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Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Discovery Reaches Orbit




The crew of STS-120 is safely in orbit and on their way to
the International Space Station following a flawless liftoff from NASA"s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The seven astronauts aboard space shuttle Discovery are to spend 14 days in space during the mission.

Objectives for the flight include delivering a new segment called Harmony to the station, along with new station crew member Dan Tani.

Tani will stay on the orbiting laboratory and Discovery will bring current station resident Clayton Anderson back to Earth. Discovery's crew will also move a tower of solar arrays to its new position on the orbiting laboratory.


Discovery is scheduled to land at Kennedy on Nov. 6.

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Crew Completes Heat Shield Inspection

The STS-120 crew members completed the day's scheduled inspections of Space Shuttle Discovery’s heat shield before noon EDT. They used Discovery’s robotic arm and an attached boom extension to check the spacecraft’s underside, nose cap and leading edges of the wings as well as hard to reach shuttle surfaces.

The inspections are performed to check if any damage occurred to the heat shield during the climb to orbit that began when Discovery lifted off Tuesday from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Over the next few days, engineers and flight controllers will analyze the data collected by the STS-120 crew.

Throughout the day, the crew has been preparing for Thursday’s arrival at the International Space Station. The day's activities include the extension of the shuttle’s docking ring and the check out of tools they will use to rendezvous and link up with the station. Docking is scheduled to occur at 8:33 a.m. Thursday.


Earlier today, the STS-120 crew checked out spacesuits to be used during the mission’s five scheduled spacewalks at the space station. One of the major objectives of the spacewalks is the temporary installation of the station’s newest component, the Node 2 module, also known as Harmony. In addition, the crew will relocate the station’s P6 truss and solar arrays.

STS-120 is also delivering a new crew member to the station.
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TS-120 Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock kicked off STS-120’s first spacewalk at 6:02 a.m. EDT to prepare Harmony for removal from Discovery’s payload bay. The excursion is scheduled to wrap up at about 12:32 p.m.

Mission Specialist Paolo Nespoli is the spacewalk coordinator, assisting the spacewalkers with their tasks from inside the spacecraft. Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson and Clay Anderson and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Daniel Tani are at the controls of the station’s Canadian-built robotic arm.

The spacewalkers have removed and stowed the S-band Antenna Structural Assembly. They also secured a Payload and Data Grapple Fixture onto Harmony that could not be in place during launch, removed contamination covers and disconnected the power cables linking Harmony to Discovery.

The station robotic arm operators then will remove Harmony from the payload bay and begin moving it toward its position on Unity. Finally, the spacewalkers will prepare the P6 truss for its relocation.
NASA'S Shuttle Discovery Begins Mission to the Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off Tuesday, Oct. 23, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:38 a.m. EDT to continue construction of the International Space Station.

During the 14-day mission, designated STS-120, Discovery's crew will continue construction of the space station with the installation of the Harmony connecting module, also known as Node 2. The crew, led by Commander Pam Melroy, will conduct five spacewalks during the mission, four by shuttle crew members and one by the station’s Expedition 16 crew.

Discovery is scheduled to dock to the station on Thursday, Oct. 25. The addition of the Harmony module sets the stage for the arrival of new research laboratories from the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in upcoming shuttle missions. During the mission, the STS-120 crew also will move the station's Port 6 segment of the station's backbone, or truss, and its solar arrays to a permanent position at the end of the truss' left side.

Joining Melroy on the STS-120 crew are Pilot George Zamka, mission specialists Scott Parazynski, Doug Wheelock, Stephanie Wilson, Daniel Tani and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli. Tani will serve as mission specialist aboard Discovery and join the Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, who arrived at the station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Oct. 12.

Tani will rotate positions with station resident Clayton Anderson. After five months on the station, Anderson will return with Discovery's crew at the conclusion of the STS-120 mission.

This is the 120th space shuttle flight, the 34th flight for Discovery and the 23rd U.S. flight to the International Space Station.

NASACast: Space Shuttle and Space Station Video

NASACast: Space Shuttle and Space Station Audio

The STS-120 and Expedition 16 crews will enter the Harmony module for the first time just before 9 a.m. EDT Saturday after Mission Specialist Paolo Nespoli and Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson open the hatches. Harmony will provide the docking ports for new research laboratories from the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The laboratories will be delivered to the station on upcoming shuttle missions.

The crews will also prepare for Sunday’s spacewalk, the second of the mission. The spacewalk will be conducted by Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Daniel Tani. The duo will conduct an overnight “campout” Saturday in the station’s airlock.

Astronauts Go to Work Outside Space Station

Astronauts are working outside the International Space Station for the second time during the STS-120 mission. The main objective of today’s spacewalk, which began at 5:32 a.m. EDT, is the preparation of the Port 6, or P6, truss segment for its relocation.

Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski and Flight Engineer Daniel Tani will disconnect the Port 6, or P6, truss segment from the top of the station, where it was installed temporarily in 2000. Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson and Doug Wheelock will use the station robotic arm to remove it and place the solar array section in a temporary holding position for tonight.

Parazynski and Tani will begin the spacewalk heading to the section where the P6 truss is attached to the Z1 truss. There they will disconnect the umbilicals and bolts holding the two trusses together.

In addition, mission managers have asked Tani to make a couple of inspections. First, he will inspect a rotary joint used to rotate solar arrays on the starboard side of the truss. The joint has been showing some increased friction lately, and mission managers hope Tani may be able to identify the cause. Second, he will inspect some handrails on a Crew and Equipment Translation Aid cart for sharp edges.

Parazynski also will install handholds and other equipment on the Harmony node. Both spacewalkers will finish up their tasks when they install a new grapple fixture to Harmony. The station’s robotic arm will use the grapple fixture next month when it reinstalls Harmony to the front of the Destiny laboratory.

The excursion is scheduled to last 6 hours and 40 minutes. Mission Specialist Paolo Nespoli will be the spacewalk coordinator, assisting the spacewalkers with their tasks.

Teams Evaluate Array Damage

Engineering teams continue to look at the damage to the P6 4B solar array spotted by the crew during deployment Tuesday. NASA halted the deployment of the solar array wing to evaluate the damage. Deployment was about 80 percent complete.

The crew photographed the area on the solar array wing and downlinked the images to the ground.

Meanwhile during post-spacewalk activities, Mission Specialist Doug Wheelock reported to the ground that he had seen a small hole in one of his gloves. The crew sent photos of the glove to the ground for further review.

Third Spacewalk Successful

Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock completed the third spacewalk of the STS-120 mission at 11:53 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The spacewalkers accomplished all of their scheduled tasks and a few get-ahead items that will make future spacewalks more efficient.

Parazynski and Wheelock will again team up for the next spacewalk which is scheduled to take place Thursday.

Fourth Spacewalk Targeted for Friday

Fourth Spacewalk Targeted for Friday

Shuttle and station crews participate in the joint crew news conference Image Above: The shuttle and station crews participate in the joint crew news conference taking questions from reporters in America, Italy and Russia. Image credit: NASA TV

Mission managers announced today that the fourth spacewalk of STS-120 is targeted for Friday. This spacewalk was originally scheduled for Thursday and would have involved work on the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint. However, the station program has decided to attempt to repair the damaged P6 4B solar array wing during Friday’s spacewalk. Performing the spacewalk on Friday preserves the program’s option to schedule another solar array repair spacewalk during STS-120 if needed.

The STS-120 and Expedition 16 crews are continuing cargo transfers. They took a break this morning to participate in the traditional joint crew news conference. They fielded questions from reporters in America, Italy and Russia.

Early this morning Mission Specialist and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli and STS-120 Commander Pam Melroy talked to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. The astronauts took questions from the Italian leader while they were inside the Harmony node. The newly delivered Harmony was U.S. funded and Italian built.

Fourth Spacewalk Pushed Back to Saturday

Fourth Spacewalk Pushed Back to Saturday

Former President George Bush and Barbara Bush Image Above: Former President George Bush and Barbara Bush visit Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, on Thursday and speak with the STS-120 and Expedition 16 crews. Image credit: NASA TV

Friday’s spacewalk, already pushed back from Thursday, has been pushed back again one more day to Saturday. The shuttle and station crews will continue spacewalk preparations, transfer activities and enjoy some off-duty time today.

The spacewalk preparations include studying procedures, building tools and resizing a spacesuit glove. Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock will conduct the excursion.

Parazynski will ride the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, the shuttle’s robotic arm extension, attached to the station’s robotic arm to access a damaged solar array. Wheelock will provide guidance to the arm operators while they are maneuvering Parazynski.

The International Space Station Program changed the priority of the fourth spacewalk from inspection of a rotary joint to repair of a solar array.

A fifth spacewalk planned to occur during the STS-120 mission has been pushed back until after Discovery leaves.

Expedition 16’s First Spacewalk Complete

Expedition 16’s First Spacewalk Complete

Spacewalkers at the end of Harmony Image Above: Station spacewalkers are at the end of the Harmony module preparing it for the attachment of a docking adapter. Image credit: NASA

Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko completed their increment’s first spacewalk Friday at 10:49 a.m. EST. Their 6-hour, 55-minute spacewalk began just over an hour early at 3:54 a.m.

The two spent early Friday morning disconnecting and stowing cables, removing a light on one of the station’s transport carts and taking a cover off the Harmony node’s Common Berthing Mechanism, or CBM. On Monday, the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 (PMA-2) will be moved from the Destiny lab and attached to Harmony’s CBM.

The spacewalkers also removed a base-band signal processor that will later be refurbished and a remote power controller module that will be replaced. They then transferred tools in preparation for upcoming spacewalks.

On Wednesday, Harmony with the newly attached PMA-2 will be moved to the forward end of the U.S. Destiny laboratory. Harmony was temporarily attached to the Unity node during space shuttle Discovery’s STS-120 mission.