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STS-116 MCC Status Report #14

10 a.m. CST Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas


STS-116 MCC Status Report #14

The third spacewalk of Discovery’s mission to the International Space 
Station is scheduled to begin at 1:37 p.m. CST to complete the rewiring 
of the orbiting laboratory’s power system.

Discovery Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam and station Flight Engineer 
Sunita Williams will venture outside to finish the job started on 
Thursday’s spacewalk. Station flight controllers will begin commanding 
about half of the station's systems to power down at about 10:52 a.m. 
CST. After Mission Control has cut the power on the two station 
electrical channels that are the subject of today's work, channels 1 and 
4, the spacewalkers will rewire them. Completing that task will put the 
station power system in its permanent configuration, ready for more 
solar arrays and laboratories to be added in 2007.

Curbeam and Mission Specialist Christer Fuglesang, a European Space 
Agency astronaut from Sweden, completed a rewiring job on the other two 
station power channels, channels 2 and 3, during a spacewalk on Thursday.

Additional tasks for today’s spacewalk include relocating debris shield 
panels from the station’s interior to a storage point outside. The 
panels, designed to increase the protection of the station's Zvezda 
living quarters module, will be installed during a later spacewalk by 
the station crew. Curbeam and Williams also will install a robotic arm 
grapple fixture.

Today's spacewalk is planned to be completed at 7:47 p.m. CST, but can 
go longer if needed. If time allows after all originally planned tasks 
are completed during the excursion, one or both of the spacewalkers will 
move up the P6 truss atop the station to the base of its partially 
retracted port solar wing. From that point, they will push on a blanket 
box into which the array has been folding to attempt to jiggle 
apparently misaligned guide wires and grommets into place. The result 
may allow additional retraction of the array.

Meanwhile, managers are continuing to evaluate a possible fourth 
spacewalk that would take place on Monday to attempt to fully retract 
the array. However, no decision has been made regarding whether that 
spacewalk will be pursued. To prepare for that possibility, the 
spacewalkers today may bring several tools inside the station that would 
need to be prepared with insulating tape for use on a fourth spacewalk.

The transfer of equipment and supplies between the two spacecraft 
continues. Late Friday, the crews were slightly ahead of the transfer 

Inside the station today, station Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and 
Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin will replace a component of the orbiting 
laboratory’s carbon dioxide removal system to restore it to full operation.

The orientation of the shuttle and station is again being controlled by 
the station's control moment gyroscopes. Small shuttle thrusters had 
been controlling the orientation of the spacecraft since Friday, when an 
initial attempt to switch to gyroscope control was not successful. A 
second attempt Saturday worked. Flight controllers believe the 
difficulty was due to increased atmospheric drag resulting from recent 
solar activity.

Shuttle crew members Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein and 
Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick, Curbeam, Fuglesang, Joan 
Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter, along with Williams in the airlock 
campout, were awakened at 8:52 a.m. CST to composer Aaron Copeland’s 
“Fanfare for the Common Man,” performed by the London Philharmonic 
Orchestra. The music was played for Patrick.

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

- end -

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