Crews to install station's external science deck today
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: July 18, 2009
Astronauts David Wolf and Timothy Kopra are preparing for a spacewalk today, the first of five planned by the Endeavour astronauts, to ready an experiment platform for attachment to the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. Overnight, the astronauts were informed of the death of CBS newsman Walter Cronkite in statements from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Apollo 11 moonwalker Neil Armstrong that were included in the crew's daily package of updates and instructions.
"Walter Cronkite seemed to enjoy the highest of ratings. He had a passion for human space exploration, an enthusiasm that was contagious, and the trust of his audience. He will be missed."
Bolden, a veteran shuttle commander confirmed Wednesday as NASA administrator, said "it was Walter Cronkite's impassioned reporting on America's inaugural moon landing that inspired me to join in the dreams of many to travel to space and accept the risks that this exploration brings while I was a student in naval flight training."
"For decades, we had the privilege of learning about our world from the original 'anchorman,'" Bolden said. "He was a true gentleman. Our thoughts and prayers are with Walter's family and his millions of friends and supporters."
Today's "execute package" beamed up to the crew also included an update on NASA's ongoing inspection and analysis of Endeavour's heat shield. The analysis is not yet complete, but after studying photographs of the shuttle's belly that were snapped by the space station crew during Endeavour's approach Friday, engineers concluded no major damage was present and an additional "focused" inspection will not be needed.
The astronauts were awakened at 7:03 a.m. today by a recording of Marc Broussard's "Home" beamed up from mission control.
"Good morning, Endeavour. Good morning, Dave," astronaut Shannon Lucid called from Houston.
"Take me home!" Wolf sang back. "Good morning, Shannon."
"Have a great EVA today," Lucid said.
"It's going to be something," Wolf replied. "This will be a heck of a day of teamwork between robots and people in space and all over the world. I'm looking forward to this! ... All's well in the airlock. We're up and cleaned up pretty good and things are moving along nicely and on time."
This will be the 126th spacewalk devoted to station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998, the seventh so far this year and the first of five planned by Endeavour's crew. It will be the fifth spacewalk for Wolf and the first for Kopra.
The primary goals of today's excursion are to prepare the 4.1-ton Japanese Exposed Facility, or JEF, for attachment to the Kibo module; to make preparations for the eventual arrival of a Japanese cargo ship; to perform maintenance on an external equipment cart; and to deploy a jammed spare parts mount on the station's solar array truss.
"The complexity is not just from EVA. It's doing the EVA and robotics and the other internal transfer work that we have planned, all at once in a very complex choreography," Wolf said before launch. "It is busy, it is a sprint race for us and it's very interactive, it takes everyone (of the astronauts), mission control and the engineering teams to be with it real time, tracking as we go, to pull this off."
The Japanese Kibo laboratory is made up of two modules, a roomy central lab and an attached logistics module. The main Japanese lab module is equipped with its own airlock and its own robot arm to move experiments out to the exposed facility and back inside as needed. Experiment packages launched aboard Endeavour will be attached to the JEF later in the mission.
"The Japanese Exposed Facility, or JEF as we tend to call it, is very impressive," Wolf said in a NASA interview. "It's a large external porch to the space station where high quality experiments can be conducted in the high vacuum of space. It's really an exceptionally valuable piece of real estate. It has its own robotic arm, the ability to do observations of the Earth and of the sky, astrophysics experiments, a very wide range of abilities."
After Wolf and Kopra prep the experiment platform, Koichi Wakata and shuttle pilot Douglas Hurley, operating the space station's robot arm, will pull it from Endeavour's cargo bay and hand it off to the shuttle arm, operated by Canadian astronaut Julie Payette. After moving to work site six on the station's solar power truss, the station arm will re-grapple the JEF and move it into position for attachment to Kibo. Flight controllers in Japan then will carry out the necessary activations.
"The highest priority item is to get the Japanese Exposed Facility, the JEF, out of the payload bay and that requires that the spacewalking crew disconnect umbilicals that are powering the payload now," said space station Flight Director Hal Getzelman. "So they'll spend about the first two hours of the EVA configuring the Japanese Exposed Facility for release from the payload bay.
"Then the spacewalking crew goes off to do other tasks on other parts of the station while the crew inside the space station uses both the shuttle robotic arm and the station's robotic arm in a series of handoffs to connect the Japanese Exposed Facility to the Kibo module."
"In the case of U.S. modules, additional spacewalking activities are required to connect power, data and thermal umbilicals," Getzelman said. "In the case of the JEF, it's all robotic. Basically, the crew plugs it in with the robotic arm and those power and data and thermal connections are made automatically. Once those connections are made, later in the day the crew inside the space station works in concert with the flight control team in Japan to actually activate the Japanese Exposed Facility."
Here is an updated timeline of today's activity (in EDT and mission elapsed time; includes revision G of the NASA television schedule):
EDT........DD...HH...MM...EVENT 07/18 07:03 AM...02...13...00...STS/ISS crew wakeup 07:43 AM...02...13...40...EVA-1: 14.7 psi repress/hygiene break 08:28 AM...02...14...25...EVA-1: Airlock depress to 10.2 psi 08:53 AM...02...14...50...EVA-1: Campout EVA preps 09:03 AM...02...15...00...ISS daily planning conference 10:23 AM...02...16...20...EVA-1: Spacesuit purge 10:38 AM...02...16...35...SSRMS grapples JEF 10:38 AM...02...16...35...EVA-1: Spacesuit prebreathe 11:28 AM...02...17...25...EVA-1: Crew lock depressurization 11:58 AM...02...17...55...EVA-1: Spacesuits to battery power 12:03 PM...02...18...00...EVA-1: Airlock egress 12:13 PM...02...18...10...EVA-1: Setup 12:43 PM...02...18...40...EVA-1: EV1: JPM EFBM preps 12:43 PM...02...18...40...EVA-1: EV2: Payload bay prep 01:28 PM...02...19...25...EVA-1: EV1: CETA cart mods 01:43 PM...02...19...40...SSRMS unberths JEF; hands off to SRMS 01:58 PM...02...19...55...EVA-1: EV2: Z1 tool bax/CBCS flap 02:13 PM...02...20...10...EVA-1: P3 nadir UCCAS deploy 02:28 PM...02...20...25...EVA-1: EV2: P3 nadir UCCAS deploy 02:53 PM...02...20...50...SSRMS releases JEF 03:08 PM...02...21...05...SSRMS grapples PDGF 3 04:23 PM...02...22...20...SSRMS releases node 2 04:43 PM...02...22...40...EVA-1: EV1: S3 zenith outboard PAS 04:43 PM...02...22...40...EVA-1: EV2: Get aheads 05:08 PM...02...23...05...SSRMS regrapples JEF 05:38 PM...02...23...35...SSRMS attaches JEF to Kibo 05:43 PM...02...23...40...EVA-1: Cleanup and ingress 06:28 PM...03...00...25...EVA-1: Airlock pressurization 06:28 PM...03...00...25...EFBM ops 06:38 PM...03...00...35...Spacesuit servicing 07:23 PM...03...01...20...SSRMS releases JEF 07:30 PM...03...01...27...Post-MMT briefing 07:48 PM...03...01...45...ISS evening planning conference 09:00 PM...03...02...57...Mission status briefing 10:03 PM...03...04...00...ISS crew sleep begins 10:33 PM...03...04...30...STS crew sleep begins 11:00 PM...03...04...57...Daily highlights reel on NTV"The time critical task that Tim and I will do on the first spacewalk of the mission, day four, is to get that exposed facility, the Japanese JEF exposed facility, ready to be unberthed robotically out of the payload bay," Wolf said in a NASA interview. "This is a choreography between the spacewalk crew, of course the ground and the robotics arm operators.
"We have several tasks that reconfigure cabling and power out in the space shuttle payload bay so that (the exposed facility) is able to be raised out and then attached to the space station. Wešre also standing by in case there's several, any of a group of problems that could occur attaching JEF to the Japanese module.
"In between there we'll be doing a wide range of tasks over on the space station while the robotics is carrying this JEF facility from the shuttle to the space station."
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