Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-121



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STS-121
Credit: NASA
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STS-121
Credit: NASA
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STS-121
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Crew: Lindsey, Kelly Mark, Fossum, Nowak, Wilson, Sellers. 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.

NASA Official Mission Summary

STS-121
Mission: International Space Station Assembly Flight ULF1.1
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39B
Launched: July 4, 2006, 2:37:55 p.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Landing: July 17, 2006, 9:15:49 a.m. EDT
Runway: 15
Revolution: 202
Mission Duration: 12 days, 18 hours, 37 minutes and 54 seconds
Main Gear Touchdown: 9:14:43 a.m. EDT
Nose Gear Touchdown: 9:14:53 a.m. EDT
Wheel Stop: 9:15:49 a.m. EDT
Rollout Distance: 4.2 miles
Miles Traveled: 5.3 million

Crew Members: Commander Steven W. Lindsey, Pilot Mark E. Kelly, Mission Specialists Stephanie D. Wilson, Michael E. Fossum, Piers J. Sellers, Thomas Reiter and Lisa M. Nowak.

Launch: July 4, 2006, at 2:38 p.m. EDT. Launch of Discovery was scrubbed twice, July 1 and 2, due to weather concerns. After a day's standdown, the launch attempt resumed on July 4 and Discovery lifted off on time.

Landing: July 17, 2006, at 9:15 a.m. EDT. Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center. Main gear touchdown: 9:14:43 a.m. Nose gear touchdown: 9:14:53 a.m. Wheel stop: 9:15:49 a.m. Rollout distance: 4.2 miles. Mission duration: 12 days, 18 hours, 37 minutes and 54 seconds. Logged 5.3 million miles. Landed on first opportunity at Kennedy, marking the 62nd landing at the center.

Mission Highlights:

STS-121 was the second return-to-flight mission, demonstrating techniques for inspecting and protecting the shuttle's thermal protection system and replacing critical hardware needed for future station assembly. The mission also restored the station to a three-person crew for the first time since May 2003, leaving ESA astronaut Reiter aboard to join Expedition 13.

This was the most photographed shuttle mission in history, with more than 100 high-definition, digital, video and film cameras documenting the launch and climb to orbit. The images helped assess any damage sustained and potential risk for landing. In addition, the crew used the orbiter boom sensor system with a laser dynamic range imager, laser camera system and intensified television camera on the end, to examine the shuttle's nose cap, port wing, leading edge of the starboard wing, and outside of the crew cabin. No risk was found.

After docking to the station, the crew transferred the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo to the Unity module from which they moved 7,400 pounds of supplies and equipment during their stay. The cargo included a new heat exchange for the common cabin air assembly that collects condensation out of the air on the station, a new window and window seals for the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox, and a spare U.S. extravehicular activity suit and emergency jet pack.

Astronauts performed three spacewalks:

EVA No. 1 -- 7 hours, 31 minutes. Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Michael Fossum installed a blade blocker on the S0 truss in the zenith interface umbilical assembly to protect the undamaged power, data and video cable. They rerouted the cable through the IUA in order to move the mobile transporter rail car and replace the trailing umbilical system with the severed power and data cable. After that task, they tested the combination of the shuttle robotic arm and OBSS as a platform for spacewalking astronauts to repair a damaged orbiter if ever needed. The EVA was the fourth for Sellers and first for Fossum.

EVA. No. 2 -- 6 hours, 47 minutes. Sellers and Fossum restored the station's mobile transporter car to full operation, replacing the nadir-side trailing umbilical system, including a new interface umbilical assembly without a blade (the previous IUA had a blade, which inadvertently cut the cable that required the replacement). During the spacewalk, Fossum's emergency jet thruster backpack came loose on one side, requiring Sellers to secure it.

EVA No. 3 -- 7 hours, 11 minutes. The third and final spacewalk focused on testing repairs on thermal protection system reinforced carbon-carbon panels. Under evaluation was a pre-ceramic polymer sealant containing carbon-silicon carbide powder known as NOAX for use on damaged panels. Sellers and Fossum made three gouge repairs and two crack repairs. They also photographed the samples, as well as an area of Discovery's port wing. An added task during the EVA was removing the fixed grapple bar on the integrated cargo carrier in Discovery's payload bay and installing it on an ammonia tank inside the station's S1 truss to facilitate moving the tank on a later mission.

Refilled with 4,600 pounds of experiment samples, broken equipment and trash to be returned to Earth, Leonardo was moved back to Discovery's payload bay.

The return flight to Earth was delayed one day in order to add the third spacewalk. The mission management team determined there were enough consumables to extend the mission to test repair techniques and test a thermal imaging camera.

The trip home was one crew member short. Reiter remained behind to join Expedition 13, marking the first time since May 2003 that the station houses three crew members.

After unberthing from the station, the shuttle crew again used the robotic arm and boom sensors to inspect the starboard wing and nose cap heat shield. Still no concerns were noted.

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: Discovery; ISS-ULF1.1.
First Launch: 2006.07.04.
Last Launch: 2006.07.17.
Duration: 12.78 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Sellers Sellers, Piers John (1955-) British-American ecologist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-112, STS-121, STS-132. More...
  • Fossum Fossum, Michael Edward (1957-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-121, STS-124, ISS EO-28. More...
  • Lindsey Lindsey, Steven Wayne (1960-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-87, STS-95, STS-104, STS-121, STS-133. Grew up in Temple City, California. More...
  • Nowak Nowak, Lisa Marie Caputo (1963-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-121. US Navy test pilot. More...
  • Kelly, Mark Kelly, Mark Edward (1964-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-108, STS-121, STS-124, STS-134. Twin brother of astronaut Scott Kelly. Grew up in West Orange, New Jersey. Flew 39 combat missions over Iraq. More...
  • Wilson Wilson, Stephanie Diana (1966-) African-American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-121, STS-120, STS-131. Engineer. 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...

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-121 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 February 24 - .
  • International Space Station Status Report: SS06-007 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Tokarev; McArthur. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-12; STS-121. Summary: Aboard the International Space Station this week, Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev have been preparing for upcoming spacecraft arrivals and departures.. Additional Details: here....

2006 March 3 - .
2006 April 7 - .
2006 April 14 - .
2006 April 21 - .
  • International Space Station Status Report: SS06-018 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Vinogradov; Williams, Jeffrey; Reiter. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-13; STS-121; ISS Astrolab. Summary: The Expedition 13 crew this week focused on experiments, maintenance and preparations for the arrival of two and a half tons of food, supplies and equipment.. Additional Details: here....

2006 June 23 - .
  • International Space Station Status Report: SS06-030 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Vinogradov; Williams, Jeffrey; Reiter. Program: ISS. Flight: ISS EO-13; STS-121; ISS Astrolab. Summary: New supplies arrived at the International Space Station Monday as an unpiloted Russian cargo spacecraft linked up to the station's Pirs Docking Compartment.. Additional Details: here....

2006 June 26 - .
2006 June 30 - .
2006 July 4 - .
2006 July 4 - . 18:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-121.
  • STS-121 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Lindsey; Kelly, Mark; Fossum; Nowak; Wilson; Sellers; Reiter. Return Crew: Lindsey; Kelly, Mark; Fossum; Nowak; Wilson; Sellers. Payload: Discovery F32 / Leonardo. Mass: 121,094 kg (266,966 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Lindsey; Kelly, Mark; Fossum; Nowak; Wilson; Sellers; Reiter. Agency: NASA. Manufacturer: Boeing. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-121; ISS EO-13; ISS Astrolab. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 12.78 days. Decay Date: 2006-07-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 29251 . COSPAR: 2006-028A. Apogee: 351 km (218 mi). Perigee: 332 km (206 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.40 min. 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.

2006 July 5 - .
2006 July 5 - .
2006 July 6 - .
2006 July 6 - .
2006 July 7 - .
  • STS-121 MCC Status Report #07 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Wilson. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-121; ISS EO-13. Summary: The STS-121 Mission Management Team Friday decided to extend Discoveryís flight by an additional day to 13 days after reviewing the rate at which the orbiterís consumables are being used.. Additional Details: here....

2006 July 7 - .
2006 July 8 - .
2006 July 8 - .
2006 July 8 - . 13:17 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-121-1 - . Crew: Sellers; Fossum. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.31 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Sellers; Fossum. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-121. Summary: The astronauts tested the OBSS robot arm extension that would be available in later missions to carry an astronaut underneath the Shuttle for tile repairs..

2006 July 9 - .
2006 July 9 - .
2006 July 10 - .
2006 July 10 - .
2006 July 10 - . 07:14 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-121-2 - . Crew: Sellers; Fossum. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.28 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Sellers; Fossum. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-121. Summary: The crew worked on the exterior of the ISS. They installed a spare pump module on the ESP-2 platform and replaced an umbilical cable assembly for the ISS Mobile Transporter, making it ready for installation of new solar truss panels on the next mission..

2006 July 11 - .
2006 July 11 - .
2006 July 12 - .
2006 July 12 - .
2006 July 12 - . 06:20 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-121-3 - . Crew: Sellers; Fossum. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.30 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Sellers; Fossum. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-121. Summary: The crew tested repairing samples of heat shield material with DTO 848 protection system repair kit demonstator mounted in the shuttle payload bay..

2006 July 13 - .
2006 July 13 - .
  • STS-121 MCC Status Report #19 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Williams, Jeffrey; Fossum; Nowak. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-121; ISS EO-13. Summary: Astronauts on board Space Shuttle Discovery today got a much deserved day off after having completed three successful space walks and thousands of pounds of supply and equipment transfers earlier in the flight.. Additional Details: here....

2006 July 14 - .
2006 July 14 - .
2006 July 15 - .
2006 July 15 - .
2006 July 16 - .
2006 July 16 - .
  • STS-121 MCC Status Report #25 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Lindsey; Kelly, Mark. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-121; ISS EO-13. Summary: Discovery is targeted for a landing at 8:14 a.m. CDT Monday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.. Additional Details: here....

2006 July 17 - .
  • STS-121 MCC Status Report #26 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Reiter; Lindsey; Kelly, Mark; Fossum; Nowak; Wilson; Sellers. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-121; ISS EO-13; ISS Astrolab. Summary: A smooth landing by the Space Shuttle Discovery at the Kennedy Space Center this morning completed the second return to flight test mission and set the stage to resume assembly of the International Space Station later this summer.. Additional Details: here....

2006 July 17 - . 13:14 GMT - .
2006 July 28 - .
2006 August 25 - .
2006 September 28 - .
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