BACK TO MAIN PAGE
Mission Control Center
Following their departure from the International Space Station yesterday morning, Discovery’s seven astronauts will now spend a day stowing equipment and checking the Space Shuttle systems that support re-entry and landing in preparation for a return to Kennedy Space Center on Sunday afternoon.
STS-92 Mission Commander Brian Duffy along with Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Mike Lopez-Alegria, Jeff Wisoff and Koichi Wakata were awakened at 5:17 a.m. today to begin what should be their final full day in orbit. This morning’s wake-up song was “Saturday Night” by The Bay City Rollers played for the entire crew,
Later this morning Duffy, Melroy and McArthur will test the systems that will be used during the return home to Kennedy Space Center to ensure that equipment remains in good condition. Just after 9 a.m., they will test the flight control systems that maneuver the shuttle once it re-enters the atmosphere and begins to operate like an airplane. A little over one hour later, at 10:12 a.m., a test fire of all 44 thruster jets on Discovery will be performed to verify they are in good working order.
Shortly before the orbiter flight control system checks are started, Chiao and Wisoff will begin stowing the equipment used by the STS-92 crew over the last ten days. Throughout the day, all of the crew members will be involved with helping to stow away items in preparation for Sunday’s landing at KSC.
Discovery’s astronauts will conduct a crew news conference beginning at 2:17 p.m. today, discussing their mission with U.S. and Japanese media. The crew also will get some off duty time near the end of the day before beginning a planned eight hour sleep period at 9:17 p.m.
Discovery remains in excellent operating condition, as does the International Space Station, now more than 100 statute miles behind the Shuttle. For a touchdown in Florida at 1:14 p.m. CDT on Sunday, Discovery’s orbital maneuvering system engines would be fired to begin a descent at 12:07 p.m. A second opportunity also exists for a landing in Florida on the next orbit. The second opportunity would have the deorbit burn taking place at 1:43 p.m. and Discovery touching down on the 3-mile-long runway at KSC at 2:50 p.m.
Mission Control Center
Discovery astronauts undocked from the International Space Station Friday after a successful 6-day, 21-hour and 23-minute visit that saw addition of two major elements to the station and four consecutive days of spacewalks to complete those elements' linkup to the orbiting laboratory.
Undocking occurred at 10:08 a.m. CDT as Discovery and the ISS were east-northeast of Brazil's capital Brasilia. After springs in the shuttle's docking system provided an initial push, Pilot Pam Melroy, using Discovery's maneuvering thrusters, slowly backed the Shuttle away from the station. The station was parallel to the Earth's surface and sideways to the direction of travel. Discovery, with its nose pointed downward and its right wing in the direction of travel, dropped behind the station, then maneuvered downward.
The final separation burn was executed about 45 minutes after undocking, moving Discovery into a lower, faster orbit to move it away from the larger and more complete station they had helped prepare for the early November arrival of the first resident crew. They added 10 tons to the station's mass, bringing it to about 80 tons. In addition to the total of 27 hours, 19 minutes spent outside the station on the four spacewalks, the astronauts spent 27 hours and 4 minutes inside, completing connections with the new elements and transferring equipment and supplies for that first crew.
During five missions to the ISS, shuttles have spent a total of 33 days, 4 hours and 44 minutes docked to the International Space Station. Crews completed 20 days, 8 hours and 26 minutes of work inside the station, and 2 days, 21 hours and 34 minutes outside during 10 space walks.
Following undocking and separation, Commander Brian Duffy, Melroy, Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Mike Lopez-Alegria, Jeff Wisoff and Koichi Wakata enjoyed half a day off. Their scheduled sleep period begins at 9:17 p.m. They will be awakened at 5:17 a.m. Saturday morning to prepare for a landing Kennedy Space Center on Sunday afternoon.
Mission Control Center
STS-92 Commander Brian Duffy and his crew were awakened at 5:18 a.m. CDT and will shortly move into final preparations for their undocking from the International Space Station later this morning. Discovery's crew delivered two critical components to the station - the Z1 Truss structure that will support large solar arrays arriving on the next shuttle mission and a second docking port that will be used as a docking location for that late November shuttle flight, designated mission STS-97.
Since the crew's activities inside the station yesterday ran longer than expected, undocking has been moved one orbit later than originally planned and will now take place at 10:09 a.m. CDT. Large springs in the shuttle's docking mechanism will provide the initial separation when Discovery moves away from the station. Pilot Pam Melroy will then use the shuttle's maneuvering thrusters to gently back the shuttle away from the International Space Station. Unlike some previous flights, the STS-92 crew will not perform a fly around of the station after undocking. Once the shuttle has backed a few hundred feet away from the station, a final separation burn will be performed to send Discovery and her crew on their way.
Following undocking and separation, Duffy and Melroy, along with Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Mike Lopez-Alegria, Jeff Wisoff and Koichi Wakata, will get a half day off to rest and relax following a week of docked operations that saw four consecutive space walks outside the station along with supply transfers and equipment checkout activities inside the station.
The STS-92 crew will be interviewed by three media organizations - CNN, Spaceflightnow.com and CBS radio - beginning at 11:42 a.m. CDT. Duffy and Melroy will also take some time to do interviews with three Rochester, New York television stations beginning at 1:12 p.m.
The STS-92 crew will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 9:17 p.m. CDT before being awakened at 5:17 a.m. Saturday morning to begin their final preparations for a return to Kennedy Space Center early Sunday afternoon.
The Discovery-International Space Station complex continue to orbit the Earth in a 247 x 232 statute mile orbit once every 90 minutes with all systems performing well.
Mission Control Center
The action shifted back inside the International Space Station on Thursday, as Discovery astronauts completed connections for the newly installed Z1 external framework structure and transferred equipment and supplies for the first resident crew of the Station, the Expedition One crew, scheduled to arrive early next month.
The crew also tested the four 630-pound gyroscopes in the truss, called Control Moment Gyros, which will be used to orient the ISS as it orbits the Earth. The crew spun up the gyros to about 100 revolutions per minute, largely to confirm their speed and power consumption. They will ultimately be spun up to about 6,000 revolutions per minute once they assume attitude control of the ISS following the arrival of the U.S. Laboratory Destiny, scheduled for January.
Mission Specialists Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao used a laptop computer to conduct the tests, which included turning on the gyroscope heaters. The heaters are designed to keep the gyros from being damaged by the cold of space.
Those tests, and the transfer of supplies into the Russian Zarya Module took longer than expected. As a result, the crew's final departure from the Station's Unity module was delayed until Friday morning, which, in turn, will delay Discovery's undocking from the ISS for about ninety minutes to 10:09 a.m. CDT time Friday. The later undocking time will have no impact on other Shuttle operations for tomorrow.
Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialist Jeff Wisoff took samples from surfaces in Zarya to study the module's environment. Melroy and Wisoff also unclogged a solid waste disposal system in the Shuttle's toilet, which was restored to full operation after a brief interruption in service.
In other news, NASA and Russian officials announced today that the Expedition One crew will be launched on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 1:53 a.m. central time, 10:53 a.m. Moscow time. The one day adjustment in the launch date was made to accommodate the Soyuz rendezvous requirements needed to reach the ISS two days after liftoff. Docking of the Soyuz and the Expedition One crew, Commander Bill Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev is now set for Thursday, Nov. 2, at 3:20 a.m. central time, 12:20 p.m. Moscow time.
Discovery's astronauts will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 9:17 p.m. CDT tonight and will be awakened at 5:17 a.m. Friday to prepare for their undocking.
Discovery continues to orbit the Earth in good shape with landing scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the Kennedy Space Center.
Mission Control Center
Following four consecutive days of on-orbit construction outside the International Space Station, Discovery’s astronauts today will work inside the Unity and Zarya modules, completing some final connections for the new Z1 Truss and transferring equipment for use by the first resident crew, slated to arrive early next month.
Once inside, Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialist Jeff Wisoff will gather samples from various surfaces in the Zarya module to characterize the onboard environment and identify any microbial growth. They also will inspect and wipe down some surfaces and stowage bags with a fungicide to inhibit microbial growth. Melroy and Wisoff also team up to complete final connections and outfitting of the Z1 pressure dome that links cables between the externally mounted truss structure and the Unity module.
Mission Specialists Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao will work together to check out the control moment gyros – the attitude control system integrated into the Z1 Truss – connecting a laptop computer to a local power bus and commanding on operational heaters to provide additional warmth for the CMGs prior to their activation following the arrival of the Destiny laboratory module early next year.
NASDA Astronaut Koichi Wakata once again will power up Discovery’s robot arm, this time to conduct a photographic survey of the International Space Station.
All seven crew members will participate in transferring equipment between Discovery and the Unity and Zarya modules of the station. The bulk of the material to be transferred to the station includes computer equipment, hardware and IMAX camera equipment that will be used to document life on the station. In return, Discovery will carry a variety of material back to Earth, including a protein crystal growth experiment that has been on board the station since it was installed by the STS-106 crew in early September, becoming the first microgravity science experiment to be conducted on board the space station.
Late in the day, Commander Brian Duffy will begin the process of closing hatches between the Zarya and Unity modules as the seven-member crew leaves the space station. The final hatch closure between Discovery and the International Space Station should occur just before 4:30 p.m. CDT today. Discovery is scheduled to undock from the station Friday morning at 8:40 a.m. CDT.
Duffy, Melroy, Chiao and McArthur will take a break from their activities this morning to discuss their mission with Space.com, ABC Radio Network and KNX Radio, Los Angeles in a series of interviews beginning at 11:57 a.m. CDT.
Mission Control Center
Mission Specialists Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria each jetted slowly through space above Discovery's cargo bay today, demonstrating a small rescue backpack that could help a drifting astronaut regain the safety of the spacecraft.
Each astronaut performed one gentle 50-foot flight with the nitrogen powered SAFER (for Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue). Each remained attached to the shuttle with a long tether during the test, and was accompanied by the other astronaut, moving with him on the end of Discovery's robotic arm.
This was the last of four successful spacewalks over four days that prepared the International Space Station for the arrival of its first crew next month. It also paved the way for future station expansion. The Wednesday spacewalk began at 10 a.m. CDT and ended at 4:56 p.m., lasting 6 hours and 56 minutes. It brings the total spacewalk time for the STS-92 mission to 27 hours and 19 minutes, and for all 10 space station assembly spacewalks on five shuttle missions to 69 hours and 34 minutes.
Lopez-Alegria and Wisoff, with Koichi Wakata operating the arm, completed a series of wrap-up tasks during the EVA. They removed a grapple fixture from the Z1 truss, opened and closed a latch assembly that will hold the solar array truss when it arrives in December, deployed a tray that will be used to provide power to the U.S. Laboratory Destiny, scheduled to be attached to the station early next year, and tested the manual berthing mechanism latches that will support Destiny.
Wisoff opened and closed the latches on the capture assembly for the P6 solar arrays using a pistol grip tool. With it he made more than 125 turns to open the latches, then closed and reopened them. He left the capture latch, called "the claw," ready to receive the solar arrays, to be installed by the STS-97 crew in December.
An exercise to test techniques for returning an incapacitated astronaut to the air lock was cancelled because of time constraints.
After the space walk, Commander Brian Duffy and Pilot Pam Melroy completed their third and final reboost of the space station, firing Discovery's reaction control system jets in a series of 18 pulses over a 30-minute period to gently raise the station's orbit to prepare it for the arrival of the first resident crew in early November. This reboost added another 1.7 statute miles to the station's average altitude, making the total for the mission just over 5 miles.
Mission Control Center
Mission Specialists Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria will team up once again today to conduct the final of four consecutive space walks designed to set the stage for the arrival of the first resident crew next month and the future expansion of the International Space Station.
In what have been termed "clear the deck" tasks by lead EVA Officer Darryl Schuck, Lopez-Alegria and Wisoff, with an assist from robot arm operator, Koichi Wakata, will remove a grapple fixture from the Z1 Truss, verify the operation of the latch assembly that will capture the solar array truss when it arrives in December, deploy a tray that will be used to provide power to the U.S. Laboratory "Destiny" when it arrives early next year, and test the performance of the manual berthing mechanism latches that will support Destiny.
If time permits, the space walkers will also evaluate two safety protocols - testing a small nitrogen-powered back pack that could allow astronauts to navigate back to the station or shuttle in the event their safety tethers became disconnected, and demonstrating techniques for assisting an incapacitated astronaut during a space walk.
Lopez-Alegria, Wisoff and Wakata will team up to deploy the Z1 tray, as Lopez-Alegria on the robot arm holds the tray in place while Wisoff removes a total of four pins and then raises the tray from its position on the truss. Lopez-Alegria will guide the tray into its fully deployed position and will hold it in place to allow Wisoff to install the pins and latches that will hold it in place.
Wisoff will cycle the latches on the capture assembly for the solar arrays by using a pistol grip tool and making more than 125 turns to open the latches. He will then close and reopen the latches to ensure they are working properly and will leave the RTAS capture latch - known as "the claw" - ready to support the installation of the P6 solar arrays by the STS-97 crew in December. He also will verify the operation of the manual berthing mechanism capture system on the truss that will be used during installation of the Destiny laboratory module early next year.
Following today's space walk, Commander Brian Duffy and Pilot Pam Melroy will once again pulse Discovery's reaction control system jets in a series of small firings to gently raise the station's orbit to prepare it for the arrival of the first resident crew in early November.
Mission Control Center
Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao and Bill McArthur completed the third successful spacewalk of Discovery's STS-92 mission at 4:18 p.m. CDT Tuesday, installing two DC-to-DC converter units atop the International Space Station's new Z1 Truss. Those two 129-pound converters, called DDCUs, will convert electricity generated by the huge solar arrays to be attached during the next shuttle mission to the proper voltage.
Today's spacewalk began at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 4:18 p.m., almost exactly as planned. Total time of Tuesday's EVA was 6 hours, 48 minutes. That brings to 20 hours, 23 minutes the total time of the three spacewalks performed thus far in Discovery's mission, and the total time of space station construction spacewalks to 62 hours, 38 minutes. A fourth spacewalk is scheduled for Wednesday. It too will prepare the Z1 Truss for attachment of the solar arrays.
Chaio and McArthur were helped by the robot arm in moving around the station. Koichi Wakata and Mike Lopez-Alegria split the arm-operation duties on Tuesday, with Lopez-Alegria taking the first half.
The spacewalkers also completed power cable connections on both the Z1 truss and newly installed docking port, PMA-3. They connected and reconfigured cables to route power from Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 to PMA-3 for the arrival of Endeavour and the STS-97 crew next month. They also attached a second tool storage box on the Z1 truss, providing a place to hold the tools and spacewalking aids for future assembly flights. McArthur stocked the boxes with tools and hardware that had been attached to the Unity module. STS-96 Astronauts Tammy Jernigan and Dan Barry had left the tools on the outside of Unity during a May 1999 spacewalk.
After today's spacewalk, Discovery Commander Brian Duffy and Pilot Pam Melroy completed the second of the three station reboosts scheduled for STS-92. They fired reaction control system jets in a series of pulses of 1.4 seconds each, over a 30-minute period, gently raising the station's orbit by about 1.7 statute miles.
On Wednesday astronauts Jeff Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria are scheduled to perform the fourth and final spacewalk of the STS-92 flight. Among activities will be deployment of the Z1 utility tray, and opening and closing of the Z1 Manual Berthing Mechanism latches. Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria also will test the SAFER, or "simplified aid for EVA rescue," a backpack that could enable an astronaut drifting away from the shuttle or the station to get back to the spacecraft. Finally, they will test methods for rescuing an incapacitated astronaut.
Mission Control Center
Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao and Bill McArthur will team up once again today to conduct the third scheduled space walk of this mission, setting the stage for future on-orbit construction and the arrival of the Expedition 1 crew in November.
Today’s space walk, scheduled to begin just before 9:30 a.m.CDT, paves the way for installation of the station’s large solar arrays later this year as Chiao and McArthur install two current converter units to process power that will be generated by the arrays, and prepare the worksite where the arrays will be attached. The converter units – called DDCUs – are 129-pound power processing systems that will provide precisely regulated power output from the massive solar arrays. With assistance from robot arm operator Koichi Wakata, who will ferry the spacewalkers around the growing station, Chiao and McArthur will unfasten the DDCUs from their locations in Discovery’s payload bay and install them on the Z1 Truss in a process that will take about two hours to complete.
They will then turn their attention to final power cable connections on both the Z1 Truss and newly installed docking port, PMA-3, connecting and reconfiguring cables to route power from PMA-2 to PMA-3 for the arrival of Endeavour and the STS-97 crew next month. Finally, McArthur and Chiao will attach a second tool storage box on the Z1 Truss, providing a place to hold the tools and space walking aids that will be used during upcoming assembly flights. McArthur will retrieve a bag of tools and hardware attached to the exterior of the Unity module and place it in the storage boxes. The tools were temporarily stowed on Unity during a May 1999 space walk conducted by Astronauts Tammy Jernigan and Dan Barry during STS-96, the first shuttle docking with the International Space Station.
Overnight, space station flight controllers in Houston completed commanding a series of 16 bolts to their closed position, securing PMA-3 to its new location on the Unity module, following a planned 12-hour thermal conditioning period. The docking port, installed during yesterday’s space walk, will be used by the STS-97 crew when Endeavour docks with the International Space Station.
Mission Control Center
Discovery astronauts Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria successfully completed the second of STS-92’s four scheduled spacewalks on Monday, attaching an additional docking port to the growing International Space Station. The two spacewalkers also prepared the Z1 truss for the installation of the huge solar arrays to be launched aboard the next shuttle flight.
Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria began their spacewalk at 9:15 a.m. CDT, about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Their first job was to release the latches that held the docking port, Pressurized Mating Adapter 3, securely in Discovery’s cargo bay. They helped Koichi Wakata, operating the robotic arm, providing eyes for him as he slowly raised the docking port from its support platform.
While Wakata maneuvered PMA-3 to its new location on the Unity module, opposite the Z1 truss installed Saturday, Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria released latches atop the Z1 truss and prepared an attach point for the large solar arrays that will be delivered during the STS-97 mission scheduled for launch next month. Next they worked their way back to Unity, again to act as an extra set of eyes for Wakata as he attached the docking port.
After Discovery astronauts saw a series of “ready to latch” indicators, Pilot Pam Melroy used a laptop computer to command latches and bolts to begin to secure the mating adapter to its new home on the station. She commanded only the first of four stages of the bolting process. The flight crew will do the final commanding Tuesday morning, after flight controllers in Houston confirm that the temperatures of seals on the docking port and Unity’s Common Berthing Mechanism have become more nearly equal.
Monday’s 7 hour, 7 minute spacewalk, which ended at 4:22 p.m., was the 52nd EVA in the Space Shuttle program and the 91st by Americans in the history of the U.S. space program. It brought to eight the total of ISS assembly spacewalks, with a total time of 55 hours, 50 minutes. With the addition of the 18,000-pound Z1 Truss on Saturday and the 3,000-pound mating adapter, the station has gained about 21,000 pounds during STS-92. It now weighs about 80 tons.
As the spacewalk was ending, Discovery Commander Brian Duffy and Pilot Pam Melroy completed the first of three station reboosts scheduled for STS-92. They fired reaction control system jets in 18 pulses of 1.4 seconds each, over a 30-minute period, gently raising the station’s orbit by about 1.7 statute miles.
Mission Control Center
With the first of four consecutive space walks behind them, Discovery’s crew turns its attention to today’s scheduled on-orbit construction activities by Mission Specialists Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria.
The two astronauts are scheduled to begin a planned 6½-hour space walk about 9:30 CDT this morning to install an additional docking port – Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 – and ready the Z1 Truss for installation of the large solar arrays that will be delivered by the next shuttle crew in late November. The first task for Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria will be to release the latches that hold the PMA-3 in place and to provide Koichi Wakata with visual cues as he uses the robotic arm to gently raise PMA-3 from its support platform in Discovery’s payload bay.
As Wakata maneuvers PMA-3 to its new location on the Unity module, Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria will release latches at the top of the Z1 Truss and prepare the work surface of the attach point for the large solar arrays that will be delivered during the STS-97 mission in November. They will then work their way back to Unity to act as an extra set of eyes providing Wakata with guidance as he attaches the PMA-3. Once the crew sees a series of “ready to latch” indicators, Pilot Pam Melroy will use a laptop computer to command latches and bolts to secure the PMA to its new home on the Unity module, much as she did during the installation of the Z1 truss on Saturday. However, today she will command only the first of four stages of the bolting process to allow seals on both the PMA and the common berthing mechanism on Unity to reach thermal equilibrium. The final commanding will be done by the flight crew Tuesday morning, after flight controllers in Houston confirm that the temperature variances between the two seals are within acceptable limits.
In the ISS flight control room this morning, the Power, Heating, Articulation, Lighting and Control Officer – PHALCON – successfully completed work with the two Plasma Contactor Units (PCUs) mounted on the Z1 truss. The PCUs, which are designed to discharge electrical current on the station and in its immediate environment, were launched with their valves open to allow a continual discharge of xenon gas to prevent contamination of the units. This morning, the PHALCON powered on and purged the units, closed the valves and deactivated the PCUs. The units will be powered on during the STS-97 mission once the solar arrays are deployed and begin generating current.
Today’s scheduled space walk will be the eighth space station assembly space walk, the 52nd EVA in the space shuttle program and the 91st by Americans in the history of the U.S. space program.
Mission Control Center
A key structural element for the International Space Station is now electrically connected to the rest of the station and important communications equipment set up after today's successful space walk by astronauts Leroy Chiao and Bill McArthur. “The crew … worked absolutely perfectly together, “ said lead flight director Chuck Shaw in an evening press conference afterward. “It’s a major achievement for this complicated an EVA to go this well.”
In a 6-hour, 28-minute space walk, McArthur and Chiao connected 10 electrical umbilicals to provide power to heaters and conduits located on the Z1 truss, relocated and deployed two communication antenna assemblies and installed a toolbox for use during future on-orbit construction. The EVA began at 9:27 a.m. CDT and ended at 3:55 p.m. This was the seventh Space Station assembly space walk, the 51st EVA in the Space Shuttle program and the 90th by Americans in the history of the U.S. space program.
Astronaut Koichi Wakata was again at the controls of the Shuttle’s robotic arm, using it to move the two astronauts around Discovery’s payload bay and the Space Station. McArthur spent most of the time on the end of the mechanical arm working through the long list of cable connections and other tasks. Chiao worked from the end of the arm late in the space walk as he manually unfolded the large ISS Ku-band antenna to its deployed position. That system will be activated next February.
Both astronauts spent the first hour of the EVA deploying tools and EVA aids including foot restraints and tethers. Following the setup, the astronauts worked to connect the first six umbilical cables between Unity and the truss structure. With the first set of cables attached, McArthur and Chiao removed the S-band Antenna Subassembly (SASA) from its launch position on the Z1 truss and placed it in a temporary location where it will remain until it is moved and activated during the STS-97 mission in late November. The SASA was launched in the position where two power converter units will be installed during the third space walk on Tuesday. A second set of four cables was connected before McArthur and Chiao installed the Space to Ground Antenna (SGANT), deploying its antenna dish. The antenna dish was removed from its launch location on the Z1 truss with Chiao standing on the robotic arm as McArthur unbolted the dish assembly. The two space walkers also relocated a tool stowage box, located on the support structure for PMA-3 in Discovery’s payload bay, for use during future on-orbit construction.
In tomorrow's EVA, the second team of space walkers on this flight, Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria, will perform chores in helping to install the Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 (PMA3) to which Space Shuttle Endeavour will dock in early December. The two also will release latches at the top of the Z1 Truss which will be used to hold the large solar arrays that will be brought up on that flight.
The astronauts are due to start their sleep period at 9:17 p.m. CDT and be awakened at 5:17 a.m. Monday.
Mission Control Center
Two of Discovery's astronauts will continue outfitting the most recent addition to the International Space Station during a scheduled 6 ½-hour space walk today.
Mission Specialists Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao will connect two sets of cables to provide power to heaters and conduits located on the Z1 truss, relocate two communication antenna assemblies and install a toolbox for use during future on-orbit construction. The space walk is scheduled to begin about 9:45 this morning. Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata will once again be at the controls of the shuttle's robotic arm, using it to move the two astronauts around Discovery's payload bay and the space station.
Chiao, designated EV1 and recognizable by the red bands on the legs of his spacesuit, and McArthur, designated EV2 in a solid white suit, will devote the first hour of their space walk to set-up activities in Discovery's payload bay, deploying tools and EVA aids including foot restraints and tethers. With that complete, the first task will be to connect the first six umbilical cables between Unity and the truss structure. To ensure that the connectors the astronauts will be working with are not "hot," International Space Station controllers in Houston and Moscow will alternately power down two Russian-to-American Conversion Units, called RACUs. They provide power to some of the systems in the Unity module including the early communication system and some cabin fans. RACU 5 will be powered down to support the first cable installation and reactivated before the power down of RACU 6, ensuring that the Unity module will not be without power during the space walk activities.
A second set of four umbilical power cables will be connected later in the space walk once RACU 5 has been repowered, and RACU 6 deactivated.
Following the first cable installation task, McArthur and Chiao will remove the S-band Antenna Subassembly (SASA) from its launch position on the Z1 truss and place it in a temporary location until it is moved and activated during the STS-97 mission in late November. The SASA is launched in the position where two power conditioning systems - called DDCU-HPs - will be installed during their space walk on Tuesday. McArthur and Chiao will then turn their attention to installing the Space to Ground Antenna (SGANT) deploying its antenna dish. The antenna dish will be removed from its launch location on the Z1 truss with Chiao standing on the robotic arm as McArthur unbolts the dish assembly. Because of thermal limitations, the antenna dish needs to be attached to the boom assembly within an hour after being removed from its launch location.
McArthur and Chiao also will relocate a tool stowage box, located on the support structure for PMA-3 in Discovery's payload bay, for use during future on-orbit construction activities before concluding their space walk and climbing back into Discovery's airlock.
Throughout the EVA, the second team of space walkers on this flight, Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria, will act as in-cabin choreographers providing guidance and assistance to McArthur and Chiao and back-up support to robot arm operator Wakata.
Following the conclusion of the space walk, McArthur, Chiao, Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria will resize the spacesuits, recharging batteries and preparing them for the second of four consecutive days of EVAs to expand the International Space Station.
Mission Control Center
The crew of Discovery added nine tons of critical equipment to the International Space Station today, attaching a framework that holds motion control gyroscopes and communications equipment and that will serve as a support for a giant set of solar arrays to be launched on the next Space Shuttle flight.
Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata, at controls in the shuttle cockpit, deftly maneuvered Discovery's robotic arm to lift the framework, called the Z1 truss, out of the shuttle's payload bay and berth it to a port on the station's Unity connecting module. The berthing was the first time the U.S.-developed attachment system has been used in orbit, and the equipment worked flawlessly. Over the course of the station's future assembly, similar attachment systems will be used over 100 times. Astronaut Mike Lopez-Alegria, looking out of the berthing port's hatch window in Unity, provided Wakata with visual cues as to the framework's alignment.
The berthing occurred about two hours behind schedule due to a short-circuit aboard the shuttle early in the crew's day that cut off power to some equipment Wakata would need. The short cut power to three pieces of equipment: an Orbiter Interface Unit that provides data and commanding from the shuttle to station systems; an Orbiter Space Vision System that provides a computerized alignment aid for operating the robotic arm; and a television camera located at the bottom, or keel, of the payload bay that faces upward to provide a supplementary visual cue for maneuvering the truss structure. Flight controllers and the crew quickly developed a plan to use backup equipment and alternate power to regain all functions except the keel camera, and Wakata began lifting the truss from the shuttle bay about 2 hours and 15 minutes later than originally planned.
The backup arrangement worked perfectly. The electrical bus that experienced the short will remain powered off and will have no impact on the rest of the mission's activities. Wakata latched the truss to the station at 1:20 p.m. as the complex flew 240 statute miles above southern Russia.
Because activities were behind schedule following the morning workaround, flight controllers opted to defer the transfer of some gear from the station's Unity module to the Zarya module until the crew next enters the station, planned for day nine of the mission. In Unity, Pilot Pam Melroy and crewmate Jeff Wisoff opened the hatch where the new truss was attached and, inside a pressurized dome, installed grounding connections between the framework and the station. Afterward, the crew exited the station, and, at 5:57 p.m. CDT, Lopez-Alegria and Commander Brian Duffy sealed the station's outermost hatch.
Duffy and Melroy then lowered Discovery's cabin pressure in preparation for a space walk by astronauts Leroy Chiao and Bill McArthur planned to begin at 9:32 a.m. Sunday. Reducing the cabin pressure from a sea-level pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch (psi) to a pressure of about 10.2 psi is part of a protocol that purges nitrogen from the space walker's body to prevent decompression sickness. Chiao and McArthur spent the last couple of hours of their day preparing equipment in the shuttle's lower deck and airlock for tomorrow's venture outside the cabin. During the space walking construction work, the first of four space walks planned during Discovery's mission, the two will connect electrical and computer data cables between the newly attached truss and Unity and deploy two communications antennas from the truss.
The crew begins a sleep period at 9:17 p.m. today and will awaken at 5:17 a.m. Sunday to begin preparations for the six and a half-hour space walk. The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued at 6 a.m. CDT or as events warrant.
Mission Control Center
Discovery’s crew is set to install the first of two major components that it carried to the Space Station today – a unique piece of hardware called the Z1 truss. The truss is an exterior framework that houses gyroscopes and communications equipment and later will serve as a mounting platform for large solar arrays that will provide power to the International Space Station.
Earlier this morning, space station flight controllers in Houston successfully activated and checked out controllers and power sources for Unity’s common berthing mechanism, preparing it for the Z1 installation. Discovery’s robot arm will be powered up at 7:37 a.m. by NASDA astronaut Koichi Wakata and Mission Specialist Mike Lopez-Alegria. Wakata will maneuver the arm to the Z1 truss in Discovery’s payload bay, grappling the box-like frame about 8:20 a.m.
A series of capture latches that secures the truss in place will be commanded open and Wakata will gently raise the Z1 out of the payload bay. With the truss firmly in its grip, the arm will be maneuvered to a position called low hover and will remain during a final inspection to ensure that all seals and petals on the common berthing mechanism are properly aligned for the final installation. Commander Brian Duffy will maneuver Discovery into the proper orientation for installation as the Z1 is moved to its capture position. A series of four “ready to latch” indicators are the signal for Discovery’s crew to issue the final capture command, and the Z1 truss should be attached to the Space Station shortly after 10 a.m. today.
Using a laptop computer, Pilot Pam Melroy will command 16 bolts to tighten in a four-stage process to secure the Z1 truss to the Unity module, as Wakata releases the Shuttle’s robot arm and moves it back to its cradled position alongside the payload bay. Final connections and outfitting work for the Z1 truss will be accomplished by space-walking astronauts Bill McArthur, Leroy Chiao, Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria. Sunday, during the first of four scheduled spacewalks for this flight, McArthur and Chiao will connect a series of power cables, an S-band communications assembly, install a Space to Ground Antenna and boom assembly and install an EVA tool stowage box on the port side of the structure.
With the Z1 installation complete, the astronauts will enter the Zarya module to transfer equipment and supplies for the first resident crew expected to arrive later this month. McArthur and Chiao will configure Discovery’s middeck in preparation for Sunday’s spacewalk, staging some of the tools, tether and hardware they will use during their planned 6½-hour EVA.
Mission Control Center
Commander Brian Duffy gently maneuvered the Space Shuttle Discovery to a flawless docking with the 70-ton International Space Station this afternoon as the two craft flew 240 miles above Russia.
Discovery latched onto the station at 12:45 p.m. CDT, completing a perfect rendezvous that had been under way since Discovery's launch on Wednesday. Later, Astronaut Mike Lopez-Alegria opened the outermost hatch to the station at about 3:30 p.m. CDT. Soon thereafter, at about 4:15 p.m., Lopez-Alegria opened the hatch into the station's Unity module, and Duffy entered the orbiting outpost, followed closely by Lopez-Alegria and fellow crew members Leroy Chiao and Pilot Pam Melroy. The crew then began transferring equipment and supplies from Discovery to the station, continuing to set up the complex for the arrival of the first resident crew, a mission called Expedition 1 that is planned to launch at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, at the aft controls in Discovery's cockpit, Astronaut Bill McArthur and Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata again powered up the Shuttle's mechanical arm. Wakata and McArthur, the backup arm operator for the mission, maneuvered the robotic arm for a camera survey of the station and the Shuttle's payload bay. Tomorrow, Wakata will use the arm to attach the first of two major components Discovery has brought to the complex - an exterior framework that houses gyroscopes and communications equipment called the Z-1 truss.
Flight controllers have decided to attempt no further troubleshooting of Discovery's Ku-Band communications system which failed yesterday. The failure will reduce the amount of television that can be transmitted to the ground during the mission, however the crew did send television of the docking and entry into the station to the ground today through alternate communications systems. A few such opportunities for television will be available each day during the remainder of the flight, although they will usually be only a few minutes in length. Flight controllers also use a sequential still video system, a still image updated every few seconds, to follow activities aboard the Shuttle.
The crew will begin a sleep period at 9:17 p.m. CDT and awaken at 5:17 a.m. CDT Saturday for day four of the mission. The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued at 7 a.m. CDT or as events warrant.
Mission Control Center
Discovery’s astronauts were awakened this morning in preparation for their rendezvous and docking to the International Space Station after an extra hour of sleep to the sounds of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, by Cyndi Lauper.
Commander Brian Duffy, Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Jeff Wisoff, Mike Lopez-Alegria and Koichi Wakata began their day shortly after 5 a.m. Central time, preparing shuttle systems for their linkup to the new station at about 12:46 p.m. Central time.
As of about 6:45 this morning, the shuttle trailed the station by about 650 statute miles and was closing in by about 300 miles with each orbit of the Earth. The rate of closure will slow dramatically, however, as Duffy and Melroy conduct a series of jet firings to place the shuttle directly below the station late this morning for the final phase of its approach for docking. The final major maneuver, called the Terminal Initiation burn, will occur when Discovery reaches a point about eight nautical miles directly behind the station.
As Discovery moves within about a half-mile of the station, Duffy will take over manual control of the shuttle’s approach, flying the shuttle from controls in the aft cockpit. Discovery will arrive at a point about 600 feet directly below the station about 10:38 a.m. Central, and then will begin a half-circle of the orbiting outpost. Discovery will pass about 350 feet in front of the station and then move to a point about 250 feet directly above it about 11:05 a.m. Central.
Duffy will then begin to descend toward the station and, about 11:15 a.m. Central, hold position at a point about 170 feet away. Duffy will maintain that distance for almost one hour to allow the station to move within range of Russian ground communications stations to monitor the shuttle’s approach and docking. At 12:34 p.m., Duffy will hold position again briefly at a point about 30 feet from the station to verify the shuttle and station docking mechanisms are precisely aligned. Docking is expected about 12 minutes later with the shuttle contacting the station at a slow rate of about a tenth of a foot per second. At the time of docking, the ISS and Discovery will be flying over the Ukraine.
The shuttle’s KU band communications system remains inoperative as engineers continue to review data regarding its sudden loss yesterday. Although there is no conventional television available from Discovery, the loss of the KU system has no impact to mission objectives.
Discovery is currently orbiting at an altitude of about 190 statute miles, circling the Earth every 90 minutes.
The next mission status report will be issued about 8 p.m. this evening or sooner if events warrant.
Mission Control Center
The seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery spent their first full day in orbit today checking equipment in preparation for the major events to come: docking with the International Space Station on Friday and, in following days, attaching an exterior framework and additional Shuttle docking port to the orbiting outpost.
The crew found everything in good shape aboard the Shuttle, although a failure in one of Discovery's communications systems may prevent Mission Control from visually following many of the crew's activities through live television. At about 9 a.m. Central today, flight controllers noted a failure in Discovery's Ku-Band communications system, a system used for high-rate communications - including television -- that includes a dish-shaped antenna in the Shuttle's cargo bay. The failure, still being analyzed by engineers, prevents the system from transmitting or receiving any usable communications. The Ku-Band system initially worked well when activated yesterday, only a few hours after launch. The Shuttle has other communications systems that are operating well. The loss of the Ku-Band system will not impact the crew's ability to successfully complete all of the flight's objectives. However, the failure of the Ku-Band system may drastically reduce the potential for live television to be transmitted to the ground for the remainder of the mission.
Discovery is trailing the International Space Station by about 1,680 statute miles, continuing to close in on the orbiting complex at a rate of 201 statute miles with each orbit. Commander Brian Duffy and Pilot Pam Melroy fired the Shuttle's engines twice today to adjust the rate at which Discovery is closing on the station. The continuing series of rendezvous engine firings is planned to culminate in Duffy manually guiding Discovery to a docking with the outpost at 12:45 p.m. CDT Friday. The final phase of the rendezvous is planned to begin with a Terminal Intercept engine firing planned at 9:09 a.m. CDT Friday, when Discovery reaches a point about nine statute miles behind the station.
Also today, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata powered up Discovery's robotic arm, checking out its operation in a survey of the cargo bay and finding everything in order. While that activity was under way on the Shuttle's upper deck, astronauts Leroy Chiao, Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria worked in the lower deck, or middeck, to check out the spacesuits that will be worn during four planned spacewalks. All of the suits and equipment are in excellent shape. Astronaut Bill McArthur will join Chiao, Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria in conducting those spacewalks, planned to begin on Sunday, that will complete connections of the new station components.
The crew will begin a sleep period at 9:17 p.m. CDT and awaken at 4:17 a.m. CDT Friday for day three of the mission. Discovery is in an orbit with a high point of 235 statute miles and a low point of 188 statute miles
Mission Control Center
Space Shuttle Discovery continues its approach to the International Space Station, trailing the orbital outpost by approximately 5500 nautical miles as of this morning, closing by about 600 nautical miles each orbit.
The STS-92 crew was awakened at 7:17 a.m. Central time with the song, "Incense And Peppermint" by the group, "Strawberry Alarm Clock". The tune is part of the "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" movie soundtrack and was played for the crew members, who are fans of the film.
Commander Brian Duffy and Pilot Pam Melroy will fire Discovery's thrusters in a continuing series of burns today to refine the Shuttle's approach to the International Space Station, and will check out some of the tools their crewmates will use to provide them with navigation information during the final phases of the Shuttle's approach to the Station for docking. Discovery's linkup to the ISS is planned for 12:43 p.m. Central time Friday afternoon.
It will be a day of preparations for Discovery's astronauts as Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria check out the space suits they will wear during four consecutive days of orbital construction space walks. Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will power up Discovery's 50-foot long robot arm to ensure it is operating properly and will use it to conduct a photographic survey of the payload bay and the new Space Station components housed inside. In the International Space Station control room in Mission Control, flight controllers continue to prepare the station for the arrival of Discovery's crew by warming up the Unity module and its attached docking port to maintain comfortable working conditions for the astronauts. Discovery's crew will enter the Unity module on Saturday to transfer logistical supplies and hardware associated with the installation of the first external truss structure for the complex.
Over the course of the next week, through the space walks and the use of the Shuttle's robot arm, the crew will install both the Z1 truss assembly and Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 to the Unity module of the Station. That adapter is a new docking port for the ISS. The Z1 truss provides a structural backbone for the Station, with four Control Moment Gyroscopes that will be used to maintain the Station's attitude or orientation in space. The truss also houses key communications gear. The truss assembly will support the large solar arrays that will be delivered during the next Shuttle mission, STS-97.
Discovery is orbiting at an altitude of about 200 statute miles with all of its systems operating in perfect shape. The next STS-92 mission status report will be issued about 8 p.m. Central time Thursday or sooner, if developments warrant.
CONTROL CENTER STATUS REPORT #1
Discovery's seven astronauts blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center on the 100th mission in Space Shuttle history tonight to deliver the first external framework structure and a new docking port to the International Space Station.
Commander Brian Duffy, Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Jeff Wisoff, Mike Lopez-Alegria and Koichi Wakata rocketed away from Launch Pad 39-A at 6:17 p.m. Central time, lighting up the central Florida skies as they began their pursuit of the international complex. At the time of launch, the ISS was orbiting at an altitude of about 230 statute miles over the Indian Ocean, east of India.
Less than nine minutes after liftoff, Discovery's astronauts went to work to prepare the Shuttle's systems for their planned 11-day mission. The first major task on the flight plan was to open Discovery's cargo bay doors prior to receiving a "go" for orbital operations from Ascent Flight Director Wayne Hale. The astronauts are expected to set up computers and flight deck gear before beginning an eight-hour sleep period at 11:17 p.m. Central time. The crew will be awakened at 7:17 a.m. Thursday morning to begin its first full day in space.
With this evening's successful launch behind them, Discovery's astronauts will turn their attention to their chase of the International Space Station, performing several firings of the ship's jet thrusters over the next two days to set up a docking with the outpost on Friday at 12:43 p.m. Central time. Over the ensuing week, the crew will install the so-called Z1 truss structure and a third Pressurized Mating Adapter to the Unity module and will perform four space walks to electrically connect the new components.
The Station itself continues to orbit the Earth every 90 minutes in good shape with the exception of two sets of batteries in the Zvezda Service Module which have been disconnected from the module's electrical system because of suspected problems with voltage converters. Battery component spares are expected to be launched on the next unmanned Progress resupply ship to the ISS in November for installation by the first resident crew. Meanwhile, Zvezda is operating normally on six healthy batteries with more than enough electrical power for ISS systems.
After an engine firing to circularize its orbit, Discovery will be flying at an altitude of about 190 statute miles in pursuit of the international station and its linkup Friday afternoon. The next STS-92 status report is scheduled at about 8 a.m. Central time Thursday morning, or sooner, if developments warrant.