[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

STS-116 MCC Status Report #18


10 a.m. CST Monday, Dec. 18, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas


STS-116 MCC Status Report #18

Discovery and International Space Station crew members will conduct 
their fourth spacewalk of the week today, an excursion aimed at freeing 
a snagged, partially retracted station solar array so it will fully fold 

Astronaut Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang, a European Space Agency 
astronaut from Sweden, will venture outside the station at 1:12 p.m. 
CST. It will be Curbeam's fourth spacewalk of the mission, more than any 
astronaut has performed during a single shuttle flight, and it will be 
Fuglesang's third. Using a variety of specially prepared, tape-insulated 
tools, they will work to complete the retraction of the port solar array 
wing of the station's P6 truss.

Curbeam and Fuglesang spent the night in the station's Quest airlock in 
a procedure called a "campout." The air pressure in the compartment was 
reduced to 10.2 pounds per square inch to assist in purging nitrogen 
from their bodies, a measure that helps prevent decompression sickness.

The shuttle crew was awakened at 8:17 a.m. CST to the song “Good 
Vibrations,” performed by the Beach Boys. The song was played for the 
entire crew in honor of the vibrations the spacewalkers may create today 
to attempt to free the balky solar panels. As part of the suite of 
potential activities they have on hand to assist with folding the array, 
Curbeam and Fuglesang will shake the solar blankets by pushing on the 
boxes into which they fold. If needed, the spacewalk could last as long 
as six and a half hours.

Curbeam will be on the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm during the 
spacewalk. He will be equipped to work on two problems believed to be 
experienced by the array. One is the apparent jamming of the guide wires 
in the grommets designed to guide them. The other is some backward, 
balky folding of hinges between solar panels that has been seen during 
attempts at retraction. As those issues are dealt with by the 
spacewalkers, crew members inside will send commands to further fold the 

Fuglesang will be on the P6 truss. He will push the blanket boxes into 
which the arrays fold to shake the wing. He also will take pictures, 
including some of the P6 starboard solar wing. That wing is to be 
retracted on the next shuttle flight to the station. The photos taken by 
Fuglesang will assist in the planning of that task.

Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Suni Williams and Discovery Mission 
Specialist Joan Higginbotham will operate the station’s robotic arm 
during the spacewalk. Pilot Bill Oefelein will serve as the spacewalk 
coordinator, or intravehicular officer, inside the spacecraft.

The transfer of equipment and supplies between the shuttle and station 
will continue today as well. Almost all of the 4,292 pounds brought up 
aboard Discovery has been moved to the station, and the loading of 3,725 
pounds of gear in those areas for return to Earth is nearing completion 
as well. Discovery's undocking from the station is now planned for 4:09 
p.m. on Tuesday. Discovery is planned to land at the Kennedy Space 
Center, Florida, at 2:56 p.m. on Friday.

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

Sent via sarex@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Not an AMSAT member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
Subscription settings: http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/sarex