[sarex] STS-115 MCC Status Report #19
azrowe80 at verizon.net
Mon Sep 18 14:27:23 PDT 2006
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
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
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.
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