Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-116



zsts116.jpg
STS-116
Credit: NASA
Crew: Polansky, Oefelein, Curbeam, Patrick, Fuglesang, Higginbotham. First Swedish astronaut. Most demanding ISS assembly mission to date. Completed installation of the P5 truss, retracted the recalcitrant port P6 solar array wing, and activated the truss electrical and cooling system.

The mission used solid rocket booster pair RSRM-95 and external tank ET-123. At SSME burnout Discovery was in a 58 km x 220 km x 51.6 deg preliminary burn. The OMS-2 burn at 02:25 GMT placed the shuttle in a stable 225 x 250 km orbit from which rendezvous maneuvers began. Discovery docked with the ISS at 22:12 GMT on December 11. In the most demanding ISS assembly mission ever, the crew would require an additional spacewalk to complete installation of the P5 truss, retraction of the recalcitrant port P6 solar array wing, and activation of the truss electrical and cooling system. Sunita Williams rode the shuttle to the station, and remained behind with the EO-14 crew; ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, already aboard the station, was returned to earth. Due to weather problems a landing at White Sands was considered; but in the end Discovery landed safely at Kennedy Space Center, after which it was to enter a year-long overhaul cycle.

The flight was originally scheduled for July 2003 but was delayed after the Columbia disaster. In comparison with the original crew, Polansky replaced Wilcutt as commander, and Patrick was added. The original flight was to change out a complete three-member ISS crew. By 2006 the core two-member ISS crew was maintained at the station by the more reliable Soyuz. Instead, the only a third ISS crew member - Williams was brought up by STS-116 and exchanged for German astronaut Reiter.

Cargo manifest:

  • Bay 1-2: Orbiter Docking System - 1800 kg
  • Bay 3: Tunnel Adapter - 112 kg
  • Bay 4-5: Spacehab Logistics Module - 5399 kg
  • Bay 5P: APC with SPDU - 20 kg?
  • Bay 7-8: Truss segment P5 - 1860 kg
  • Bay 11-12: Integrated Cargo Carrier - 2492 kg total, consisting of: carrier itself - 839 kg; STP-H2, FRAM - 1398 kg; Service Module Debris Panels - 100 kg; RAFT-1 - 4 kg; MARScom - 3 kg; MEPSI 2A/2B - 3 kg; ANDE launch cylinder - 20 kg; ANDE-MAA - 50 kg; ANDE-FCAL - 75 kg
  • Sill OBSS 202 - 450 kg
  • Sill RMS 303 - 390 kg
  • Total - 12,523 kg

The STS-116 mission to the International Space Station was the most complex of the shuttle assembly flights. Seven shuttle astronauts and three station astronauts worked closely with flight to reconfigure the station's electrical power and cooling systems. The station had been running on a temporary electrical system since 1998. The new, permanent configuration incorporated power from the P4 solar arrays that were installed during STS-115. Discovery also delivered and installed the 1820-kg P5 truss element that extended the left side of the overall truss, allowing the P4 solar panels to rotate and it set the stage for the relocation of the P6 solar arrays on a later assembly flight. STS-116 astronaut Sunita Williams was left on the station with the EO-14 long duration crew, while ESA Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter, already aboard the station, was returned to earth. Problems with retraction of the P6 array resulted in the addition of an additional spacewalk and extended the mission by one day over the planned 12 days.

Before any rewiring could be done, half of the station's P6 solar array had to be folded up on flight day 5. To achieve the new power setup, ground control shut down the entire U.S. portion of the station in stages. This complex procedure has never before been attempted. The assembly sequence included three planned and one unplanned spacewalks:

  • EVA 1: On flight day 4, Curbeam and Fuglesang aligned and connected the P5 truss segment to P4. However problems were experienced in retraction of the P6 solar array. It could not be fully retracted, although enough was folded up to allow the P4 arrays to rotate freely when relocated.
  • EVA 2: On flight day 6, Curbeam and Fuglesang reconfigured power on channels 2 and 3 of the station's electrical system. The feared partial shutdown of the ISS power systems and power-up from the new P4 solar array was conducted without a hitch.
  • EVA 3: On flight day 8, Curbeam and Williams reconfigured power on channels 1 and 4 of the station's electrical system. The partial shutdown of the ISS power systems and power-up from the new P4 solar array was conducted without a hitch. They also moved Zvezda module debris protection panels to a storage location on the station exterior and performed other small tasks.
  • EVA 4: On flight day 10, Curbeam and Fuglesang conducted an unscheduled spacewalk, and successfully managed to fully retract the P6 solar array.

Other major activities of the mission:

  • P5 truss delivery - The shuttle robotic arm transferred the P5 to the station's robotic arm which then placed the component on the truss.
  • Spacehab cargo delivery - The pressurized module contained 2600 kg of cargo which the crew transferred to the station.
  • Integrated Cargo Carrier cargo delivery - The unpressurized module carried 2500 kg of cargo (capacity 3600 kg)
  • The external television camera on the Camera Port 3 was repaired for use on the next shuttle mission, STS-117
  • A gyroscope on the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System was repaired during the second spacewalk.
  • During the third spacewalk, a newly-designed component was installed in the station's Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly.
  • An Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment was conducted
  • On flight day 12, two microsatellites were launched from Discovery's cargo bay that would measure the density and composition of the low Earth orbit atmosphere.
  • First test of a space shuttle main engine with the Advanced Health Monitoring System installed. The system monitored the flow of fuel within the high-pressure fuel pumps of the main engine in monitor-only mode. On future missions the system would be activated, allowing it to shut down the engine in case problems were detected that indicated imminent engine failure.
STS-116 was the 117th space shuttle flight, the 33rd flight for shuttle Discovery and the 20th flight to the station. It was the 29th nighttime shuttle launch and the first since Endeavour lifted off on STS-113 in 2002. During an average day on the station, flight controllers gave approximately 800 commands. During the highly-choreographed power transfer portion of this mission, on flight days 6-8, controllers gave about 4,500 commands. Ground teams had trained for six years to ensure the mission timeline was as efficient and safe as possible. As of STS-116, NASA estimated that 16,000 Americans were working on the Space Shuttle Program.

AKA: Discovery; ISS-12A.1.
First Launch: 2006.12.10.
Last Launch: 2006.12.22.
Duration: 12.86 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Polansky Polansky, Mark Lewis 'Roman' (1956-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-98, STS-116, STS-127, , , , More...
  • Fuglesang Fuglesang, Arne Christer (1957-) Swedish engineer cosmonaut, mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-116, STS-128. More...
  • Reiter Reiter, Thomas Arthur (1958-) German test pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-20, ISS Astrolab. More...
  • Curbeam Curbeam, Robert Lee Jr 'Beamer' (1962-) African-American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-85, STS-98, STS-116. More...
  • Patrick Patrick, Nicholas James MacDonald (1964-) British-American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-116, STS-130. More...
  • Higginbotham Higginbotham, Joan Elizabeth Miller (1964-) African-American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-116. Engineer. More...
  • Oefelein Oefelein, William Anthony 'Bill' (1965-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-116. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Discovery American manned spaceplane. 39 launches, 1984.08.30 to 2011.02.24. More...

See also
Associated Flights
  • ISS Astrolab Europe's first long-duration mission to the ISS. Crew: Reiter.Thomas Reiter lived and worked on board the ISS for five months. Backup crew: Eyharts. More...
  • ISS EO-15-1 NASA long-term third ISS astronaut residence mission. Crew: Anderson Clayton. Record duration female mission. Williams replaced Reiter as third long-duration crew member aboard the station. Backup crew: Chamitoff. More...

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-116 Chronology


2006 December 1 - .
2006 December 9 - .
2006 December 10 - .
2006 December 10 - .
2006 December 10 - . 01:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-116.
  • STS-116 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Polansky; Oefelein; Curbeam; Patrick; Fuglesang; Higginbotham; Williams. Return Crew: Polansky; Oefelein; Curbeam; Patrick; Fuglesang; Higginbotham; Reiter. Payload: Discovery F32 / P5. Mass: 120,420 kg (265,480 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Williams; Polansky; Oefelein; Curbeam; Patrick; Fuglesang; Higginbotham; Reiter. Agency: NASA. Manufacturer: Boeing. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-116; ISS EO-14; ISS Astrolab. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 12.86 days. Decay Date: 2006-12-10 . USAF Sat Cat: 29647 . COSPAR: 2006-055A. Apogee: 358 km (222 mi). Perigee: 326 km (202 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.40 min. The mission used solid rocket booster pair RSRM-95 and external tank ET-123. At SSME burnout Discovery was in a 58 km x 220 km x 51.6 deg preliminary burn. The OMS-2 burn at 02:25 GMT placed the shuttle in a stable 225 x 250 km orbit from which rendezvous maneuvers began. Discovery docked with the ISS at 22:12 GMT on December 11. In the most demanding ISS assembly mission ever, the crew would require an additional spacewalk to complete installation of the P5 truss, retraction of the recalcitrant port P6 solar array wing, and activation of the truss electrical and cooling system. Sunita Williams rode the shuttle to the station, and remained behind with the EO-14 crew; ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, already aboard the station, was returned to earth. Due to weather problems a landing at White Sands was considered; but in the end Discovery landed safely at Kennedy Space Center, after which it was to enter a year-long overhaul cycle.

2006 December 11 - .
2006 December 11 - .
2006 December 12 - .
2006 December 12 - .
  • STS-116 MCC Status Report 07 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Curbeam; Fuglesang. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. Summary: The International Space Station is now two tons heavier, with the installation today of its newest truss segment during the flight’s first spacewalk.. Additional Details: here....

2006 December 13 - .
2006 December 13 - .
  • STS-116 MCC Status Report 09 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Polansky; Curbeam; Fuglesang; Lopez-Alegria. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. The first phase of the electrical and thermal makeover of the International Space Station was completed tonight as the outpost’s newest solar arrays began rotating to follow the sun and ammonia flowed into the station’s permanent cooling system for the first time. Additional Details: here....

2006 December 13 - . 20:31 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-116-1 - . Crew: Curbeam; Fuglesang. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.28 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Curbeam; Fuglesang. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. Summary: The crew aligned and connected the P5 truss segment to P4. However problems were experienced in retraction of the P6 solar array. It could not be fully retracted, although enough was folded up to allow the P4 arrays to rotate freely when relocated..

2006 December 14 - .
2006 December 14 - .
  • STS-116 MCC Status Report 11 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Curbeam; Fuglesang; Higginbotham; Williams. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. Summary: Two spacewalking electricians completed half of STS-116’s rewiring today, and when flight controllers threw the switch, the lights inside the International Space Station turned on again without a hitch.. Additional Details: here....

2006 December 15 - .
2006 December 15 - .
2006 December 15 - . 19:41 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-116-2 - . Crew: Curbeam; Fuglesang. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.21 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Curbeam; Fuglesang. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. Summary: The crew reconfigured power on channels 2 and 3 of the station's electrical system. The feared partial shutdown of the ISS power systems and power-up from the new P4 solar array was conducted without a hitch..

2006 December 16 - .
  • STS-116 MCC Status Report 15 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Curbeam; Fuglesang; Williams. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. During a spacewalk partially choreographed as it happened, STS-116 Astronauts Bob Curbeam and Sunita Williams finished rewiring the International Space Station and shook loose a balky solar array so their crewmates inside could retract it almost two-thirds of the way. Additional Details: here....

2006 December 16 - .
2006 December 17 - .
  • STS-116 MCC Status Report 17 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Polansky; Oefelein; Curbeam; Patrick; Fuglesang; Higginbotham; Williams. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. Flight controllers today put the finishing touches on plans for the fourth spacewalk recently added to the mission. On board the Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station astronauts finished transferring the bulk of supplies between the two spacecraft. Additional Details: here....

2006 December 17 - .
2006 December 17 - . 19:25 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-116-3 - . Crew: Curbeam; Williams. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.31 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Curbeam; Williams. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. The crew reconfigured power on channels 1 and 4 of the station's electrical system. The partial shutdown of the ISS power systems and power-up from the new P4 solar array was conducted without a hitch. They also moved Zvezda module debris protection panels to a storage location on the station exterior and performed other small tasks.

2006 December 18 - .
  • STS-116 MCC Status Report 19 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Oefelein; Curbeam; Fuglesang; Higginbotham; Williams. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. Summary: Space Shuttle Discovery Astronauts Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang guided the port overhead solar array wing neatly inside its blanket box during a 6-hour, 38-minute spacewalk.. Additional Details: here....

2006 December 18 - .
  • STS-116 MCC Status Report 18 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Oefelein; Curbeam; Fuglesang; Higginbotham; Williams. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. Summary: Discovery and International Space Station crew members will conduct their fourth spacewalk of the week today, an excursion aimed at freeing a snagged, partially retracted station solar array so it will fully fold properly.. Additional Details: here....

2006 December 19 - .
2006 December 19 - .
2006 December 19 - . 19:00 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-116-4 - . Crew: Curbeam; Fuglesang. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.28 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Curbeam; Fuglesang. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-14; STS-116. Summary: The crew conducted an unscheduled spacewalk, and successfully managed to fully retract the P6 solar array..

2006 December 20 - .
2006 December 20 - .
2006 December 21 - .
2006 December 21 - .
2006 December 22 - .
2006 December 22 - .
2006 December 22 - . 22:32 GMT - .
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