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Cargo Transfers, Crew News Conference on Tap Today


Cargo Transfers, Crew News Conference on Tap Today

STS-116 and Expedition 14 crews Image above: STS-116 and Expedition 14 
crewmembers share a meal in the Zvezda Service Module of the 
International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

After a hectic first six days of its STS-116 mission, Space Shuttle 
Discovery’s crew will enjoy a lighter schedule today. Cargo transfers, 
spacewalk preparations and the joint crew news conference are on the 
schedule today.

All 10 station and shuttle crew members will participate in the 
traditional joint news conference at 3:47 p.m. EST. They will field 
questions from media from the United States and Europe.

The crews will enjoy some off duty time before beginning preparations 
for Saturday’s spacewalk by STS-116 Mission Specialist Robert Curbeam 
and Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams. Crew members will 
review spacewalk procedures at 9:17 tonight. The spacewalkers will 
continue rewiring station power systems.

Discovery continues to maintain the orientation of both the station and 
shuttle using the shuttle steering jets, a function it began performing 
during preparations for the spacewalk on Thursday. Originally, control 
of the station's orientation was to be transferred back to the station's 
gyroscopes late Thursday after the spacewalk tasks were completed and 
station systems powered up. However, problems were experienced as that 
transfer was attempted. Flight controllers believe the problems were due 
to a higher than usual amount of atmospheric drag currently experienced 
by the station due to recent solar activity. They may attempt to 
transfer control of orientation back to the station again today, 
although the shuttle thrusters can be used if needed for that purpose 
through the rest of the mission. If necessary, the station has thrusters 
that can be used for orientation control as well.

Engineers investigating the difficulties with fully retracting the 
port-side solar array wing of the station's P6 Truss believe a guide 
wire may be snagged in a swiveling grommet on one of the array's panels. 
The snag could be keeping the panels from folding up completely. The 
array remains almost halfway retracted as it has been since Wednesday. 
Early this morning, station flight controllers commanded the array 
through a series of "wiggle" tests, swiveling the wing 10 degrees at a 
time repeatedly to see if that would help the situation. They are 
continuing to evaluate the results of those tests and to investigate 
options for further work with the array, including the potential to add 
a spacewalk to latter part of this mission. Options also may include 
some additional troubleshooting commanding that could be performed with 
the array during the crew's day today.

For the latest news and information on the International Space Station 
and the Expedition 14 crew, please visit the main station page. + Read 
more <http://www.nasa.gov/station>
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