Discovery Shuttle Crew Roused for Second EVA

14 December 2006 10:20 a.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts aboard NASA's space shuttle Discovery awoke to the tune of "Under Pressure" by Queen on Flight Day 6 of their 12-day mission, the highlight of which is their second spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS).

Flight controllers here at NASA's Johnson Space Center chose the song to rouse Discovery's STS-116 crew for lead spacewalker Robert Curbeam, who will make the fifth extravehicular activity (EVA) of his astronaut career today.

The crew awoke at about 10:17 a.m. EST (1517 GMT).

The spacewalk, aimed at rewiring half of the space station's power grid, will begin at 3:12 p.m. EST (2012 GMT). Joining Curbeam will be European Space Agency spaceflyer Christer Fuglesang.

Click here for a video overview of today's spacewalk.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


ISS Solar Array Rotation Begins

13 December 2006 8:31 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Two wing-like solar arrays are slowly rotating on the portside truss of the International Space Station (ISS) after hours of work by astronauts and flight controllers to retract a Port 6 truss solar array partway.

ISS mission controllers activated the portside Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, which is now turning the wing-like Port 3/Port 4 solar arrays like a paddlewheel. The arrays will track the Sun to power the ISS after two more spacewalks set for this week.

Meanwhile, mission managers said tomorrow's planned STS-116 spacewalk to rewire the space station's power grid will proceed as planned despite the only partially retracted Port 6 array.

A team will draw up plans for a future spacewalk to aid in the Port 6 array's full retraction, that work could occur as early Saturday during the third planned, STS-116 spacewalk. It could also be performed in an unplanned fourth spacewalk or be reserved for ISS crewmembers, NASA astronaut Stephen Robinson has told the station crew.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


ISS Solar Array Rotation to Begin

13 December 2006 8:00 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Space station flight controllers are activating the orbital laboratory's portside Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, which is designed to turn the outboard Port 3/Port 4 solar wings like a paddlewheel.

"That will be fun to watch," Discovery shuttle commander Mark Polansky said.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


ISS Solar Array Retraction Work to Conclude

13 December 2006 7:30 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Space station flight controllers have decided to leave the Port 6 truss' 4B solar array partially retracted in order to proceed with plans to start up the rotation of two other solar arrays on the outpost's port side.

The P6-4B array will stay partially retracted, leaving just less than 40 percent of the 115-foot wing exposed.

In the meantime, flight controllers will activate a massive joint known as the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) that will begin turning the station's outboard Port 3/Port 4 (P3/P4) solar arrays like a paddlewheel to track the Sun.

The P6-4B solar wing originally stretched out through the space in which its P3/P4 counterparts will rotate. With the array now partially retracted, the P3/P4 wings have a clear area in which to track the Sun continuously. They will be used as the station's primary power source following two more spacewalks planned for this week.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Daylight Dwindles, ISS Solar Array Retracted Enough

13 December 2006 7:04 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Retraction work continues with few daylight orbital periods remaining, and the ISS Port 6 solar array retracted within NASA's rules for starting rotation of two other solar arrays.

The Port 6 solar arrays has been retracted to the point that 17.5 mast bays are left exposed. There are 31.5 box-like bays on the 115-foot array's erector-set like mast.

Astronauts aboard the ISS and Discovery had to retract the array to a point where a maximum of 19 bays were exposed, so flight controllers could leave the array as is--partially retracted--and proceed with other vital operations to prepare for future STS-116 mission activities.

A spacewalk tomorrow requires that ISS flight controllers begin priming an ammonia cooling system by no later than midnight tonight.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


ISS Solar Array Partially Retracted

13 December 2006 6:24 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts at the International Space Station have again folded a solar array in enough to accomplish today's primary goal: clearing the station's portside to allow another set of solar wings to begin rotating to track the Sun.

There have been 35 start and stop attempts to retract the array, known as P6-4B on the station's mast-like Port 6 truss.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Partial Solar Array Retraction on Tap

13 December 2006 5:57 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Beleaguered by funky folds and other issues, flight controllers have given astronauts at the International Space Station a go ahead to only partly retract a solar array extending over the port side from the mast-like Port 6 truss.

The shuttle and ISS crews will extend the array out until some incorrect folds in its solar panels are clear, then retract it to the 40 percent mark.

The solar array's mast has 31.5 segments, known as bays. In order to retract the array enough to allow the rotation of two other solar arrays mounted to the station's Port 3/Port 4 truss - a vital milestone for Discovery's STS-116 mission - the Port 6 array will be pulled in until 19 bays, at most, are extended.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Astronauts Try to Jolt Solar Array Into Action

13 December 2006 5:30 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - An attempt to start, then immediately stop, the extension of one of two solar array on the mast-like Port 6 truss to shake an incorrect fold appears unsuccessful.

Flight controllers are considering spacewalk options for the solar array retraction, but are hopeful they can get the array retracted enough to allow the rotation of another portside solar array during the next daylight pass of the International Space Station.

After more than 24 attempts to retract the array, it is now on the very edge of the acceptable 40-percent boundary to be considered retracted enough, NASA officials said.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Astronauts Eye Tension Lines in Solar Array Work

13 December 2006 5:00 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts at the International Space Station are eyeing a set of tension lines in their work to retract a Port 6 solar array today.

Flight controllers believe that one of those lines could have snagged in a grommet during the retraction process, contributed today's array retraction difficulties.

Solar array retraction efforts continue in a start and stop fashion aboard the space station.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


 

Astronauts Set for Final Solar Array Retraction Attempts

13 December 2006 4:30 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts at the International Space Station are set for one last daylight pass in which to retract a Port 6 solar array.

The astronauts will extend the array out to NASA's limit, about 19 sections--or bays--of the solar wing's mast and try to clear out some waves and tension slack before again retracting.

If needed, they may deploy the array out a few bays further, but must ultimately reel in the solar wing to 19 bays in order to clear a rotational path for another set of arrays.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


ISS Solar Array 40 Percent Retracted

13 December 2006 3:57 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - The Port 6 (P6) solar array currently being retracted outside the International Space Station (ISS) has been reeled in enough to meet NASA's minimum hopes for today's procedure.

Known as the P6-4B array, the solar wing has repeatedly encountered folding hitches during today's retraction, but is now more than 40-percent retracted, the minimum amount required to allow the rotation of two other outboard solar arrays.

Flight controllers and astronauts aboard the ISS and Discovery are now debating whether to continues today's retraction, leave it as is, or extend to out to 19 segments-- the 40 percent mark--of the solar array's mast. The P6 array's mast extends a total of 31.5 segments, known as bays, each of which is just over three feet in height.

Currently, the array is extended about 17.5 bays.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Solar Array Retraction Work is Back and Forth

13 December 2006 3:40 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Space station astronauts continue to attempt to retract the Port 6 solar array extending out to port over the U.S. Destiny module.

It is back and forth work as astronauts reel in the array, then redeploy it to clear incorrect folds. There is no pressing time limit to perform the retraction, though NASA hopes to complete it today in order to move ahead with plans to rewire the station's power grid.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Incorrect Fold Pops up Again in Solar Array Retraction

13 December 2006 3:22 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - After once again attempting to retract one of two solar wings extending from the Port 6 truss, astronauts aboard the International Space Station reported another incorrect fold during the process.

ISS astronauts halted the retraction process once more and expect to redeploy the array, and repeat the reel in process.

Flight controllers have given the ISS crew approval to redeploy and retract as needed.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


 

ISS Solar Array Redeployed to Clear Fold

13 December 2006 3:03 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Space station astronauts have redeployed one of the outpost's Port 6 solar arrays in order to clear an incorrect fold.

They extended one of two solar wings on the station's Port 6 truss after part of the array bulged out in the wrong direction. The array is not completed redeployed, but is extended enough to clear the offending fold.

The station crew will again prepare to retract the Port 6 array to clear the outpost's port side of any obstruction for a pair of other arrays designed to rotate to track the Sun.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Astronauts to Extend Solar Array to Clear Fold

13 December 2006 2:41 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Space station astronauts will once more extend one of the outpost's Port 6 solar arrays to clear an incorrectly folded crease in one of its the power-generating panel.

"We'll go ahead and extend it until it takes care of itself or until it is fully extended, whichever comes first," ISS Expedition 14 commander Michael Lopez-Alegria told flight controllers.

Lopez-Alegria halted the Port 6 array's retraction in midstream after noticing that part of the solar wing had bulged outward instead of folding away correctly.

The ISS crew is retracting the P6 array to clear the station's port side of any obstructions for a pair if new Port 3/Port 4 solar arrays, which are due to begin rotating to track the Sun later today.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Astronauts Halt Solar Array Retraction

13 December 2006 2:12 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have halted their retraction of a solar array after a crease developed during the process.

Part the array has bowed out slightly. About 26 of the 120-foot array's 31.5 mast sections remain to be retracted.

The station is heading towards the Earth's nightside, so the astronauts aboard will wait until the next daylight pass to renew their efforts.

The astronauts are working pulling one of two solar wings on the station's Port 6 array, which has spent six years unfurled above the outpost's U.S. Destiny laboratory.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Astronauts Reel in ISS Solar Array a Bit Further

13 December 2006 1:42 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - A 120-foot solar wing that has helped power the International Space Station for six years has been retracted a but further into its storage box as astronauts and flight controllers look on.

Retraction of the Port 6 solar array extending over the portside of the ISS began at about 1:28 p.m. EST (1828 GMT).

Flight controllers initially planned to retract the array in about three bays, but asked for two more to inspect a kink in the shimmering solar wing.

One bay is one segment of the array's pop-up mast. There are 31.5 bays in all on the arrays mast.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Astronauts Retract Solar Array Partway

13 December 2006 1:37 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have reeled in a 120-foot solar array a few feet as part of a check of today's retraction process.

"It sounded like a good job," NASA astronaut Terry Virts, serving as ISS spacecraft communicator told the ISS crew.

It is the first time in ISS history that a solar array is being retracted in orbit.

ISS astronauts began reeling in a solar wing extending towards the portside from the mast-like Port 6 truss above the station's U.S. Destiny module at 1:28 p.m. EST (1828 GMT). About one minute later, the array was retracted three bays.

One bay is one segment of the array's pop-up mast. There are 31.5 bays in all on the arrays mast.

Discovery shuttle commander Mark Polansky has noted that part of the array appears to have folded the wrong way. Further inspections are underway.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Astronauts to Retract ISS Solar Array
13 December 2006 1:25 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are minutes away from beginning today's planned retraction of one of the outpost's Port 6 solar arrays.

One solar wing of the mast-like Port 6 truss is set to begin retracting in a few minutes to clear another set of port side solar arrays to begin rotating like a paddlewheel to track the Sun.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned solar array retraction.

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

- Tariq Malik


 

Mission's First Spacewalk Ends for Shuttle Astronauts

12 December 2006 10:08 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - STS-116 spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have once more entered the Quest airlock and shut the outer hatch as they prepare to conclude more than six hours of orbital work outside the International Space Station.  

Total spacewalk time: six hours and 36 minutes.

The spacewalk began at 3:31 p.m. EST (2031 GMT) and concluded at 10:07 p.m. EST (0307 Dec. 13 GMT).

A wrap story of today's spacewalk will be posted to the SPACE.com homepage shortly.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Shuttle Astronauts Return to ISS Airlock

12 December 2006 9:50 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Shuttle astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have surpassed the six-hour mark for today's spacewalk and are heading back inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock.

Fuglesang reported a lost extension tool, which apparently escaped from its tether while he was moving along the ISS exterior.

The astronauts are checking all of their tools and stowing equipment at the airlock.

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers Split up in Final Tasks

12 December 2006 9:23 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have gone separate ways to complete some final chores as they near the end of their planned six-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS).

Fuglesang has returned to the end of the newly installed Port 5 (P5) truss to remove two final launch locks in order to complete an extra "get-ahead" task during this spacewalk. Curbeam is returning tools and other items to the station's Quest airlock,

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's STS-116 activities live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers Install New ISS Camera

12 December 2006 9:06 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Five hours and 30 minutes into their planned six-hour spacewalk, shuttle astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have completed their final task of the day: the installation of a new video camera to the starboard truss aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The astronauts are about to start heading back to the station's Quest airlock, though flight controllers are going over any possible tasks they can perform before then.

Todays' spacewalk is the first of three planned during the astronauts' STS-116 mission to install the Port 5 truss and rewire the station's power grid. 

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


One Spacewalker Recharges Spacesuit

12 December 2006 8:41 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Five hours into their mission's first spacewalk, STS-116 mission specialists Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang are performing the final tasks of their orbital construction and maintenance job.

Fuglesang returned from the newly installed Port 5 truss to the International Space Station's Quest airlock to retrieve a new video camera and recharge his spacesuit for a few minutes. Curbeam hauled himself, hand over hand, from Port 5 (the leftmost side of the station) all the way to the Starboard 1 (S1) truss on the other side of the outpost's metallic backbone to prepare the camera repair worksite.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


ISS Camera Repair Next for Spacewalkers

12 December 2006 8:10 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang are now heading to the opposite end of International Space Station's (ISS) main truss to replace a malfunctioning video camera on the Starboard 1 (S1) segment.

The task is the final planned activity of today's six-hour spacewalk. Curbeam and Fuglesang have spent about five and a half hours working in space.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Shuttle Astronauts Perform More Extra Tasks

12 December 2006 8:00 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Still working ahead of schedule, Discovery shuttle astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have extra tasks ahead of them tasks during today's spacewalk.

The two astronauts have helped install the new Port 5 truss and moved a grapple fixture from its exterior. Curbeam has connected a series of utility cables--and extra chore on today's orbital to-do list.

The final planned task for today's spacewalk is to replace a malfunctioning video camera. 

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers Move Grapple Fixture

12 December 2006 7:32 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have relocated a robotic arm grapple fixture from the top of the newly installed Port 5 truss to the Mobile Transporter outside the International Space Station.

The spacewalkers have hit the four hour mark of today's planned six-hour spacewalk.

Curbeam has been making some utility connections between the Port 5 truss and its connection point at the end of the Port 3/Port 4 element. The activity is a get-ahead task, but is made possible since the astronauts are ahead of schedule.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Grapple Fixture Freed From New ISS Piece

12 December 2006 7:08 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - After applying some extra elbow grease to remove some hard-to-reach bolts, shuttle astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have pried loose a grapple fixture from its launch position on the Port 5 truss.

They are about halfway through their task of relocating the grapple fixture so that it won't interfere with other hardware on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) hardware.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers Work to Move Grapple Fixture

12 December 2006 6:47 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang are moving a grapple fixture from its launch position on the Port 5 truss to a permanent slot so that it does not obstruct International Space Station (ISS) hardware.

The grapple fixture was used by spacecraft robotic arms to help install the P5 truss. Its relocation is the second of three primary tasks in today's spacewalk.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


New Truss Segment Officially Part of ISS

12 December 2006 6:22 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Discovery astronaut Christer Fuglesang has installed the final grounding strap to the recently installed Port 5 (P5) truss outside the International Space Station (ISS), officially making the two-ton spacer part of the orbital laboratory.

Fuglesang and fellow STS-116 spacewalker Robert Curbeam are minutes away from the half-way mark of their six-hour spacewalk, which began at 3:31 p.m. EST (2031 GMT) today.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers Bolt New Truss Segment to ISS

12 December 2006 5:44 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have completed driving four bolts into place to secure the Port 5 (P5) truss to the International Space Station (ISS).

Some additional truss-related activities remain, such as installing grounding straps and other items.

Meanwhile, the space station's robotic arm has released P5 at its perch at the end of the Port 3/Port 4 (P3/P4) truss on the ISS. The new truss adds about two tons to the space station's already hefty orbital weight.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalk Continues, No Focused Heat Shield Inspection for Discovery

12 December 2006 5:38 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - As shuttle astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang cross the two-hour mark in today's spacewalk, STS-116 mission managers have decided that no additional inspections of Discovery's heat shield will be required tomorrow.

Astronaut Kevin Ford, serving as spacecraft communicator, alerted Discovery commander Mark Polansky of the STS-116 mission management team's decision minutes ago.

"Well, that's outstanding news," Polansky said. "Sounds like you guys have obviously done your usual thorough analysis."

Mission managers reported some scuffs and dings on Discovery's belly-mounted tiles and a possible minor impact to one of the orbiter's wings. None of the events were thought serious, but flight controllers proceeded with analyses anyway to be sure.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


 

New Piece of ISS in Place, Spacewalkers Prepare to Drive Bolts

12 December 2006 5:20 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - The new Port 5 (P5) spacer element of the International Space Station has soft docked to the portside end of the outpost's main truss and awaiting work to secure it in place.

Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang gave verbal commands to their STS-116 crewmate Joan Higginbotham, who maneuvered the P5 truss using the station's robotic arm, to ease the segment into position.

"We didn't want to scream on the loop, but we're very happy," Higginbotham said, referring to the communications channels used in today's spacewalk.

 Curbeam and Fuglesang are now set to lock four bolts into place using their pistol grip tools. The bolts will secure P5 to the end of the Port 3/Port 4 solar array truss.

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


 

Spacewalkers Remove Truss Launch Locks

12 December 2006 5:08 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have successfully removed all four launch locks from the new Port 5 truss outside the International Space Station (ISS).

Inside the station, astronauts Joan Higginbotham and Sunita Williams are easing P5 into its final place using the station's robotic arm.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


New Space Station Piece Aligned for Installation

12 December 2006 4:41 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - A two-ton addition to the International Space Station (ISS) is in a pre-installation position to allow spacewalkers  Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang to remove a series of four launch locks.

Known as the Port 5 (P5) truss, the new piece of the ISS will serve as a bridge between two solar array segments on the port side of the ISS. The truss is within reach of Curbeam and Fuglesang, who are poised at the end of the space station's Port 3/Port 4 solar array segment.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers Guide New ISS Piece In

12 December 2006 4:25 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have given verbal feedback to robotics handlers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as they pre-positioned the new Port 5 segment near its installation point on the portside edge of the outpost's main truss.

Once in place, Curbeam and Fuglesang will begin removing a series of launch locks and restraints that helped stabilize the Port 5 truss element in Discovery's payload bay during launch.

 

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Shuttle Spacewalkers Head to Worksite

12 December 2006 4:05 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang are working their way out to the portside truss of International Space Station (ISS) as they head to their primary worksite for today's spacewalk. 

The spacewalkers are pulling themselves hand over hand as they move towards the Port 3/Port 4 truss segments of the ISS. Their first task is to prime the Port 5 truss for installation at the end of Port 3/Port 4.

A video description of today's spacewalk is available here.

 

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalk Begins for Shuttle Astronauts

12 December 2006 3:40 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have begun the first of three planned spacewalks for their STS-116 mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The two astronauts switched their spacesuits to internal battery power just past 3:30 p.m. EST (2031 GMT). Today's planned spacewalk is expected to run about six hours, and calls for the installation of a new truss segment, the relocation of a grapple fixture and replacement of a malfunctioning camera.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned spacewalk.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers Open ISS Airlock Hatch

12 December 2006 3:33 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Discovery shuttle astronauts Robert Curbeam has opened the outer hatch of the Quest airlock aboard the International Space Station (ISS) now that depressurization is complete.

Hatch opening came at about 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT) as Curbeam and his spacewalking partner Christer Fuglesang prepare to begin their STS-116 mission's first spacewalk.

The airlock hatches thermal cover was apparently pushed open by residual air pressure.

"I'm pretty sure it did because I am looking at daylight," Curbeam said.

Both spaceflyers are clad in NASA's white Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs). Curbeam's EMU sports a red stripe and U.S. flag while Fuglesang's spacesuit is all white with a Swedish flag.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers Begin to Depressurize ISS Airlock

12 December 2006 3:04 p.m. EST

HOUSTON  - The atmosphere inside the Quest airlock aboard the International Space Station is on its way down as astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang depressurize the small space for today's spacewalk.

It should take about 11 minutes to remove most of the atmosphere from Quest. Hatch opening and the start of today's spacewalk to install the Port 5 truss will then follow.

 

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Spacewalkers to Depressurize Airlock

12 December 2006 2:42 p.m. EST

HOUSTON  - Discovery astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have donned their NASA spacesuits and are preparing to depressurize the Quest airlock aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as they ready themselves to step outside the orbital laboratory.

The spacewalk is slated to begin about one hour from now, though Discovery's STS-116 crew and their ISS Expedition 14 counterparts have been running ahead of schedule, NASA officials said.

Curbeam and Fuglesang will help install the Port 5 (P5) spacer segment to the portside end of the station's main truss. They are also due to move a grapple fixture on P5 and a replace a video camera on a different truss segment.

Today's spacewalk is scheduled to begin at about 3:42 p.m. EST (2042 GMT).

You are invited to follow today's spacewalk live using SPACE.com's NASA TV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik


Discovery Crew Prepares for First Spacewalk

12  December 2006 11:50 a.m. EST

HOUSTON  - The Discovery astronauts are awake and getting ready for the first of three planned spacewalks for this mission today. Today's space outing, expected to last about 6 hours, will be to install a new two-ton P5 truss segment to the left side of the International Space Station's (ISS) main solar array truss. Mission specialists Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang are the spacewalkers for today. Their call signs are EV-1 and EV-2, respectively.

"Good morning, Discovery," astronaut Shannon Lucid said mission control. "And a special good morning to you this morning, Christer, and we wish you well as you step outside of the airlock for the first time today."

"Morning Houston, thanks a lot," Fuglesang said. "Nice music this morning."

The spacewalkers are scheduled to exit the station's Quest airlock module where they spent the night at around 3:42 p.m. EST (2042 GMT).

- Ker Than


Click here for older STS-116 mission update