[sarex] NASA WELCOMES DISCOVERY CREW HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
azrowe80 at verizon.net
Fri Dec 22 17:06:25 PST 2006
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
Dec. 22, 2006
Jessica Rye/Katherine Trinidad
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
NASA WELCOMES DISCOVERY CREW HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The Space Shuttle Discovery and its crew
returned home Friday after a 13-day journey of more than 5.3 million
miles in space. Discovery's STS-116 mission successfully reconfigured
the International Space Station's power and cooling systems from a
temporary setup to a permanent mode and added a new piece to the
Discovery's Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein and mission
specialists Nicholas Patrick, Bob Curbeam, Joan Higginbotham, Thomas
Reiter and Christer Fuglesang landed Friday, Dec. 22, at NASA's
Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 5:32 p.m. EST. Reiter and Fuglesang
are European Space Agency astronauts.
After landing, Polansky told Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space
Center, Houston, "Seven thrilled people right here. We're just really
proud of the entire NASA team that put this together. Thank you, and
I think it's going to be a great holiday."
The flight was the second in a series of missions that are among the
most complex in space history. Discovery's crew rewired the station's
power system and delivered a key component of the station's
structure. The segment will enable future missions to attach a new
set of solar arrays.
The mission involved intensive ground commands as the station's power
was shut down and rerouted in stages on two spacewalks. As systems
were then powered up for the first time on their new channels, the
station's power system was in its final configuration, ready for
further expansion with more solar arrays and laboratories to be
launched in 2007. As part of the station power reconfiguration and
assembly process, the station flight control team uplinked a total of
17,901 computer commands, averaging about 2,000 commands per day.
During a typical day on the station, flight controllers give
approximately 800 commands.
The newest resident of the International Space Station also traveled
aboard Discovery. Astronaut Sunita Williams joined the crew of
Expedition 14. She is scheduled to spend six months on the station.
Curbeam, Fuglesang and Williams, with the help of crewmates, made four
spacewalks that completed the construction tasks, reconfigured power
and cooling systems, and retracted a snagged solar array. The
astronauts also replaced a failed camera, cleared a worksite
essential to the next shuttle mission, reconfigured power to
station's Russian segment and installed panels to provide additional
protection from space debris.
The fourth spacewalk was added to the mission to retract a solar array
that only partially folded into its box on flight day 5. The solar
wings were retracted far enough so that the new arrays installed in
September could begin to fully rotate and track the sun to provide
power. Mission managers decided, however, to address the problem of
the partially retracted arrays while the shuttle crew was on the
station. With only several days notice, mission engineers in both the
shuttle and station programs developed a spacewalk plan for Curbeam
and Fuglesang that resulted in the arrays' successful retraction on
flight day 10.
Discovery's launch was the first night liftoff of a shuttle since Nov.
2002. Several inspections in orbit revealed no critical damage, and
Discovery's thermal protection system was declared safe for re-entry
on the flight's thirteenth day.
The day before landing, pilot Bill Oefelein, who was born in Alaska,
and the rest of the Discovery crew talked to Alaskan school children
from the shuttle's flight deck.
With Discovery and its crew safely home, the stage is set for the next
phase of International Space Station assembly. Preparations continue
for Space Shuttle Atlantis' launch, targeted for March 2007, on the
STS-117 mission to deliver to the station the S3/S4 truss segment and
a third set of solar arrays.
For more on the STS-116 mission and the upcoming STS-117 mission,
More information about the SAREX