Launch: May 16, 2011
Time: 8:56 a.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: June 1 @ approx. 2:32 a.m. EDT
Site: KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility
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Cdr Mark Kelly
Pilot Greg Johnson
MS 1 Mike Fincke
MS 2 Roberto Vittori
MS 3 Drew Feustel
MS 4 Greg Chamitoff
Mission Status Center
Live coverage of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission to the International Space Station. Text updates will appear automatically; there is no need to reload the page. Follow us on Twitter.
FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011Astronauts Michael Fincke and Gregory Chamitoff attached the shuttle Endeavour's heat shield inspection boom to the International Space Station Friday, completing the U.S. segment of the orbital lab complex after 12 years of construction and more than 1,000 hours of spacewalk assembly time.
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1150 GMT (7:50 a.m. EDT)To recap, astronauts Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff spent more than seven hours outside the International Space Station this morning transferring the shuttle Endeavour's 50-foot inspection boom over to the lab's truss. The boom will help the station's robot arm reach further if needed in the future.
The spacewalkers also installed a new grapple fixture on the boom and removed bolts from a spare arm for the station's Dextre robotic handyman, accomplishing all the major objectives of the EVA.
1146 GMT (7:46 a.m. EDT)This was also the final planned EVA to be staged by a space shuttle crew, marking the 164th spacewalk in shuttle program history dating back to the STS-6 mission in 1983.
A spacewalk during the upcoming flight of Atlantis will be conducted by long-duration space station residents.
1144 GMT (7:44 a.m. EDT)Today marked the 159th spacewalk devoted to International Space Station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998, the eighth so far this year. U.S., Russian, European, Japanese and Canadian astronauts have logged 1,002 hours and 37 minutes of EVA time at the station.
1143 GMT (7:43 a.m. EDT)The four spacewalks performed on Endeavour's mission totaled 28 hours and 44 minutes.
1140 GMT (7:40 a.m. EDT)This was the ninth EVA in the career of Mike Fincke and second for Greg Chamitoff. Fincke has accumulated 48 hours and 37 minutes of spacewalking time in his previous excursions on this flight and as a space station crew member. Chamitoff's total EVA time is now 13 hours and 43 minutes.
1139 GMT (7:39 a.m. EDT)EVA ENDS. Repressurization of the Quest airlock module began at 7:39 a.m. EDT, marking the official end of today's spacewalk by Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff. The EVA lasted 7 hours and 24 minutes.
1124 GMT (7:24 a.m. EDT)Both astronauts are back inside the Quest airlock and the hatch is about to be closed. The end of the spacewalk will be official when the airlock starts to be repressurized.
1115 GMT (7:15 a.m. EDT)At the spacewalk's seven-hour point, Fincke and Chamitoff are back near the airlock. The spacewalkers are going through their checklist before ingressing the airlock and closing the hatch.
1032 GMT (6:32 a.m. EDT)The tether cinch and bolt removal work is complete, and the spacewalkers are now in the home stretch of today's EVA. Chamitoff is going to the ELC 3 platform to take pictures of a U.S. military technology development payload.
1026 GMT (6:26 a.m. EDT)Fincke is now turning to the pry rod to try and force out the troublesome bolt. The spacewalkers brought along this tool just for this occasion.
And the pry rod successfully fixed the problem, and the bolt is now free.
1022 GMT (6:22 a.m. EDT)Fincke is having trouble with the last of the three bolts on Dextre's spare arm on the ELC 3 platform, while Chamitoff is quickly finishing his work to cinch up a loose tether on Dextre's toolkit.
1016 GMT (6:16 a.m. EDT)Fincke is now removing the bolts holding the Dextre spare arm at the EVA's six-hour point. So far, one of the bolts has come out with ease.
Because the bolts seem to be coming out with no problem, mission control is sending Chamitoff over to tackle the tether cinching task on Dextre's tool platform since there is now time to address that work.
0957 GMT (5:57 a.m. EDT)Fincke and Chamitoff are heading to the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 3, a space parts platform delivered earlier on Endeavour's mission. Once they arrive, they will remove three expandable diameter fixture bolts that held a spare arm for the space station's Dextre robot, or SPDM.
The bolts kept the arm in place for launch, but astronauts had trouble removing similar bolts when Dextre arrived at the station in 2008. If the bolts give Fincke and Chamitoff trouble, they can use a pry bar to force them out.
But first, Chamitoff is heading back to the Quest airlock to get a recharge of his suit's oxygen system to allow him to continue on in this extended EVA.
In an interview before the flight, Chamitoff described the upcoming task with Dextre's spare arm.
"They want to release some bolts on that to make sure that it can be utilized when needed. So Mike and I are going to be up there. There’s some extra stress on these bolts so we have a special pry bar. We expect to be doing some serious manual labor to try to break this thing free so we can get those bolts off," Chamitoff said.
The view from ELC 3 should be spectacular.
"The neat thing about being on top of there is that this will be the last spacewalk, potentially, of the entire shuttle program in terms of building the space station, and on top of ELC-3, it’s sort of the highest perch above the whole space station," Chamitoff said. "We’ll be on top looking back at the entire space station that has been built now over 10 years by 15 countries and all the shuttle flights and on this last task we’ll be able to look and see the fruits of all that labor, the whole space station below us. I think that’s going to be a special moment and we’re bringing us a good camera out, to take some pictures up there."
0932 GMT (5:32 a.m. EDT)Astronaut Steve Swanson in mission control is discussing the priorities for the time remaining in today's EVA with the crew. The next major task is to release launch retention bolts from a spare arm launched for the space station's Dextre robotic handyman.
Fincke and Chamitoff are cleaning up from their work at the boom, then Chamitoff will head to the airlock to charge his oxygen supply since today's spacewalk could extend beyond seven hours in duration.
Mission control and the spacewalkers have elected to skip over a brief task to cinch a tether on a Dextre took platform in the interest of saving time. That's in addition to the earlier decision to bring the old space shuttle boom grapple fixture back inside the station instead of placing it inside Endeavour's payload bay.
0921 GMT (5:21 a.m. EDT)While the original plan called for Fincke to stow the old shuttle-era grapple fixture in Endeavour's payload bay, mission control told the crew to bring the fixture back inside the airlock to save time because today's EVA is running behind schedule.
The grapple fixture will likely be returned to Earth by the shuttle Atlantis in July.
0919 GMT (5:19 a.m. EDT)Endeavour's Orbiter Boom Sensor System is now known as the Enhanced ISS Boom Assembly.
0915 GMT (5:15 a.m. EDT)"This PDGF isn't going anywhere unless the boom's going with it," Fincke just radioed at the spacewalk's five-hour mark, indicating the unit is installed.
The new grapple fixture will permit the space station's robot arm to grab the 50-foot boom and use it as an extension for work in hard-to-reach places around the complex.
0902 GMT (5:02 a.m. EDT)Spacewalkers have accumulated 1,000 hours, or nearly six weeks, of time outside the International Space Station building and maintaining the complex. The milestone occurred at 5:02 a.m. EDT on this 159th EVA devoted to space station assembly and maintenance.
Fincke and Chamitoff are still torquing bolts on the extender boom's power and data grapple fixture.
0844 GMT (4:44 a.m. EDT)The adapter plate is now firmly bolted in place, and Fincke and Chamitoff are now are maneuvering the new station grapple fixture over the adapter. There are four bolts that need to be torqued to attach this unit.
0831 GMT (4:31 a.m. EDT)Mission control reports the spacewalkers are now about 45 minutes behind schedule as Chamitoff gets ready to install an adapter plate to support the attachment of the power and data grapple fixture on the boom.
0823 GMT (4:23 a.m. EDT)Chamitoff has cut the fixture's electrical cable, clearing the way for the installation of an adapter plate and the space station arm's power and data grapple fixture fetched from the P6 truss earlier in the EVA.
0821 GMT (4:21 a.m. EDT)Next up is "surgery in space" where Chamitoff will use scissors to cut an electrical cord to the shuttle grapple fixture.
"We’re going to get another large grapple fixture and we’re going to carefully unbolt the one that’s up there, the shuttle-based one, and we’re actually, they’re actually let us use scissors on this mission, space scissors. Well, you have to be careful ’cause you don’t want to cut your suit; that would be bad. So I get to hand Dr. Chamitoff the scissors and he’s going to carefully cut the cord, the electrical power cord, off of the shuttle-based grapple fixture," Fincke said.
0819 GMT (4:19 a.m. EDT)Chamitoff is now using the pistol grip tool to remove six bolts holding the shuttle grapple fixture in place. Fincke has attached a tether to keep a firm grasp on the fixture.
0815 GMT (4:15 a.m. EDT)Now passing the four-hour mark in today's EVA. After a brief loss of signal, the spacewalkers are now back at the boom to begin removing the space shuttle robot arm's electrical flight grapple fixture. Fincke and Chamitoff will put the station arm's fixture in its place.
0803 GMT (4:03 a.m. EDT)After some struggles getting into the foot restraint, Chamitoff is now ready to receive the power and data grapple fixture from Fincke.
0745 GMT (3:45 a.m. EDT)Fincke is about to hand off the power and data grapple fixture to Chamitoff, who will take it the rest of the way to the boom. This fixture will replace an attachment point for shuttle robot arm on the end of the boom. Each robot arm uses a different type of grapple fixture.
Chamitoff is getting into a foot restraint on the end of the space station robot arm right now.
Once the spacewalkers get back to the boom location, Chamitoff will unscrew six bolts holding the old shuttle-era electrical flight grapple fixture at the end of the 50-foot inspection boom. No longer needed with the space shuttle's retirement, the fixture will come back to Earth.
Chamitoff will use scissors to cut a power cable running to the shuttle grapple fixture, install an adapter plate, then add the power and data grapple fixture on top of that for future use by the space station arm.
Here's what Chamitoff had to say before launch about this role in this activity:
"Because we’re kind of tearing this thing apart in a way, we’re taking off that end, replacing it with a station grapple fixture, and we have to cut some wires and pull this thing off completely and while we’re doing that I’ll be on the station robotic arm and Box will be flying me around. That’ll be an exciting task to do."
0720 GMT (3:20 a.m. EDT)Mission control says the spacewalk is about 15 or 20 minutes behind the timeline, and controllers are considering ways to save time near the end of the EVA, which is scheduled to last six-and-a-half hours. So far, the EVA has run a little over three hours.
0716 GMT (3:16 a.m. EDT)With the power and data grapple fixture now unbolted and removed from its mounting plate, Fincke and Chamitoff will prepare to move the assembly back to the boom mounting location on the other end of the station.
First, Fincke is tethering the fixture to himself before moving to the P3 truss segment, where he will transfer the grapple fixture over to Chamitoff, who will ride the space station robot arm back to the boom stowage site.
0709 GMT (3:09 a.m. EDT)Fincke and Chamitoff are now driving bolts to remove the grapple fixture from the P6 truss. There are four bolts holding the fixture.
0649 GMT (2:49 a.m. EDT)After pausing briefly to get a snapshot of the completed space station, Fincke and Chamitoff have arrived at the worksite on the P6 truss, the most outboard segment of the port side of the station's 357-foot-long backbone.
The astronauts will remove four bolts holding the power and data grapple fixture on the P6 truss using a pistol grip tool, essentially an electric screwdriver for spacewalks.
0622 GMT (2:22 a.m. EDT)With the boom's electrical connectors now disconnected and grounded, and with a foot restraint now installed on the robot arm, Fincke and Chamitoff will next move to the opposite end of the station's truss backbone to retrieve a power data grapple fixture.
The space shuttle and space station robot arms use different types of grapple fixtures. The station arm uses a power and data grapple fixture and the shuttle uses what's called an electrical flight grapple fixture.
The shuttle's inspection boom, now known as the ISS Boom Assembly, has a station arm grapple fixture in the middle and a shuttle arm attachment point at the end.
NASA wants to use the Canadian-built boom as an extender for the space station robot arm, so the arm needs to be able to grapple the end of the boom to maximize its length.
"Normally, the shuttle arm grabs that boom at the end and the station arm has a grapple fixture in the middle, but if we’re going to use it on the station at some future point, you want to be able to grab it from the end. The grapple fixture at the end is not the right kind and we have to change it," Chamitoff said in an interview before the mission.
Fincke and Chamitoff are on the way to the P6 outboard truss to get the power and data grapple fixture. Later in the EVA, Chamitoff will carry the new power and data grapple fixture from the P6 truss back to the boom stowage site on the S1 truss.
0553 GMT (1:53 a.m. EDT)Fincke is getting ready to disconnect electrical connections to the boom's laser sensor suite used to inspect the space shuttle's heat shield. Chamitoff is installing a foot restraint allowing him to mount the end of the space station robot arm.
0542 GMT (1:42 a.m. EDT)"On behalf of the STS-134 crew and the Expedition 27 crew, space station assembly is complete," Endeavour commander Mark Kelly just said, indicating the shuttle boom is now firmly attached to the station truss.
0537 GMT (1:37 a.m. EDT)With the boom now in the hands of the spacewalkers, Endeavour pilot Greg Johnson is backing the space station arm away.
0531 GMT (1:31 a.m. EDT)Helmetcams now show the astronauts' views as the shuttle inspection boom approachings latching fixtures on the station truss.
0515 GMT (1:15 a.m. EDT)"Let's get this party started," Fincke just radioed from his spacesuit.
The procedure for clamping the boom in place involves gently aligning the appendage within guide posts on the station's S1 truss and locking it into place. Fincke will then install two grounding connectors.
0509 GMT (1:09 a.m. EDT)The space station's robot arm has maneuvered the shuttle boom into position a few feet from its stowage location on the starboard truss.
0446 GMT (12:46 a.m. EDT)Fincke offered his thoughts on how the new boom will help the space station in the future:
"The OBSS, Orbiter Boom Sensor System, we’re going to be focusing on the boom part and most people can remember the excitement we had a few years ago when we were extending a solar array and it ripped, and we sent Scott Parazynski way out on the solar array which is far away from the space truss structure on, not just the robot arm, but the robot arm was holding this long boom, kind of a stick, and then Scott was at the end of the stick and we were kind of moving the arm out so he could work on the solar array and we had some pretty insightful managers say, hey, you know, that, the boom system is not just good for examining the outside of the space shuttle, doing the inspection so we can come home safely, but maybe it’s also good for the space station."
On a shuttle mission in 2007, spacewalker Scott Parazynski rode out to one of the space station's solar arrays to repair a tear. The only way to reach that far out was with the shuttle's inspection boom, which is normally used to check the ship's heat shield.
0437 GMT (12:37 a.m. EDT)Fincke and Chamitoff are getting situated outside the space station before heading to the starboard truss to help lock the 50-foot-long Orbiter Boom Sensor System within a fixture that is already in place.
Chamitoff gave this preview of the EVA in an interview before the flight:
"This is an exciting spacewalk for me, partly because I get to ride on top of the robotic arm. Box will be flying the arm. But what we’re doing is we’re leaving the boom, there’s an orbital, it’s called OBSS [Orbiter Boom Sensor System], it’s the inspection boom we have on the shuttle to use to inspect the tiles. That boom will be left behind on the space station with the idea that at some point if the space station has to do some work, it would give the robotic arm more reach if it could use this boom as well. We have left it up there before; we have the mechanisms in place to leave it up there."
0415 GMT (12:15 a.m. EDT)EVA BEGINS. The spacewalkers have switched their suits to internal battery power, officially beginning today's EVA at 12:15 a.m. EDT. This is the fourth and final spacewalk planned for Endeavour's mission at the International Space Station.
It is also the final planned spacewalk to ever be conducted by space shuttle crew members.
Meanwhile, the space station's robot arm has grappled Endeavour's inspection boom to be maneuvered to the starboard side of the lab's truss backbone.
0344 GMT (11:44 p.m. EDT Thurs.)The Quest airlock is now being depressurized for this fourth and final spacewalk of Endeavour's mission. Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff are in their spacesuits ready to go out the door.
The Quest airlock is divided between an equipment lock kept pressurized and a crew lock that goes to vacuum. Fincke and Chamitoff are in the crew lock while other crew members are in the equipment lock.
0230 GMT (10:30 p.m. EDT Thurs.)Mission control reports preparations for tonight's spacewalk are running ahead of schedule and could start as soon as 12:15 a.m. EDT (0415 GMT).
0150 GMT (9:50 p.m. EDT Thurs.)Fincke and Chamitoff are getting suited up inside the space station's Quest airlock right now. The astronauts are being helped by Endeavour commander Mark Kelly, mission specialist Drew Feustel and space station flight engineer Ron Garan.
0001 GMT (8:01 p.m. EDT Thurs.)Mission control just radioed the shuttle Endeavour music by the astronaut band Max Q to wake up the crew for the 12th day of their mission. Today's work will center on the mission's fourth and final spacewalk, in which astronauts Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff will prepare the shuttle's 50-foot inspection boom for permanent residence at the space station.
The spacewalk is budgeted for about six-and-a-half hours and should begin around 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT).
THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011The Endeavour astronauts carried out a final inspection of the shuttle's heat shield early Thursday, fielded questions from reporters and geared up for a fourth and final spacewalk Friday, an excursion that will push space station EVA assembly time past the 1,000-hour mark.
Read our full story.
0620 GMT (2:20 a.m. EDT)The port wing inspections have been accomplished, which completes all of the heat shield checks for Endeavour's mission. Analysts on the ground will be examining of the imagery gathered in preparation for the shuttle astronauts to give away the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to the space station tomorrow during the spacewalk. The boom will be stowed on the station.
0505 GMT (1:05 a.m. EDT)Endeavour's reinforced carbon-carbon nose cap is being surveyed as the astronauts use the Orbiter Boom Sensor System on the end of the shuttle's robot arm for a series of heat shield inspections. The scans are similar to the ones performed the day after launch. Today's survey results will be compared with the earlier data to ensure the orbiter's wing leading edge panels and nose cap are free of any space debris impacts that could have happened during the mission.
0431 GMT (12:31 a.m. EDT)The right wing has been scanned using the laser and camera package of the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, finishing at 12:29 a.m. The crew is swinging the boom in position to inspect Endeavour's nose cap next.
0335 GMT (11:35 p.m. EDT Wed.)Endeavour commander Mark Kelly just finished a half-hour interview session with four local television stations from Tucson, Arizona. Meanwhile, the starboard wing surveys are continuing.
0240 GMT (10:40 p.m. EDT Wed.)The latest version of the NASA Television schedule (Rev. I) can be downloaded here.
0230 GMT (10:30 p.m. EDT Wed.)The astronauts will have commenced inspections of the shuttle's wing leading edge panels and nose cap to look for any space debris or micrometeoroid damage that could have occurred during the mission.
0201 GMT (10:01 p.m. EDT Wed.)Endeavour's robot arm has the Orbiter Boom Sensor System in motion, headed for the starboard wing to begin today's heat shield inspections.
0000 GMT (8:00 p.m. EDT Wed.)Flight Day 11 is underway aboard the Endeavour and International Space Station complex as the astronauts get ready for the shuttle heat shield late-inspection process using the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to look for any space debris hits that could have occurred during the mission. That boom will be given to the station during Friday's spacewalk, so the inspections have to happen today.
Read our earlier status center coverage.
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