Status Report

NASA STS-118 Status Report #09 6 p.m. CDT Sunday, Aug. 12, 2007

By SpaceRef Editor
August 12, 2007
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NASA STS-118 Status Report #09  6 p.m. CDT Sunday, Aug. 12, 2007

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

With five days of pilfering power from the International Space Station under their belt, mission managers today decided to extend space shuttle Endeavour’s flight from 11 to 14 days.

The crew is now scheduled for undocking on Aug. 20 for an Aug. 22 landing. The three extra days are made possible by the new Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System, which allows the shuttle to draw power from the station while docked. The crew members will use the extra time to add a fourth spacewalk, during which Mission Specialist Dave Williams and space station Flight Engineer Clay Anderson will install equipment used to stow the Orbiter Boom Sensor System at the station between shuttle flights.

Commander Scott Kelly and mission specialists Tracy Caldwell and Barbara R. Morgan spent three hours performing a focused inspection of heat protection tiles on the shuttle’s underside. Using an infrared laser to take 3-D video images of the five identified areas of concern, the crew transmitted the images down to be examined by engineers on the ground.

Initial images from the inspection indicate that four of the damaged areas are not an issue for reentry. Engineers will do thermal analyses and build models of the fifth area to test at NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s arc jet facility. The results will help them decide whether a repair is necessary before the shuttle lands.

In conjunction with the inspection, Williams, Pilot Charlie Hobaugh and mission specialists Rick Mastracchio and Alvin Drew worked on transferring supplies and equipment from the shuttle to the International Space Station.

Mastracchio and Williams also prepared the tools they will use in the mission’s second spacewalk. The two men will spend the night camped out in the station’s Quest Airlock, where the air pressure will be lowered to help purge nitrogen from their bodies before the spacewalk.

The spacewalk is scheduled to start at 10:31 a.m. CDT Monday. Mastracchio and Williams will be replacing a control moment gyroscope that failed and was shut down last October.

The shuttle crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 9:36 p.m. and wake up at 5:36 a.m.

The next status report will be issued Monday morning or earlier if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.