Sunday, 30 November 2008
NASA'S SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR GLIDES HOME AFTER SUCCESSFUL MISSION
EDWARDS, Calif. -
Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew landed at 1:25 p.m. PST Sunday at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing a 16-day journey of more than 6.6 million miles.
The STS-126 mission featured important repair work and prepared the International Space Station to house six crew members on long-duration missions beginning next year. The new station equipment includes a water recovery system, additional sleeping quarters, a second toilet and an exercise device. During four spacewalks, the crew serviced the station's two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow its solar arrays to track the sun, and installed new hardware that will support future assembly missions.
Chris Ferguson commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus. Magnus remained aboard the station, replacing Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff, who returned to Earth on Endeavour after more than five months on the station.
Weather concerns prevented the crew from returning to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the primary end-of-mission landing site. In 7-10 days, Endeavour will be transported approximately 2,500 miles from California to Florida on the back of a modified 747 jumbo jet.
Once at Kennedy, Endeavour will be separated from the aircraft to begin immediate processing for its next flight, targeted for May 2009.
STS-126 was the 124th space shuttle mission, the 22nd flight for Endeavour and the 27th shuttle visit to the station.
With Endeavour and its crew safely home, the stage is set for the launch of STS-119, targeted for Feb. 12, 2009. Discovery will deliver the final pair of U.S. solar arrays, which will be installed on the starboard end of the station's truss. The truss serves as the backbone support for external equipment and spare components.
Lee Archambault will command the 14-day flight that will include four planned spacewalks. Joining him will be Pilot Tony Antonelli, Mission Specialists John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will replace Magnus on the station as a flight engineer.
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
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Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR SET TO LAND SUNDAY
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The space shuttle Endeavour crew is expected to complete its mission to the International Space Station with a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:19 p.m. EST on Sunday, Nov. 30. This will conclude a 16-day flight, 11 of which were spent docked to the station.
The STS-126 mission began Nov. 14 and prepared the space station to house six crew members for long-duration missions. The new station cargo includes a water recovery system, additional sleeping quarters, a second toilet and a resistance exercise device. During four spacewalks, the crew serviced the station's two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow its solar arrays to track the sun, and installed new equipment in support of future assembly missions. The flight also delivered station resident Sandra Magnus to the outpost. Greg Chamitoff will return to Earth aboard Endeavour after spending more than five months aboard the complex.
The entry flight control team in Mission Control, Houston, will evaluate weather conditions at Kennedy before permitting Endeavour to return to Earth. Sunday landing opportunities at Kennedy are at 1:19 p.m. and 2:54 p.m.
The secondary landing site at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., will be activated Sunday for consideration as well. The opportunities at Edwards are 4:24 p.m. and 5:59 p.m.
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Friday, 28 November 2008
Mercury 8 - 'Sigma 7'
STS-126 MCC Status Report #21
As the STS-126 and International Space Station Expedition 18 crews readied for the fourth and final spacewalk of the mission, NASA managers decided to extend Endeavour’s stay by one day with landing now scheduled for 12:18 p.m. CST Sunday. The extra day was approved in order to provide the crews as much extra time as possible for any continued troubleshooting on the new Water Recovery System.
Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke continued work on the Urine Processor Assembly’s (UPA) distillation hardware. He installed two more bolts to hard-mount the distiller assembly section of the UPA in place, which may further reduce vibrations that engineers believe are causing the UPA to prematurely shut down. Once complete, they added stored urine to the UPA and started another processing cycle at 7:06 p.m. CST.
Engineers hope the maintenance performed will enable the UPA to run for its full four-hour processing time. The astronauts also set up a wireless instrumentation system to track vibrations of the UPA. Meanwhile, outside the orbiting complex, astronauts Steve Bowen and Shane Kimbrough wrapped up the final spacewalk of the mission. The spacewalk began at 12:24 p.m. CST and lasted six hours, seven minutes, ending at 6:31 p.m. CST. The first priority was to complete all the remaining tasks associated with lubrication of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joints as well as other station assembly tasks. Thin lines of lubricant were observed on the port SARJ race ring with some minor wear where the trundle bearing assemblies are riding. Additional lubrication was added as a preventive measure against further degradation despite the unit working normally. Bowen returned to the starboard SARJ to install the final trundle bearing assembly. All 12 now have been replaced.
At approximately 4:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, the ground team plans to initiate an auto track of the newly cleaned and lubricated starboard SARJ to assess the performance and overall health. Bowen retracted a berthing mechanism latch on the Japanese Kibo Laboratory and reinstalled its thermal cover. He also installed a video camera on the Port 1 truss and attached a Global Positioning System antenna on the Japanese Experiment Module Pressurized Section.
Astronaut Steve Bowen, STS-126 mission specialist, participates in the mission's fourth and final scheduled session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. During the six-hour, seven-minute spacewalk, Bowen and astronaut Shane Kimbrough (out of frame), mission specialist, completed the lubrication of the port Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJ) as well as other station assembly tasks. Bowen returned to the starboard SARJ to install the final trundle bearing assembly, retracted a berthing mechanism latch on the Japanese Kibo Laboratory and reinstalled its thermal cover. Bowen also installed a video camera on the Port 1 truss and attached a Global Positioning System antenna on the Japanese Experiment Module Pressurized Section.
The fourth spacewalk by Endeavour astronauts outside the International Space Station will be the focus of today’s activities in space. Engineers continue to explore options for the off-and-on Urine Processor Assembly (UPA). It ran for almost three hours and processed about a gallon of liquid Sunday, after modifications by Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke and Endeavour Mission Specialist Don Pettit, before shutting down.
Monday, 24 November 2008
Details now confirmed. Information provided here as a courtesy. For up to the minute news/information on the event be sure to visit Andy Green at the official website.
February 6th, 2009
AN EVENING WITH: APOLLO 16 LUNAR MODULE PILOT
10th MAN TO WALK ON THE MOON
GENERAL CHARLES MOSS DUKE
Apollo 16, April 16th - April 27th 1972 was the fifth manned lunar landing mission. The crew consisted of John W Young as spacecraft commander, Ken Mattingly as command module pilot, and Charles M Duke as lunar module pilot.
Apollo 16 was the first scientific expedition to inspect, survey, and sample materials and surface features in the Descartes region of the rugged lunar highlands. Duke commenced a record setting lunar surface stay of 71 hours and 14 minutes. Lunar Module Orion landed on the rough Cayley Plains. In three subsequent excursions onto the moon's surface, Duke logged 20 hours and 15 minutes of lunar EVA time involving the emplacement and activation of scientific equipment and experiments, the collection of nearly (96kg) of rock and soil samples, and the evaluation and use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle over the roughest and blockiest surface yet encountered on the moon.
This is your opportunity to meet one of only 12 men who have walked on the moon
We look forward to your company at:
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Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-126 MCC Status Report #18
Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke will continue work Sunday on a system in the International Space Station's Destiny lab that converts urine and condensate into potable water. Endeavour and station crew members also will transfer equipment and supplies between the station and the shuttle and prepare for Monday’s final planned spacewalk.
Endeavour crew members, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff, and the Expedition 18 crew, Fincke and flight engineers Yury Lonchakov and Sandra Magnus, got their wakeup music at 8:05 a.m. CST. The music was “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” performed by Frankie Valli. It was for Ferguson. It was his 23rd wedding anniversary.
Endeavour crew members will have as much as four hours of free time beginning a little after 11 a.m. Fincke is scheduled to spend some of that time on the Urine Processer Assembly. The UPA is part of the Water Recovery System, which recycles condensate and urine. The UPA has experienced several shutdowns during testing. Engineers believe vibration caused physical interference with the UPA’s centrifuge, resulting in increased current draw and temperatures and causing the shutdowns. They believe Fincke can fix the problem.
Transfer activities continue to go well, with crew members a little ahead of schedule. At 3:05 p.m. Ferguson, Boe, Fincke and Magnus will gather in the station’s Harmony node to talk with media representatives. They’ll take questions from ABC News, CBS News and NBC News. Today’s spacewalk preparations include tool assembly, an hour-long spacewalk procedures review and the beginning of the campout in the Quest airlock for the spacewalkers.
Bowen and Kimbrough are scheduled to leave the station’s Quest airlock at 12:45 p.m. Monday on the mission’s fourth spacewalk. During Monday's spacewalk, Bowen and Kimbrough will install a multi-layer insulation blanket from the station's Kibo module and complete other maintenance tasks. Bowen will install a final trundle bearing assembly on the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) on the right side of the station while Kimbrough lubricates the SARJ on the left side.
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STS-126 MCC Status Report #16
The third spacewalk by Endeavour astronauts outside the International Space Station will be the focus of today’s activities aboard the two spacecraft.
Endeavour crew members Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff were awakened at 7:55 a.m. CST. The song was “You Are Here,” by the group Dutton. It was played for Kimbrough. Spacewalkers Piper and Bowen are scheduled to leave the station’s Quest airlock at 12:45 p.m. Piper, the lead spacewalker, will wear the red-striped suit while Bowen will be in the all-white suit.
Their work will be further cleaning and lubrication of the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) and replacement of some of more its bearing assemblies. The joint has seen limited use since September 2007 when flight controllers saw increased power consumption and vibration as it moved the 240-foot solar wings like a paddlewheel to follow the sun. Much of the work on all four spacewalks during Endeavour’s stay at the station involves the starboard SARJ.
The port SARJ, which continues to function well, will get a precautionary lubrication on the Monday spacewalk. Kimbrough, who participated in the Thursday spacewalk, will be today's intravehicular officer, or spacewalk choreographer. The spacewalk is planned for about seven hours. Just about every day Endeavour is at the station is moving day.
Crew members of both spacecraft, including Expedition 18 commander Mike Fincke and flight engineers Yury Lonchakov and Sandy Magnus, will continue moving supplies and equipment between Endeavour and the International Space Station and work on station equipment. Work continues to check out the Water Recovery System and its Urine Processor Assembly.
The UPA was activated again overnight to gather more information on why it had shut down on previous tests. One theory is that its centrifuge might as it rotates be touching another structure.
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STS-126 Status Report #17
Astronauts Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen today completed the third spacewalk of Endeavour’s mission to the International Space Station. The spacewalk began at 12:01 p.m. CST and ended at 6:58 p.m. for a total time of six hours and 57 minutes. Piper and Bowen focused their efforts on the continued cleaning of the station’s starboard solar alpha rotary joint (SARJ) and the removal and replacement of the remaining trundle bearing assemblies (TBA).
Today, Piper replaced three TBAs and Bowen replaced two. Five have been replaced during the mission’s prior two spacewalks, and one was replaced on the STS-124 mission this past summer. The two astronauts also cleaned the area around the SARJ’s drive lock assemblies, which help the joint to rotate and lock into place.
A final trundle bearing assembly replacement will take place during the fourth and final spacewalk of the flight, which is scheduled for Monday. That spacewalk, which will be conducted by Shane Kimbrough and Bowen, will focus on the lubrication and servicing of the port SARJ. Work continued inside the station on the transfer of cargo and supplies from the Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM).
The station and shuttle crews also worked on setting up the station’s new Water Recovery System (WRS), with Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Sandy Magnus working on taking the first samples from the Water Processor Assembly (WPA). Ground controllers in Houston continue to examine data from the Urine Processor Assembly, which is also part of the WRS, to determine why it continues to experience errors. Engineers are exploring the possibility that there is a sensor touching part of the system’s centrifuge as it rotates, which might be causing it to slow down.
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Saturday, 22 November 2008
STS-126 Status Report #15
The space shuttle and International Space Station crews were hard at work transferring, assembling and testing hardware at the station today. Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus tested latches on the Exposed Facility Berthing Mechanism for the Japanese Kibo laboratory. The mechanism will be used to install an exterior science platform from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency during a shuttle flight next year.
Magnus continued on with installation of a component for the regenerative life support system. The Total Organic Carbon Analyzer will be used to test samples that come from the new Water Recovery System. Engineers are continuing to assess indications from sensors within the Water Recovery System that caused the Urine Processor Assembly to shut down during initial test operations Thursday and again Friday morning. The system uses a rotating distillation process to separate out water from urine for further treatment.
Sensors associated with the motor of the centrifuge within the processor showed the speed of the motor slowing and that the power the motor was using changed. Space shuttle Commander Chris Ferguson and Pilot Eric Boe used Endeavour’s reaction control system jets to boost the station’s altitude by about one nautical mile. The new position sets up for docking of the next Progress cargo craft at the end of November.
Crew members also got ready for another spacewalk by assembling tools, reviewing procedures and beginning the campout in the Quest airlock for the spacewalkers. Saturday’s spacewalkers Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen are scheduled to leave the station’s Quest airlock at 12:45 p.m. on the mission’s third spacewalk. They will clean and lubricate the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint and replace some of its bearing assemblies. Yesterday’s spacewalkers Piper and Shane Kimbrough assembled a camera that will be installed on the outside of the station during the fourth spacewalk by Kimbrough and Bowen. It will be placed on the station’s port one truss segment to assist with views during the future docking of a Japanese H-IIA Transfer Vehicle.
Today the crews also continued transferring material between the station and the shuttle, participated in a news conference and had some off-duty time. Endeavour’s crew is scheduled to go to bed at 11:55 p.m. today and be awakened at 7:55 a.m. Saturday. The next shuttle status report will be issued after the crew is awakened, or earlier if events warrant.
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Expedition 18 Crew Portraits
STS-126 Crew Portrait
STS-126 Status Report #14
After completing a spacewalk Thursday Endeavour and International Space Station crew members will work today on getting ready for another spacewalk Saturday, transferring material between the station and the shuttle and other tasks.
Endeavour crew members, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff, and the station crew, Commander Mike Fincke and flight engineers Yury Lonchakov and Sandra Magnus, were awakened at 8:05 a.m. CST. The music was for Piper. The song was in the Ukrainian language, which she learned as a child. It was “Unharness Your Horses, Boys,” a traditional song about Cossacks performed by The Ukrainians.
In addition to moving equipment and supplies, today’s schedule includes a reboost of the station by Endeavour, a news conference with shuttle and station crew members, some off-duty time for all crew members and preparations for Saturday’s spacewalk. The reboost is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. Plans call for Endeavour to add about three feet per second to the station’s velocity.
At 2:05 p.m. all 10 crew members will gather in the Harmony node of the station for the 40-minute joint news conference. They will field questions from journalists at participating NASA centers.
Crew members will have an hour for the mid-day meal. Just afterward they will have an hour of free time, beginning at 4:05 p.m. Today’s spacewalk preparations will include tool assembly, a spacewalk procedures review and the beginning of the campout in the Quest airlock for the spacewalkers. Spacewalkers Piper and Bowen are scheduled to leave the station’s Quest airlock at 12:45 p.m. Saturday on the mission’s third spacewalk. They will clean and lubricate the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint and replace some of its bearing assemblies.
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Expedition 18 Crew Portraits
STS-126 Crew Portrait
Friday, 21 November 2008
NASA Assigns Space Station Crews, Updates Expedition Numbering
HOUSTON -- NASA and its international partners have assigned the International Space Station's crew members through 2010. The numbering sequence of expeditions was modified to reflect the start of six-person crews. The update to the expedition numbering begins with the docking of a Soyuz spacecraft in May 2009. That Soyuz will mark the beginning of six-person crew operations. From that point forward, expeditions will end with the undocking of a Soyuz.
The expedition number will change every two to four months as new crew members arrive and depart. The arrangement emphasizes that every six-person crew living on the station is a cohesive team. A crew member typically will stay about six months and be part of two expeditions. In addition to the Russian Soyuz, the space shuttle will continue to provide transportation for station crew members through mission STS-129, targeted for the fall of 2009.
With the departure of a Soyuz, command of the station will be handed over to a crew member remaining aboard, and the next expedition will begin. Specific backup crew members will not be announced because of the streamlined training flow for six-person crews. If needed, backups can be selected from subsequent crews in training.
The groups of assigned crew members, beginning with the first six-person crew and including newly announced crew members, are outlined below by expedition. An asterisk indicates the crew member was previously announced.
Expedition 20 begins with the Soyuz 19 docking and the arrival of three new crew members in May 2009. - Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, International Space Station commander, who will launch in March 2009 on Soyuz 18 and return in October 2009 on Soyuz 18.* - NASA astronaut Michael R. Barratt, who will launch in March 2009 on Soyuz 18 and return in October 2009 on Soyuz 18.* - NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, who will launch on STS-127 and return on STS-128.* - Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, who will launch in May 2009 on Soyuz 19 and return in November 2009 on Soyuz 19. - European Space Agency, or ESA, astronaut Frank De Winne, who will launch in May 2009 on Soyuz 19 and return in November 2009 on Soyuz 19* - Canadian Space Agency, or CSA, astronaut Robert Thirsk, who will launch in May 2009 on Soyuz 19 and return on STS-129.* - NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, who will launch on STS-128 and return in November 2009 on Soyuz 19.*
Expedition 21 begins with the Soyuz 18 undocking in October 2009. Two new crew members will arrive on Soyuz 20 for the handover before the previous crew departs. - ESA astronaut Frank De Winne, the first European station commander - CSA astronaut Robert Thirsk - Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko - NASA astronaut Nicole Stott - Russian Cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, who will launch in September 2009 on Soyuz 20 and return in March 2010 on Soyuz 20 - NASA astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, who will launch in September 2009 on Soyuz 20 and return in March 2010 on Soyuz 20.
Expedition 22 begins with the Soyuz 19 undocking in November 2009. Three new crew members will arrive shortly thereafter on Soyuz 21. - NASA astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, station commander - Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev - Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, who will launch in December 2009 on Soyuz 21 and return in May 2010 on Soyuz 21. - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who will launch in December 2009 on Soyuz 21 and return in May 2010 on Soyuz 21.* - NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, who will launch in December 2009 on Soyuz 21 and return in May 2010 on Soyuz 21.*
Expedition 23 begins with the Soyuz 20 undocking in March 2010. Three new crew members will arrive shortly thereafter on Soyuz 22. - Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, station commander - JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi - NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer - Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri, who will launch in April 2010 on Soyuz 22 and return in September 2010 on Soyuz 22. - Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, who will launch in April 2010 on Soyuz 22 and return in September 2010 on Soyuz 22. - NASA astronaut Tracy E. Caldwell, who will launch in April 2010 on Soyuz 22 and return in September 2010 on Soyuz 22.
Expedition 24 begins with the Soyuz 21 undocking in May 2010. Three new crew members will arrive shortly thereafter on Soyuz 23. - Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri, station commander - Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko - NASA astronaut Tracy E. Caldwell - Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, who will launch in May 2010 on Soyuz 23 and return in November 2010 on Soyuz 23. - NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, who will launch in May 2010 on Soyuz 23 and return November 2010 on Soyuz 23. - NASA astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock, who will launch in May 2010 on Soyuz 23 and return in November 2010 on Soyuz 23.
Expedition 25 begins with the Soyuz 22 undocking in September 2010. Three new crew members will arrive shortly thereafter on Soyuz 24. - NASA astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock, station commander - Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov - NASA astronaut Shannon Walker - Russian cosmonaut Dmitri Kondratyev, who will launch in September 2010 on Soyuz 24 and return in March 2011 on Soyuz 24. - Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, who will launch in September 2010 on Soyuz 24 and return in March 2011 on Soyuz 24. - NASA astronaut Scott J. Kelly, who will launch in September 2010 on Soyuz 24 and return in March 2011 on Soyuz 24.
Expedition 26 begins with the Soyuz 23 undocking in November 2010. Three crew members will arrive shortly thereafter on Soyuz 25. - NASA astronaut Scott J. Kelly, station commander - Russian cosmonaut Dmitri Kondratyev - Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka - Russian cosmonaut Andrey Borisienko, who will launch in November 2010 on Soyuz 25 and return in May 2011 on Soyuz 25. - NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, who will launch in November 2010 on Soyuz 25 and return in May 2011 on Soyuz 25. - ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who will launch in November 2010 on Soyuz 25 and return in May 2011 on Soyuz 25.
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STS-126 MCC Status Report #13
Two down, two to go. Building on Tuesday’s spacewalk experience, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Shane Kimbrough headed out of the International Space Station’s Quest Airlock at 11:58 a.m. CST to continue the process of removing debris around the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) and applying lubrication in an effort to eventually restore it to full functionality. The EVA ended at 6:43 p.m. for a total time of six hours and 45 minutes.
As the spacewalkers were finishing up their activities, ground controllers noticed that Kimbrough’s carbon dioxide levels were increasing, so he made his way back to the airlock a few minutes ahead of Piper. Piper and Kimbrough began the second spacewalk by relocating two equipment carts in preparation for February’s installation of the final pair of solar arrays. Once that task was completed, the two applied lubrication to a balky snare on the end of the station’s robotic arm before concentrating on repair of the rotary joint designed to automatically track the sun as the station circles the Earth.
The balance of the spacewalk was focused on replacing four more of the 12 trundle bearing assemblies (TBA). One of them was over-torqued during installation, so Piper installed one of the two back-up TBAs instead. The 116th spacewalk dedicated to station assembly and maintenance was the second of the four planned during space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-126 mission. It set the stage for Saturday’s third excursion to complete the cleaning and lubricating process. Station flight controllers plan to briefly test the repair early Sunday morning by commanding the solar array into “auto track” mode to evaluate its performance.
On the 10th anniversary since station construction began with launch of the Zarya Control Module atop a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the station worked inside and outside to increase the capability and performance of systems to eventually support doubling the crew size from three to six. Friday at 11:10 a.m., shuttle Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and Flight Engineer Steve Bowen will oversee a small reboost of the station’s altitude using spare propellant aboard Endeavour.
At 2:05 p.m., both the crews will hold their traditional news conference before reviewing procedures for the third spacewalk scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
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The second spacewalk by Endeavour astronauts outside the International Space Station will be the focus of today’s activities aboard the two spacecraft. Endeavour crew members, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff, were awakened at 7:55 a.m. CST.
The song was “Summertime,” played for Pettit. It was recorded by Bandella. Members of that group include singer Michi Pettit, Don Pettit’s wife, and astronauts Steve Robinson, Chris Hadfield and Cady Coleman. Spacewalkers Piper and Kimbrough are scheduled to leave the station’s Quest airlock at 12:45 p.m. CST. Piper will wear the red-striped suit while Kimbrough will be in the suit with broken red stripes.
Spacewalk tasks include moving two of the small handcarts on the rails of the station’s main truss and lubricating the Latching End Effector (LEE) of the orbiting laboratory’s robotic Canadarm2. Much of the spacewalkers' time will be devoted to the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint on the right side of the station’s main truss. They will continue cleaning and lubricating bearing race rings and the replacement of the joint’s trundle bearing assemblies. The use of the joint has been limited since September 2007 when flight controllers noticed increased power consumption and vibration. The handcarts will be moved to clear the tracks for future work.
The LEE lubrication is being done after the snares showed some balkiness on opening and closing. Boe will be the intravehicular officer or spacewalk choreographer, while Pettit and Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus will operate Canadarm2. Moving of supplies and equipment between Endeavour and the International Space Station and installation in the station of equipment are on today’s agenda for the 10 members of the spacecraft’s crews. All the racks brought to the station in the Multi-purpose Logistics
Module Leonardo have been installed in the station, though a considerable amount of equipment and supplies remains to be transferred. Endeavour’s crew is scheduled to go to bed at 11:55 p.m. today and be awakened at 7:55 a.m. Friday. The next shuttle status report will be issued at the end of the crew day, or earlier if events warrant.
Home improvements continued aboard the International Space Station with installation of two new bedrooms and preparations to activate a water recycling facility. Station flight engineer Sandra Magnus and her predecessor Greg Chamitoff moved the port and starboard crew quarters to the station and installed them in the Harmony node. They also installed a rack with equipment for return to Earth inside the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module.
Other crew members also continued moving equipment and supplies between the two spacecraft. Transfer of all of the phone-booth-sized racks planned for this mission has been completed. Transfer work overall is about twenty five percent complete. Former Expedition 6 station resident, Endeavour mission specialist Don Pettit and Expedition 18 station commander Mike Fincke spent a bulk of the day configuring hardware on the new Water Recovery System.
The facility will treat wastewater and provide recycled water clean enough to drink. The system will be activated for initial checkouts tonight. It will take about two days of initial operations before the first sample of water processed from urine is available for testing. Later today, the crew members will prepare for the second of four spacewalks by gathering tools and reviewing procedures. Subsequently, spacewalkers Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Shane Kimbrough will begin the standard pre-spacewalk campout in the station’s Quest airlock.
The campout will begin at 10:20 p.m. Piper and Kimbrough will be in Quest overnight, with its pressure at 10.2 psi compared to the station’s 14.7 psi, to reduce their systems’ nitrogen content. That is to avoid the possibility of decompression sickness. Endeavour’s crew is scheduled to go to bed at 11:55 p.m. today and be awakened at 7:55 a.m. Thursday. The spacewalk is set to start at 12:45 p.m. Thursday.
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Moving of supplies and equipment between Endeavour and the International Space Station and installation in the station of equipment are on today’s agenda for the 10 members of the spacecraft’s crews. They also will begin preparations for the second of four mission spacewalks, this one to start at 12:45 p.m. CST Thursday.
The preparations include a spacewalk procedure review for shuttle astronauts and station Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus. Subsequently spacewalkers Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Shane Kimbrough will begin the standard pre-spacewalk campout in the station’s Quest airlock. Endeavour crew members, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Piper, Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff, were awakened at 7:55 a.m. CST. The song was “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copeland. It was played for Boe.
The Waste and Hygiene Rack, which includes a new toilet, was moved into the station Tuesday and installed in the U.S. laboratory Destiny. To be moved to the station today and installed in the Harmony node are the port and starboard crew quarters. That job will be handled by Chamitoff and Magnus. The Multi-purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Leonardo will be on the receiving end for some of the equipment moved.
A resupply stowage rack is scheduled to be moved from the Harmony node to the MPLM by Chamitoff and Magnus after the crew quarters installation. The campout by spacewalkers Piper and Kimbrough is to begin at 10:20 p.m., immediately after the procedure review. They will be in Quest overnight, with its pressure at 10.2 psi compared to the station’s 14.7 psi, to reduce their systems’ nitrogen content. That is to avoid the possibility of decompression sickness.
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Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Astronauts Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen completed the first of four spacewalks scheduled for Endeavour’s mission to the International Space Station today. The spacewalk was the 115th in support of ISS construction. Piper and Bowen began the spacewalk at 12:09 p.m. CST and ended it at 7:01 p.m.
They spent six hours and 52 minutes outside the station working on several tasks, including removing a depleted nitrogen tank from a stowage platform on the outside of the complex and moving it into Endeavour’s cargo bay. They also moved a flex hose rotary coupler from the shuttle to the station stowage platform, as well as removing some insulation blankets from the common berthing mechanism on the Kibo laboratory.
The majority of the spacewalk was spent focusing on one of the station’s Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJ). These joints are the large, circular devices that allow the complex’s solar arrays to automatically rotate and track the sun as the station orbits the Earth. Piper and Bowen worked to clean and lubricate part of the joint and to remove two of the joint’s 12 trundle bearing assemblies.
This work will continue during the rest of the mission’s scheduled spacewalks. About halfway into the spacewalk, one of the grease guns that Piper was preparing to use on the SARJ released some Braycote grease into her crew lock bag, which is the tool bag the spacewalkers use during their activities. As she was cleaning the inside of the bag, it drifted away from her and toward the aft and starboard portion of the International Space Station. Inside the bag were two grease guns, scrapers, several wipes and tethers and some tool caddies. Piper and Bowen spent the remainder of the spacewalk sharing a duplicate set of tools from the other crew lock bag they had with them.
The next spacewalk of the mission will take place on Thursday, which will be the 10th anniversary of the launch of the first element of the station, the Zarya module. Inside the station, Endeavour’s crew and the Expedition 18 crew worked to continue moving items out of the Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM) that was docked with the station yesterday.
The crew is ahead of its transfer timeline and focused on moving two water recovery system (WRS) racks and one of the new sleep stations into the ISS. The transfer tasks will continue on throughout Endeavour’s visit to the station, when the MPLM will be undocked and placed back into Endeavour’s payload bay for return to Earth.
STS-126 Crew Portrait
The first of four spacewalks scheduled for Endeavour crew members at the International Space Station will highlight today’s activities in orbit. Much of the work by Endeavour crew members, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff, will involve the spacewalk and transfer of equipment and supplies between the station and Endeavour.
The crew got its wakeup call at 7:55 a.m. CST. The song was “City of Blinding Lights,” by U2. It was played for Kimbrough. Piper, in a red-striped suit, and Bowen, in the all-white suit, will leave the Quest airlock at 12:45 p.m. for the 6.5-hour spacewalk. Their tasks, like most of those on the remaining three spacewalks, will focus on the station’s Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJ). The joints are designed to rotate the station’s 240-foot solar arrays, to keep them facing the sun for maximum production of electricity.
Last year flight controllers noted an increase in power consumption by the starboard SARJ, and it has seen limited use. The port SARJ is working fine, but it will be lubricated during the fourth spacewalk. Today’s spacewalkers also will take a depleted nitrogen tank from a station stowage platform to Endeavour’s cargo bay and move a flex hose rotary coupler from the shuttle to that station stowage platform. Additionally, they will remove an insulation blanket on the Japanese laboratory Kibo. Kimbrough, who will participate in the second and fourth spacewalks, will be today’s intravehicular officer, the spacewalk choreographer.
Pettit and Expedition 18’s Sandra Magnus will operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm during the spacewalk, while Boe also will provide support. Chamitoff and Ferguson will help with spacewalk preparations in the airlock, where the spacewalkers spent the night in lower air pressure to remove nitrogen from their systems. Station Commander Mike Fincke and others also will transfer cargo.
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Tuesday, 18 November 2008
J.D. Harrington NASA Headquarters
The joint Space Shuttle Endeavour and International Space Station crews today took the first step toward updating the complex’s interior by installing a packed logistics module on a docking port. The Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM) – stuffed with additional sleeping stations, new exercise equipment, a water regeneration system, experiments and hardware – was carefully moved from Endeavour’s payload bay to the station in preparation for unloading for the next several days.
Following Sunday’s arrival and orientation, the crews got down to business with swapping Sandra Magnus for Greg Chamitoff who spent 167 days on the station as an Expedition crewmember. Magnus replaces Chamitoff as a Flight Engineer until her return trip home arrives in February 2009. While Magnus and Chamitoff conducted specific handover activities, the remaining crewmembers focused on moving Leonardo to its temporary location on the station where more than 14,000 pounds of hardware and supplies will be unloaded into the station making room for stowage to be returned to Earth.
The hatch was opened to begin that transfer work at 5:43 p.m. Monday. While the crew worked, imagery experts on the ground poured over images taken by the crew of Endeavour’s thermal protection system. Late Monday, the crew was informed that there was no need for additional inspection Wednesday allowing planners to fill that time with transfer and new equipment activation.
Late Monday night, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen prepared for the first of four spacewalks planned during the mission. They are following a proven protocol known as the “campout” to spend the night in the Quest airlock to lessen the preparatory time before beginning the spacewalk scheduled for 12:45 p.m.
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HOUSTON -- Nations around the world will join together to mark a milestone in space exploration this week, celebrating the 10th birthday of a unique research laboratory, the International Space Station. Now the largest spacecraft ever built, the orbital assembly of the space station began with the launch from Kazakhstan of its first bus-sized component, Zarya, on Nov. 20, 1998.
The launch began an international construction project of unprecedented complexity and sophistication. The station is a venture of international cooperation among NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, and 11 members of the European Space Agency, or ESA: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
More than 100,000 people in space agencies and contractor facilities in 37 U.S. states and throughout the world are involved in this endeavor. "The station's capability and sheer size today are truly amazing," said International Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini. "The tremendous technological achievement in orbit is matched only by the cooperation and perseverance of its partners on the ground. We have overcome differences in language, geography and engineering philosophies to succeed." Only a few weeks after the U.S.-funded, Russian-built, Zarya module was launched from Kazakhstan, the space shuttle carried aloft the Unity connector module in December 1998.
Constructed on opposite sides of Earth, Unity and Zarya met for the first time in space and were joined to begin the orbital station's assembly and a decade of peaceful cooperation. Ten years later, the station's mass has expanded to more than 627,000 pounds, and its interior volume is more than 25,000 cubic feet, comparable to the size of a five-bedroom house. Since Zarya's launch as the early command, control and power module, there have been 29 additional construction flights to the station: 27 aboard the space shuttle and two additional Russian launches.
One hundred sixty seven individuals representing 14 countries have visited the complex. Crews have eaten some 19,000 meals aboard the station since the first crew took up residence in 2000. Through the course of 114 spacewalks and unmatched robotic construction in space, the station's truss structure has grown to 291 feet long so far. Its solar arrays now span to 28,800 square feet, large enough to cover six basketball courts.
The International Space Station hosts 19 research facilities, including nine sponsored by NASA, eight by ESA and two by JAXA. Cooperation among international teams of humans and robots is expected to become a mainstay of space exploration throughout our solar system. The 2005 NASA Authorization Act recognized the U.S. orbital segment as the first national laboratory beyond Earth, opening it for additional research by other government agencies, academia and the private sector. "With the International Space Station, we have learned so many things -- and we're going to take that knowledge and apply it to flying to the moon and Mars," said Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke, now aboard the station. "Everything we're learning so close to home, only 240 miles away from the planet, we can apply to the moon 240,000 miles away."
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With a new crew member aboard each spacecraft, the space shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station have begun their first full day of docked operations. Endeavour docked with the station a little after 4 p.m. CST Sunday. Less than five hours later, at 8:50 p.m., Sandra Magnus’ custom seat liner was installed in the Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station. At that time Greg Chamitoff officially became a member of Endeavour’s crew. He will return to Earth on the shuttle after about six months in space, most of it as a station flight engineer.
Endeavour crew members, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Chamitoff, were awakened at 8:35 a.m. CST for a day that will see the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo attached to the Earth-facing port of the space station’s Harmony node. The wakeup music was “London Calling,” performed by The Clash. It was played for Bowen.
Leonardo and its seven-ton-plus cargo will be grappled by the station’s Canadarm2 at about 10:25 a.m. to begin the installation process. Leonardo’s cargo will help prepare the station for a six-member crew. Scheduled next year, that will enable more science to be performed aboard the orbiting laboratory. Also on today’s schedule is transfer of material between Endeavour and the station and preparation for the first of the mission’s four spacewalks. Piper and Bowen will camp out in the Quest airlock under reduced pressure beginning at the end of the crew day to prepare for the spacewalk scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.
There was good news sent up to the crews late Sunday. After examining results of Endeavour’s thermal protection system survey, engineers decided that no focused inspection of the shuttle right wing would be required today. The crew is scheduled to go to bed at 11:55 p.m. Monday and be awakened at 7:55 a.m. Tuesday. The next shuttle status report will be issued at the end of the crew day, or earlier if events warrant.
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida welcomed the arrival Nov. 10 of important hardware for the Ares I-X rocket's upcoming test flight. Called the forward skirt, the component is part of the rocket's first stage. The Ares I-X launch will be the first test flight for NASA's next crew launch vehicle.
The launch is targeted for July 2009 from Kennedy and will provide an early opportunity to test and prove hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I rocket. The forward skirt began its trip Nov. 7 from Major Tool & Machine Inc. of Indiana, a subcontractor to Alliant Techsystems Inc., or ATK, of Utah. ATK is the prime contractor for the first stage of the Ares I rocket.
The rocket's first stage provides the primary propulsion -- 2.6 million pounds of thrust -- for the vehicle from liftoff to stage separation, which occurs 120 seconds into the flight. Part of the first stage, the nearly 14,000-pound forward skirt is constructed entirely of armored steel and stands seven feet tall and 12 1/4 feet wide. The main deceleration parachutes that slow the return of the rocket's boosters to Earth after launch are attached to this hardware. The forward skirt was designed as an empty, buoyant space to be used as ballast, keeping the first stage afloat for recovery. "We could not be more pleased that the vehicle first stage hardware is beginning to arrive," said Pepper Phillips, director of the Constellation Project Office at Kennedy. "This is one of many major milestones and is a testament to the tremendous NASA and contractor team working together to ensure a successful test flight for the new program."
The upper stage simulator was the first major piece of the Ares I-X rocket to arrive at Kennedy on Nov. 4. During the next few months, all of the additional hardware needed to complete the test vehicle will be delivered to Kennedy, beginning with a piece that simulates a fifth segment for the four-segment solid rocket booster and concluding with delivery of the complete motor set in January 2009. United Space Alliance of Florida, under a subcontract to ATK, will complete the integration and assembly of the forward skirt in Kennedy's Assembly and Refurbishment Facility. The hardware then will be moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking operations in high bay 3 during the spring of 2009.
"The forward skirt has 12 parachute brackets, with each bracket restraining two parachute spools," said Bob Herman, ATK's Florida site director. "For the Ares I-X launch, six of these spools will be used to measure parachute loads passed on to the forward skirt. ATK is proud to play a critical role in helping NASA achieve its vision to return to the moon." The rocket's deceleration subsystem includes the pilot, drogue and main parachutes. The pilot parachute is deployed at an altitude of 16,210 feet and pulls out the drogue parachute. When the drogue parachute opens, it slows the vehicle and orients it to descend tail first. The main parachutes are deployed as the forward skirt extension separates from the forward skirt. They are used to slow the final decent of the first stage to 48 mph, allowing a safe impact with the water.
The Ares I-X rocket is a combination of existing and simulator hardware that will resemble the Ares I crew launch vehicle in size, shape and weight. It will provide valuable data to guide the final design of the Ares I, which will launch astronauts in the Orion crew exploration vehicle.
The test flight also will bring NASA one step closer to its exploration goals of returning humans to the moon for sustained exploration of the lunar surface and missions to destinations beyond. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the first stage for the Ares I-X project, which is located at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
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NASA's Shuttle Endeavour Launches On Home Improvement Mission
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Endeavour and its seven-member crew lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 7:55 p.m. EST Friday to repair and remodel the International Space Station. Endeavour's STS-126 mission will carry to space about 32,000 pounds, which includes supplies and equipment necessary to double the crew size from three to six members in spring 2009. The new station cargo includes additional sleeping quarters, a second toilet, a water reclamation system and a resistance exercise device. The mission's four planned spacewalks primarily will focus on servicing the station's two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow the outpost's solar arrays to track the sun.
The starboard SARJ has had limited use since September 2007. Shortly before launch, Commander Chris Ferguson thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible. "It's our turn to take home improvement to a new level after 10 years of International Space Station construction," he said. "Endeavour is good to go." Joining Ferguson on Endeavour's 15-day flight are Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus. Magnus will replace current station crew member Greg Chamitoff, who has lived on the outpost since June. She will return to Earth on Discovery's STS-119 mission, targeted for February 2009. NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of Endeavour's mission, which is the 124th shuttle flight, the 22nd for Endeavour and the 27th shuttle mission to the station.
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Wednesday, 12 November 2008
The flight of space shuttle Endeavour includes several significant steps to install new crew equipment inside the International Space Station and service the solar array joints of the laboratory. During STS-126, the crew of space shuttle Endeavour and the space station will:-- Exchange crew members.
Sandra Magnus will swap places with current station resident Greg Chamitoff.-- Conduct four spacewalks. Working in teams of two, astronauts will emerge from the space station’s Quest airlock and work on the two large joints that turn the station’s massive solar array “wings.” They are to service the starboard side joint and perform preventative maintenance on the port side joint.-- Install new crew quarters, a galley, waste water recycling system and oxygen generator inside the space station.
The equipment has been packed inside refrigerator-sized racks that require forklifts to lift them on Earth. But in space, a single astronaut can move a rack around with little problem.
Endeavour and its crew are to land at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after 15 days in space.
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Information received regarding Charles 'Charlie Duke' visit to the U.K. February 6th 2009.
More information available soon. Watch this space!
Charles Duke Portrait: Image Credit NASA
When notified of his selection as an astronaut, Duke was at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School as an instructor teaching control systems and flying in the F-101, F-104, and T-33 aircraft. He graduated from the Aerospace Research Pilot School in September 1965 and stayed on there as an instructor.
He is a retired Air Force Reserve Brigadier General and was commissioned in 1957 upon graduation from the Naval Academy. Upon entering the Air Force, he went to Spence Air Base, Georgia, for primary flight training and then to Webb Air Force Base, Texas, for basic flying training, where in 1958 he became a distinguished graduate.
He was again a distinguished graduate at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, where he completed advanced training in F-86L aircraft. Upon completion of this training, he served three years as a fighter interceptor pilot with the 526th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germanypilot with the 526th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.He has logged 4,147 hours flying time, which includes 3,632 hours in jet aircraft.
Duke was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 10 flight. He was CAPCOM for Apollo 11, the first landing on the Moon and he served as backup lunar module pilot on Apollo 13.
Duke served as lunar module pilot of Apollo 16, April 16-27, 1972. He was accompanied on the fifth manned lunar landing mission by John W. Young (spacecraft commander) and Thomas K. Mattingly II (command module pilot).
Apollo 16 was the first scientific expedition to inspect, survey, and sample materials and surface features in the Descartes region of the rugged lunar highlands. Duke and Young commenced their record setting lunar surface stay of 71 hours and 14 minutes by maneuvering the lunar module "Orion" to a landing on the rough Cayley Plains.
In three subsequent excursions onto the lunar surface, they each logged 20 hours and 15 minutes in extravehicular activities involving the emplacement and activation of scientific equipment and experiments, the collection of nearly 213 pounds of rock and soil samples, and the evaluation and use of Rover-2 over the roughest and blockiest surface yet encountered on the moon.
Other Apollo 16 achievements included the largest payload placed in lunar orbit (76, 109 pounds); first cosmic ray detector deployed on lunar surface; first lunar observatory with the far UV camera; and longest in-flight EVA from a command module during transearth coast (1 hour and 13 minutes). The latter feat was accomplished by Mattingly when he ventured out to "Casper's" SIM-bay for the retrieval of vital film cassettes from the panoramic and mapping cameras. Apollo 16 concluded with a Pacific Ocean splashdown and subsequent recovery by the USS TICONDEROGA.
With the completion of his first space flight, Duke has logged 265 hours in space and over 21 hours of extra vehicular activity.Duke also served as backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 17.
In December 1975, Duke retired from the Astronaut program to enter private business. He is owner of Duke Investments, and is President of Charlie Duke Enterprises. He is an active speaker and Christian lay witness and President of Duke Ministry For Christ.
Former Astronaut has a very interesting website of his own at CharlieDuke.net Aim High!
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Details now available for the Eugene Cernan U.K. event for March 6th 2009.
Official Visit Weblink
'The Last Man On The Moon.'
Capt. Eugene Cernan.
Fighter Pilot-USN, Gemini 9A, Apollo 10 & Commander of Apollo 17
Friday March 6th 2009, 19:30 hrs.
St.Wilfrids Catholic High School, Cutsyke Road, Featherstone
West Yorkshire WF7 6BD.
Admission £40. Ticket Only.
S A E to
11 Hardistry drive
Cheque’s Payable To Apollo XIII.
Please include Name & address + telephone/ e-mail address
Trade Stands From 18:00.
Capt. Cernan will stay behind for approx.
30 minutes after the talk to meet people.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Washington - During a meeting Thursday at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) in Seoul, Korea, NASA’s Assistant Administrator for External Relations, Michael F. O’Brien, and MEST’s Director-General for Big Science, Munki Lee, signed a joint statement of intent identifying potential interest in cooperation in civil space and aeronautics activities. According to the statement, the two agencies agree to conduct discussions to identify new cooperative activities related to space exploration, Earth science, planetary science, human space flight and aeronautics research.
The fundamental goal of these discussions will be to advance the interests of both nations through cooperation in space and aeronautics programs. A joint report is expected eight months from today’s signing. The discussions are intended to explore a wide range of potential cooperative efforts, including exchange of research data and analysis, potential contributions of scientific instruments and hardware to support future missions, and collaborative exploration architecture planning.
The discussions may also include the International Lunar Network, an ongoing multilateral initiative to establish a robotic network on the surface of the moon; the Global Exploration Strategy, a dialogue involving fourteen international space agencies for enhanced international cooperation in space exploration; and the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, a multilateral effort to coordinate space exploration activities among government space agencies.
WASHINGTON -- NASA managers have announced that they will not meet a February 2009 launch date for the fifth and final shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The decision comes after engineers completed assessments of the work needed to get a second data handling unit for the telescope ready to fly.
The unit will replace one that failed on Hubble in late September, causing the agency to postpone the servicing mission, which had been targeted for Oct. 14. "We now have done enough analysis of all the things that need to happen with the flight spare unit to know that we cannot be ready for a February launch," said NASA's Astrophysics Division Director Jon Morse at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The February date was an initial estimate, assuming minimal hardware preparations and test durations that are no longer viewed as realistic. We've communicated our assessment to the Space Shuttle Program so it can adjust near-term plans.
We will work closely with the Shuttle Program to develop details for a new launch opportunity." "Getting ourselves in a position to be ready to launch the Hubble mission will involve many steps, and a significant one took place earlier today," said Hubble Program Manager Preston Burch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "We held a flight certification peer review meeting where every aspect for doing this effort -- the inspections needed, all the tests to be conducted, the certification process and the final flight preparations -- was examined.
The conclusion was that we indeed have a very good plan in place." The Hubble flight spare, known as the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling system, has been at Goddard since it was originally delivered as a back-up system in 1991. The unit currently is undergoing testing and examination to identify and correct any problems. That work will continue until mid-December. The unit will then undergo environmental assessments that include electro-magnetic interference checks, vibration tests, and extended time in a thermal vacuum chamber.
Environmental testing is anticipated to run from mid-December to early March 2009. Final testing will be conducted on the unit, and delivery to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is expected in early April. "The equipment we are dealing with has a flight-proven design," said Burch." The original unit on Hubble ran for more than 18 years. We have a lot of spare parts if we encounter problems, and we have most of the same test equipment that was used with the original unit. We also have a lot of experience on our Hubble electrical replica, which uses the engineering model data handling unit." The vast majority of the flight hardware, tools and support equipment that will be used during the mission will be stored at Kennedy. A small amount of new work such as re-lubricating the latches on the Soft Capture Mechanism and testing the motors on the Flight Support System will be conducted.
The Wide Field Camera 3 will remain in its carrier. The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph is in a special double-layered purge system in its shipping container to help support its environmental needs. The new batteries to be installed during the mission are in cold storage at Goddard and will be returned to Kennedy in 2009. In the meantime, science observations on Hubble that had been suspended continue to move toward standard operations.
The current primary camera on the telescope, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, was brought back online. On Wednesday, calibration images with the Advanced Camera for Surveys' Solar Blind Channel were completed. Regular science observations resumed Thursday, and the first science image from the camera was released.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA managers completed a review Thursday of space shuttle Endeavour's readiness for flight and selected the official launch date for the STS-126 mission. Commander Chris Ferguson and his six crewmates are scheduled to lift off to the International Space Station at 7:55 p.m. EST on Nov. 14.
Endeavour's STS-126 flight will feature important repair work to the station and prepare it for housing six crew members during long-duration missions. The primary focus of the 15-day flight and its four planned spacewalks is to service the station's two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow its solar arrays to track the sun. Endeavour will carry about 32,000 pounds to orbit, including supplies and equipment necessary to double the crew size from three to six members in spring 2009. The new station cargo includes additional sleeping quarters, a second toilet and a resistance exercise device.
Endeavour's launch date was announced after the conclusion of Thursday's Flight Readiness Review. During the meeting, top NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle's equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for flight. Ferguson will be joined on STS-126 by Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus. Magnus will replace space station crew member Greg Chamitoff, who has been aboard the station for more than five months. She will return to Earth during the next shuttle mission, STS-119, targeted to launch in February 2009.