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The Mission




Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-114
Launch: July 26 @ 10:39 a.m. EDT (1439 GMT)
Site: Pad 39B, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: Aug. 9 @ 8:11 a.m. EDT (1211 GMT)
Site: Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC
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A seven-person crew, led by veteran shuttle commander Eileen Collins, will fly aboard Discovery for the shuttle return to flight mission.

Crew Quick-Look

CDR: Eileen Collins

PLT: James Kelly

MS 1: Soichi Noguchi

MS 2: Stephen Robinson

MS 3: Andrew Thomas

MS 4: Wendy Lawrence

MS 5: Charles Camarda

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As America's third reusable space shuttle to fly, Discovery has successfully completed 30 missions since 1984.

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Space repair man fixes tile gap fillers
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: August 3, 2005

Like an anxious mom plucking out splinters, astronaut Stephen Robinson gently pulled two dislodged gap fillers from the shuttle Discovery's belly early today in an unprecedented 223-mile-high repair job.

Robinson gently holds the second protruding gap filler with his spacesuited thumb and finger. Images: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now.
 
Floating under Discovery's nose on the end of the international space station's robot arm, Robinson reached out with his gloved hand and very carefully pulled the first gap filler out at 8:45 a.m.

"I'm grasping it, I'm pulling, it's coming out very easily," Robinson radioed. "OK, the offending gap filler has been removed."

Exactly 10 minutes later, after astronauts Wendy Lawrence and James Kelly guided the arm to the second protruding gap filler, Robinson completed the repair job with little fanfare.

"I'm ready for brakes," he called, asking the arm operators to stabilize the robotic crane.

"Brakes are on. You're go," Kelly replied from inside the Destiny laboratory module.

"Thank you. Here we go..."

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER REMOVES FIRST TILE GAP FILLER PLAY
VIDEO: SECOND GAP FILLER PULLED OUT AS SEEN VIA HELMETCAM PLAY
VIDEO: LONGER-LENGTH MOVIE OF SECOND GAP FILLER REMOVAL PLAY

VIDEO: HELMETCAM VIEW OF EXPERIMENT INSTALLATION PLAY
VIDEO: NOGUCHI DEPLOYS THE EXPERIMENT PACKAGE PLAY
VIDEO: STUNNING HELMETCAM VIEW FROM ATOP THE STATION PLAY
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Crystal clear video from Robinson's helmet camera showed the astronaut gently pushing on the gap filler to get a feel for it before working it out, pulling it free with seemingly little force. Reddish glue could be seen on the bottom of the stiff spacer as Robinson turned it this way and that.

"OK, I'd like to move away from the orbiter, body aft 5 feet please," he radioed.

"Body aft. We're taking the brakes off."

"Sounds great. OK, that came out very easily, probably even less force," Robinson commented. "It looks like this big patient is cured.

And with that, the Discovery astronauts pulled off one of the more memorable space shuttle repair jobs in program history, venturing below the underside of the shuttle for the first time to service an area of the spacecraft that is normally considered strictly off limits.

Spectacular television views from cameras mounted on the space station, Discovery's robot arm and Robinson's space suit allowed flight controllers and armchair astronauts around the world to follow along as the spacewalker worked alone against the backdrop of Discovery's tiled under belly.

Shots from fellow spacewalker Soichi Noguchi's helmet camera showed the entire space shuttle against the blue-and-white globe of Earth with Robinson visible in the distance on the end of the station's robot arm.

Contrary to news accounts that focused on what some viewed as an especially risky venture, Robinson had no problems at all, never came close to damaging any surrounding tiles and completed the repair work in the time needed to simply pluck the gap fillers out.

But the astronauts clearly took the work seriously, reviewing safety precautions while the arm slowly moved Robinson to the work sites below the shuttle.

"It goes without saying we don't want any inadvertent contact with tile or the belly of the orbiter," astronaut Andrew Thomas called from inside the shuttle-station complex.

"OK."

"You've got a lot of things still hanging onto you even though we cleaned you up, so try to keep an eye on where they are. ... And under the orbiter, we'll probably have comm drop outs, we may lose wireless video. So we'll need continuous communications protocol while you're doing the (job) so we can be assured it's going properly."

Thomas cautioned that if Robinson had to resort to a hacksaw to cut the gap fillers off, "the serrated edge is also going to be sharp so you need to watch that. If by any chance you do need to contact the tile with your hands, we would require only gentle hand reaction alone. We want you to distribute the load over several fingers or the backs of the fingers. How copy?"

"Copy all, particularly the hand touch," Robinson said as he approached the shuttle "My goal, of course, is not to touch the tiles at all, but I have touched the tiles at KSC with my work gloves on, so I know what to expect. I'll use a very gentle touch."

As it turned out, he didn't to.

"I can see it pretty well," he called at one point, referring the the first gap filler.

"How far are you from it, by the way?" Kelly asked.

I'm about eight feet, maybe seven feet, looking straight down on it. It looks to be about close to three inches on one side and about an inch and a half on the other side. The corner looks like it is bent over, presumably by air loads" during launch.

A few moments later, he called Kelly: "Vegas, I'm ready to go get it if you are. ... I'm ready to go."

"It's your show, Steve, take it away," Thomas said."

After the repair work was over, Robinson took a moment to enjoy the spectacular view and to chat with flight controllers in Houston.

"You guys did a great job," astronaut Mike Massimino called from mission control.

"Thank you, Mike," someone replied.

"We trained for four years," Robinson joked. "We're going to spend the next four years signing autographs! ... I'm getting the best view. Oh my goodness... just beautiful."

The 61st spacewalk devoted to station assembly and maintenance began at 4:48 a.m. and ended at 10:49 a.m. for a duration of six hours and one minute. Robinson and Noguchi logged 20 hours and five minutes of EVA time during their three excursions, pushing the station total to 368 hours and 20 minutes.

Earlier today, Robinson and Noguchi installed a large tool storage platform on the side of the Quest airlock module. Noguchi also mounted an experiment package on the top of the station's P6 solar array truss. But mission planners earlier decided to defer installation of a camera mount to a future spacewalk and after the gap filler fix, they opted to also defer retrieval of a radiator coupling.

Engineers are still debating what, if anything, might need to be done about a damaged insulation blanket just below commander Eileen Collins' left cockpit window. Astronauts at the Johnson Space Center worked overnight to develop possible remedies, but no final decisions have been made.

During a news briefing Tuesday evening, Wayne Hale, chairman of NASA's mission management team, said he hoped to make a final decision later today or tomorrow, after the engineering analysis is complete.

"Right now, we know that in terms of the local area, it's OK," Hale said. "This is just a question of could it fly back and hit something on the after part of the vehicle? And, in fact, the biggest work going on, I think, is to determine whether or not it's even possible the blanket could come off."

The Discovery astronauts used a camera on the end of a sensor boom attached to the shuttle's robot arm today to collect additional, close-up pictures of the blanket to help engineers assess the damage.

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: PRESIDENTIAL PHONE CALL PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUT DAVE WOLF EXPLAINS GAP FILLER REMOVAL PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S CREW NEWS CONFERENCE DIAL-UP | BROADBAND
VIDEO: JAPANESE MEDIA EVENT (WITH TRANSLATION) PLAY
VIDEO: RUSSIAN MEDIA EVENT (WITH TRANSLATION) PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S STATUS BRIEFING DIAL-UP | BROADBAND 1 & 2

VIDEO: DECISION ANNOUNCED AT BRIEFING DIAL-UP | BROADBAND 1 & 2
VIDEO: GROUND TESTS ON PULLING, CUTTING GAP FILLERS PLAY

VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS PREPARE FOR THE SPACEWALK PLAY
VIDEO: FAILED GYRO IS REMOVED FROM THE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: THE NEW GYRO IS INSTALLED PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKERS POSE FOR PICTURES PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S STATUS BRIEFING DIAL-UP | BROADBAND 1 & 2
VIDEO: BEHIND THE SCENES IN MISSION CONTROL DURING EVA PLAY

VIDEO: MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE DIAL-UP | BROADBAND 1 & 2
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS DIAL-UP | BROADBAND
AUDIO: LISTEN TO THE STATUS BRIEFING MP3 FILE
VIDEO: LEFT-HAND BOOSTER SEPARATION FROM TANK PLAY
VIDEO: LEFT-HAND BOOSTER CHUTE DEPLOY AND SPLASHDOWN PLAY
VIDEO: FULL CLIP FROM LEFT-HAND BOOSTER PLAY
VIDEO: RIGHT-HAND BOOSTER SEPARATION FROM TANK PLAY
VIDEO: RIGHT-HAND BOOSTER SPLASHDOWN PLAY
VIDEO: FULL CLIP FROM RIGHT-HAND BOOSTER PLAY
VIDEO: MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE DIAL-UP | BROADBAND
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S MISSION STATUS DIAL-UP | BROADBAND PART 1
AUDIO: LISTEN TO THE STATUS BRIEFING MP3 FILE
VIDEO: DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS BRIEFING DIAL-UP | BROADBAND 1 & 2
VIDEO: THURSDAY MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
  BROADBAND VERSION: PART 1 & PART 2
AUDIO: LISTEN TO THE MISSION STATUS BRIEFING MP3 FILE
VIDEO: BEHIND THE SCENES IN MISSION CONTROL FOR DOCKING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE CREW WELCOMED ABOARD THE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: COMMANDER COLLINS GUIDES DISCOVERY TO DOCKING PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY'S BACKFLIP AS SEEN FROM STATION PLAY
VIDEO: STATION CAMERAS SEE SHUTTLE'S APPROACH FROM BELOW PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE PULLS IN FRONT OF STATION FOR DOCKING PLAY

VIDEO: CREW'S CAMCORDER VIDEO OF JETTISONED FUEL TANK PLAY

VIDEO: NASA GROUNDS SHUTTLE PROGRAM DIALUP
  BROADBAND VERSION: PART 1 & PART 2
AUDIO: LISTEN TO PROGRAM NEWS CONFERENCE FOR IPOD
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY MISSION STATUS BRIEFING DIAL-UP | BROADBAND
VIDEO: SHUTTLE FUEL TANK HITS BIRD AT LIFTOFF PLAY

VIDEO: AMAZING WB-57 AERIAL LAUNCH VIDEO NORTH | SOUTH PLANE
VIDEO: BEHIND THE SCENES IN MISSION CONTROL AT LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: OFFICIALS DESCRIBE DEBRIS EVENTS DIAL-UP | BROADBAND
AUDIO: LISTEN TO THE DEBRIS DESCRIPTION FOR IPOD

VIDEO: LAUNCH OF DISCOVERY! SHORTER | LONGER
VIDEO: FOOTAGE OF OBJECT BREAKING FREE FROM TANK PLAY
VIDEO: TANK-MOUNTED CAMERA SHOWS ENTIRE LAUNCH SMALL | LARGE
VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA VIEW OF TANK SEPARATION PLAY
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Status Summary
Discovery safely touched down at 8:11 a.m. EDT (1211 GMT) Tuesday morning at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Weather worries off the coast of Florida thwarted both landing opportunities this morning at Kennedy Space Center, forcing a detour to the backup landing site.


See the Status Center for full play-by-play coverage.

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