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STS-115 MCC Status Report #07



5 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas


STS-115 MCC Status Report #07

It is home improvement time onboard the International Space Station. 
Assembly of the orbiting space lab officially resumed this morning at 
4:17 a.m. CDT.

Mission specialists Joe Tanner and Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper focused on 
bolts, connectors and power tools today as they began the first of three 
spacewalks to hook-up and activate a 17.5 ton, 45 foot long truss with a 
set of solar arrays that will increase the station’s power.

The first spacewalk of the mission began when Tanner and Piper switched 
their spacesuits to battery power and stepped into the void of space. 
This was Tanner’s sixth spacewalk and Piper’s first. Piper is the eighth 
woman, the seventh American woman, to walk in space.

The two set to work quickly and efficiently, making the tough tasks look 
simple and easily getting ahead of the planned timeline. After only 
three and a half hours, Tanner and Piper were near completion of the 
day’s tasks and Mission Control Houston began working on “get ahead” 
tasks. These are tasks that were originally scheduled for the second 
spacewalk Wednesday.

One of these tasks involved removing the launch locks from the Solar 
Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ). To access the launch locks, spacewalkers must 
also remove existing covers. As Tanner removed cover 21, a bolt and 
washer came off and floated into space.

During the early morning hours, Mission Control told Atlantis Commander 
Brent Jett and his crew that a focused inspection of the shuttle's heat 
shield is not needed at this time. The decision means an extra mission 
day is not required, and the crew can continue with its planned 11-day 

Throughout the day, other crew members supported the spacewalk 
activities, transferred equipment and supplies between the two 
spacecraft and got ready for tomorrow’s walk by mission specialists Dan 
Burbank and Canadian Steve MacLean.

Tanner and Piper connected power cables on the truss, released the 
launch restraints on the Solar Array Blanket Box and on the Beta Gimbal 
Assembly -- the structure between the truss electronics -- and the Solar 
Array Wings. The astronauts also configured the Solar Alpha Rotary 
Joint, which allows the arrays to track the sun, and removed two other 
circuit interrupt devices to prepare for the upcoming STS-116 mission.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Wednesday morning 
or earlier if events warrant.

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