Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-115



zsts115.jpg
STS-115
Credit: NASA
Crew: Jett, Ferguson, Stefanyshyn-Piper, Tanner, Burbank, MacLean. ISS logistics flight. Delivered equpment and supplies aboard the Leonardo cargo module.

The shuttle was launched using external tank ET-119 and solid motors RSRM-93. Cameras revealed that large chunks of foam were still shed from the external tank during the ascent to orbit. However examination of the heat shield using a new extension and sensors attached to the shuttle's robot arm revealed no significant damage. Discovery docked with the PMA-2 adapter on the Destiny module of the ISS at 14:52 GMT on 6 July. On July 7 the Leonardo cargo module was moved from the shuttle payload bay by the robot arm and docked to the Unity Module of the ISS between 09:42 and 11:50 GMT. The crew then began unloading the spare parts and supplies in the module to the station. A series of three EVAs conducted on 8 to 12 July tested the new equipment and techniques for repairing the shuttle heat shield in case of damage, and did some preliminary installations on the exterior of the ISS to pave the way for continued station assembly missions. On 14 July, the station's SSRMS robot moved the Leonardo module from the station back to the shuttle cargo bay between 13:08 and 14:50 GMT. The shuttle separated from the ISS, and fired its engines at 12:07 GMT on 17 July to make a 92 m/s deorbit maneuver. Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space Center at 13:14 GMT. European astronaut Reiter was left behind to make up part of the EO-13 resident crew on the station.

The flight had originally been scheduled for May 2003, but was delayed over three years following the Columbia disaster. The original mission scope included delivery of the second left-side truss segment (ITS P3/P4); a solar array; and batteries. The crew would have attached the P3/P4 Truss to the first port truss segment (P1 Truss). Then they would have deployed solar array set 2A and 4A, activated and checked out the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ), and deployed the P4 Truss radiator. Instead these tasks were reallocated to later missions.

NASA Official Mission Summary

STS-115
Mission: International Space Station Assembly Flight ULF1.1
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39B
Launched: Sept. 9, 2006, 11:15 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Landing: Sept. 21, 2006, 6:21 a.m. EDT
Runway: 33
Revolution: 187
Mission Duration: 11 days, 19 hours, 6 minutes
Main Gear Touchdown: 6:21:30 a.m. EDT
Nose Gear Touchdown: 6:21:36 a.m. EDT
Wheel Stop: 6:22:16 a.m. EDT
Rollout Distance: 10,500 feet
Miles Traveled: 4.9 million

Crew Members: Brent W. Jett, Jr, Commander; Christopher J. Ferguson, Pilot; Mission Specialists: Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper, Joseph R. (Joe) Tanner, Daniel C. Burbank, and Steven G. MacLean (Canadian Space Agency).

Launch: A lightning strike at the pad Aug. 25 caused the launch to slip to Aug. 27. As assessments of the strike's impact were conducted, Tropical Storm Ernesto threatened the Space Coast. Atlantis was rolled halfway back to the Vehicle Assembly Building on Aug. 29 for protection from the storm, but returned to the pad again on the same day after shuttle managers received a more favorable weather forecast.

Launch was rescheduled for Sept. 6 but a fuel cell problem occurred prior to tanking and the launch was scrubbed for 24 hours. The crew boarded Atlantis again on Sept. 8 but the launch was again scrubbed 24 hours due to a faulty sensor reading.

Launch was successful Sept. 9.

Landing: Atlantis landed on the first opportunity, orbit 187, on Runway 33. Overall, the vehicle traveled 4,901,268 statute miles. Main gear touchdown was at 6:21:30 a.m. Nose gear touchdown was at 6:21:36 a.m. Wheel stop was at 6:22:16 a.m. Rollout distance: 10,500 feet. Mission elapsed time was 11 days, 19 hours and six minutes.

The landing scheduled for Sept. 20 was postponed to allow for additional inspections of the spacecraft after video from cameras aboard the orbiter showed a piece of debris in proximity to the vehicle. The inspections included use of the orbiter boom sensor system and ensured all of Atlantis' critical equipment were in good shape.

Mission Highlights:

This mission resumed assembly of the International Space Station after a hiatus of four years.

Before the docking, the crew used the orbiter boom sensor system, the 50-foot-long extension for the shuttle's robotic arm, to inspect the reinforced carbon-carbon panels along the leading edge of Atlantis' starboard and port wings and the nose cap.

Approaching the space station, Commander Brent Jett flew Atlantis through an orbital back-flip while stationed 600 feet below the station to allow the Expedition 13 crew to photograph the orbiter's heat shield.

After the docking, Ferguson and Burbank attached the shuttle's robotic arm to the P3/P4 truss, lifted it from its berth in the payload bay, and maneuvered it for handover to the station's Canadarm2. After hatch opening, MacLean and Expedition 13 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams used the Canadarm2 to take the truss from the shuttle's robotic arm. MacLean was the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm2 in space.

Three spacewalks installed the P3/P4 integrated truss, deployed the solar arrays and prepared them for operation. A new procedure called a "camp out" was implemented, in which astronauts slept in the Quest airlock prior to their spacewalks. The process shortened the "prebreathe" time during which nitrogen is purged from the astronauts' systems and air pressure was lowered so the spacewalkers avoid the condition known as the bends.

Astronauts performed three spacewalks:

EVA No. 1 -- 6 hours, 26 minutes, Sept. 12. Tanner and Piper connected power cables on the 17.5-ton, 45-foot-long truss, released the launch restraints on the solar array blanket box and on the beta gimbal assembly and the solar array wings. They also configured the solar alpha rotary joint, which allows the arrays to track the sun, and removed two other circuit interrupt devices to prepare for the STS-116 mission.

To access the launch locks on the solar alpha rotary joint, the astronauts had to remove existing covers. This was a "get-ahead" task originally scheduled for the following day. Tanner and Piper's quick and efficient work enabled them to get ahead of the planned timeline. During this procedure on cover 21, a bolt and washer came off and floated into space.

EVA No. 2 -- 7 hours, 11 minutes, Sept. 13. First-time spacewalkers Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean released locks on the auto-sized solar alpha rotary joint, which allows the station's solar arrays to turn toward the sun. The locks had held the joint secure during its launch to orbit.

Minor problems occurred, including a malfunctioning helmet camera, a broken socket tool, a stubborn bolt requiring both astronauts to turn it, and a bolt that loosened from the mechanism designed to hold it.

EVA No. 3 -- 6 hours, 42 minutes, Sept. 15. Tanner and Piper powered up a cooling radiator for the newly unfolded solar arrays. They also replaced an S-band radio antenna that provides backup communications between the space station and the ground.

Other tasks, designed to reduce workload for future spacewalkers, included installing insulation for another communications antenna and (Tanner) taking photos of the shuttle's wings with an infrared camera to test its ability to detect damage. After astronauts had prepared the solar alpha rotary joint for activation, Mission Control engaged the first of two drive-lock assemblies and rotated the joint 180 degrees.

When they commanded the second drive-lock assembly to engage, they did not get an indication of engagement. A second command also failed. The glitch was resolved overnight.

The solar arrays on the newly delivered 17.5-ton truss segment were fully unfolded at 8:44 a.m. EDT on Sept. 14. During the unfurling, Atlantis' astronauts noted that some of the panels stuck. The phenomenon, called "stiction," also occurred during a shuttle mission in late 2000 when the station's first set of solar panels was deployed.

The power generated by the arrays will not be used by the station until mission STS-116, in December 2006, when astronauts will rewire the complex and activate a cooling system. The arrays currently are powering their own system, including batteries and other electronics equipment.

The solar panels have a wingspan of 240 feet attached on the port side of the station. They can generate 66 kilowatts of power.

The crew also maneuvered the Canadarm2 robotic arm in a "double walk off," moving it from the Mobile Base System to the Destiny Lab in an inchworm-like procedure.

Statistics

Cargo loaded in the payload bay was as follows:

  • Bays 1-2: Orbiter Docking System - about 1800 kg
  • Bay 4S: APC with SPDU - about 20 kg
  • Bays 5-6: Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) - about 1500 kg, with Keel Yoke Device (KYD), Trailing Umbilical System) for an ISS Mobile Transporter repair, EATCS-PM pump module for the ISS truss, and a fixed grapple bar.
  • Bay 7S: ROEU - about 20 kg
  • Bays 7-12: Leonardo cargo module (MPLM-1) - 9500 kg - with the MELFI freezer rack, the Express Transportation Rack with the European Modular Cultivation System, the Oxygen Generation System rack, three Resupply Stowage Racks and five Resupply Stowage Platforms with consumable supplies. A Remotely Operated Electrical Umbilical mounted on the sidewall routed power to Leonardo.
  • Bay 13: Lightweight MPESS Carrier with DTO 848 protection system repair kit demonstator - 954 kg
  • Sill-mounted: OBSS 202 robot arm extension, that would allow an astronaut to be carried underneath the shuttle for inspection and repairs - about 450 kg, and RMS 303 robot arm - 390 kg
  • Total cargo mass: about 14594 kg

AKA: Atlantis; ISS-12A.
First Launch: 2006.09.09.
Last Launch: 2006.09.21.
Duration: 11.80 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Tanner Tanner, Joseph Richard 'Joe' (1950-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-66, STS-82, STS-97, STS-115. More...
  • MacLean MacLean, Steven Glenwood (1954-) Canadian physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-52, STS-115. Selected Aug 1996; he had been PayloadSpecialist on STS-52 Mission LAGEOS-2 (responsible for the Space Visions System). More...
  • Jett Jett, Brent Ward Jr (1958-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-72, STS-81, STS-97, STS-115. More...
  • Burbank Burbank, Daniel Christopher (1961-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-106, STS-115. More...
  • Ferguson Ferguson, Christopher John (1961-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-115, STS-126, STS-135. More...
  • Stefanyshyn-Piper Stefanyshyn-Piper, Heidemarie Martha (1963-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut, 1996-2009. Flew on STS-115, STS-126. Engineer. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Atlantis American manned spaceplane. 33 launches, 1985.10.03 to 2011.07.08. The space shuttle Atlantis was the fourth orbiter to become operational at Kennedy Space Center, and the last of the original production run. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • ISS Finally completed in 2010 after a torturous 25-year development and production process, the International Space Station was originally conceived as the staging post for manned exploration of the solar systrem. Instead, it was seemed to be the death knell of manned spaceflight. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...

STS-115 Chronology


2006 February 3 - .
  • International Space Station Status Report: SS06-005 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Tokarev; McArthur; Fossum; Sellers. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-12; STS-115; STS-121. Summary: Space station crewmembers released a spacesuit-turned-satellite during the second spacewalk of their mission last night.. Additional Details: here....

2006 March 3 - .
2006 April 6 - .
2006 April 7 - .
2006 August 11 - .
  • International Space Station Status Report: SS06-037 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Vinogradov; Williams, Jeffrey; Reiter. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-13; STS-115; ISS Astrolab. Summary: This week on the International Space Station crew members refurbished their exercise treadmill, prepared areas inside and out for an imminent expansion of their home and took a couple of special calls to discuss soccer and food in space.. Additional Details: here....

2006 August 25 - .
2006 September 9 - .
2006 September 9 - . 15:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-115.
  • STS-115 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Jett; Ferguson; Stefanyshyn-Piper; Tanner; Burbank; MacLean. Payload: Atlantis F27 / P3, P4. Mass: 122,400 kg (269,800 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Jett; Ferguson; Stefanyshyn-Piper; Tanner; Burbank; MacLean. Agency: NASA. Manufacturer: Boeing. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-115; ISS EO-14; ISS EO-13. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 11.80 days. Decay Date: 2006-09-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 29391 . COSPAR: 2006-036A. Apogee: 350 km (210 mi). Perigee: 335 km (208 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.40 min. Atlantis docked with the International Space Station at the PMA-2 port at 10:48 GMT on 11 September. At the Shuttle RMS robot arm connected to the enormous P3/P4 truss in the payload pay and handed it off to the Station's robot arm between 14:52 and 15:03 GMT the same day. The station arm then connected to the P3/P4 truss to the station's P1 truss at 07:27 on 12 September. Three EVA's were made by the shuttle crew over the next three days to complete installation of the truss and deply its solar panels. The Shuttle undocked from the station at 12:50 GMT on 20 September. There was a one-day delay in landing due to weather at the Cape and some concern about several small objects seen floating near the spacecraft. These were believed to be plastic shims that had worked loose from between the tiles and were not a concern. Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center at 10:21 GMT on 21 September.

2006 September 10 - .
2006 September 10 - .
2006 September 11 - .
2006 September 11 - .
2006 September 12 - .
2006 September 12 - .
2006 September 12 - . 10:17 GMT - .
2006 September 13 - .
2006 September 13 - .
  • STS-115 MCC Status Report #09 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Burbank; MacLean. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-115; ISS EO-13. Summary: The crews of Atlantis and Expedition 13 had a busy fifth day together in space as they brought to life the new addition to the International Space Station they had attached on Tuesday.. Additional Details: here....

2006 September 13 - . 09:05 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-115-2 - . Crew: Burbank; MacLean. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.30 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Burbank; MacLean. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-115. Summary: The crew continued work on the P3/P4 truss, which allowed the truss' solar arrays to be deployed on 14 September..

2006 September 14 - .
2006 September 14 - .
  • STS-115 MCC Status Report #11 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Stefanyshyn-Piper; Tanner. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-115; ISS EO-13. Summary: The International Space Station today spread a second set of wings, giant solar panels that eventually will double the power generated aboard the orbiting science outpost.. Additional Details: here....

2006 September 15 - .
  • STS-115 MCC Status Report #13 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Jett; Ferguson; Stefanyshyn-Piper; Tanner; Burbank; MacLean. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-115; ISS EO-13. Summary: Astronauts Joe Tanner and Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper finished the third and final spacewalk of Atlantis' mission today, powering up a cooling radiator for the new solar arrays unfolded Thursday on the International Space Station.. Additional Details: here....

2006 September 15 - .
2006 September 15 - . 10:00 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-115-3 - . Crew: Tanner; Stefanyshyn-Piper. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.28 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Tanner; Stefanyshyn-Piper. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-115. Summary: The crew completed work on the P3/P4 truss, deploying a radiator, and replacing an S-band antenna assembly..

2006 September 16 - .
2006 September 16 - .
2006 September 17 - .
2006 September 17 - .
2006 September 18 - .
2006 September 18 - .
2006 September 19 - .
2006 September 19 - .
2006 September 20 - .
2006 September 20 - .
2006 September 21 - .
  • STS-115 MCC Status Report #24 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Jett; Ferguson; Stefanyshyn-Piper; Tanner; Burbank; MacLean. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-115; ISS EO-13. Summary: After resuming the expansion of humanity's only outpost in space, Space Shuttle Atlantis came home this morning, gliding to a perfect pre-dawn landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.. Additional Details: here....

2006 September 21 - . 10:21 GMT - .
2006 September 28 - .
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