After analyzing photos of debris found inside the station’s starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, mission managers today decided to devote the mission’s fourth spacewalk Thursday to further inspection of the joint. That spacewalk originally was dedicated to testing of a shuttle tile repair dispensing “gun,” which has been deferred to a future shuttle mission.
The additional docked day has been inserted between the fourth and fifth spacewalks and provides for some crew off-duty time, along with ample equipment preparation and turnaround for the fifth spacewalk, scheduled for Saturday. Mission flight planners now are working detailed timelines to reflect the decision by the Mission Management Team. Discovery now is scheduled to undock from the station on Nov. 5 and land a week from Wednesday completing the STS-120 mission.
As a precursor to the additional rotary joint inspection spacewalk, Tuesday’s spacewalk by Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock will include a short task to inspect the port rotary joint to provide comparison data to station managers who will spend the night developing procedures for the fourth spacewalk. All other tasks for the third spacewalk remain as trained with the focus being on installation of the P6 truss to its permanent location outboard of the port truss.
Today the crew completed final preparations for the P6 truss installation and continued outfitting and activation of avionics and systems racks inside the Harmony Node. Despite the shutdown of the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly in the U.S. Destiny laboratory, work continues as normal with no interruption to operations with other means of carbon dioxide scrubbing equipment on board.
The crew day ended with Parazynski and Wheelock beginning their routine overnight “campout” in the Quest airlock. They plan to begin the spacewalk at about 4:28 a.m. Tuesday following a wakeup call from Mission Control late tonight about 11:30.