Encyclopedia Astronautica
2005.07.27 - STS-114 MCC Status Report #02


The crew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery has awakened to its first full day in space. Today it will focus on thermal protection system inspections, preparing for docking to the International Space Station and getting spacesuits ready for three spacewalks.

Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi, Steve Robinson, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda received a wakeup call at 11:39 p.m. CDT. The song played for the crew was music from the movie "Groundhog Day," which was for the entire crew to commemorate its first day out of quarantine.

For most of the day, Thomas, Camarda and Kelly will work together on Discovery's aft flight deck to inspect key components of the orbiter's heat shield. For the majority of the inspections the new Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) laser-scanner will be used. The Shuttle's robotic Canadarm will be used to maneuver the 50-foot boom extension after checkout of the system is completed.

In its debut performance, the boom will be used to methodically inspect the leading edges of Discovery's wings and the orbiter's nose cap to insure that they did not incur any damage during launch. The Laser Dynamic Range Imager (LDRI) on the boom will provide two-and three-dimensional imagery. The data will be downlinked to the ground for engineering evaluation.

After those surveys are complete the boom will be placed back on the starboard sill of the payload bay. The Shuttle robotic arm and its cameras will then be used to survey Discovery's crew cabin. Additionally, using handheld digital cameras the crew will photograph tiles on the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pods and the orbiter's tail.

During Tuesday's ascent to orbit, the enhanced imaging capability gave flight controllers and mission managers views of the Shuttle Orbiter never seen before. With this heightened ability, engineers were able to see two so-called "debris events." A camera mounted on the external tank caught what appeared to be a small fragment of tile coming from Discovery's underside on or near the nose gear doors. A later image about the time of Solid Rocket Booster separation showed an unidentified piece departing from the tank and exiting away, apparently not striking the orbiter. The crew was notified of these observations and told that imaging experts would be analyzing the pictures.

Mission managers will review the information gathered yesterday and today, including imaging and sensor data, to help determine the health of Discovery's thermal protection system over the next four days before it is cleared for landing later in the flight. Data from the new wing leading edge sensors was downlinked overnight to Mission Control for assessment.

Flight Day Four has time reserved for additional surveys, if required, using the OBSS, either to complete parts of the survey that time would not allow today, or to supplement the survey with "stop-and-stare" scans of sites of potential interest.

Meanwhile, on the middeck, spacewalkers Noguchi and Robinson, assisted by Lawrence, will check out the airlock, spacesuits and tools they will begin using on Saturday. They will also prepare Shuttle systems for docking to the Space Station.

Today Collins will fire Discovery's thrusters twice to refine its approach to the Station. At about midnight, Discovery was trailing the Station by 6,516 statute miles. The two are scheduled to link up at 6:18 a.m. CDT Thursday.

Today the Space Station crew, Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer John Phillips will prepare the complex for Discovery's arrival. They will configure the digital cameras they will use during Discovery's approach, gathering additional imagery of the Shuttle's heat shield. They also will pressurize the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 (PMA 2) that Discovery will dock to Thursday.

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