STS-120 Mission Updates: Part 2

Deadline For TrickySpacewalk Plans Approaches
1 November 2007 10:15 p.m. EDT

HOUSTON– With a few hours to go before the STS-120 andExpedition 16 crews awake, ISS flight director Heather Rarick said missionplanners are still working around the clock to hammer out new spacewalkinstructions.

 

"We'vehad at least three or four extra teams running throughout the shifts,"Rarick said of the push to finalize the plansfor spacewalkers, robotic arm operators and other crew involved in thespacewalk. "It's just been a fantastic effort."

 

The crew isset to wake up at 1:08 a.m. ET (0508 GMT), which NASA has set as the deadlinefor submitting a final draft.

 

Spaceshuttle Discovery commander Pamela Melroy said the spacewalk being delayedto Saturday was disappointing, but necessary.

 

"Ihave no problem with that at all," Melroy said of getting extra time todraft the instructions.

 

The roughplan has spacewalker Scott Parazynski hitching aunique ride on the space shuttle's 50-foot (15-meter) extension boom, whichthe 57-foot (17-meter) space station arm will grapple. The robotic stack willthen pick Parazynski up at the Port 1 truss, maneuvering him in about an hourto the Port 6 solararray damage site.

 

Once there,engineers will assess Parazynski's close-up view of two tears in the 4B solararray wing; he is expected to thread five homemade "cuff links"through the array to relieve stress on the tears.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

UnprecedentedSpacewalk Delayed to Saturday
1 November 2007 4:15 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – NASA Mission Controlcommentator Kylie Clem said space shuttle STS-120 mission managers have pushedback the fourth of up to five planned spacewalks from Friday Nov. 2 to SaturdayNov. 3 to allow more time for planning.

 

Spokespeoplehere at Johnson Space Center (JSC) said the revisedextravehicular activity, or EVA, to repair a maimed solar wing ofInternational Space Station (ISS) will begin on or before 5:30 a.m. ET (0930GMT) Saturday morning.

 

During thespacewalk, STS-120mission astronaut Scott Parazynski will climb aboard the space shuttle'sorbital boom sensor system, or OBSS, which the International Space Station's(ISS) robotic arm will hold—an unprecedented activity in space. He willbe supported by spacewalker Doug Wheelock, whose call sign is"Wheels."

 

Astronautsremotely moved the space station's robotic arm into position this morning;early Saturday, the arm will grapple the middle of the 50-foot (15-meter) boomto ferry Parazynski out to the damaged area.

 

Meanwhile,space shuttle Discovery pilot George Zamka and ISS Cmdr. Peggy Whitson havebegun collecting parts from around the orbital laboratory that will be craftedinto tension-relieving straps to be installed over the 2.5-foot(0.76-meter) tear in the 2B solar array wing, located on the Port 6 trusssegment.

 

The changein spacewalk date came shortly after the crew awoke this morning to "TheLion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens.

 

ShannonLucid, former astronaut and spacecraft communicator at Mission Control, toldspace shuttle Cmdr. Pamela Melroy that the song was played for the crew bytheir training team here at JSC. "You have made them look reallygood!" Lucid said.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Spacewalk Set forFriday, Shuttle Landing Plans Changed
1 November 2007 12:30 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – NASA mission managers sentinstructions to astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) toprepare for a solar-wing-fixingspacewalk on Friday.

 

"Rightnow, change is the only constant in your world!!!" reads part of a messageto crew members in the revised set of plans.

 

The newgame plan includes instructions for space station and STS-120 space shuttlecrews to craft "cufflinks" out of wire and other materials on boardthe orbital laboratory. Spacewalker Scott Parazynski will use the homemadedevices to relive physical stress off of arecent tear in a solar wing, which is one of two found in the 4B solararray on the Port 6 truss segment.

 

The flightexecute package—as the updated set of plans sent daily to the spaceshuttle crew are known—also details rationale for delaying landing indaylight on Nov. 7.

 

The"descending" landing will have the space shuttle swooping down fromthe northwest United States to a landing at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., weather permitting. Such a landing path has not been attempted sincethe loss of the STS-107 crew and the Columbia space shuttle in2003.

 

Stay tunedto SPACE.com for a forthcoming details.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

NASA Aims to SubmitNew Spacewalk Instructions Soon
31 October 2007 11:45 p.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Within minutes, NASAmission managers said they intend to submit new plans for Friday's spacewalk,which will space spacewalkers repairing a recentlytorn solar wing.

 

"There'sa threat out there that we still don't have everything ready to go," saidISS flight director Heather Rarick tonight. "We're allowing the teams torefine what they have," she said of the revised plans for the fourth of upto five spacewalks for the STS-120 spaceshuttle Discovery mission.

 

If missioncontrol cannot get the plans submitted before the crew awakes at 12:08 a.m. onNov. 1, they will likely delay the unprecedentedspacewalk to Saturday.

 

Stay tunedto SPACE.com for a forthcoming details.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Spacewalkers to FixMaimed Solar Wing
31 October 2007 3:50 p.m. EDT

HOUSTON – The spacewalk nowscheduled for Friday will have spacewalker Scott Parazynski riding theInternational Space Station's (ISS) robotic arm to fix a ripped solar wing,NASA mission managers said today.

 

STS-120lead ISS flight director Derek Hassmann said the arm will pick up the spaceshuttle's 50-foot (17-meter) extension boom, on which Parazynski will ride tothe distant array—a first in spaceflight history.

 

ISS programmanager Mike Suffredini said a series of straps will be used to"detour" the stress of further deploying the solar wing around the2.5-foot (0.76-meter) tear.

 

"If wegive this team a little time to start thinking about creative solutions,"Suffredini said of the STS-120 planningteams, "it doesn’t take them long to really blow you away with theideas that they can come up with."

 

Stay tunedto SPACE.com for a more detailed look at Friday's spacewalk.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

NASA Delays Thursday'sSpacewalk
31 October 2007 11:12 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – NASA has officially bumpedtomorrow's spacewalk, the fourth of five planned for the STS-120 space shuttlemission, to Friday.

 

Plans sentby mission control here at Johnson Space Center (JSC) earlier this morning hadspacewalkers Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock thoroughly inspecting a worrisomesolar joint. The device is used to guide the International Space Station's(ISS) solar arrays toward the Sun to maximize power generation for the orbitallaboratory

 

"We'regoing to change the plan for the next couple of days," Tony Antonelli,mission capsule communicator, told space shuttle Discovery commander PamelaMelroy. He said the 6.5-hour spacewalk's execution on either Friday or Saturdayhinges on when mission managers can devise a new plan.

 

"Thecontent will be solararray wing stuff," Antonelli said of the new plans, referring toinspecting and possibly repairing recent damage to the Port 6 (P) trusssegment's 4B solar array wing.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Plans for Tomorrow'sSpacewalk Again in Question
31 October 2007 10:20 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – NASA delivered sent up newplans for tomorrow's 6.5-hour spacewalk early this morning, but have once againscrapped them.

 

Rob Navias,STS-120 mission commentator at Johnson Space Center (JSC), told members of thepress here that the plans were scrapped by mission managers. Navias saidmission control is now discussing the changes with space shuttle andInternational Space Station (ISS) astronaut crew members.

 

It isuncertain at this time, however, what those changes to the STS-120 spaceshuttle mission and its spacewalks will be.

 

Stay tunedto SPACE.com for updates on future plans for the Discovery's mission inspace.

 

Tune in to SPACE.comaround 4:00 a.m. EDT (0800 GMT) on Nov. 1 for live coverage of the event.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

NASA Issues NewSpacewalk Plans, Crew Ready
31 October 2007 9:00 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Although a recently tornsolar wing has NASA mission managers concerned, the space agency has decidedthe priority in tomorrow's early morning spacewalk lies in scoping out agirt-filled set of gears on the starboard end of the International SpaceStation (ISS).

 

Early thismorning, the space agency issued a new set of spacewalking plans for space shuttleDiscovery astronauts ScottParazynski and DougWheelock, who will carry out a 6.5-hour investigation of the worrisomedevice tomorrow. Known as a solar alpha rotary joint, or SARJ, the mechanismorients the space station's solar wings toward the Sun to most efficientlyconvert its rays into electricity.

 

"Ouractivities tomorrow will be primarily just to investigate, to see if we canfind the smoking gun," Parazynski said of the spacewalk and potentiallydamaged rotating joint. Astronaut Dan Tani discoveredworrisome metallic shavings under one of the device's thermal covers earlySunday morning.

 

"Thatwill lead probably (to) another spacewalk or series of spacewalks to clean upthe debris," Parazynski said of a post-investigation timeline. "Idon't know where this story's going to end, but it will be veryinteresting."

 

Parazynskiand Wheelock are now camping out in the Quest airlock to slowly purge nitrogenfrom their blood before climbing into low-pressure spacesuits; the idea issimilar to how divers slowly ascend to the surface to prevent the bends.

 

The STS-120mission spacewalkers will expect to exit the airlock into the vacuum of spacearound 4:58 a.m. EDT (0858 GMT).

 

Tune in to SPACE.comaround 4:00 a.m. EDT (0800 GMT) on Nov. 1 for live coverage of the event.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Astronauts Wake Up,Wait for New Spacewalk Plan
31 October 2007 12:55 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Astronauts sleeping aboardthe International Space Station (ISS) awoke this morning to "Volare,"the classic Italian song that translates into English as "Fly."

 

ShannonLucid, capsule communicator for the STS-120 space shuttle mission here atJohnson Space Center (JSC), said the song was played for astronautPaolo Nespoli.

 

"They'veapparently been saving that song for the whole week down at the Cape," Nespoli said of the music, which mission controllers play as part of atraditional wake-up call to astronauts visiting the space station.

 

A tornsolar wing has NASA mission managers still hammering out an exact planof action for the fourth of five total spacewalks tomorrow. ISS flightdirector Heather Rarick said last night that the extravehicular activity, orEVA, will be probably be spent inspecting a grit-filled joint on the starboardside of the space station rather than taking any action to fix the maimed solararray wing.

 

"Idon't think we'll change any of our plans at all," she said ofspacewalking instructions for ScottParazynski and Doug Wheelock. "We'll try to find the smoking gun, thepiece that's a culprit in this, the dust and the debris that we see" inthe solar alpha rotary joint, or SARJ, she added.

 

Thestarboard joint helps generate maximum power for the orbital laboratory byorienting solar panel arrays toward the Sun. Both port-side and starboard-sidejoints on the ISS have been halted in light of thegritty discovery and more recent solar wing damage.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

NASA Calls for MoreImages of Ripped Solar Wing
30 October 2007 10:50 p.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Plans for Thursday'sspacewalk—the fourth of five planned for the STS-120 space shuttle mission—remainuncertain following an accidental rip in a power-generating solar arrayattached to the International Space Station (ISS).

 

ISS flightdirector Heather Rarick said this evening that the torn solar wing's stabilityis unknown at this time, and that shuttle position adjustments tomorrow maydisturb the damaged space station component.

 

"Wecould have to undock at any time," Rarick said, noting that the 4B arraywas deployed about 80 percent before ISS commander Peggy Whitson abortedthe operation.

 

The spacestation's solar wings are made of stiff material about the thickness of aheavy-duty shower curtain and experience sizeable forces during both unfurlingand retraction.

 

Rarick saidimagesof the tear that Space shuttle Discovery and ISS astronauts took were notdetailed enough for engineers to make too many conclusions, and said she'll askfor more high-resolution images tomorrow.

 

"Ithink we're going to set up the crew to take some more pictures tomorrow,"Rarick said. The crew wakes up tonight at 11:38 p.m. EDT (0338 GMT Oct. 31) tobegin a more relaxed but important day in space.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Astronauts ObserveTear in Solar Wing
30 October 2007 11:55 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – During NASA missioncontrol's unfurling of the relocated array truss segment, the right wing of the4B solar array crinkled and tore on one edge.

 

Astronautsaboard the space station were watching mission control's unfurling of thearrays, which were successfully reattached during today's spacewalk, when ISScommander Peggy Whitson told mission control to abort the operation.

 

"Wejust saw tear and stopped," Whitson told ground controller and shuttlecapsule communicator Kevin Ford. She added that the astronauts aboard theorbital laboratory could not see anything at first because the sun's glareblocked their view.

 

Mission controllers said about 25 meters(82 feet) of the 35-meter (115-foot) energy-gathering array was deployed beforethe unfurling was halted.

 

It isuncertain at this time how the tear will impact the solar wing's energygathering ability, which the space station's successful construction partlydepends on. Astronauts have begun easing tension on the array to see how thedamaged area responds.

Stay tuned to SPACE.comfor updates.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Astronauts FinishBusy, Long Spacewalk
30 October 2007 11:55 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Astronauts ScottParazynski and Doug Wheelock shut the hatch to the Quest airlock at 11:53a.m. EDT (1553 GMT), finishing up a busy third spacewalk for the STS-120 spaceshuttle Discovery mission.

The astronauts workedthrough the seven-hour-and-eight-minute spacewalk to reattach a vital solarpower plant, called the Port 6 (P6) solar array truss segment, to the end ofthe orbital laboratory.

Mission controllers here at Johnson SpaceCenter (JSC) have fully deployed the one of P6's solar arrays and areunraveling its second and final wing-like array.

Stay tuned to SPACE.comfor a story detailing this spacewalk.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

One of Space Station'sP6 Solar Arrays Deployed
30 October 2007 11:40 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Mission controllers here atJohnson Space Center (JSC) have fully deployed the one of the Port 6 (P6) trusssegment's solar arrays, officially at 11:32 a.m. EDT (1532 GMT).

Astronauts ScottParazynski and Doug Wheelock watched the solar array deploy, but continueto work their way towards the Quest airlock to end the nearly seven-hourspacewalk, which is the third of the STS-120 mission that began with the launchof Discovery.

Mission controllers will begin unfurlingP6's second solar array momentarily.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Astronauts HeadingToward Airlock
30 October 2007 11:10 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – STS-120 space shuttlemission astronauts ScottParazynski and Doug Wheelock are wrapping up some get-ahead tasks during asix-plus hour spacewalk, and are slowly making their way toward theInternational Space Station's (ISS) Quest airlock.

When they climb into theairlock with their bulky spacesuits and close the hatch, the spacewalk willend.

As the spacewalking duomaneuvers to the airlock, mission controllers here at Johnson Space Center(JSC) continue to unfurl the Port 6 (P6) truss segment's 2B solar array, whichwill span 115 feet (35 meters) once fully deployed. Shortly after 2B isdeployed, controllers will slowly pull out P6's second and final wing ofenergy-gathering cells.

Parazynski and Wheelockreattached the 35,000-pound (15,875-kilogram) chunk of space station earliertoday, and are now wrapping up the third spacewalk of the STS-120 mission bymaking their way into the Quest airlock.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Solar ArraysDeploying, Spacewalk Nears End
30 October 2007 10:50 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Spacewalking astronauts ScottParazynski and Doug Wheelock have finished securing a spare part retrievedfrom the payload bay of their space-bound ride: Space shuttle Discovery.

Meanwhile, missioncontrollers here at Johnson Space Center (JSC) started unfurling one of two115-foot (35-meter) black-and-gold solar arrays, which is part of the Port 6(P6) solar array truss segment.

Parazynski and Wheelockreattached the 35,000-pound (15,875-kilogram) chunk of space station earliertoday, and are now wrapping up the third spacewalk of the STS-120 mission bymaking their way into the Quest airlock.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Astronauts StoringSpare Part on Space Station
30 October 2007 10:20 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Spacewalker DougWheelock, one of seven STS-120 crew members who rode aboard space shuttleDiscovery, is now waiting for his fellow spacewalker to finish storing a sparepart on International Space Station (ISS).

Astronaut ScottParazynski is moving across the space station to join Wheelock, who rodethe space shuttle's robotic arm with the spare electrical component to theorbital laboratory's external stowage platform.

In about 20 minutes,mission control here at Johnson Space Center will begin deploying one of two115-foot (35-meter) solar arrays on the reattached Port 6 (P6) solar arraytruss segment.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Spacewalker HitchesRide on Robotic Arm
30 October 2007 9:58 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Space shuttle Discoveryastronauts ScottParazynski and Doug Wheelock have worked in the vacuum of space for morethan five hours now, but still have several tasks to complete.

Wheelock has attachedhimself to the space station's robotic arm, which robotic arm operators StephanieWilson and George Zamka are delicately moving towards Discovery. WhenWheelock arrives, he'll unfasten a spare main bus switching unit, or MBSU,which he will store on an external platform for storage as a spare part.

Parazynski inspected ajoint that rotates the International Space Station's (ISS) solar arrays, andappeared "brand new" compared to images he saw of theworrisome starboard joint Dan Tani looked at early Sunday morning.

Parazynski is nowexamining the space station's ceta-cart rail track for micrometeorite damage,which NASA mission managers here at Johnson Space Center think damagedgloves during a spacewalk last month.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Rotary Joint Looks'Brand New' to Spacewalker
30 October 2007 9:25 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – Theinsides of the port-side joint uncovered by spacewalkerScott Parazynski show no obvious signs of metallic grit, as did thestarboard-side joint on Sunday's spacewalk.

Mission managers here atJohnson Spac e Center said Parazynski was getting some great video footage ofthe joint, which orients the International Space Station's (ISS) solar panelstoward the Sun. They plan to compare the inspection images to those of theworrisome joint observed by STS-120 astronaut Dan Tani.

"It's going to helpa lot with the diagnosis we've been making," mission controllers here at Johnson Space Center said, referring to the images Parazynski captured.

Meanwhile, spacewalkerDoug Wheelock has recharged his oxygen supply and is set to ride the spacestation's robotic arm to the payload bay of the space shuttle Discovery toretrieve a spare part for storage in orbit.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

Spacewalker InspectingRotating Solar Joint
30 October 2007 9:10 a.m. EDT

HOUSTON – STS-120 spacewalkerScott Parazynski is now removing a thermal cover on a port-side solar alpharotary joint, or SARJ, on the International Space Station to inspect it.

An glimpse by Dan Taniduring Sunday's spacewalk revealed unusualmetallic filings in the gears of the orbital laboratory's starboard-sideSARJ, which orients solar panels toward the Sun.

Mission managers called for Parazynski'sinspection of the normally operating 10-foot (3-meter) diameter joint forcomparison to the worrisome starboard joint. Since the discovery of themetallic grit, engineers have halted the movement of the joint to preventfurther damage, if there is any at all.

NASA is broadcasting Discovery’s STS-120mission to the International Space Stationon NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed orfollow the NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

- Dave Mosher

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