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  STS-123: ISS goes global with 'hand and hope' (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   STS-123: ISS goes global with 'hand and hope'
Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-29-2008 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Gives 'Go' For Space Shuttle Launch On March 11

quote:
NASA senior managers completed a review Friday of space shuttle Endeavour's readiness for flight and selected March 11 as the official launch date for the STS-123 mission. Commander Dominic Gorie and his six crewmates are scheduled to lift off to the International Space Station at 2:28 a.m. EDT.

During the 16-day mission, the crew will deliver and install the first section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo ("Hope") laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency's two-armed robotic system, Dextre. Five spacewalks will be conducted during the flight.

Endeavour's launch date was announced after the conclusion of Friday's Flight Readiness Review. During the two-day meeting, top NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle's equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for flight.

Gorie will be joined on STS-123 by Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Robert L. Behnken, Mike Foreman, Rick Linnehan, Garrett Reisman and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi. Reisman will remain on the station as a resident crew member, replacing station flight engineer Leopold Eyharts of the European Space Agency, who will return home on Endeavour.


For readers' reports about launch viewing, station and shuttle flyovers during the mission and other first-hand flight experiences, see: STS-123 mission viewing.

Robert Pearlman
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STS-123 Launch Windows

Launch time on March 11 is 2:28:12 a.m. EDT.

Launch attempts will be made on March 11 and 12, before standing down until March 17 to allow a Delta 2/GPS launch, which is scheduled March 15.

Launch time on March 12 is 2:02:30 a.m. EDT. On March 17 there are two attempts: 12:03:30 a.m. and 11:37:48 p.m. EDT.

Endeavour must launch by March 23, or be delayed until around April 21, after the Soyuz crew rotation activities in April.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA Pre-Launch and Mission Web Coverage
  • A live webcast featuring Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette will start NASA's online coverage of the mission at 11:30 a.m. EDT on March 10. Payette, who flew on STS-96, is scheduled to fly on the STS-127 mission in 2009.

  • A blog will update the countdown beginning about six hours before Endeavour is scheduled to lift off on March 11 at 2:28 a.m.

Robert Pearlman
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Preparations are on track for Tuesday's 25th shuttle flight to the International Space Station.

Endeavour's aft compartment was closed Wednesday night and the payload bay doors were closed for flight early Thursday morning.

After a problem surfaced with a high-power amplifier on an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radio, NASA managers decided to fly using the secondary backup system in low-power mode. The backup meets all of the flight safety rules required for flight.

The weather outlook is looking very good for Tuesday, with only a 10 percent chance that weather will prohibit launch. Should there be a need for a 24-hour turnaround, Kennedy's weather is still good, but low cloud cover increases the weather launch constraint to 20%.

The STS-123 crew is scheduled to depart Houston for the Cape later this evening, arriving at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 1:00 a.m. EST Saturday.

The T-43 hour launch countdown will officially begin at 3:00 a.m. EST on Saturday.

Robert Pearlman
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The crew of STS-123 are at Kennedy Space Center this morning, having arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 1:21 a.m. EST.

Touching down in a driving rainstorm, commander Dom Gorie made a few comments to the media gathered at the runway.

"I think once we get the weather done today we'll have a good shot at launching this week. But we just wanted to convey how excited we are to be here for launch week. We've got a great training team, they've got us ready."

The countdown for Endeavour's launch began on time at 3:00 a.m. EST, picking up at the T-43 hour mark.

Robert Pearlman
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The rotating service structure was rolled away from Endeavour this morning, marking a major milestone leading up to the launch of STS-123.

First motion of the RSS was recorded at 8:23 a.m., with the gantry fully retracted by 8:55 a.m. EDT.

The movement of the enclosed gantry clears the way for the loading of about 500,000 gallons of cyrogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants into the external tank this evening.

The current weather forecast calls for only a 10 percent chance atmospheric conditions will delay the launch, with the primary concern coming from a slight chance of a low cloud ceiling around Kennedy.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-10-2008 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA's mission management team has given a "go" to start fueling Endeavour's external tank with cryogenic liquid oxygen and hydrogen. The MMT reported they are working a few minor issues, but are proceeding.

Robert Pearlman
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Fueling of Endeavour's external tank began at 5:04 p.m. EDT. Filling the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen reserves will take approximately three hours.

Robert Pearlman
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Fueling of Endeavour has been completed. Liquid hydrogen was topped off at 7:40 p.m., liquid oxygen at 7:55 p.m. EDT.

The countdown has entered a planned 2-hour, 30 minute hold. Five minutes after the clock resumes, the crew of STS-123 will depart their quarters for Pad 39A.

Robert Pearlman
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The crew of STS-123 left their quarters at the Operations & Checkout Building (O&C) at 10:38 p.m. EDT, boarding the Astrovan for their ride to Pad 39A.

As has now become custom, the crew paused just before entering the van to pose for the media. From left to right were mission specialists Rick Linnehan, Takao Doi, Mike Foreman, Bob Behnken, pilot Greg Johnson, ISS flight engineer Garrett Reisman, and commander Dom Gorie.

The crew is now strapped into Endeavour and the closeout team is proceeding through the final steps before closing the orbiter's hatch.

Robert Pearlman
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collectSPACE: Endeavour launches, carries 'Hope' and an extra pair of hands
quote:
The International Space Station is a major step closer this morning to earning the "I" in its ISS acronym. For the first time since its assembly began in 1998, elements from each of the international partners are now in space.

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-11-2008 02:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice launch, although the apparent dropout of the left RCS during ascent woke me up a little. Any idea if the "Go for the plus X, no go for the pitch" was given as a result of that, or if they plan to get more imagery of the tank from the belly cameras with the flash equipment?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-11-2008 05:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mission management team chair Leroy Cain said during the post-launch press conference that the RCS thruster and flash evaporator glitches were minor, and were part of a redundant system. "It's a loss of redundancy in the very worst case."

With regard to the tank imagery, that is being studied now but early indications are that the one notable instance of debris separating 83 seconds into flight did not impact the orbiter.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-11-2008 05:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The flight director for this morning's launch was Bryan Lunney.

If Bryan's name sounds familiar, it may be because his father is Glynn Lunney, the Gemini and Apollo flight director who went on to become space shuttle program manager, deputy associate administrator for space flight and later acting associate administrator for space transportation operations before retiring from NASA in 1985.

Though Bryan has worked other missions since becoming a flight director in 2001, STS-123 is his first time leading a launch.

His father was on-hand in mission control this morning to congratulate his son on a job well done.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-11-2008 05:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We've come a long way from the classic steak and eggs for launch day breakfast. Here's what the STS-123 crew ordered as their 'last meal on Earth':
  • Dom Gorie: Shrimp salad, Doreen's Dressing, banana, brownie
  • Greg Johnson: Shrimp salad, Doreen's Dressing, ripe pear, vanilla bean ice cream
  • Bob Behnken: Turkey sandwich (no mayo), lettuce, tomato, spicy mustard, jalapeno chips, Diet Coke
  • Mike Forman: Shrimp salad, Doreen's Dressing, Strawberry Shortcake
  • Rick Linnehan: Filet - medium rare, steamed broccoli, jalapeno chips
  • Takao Doi: Steamed rice, vegetables, filet - medium rare, bowl fruit, shrimp cocktail
  • Garrett Reisman: Cheeseburger, french fries, shrimp cocktail

cspg
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posted 03-11-2008 05:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The launch picture is so much better than the live tv coverage...

I vote for banning night-time launches.

The camera onboard the ET served a purpose as long as the SRB were burning but afterwards? We couldn't see a thing (in case of foam debris or else).

Chris.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-11-2008 05:52 AM     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 cspg:
The camera onboard the ET served a purpose as long as the SRB were burning but afterwards?
Quoting from the STS-123 press kit:
quote:
A lighting system derived from an off-the-shelf flash has been added to the digital camera mounted inside one of the orbiter's umbilical wells to capture 23 illuminated photographs of the tank as it falls away from the shuttle after the main engines shut down 8.5 minutes following launch.

NASA's JSC Engineering Directorate designed and assembled the Digital Umbilical Camera Flash Module, which consists of two modified Nikon SB800 flash units, a charging power system and thermostatically controlled heaters -- all mounted inside a single sealed aluminum housing measuring 5 x 9 x 13 inches. A slight modification was made by Nikon to its commercial off-the-shelf flash units, which involved gluing the internal reflector in the optimum position to focus and project the light.

The flash module will provide light to enable photography of the external tank as it separates from the shuttle during darkness or heavy shadowing. The flash module, installed in the left side orbiter external tank umbilical well, begins flashing when signals are sent from the previously flown digital umbilical camera installed in the right side orbiter external tank umbilical well.


irish guy
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posted 03-11-2008 05:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for irish guy   Click Here to Email irish guy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great launch and I am so delighted for one of the nicest guys in the Astronaut Office, Greg Johnson. Greg came to Ireland in 2002 and gave a number of talks. I got to meet him 3 times in that trip. I well remember him twice been asked "Which mission were you on Greg?" and the look on his face when he had to explain. He told me a funny story, how he was having a meal in Dublin enjoying himself, delighted that the trip was going well, and looking across the tables to see George Abbey in the tables next to him. A wonderful Guy, and I hope to meet him again soon.

NavySpaceFan
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posted 03-11-2008 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
The launch picture is so much better than the live tv coverage...
After reading some accounts of those who witnessed the launch, I think the cloud cover was more to blame rather than the time of day (or night as it were). They said that after Endeavour went into the clouds, they couldn't see much, and neither could NASA's ground based cameras.

cspg
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posted 03-11-2008 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by NavySpaceFan:
After reading some accounts of those who witnessed the launch, I think the cloud cover was more to blame rather than the time of day (or night as it were).
You're right. Same thing for Ariane 5/ATV (although I wasn't up for the launch).

But I liked the shuttle commander (I'm assuming it was him) who said prior to launch: Banzai! That made me laugh - and apparently I wasn't the only one - some in mission control as well!

Chris.

Mike Z
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posted 03-11-2008 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Z   Click Here to Email Mike Z     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone seen the STS-123 flight plan? NASA has not posted it in their Flight Data Files. They have not updated since STS-122.

Thanks!
Mike Z

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-11-2008 12:59 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 Mike Z:
Has anyone seen the STS-123 flight plan?
They gave out hard copies during the pre-flight briefings last week at JSC. I will inquire with public affairs when I am there later tonight for the first mission briefing.

James Brown
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posted 03-11-2008 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a neat shot of 123 I did early this morning:

James

cspg
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posted 03-12-2008 01:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neat it is! Wow!

Chris.

Robert Pearlman
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quote:
During Endeavour's ascent, the shuttle registered a pair of problems a loss of telemetry data from two of its maneuvering thrusters and a forced switch to an alternate cooling system but neither had an immediate effect on the Endeavour's climb into orbit.
With regards to the reaction control system (RCS) failure, it has been traced back to a software problem. A patch will be implemented to restore use of the vernier thrusters.

After a couple of attempts to reconfigure the prime "A" flash evaporator (FES) cooling system, it has been declared failed. The orbiter will continue using FES Pri B for the remainder of the mission.

Also, a piece of "debris" was seen falling approximately 10 seconds into flight however it does not appear to have originated from the shuttle itself. Analysts are still studying the imagery to determine if it struck the nose of the orbiter or fell behind the left solid rocket booster. Even if it did hit the shuttle, the relative velocity at that time into flight was low enough that it would not be expected to be a concern for damage. The data collected today by the crew using the orbiter's inspection boom includes the nose area.

Moonwalker1954
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posted 03-12-2008 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonwalker1954   Click Here to Email Moonwalker1954     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by James Brown:
Here's a neat shot of 123 I did early this morning
James, WOW! That's one of the nicest and weirdest picture I've ever seen of a shuttle launch!

Congrats,
Pierre-Yves

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-12-2008 12:08 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 Robert Pearlman:
I will inquire with public affairs when I am there later tonight for the first mission briefing.
Well, I didn't have the chance to ask about the flight plan, but in the interim, NASA has updated their data files to include the STS-123 documents.

MiliputMan
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posted 03-12-2008 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's floating debris in pictures taken by the STS-123 astronauts: S123-E-005072
and S123-E-005073

I'm intrigued about this particular debris since it doesn't look like soft material or a frozen substance that could fall off harmlessly. It does look like a semi circular strip or even a square plate viewed from the side.

Phillipe

Robert Pearlman
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quote:
Originally posted by MiliputMan:
...it doesn't look like soft material or a frozen substance that could fall off harmlessly.
It looks to me like the ice that we've seen on prior missions that falls off the SSMEs, which would explain the curve in its appearance.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-12-2008 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Views of Endeavour from the space station, as it approaches a docking between the two spacecraft.

Endeavour about to start its rendezvous pitch maneuver, the "back flip" that will give the crew of the space station a chance to photograph the belly of the orbiter.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-12-2008 09:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The RPM maneuver began at 9:26 p.m. CDT.

Robert Pearlman
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Flight controllers have given Endeavour a "go" for docking.

Robert Pearlman
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Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-12-2008 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Houston, Endeavour, capture confirmed."

With the ring of the station bell announcing the arrival of Endeavour, the two craft were docked at 10:49 p.m. CDT as they orbited 213 miles over Singapore.

"Peggy, that's the sweetest sound I've ever heard," radioed STS-123 commander and retired Navy Captain Dom Gorie to ISS Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson.

Robert Pearlman
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The hatch separating Endeavour from the station was opened at 12:28 a.m. CDT.

Garrett Reisman, who will soon replace Leo Eyharts aboard the station as Expedition 16 flight engineer, has become the 150th visitor to the ISS.

The joined crews embraced each other and exchanged gifts, before beginning a safety briefing led by station commander Peggy Whitson.

Robert Pearlman
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To coordinate between crews, the station astronauts "slam shifted" their sleep schedule by nine hours... in one day! (Flight controllers gave the crew an extra "power nap" the next day.)

When Endeavour departs ISS, the station crew will again "slam shift" the nine hours in reverse to resume their regular schedule.

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Analysts are still studying the imagery to determine if it struck the nose of the orbiter or fell behind the left solid rocket booster.
Imagery analysis has verified that whatever the nature of the debris (or wildlife) that passed by the orbiter 10 seconds into Endeavour's launch, it did not strike the nose but rather passed harmlessly behind the SRB.

Robert Pearlman
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Shortly after they came on-board the ISS, Greg Johnson and Bob Behnken used the station's Canadarm2 to remove the Spacelab pallet containing the Dextre Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) from Endeavour's payload bay and attached it to the Payload Orbital Replacement Unit Attachment Device (POA) on the station's Mobile Base System.

The move was made in preparation for the mission's first spacewalk, scheduled to begin just before 8:30 p.m. CDT Thursday night, during which Rick Linnehan and Garrett Reisman will begin assembling Dextre by attaching its "hands" to its arms.

cspg
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posted 03-13-2008 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:


Hope to see high resolution pics of the lower photos. Really nice!

Chris.

Robert Pearlman
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From Bill Harwood (CBS/Spaceflight Now), concerning the Dextre Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) and its Spacelab pallet, which was moved from Endeavour's payload bay to the station's Mobile Base System earlier this morning:
quote:
An initial attempt to route power to the pallet was not successful, but power is not required for the robot's initial assembly and the astronauts were told to press ahead with preparations for a spacewalk Thursday night, the first of five planned for Endeavour's mission.

...

Engineers ran into a snag when an attempt to route power to the pallet failed. Power is not required for the robot's assembly, but engineers want to figure out what might be causing the problem.

"Peggy, we tried powering up the SPDM but were unable to power it up as planned," Mark Vande Hei radioed from mission control. "We're troubleshooting it still. Bottom line is, EVA-1 is as planned, but we may have some deltas (changes) in the morning."

"OK, we're all excited about that," station commander Peggy Whitson replied.

"As are we," Vande Hei laughed.


Robert Pearlman
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Station flight director Ginger Kerrick provided an update as to the problem with powering Dextre just after coming off the overnight shift in mission control:
quote:
Shortly after the robotics crew installed the Spacelab pallet with Dextre onto the Mobile Base System, our robotics officer in mission control attempted a power up of Dextre and that was unsuccessful. So we have been spending a majority of the evening troubleshooting that and assessing the impacts to tomorrow's timeline.

The plan is to execute today's spacewalk per the nominal timeline. There were some get-ahead tasks or tasks that we would only complete if we finished the nominal tasks associated with removing some thermal shrouds that are around a joint electronics unit and since we are unable to provide the 'keep-alive' power to Dextre at this time, we will probably defer those tasks, but those only represented about a 25 minute task on the EVA.

We have already performed a number of troubleshooting steps. The power that is provided to Dextre can actually go through two separate strings and each of those strings has two separate channels. So we attempted to provide power with every combination of channel and string that we could think of and that was unsuccessful. So the second thing we tried from the ground is when you attach the SLP [Spacelab pallet] to the port on the Mobile Base System there is a connector that is supposed to mate to provide power and data access through there. So from the ground, we remotely commanded that to disconnect and then reconnect, just in case the connection did not mate properly. Then we tried to re-power Dextre after that, again unsuccessful.

So with respect to the mechanical things we can try to restore power, there is one more thing we can do but it requires the help of the EVA crew. And that is to go off and inspect all of the connectors and cables that we were anticipated were already connected to determine whether or not that might be a source of the problem. So that is about everything we can do mechanically.

Now we have talked to our Canadian Space Agency counterparts and there is a possibility that this could be the result of a timing issue with the software. When we command power to Dextre, the robotics workstation that we are working on attempts to communicate with it shortly after that power command is sent up. The theory is that the box that we are powering on, which is called the Power Switching Unit — or you'll hear us refer to that as the PSU — that we are trying to communicate with while it is still powering up. So our Canadian Space Agency counterparts are looking into a software patch that would extend the amount of time between the power up and when the workstation tries to communicate with it. And again, this is just a theory, but it is one of the things that folks are looking at. They are hoping to deliver that patch within 24 hours so we can test it out. So as soon as that patch is delivered we'll uplink it, we'll attempt to re-power.

Now if that is unsuccessful, we have another leg we have talked about on the overnight shift, which would be to attempt to grapple the Dextre with the SSRMS or the station arm and attempt to power it that way. So you can either power it via the Mobile Base System or via station arm. So if we attempt that, that will give us an additional clue of which part of the power path is broken.


A team of specialists convened at 10:00 a.m. CDT this morning, about midway through the crew's sleep, to discuss the issue further as the overnight shift transferred to the day shift.


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Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





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