Status Report

NASA STS-115 MCC Status Report #18

By SpaceRef Editor
September 18, 2006
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NASA STS-115 MCC Status Report #18

The International Space Station is a busy place these days.

Sunday saw the departure of the space shuttle visitors who had been working from the
orbiting complex the past six days with a 7:50 a.m. CDT undocking of Atlantis. Hours
later, three more explorers launched toward the station in a Soyuz spacecraft.

Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin and
spaceflight participant Anousheh Ansari lifted off at 11:09 p.m. CDT Sunday from the
Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

They are expected to arrive at the station early Wednesday. They will begin nearly
nine days of handover activity as Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin prepare for their own
six-month stay. Ansari, visiting the station as part of a commercial agreement with
the Russian Federal Space Agency, will return to Earth with Expedition 13 Commander
Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams. European Space Agency Astronaut
Thomas Reiter will remain onboard as part of Expedition 14.

Traveling about 50 miles behind the station, the Atlantis crew — Commander Brent
Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heide
Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean — woke at 10:15 p.m. to ‘Rocky Mountain High.’
It was played for Tanner.

The crew will focus today on the final inspection of the shuttle’s
reinforced-carbon-carbon surfaces on the wing leading edges and nose cap. Ferguson,
Burbank and MacLean will use the shuttle’s robotic arm to get a final look at those
areas, ensuring no critical damage may have occurred since their arrival in space.
Aside from a few other minor tasks it will be a light-duty day. Atlantis is prepared
for its landing Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Monday afternoon, or earlier
if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.