Status Report

NASA STS-127 Report #05 Friday, July 17, 2009 – 6 p.m. CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
July 17, 2009
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NASA STS-127 Report #05  Friday, July 17, 2009 – 6 p.m. CDT

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

HOUSTON – The Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station at 12:47 p.m. CDT, delivering the final pieces of the Japanese Kibo complex and a new flight engineer to join the Expedition 20 crew.

Endeavour commander Mark Polansky guided the shuttle to a docking as the two aircraft flew 220 miles about the northern coast of Australia. Before closing the final 600 feet to the station, Polansky commanded Endeavour through a “backflip” allowing the station’s Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Michael Barratt to take photos that imagery experts will review to assess the health of Endeavour’s heat shield.

The shuttle and station crews opened hatches and greeted one another at 2:48 p.m., beginning more than a week of joint operations between the two crews.

One of the first major tasks of the crews was to swap station crew member Koichi Wakata for NASA astronaut Tim Kopra. The official swap occurred when a specially fitted seat liner was installed in the Soyuz crew vehicle. That swap at 4:22 p.m. signified the official designation change making Kopra an Expedition 20 flight engineer and Wakata a shuttle mission specialist.

The mission’s main objective Saturday will be to install the Japanese Exposed Facility to Kibo during the first spacewalk planned by Mission Specialists Dave Wolf and Tim Kopra.

Preparations for Saturday’s EVA will take place tonight with Wolf and Kopra spending the night in the station’s Quest Airlock. They will “campout” at a reduced air pressure overnight to prepare their bodies for the spacewalk planned to last six and a half hours

Before going to bed, a minor reboost of the station will be performed at 7:27 p.m. to ensure plenty of clearance in relation to an unknown piece of space debris. That maneuver using Endeavour’s small vernier thrusters will last about 15 minutes and change the overall velocity of the shuttle/station complex by about 0.8 meter per second.

The station crew is scheduled to go to bed at about 9:30 p.m. and the shuttle crew 30 minutes later at 10. Wake up Saturday is scheduled for 6:03 a.m.

The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wake, or earlier if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.