STS-116 Mission Updates: Part 3

AstronautsComplete Third Spacewalk, Fourth Set for Monday

16December 2006 11:00 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams have officially concluded the thirdspacewalk of the joint mission between the International Space Station and theDiscovery shuttle.

A fourthspacewalk is set for Monday and will feature additional troubleshooting work toretract a stubborn solar array outside atop the space station's mast-like Port6 truss.

Totalspacewalking time for today's activity: seven hours, 31 minutes.

Curbeam and Williams achieved all of their primary tasks,which included completing work to rewire the space station's power grid,delivering a set of debris panels to a storage area for later installation onthe orbital lab, and the attachment of a grapple bar that will help futurespacewalkers lug unwieldy equipment to various worksites.

The spacewalk's highlight, however, featured repeated attemptsto loose guide wire snags on the troublesome P6 truss solar array, whichextends over the space station port - or left - side.

A wrap upof today's spacewalking activities outside the ISS will be posted to theSPACE.com homepage following NASA's mission status briefing set to begin noearlier than 11:00 p.m. EST (0400 GMT).

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersBack Inside ISS Airlock

16December 2006 9:53 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are back inside the Quest airlockaboard the International Space Station (ISS) after more than seven hours ofspacewalking work outside the orbital laboratory.

The are preparing to end today's spacewalk, which achievedall of its primary tasks along with extra work to help furl a stubborn solararray atop the station's Port 6 truss.

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkersto Head Back to Airlock after Solar Array Shakes

16December 2006 9:38 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Time has run out in today'sattempts to retract a troublesome solar array outside the International SpaceStation (ISS), and two spacewalkers are headed back to the orbital laboratory'sQuest airlock.

SpacewalkersRobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams accomplished all of their plannedtasks, including the successful completion of a two-part overhaul of thestation's power grid, before working on the solar array.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

MoreISS Solar Array Shaking Underway

16December 2006 9:11 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts working outside andinside the International Space Station are taking a shake and retract approachto a troublesome solar array atop the outpost's mast-like truss.

SpacewalkersRobert Curbeam and SunitaWilliams have shaken their respective sides of the portside solar wing on thestation's Port 6 truss, with apparently favorable results. They are running outof time though. Flight controllers have given the astronauts until the end ofthe current daylight pass before heading back inside the station's airlock.

"This isdefinitely the right approach," space station commander Michael Lopez-Alegria told Mission Control. "I think we're definitelygoing to get there."

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

ISSSolar Array Retracted Slightly

16December 2006 8:47 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - After a whole lot of shaking,astronauts retracted a troublesome array just slightly atop the Port 6 mast of theInternational Space Station. The array folded in as designed as it retractedone segment of its 31-bay mast.

"It'scoming in," STS-116 spacewalker, Robert"Beamer" Curbeam said.

"Itdefinitely looks better than it did before," STS-116 commander Mark Polansky added.

Curbeam shook array again in preparation for additionalretraction activities.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

AfterTwo Shakes, ISS Solar Array Retraction on Tap

16December 2006 8:42 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - After two solar array shakes byspacewalker Robert"Beamer" Curbeam, flight controllers are gearingup to retract a the stubborn solar wing.

Itappears that most, if not all, of the solar arrays are in good shape.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

SolarArray Retraction Planned After Another SpacewalkerShake

16December 2006 8:30 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Space station flightcontrollers have asked spacewalker Robert"Beamer" Curbeam to perform one more of what theynow call a "Beamer shake" of a stubborn solar array atop the InternationalSpace Station.

Followingthe shake, past attempts of which yielded favorable results on stuck guidewires, astronauts aboard the station will attempt to retract the solar arrayfor no more than one section of its 31-piece mast.

Today'sspacewalk has passed the four-hour mark. Curbeam andhis spacewalking partner Sunita Williams are preparedto spend seven hours working outside the space station in their NASAspacesuits.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

SolarArray Shakes Produce Some Effects, Retraction Considered

16December 2006 8:00 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Additional solar array shakingby veteran spacewalker RobertCurbeam appear to be having some effect onstubborn guide wires is sticking to metal grommets they thread through.

"Beamer,you've been amazingly effective," NASA astronaut Steve Robinson told Curbeam.

ISSflight controllers are considering a renewed attempt to retract the solararray, which extends towards the port from the space station's mast-like Port 6truss. The astronauts will wait until the next daylight pass of the ISS for anymore work.

"Itreally looks like that last push did a lot of good," Discovery shuttlecommander Mark Polansky reported.

Curbeam and fellow spacewalker Sunita Williams now have about a half hour of free timeahead of them as the ISS passes over the Earth's night side.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

AstronautPushes on Stubborn Solar Array

16December 2006 7:43 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Veteran spacewalker RobertCurbeam has made two attempts to shake loose aseries of stuck folds on a stubborn solar array.

He hasreported a group of folds that appear to be stuck fast. Curbeammade two pushes five cycles each.

"They'rekind of just stacked together at a weird angle, where it like they're going tobe together forever," Curbeam said.

Aboardthe space shuttle Discovery, astronauts reported that the stalled folds on thearray still appear to be stuck, but that Curbeam'sefforts did not make the situation worse.

ISSflight controllers are discussing what next steps to take.

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersExamine ISS Solar Array Boxes

16December 2006 7:30 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are examining the storage boxes at thebase of a stubborn solar array on the mast-like Port 6 truss rising up abovethe International Space Station (ISS).

The havereported seeing the guide wires, which appear to be fine, and are taking aclose look at tension bars and other equipment on the boxes the solar array'spanels are designed to fold into.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkersto Nudge Stubborn Solar Array

16December 2006 7:13 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are ascending the International SpaceStation's mast-like Port 6 truss to reach a troublesome, half-furled solararray.

They areexpected to inspect the beleaguered array, which has failed to fold up properlyin its storage box. The astronauts are also prepared to nudge the arrayslightly in hopes to free what ISS flight controllers believe is the problem: aguide wire snagged on the grommets it threads through.

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

SolarArray Troubleshooting on Tap for Spacewalkers

16December 2006 6:46 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Mission Control has alerted Discovery's STS-116 crew that spacewalkers RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are sufficiently ahead of schedule toattempt troubleshooting work on a stubborn solar array in hopes of jostling astuck guide wire loose.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

SolarArray Troubleshooting on Tap for Spacewalkers

16December 2006 6:46 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Mission Control has alerted Discovery's STS-116 crew that spacewalkers RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are sufficiently ahead of schedule toattempt troubleshooting work on a stubborn solar array in hopes of jostling astuck guide wire loose.

A fourthspacewalk, if needed, has been approved for the solar array task.

Before attempting that, however, the astronauts mustmount a grapple bar to the station's exterior.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

CameraEscapes from Spacewalker Outside ISS

16December 2006 6:37 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - NASA astronaut Sunita Williams has lost a digital camera thatapparently slipped free from its supporting bracket.

Thecamera could be seen drifting away from Williams after she had left herprevious perch at the end of the space shuttle Discovery's robotic arm.

Williamsand spacewalker RobertCurbeam are more than four hours into today'sspacewalk to rewire the ISS power grid. The astronauts have successfullyperformed that task, temporarily stowed a set of debris panels on the stationand have one or two remaining primary tasks to go before heading up to a balkysolar array if time allows.

Earliertoday, mission managers approved plans for a fourth spacewalk to address thesolar array, which has been stuck mid-retraction since Wednesday, if today'stroubleshooting work is not performed or fails to do the trick.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

FourthSpacewalk Approved as Astronauts Work Outside ISS

16December 2006 6:09 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are about 30 minutes ahead of schedulein today's spacewalk, originally the third planned excursion for Discovery'sshuttle crew. Earlier today, mission managers approved a fourth spacewalk,likely to be performed by Curbeam and fellow STS-116astronaut Christer Fuglesang,to help retract a stubborn solar array outside the International Space Station.

Curbeam and Williams are due to inspect, and gently nudge,the solar array atop the station's Port 6 truss later in today's six-hourspacewalk, which began at 2:25 p.m. EST (1925 GMT).

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

FourthSpacewalk Approved, Spacewalkers Retrieve ISS "Christmas Tree"

16December 2006 5:42 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Flight controllers haveapproved plans for a fourth spacewalk during the STS-116 mission to tackle astubborn solar array at the International Space Station, if needed

"We are go for EVA 4," Mission Control told Discovery's STS-116astronaut crew.

Thespacewalk, which would be dedicated to aiding the retraction of a stubbornsolar array atop the station's Port 6 truss, would occur on Monday. Thespacewalk would be added if an extra task to today's planned spacewalk togentle nudge the array is not completed or fails to aid the retraction process.

Meanwhile,spacewalkers RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams have retrieved a set of debris panelarrangement affectionately dubbed the "Christmas Tree" from the space shuttleDiscovery's payload bay.

"MerryChristmas," Williams told Curbeam as she accept thedebris panels, which are arranged in small stacks around a central column.

Thespacewalkers will deliver the debris panels in a temporary position on the ISSexterior, where the will be later retrieved and installed on the station's Zvezda service module later next year.

Thedebris panel task is the second of three planned chores for today's orbitalwork. The third includes adding a grapple bar to a spare parts platform outsidethe ISS.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersTackle Debris Shield Transfer Task

16December 2006 5:18 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Spacewalking astronauts RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are tackling their second primary goalfor today's extravehicular activity: the transfer of a set of debris panelsfrom Discovery's payload bay to a storage point on the International SpaceStation.

Thedebris panels will be installed on the exterior of the station's Russiansegments to protect against damage from micrometeorites and other orbitaldebris.

Theastronauts are nearing the halfway mark of today's planned six-hour spacewalk,which began at 2:25 p.m. EST (1925 GMT).

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

ISSPower Grid Overhaul a Success, Spacewalk Continues

16December 2006 4:48 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Mission Control has informed spacewalking astronauts RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams that their efforts to complete rewiringthe InternationalSpace Station's (ISS) power grid and activate its primary cooling systemhas been a success.

Norepairs or hardware replacements will be required for the job, which has nowput the ISS on a permanent power system that will feed station systems for theremainder of the outpost's operations. The work clears the way for additionalsolar arrays, larger crews and new laboratories to launch towards the ISS inupcoming years.

Curbeam and Williams are now working to move a set of orbitaldebris panels from the shuttle Discovery's payload bay to a storage positionbetween ISS modules.

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

 

SpacewalkersComplete ISS Rewiring Work

16December 2006 4:18 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Astronauts RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams have completed their primary rewiringtasks outside the InternationalSpace Station (ISS) and given flight controllers the go ahead to once morepower up the orbital laboratory.

Flightcontrollers have confirmed the power system overhaul was successful.

"That isbeautiful," Curbeam said.

The callcame about one hour and 46 into today's plannedsix-hour spacewalk. Curbeam and Williams have takenone minute longer to complete the task than a previous Thursday spacewalk,which ended a full hour early due to the speedy spacewalkers.

Up next forthe astronauts is the installation of an apropos "Christmas Tree" of debrispanels at a storage location on the station's Pressurized Mating Adapter-3(PMA-3). Williams and Curbeam will retrieve thedebris panels from the payload of the Discovery shuttle, with Williams thencarrying them into place at the end of the orbiter's robotic arm.

InsideDiscovery, pilot William Oefelein is choreographingtoday's spacewalk, with fellow STS-116 astronaut Nicholas Patrick, who willwield the orbiter's robotic arm during the activity.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

 

SpacewalkersRewire ISS Power Cables
16 December 2006 3:46 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are moving ahead in their work tocomplete rewiring the InternationalSpace Station (ISS).

Curbeam has completed his tasks inside the station'sgirder-like truss and has pulled himself out to another worksite.

Williamsis removing a series of circuit breakers that will no longer be required by theend of today's spacewalk. Much of the hardware to be activated in today'sspacewalk has lain dormant for an extended amount of time.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

PowerGrid Overhaul Continues in ISS Spacewalk
16 December 2006 3:20 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are steadfastly working their rewiringduties outside the InternationalSpace Station (ISS).

UnlikeThursday's spacewalk, which also featured rewiring tasks, live video isavailable through much of today's spacewalk, returning stunning views of theastronauts as they work in space some 220 miles above Earth.

Curbeam has entered the space station's girder-like maintruss to work with connection cables while Williams handles her own connectiontasks.

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

 

Spacewalkers Exit ISSAirlock, Begin Rewiring Work
16 December 2006 2:51 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Spacewalkers RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are working outside the International SpaceStation (ISS) to complete rewiring work outside the orbital laboratory.

Thespacewalk marks the first spacewalk for Williams and the sixth for Curbeam.

"Welcometo the club, Suni," Curbeamtold Williams as she floated feet first out of the station's Quest airlock.

Up first forthe spacewalking duo is a planned 90-minute job to complete an ISS power systemoverhaul by rewiring the outpost's power channels 1 and 4. Channels 2 and 3were rewired in a successful Thursday spacewalk.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

Astronauts Begin Spacewalkto Rewire ISS
16 December 2006 2:26 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - The thirdspacewalk of NASA's STS-116 mission has officially begun for astronauts RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams aboard the International SpaceStation (ISS).

Officialstart time: 2:25 p.m. EST (1925 GMT), or about 15 minutes early.

"Lookslike it's dark out there," said Williams as she and Curbeamopened the outer hatch of the space station's Quest airlock.

 

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkers DepressurizeISS Airlock
16 December 2006 2:00 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Astronauts RobertCurbeam and Sunita Williams are depressurizing the Quest airlockaboard the InternationalSpace Station (ISS) in preparation to begin today's planned six-hourspacewalk.

Thespacewalkers are expected to rewire the second half of the space station'spower grid, deliver a set of debris panels to station and install a sparegrapple tool to the outpost's exterior. Time permitting, they will also climbto the highest point of the ISS and nudge a balky solar array in hopes ofloosing a snag in one of three guide wires.

Today'sspacewalk is set to begin at 2:37 p.m. EST (1937 GMT).

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

 

Astronauts Prepare toBegin Spacewalk at ISS
16 December 2006 1:35 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Two astronauts are suited upfor a planned six-hourspacewalk outside the International SpaceStation (ISS) today.

Discovery's STS-116 missionspecialist RobertCurbeam and ISS Expedition 14 flight engineer Sunita Williams are clad in their NASA spacesuitsinside the space station's Quest airlock. They are scheduled to exit the ISS atabout 2:37 p.m. EST (1937 GMT) to begin work to rewire the station's powergrid.

Theastronauts are slightly ahead of schedule by about 15 minutes, and so couldbegin their extravehicular activity early, NASA officials have said.

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

Shuttle Astronauts Awaketo Stage Spacewalk at ISS
16 December 2006 10:02 a.m. EST

HOUSTON -NASA roused the seven-astronaut crew of the space shuttle Discovery withAaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" at 9:47 a.m. EST (1447 GMT) inpreparation for today's thirdspacewalk of their mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The songwas chosen for Discovery's STS-116 mission specialist Nicholas Patrick, who ismaking the first spaceflight of his astronaut career.

Patrick'sfellow mission specialist RobertCurbeam and Expedition 14 flight engineer Sunita Williams, who arrived at the space station withthe Discovery astronaut crew earlier this week, are set to step outside the ISSat 2:37 p.m. EST (1937 GMT) to complete the orbitallaboratory's rewiring job. If they have extra time, they may be able nudgea balky solar array that has been stalled in mid-retraction atopthe station's Port 6 truss since Wednesday.

"We mightget some luck today and get that solar array back where it belongs," ISS flightdirector Joel Montalbano said in morning update.

Click herefor a videooverview of today's spacewalk outside the ISS.

Click hereto read SPACE.com's previewstory to today's spacewalk.

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkers May InspectBalky Solar Array Saturday
15 December 2006 9:58 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - NASA has relayed a preliminaryplan to send spacewalkers up to a balky solar array atop the International SpaceStation's mast-like Port 6 truss Saturday, time willing, to astronautsaboard the orbital laboratory.

"Wecurrently envision this as an inspection task,"

NASAastronaut Steve Robinson, serving as spacecraft communicator, told astronauts aboardthe ISS. "How much and what you could do, and what you could touch, is reallyunder development."

"Weunderstand that it's going to be a dynamic day," Discovery shuttle commanderMark Polansky replied.

Astronautsand flight controllers attempted to shake the solar array's guide wire loose,then deployed and retracted the solar wing slightly but were unable completelystow the 115-foot (35-meter) panel.

STS-116spacewalker Robert Curbeam and ISS flight engineer Sunita Williams, who arrived at the station aboardDiscovery this week, are due to spend up to six hours working to rewire thestation's power grid.

Robinsonsaid that discussion for a possible fourth spacewalk during Discovery's dockedoperations at the ISS is not off the table, but staging that spacewalk onSunday is.

If afourth spacewalk is added, which is still not decided, it would take place onMonday.

Mission managers plan to hold a press conference at 9:30 p.m.EST (0230 Dec. 16 GMT) to go over their spacewalk plans in a status briefing.

 

You are invited to follow thebriefing live using SPACE.com's NASATV feed available at via the link on the left of this page.

 

- Tariq Malik

NASA Ceases ISS SolarArray Work, Mulls Options
15 December 2006 9:23 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Efforts to clear an apparentlysnagged guide wire and retract a solar array aboard the International SpaceStation have failed to pack the stubborn 115-foot(35-meter) wing in its storage box.

Afterhours of troubleshooting to wiggle, then deploy and retract the portside arraystemming from the station's mast-like Port 6 truss were unsuccessful, flightcontrollers called off the attempt.

NASAastronaut Steve Robinson, serving as spacecraft communicator between missioncontrol and the International Space Station, said flight controllers arediscussing the possibility of adding solar array work to tomorrow's plannedspacewalk, but only if extra time permits after spacewalkers complete theirassigned tasks.

Earliertoday, Discovery's STS-116 astronauts said they were willing to help out on the solar array problem,even if it meant adding a fourth spacewalk to their busy schedule.

Mission managers have been discussing options and areexpected to hold a press briefing later this evening.

 

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

 

- Tariq Malik

Astronauts Unfold, thenRefold Balky Solar Array
15 December 2006 9:05 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Astronauts aboard the International SpaceStation slightly unfolded a balky solar array atop the outpost's mast-likePort 6 truss at 8:57 p.m. EST (0157 GMT).

Astronautsthen retracted the array back to just about their starting point, with similarfolding problems as encountered before.

 

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

 

- Tariq Malik

NASA to Attempt ISS SolarArray Retraction
15 December 2006 8:48 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -International SpaceStation flight controllers and astronauts will again attempt to retract atroublesome solar array on the outpost's Port 6 truss beginning no earlier than8:57 p.m. EST (0157 GMT).

Flightcontrollers have directed astronauts aboard the ISS and shuttle Discovery toextend the portside P6 solar array out just one segment of its mast, then beginretracting the wing one mast section at a time.

The solararray was left half-furled Wednesday, Missionmanagers believe guidewires are sticking to theirstainless steel grommets to stall the array's retraction.

 

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

 

- Tariq Malik

Solar ArrayTroubleshooting Continues at ISS
15 December 2006 8:15 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Missioncontrollers continue to study a troublesome solar array on the International SpaceStation's Port 6 truss as they again await a daylight overflightof the orbital laboratory.

Initialattempts to shake the array by physically moving it and through vibrationscaused by an exercising astronaut did not appear to be successful, thoughrenewed efforts to shake the solar wing have yielded some promising signs.

NASA astronaut SteveRobinson, serving as spacecraft communicator, said the next attempt to wigglethe solar array will occur no earlier than about 8:30 p.m. EST (0130 Dec. 16GMT).

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

 

- Tariq Malik

Astronauts Take BetterLook at Troublesome ISS Array
15 December 2006 7:21 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - Missioncontrollers have rotated a troublesome solar array on the International SpaceStation's Port 6 truss, yielding better views of its problem spot forcameras and astronauts at the orbital laboratory.

Flightcontrollers believe that guidewires are hanging fastas they pass through stainless steel grommets while the array is retracted.Plans are in work to rotate the array back and forth to try and shake themloose.

 

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

 

- Tariq Malik

ISS MissionControl to Rotate Half-Retracted Solar Array
15 December 2006 6:48 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Astronauts and InternationalSpace Station flight controllers are waiting for the orbital laboratory toreenter daylight over Earth in order to once more wiggle the half-furledPort 6 solar array.

 

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

 

- Tariq Malik

Work Continues to ShakeHalf-Furled ISS Solar Array
15 December 2006 6:48 p.m. EST

HOUSTON -Astronauts and InternationalSpace Station flight controllers are waiting for the orbital laboratory toreenter daylight over Earth in order to once more wiggle the half-furledPort 6 solar array.

The testshave yielded some visible waves in the solar array, which has been in ahalf-stowed position since Wednesday.

 

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

 

- Tariq Malik

More Solar Wing Shakes For ISS Array
15 December 2006 5:58 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - The half-furledPort 6 solar array outside the International SpaceStation (ISS) undergoing another round of shimmies and shakes as astronautsand flight controllers try to dislodge a stuck guide wire and fold it away.

ISSflight controllers sent up a series of preprogrammed commands to move the solararray, producing visible waves reported by shuttleDiscovery commander Mark Polansky.

Ifsuccessful, the solar array could be retracted tonight, NASA officials said.

 

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

 

- Tariq Malik

ISS Astronaut Exercises toShake Solar Array
15 December 2006 1:07 p.m. EST

HOUSTON - International SpaceStation flight engineer Thomas Reiter has jumped into an ad hoc exerciseregime in an effort to shake a half-furledsolar array outside the orbital laboratory.

Reiter isexpected to be performing some vigorous power squats and lifts using what's calledan Interim Resistance Exercise Device (IRED), a sort of bungee-bar tool tomaintain astronaut strength in orbit.

Theexercise is one of twotechniques to loosen the balky half retracted Port 6 array withouta spacewalk. Reiter began the exercise at about 12:58 p.m. EST (1758 GMT)and continued in brief bursts.

"We'llgive you the silver medal for that," NASA astronaut Terry Virts,serving as spacecraft communicator, told Reiter.

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

 

- Tariq Malik

 

ISS Flight ControllersConclude Solar Wing Wiggle
15 December 2006 11:04 a.m. EST

HOUSTON - International SpaceStation flight controllers have completed their initial tests to wiggle thehalf-furledsolar array reaching out to port from the orbital laboratory's Port 6truss.

Afterthree incremental solar array shimmies, engineers are now studying images andcamera views to determine whether the maneuvers loosed friction on one of thewing's guide wires.

Meanwhile,flight director Joel Montalbano said this morningthat an attidude control glitch aboard the ISS may belinked to solar activity. The leading theory, he said, is that the effects of amassive solar flare this week apparently ramped up the density of the Earth'satmosphere temporarily and conf

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.