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Old 12-18-2007, 01:41 PM   #46
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Astronauts check faulty devices on 100th spacewalk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- A pair of space station astronauts ventured out on a spacewalk Tuesday to inspect two defective mechanisms that are confounding power generation at the orbiting complex.
Flight controllers called it a fact-finding mission.
Meanwhile, some 320 kilometres below, NASA hoped to recreate fuel gauge problems that grounded shuttle Atlantis earlier this month.
Engineers planned to start filling the spaceship's external tank with liquid hydrogen fuel at daybreak, in a test at the launch pad to pinpoint the nagging trouble. The problem could be anywhere in the 30 metres of circuitry between the shuttle and tank, or in the gauges.
Atlantis' astronauts were supposed to examine the clogged rotary joint at the international space station. But with the shuttle mission delayed until January, NASA moved up the joint inspection and added another chore after a second component in the space station's power system failed 1½ weeks ago.
Commander Peggy Whitson and Daniel Tani made history as they floated outside well before dawn: It marked the 100th spacewalk at the space station.
They quickly headed toward the mechanism that is supposed to tilt the solar wings on the right side of the space station toward the sun. The component experienced circuit breaker trips Dec. 8, possibly after being hit by a piece of space junk or micrometeorite.
Whitson and Tani were instructed to look for any signs of impact.
Afterward, the spacewalkers planned to move over to the bigger solar rotary joint, which is supposed to automatically revolve 360 degrees to keep the solar wings pointed toward the sun. The joint -- also on the right side of the space station -- has been used sparingly in the past three months because of vibrations and electrical current spikes.
During a spacewalk in October, Tani found steel grit inside the 10-foot-diameter (3-meter-diameter) joint. Even though he collected samples of the steel shavings, which were returned to Earth on the last shuttle flight, engineers still do not know what is grinding inside.
Mission Control asked Whitson and Tani to look deeper into the joint, by taking off more covers and using a mirror to peek inside, and to collect more grit samples and remove a set of suspect bearings. No repairs were planned during Tuesday's excursion.
The unrelated predicaments are curtailing power generation at the space station and could delay future shuttle visits.
Atlantis' trip to deliver the European lab, Columbus, is off until Jan. 10, a date that hinges on the results of Tuesday's fueling test. The Japanese lab, Kibo, or Hope, is supposed to follow on multiple shuttle flights.
NASA has been struggling with sporadic fuel gauge problems for two years and wants to resolve them once and for all. The gauges are part of a backup safety system; they prevent the shuttle's main engines from running on an empty tank, which could be catastrophic.
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:29 PM   #47
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Expedition 16 astronauts Dan Tani and Peggy Whitson wrapped up a 6-hour, 56-minute spacewalk focused on International Space Station solar array issues at 11:46 a.m. EST Tuesday.

The spacewalkers looked for the cause of partial loss of electrical power to one of the station's two Beta Gimbal Assemblies (BGAs) for starboard solar wings. They also examined damage to the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ).

The SARJ enables the arrays to rotate in a paddlewheel-like fashion to follow the sun as the station orbits the Earth. The BGA lets the solar wings tilt along their long axis to point more directly to the sun.

Image at right: Spacewalkers Dan Tani (left) and Peggy Whitson perform inspection tasks during the Dec. 18 spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

After leaving the U.S. airlock Quest and setting up equipment, Tani, EV1 or lead spacewalker, and Whitson moved to the station's main truss and then out to near the end of its starboard side. There they inspected BGA 1A without seeing apparent damage. They disconnected two cables to facilitate ground tests.

On Dec. 8 the BGA's primary power was lost after three circuit breakers tripped. A backup power source still functions, but because of the loss of redundancy, the device was latched with the wing in a position suitable for docking of the shuttle Atlantis on STS-122.

With the cables disconnected the circuits remained closed, apparently clearing the cables as suspects. Whitson reconnected them late in the spacewalk.

For the BGA inspection, the spacewalkers entered the truss from opposite sides, but remained together to be able to warn one another of obstructions in that confined area. That inspection took about 45 minutes.

Next the spacewalkers moved to the SARJ. Working together, they removed two large drive lock assembly covers and inspected the race rings and bearings beneath them. Then they removed and inspected beneath most of the 22 covers.

That SARJ was locked after vibrations were noted and increased power consumption was seen. Inspection findings Tuesday showed various degrees of contamination under the individual covers. Generally it was similar to what had been seen previously.

Tani and Whitson described what they saw, took photos and used tape and a scraper to collect samples of debris in the SARJ. That debris included metal shavings and "dusting" in the SARJ race ring.

Image at left: A spacewalker works on the starboard side of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Finally, they removed trundle bearing assembly No. 5, one of the 12 trundle bearing assemblies that move along the race ring, and returned it to the station's interior.

After cleanup they entered the Quest airlock and closed its hatch. The beginning of repressurization marked the official end of the spacewalk.

The starboard array continues to produce some power, and no station operations have been affected. But managers want to resolve the SARJ and BGA problems before launch of the Japanese Kibo laboratory next year.

The spacewalk was the 100th for the construction and maintenance of the station. During the spacewalk, Whitson set a new record for cumulative spacewalk time by a woman.

About halfway through today's spacewalk she surpassed the mark set by Sunita Williams, a station crew member during Expeditions 14 and 15, who had a total of 29 hours and 17 minutes during four spacewalks. Whitson's new mark is 32 hours, 36 minutes in five spacewalks.
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:16 PM   #48
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Crew Preps for Progress Undocking, 100th Station Spacewalk Completed

Image Above: Astronaut Peggy Whitson participates in Tuesday's spacewalk near the station's starboard solar arrays. Image credit: NASA

The Expedition 16 crew members remain busy after Tuesday's successful spacewalk.

On Wednesday, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Dan Tani recharged spacesuit batteries and reconfigured tools. They also joined Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko to continue packing items to be discarded in the Progress 26 (P26) cargo craft before its undocking scheduled for Friday, Dec. 21, at 10:56 p.m. EST. Filled with trash and station discarded items, the P26 will deorbit and burn in the Earth's atmosphere. Its departure will free up the Pirs docking compartment for the arrival of the Progress 27 cargo craft scheduled for Dec. 26.

Whitson and Tani completed the 100th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance on Tuesday, Dec 18. The 6 hour and 56 minute spacewalk ended at 11:46 a.m. EST.

+ Read more about the 100th ISS assembly spacewalk

The spacewalkers inspected the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) and the Beta Gimbal Assembly (BGA). They also removed a trundle bearing assembly, which moves along the race ring in the SARJ, and brought it inside the station for further examination.

Using observations from Whitson and Tani, specialists on the ground will evaluate the problems affecting the SARJ and BGA and determine how to return them to operational mode. Both hardware elements move the solar arrays to track the sun but are temporarily locked in place while they still draw power.

The International Space Station continues to operate normally.

Peggy Whitson and Dan Tani have now completed five spacewalks each. Whitson has surpassed previous station Flight Engineer Suni Williams’ record for cumulative spacewalking time by a woman. Whitson’s total time working outside the International Space Station is 32 hours and 36 minutes.
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Old 12-24-2007, 05:54 PM   #49
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Progress to Dock on Wednesday

Image Above: An unpiloted Progress 26 resupply vehicle approaches the International Space Station on Aug. 5, 2007. Image credit: NASA

A new Progress cargo carrier is scheduled to dock to the International Space Station's Pirs docking compartment at 3:25 a.m. EST Wednesday after a launch just after 2:10 a.m. Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The station's 27th unpiloted Progress spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory almost 2.5 tons of propellant, oxygen and dry cargo.

While the Expedition 16 crew members wait for the Progress, they have received more than 6,000 greetings from Earth through a link on the nasa.gov home page.
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:14 PM   #50
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New Progress Cargo Craft Docks to Station

Image Above: The Progress 27 spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Image credit: NASA/Steve Munday

A new Progress cargo carrier docked to the International Space Station's Pirs docking compartment at 3:14 a.m. EST Wednesday after a launch at 2:12 a.m. Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The station's 27th unpiloted Progress spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory almost 2.5 tons of propellant, oxygen and dry cargo.

+ Read more about the Progress docking

+ View crew timelines
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:51 AM   #51
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Station Crew Back to Work in 2008

Image Above: This illustration depicts the International Space Station's configuration as of Dec. 26, 2007. Image credit: NASA

The Expedition 16 crew is back to work after enjoying a couple of off-duty days in celebration of the New Year.

Wednesday, crew members pressurized and entered Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 (PMA-3) so they could remove a spare Bearing Motor Roll Ring Module, also known as a “broom." The spare will replace a module on the station's starboard side that experienced electrical circuit breaker trips on Dec. 8 and prompted station flight controllers to temporarily lock the 1A Beta Gimbal Assembly into place.

Each solar array wing is mounted to a Beta Gimbal Assembly that allows it to track the sun to maximize power generation.

The "broom" will be replaced during an upcoming spacewalk.

The crew also spent part of its day unloading cargo from the newly docked Progress 27 (P27) resupply ship. The P27 docked to the International Space Station on Dec. 26 bringing new supplies and Christmas gifts.
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:03 PM   #52
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A new Progress cargo carrier docked to the International Space Station's Pirs docking compartment at 3:14 a.m. EST Wednesday with almost 2.5 tons of fuel, air, water and other supplies and equipment aboard.

Image to the left: Computer-generated artist's rendering of the International Space Station as of Dec. 26, 2007. Progress 27 resupply vehicle docks to the Pirs Docking Compartment. Soyuz 15 (TMA-11) remains docked to the Zarya nadir port. Image credit: NASA

The station's 27th Progress unpiloted spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory more than 1,900 pounds of propellant, more than 100 pounds of oxygen and 2,921 pounds of dry cargo. Total cargo weight is 4,949 pounds.

P27 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 2:12 a.m. EST. It replaces the trash-filled P26 which was undocked from Pirs Friday. P26 will be deorbited for destruction on re-entry in mid-January, after conducting Earth observation experiments.

The spacecraft used the automated Kurs system to dock to the station. Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko was at the manual TORU docking system controls, should his intervention have become necessary.

Once Expedition 16 crew members, Malenchenko, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Dan Tani, have unloaded the cargo, P27 will be filled with trash and station discards. It will be undocked from the station and like its predecessor deorbited to burn in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings crew members to the station, serves as a lifeboat while they are there and returns them to Earth. The aft module, the instrumentation and propulsion module, is nearly identical.

But the second of the three Progress sections is a refueling module, and the third, uppermost as the Progress sits on the launch pad, is a cargo module. On the Soyuz, the descent module, where the crew is seated on launch and which returns them to Earth, is the middle module and the third is called the orbital module.
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:27 AM   #53
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Crew Speaks to Students, Continues Maintenance

Image Above: The Expedition 16 crew members are in the Harmony Node 2 participating in an educational event with students from Massachusetts. Image credit: NASA TV

International Space Station Expedition 16 crew members talked with students from the Robert L. Ford Explorer school in Lynn, Mass., Thursday morning. Using a space-to-ground link, students quizzed the station residents about life in space.

On the International Space Station, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Dan Tani continue unloading cargo from the docked Progress 27 unpiloted resupply ship.

The crew also is working on the removal and replacement of the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA). Located in the Destiny laboratory, the CDRA has been experiencing problems. The CDRA scrubs carbon dioxide from the station's cabin air.
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:30 PM   #54
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CDRA Reinstalled; International Science Continues on Station

Image Above: Flight Engineer Dan Tani gives himself a haircut while Commander Peggy Whitson looks on. Image credit: NASA TV

Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Dan Tani finished the removal and replacement of the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA). Filters in the CDRA were also inspected and cleaned.

Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko exercised on the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System as part of a Russian experiment. The experiment is designed to study countermeasures to disorders associated with weightlessness and microgravity. Body mass measurements of the crew were also taken for a routine Russian biomedical assessment.

Whitson also activated the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) to begin an experiment last performed during Expedition 13. The experiment, named InSPACE, studies special fluids, or “smart materials”, that may improve such things as braking systems and robotics. In the MSG, the fluids are subjected to a magnetic field and then transition to a solid-like state.
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:26 PM   #55
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Crew Observes Holiday

Image Above: Commander Peggy Whitson works with the Microgravity Science Glovebox in the Destiny lab. Image credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 16 crew enjoyed an off duty day on Monday as part of an extended holiday weekend observing the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Early Monday morning, Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko received Christmas greetings and blessings from Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexis II.

The crew members also performed routine maintenance, collected water supply readings and completed their regular physical workout program.

On Sunday, working off his “time permitting” discretionary task list, Malenchenko conducted his fifth run of the Russian ocean observations program, using a camcorder to record color contrasts on water surface and irregular cloud cover patterns in target areas.

+ View crew timelines
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:39 PM   #56
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Crew Prepares for Future Russian Spacewalks

Image Above: Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko works in the Zvezda Service Module. Image credit: NASA

On Tuesday, in preparation for future Russian spacewalks, Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko spent the day recharging Orlan spacesuit batteries. He also performed the periodic maintenance of cooling loops for the three Orlan suits currently in the Pirs docking compartment.

Malenchenko did a communications check from each suit to flight controllers at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev as well.

The Expedition 16 crew members also performed routine maintenance, collected water supply readings and completed their regular physical exercise program.
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:21 PM   #57
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Crew Busy Working with Spacesuits, Science

Image Above: Commander Peggy Whitson works in the vestibule between the Harmony node and Destiny lab. Image credit: NASA

The Expedition 16 crew members completed a busy schedule with a number of activities on Wednesday.

Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko continued his checkout of the Russian Orlan spacesuits with leak and valve checks in preparation for future Russian spacewalks.

Flight Engineer Dan Tani spent considerable time in the U.S. airlock Quest troubleshooting the audio control panel of an American spacesuit.

Tani and Commander Peggy Whitson also continued working with the InSPACE experiment which studies special fluids, or “smart materials”, that may improve such things as braking systems and robotics. In the Microgravity Science Glovebox, the fluids are subjected to a magnetic field and then transition to a solid-like state.

Later, Tani recorded a narrated station tour video for the Expedition 17 crew, providing a valuable look at the station's interior.
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:22 PM   #58
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Just a side note to everyone

Station Reboost Set for Friday

Image Above: Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Dan Tani participate in an in-flight television interview. Image credit: NASA TV

A two-minute, 18-second reboost of the station is scheduled for Friday at 7:42 p.m. EST to bring it in the correct position for the launch and docking of the Progress 28 cargo carrier in February.

On Thursday, the Expedition 16 crew members completed a full schedule of activities.

After two days of suit maintenance and refurbishment, Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko stowed the Orlan spacesuits for future Russian spacewalks.

In the Destiny lab, Commander Peggy Whitson, assisted by Flight Engineer Dan Tani, replaced the valves on the EXPRESS standardized payload rack system that is used to transport, store and support experiments aboard the station.

The crew also transferred fuel from the Progress 27 resupply craft into the Zvezda service module tanks.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:49 PM   #59
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Reboost Prepares Station for Future Arrivals

Image Above: Commander Peggy Whitson, at left, and Flight Engineer Dan Tani work in the Destiny laboratory. Image credit: NASA TV

A station reboost scheduled for the International Space Station on Friday, Jan. 11, will place the complex in the correct position for the launch and docking of the Progress 28 cargo carrier in February. The net gain in altitude is about 7 kilometers, or 4.3 statute miles, at the perigee of the station's orbit.

On Friday, the Expedition 16 crew was busy with science experimentation and station maintenance.

Commander Peggy Whitson continued working with the InSPACE experiment which studies special fluids, or “smart materials,” that may improve such things as braking systems and robotics. In the Microgravity Science Glovebox, the fluids are subjected to a magnetic field and then transition to a solid-like state.

Flight Engineer Dan Tani took air samples for the Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air (ANITA) experiment, which monitors 32 potential gaseous contaminants in the atmosphere on board the station.

Tani also cleaned the filters and the interior panel ventilation grill of the Zarya module.
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:44 PM   #60
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Station Crew Begins New Week of Science

Image Above: Commander Peggy Whitson works at the Microgravity Science Glovebox in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 16 crew aboard the International Space Station kicked off a new week of science and spacewalk preparations Monday after enjoying a light-duty weekend.

Flight Engineer Dan Tani used a scopemeter to make a detailed inspection of the replacement Bearing Motor Roll Ring Module (BMRRM) that he and Commander Peggy Whitson will install during a spacewalk set for Jan. 30. During that excursion, the spacewalkers will maneuver along the station's starboard truss to the 1A Solar Array Beta Gimbal Assembly and replace the unit that experienced multiple, simultaneous power trips on Dec. 8.

Whitson conducted another session with the Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 2 (InSPACE-2) experiment. InSPACE obtains data on fluids that change properties in response to magnetic fields that can be used to improve or develop new brake systems and robotics.

Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko installed and connected cabling for Russian radiation-monitoring hardware.

The crew members also monitored the refueling of Zarya fuel tanks from the ISS Progress 27 resupply craft.

A reboost of the International Space Station on Jan. 11 placed the complex in the correct position for the launch and docking of the ISS Progress 28 cargo carrier in February. The Zvezda service module's engines fired for nearly two minutes, raising the perigee of the station's orbit by about 6 1/2 statute miles.
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