Archive - 2007 - Story
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The space shuttle Discovery and its crew landed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Wednesday at 1:01 p.m. EST after completing a 15-day journey of more than 6.2 million miles in space. Discovery's STS-120 mission added a key component to the International Space Station and featured an unprecedented spacewalk to repair a damaged solar array.
"This mission demonstrates the value of having humans in space and our ingenuity in solving problems," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for space operations, NASA Headquarters, Washington. "The teams on the ground worked around the clock, along with the crews in space, to develop a plan to fix the array. Our high level of preparedness gave us the edge necessary to make this a successful mission."
Space shuttle Discovery descended to a smooth landing at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., concluding a successful assembly mission to the International Space Station.
During its stay at the station, which began Oct. 25, the STS-120 crew continued the on-orbit construction of the station with the installation of the Harmony Node 2 module and the relocation of the P6 truss.
The crew installed Harmony Oct. 26 and did four spacewalks at the station. During the third spacewalk, the crew installed the P6 truss and solar array pair in its permanent location outboard of the port truss. The fourth spacewalk was changed during the mission so that the crew could repair a torn solar array on the P6 truss. Following the successful repair work, the crew was able to fully deploy the solar array.
The space shuttle Discovery crew is scheduled to complete a 15-day mission to the International Space Station with a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
The STS-120 mission began Oct. 23 and delivered the Harmony module to the station, relocated the P6 truss and featured four spacewalks. During the fourth spacewalk, the crew repaired a torn solar array on the P6 truss, enabling them to fully deploy the array.
Discovery undocked from the International Space Station at 5:32 a.m. EST as they flew over the South Pacific.
STS-120 Pilot George Zamka backed the orbiter about 400 feet from the station and performed a fly-around to allow crew members to collect video and imagery of the station in its new configuration. He completed the final separation engine burn at 7:15 a.m.
The shuttle crew members are using the shuttle robot arm and the 50-foot long Orbiter Boom Sensor System to conduct a late inspection of the thermal protection system.
The crew will spend Tuesday preparing for landing. Discovery's first landing opportunity is at 1:02 p.m. Wednesday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Amateur radio operations on the ISS have had an interesting year. After being unavailable for months, the packet system was able to be partially restored when Suni Williams performed some basic manual reprogramming of the Kenwood D700 back in June. Unfortunately this occurred just prior to an expedition crew exchange and some miscommunication kept the system off an additional two months until some information about the radio got clarified to the new crew. Since early September, packet has been operational on 145.825 simplex and will stay there until a complete reprogramming of the D700 system is performed. A target date for fully restoring the radio has not been set but it is hoped that the access to a computer on orbit and certification of the reprogramming software can be finalized for implementation during Expedition 17. Due to continuing issues related to the radio misconfiguration, full operational capabilities are not available. Basic voice and packet operations are working but the crossband repeater is not available. Future SSTV operations are on hold until issues related to the system and the radio can be resolved or a plan to utilized another configuration of hardware can be implemented.
Astronauts are working outside the International Space Station to repair a torn solar array. Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock began the spacewalk, the mission's fourth, at 6:03 a.m. EDT.
Parazynski rode the station's robotic arm up to the damaged area of the array. He is secured in a foot restraint on the end of the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, or OBSS - the extension to the shuttle robot arm used for inspection of the orbiter's thermal protection system.
Though this will be the first operational use of the OBSS to reach a worksite, the task was demonstrated during a spacewalk on the STS-121 mission in July 2006 to prove the boom could provide a stable environment for this type of work.
The STS-120 and Expedition 16 crews will continue to work today on the tools and procedures for Saturday's spacewalk to repair a torn solar array. Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock will conduct the excursion, which is slated to kick off at 6:28 a.m. EDT Saturday.
Parazynski will make the repair while suspended from a boom attached to the space station's robotic arm, and Wheelock will assist from the station's truss. Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Dan Tani will be operating the station's robotic arm from the robotic work station inside the Destiny laboratory. Mission Specialist Paolo Nespoli will be the spacewalk coordinator.