[sarex] STS-116 MCC Status Report #23
azrowe80 at verizon.net
Wed Dec 20 19:32:35 PST 2006
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
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
micro-meteoroid 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.(3:56 PM EST-
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
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.
- end -
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