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The Mission




Orbiter: Endeavour
Mission: STS-126
Payload: ISS ULF2
Launch: Nov. 14, 2008
Time: 7:55 p.m. EST
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: Nov. 30 at 4:25 p.m. EST
Site: Edwards Air Force Base, California
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Meet the astronauts flying aboard Endeavour's STS-126 mission.

Meet the Astronauts

CDR: Chris Ferguson

PLT: Eric Boe

MS 1: Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper

MS 2: Stephen Bowen

MS 3: Don Pettit

MS 4: Shane Kimbrough

Up: Sandy Magnus

Down: Greg Chamitoff

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STS-126: The programs

In advance of shuttle Endeavour's STS-126 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.

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STS-126: The mission

A detailed preview of Endeavour's mission to deliver expanded crew accommodations to the station is provided in this briefing.

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STS-126: Spacewalks

Four spacewalks are planned during Endeavour's STS-126 mission to the station.

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STS-126: The Crew

The Endeavour astronauts, led by commander Chris Ferguson, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.

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Shuttle rollaround

Space shuttle Endeavour switched launch pads on Oct. 23, traveling from pad 39B to pad 39A.

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Two shuttles sighted

Stunning aerial views of shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour perched atop launch pads 39A and 39B on Sept. 20.

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Endeavour to the VAB

For its role as a rescue craft during the Hubble servicing mission and the scheduled November logistics run to the space station, Endeavour is moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

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Station's recycling gear shuts down again after repair
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: November 23, 2008

An improvised fix to overcome subtle vibration issues that triggered premature shutdowns of the space station's new urine processor assembly appeared to have paid off Sunday. Engineers said an initial test run continued past the point of earlier failures, raising hopes the critical system can be coaxed into normal operation. But less than an hour later, the processor shut itself down again after experiencing problems similar to those that interrupted test runs Friday and Saturday.

"Teams on the ground who have been watching the test of the urine processor over the last, almost, three hours now are reporting that, although it was initially running well and ran longer than the earlier tests of it, it has again shut down," said mission control commentator Brandi Dean. "They're looking at different possibilities of what could be causing that problem and will be troubleshooting it overnight."

The newly installed water recycling system aboard the space station is crucial for NASA's plans to boost the lab's crew size from three to six next May. NASA managers had hoped to collect test data on the urine recycling system for the next 90 days before a dress-rehearsal in February using the crew of the next shuttle mission to simulate the "load" the lab's life support system will experience when the station' crew size jumps to six.

As it is, time is running out for NASA managers to make a decision about how to proceed. Engineers still hope to figure out a solution that would permit normal, or near-normal, operations with the urine processor "as is." But if a solution is not found in fairly short order, the astronauts could be forced to ship the hardware back to Earth for repairs. While the distillation unit presumably could be repaired and relaunched in February, it wouldn't leave much time to complete testing before it would have to go on line to support six crew members.

"Clearly, we want to get the system running as soon as possible so we can start processing urine and verify that we do have good potable water coming out the other side," space station flight engineer Sandra Magnus told CBS News Sunday. "I know there are some plans when the (shuttle) arrives to pick me up in February to also have the toilet up and running and have the maximum loading of six to 10 people using the toilet, working through the urine processor, to get the system into a test run, if you will, for the six-person crew.

"So it's really important that we get this up and running and again, we want to do that to make sure it's set and ready to go when we send up our six-person crew next summer."

Endeavour currently is scheduled to undock from the space station Thanksgiving day. NASA managers could delay undocking at least one day if engineers determine the extra time could help in the troubleshooting effort. Shipping the distillation unit back to Earth would be a worst-case scenario, delaying tests and checkout until February and possibly disrupting NASA's plans to boost crew size in May. Engineers remain hopeful it won't come to that.

"We really want to be confident the system will run long term so that when we begin six-person crew operations in May, we know we've got essentially a stable platform in the life support systems operation," station Flight Director Courtenay McMillan said earlier today. "So the longer we can actually perform the checkouts prior to that, the better off we are.

"The reason we really targeted this flight for performing the analysis, we still have some margin in case something goes wrong and we need to do any replanning or fly up any additional equipment or consumables on the mission in February. So we do still have some room and some runway ahead of us in this case. If we wait until February, we may not get all the engineering requirements to be sure that all the systems are working as required in order to support six-person crew."

If the distillation assembly is shipped back to Earth aboard Endeavour, "we may still be able to make it in May in that case," McMillan said. "We would need to look at do we need the full checkout period and what type of evaluation we have to do of samples and so forth and what that does to the schedule as well. Those conversations haven't started yet, we're tying to get all we can out of this mission."

Initial urine processing runs Friday and Saturday ended after about two hours when telemetry indicated the centrifuge motor in the unit's vacuum distillation assembly began slowing down and drawing higher than normal currents. When programmed safety limits were exceeded, the unit shut itself down.

Today, the astronauts removed rubber vibration dampers from the distillation unit's rack mounting system in a bid to reduce, if not eliminate, physical interference between the spinning centrifuge and a speed sensor presumably caused by a subtle interplay between thermal expansion, vibration frequencies and the inertia of the liquid circulating in the system.

After two hours of operation this evening, engineers reported seeing a motor speed decrease and current drop similar to what was observed during test runs Friday and Saturday. But this time around, the processor did not shut itself down, indicating the removal of the vibration dampers may have helped improve performance.

"We saw the same signature that we saw yesterday and the day before," an engineer radioed the astronauts. "It was a small decrease in speed and a small increase in current that steadied itself back out. It did not fail off and it's still processing."

"That sounds dandy news," station commander Mike Fincke replied. "We've been watching it and actually have the PCS plot function up (on a computer display) for the first time in my life and we saw that yeah, we saw it's still going and the current is about one point four. ... So Megan, the big picture plan is to keep processing, and that means I'll probably need to do another fill in about another hour, hour and a half?"

"We're actually going to let it run through this (four-hour) process and then probably talk about it a little bit and I'm guessing we can do a fill tomorrow, maybe," she replied.

"OK, well we have quite a collection (of urine) up here," Fincke quipped. "So anytime you need a fill, we'll be happy to unload it as opposed to loading it up. So that's good news so far, we'll keep our fingers crossed."

But the optimism was premature.

"For the first more than two hours, that fix seemed to be working, although the motor was giving a similar signature to the one they'd seen in the past just before it shut down," Dean said. "However, just a few moments ago it shut down again. So they will be continuing troubleshooting of that problem tonight."

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Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEWS WITH CREW BY ABC, CBS AND NBC NEWS PLAY
VIDEO: SUNDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 9 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: LAST OF OLD BEARINGS REMOVED FROM SARJ PLAY
VIDEO: BOWEN INSTALLS ANOTHER BEARING ASSEMBLY PLAY
VIDEO: SARJ CLEANING TECHNIQUES TO REMOVE CONTAMINATION PLAY
VIDEO: PIPER USES GREASE GUNS ON THE SARJ PLAY
VIDEO: NEW TRUNDLE BEARING ASSEMBLY INSTALLED PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKING DUO GETS TO WORK PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALK NO. 3 BEGINS PLAY
VIDEO: WALKTHROUGH OF SPACEWALK NO. 3 PLAN PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 8 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: JOINT CREW IN-FLIGHT NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: PROTON ROCKET ROLLS OUT TO THE PAD PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH OF THE ZARYA CONTROL MODULE PLAY
VIDEO: POST-LAUNCH COMMENTS BY NASA AND RSA PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION COMMANDERS MARK ANNIVERSARY PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 7 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: MAINTENANCE PERFORMED ON STATION'S ARM PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKERS PULL SECOND RAIL CART FREE PLAY
VIDEO: FIRST CART REMOVED FROM STATION RAILS PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY
VIDEO: WALKTHROUGH OF SPACEWALK NO. 2 PLAN PLAY
VIDEO: FLIGHT DIRECTOR'S SUMMARY OF FLIGHT DAY 7 PLAY

VIDEO: LAUNCH CAMERA REPLAYS
VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 6 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: AP, MINNEAPOLIS AND BOSTON INTERVIEWS WITH CREW PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 5 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: RIDE ALONG WITH ASTRONAUTS "RACK-CAM" PLAY
VIDEO: COMBUSTION SCIENCE HARDWARE MOVED INTO STATION PLAY
VIDEO: AIRLOCK CAMCORDER FOOTAGE AFTER SPACEWALK PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: EVA NO. 1 CONCLUDES PLAY
VIDEO: SOLAR ALPHA ROTARY JOINT REPAIRS BEGIN PLAY
VIDEO: TOOL BAG ACCIDENTALLY FLOATS AWAY PLAY
VIDEO: GREASE GUN SPILL MAKES MESS IN TOOL CARRIER PLAY
VIDEO: SPARE FLEX HOSE COUPLER DELIVERED TO STATION PLAY
VIDEO: EMPTY NITROGEN TANK MOVED FROM STATION TO SHUTTLE PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY
VIDEO: SHOW-AND-TELL OF SOLAR ALPHA ROTARY JOINT WORK PLAY
VIDEO: WALKTHROUGH OF SPACEWALK NO. 1 PLAN PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED ANIMATION OF SPACEWALK SWAPOUT PLAY
VIDEO: FLIGHT DIRECTOR'S SUMMARY OF FLIGHT DAY 5 PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: CREW OPENS HATCH AND ENTERS LEONARDO PLAY
VIDEO: ATLANTA AND BOSTON TV STATIONS INTERVIEW CREW PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: LEONARDO MODULE SUCCESSFULLY MOUNTED TO STATION PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF LEONARDO MODULE ATTACHMENT PLAY
VIDEO: SUMMARY OF CARGO BEING DELIVERED TO SPACE STATION PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE CREW WELCOMED ABOARD STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR DOCKS TO SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR PERFORMS THE 360-DEGREE BACKFLIP PLAY
VIDEO: VIEWS OF THE SHUTTLE APPROACHING FROM BELOW PLAY
VIDEO: FLIGHT DIRECTOR'S SUMMARY OF FLIGHT DAY 3 PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF RENDEZVOUS AND DOCKING PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: FLIGHT DIRECTOR'S SUMMARY OF FLIGHT DAY 2 PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF HEAT SHIELD INSPECTIONS PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED TOUR OF ENDEAVOUR'S PAYLOAD BAY PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR BLASTS OFF! PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEFLIGHT NOW'S LAUNCH PAD CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: THE FULL STS-126 LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
VIDEO: INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: POST-LAUNCH NEWS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: FINAL PRE-LAUNCH POLLS GIVE "GO" FOR LIFTOFF PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE'S CREW MODULE HATCH CLOSED FOR FLIGHT PLAY
VIDEO: MISSION SPECIALIST DON PETTIT BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: MISSION SPECIALIST SHANE KIMBROUGH BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: PILOT ERIC BOE BOARDS ENDEAVOUR PLAY
VIDEO: COMMANDER CHRIS FERGUSON BOARDS ENDEAVOUR PLAY
VIDEO: ASTROVAN TAKES CREW TO LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS QUARTERS FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS DON SPACESUITS FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED RECAP OF ENDEAVOUR'S PRE-FLIGHT CAMPAIGN PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED RECAP OF PAYLOADS' PRE-FLIGHT CAMPAIGN PLAY

VIDEO: PAD 39A SERVICE GANTRY RETRACTED FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S COUNTDOWN STATUS AND WEATHER UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S COUNTDOWN STATUS AND WEATHER UPDATE PLAY

VIDEO: STATION ASTRONAUTS PREPARE FOR SHUTTLE ARRIVAL PLAY
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR'S PAYLOADS READIED FOR TREK TO SPACE PLAY

VIDEO: UPDATE ON SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAMS PLAY
VIDEO: STS-126 MISSION OVERVIEW PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH COMMANDER CHRIS FERGUSON PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH PILOT ERIC BOE PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS1 HEIDEMARIE PIPER PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS2 STEPHEN BOWEN PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS3 DON PETITT PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS4 SHANE KIMBROUGH PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS5 SANDY MAGNUS PLAY

VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH SPACE STATION'S EXPEDITION 17 CREW PLAY

VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR COMMANDER AND PILOT PRACTICE LANDINGS PLAY

VIDEO: ISS PROGRAM MANAGER UPDATES SOYUZ INVESTIGATION PLAY
VIDEO: ISS PROGRAM MANAGER DESCRIBES SARJ REPAIR PLAN PLAY
VIDEO: ISS PROGRAM MANAGER DISCUSSES RADIATOR DAMAGE PLAY
VIDEO: EXPEDITION 18 PRE-FLIGHT MISSION BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: AERIAL VIEWS OF ATLANTIS AND ENDEAVOUR PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR AT SUNRISE ON LAUNCH PAD 39B PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: AERIAL VIEWS OF ENDEAVOUR AFTER ROLLOUT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR ROLLS FROM VAB TO LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ARRIVAL AT PAD 39B PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ENDEAVOUR LEAVING VAB PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR'S DEPARTURE FROM HANGAR PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ENDEAVOUR GOING VERTICAL PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF BEING HOISTED OFF TRANSPORTER PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ENDEAVOUR MOVING TO VAB PLAY
MORE: STS-126 VIDEO COVERAGE
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