Status Report

NASA STS-129 Report #02 Tuesday, November 17, 2009 – 4:30 a.m. CST

By SpaceRef Editor
November 18, 2009
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NASA STS-129 Report #02  Tuesday, November 17, 2009 – 4:30 a.m. CST

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

HOUSTON With a picture-perfect launch day under their belts, Atlantis crew members will spend their first full day in space taking pictures of what they hope will be a perfect heat shield.

Todays STS-129 wakeup call came at 3:28 a.m. in the form of MercyMes "I Can Only Imagine." The song was played for Pilot Barry E. Wilmore, who will spend his day at the controls of the shuttles robotic arm. Wilmore, along with Commander Charles O. Hobaugh and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin and Randy Bresnik, will be using the 50-foot-long arm and its 50-foot-long orbiter boom sensor system to get an up close look at the tiles of Atlantis wing leading edges and nose cap.

The inspection will make use of a suite of cameras and lasers on the end of the boom and give experts on the ground 3-D views of shuttles heat shield. Those photos, as well as others taken during various points in the mission, will be used to ensure that the shuttle did not sustain any damage during its launch on Monday.

This inspection will begin just before 7:15 a.m. and will take about five hours. While its going on, the crews spacewalkers Mike Foreman and Robert L. Satcher Jr., with help from Bresnik when hes not working on the inspection will perform a checkout of the two spacesuits to be worn on the first of the missions three spacewalks and prepare the suits for transfer to the International Space Station.

In preparation for docking with the station on Wednesday, the crew will also set up the centerline camera, extend the Orbiter Docking System ring and check out other equipment that will be used during the rendezvous.

Aboard the station, Expedition 21 Commander Frank De Winne and Flight Engineers Jeffrey Williams, Nicole Stott, Maxim Suraev, Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk will prepare for the shuttles arrival by reviewing photography procedures for their part in documenting the condition of the shuttles heat shield as it completes a rendezvous pitch maneuver during its approach to the station. Williams will also get a jump start on one of the STS-129 tasks, the preparation of the Harmony node for the arrival of the Tranquility node next year.

Atlantis crew will go to bed just before 7:30 p.m. The next shuttle status report will be issued at the end of the crews workday or earlier if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.