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STS-121 MCC Status Report #09


6 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 8, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas


STS-121 MCC Status Report #09

Astronauts from Space Shuttle Discovery prepared the International Space 
Station’s rail car for restoration and tested a repair crane during a 7 
hour 31 minute long spacewalk today, while their colleagues delivered a 
new oxygen generator and laboratory freezer to the station.

Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum turned their 
spacesuits to battery power to officially start the spacewalk at 8:17 
a.m. CDT. After they configured their tools and safety tethers, they 
moved to the S0 Truss and installed a blade blocker in the zenith 
Interface Umbilical Assembly to protect the undamaged power, data and 
video cable. Then they rerouted that cable through the IUA so the Mobile 
Transporter rail car could be moved into position on the truss for 
replacement of the Trailing Umbilical System containing the severed 
power and data cable during a spacewalk Monday.

The remainder of today’s spacewalk was devoted to testing the 
combination of space shuttle robotic arm and Orbiter Boom Sensor System 
as a platform for spacewalking astronauts to make repairs to a damaged 
orbiter. Sellers got into a foot restraint on the OBSS, almost 100 feet 
from where the shuttle arm is attached to the payload bay sill, and 
performed a set of motions designed to see how the arm/OBSS handled the 
forces generated by those movements; Fossum stood nearby and reported 
his observations of the arm/OBSS’ movements.

Then Fossum joined Sellers on the end of the OBSS for another round of 
demonstrations, with measurements again taken by a load cell mounted 
under the foot restraint. For the last measurement the arm maneuvered 
Fossum into position so he could push against the end of the P1 Truss.

Sellers, wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and Fossum, wearing the 
white spacesuit, re-entered the station and started pressurizing the 
airlock at 3:48 p.m., concluding the first of three spacewalks planned 
for the mission. Today’s EVA was the fourth of Sellers’ career, and the 
first for Fossum.

Pilot Mark Kelly served as intravehicular crewmember, keeping the 
spacewalkers on time and relaying information from Mission Control in 
Houston, while Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson and 
Expedition 13 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams operated the shuttle robot 
arm and Discovery Commander Steve Lindsey monitored their activities 
while transferring water onto ISS.

During the EVA ISS Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Thomas 
Reiter unloaded cargo from the Multipurpose Logistics Module. Today’s 
transfers included a new oxygen generator, to be installed in the 
Destiny laboratory in the coming months, and a Minus Eighty Degree 
Laboratory Freezer for ISS, which will provide low temperature storage 
for lab supplies and for experiment samples awaiting return to Earth.

Delivery of cargo from the MPLM onto ISS will be the centerpiece of 
activity on orbit Sunday, and the second of two spacewalks will take 
place Monday morning at 7:13 a.m. CDT.

Also Saturday, Mission Managers reported clearing for entry all but one 
area of the orbiter’s thermal protection system that engineers had been 
looking at closely. The remaining area, a protruding gap filler near the 
external tank umbilical doors, needs further analysis, according to 
Steve Poulos, Orbiter Project Office Manager. The outlook was favorable 
for clearing that area, as well, Poulos said, but image analysts will be 
working through the night Saturday to finish looking at it.

Overall, the spacecraft thermal protection system had relatively few 
“dings” and Chairman of the Mission Management Team John Shannon said 
that Discovery was by far the “cleanest” in terms of damage to the heat 

The next STS-121 mission status report will be issued early Sunday, or 
as events warrant.

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