Status Report

NASA STS-119 Report #10 Friday, March 20, 2009 – 7:30 a.m. CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
March 20, 2009
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NASA STS-119 Report #10  Friday, March 20, 2009 – 7:30 a.m. CDT

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

The International Space Station’s new solar array wings will spread today, doubling the electric power available to conduct world-class science research in the laboratory modules supplied by countries from around the world.

Each solar array wing contains almost 33,000 silicon photovoltaic cells. Taken together, the new hardware adds enough generating capacity to double the power available for station science operations from 15 kilowatts to 30 kilowatts.

Overnight, station flight controllers unlatched the boxes containing the solar array panels and deployed each array minimally to verify proper operation. Full deployment starts at 9:48 a.m. CDT with the shuttle and station crew members at the controls and at all the windows to monitor the activity.

The first array mast will be commanded to slowly extend to half its length, so any sticking solar panels can gently pull apart from one another. The partially deployed array will be left to warm in the sun for 35 minutes so the panels become less sticky before the array is commanded to deploy to its full length. Then the procedure will be repeated for the other array.

Just before lunch, Expedition 18 Commander Michael Fincke, Flight Engineers Yury Lonchakov and Koichi Wakata, and Mission Specialist Sandra Magnus will discuss the progress of the mission in interviews with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Reuters and Voice of America.

In the afternoon crew members will resume transferring equipment and supplies onto the station. Mission Specialists Steve Swanson and Joseph Acaba will prepare the Quest airlock for the spacewalk they’ll make Saturday.

Today’s wakeup music, “Box of Rain” by the Grateful Dead, was played for Mission Specialist John Phillips.

The next status report will be issued at the end of the crew day, or earlier if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.