Status Report

NASA STS-118 Status Report #13 Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007 – 6:00 p.m. CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
August 14, 2007
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NASA STS-118 Status Report #13 Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007 – 6:00 p.m. CDT

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

In a first for the International Space Station, astronauts today installed a 7,000-pound storage platform using only the station and shuttle’s robotic arms.

The installation of two previous storage platforms, one on the Destiny laboratory and the other on the Quest airlock, required the help of spacewalking astronauts.

Mission specialists Tracy Caldwell and Barbara Morgan were inside at Endeavour’s controls as the shuttle’s robotic arm lifted the storage platform from the cargo bay to hand it over to the station’s robotic arm. Pilot Charles Hobaugh and station Flight Engineer Clay Anderson then used the station arm to attach the 13-by-7-foot platform to the station’s Port 3 truss at 11:18 a.m.

This is the station’s third external stowage platform, and it holds critical spare parts, including a control moment gyroscope, a nitrogen tank assembly and a battery charge/discharge unit.

Crew members also took time out of a busy schedule for two conversations with people back home. Morgan and Caldwell, along with Commander Scott Kelly, were interviewed by five news organizations. Then Morgan was joined by Anderson and mission specialists Dave Williams and Alvin Drew for the first of the mission’s three educational events. Twenty children at the Discovery Center in Boise, Idaho, were given the chance to ask questions on topics ranging from how fast one could throw a baseball in space to how being a teacher is like being an astronaut. The remaining two education events are planned for Thursday and Sunday.

Mission managers continued to discuss whether they will ask the crew to repair damage to the shuttle’s heat shield that occurred during launch. Mission managers have determined that the damage is not a threat to crew safety. Any repairs would be performed to minimize repairs to Endeavour after landing. They are awaiting the results of tests and analyses that included subjecting intentionally damaged tiles to heat and pressure comparable to shuttle reentry conditions.

Depending on the results of the tests, spacewalkers could be called upon to repair the damage no earlier than the mission’s fourth spacewalk.

Tonight, Anderson and Mission Specialist Rick Mastracchio are preparing for the mission’s third spacewalk, scheduled to start at 10:01 a.m. Wednesday. The duo 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. The six-and-a-half hour spacewalk will prepare the Port 6 truss segment for relocation from its temporary home on the Z1 truss, where it’s been since 2000, during the next mission.

The crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 9:06 p.m. and start flight day 8 at 5:06 a.m.

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

SpaceRef staff editor.