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STS-116 MCC Status Report #10


10:30 a.m. CST Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas


STS-116 MCC Status Report #10

The second spacewalk for Discovery's crew members is scheduled for this 
afternoon. During the spacewalk, set to start about 2:12 p.m. CST, Bob 
Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang will begin to rewire the station’s power 

Curbeam and Fuglesang spent the night in the station's Quest airlock at 
a reduced atmospheric pressure of 10.2 psi. The “campout” procedure 
reduces nitrogen levels in the blood to help avoid decompression 
sickness as the astronauts go to the even lower pressure of spacesuits.

The spacewalk is planned to last about six hours. The two spacewalkers 
are scheduled to reconfigure two of the station's four power channels, 
channels 2 and 3, bringing power on line from the new set of solar 
arrays added to the station in September. The remaining two power 
channels, 1 and 4, will be reconfigured in a third spacewalk on 
Saturday. The changes will convert the station power system to a 
permanent setup, ready for even more arrays and science modules to be 
added next year.

At about 11:22 a.m. CST, station flight controllers will be sending 
commands that will power down roughly half of the station's systems in 
preparation for the spacewalkers' rewiring job this afternoon. The 
result will partially power down some communications systems, lighting, 
ventilation systems and backup computers, among other systems. Once the 
spacewalkers have completed the new power connections, flight 
controllers will power all the equipment and systems back on. As changes 
are made in the power system, additional cooling systems also will need 
to be brought online as well.

Late last night, half of the new cooling system for the P4 truss was 
filled with ammonia to be ready to begin circulating today when pumps 
are activated.

During the spacewalk, Curbeam, who will wear a suit with red stripes on 
the legs, and Fuglesang, who will wear an all-white suit, also will 
relocate two small handcarts that run along rails on the station’s main 
truss. Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Suni Williams and Discovery Mission 
Specialist Joan Higginbotham will operate the station's Canadarm2 
robotic arm in support of the spacewalk.

Managers and engineers continue to evaluate whether further actions will 
be taken during STS-116 to complete the retraction of the port P6 truss 
solar array. The array was retracted almost halfway Wednesday, with only 
17 bays of its center mast remaining extended. Fully extended, the mast 
has 31 bays. The array was retracted sufficiently to allow the new P4 
solar arrays to begin rotating last night, an operation that was 
completed without problems. In their current state, the P6 port array 
and the P4 arrays have more than 16 feet of clearance from one another. 
Should they remain as they are, the partially retracted arrays pose no 
issue for the shuttle's undocking or any planned station activities 
until a Soyuz relocation flight set for April 2007.

A decision on any further action regarding the partially retracted array 
– including a possible fourth spacewalk during STS-116 for Curbeam and 
Fuglesang to assist in the retraction -- is not expected before Saturday.

Discovery’s crew was awakened at 9:17 a.m. CST today with the song, 
“Under Pressure,” performed by Queen. It was played for Curbeam. The 
station crew, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers 
Mikhail Tyurin and Williams, woke up a half-hour later.

The next STS-116 status report will be issued Thursday evening, or 
earlier, if events warrant.

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