Status Report

NASA STS-119 Report #17 Monday, March 23, 2009 – 9 p.m. CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
March 23, 2009
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NASA STS-119 Report #17  Monday, March 23, 2009 – 9 p.m. CDT

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

HOUSTON – The International Space Station is ready for space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-127 mission in a few months now that spacewalking astronauts have completed all of the mandatory tasks in preparation for its crew size growth to six and the addition of the Japanese exposed facility.

The third and final planned spacewalk of the mission by Mission Specialists Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold began with the most important task, which was to relocate one of two crew equipment carts from one side of the Mobile Transporter to the other. That provides clearance margin for STS-127 assembly tasks, including attachment of the exposed facility onto the Japanese science laboratory.

As on the second spacewalk Saturday, the astronauts had trouble freeing a stuck mechanism to allow deployment of a spare equipment platform and deferred that to a future spacewalk. Because of that problem, Mission Control made a conscious decision to forego work on a similar payload attach system on the opposite side of the truss in case the problem was generic.

The six hour 27 minute spacewalk also included lubricating the end effector capture snares on the station’s robot arm – similar to what was done to the other end on an STS-126 spacewalk in late 2008. This has been proven to prevent the snare from snagging or not returning snuggly into its groove inside the latching mechanism.

Inside the station a successful run using the Urine Processor Assembly took place collecting 15 pounds of reclaimed drinking water. Samples will be returned aboard Discovery for analysis before crew members will be given the “go” to drink the water aboard the station.

Tuesday all crew members will enjoy some off duty time before gathering for their traditional news conference beginning about 12:05 p.m.

The nine astronauts and one cosmonaut will receive a wake up call from Mission Control at 5:13 a.m. Tuesday.

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

SpaceRef staff editor.