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  Object observed near Atlantis, landing postponed NET 9/21

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Author Topic:   Object observed near Atlantis, landing postponed NET 9/21
Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2006 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA mission managers have informed the STS-115 crew that given a poor weather forecast for a Wednesday landing at KSC and the observation of an object floating near Atlantis that they have waived landing to no earlier than Thursday, Sept. 21.

NASA may ask the crew to perform inspections of the orbiter tomorrow using the robotic arm and/or the boom.

The object was observed by Mission Control near the orbiter following standard tests of Atlantis’ reaction control system about 1:45 a.m. CDT today.

Video of the object: Real | Windows

Wednesday's weather forecast at Kennedy Space Center called for a chance of thunderstorms in the vicinity, high cross winds and low cloud ceilings. The situation improves on Thursday.

spaceman
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posted 09-19-2006 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman   Click Here to Email spaceman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Robert,
I watched the video twice and was unable to see the object,
Nick
P.S. Looks like I finally need to break out the reading glasses.....now where are they

spaceuk
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posted 09-19-2006 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boy that needed some spotting but it is there in video. A small 'dot-like' object - best seen about midway through video against white clouds in centre of frame.


Phill

Madon_space
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posted 09-19-2006 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Madon_space   Click Here to Email Madon_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thought it was dust on my monitor

All joking aside i hope this isn't anything serious

------------------
Best Wishes
ROB
http://www.picturetrail.com/madon_space

Astro Bill
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posted 09-19-2006 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CNN is showing a video of the "mystery object". Any news on what NASA thinks it is? It must be large, if we are able to see it in relation to the shuttle.

lunarrv15
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posted 09-19-2006 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
whatever the object is, I guess its a speck.

couldn't spot it

I think they have dust speck on lens. give it a clean and speck gone.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2006 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lunarrv15:
I think they have dust speck on lens. give it a clean and speck gone.
Space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale addressed this thought during a media briefing held within the last hour.

They had the crew purposely move the camera to insure that the object they were seeing was not caused by dirt on the lens. Suffice to say, the object is real.

sts205cdr
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posted 09-19-2006 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From CNN:

"Mission control spotted the baffling object -- the size of which was not immediately determined -- with a video camera in the shuttle's cargo bay. The object, which circled the Earth in the same orbit as the shuttle, probably came out of the cargo bay around 2:45 a.m. EDT Tuesday because some jets had just been fired on Atlantis, (NASA spokesman Doug) Peterson said."
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/09/19/space.shuttle.ap/index.html

Sounds like it came out of the cargo bay. If so, it wouldn't be TPS.

--John

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2006 01:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Spaceflight Now:
quote:
In what could be a coincidence, engineers monitoring data from sensors mounted behind the ship's carbon composite wing leading edge panels recorded eight "events" over a two-minute period earlier today. It's not yet clear whether the data indicates an actual impact event, vibrations associated with the entry tests or some other phenomenon. While the timing was coincidental, an impact event would not be expected to trigger multiple signatures. But engineers do not yet have an explanation.

cspg
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posted 09-19-2006 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaceuk:
Boy that needed some spotting but it is there in video. A small 'dot-like' object - best seen about midway through video against white clouds in centre of frame.


Phill


yes, it took some time to find it. Is it me (or the poor quality of the video) or the object seems to change in brightness (i.e. rotating?)?
Can the shuttle approach the object as a means to find out what it is?

Chris.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2006 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In these yet-to-be-publicly-released photographs taken by the STS-115 crew and obtained from a source by collectSPACE.com, a piece of debris is seen near the orbiter Atlantis.

[Edited by Robert Pearlman (September 19, 2006).]

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
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posted 09-19-2006 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If it remains unidentified you just know this is going to be Tabloid fodder and we will see this video footage endlessly proliferated on the SCI-FI channel as the smoking gun we are not alone...

------------------
Scott Schneeweis

URL http://www.SPACEAHOLIC.com/

FFrench
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posted 09-19-2006 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It does kind of look like a jellyfish in some of those shots!
http://www.silflayhraka.com/archives/2003/05/millions_panic_as_giant_space.html

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2006 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
In what could be a coincidence, engineers monitoring data from sensors mounted behind the ship's carbon composite wing leading edge panels recorded eight "events" over a two-minute period earlier today.
An update to CBS/Spaceflight Now's update from SFN:
quote:
Within a few hours, engineers were able to precisely time out the data, showing the sensor was responding to vibrations associated with the hydraulic system.

tegwilym
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posted 09-19-2006 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like one of those things I tape on my nose at night to keep from snoring!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2006 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale confirmed that the photographs of debris posted above were of the second event "sparkly" reported by the STS-115 crew earlier today.

"There is a considerable thought that it is just a plastic bag that came loose," said Hale during a media briefing held at Johnson Space Center.

Hale said they are not concerned by this particular debris.

In regards to the "first" debris event that caused the initial concern by mission control, there is not enough information to determine its nature.

One of the more likely candidates is the piece of shim stock that was seen protruding from the port external tank door at the beginning of the mission.

The plan for the crew is as follows:

The crew will wake-up tonight at 8:45 p.m. CDT. At 10:45 p.m., they will resume surveys of the orbiter's surfaces using the shuttle robot arm (RMS) for approximately 5 hours.

After the crew breaks for lunch, they will then unberth the boom at 4:45 a.m. CDT and begin three hours of underside surveys at 5:45 a.m.

The crew is scheduled to sleep at 12:45 p.m.

This schedule is subject to change and will depend on what the ground sees from the imagery as it is obtained. It may be that the boom is never deployed if the arm imagery suffices.

Landing is still scheduled for Thursday morning however if tomorrow's activities leave the crew tired, it may be that NASA will decide to wave their reentry another 24 hours to Friday.

[Edited by Robert Pearlman (September 19, 2006).]

Greggy_D
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posted 09-19-2006 06:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't see why they just didn't use the RCS to maneuver as close as possible to the object for inspection. They could have stayed with the object in close proximity for a few hours and conducted an emergency EVA to retrieve the object. Was this even a projected solution?

Paul78zephyr
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posted 09-19-2006 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert,
Thanks for the posts of those great pictures. Honestly, I could not see it in the original video footage you posted. Yahoo had same/similar video at their website with the object highlighted so it could be seen - it was only a dot in that video. Could be a plastic bag, it seems transluscent. Does your source have an estimate of how far away from Atlantis the object is?

Paul

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2006 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Greggy_D:
Was this even a projected solution?
As mentioned above (but added after you posted), mission managers are not concerned by what appears to be a "plastic bag" in the photographs shown above. There is no need for further observation or retrieval.

The overall concern is not so much about the debris itself but where it might have originated. Even if clear and close-up imagery existed of the piece, they might still want to examine the orbiter to verify that additional damage (if any) was not also present from where it came.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2006 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul78zephyr:
Honestly, I could not see it in the original video footage you posted. Yahoo had same/similar video at their website with the object highlighted so it could be seen - it was only a dot in that video.
To be clear: the dot in the video and the "bag" pictured above are not the same debris. The plastic bag — if it is a plastic bag, and that is not verified — was reported and photographed by the crew. The "dot" that is of concern was first and only seen by the ground earlier in the day.

[Edited by Robert Pearlman (September 19, 2006).]

Greggy_D
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posted 09-19-2006 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess my point is......if you examine and/or retrieve the debris you'll know exactly what it is and where it came from. Then you can focus your damage assessment on that exact originating area (instead of guessing).

[Edited by Greggy_D (September 19, 2006).]

John K. Rochester
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posted 09-20-2006 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Greggy_D:
I don't see why they just didn't use the RCS to maneuver as close as possible to the object for inspection.
As it is a smaller mass it's orbit would not deteriorate as fast as the shuttle, so by now it may be in a different orbital plane, it's not as easy as just firing the RCS over to the object. Orbital Mechanics make for extremely complicated maneuvers...

[Edited by John K. Rochester (September 20, 2006).]

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-20-2006 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA mission managers have cleared shuttle Atlantis for a landing on Thursday after having the STS-115 crew complete their inspection of the orbiter's thermal protection system today.

Atlantis' next landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., is at 5:21 a.m. CDT Thursday.

During today's inspections, the astronauts used cameras on the shuttle’s robotic arm to conduct the scans. Imagery specialists and engineers reviewed the data and did not see any areas of concern.

The astronauts then attached the orbiter boom sensor system to the arm and performed additional inspections. The boom allowed engineers to inspect areas that could not be seen with just the arm.

To get ready for landing, the crew will pack up gear and stow the Ku-Band antenna later today. The antenna is used for television coverage.

Forecasts for Thursday call for acceptable weather at the Florida landing site.

[Edited by Robert Pearlman (September 20, 2006).]

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