Status Report

Object Investigation, Weather Force NASA Managers to Wave Off Wednesday Landing for Space Shuttle

By SpaceRef Editor
September 19, 2006
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Object Investigation, Weather Force NASA Managers to Wave Off Wednesday Landing for Space Shuttle

The Mission Control Center in Houston informed the STS-115 crew about 10:45 a.m. EDT that Wednesday’s landing attempts have been waved off due to an unfavorable weather forecast, coupled with the possibility of additional inspections of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

An object was observed by flight controllers using a TV camera on the shuttle in close proximity to the spacecraft. It was observed following standard tests of Atlantis’ reaction control system about 2:45 a.m. today. Flight controllers continue to analyze the situation and are concerned the item may be something that came off of Atlantis.

Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale said engineers and flight controllers are developing a plan for inspections that may be performed on Wednesday to ensure that Atlantis is safe for re-entry. Atlantis has equipment aboard that can be used to thoroughly inspect the heat shield and other areas.

During the post-Mission Management Team briefing at 12 p.m., the STS-115 crew informed Mission Control that one of the crew members spotted a small object near the shuttle. The crew captured imagery of it and will downlink it to MCC for analysis.

At about 12:46 p.m., MCC instructed the crew to power up the Atlantis’ robot arm so that its elbow camera can be used to survey the orbiter.

Landing opportunities for Atlantis on Thursday begin with a potential 6:22 a.m. touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Atlantis’ mission has resumed the construction of the International Space Station. Atlantis delivered the P3/P4 integrated truss to the station on Sept. 11. The STS-115 and Expedition 13 crews used the shuttle and station robotic arms to attach the truss to the orbital outpost. Then STS-115 astronauts conducted three spacewalks in four days to prepare the truss and its solar arrays for operation.

The weather forecast at Kennedy Space Center calls for better weather at the Shuttle Landing Facility on Thursday. Forecasters will continue to monitor the situation. The weather forecast for Wednesday had called for unacceptable thunderstorms and strong winds at the potential landing time.

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09/19/2006 Post-MMT Briefing Video of Object

SpaceRef staff editor.