Press Release

On-Orbit Station Construction Continues

By SpaceRef Editor
December 17, 2006
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On-Orbit Station Construction Continues

The International Space Station grew Tuesday when the STS-116 crew installed the P5 integrated truss segment.

The construction work was performed by STS-116 spacewalkers Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang and robot arm operators Joan Higginbotham and Sunita Williams. The P5 spacer segment’s attachment to the P4 sets the stage for the relocation of the P6 and its set of solar arrays.

Curbeam and Fuglesang stepped out in to space again on Thursday to start rewiring and rerouting power generated by the station’s solar arrays. The electrical work will continue Saturday when the third STS-116 spacewalk is performed.

The P5’s installation is not the only change that the station has undergone since Space Shuttle Discovery docked Monday. Williams, who arrived at the station with the STS-116 mission, replaced European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter on the Expedition 14 crew at midnight Tuesday.

Williams will remain a member of Expedition 14 until Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin are relieved by Expedition 15 in March 2007. Williams will finish her remaining time of her six-month tour of duty on the station as a member of Expedition 15.

Reiter will wrap up his stay on the station when he leaves with STS-116 next week. He arrived at the station in July with the STS-121 mission to give the station its first three-member crew since May 2003. He was a member of Expedition 13 until Expedition 14 began its tour of duty in September.

The crew rotation became official when their custom-made seatliners were swapped out in the Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station.

Also, the Expedition 14 and STS-116 crews are conducting a week of joint operations. In addition to the spacewalks, they will transfer cargo between the vehicles. Discovery and its crew are scheduled to stay at the station until Dec. 18.

For the latest news and information on STS-116, visit the main shuttle page. + Read more

NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency have named two astronauts and two cosmonauts to the next International Space Station crew, known as Expedition 15. Astronauts Clayton Anderson and Daniel Tani will travel to the station next year and work as flight engineers. Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Dr. Oleg Kotov will spend six months aboard the orbiting laboratory.

SpaceRef staff editor.