Mon, Aug 13, 2007
Complete Inspection Of Possible Heat Shield Damage
Mission managers decided Sunday to extend the STS-118 mission of
the space shuttle Endeavour by three days. The decision came after
the successful operation of the new Station-to-Shuttle Power
Transfer System (SSPTS), which allows the orbiter to draw power
from the International Space Station, saving its own batteries.
Endeavour is now scheduled to undock from the International
Space Station on August 20, and land August 22. In addition to the
extra time at the orbital outpost, managers added a fourth
spacewalk -- scheduled to take place Friday.
NASA tells ANN the crew completed Sunday’s focused
inspection of Endeavour's heat shield and has turned its attention
to Monday’s spacewalk. Using the shuttle robotic arm and
50-foot-long Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS), the crew collected
imagery of five areas on Endeavour’s underside that may have
been damaged during the climb to orbit on August 8.
Specialists Tracy Caldwell and Barbara Morgan and Commander Scott
Kelly operated the shuttle’s robotic arm. STS-118 Pilot
Charles Hobaugh and Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Clay Anderson
were at the controls of the International Space Station’s
The data collected during the inspection will be analyzed by
experts and engineers at the Mission Control Center in Houston, to
determine whether astronauts may need to repair an apparent "gouge" near the shuttle's
right maingear door. Mission management team leader
John Shannon told Reuters the damage would have to be significant
for such a repair to be necessary.
"We don't think [the debris impact] went all the way down to the
bottom [of the tile]," Shannon said. "If we even have half the tile
left, then we're not going to have any issues at all."
Following their first spacewalk Saturday, Mission Specialists
Dave Williams and Rick Mastracchio are preparing for their second
spacewalk Monday. The preparations include spacesuit and tool
checkouts. The crew members will review the excursion’s
timeline Sunday before the spacewalkers begin the overnight campout
in the station’s Quest Airlock.
The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 1131 EDT Monday. The
primary task is the replacement of a faulty control moment gyro in
the station’s Z1 truss. The station has four gyros that are
used to control the station’s attitude.
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