Status Report

NASA STS-134 Report #05 4:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday, May 18, 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
May 18, 2011
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NASA STS-134 Report #05  4:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

HOUSTON – Endeavour docked with the International Space Station at 5:14 a.m. CDT Wednesday, bringing an advanced scientific instrument that could answer basic questions about our universe, perhaps shedding light on dark matter and antimatter.

Also in the payload bay was Express Logistics Carrier 3 (ELC3), a cargo platform loaded with spare parts for the station. The shuttle Endeavour also brought additional equipment, experiments and supplies for the orbiting laboratory.

Hatches between the two vehicles were opened at 6:38 a.m. allowing Endeavour crew members, Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Roberto Vittori, Andrew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff, to go into the station.

After a welcoming ceremony by the Expedition 27 station crew, Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli, Cady Coleman, Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and Ron Garan, the Endeavour astronauts got the required station safety briefing.

The docking had gone just as planned. As the shuttle slowly approached the station, with both spacecraft moving at 17,500 mph, it paused about 600 feet below it to do the standard back flip, beginning at 4:15 a.m. Nespoli, Coleman and Kondratyev used cameras with 400 mm, 800 mm and 1,000 mm lenses to take numerous pictures of the shuttle’s thermal protection system.

Over 500 images have been received in mission control. Experts are continuing to analyze the images and determine if any further inspection is required.

Fincke and Vittori used the shuttle’s robotic arm to lift the ELC3 cargo carrier from Endeavour’s cargo bay and hand it off to the station’s Canadarm2, operated by Johnson and Chamitoff. They installed it robotically on the station’s port 3 truss. That task was completed at 11:18 a.m.

Meanwhile, Fincke and Feustel transferred the spacesuits that will be used on the four spacewalks scheduled during Endeavour’s stay at the station. They and Chamitoff will alternate in two-man teams for the 6.5-hour excursions for installation and maintenance. Kelly transferred oxygen from Endeavour to the station and then began moving cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

Kelly, with help from Johnson and other crew members, then maneuvered the shuttle to a point about 300 feet ahead of the station. He slowly maneuvered Endeavour to its 12th and final International Space Station docking.

During the process an advanced system called STORMM (Sensor Test for Orion Rel-nav Risk Mitigation) gathered data that could help future spacecraft dock to the station. It also will be used again during undocking and a subsequent test rendezvous.

On Thursday astronauts are scheduled to install the $2 billion, 15,251- pound Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, an advanced particle physics detector, atop the starboard 3 truss. There it is expected to automatically send information to scientists on Earth for the life of the station.

The next status report will be issued after crew wakeup or earlier if warranted.

SpaceRef staff editor.