[sarex] STS-116 MCC Status Report #17
azrowe80 at verizon.net
Mon Dec 18 04:02:01 PST 2006
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
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
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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