblies that serve as the structural link between the truss’ integrated electronics and the Solar Array Wings. Piper and Tanner will also install the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint and complete the connection of electrical cables between the new P3 truss and the P1 truss.

The station crew is scheduled for sleep at 2:45 p.m. and the shuttle crew 30 minutes later. The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Tuesday morning or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #05

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09.12.06
2 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-06

STS-115 MCC Status Report #06

It's installation day on the International Space Station. The Atlantis and Expedition 13 crews will attach the P3/P4 truss and do the first of three spacewalks by shuttle crew members.

Atlantis' astronauts were awakened at 11:15 p.m. CDT Monday with "My Friendly Epistle," a Ukrainian song by Taras Shevchenko. It was played for Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper.

She and fellow mission specialist Joe Tanner are scheduled to begin spacewalk 1 just after 4 a.m. They spent the night in the Quest Airlock, its pressure reduced to 10.2 psi. That was done to help purge nitrogen from their systems to avoid the possibility of formation of nitrogen bubbles in their blood during the spacewalk.

They are being helped in spacewalk preparations by Atlantis Commander Brent Jett, Mission Specialist Dan Burbank and station crewman Thomas Reiter.

At about 1 a.m., Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Steve MacLean and Expedition 13 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams used the station's Canadarm2 to begin the process of moving the truss to its new position at the end of the P1 truss segment. There four bolts will attach it.

Shortly after their spacewalk begins, Tanner and Piper will move to P3/P4. Tanner will connect power cables. Piper, working nearby, will release launch restraints on the Solar Array Blanket Box. The two will then work together and release other restraints on the Beta Gimbal Assembly, the structure between the truss electronics and the Solar Array Wings. Next, they will work on configurations of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, including the installation of drive lock assemblies.

Tanner’s final task will be connecting the electrical cables in the upper utility tray and removing two other circuit interrupt devices, which is necessary for the upcoming STS-116 mission. He and Piper will then return to the airlock.

Throughout the day, other crewmembers will support the spacewalk activities as well as work to transfer equipment and supplies between the two spacecraft and prepare for Wednesday's spacewalk by Burbank and MacLean.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Tuesday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #06

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09.12.06
5 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-07

STS-115 MCC Status Report #07

It is home improvement time onboard the International Space Station. Assembly of the orbiting space lab officially resumed this morning at 4:17 a.m. CDT.

Mission specialists Joe Tanner and Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper focused on bolts, connectors and power tools today as they began the first of three spacewalks to hook-up and activate a 17.5 ton, 45 foot long truss with a set of solar arrays that will increase the station’s power.

The first spacewalk of the mission began when Tanner and Piper switched their spacesuits to battery power and stepped into the void of space. This was Tanner’s sixth spacewalk and Piper’s first. Piper is the eighth woman, the seventh American woman, to walk in space.

The two set to work quickly and efficiently, making the tough tasks look simple and easily getting ahead of the planned timeline. After only three and a half hours, Tanner and Piper were near completion of the day’s tasks and Mission Control Houston began working on “get ahead” tasks. These are tasks that were originally scheduled for the second spacewalk Wednesday.

One of these tasks involved removing the launch locks from the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ). To access the launch locks, spacewalkers must also remove existing covers. As Tanner removed cover 21, a bolt and washer came off and floated into space.

During the early morning hours, Mission Control told Atlantis Commander Brent Jett and his crew that a focused inspection of the shuttle's heat shield is not needed at this time. The decision means an extra mission day is not required, and the crew can continue with its planned 11-day mission.

Throughout the day, other crew members supported the spacewalk activities, transferred equipment and supplies between the two spacecraft and got ready for tomorrow’s walk by mission specialists Dan Burbank and Canadian Steve MacLean.

Tanner and Piper connected power cables on the truss, released the launch restraints on the Solar Array Blanket Box and on the Beta Gimbal Assembly -- the structure between the truss electronics -- and the Solar Array Wings. The astronauts also configured the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, which allows the arrays to track the sun, and removed two other circuit interrupt devices to prepare for the upcoming STS-116 mission.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Wednesday morning or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #07

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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09.13.06
2:30 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-08

STS-115 MCC Status Report #08

The Atlantis and Expedition 13 crews are getting ready for the second spacewalk of the STS-115 mission to the International Space Station. They will continue preparations for activation of the P3/P4 truss segment attached to the station Tuesday.

Spacewalkers Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean will release and remove launch locks and launch restraints from the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint of the P4 truss. That joint will enable the new solar arrays to track the sun. The arrays are to be unfurled late today and early Thursday.

Burbank and MacLean spent the night in the Quest Airlock, as did Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Joe Tanner before their Tuesday spacewalk, part of the campout pre-breathe protocol. Burbank and MacLean are preparing for their spacewalk, with help from shuttle Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and station Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 4:15 a.m. CDT.

Tanner, now a veteran of six spacewalks, will serve as the intravehicular officer for this spacewalk. Piper will operate the station robotic arm to ensure video viewing during the spacewalk.

Because of the success of the first spacewalk, planners were able to add get-ahead tasks to today’s scheduled activities. Once their original tasks are complete, Burbank and MacLean also will prepare the P3 for the mobile transporter, part of a movable base system for the Canadarm2 to move along rails on the truss structure.

Depending on time available, they will remove a keel pin and drag link and stow them within the truss structure. They’ll also remove a Space Vision System target, rotate P1 and P3 mobile transporter and tether shuttle stops. They'll install a temporary rail stop for the Crew and Equipment Translation Aid cart.

Meanwhile, inside the orbiting laboratory, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams will continue with station operations tasks as well as transfer activities and preparations for their upcoming departure.

The two are scheduled to return to Earth aboard their Soyuz spacecraft Sept. 28. They will be replaced by Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, who are scheduled to launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan a little after 11 p.m. CDT Sept. 17. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany will remain on board the station and join the Expedition 14 crew.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Wednesday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #08

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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09.13.06
7 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-09

STS-115 MCC Status Report #09

The crews of Atlantis and Expedition 13 had a busy fifth day together in space as they brought to life the new addition to the International Space Station they had attached on Tuesday.

During the second spacewalk of the STS-115 mission, first-time spacewalkers Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean devoted the day to the final tasks required for activation of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ). The SARJ is an automobile-sized joint that will allow the station's solar arrays to turn and point toward the sun. Burbank and MacLean released locks that had held the joint secure during its launch to orbit aboard Atlantis. As they worked, the spacewalkers overcame several minor problems, including a malfunctioning helmet camera, a broken socket tool, a stubborn bolt and a bolt that came loose from the mechanism designed to hold it captive. The stubborn bolt required the force of both spacewalkers to finally remove it.

Burbank and MacLean spent seven hours and 11 minutes outside the station, beginning their spacewalk at 4:05 a.m. CDT and completing it at 11:16 a.m. CDT. In addition to the SARJ work, they completed several "get-ahead" tasks during their time outside.

Once the spacewalk was completed, Mission Control began a planned four-hour activation and checkout of the SARJ. The checkout is designed to ensure all primary and backup systems on the mechanism are operating well. Early in the checkout, controllers engaged the first of two drive lock assemblies, DLA-1, and rotated the massive joint 180 degrees.

Later in the checkout, the procedure called for engaging a second drive lock assembly, DLA-2, and rotating the joint again 360 degrees. When controllers commanded DLA-2 to engage, they did not get an indication the drive assembly had properly engaged. Controllers then sent commands for a procedure designed to correct any poor engagement of the mechanism, but still did not receive an indication it had properly engaged.

Engineers are evaluating the concern and have temporarily delayed starting the deployment of the new solar arrays pending further work and checkout of the SARJ. The timeline allows ample time to continue working on the problem during the night and still complete the deploy of the arrays on Thursday as scheduled.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Thursday morning, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #09

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09.14.06
3 a.m. CDT, Thursday, Sept. 14

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-10

STS-115 MCC Status Report #10

With several busy days including two successful spacewalks behind them, the Atlantis and International Space Station crews were looking forward to deployment of new station solar arrays and preparing for the mission's third spacewalk.

The ground teams completed the checkout of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) early Thursday. The task had been interrupted Wednesday by a software glitch. Engineering teams developed a workaround, and flight controllers are working toward deployment of the 240-feet solar wings brought up with the P3/P4 truss.

The issue did cause replanning of the crews' schedule. As a result, crew activities today are subject to change.

Atlantis crewmembers were awakened at 11:15 p.m. CDT Wednesday by "Wipe Out," performed by the Surfaris. It was played for Pilot Chris Ferguson.

Thursday's agenda for Atlantis crewmembers, Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Ferguson and Mission Specialists Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean, include executing a "double walk off” of the station's Canadarm 2 from the Mobile Base System to the Destiny Lab.

MacLean is scheduled to talk with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at 10:25 a.m. Also, Jett, station Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and E13 European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter were scheduled to talk with National Public Radio and CNN at 10:50 a.m.

While Ferguson does shuttle operations tasks, the rest of the crews, including station NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams, will review procedures for Friday's spacewalk, the third and final planned excursion outside during the STS-115 mission. Tanner and Piper will work on station truss segments to release the photovoltaic radiator restraints, deploy SARJ braces and install an external wireless TV transmission antenna.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Thursday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #10

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09.14.06
4 p.m. CDT, Thursday, Sept. 14

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-11

STS-115 MCC Status Report #11

The International Space Station today spread a second set of wings, giant solar panels that eventually will double the power generated aboard the orbiting science outpost.

The solar arrays on the newly delivered 17.5 ton truss segment were fully unfolded at 7:44 a.m. CDT.

The power generated by the arrays will not be used by the station until another shuttle flight in December. During that mission, STS-116, astronauts will rewire the complex and activate a cooling system. The arrays currently are powering their own system, including batteries and other electronics equipment.

The solar panels have a wingspan of 240 feet attached on the port side of the station. They can generate 66 kilowatts of power.

Flight controllers commanded the arrays to begin unfolding at 4 a.m. CDT. They were originally to begin unfolding Wednesday night. A software glitch during checkout of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ), which will rotate the wings, delayed the deployment.

Unfurled one at a time, the wings were deployed halfway before being fully unfolded. During the unfurling, Atlantis' astronauts noted that some of the panels stuck. The phenomenon, called “stiction,” also occurred when the station's first set of solar panels was deployed during a shuttle mission in late 2000.

The crew also maneuvered the Canadarm2 robotic arm in a "double walk off,” moving it from the Mobile Base System to the Destiny Lab in an inchworm-like procedure.

Tomorrow, mission specialists Joe Tanner and Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper will conduct the third and final spacewalk of the mission to release restraints on the cooling radiator of the new truss section. The radiator will be unfolded later. They also will install an external wireless TV transmission antenna to improve TV transmission from cameras mounted on spacesuit helmets. Tanner and Piper expect to have time to remove a materials science experiment from the hull of the Quest airlock to return to Earth.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Friday morning, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #11

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09.15.06
3 a.m. CDT Friday, Sept. 15, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-12

STS-115 MCC Status Report #12

The Atlantis and International Space Station crews today will focus on the third and final spacewalk of the mission.

The STS-115 crew, Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean, is in its fourth day of joint operations with the station crew. Their Expedition 13 counterparts, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter, will support the spacewalk activities as well as continued space station operations and maintenance.

Both crews awoke at 11:15 p.m. CDT to "Hotel California" performed by the Eagles and played for Tanner.

Tanner and Stefanyshyn-Piper will team up again for the spacewalk. While they were in the Quest airlock preparing for the spacewalk, a circuit-breaker-like remote power controller (RPC) tripped, causing loss of power to the airlock's depressurization pump. While flight controllers and engineers assessed the cause of the problem, the spacewalkers moved to the adjacent Unity module, while continuing to breathe oxygen through masks per their pre-spacewalk protocol.

The trip of the RPC was apparently due to a momentary spike in the electrical current of the depressurization pump. After assessing data to ensure the system had no short circuit, the breaker was reset and pump reactivated. Tanner and Stefanyshyn-Piper are scheduled to leave the Quest airlock at about 4:15 a.m. Once the spacewalk begins, the two will split up to perform the scheduled tasks for the spacewalk.

Tanner will install bolt retainers on the P6 Beta Gimbal Assembly, which helps to orient the pitch of the solar array wings. He’ll also use a new technique to attempt to re-engage a four-bar hinge lock that did not properly engage during STS-97.

Meanwhile, Stefanyshyn-Piper will retrieve the Materials on the International Space Station Experiment 5. The materials science experiment tests the effects of the space environment on prospective spacecraft materials.

The two will then prepare the photovoltaic radiator for deployment by removing launch hardware that was in place to protect it during the shuttle launch. Once that is done, other crewmembers can deploy that heat-dissipating radiator. Next the spacewalkers will replace an S-band antenna support assembly (SASA) on the Starboard 1 (S1) truss. They’ll also install a shroud on the failed SASA, which will be returned to Earth on a later mission.

Dividing again, Stefanyshyn-Piper will replace a baseband signal processor and transponder on S1 and Tanner will install a heat shield onto an antenna group interface tube to help overheating in this area during certain vehicle attitudes.

They’ll wrap up the spacewalk with two new tasks, installing a new external wireless television antenna and performing a Detailed Test Objective to assess infrared video of the wing leading edge. The spacewalk is scheduled to last 6.5 hours.

Once the spacewalk is completed, the mobile transporter, a movable platform that moves along the truss segments, will be relocated to a position on the newly arrived P3 truss to check out that worksite.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Friday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #12

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09.15.06
4 p.m. CDT, Friday, Sept. 15

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-13

STS-115 MCC Status Report #13

Astronauts Joe Tanner and Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper finished the third and final spacewalk of Atlantis' mission today, powering up a cooling radiator for the new solar arrays unfolded Thursday on the International Space Station.

After about a 45-minute delay in the airlock due to a depressurization pump power problem, Tanner and Piper began the spacewalk at 5 a.m. CDT. They completed the excursion at 11:42 a.m. CDT.

In addition to their work with the radiator, Tanner and Piper also replaced an S-Band radio antenna. The antenna, which provides backup communication between the space station and the ground, will be needed during the next mission. That flight, set for December, will require a complicated power down of the station to bring the new power systems on line.

They finished a couple of tasks that will reduce the workload for future spacewalkers, including installing insulation for another communications antenna. Tanner took photos of the shuttle’s wings using an infrared camera to test the camera's ability to detect damage.

The STS-115 crew – Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Tanner, Piper and Steve MacLean – is in its fourth day of joint operations with the station crew.

The astronauts will get time off for part of the day tomorrow before transferring the last of the cargo between the shuttle and the space station. Atlantis will undock from the station at 7:50 a.m. CDT Sunday, circling the orbiting complex once as it departs.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Saturday morning or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #13

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09.16.06
2 a.m. CDT Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-14

STS-115 MCC Status Report #14

The Space Shuttle Atlantis crew gets some well deserved time to relax today. After the successful addition of new components to the International Space Station, five days of joint operations with the Expedition 13 crew and three successful spacewalks, they have some off-duty time.

They do have some post-spacewalk and transfer tasks scheduled.

The crew, Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean, got to sleep late. The wakeup music at 12:15 a.m. CDT was "Twelve Volt Man" by Jimmy Buffett. It was for Burbank.

After an off-duty morning, the STS-115 crew will be joined by the Expedition 13 crew of Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter for a crew photo. A joint crew press conference is scheduled for 7:35 a.m.

Jett, Burbank, Tanner, Stefanyshyn-Piper and MacLean will also participate in interviews with CBS News, NBC News and ABC News at 8:35 a.m. Both of the press events will air on NASA TV.

Throughout the afternoon, the crew will work on various tasks including cleaning and configuration of the spacesuits, transfer of remaining cargo and supplies to the station and the removal of the REBA, Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Saturday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #14

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09.16.06
1 p.m. CDT, Saturday, Sept. 16

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-15

STS-115 MCC Status Report #15

Astronauts on board Space Shuttle Atlantis today got a much deserved day off having completed three highly successful space walks that put the International Space Station back under construction.

After seven days in space, the STS-115 crew -- Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean -- got its first chance to sleep late. The crew then joined ISS Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter for a joint crew press conference.

During the morning, the crew also was interviewed by CBS News, NBC News and ABC News, completed transferring the last of the supplies and equipment to the station, including 90 pounds of oxygen, and removed the REBA, Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly.

Atlantis will undock from the station at 7:50 a.m. CDT Sunday, circling the orbiting complex once as it departs to perform the first fly-around of the station in four years. The crew of STS-112 performed a partial fly-around to photo-document the station's exterior condition in Oct. 2002.

Tomorrow, all nine crew members will gather for a televised farewell ceremony at 4:43 a.m. CDT. Hatch closure between the station and shuttle will immediately follow.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Sunday morning, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #15

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09.17.06
2 a.m. CDT Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-16

STS-115 MCC Status Report #16

It's undocking day. The Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to begin moving away from the International Space Station at 7:50 a.m. CDT.

Crew members will get a look at the results of their STS-115 mission, which resumed assembly of the station. They'll do a full fly-around, the first in four years, to photograph the station with its new truss segments and solar arrays.

Before undocking, the STS-115 crew -- Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean -- will say farewell to Expedition 13 -- Commander Pavel Vinogradov, and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter -- about 5 a.m. before closing the hatches between the two vehicles.

Then, with Ferguson at the controls, Atlantis will slowly move away from the station. The fly-around is scheduled to start at about 8:15 a.m. Atlantis is to leave the area a little after 9:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, on the ground, preparations are under way for the launch of the next inhabitants of the station. The Expedition 14 crew, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, and spaceflight participant Anousheh Ansari, are scheduled to launch in their Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:09 p.m. CDT. They are scheduled to dock with the orbital laboratory two days later. NASA TV coverage of the Expedition 14 pre-launch activities and launch begins at 10:30 p.m.

The shuttle and station crews woke at 11:15 p.m. to "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins, played for Ferguson. In his reply, Ferguson thanked soon-to-retire STS-115 lead guidance, navigation and control flight controller Charles Alford for his 40 years of NASA service. The shuttle pilot also thanked all those in Mission Control for helping to make spaceflight possible.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Sunday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #16

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09.17.06
12:30 p.m. CDT Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-17

STS-115 MCC Status Report #17

The Space Shuttle Atlantis left a space station today markedly different than the one to which it docked less than a week ago.

Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station at 7:50 a.m. CDT, completing six days, two hours and two minutes of joint operations with the station crew. As the shuttle departs, a new station crew is preparing to launch to the complex tonight from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

Atlantis left the station with a new, second pair of 240-foot solar wings, attached to a new 17.5-ton section of truss with batteries, electronics and a giant rotating joint. The new solar arrays eventually will double the station's onboard power when their electrical systems are brought online during the next shuttle flight, planned for launch in December.

Atlantis is now aiming for a 4:57 a.m. CDT Wednesday landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Meanwhile, the station's Expedition 14 crew -- Commander and NASA Science Officer Michael Lopez-Alegria, Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin and spaceflight participant Anoushheh Ansari -- are set to launch in their Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft from Baikonur at 11:09 p.m. CDT. Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin will begin a six-month stay aboard the station when they dock to the complex on Wednesday. Ansari is visiting the station for eight days under a commercial agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

NASA TV coverage of the Expedition 14 launch begins at 10:30 p.m. CDT.

After undocking, Atlantis' crew -- Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean -- got a breath-taking view of the station as the shuttle circled the complex. During their stay at the station, the shuttle crew conducted three spacewalks in four days to prepare the new components for operation.

As Atlantis performed a full fly-around of the station, the shuttle crew took photographs and video of the complex's new T-shaped solar array configuration. The station's truss now stretches 179 feet.

In addition to the new truss section and its arrays, the astronauts transferred 800 pounds of hardware and 1,043 pounds of water to the station in exchange for 1,084 pounds of returning hardware. They also placed about 200 pounds of launch locks, restraints and other unneeded hardware on ISS Progress 21 for disposal.

The shuttle astronauts spent five days, 21 hours and 57 minutes with hatches open to the station working with the station's Expedition 13 crew -- Commander Pavel Vinogradov, and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter. The hatches were shut for Atlantis' undoccking at 5:27 a.m. CDT. Vinogradov, Williams and Ansari will land in a Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan Sept. 29. Vinogradov and Williams have been in orbit since March.

On Monday, the shuttle crew will use the ship’s robotic arm to grapple the boom sensor system once more to conduct a final inspection of the heat shielding on Atlantis’ wings and nose cap. The additional late inspecting ensures the areas still are in good shape for entry into the atmosphere and landing.

Atlantis' crew begins their sleep period at 2:15 p.m. CDT and will awaken at 10:15 p.m. CDT. The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued following crew wakeup, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #17

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09.18.06
2 a.m. CDT Monday, Sept. 18, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-18

STS-115 MCC Status Report #18

The International Space Station is a busy place these days.

Sunday saw the departure of the space shuttle visitors who had been working from the orbiting complex the past six days with a 7:50 a.m. CDT undocking of Atlantis. Hours later, three more explorers launched toward the station in a Soyuz spacecraft.

Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin and spaceflight participant Anousheh Ansari lifted off at 11:09 p.m. CDT Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

They are expected to arrive at the station early Wednesday. They will begin nearly nine days of handover activity as Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin prepare for their own six-month stay. Ansari, visiting the station as part of a commercial agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency, will return to Earth with Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams. European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter will remain onboard as part of Expedition 14.

Traveling about 50 miles behind the station, the Atlantis crew -- Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean -- woke at 10:15 p.m. to “Rocky Mountain High.” It was played for Tanner.

The crew will focus today on the final inspection of the shuttle’s reinforced-carbon-carbon surfaces on the wing leading edges and nose cap. Ferguson, Burbank and MacLean will use the shuttle’s robotic arm to get a final look at those areas, ensuring no critical damage may have occurred since their arrival in space. Aside from a few other minor tasks it will be a light-duty day. Atlantis is prepared for its landing Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Monday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #18

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09.18.06
1 p.m. CDT Monday, Sept. 18, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-19

STS-115 MCC Status Report #19

The crew of the International Space Station worked through an emergency procedure this morning after an oxygen generation unit apparently overheated. The overheating is believed to have melted a rubber seal, causing a small amount of smoke, a strong odor and possibly releasing a small amount of a chemical irritant.

Aboard the station are Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter of the European Space Agency. At the time of the problem, Vinogradov was working with the Russian Elektron oxygen generator, a device that recycles wastewater on the station into oxygen for the cabin air. The Elektron had been shut off for nine days as planned during the joint operations by the station and the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

At the request of Russian flight controllers, Vinogradov attempted to restart the unit at about 2 a.m. CDT. The Elektron operated only briefly before shutting down. Several subsequent attempts were made to restart the device in various modes. Just before 6 a.m. CDT, Vinogradov restarted the unit again after it had shut down.

A few minutes later, as the station was out of communications with the ground, Vinogradov noted the Elektron overheating, light smoke and a bad odor. When the station moved into communications, at about 6:16 a.m. CDT, Mission Control asked the crew to manually initiate a fire alarm onboard to allow software to automatically shut down ventilation fans between the station modules. Flight controllers also checked for contaminants in the cabin air and found only low levels that posed no danger to the crew. However, the crew was asked to briefly don surgical masks, goggles and gloves to protect against possible irritation by a chemical used in the Elektron, potassium hydroxide, that may have leaked.

Vinogradov reported that a small amount of clear liquid had leaked from an apparently damaged seal on the Elektron and cleaned it up, sealing it in airtight bags. Within an hour, the crew had powered back on all station ventilation equipment and had returned to working on normal activities.

The incident will not affect plans to undock a Progress cargo craft from the station tonight and the docking of the next station crew with the complex, set for 12:24 a.m. CDT on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin and Spaceflight Participant Anousheh Ansari lifted off at 11:09 p.m. CDT Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the station. Their Soyuz spacecraft is in excellent condition.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis -- Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean -- are continuing preparations for a return to Earth. The crew completed a late inspection of the heat shielding on the nose and wings of the shuttle today using a laser scanning system. They are scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Center at 4:59 a.m. CDT Wednesday. They began a sleep period at 1:15 p.m. CDT and awaken at 9:15 p.m. CDT for what is planned to be their final full day in orbit.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued as the shuttle crew awakens, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #19

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09.19.06
2:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, Sept. 19. 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-20

STS-115 MCC Status Report #20

A space-age conference call linked three orbiting crews early Tuesday. Three people aboard the Soyuz TMA 9 talked with the six Atlantis astronauts and the three-man Expedition 13 crew aboard the International Space Station.

The linkup was managed through Houston's Mission Control Center. The 12 people on the three very different space vehicles began their chat about 2 a.m. CDT.

"It's a little crowded in the sky today," said Jeff Williams from the station. "We look forward to having you guys on board," he told the Soyuz crew. "We'll see you back on Earth sometime soon," Atlantis Commander Brent Jett told Expedition 13.

The Expedition 13 crew, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Williams and Thomas Reiter, is awaiting the arrival of Expedition 14, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. With them is spaceflight participant Anousheh Ansari. They are scheduled to dock with the station at 12:24 a.m. Wednesday.

Atlantis' crew, Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean, is getting ready to come home, with a landing scheduled for Kennedy Space Center at 4:59 a.m. CDT Wednesday.

They were awakened at 9:15 p.m. Monday with “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” (Don’t Leave Without Me) for MacLean, performed by fellow Canadian Celine Dion. They checked out Atlantis' flight control surfaces and later tested reaction control system thrusters. Today they'll continue stowage activities and other preparations for their landing.

The unpiloted Progress 21 cargo spacecraft with its load of station discards undocked from the orbiting laboratory at about 7:30 p.m. Monday. It re-entered the atmosphere and was incinerated over the Pacific Ocean about 11 p.m.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Tuesday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #20

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09.19.06
26 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-21

STS-115 MCC Status Report #21

Space Shuttle managers today decided to extend Atlantis' stay in space to allow for additional inspections of the spacecraft to be performed. The decision to pursue additional inspections was made this morning after video from cameras aboard the shuttle showed a piece of debris in close proximity to the vehicle.

Also, the weather forecast for a landing on Wednesday had called for poor conditions, and Atlantis has plentiful supplies aboard to allow multiple landing attempts as late as Saturday. Atlantis is now aimed toward a landing on Thursday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Engineers are concerned the debris seen could be something that came loose from Atlantis. They will use the extra time to verify the shuttle is in good shape for the trip home.

Atlantis' crew -- Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and mission specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Steve MacLean -- will use the shuttle's robotic arm on Wednesday to inspect the spacecraft. The crew began a sleep period at 12:45 p.m. CDT today and will awaken at 8:45 p.m. CDT. Before going to sleep, the crew positioned the arm above the payload bay, and Mission Control has used its cameras to survey the top side of the shuttle. The cameras on the robotic arm will later be used by the crew to inspect areas on the underside of Atlantis.

Atlantis' primary landing opportunity to Kennedy on Thursday begins with a deorbit engine firing at 4:14 am. CDT and culminates in a touchdown at 5:22 a.m. CDT.

Meanwhile, the International Space Station's next crew, Expedition 14 Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Soyuz Commander and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin are closing in on the complex. With them is Spaceflight Participant Anousheh Ansari, a U.S. businesswoman who will spend eight days on the station under a commercial agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency. They will dock their Soyuz spacecraft to the station at 12:24 a.m. CDT Wednesday.

Aboard the station, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter, a European Space Agency astronaut, will open hatches to greet their new arrivals at 3:10 a.m. CDT Wednesday. The station crew spent some additional time earlier today gathering data on the Elektron oxygen generating system's overheating malfunction. Russian engineers are continuing to evaluate the system's malfunction and future repairs. Repair work is not planned to be performed while the crew hands over operations of the complex to Expedition 14. Oxygen supplies on the station are plentiful, and the cabin air will be refreshed using oxygen canisters and tanks until the Elektron is repaired.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #21

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09.20.06
2 a.m. CDT Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-22

STS-115 MCC Status Report #22

The Space Shuttle Atlantis crew began another survey of the spacecraft's heat shield late Tuesday after mission managers decided the orbiter would spend another day in space. That decision was made after cameras detected a piece of debris near the shuttle early Tuesday.

The survey is to make sure Atlantis is ready for re-entry and its landing at the Kennedy Space Center. Florida weather also was questionable for a Wednesday landing.

The crew woke up at 8:45 p.m. CDT Tuesday to “Beautiful Day” by U2, played for Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper. After some routine personal time, they began the survey at about 11:30 p.m. Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean are using the shuttle's robotic arm and its cameras to get a full look at Atlantis' thermal protection system. The task could take up to five hours.

Specialists on the ground will review the imagery as it is available and determine if a more detailed survey using the 50-foot orbiter boom sensor system (OBSS) is warranted. The OBSS survey, if needed, would take another three hours.

Atlantis Commander Brent Jett and Mission Specialists Joe Tanner and Piper will help as needed with the survey and continue with other tasks including waste and water dump, exercise, downlink of imagery and stowage of the Payload General Support Computer.

Atlantis' next landing opportunity is Thursday with a deorbit engine firing at 4:14 a.m. CDT and touchdown at 5:22 a.m. Atlantis has enough supplies to stay in orbit until Saturday.

Early Wednesday International Space Station Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, and spaceflight participant Anousheh Ansari arrived at the orbiting laboratory. Their Soyuz docked at 12:21 a.m. The hatch opening and welcoming ceremony with the Expedition 13 crew, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter, is scheduled for 3:30 a.m.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Wednesday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #22

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09.20.06
4 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-23

STS-115 MCC Status Report #23

Managers today cleared the Space Shuttle Atlantis for a return to Earth on Thursday following a day of inspections of the spacecraft's exterior.

Atlantis is now aimed toward a landing that will begin with a deorbit engine firing at 4:14 a.m. CDT and culminate in a touchdown at 5:21 a.m. CDT at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The astronauts would close the shuttle's payload bay doors in preparation for the landing at about 1:44 a.m. CDT. A backup opportunity for landing would begin with a deorbit engine firing by the shuttle at 5:51 a.m. CDT leading to a touchdown at 6:57 a.m. CDT.

The weather is forecast to be acceptable for landing at Kennedy, with few clouds and light winds.

The astronauts performed televised inspections early this morning of the shuttle's heat shield, nose, tail, payload bay, wings and other areas using the robotic arm and a boom extension. Engineers found no issues of concern during the survey.

A shim and a spacer piece that had been protruding from thermal tiles on Atlantis earlier in the mission were found to be missing during the inspection. But it is not known whether one of them was the item seen floating near Atlantis in video on Tuesday. Atlantis' astronauts began a sleep period at 12:45 p.m. CDT. They will awaken at 8:45 p.m. CDT.

The new International Space Station Expedition 14 crew, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Soyuz Commander and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, along with spaceflight participant Anousheh Ansari, docked to the complex at 12:21 a.m. CDT. They opened hatches at 3:34 a.m. CDT and were greeted by Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued after landing, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

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Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #23

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09.21.06
9 a.m. CDT Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-115-24

STS-115 MCC Status Report #24

After resuming the expansion of humanity's only outpost in space, Space Shuttle Atlantis came home this morning, gliding to a perfect pre-dawn landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Atlantis touched down on Runway 33 of Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility at 5:21:30 a.m. CDT. Atlantis had spent 11 days, 19 hours and six minutes in flight.

The landing on runway 33 marked the 21st night landing for the shuttle and the 15th night landing in Florida. Atlantis' nose gear touched down at 5:21:36 a.m. CDT and the shuttle's wheels came to a stop at 5:22:16 a.m. CDT.

Atlantis' crew included Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and mission specialists Dan Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean. They will return to Houston on Friday. A welcoming ceremony for the crew's return to Houston is planned at noon CDT Friday at NASA Hangar 990 at Ellington Field.

During Atlantis' STS-115 mission, the first new component was attached to the International Space Station in almost four years. The shuttle crew worked with the station crew to attach a 17.5-ton, bus-sized section to the station's truss structure and unfold its new 240-foot solar wings, the second such set on the complex. The new solar arrays eventually will more than double the amount of power available for the station, setting the stage for additional solar arrays and laboratories to come. The shuttle crew completed three spacewalks to prepare the new arrays and associated electronics for use. The next shuttle mission, targeted for December, will rewire the station to bring the new power supplies online.

This is the final STS-115 mission status report.

Source: NASA - STS-115 MCC Status Report #24

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