Encyclopedia Astronautica
2006.07.05 - STS-121 MCC Status Report #02


Discovery's astronauts are awake and ready to begin their first full day in space.

Today the crew will focus on thermal protection system inspections, preparing for docking to the International Space Station and getting spacesuits ready for two and perhaps three spacewalks.

Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Mike Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson, Piers Sellers and Thomas Reiter got their wakeup call at 4:08 a.m. CDT, allowing them an extra 30 minutes of sleep after their first day in space ran long. The wakeup song was “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed by the New Galveston Chorale.

Four crewmembers will spend much of the day looking for damage to Discovery's thermal protection system. Lindsey, Kelly, Fossum and Nowak will use the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS), a 50-foot boom on the end of the shuttle's robotic Canadarm, to look at the wings' leading edges and the nose cap.

The task involves about 6½ hours of intense work for the crew members. Actual data takes will total about an hour, 20 minutes for each wing and the nose cap. The rest of that time is devoted to very careful movement of the Canadarm and the OBSS.

Later, after lunch, Nowak and Wilson will return the OBSS to its berth on the starboard sill of Discovery's cargo bay. Then they and Fossum will use cameras on the shuttle arm to photograph the outside of Discovery's cabin. That activity should take about an hour.

Wilson also will take digital hand-held camera photos of the orbital maneuvering system pods at the base of the shuttle's vertical tail fin.

Photos and sensor readings from the shuttle, as well as photos of launch and ascent from more than 100 ground-based and airborne cameras and radar and instrument data, will be reviewed by experts on the ground. The data, photos by the station crew and information from subsequent arm surveys at the station and after undocking, will be used to determine if Discovery sustained damage during launch and ascent or in space, to ensure that it is safe for the shuttle to re-enter the atmosphere to land.

In other activities today, Wilson and Reiter will get items on the middeck ready for transfer to the station. Spacewalkers Fossum and Sellers, helped by Kelly, the intravehicular officer who will coach the spacewalkers, will check out spacesuits.

Nowak and Sellers will extend the shuttle docking ring which will help secure Discovery to the station. Just before the shuttle crew goes to bed, Kelly and Sellers will check out and prepare docking tools, including laptop computers.

At 3:30 a.m., Discovery was trailing the station by 9,573 statute miles and closing at a rate of 870 statute miles per orbit. Docking is scheduled for 9:52 a.m. Thursday.

Today the space station crew, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams, will continue to prepare the orbiting laboratory for Discovery's arrival. They will ready the digital cameras with 400mm and 800mm lenses they will use during Discovery’s approach to take high-resolution photos of the shuttle's heat shield. They also will pressurize the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 at the end of the U.S. laboratory Destiny, where Discovery is scheduled to dock.

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