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  STS-130/Endeavour: Adding a room with a view [Flight Day Journal] (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   STS-130/Endeavour: Adding a room with a view [Flight Day Journal]
Robert Pearlman
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Flight Day: Seven

Coolant connected (con't)

Spacewalkers Nick Patrick and Bob Behnken successfully connected the two ammonia coolant loops leading from the new Tranquility node to those on the Destiny lab. Their work proceeded as planned, with their only concern being a small ammonia leak that was encountered as Patrick worked to connect the first of two lines on the first loop.
"I have a small spray of ammonia coming out from under the cap," reported Patrick. I have backed away, ammonia did come in my direction. No more is coming out."

"I saw some small pieces that looked just like snow. No continuous stream, just flakes is what I saw," Behnken added.

"It was about the kind of quantity you would expect if you didn't empty the straw at the end of your drink bag," described Patrick.

"If you were drinking ammonia," spacewalk coordinator Stephen Robinson joked from Endeavour's flight deck.

According to Patrick, the ammonia flakes flew in the direction of his right glove and helmet visor, but he saw none adhering.

A subsequent inspection by Behnken of Patrick's spacesuit saw no evidence of contamination, although to be safe, Mission Control was monitoring the time Patrick would be exposed in the sun to allow any residual ammonia to "bake out" before he reentered the station.


Credit: NASA TV

The spacewalkers are to spend their remaining time outside outfitting Tranquility.

Behnken will install insulation on the keel pin and four trunnions that connected Tranquility to the shuttle while it was in transit. He will also set up the centerline camera on the nadir, or Earth-facing, port of Tranquility and release the launch locks that held the petals of the port's berthing mechanism in place during launch. The Cupola will be moved to that port later in the mission.

Patrick will install eight handrails and a vent valve on Tranquility. The handrails will be used by spacewalkers to move along the exterior of the node, and the vent valve will be part of the atmospheric control and resupply system.

Robert Pearlman
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Flight Day: Seven

Second spacewalk ends

The second of three spacewalks for the STS-130 mission came to an end at 2:14 a.m. CST on Sunday, five hours and 54 minutes after Nick Patrick and Bob Behnken set out to connect coolant lines for the new Tranquility Node 3.


Credit: NASA TV
"I know you guys cannot see it, but the lights are on in Node 3," shuttle commander George Zamka radioed to the two spacewalkers inside the airlock, referring to the work that their crewmates completed while they were outside.

"That's great," replied Behnken.

"They have cooling and airflow as well," Zamka added, this time alluding to Behnken's and Patrick's efforts.

"Here is hoping you will let us back in to see it," Patrick said.

The spacewalkers' reentry into the station was delayed by 50 minutes as they followed a set of precautionary procedures inside the Quest airlock as a result of a brief ammonia leak and possible contamination reported by Patrick. A test confirmed there was no ammonia present.

This spacewalk marked Behnken's fifth EVA, Patrick's second and the 139th in support of space station assembly and maintenance.


Credit: NASA TV

Robert Pearlman
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Flight Day: Seven

Outfitting Tranquility, troubleshooting the Cupola

While the spacewalk was under way, station commander Jeff Williams and flight engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer, along with STS-130 pilot Terry Virts and mission specialist Kay Hire, continued their work outfitting Tranquility's interior by setting up the ventilation system, connecting electrical and computer cables, and configuring exercise and equipment racks.

Williams also removed two protruding bolts that were interfering with the installation of a "center disc" thermal cover intended to protect the node's end cone after the planned relocation of the Cupola to the nadir, or Earth-facing, port. While the workaround was successful -- the cover "did fit" -- the margin is very tight, leaving ground controllers uneasy about moving the Cupola.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't appear we have the clearance that we were hoping to get," explained lead station flight director Bob Dempsey. "We thought we would have about 0.2 of an inch clearance and it looks like it's very thin, maybe 1/32 of an inch. Therefore, we're not sure yet that we are comfortable in relocating the cupola with this potential interference, so the teams are continuing to look at options."
Relocation of the Cupola remains scheduled for late on Sunday night, though whether that proceeds is still to be confirmed.


Cupola Handrail Bracket Credit: NASA

The shuttle crew is scheduled to go to bed at 7:14 a.m. CST, with a wakeup call to begin Flight Day 8 at 3:14 p.m. Sunday.


Flight Day 7 Highlights. Credit: NASA TV

Browse NASA's STS-130 Flight Day 7 Photo Gallery

Robert Pearlman
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Flight Day: Eight

Cupid and the Cupola

STS-130 mission specialist Nicholas Patrick woke with his Endeavour crewmates at 3:14 p.m. CST to "Forty Years On" by Edward Ernest Bowen and John Farmer, his alma mater's song.
"Good morning to all the students at Harrow School in London and all the students everywhere from 200 miles above the Atlantic," radioed Harrow alumnus Patrick. "I would like to encourage you all to follow your dreams."

Credit: NASA TV

Patrick and his fellow crew members will spend their Valentine's Day depressurizing and then moving the seven-windowed Cupola to its Earth-facing port on the Tranquility Node.
"The good news for today is overnight we looked at all the information that you gathered for us yesterday and sent down and we became very comfortable with you doing the Cupola depress and relocate today," reported capcom Shannon Lucid from Mission Control.

"That's fantastic news!" exclaimed Patrick. "Thank you to all on the ground who worked on that so hard overnight. I hear cheers from downstairs as everybody is waking up and for all in Mission Control and Houston and elsewhere, happy Valentine's Day!"

Depressurization of the Cupola is scheduled to begin just before 6:00 p.m., followed by it being grappled with the station's robotic arm just after 8:00 p.m. CST.

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Flight Day: Eight

'Room with a view' now has its view

The International Space Station's new seven-windowed Cupola was repositioned on Sunday evening, giving the new room an unparalleled view of the Earth rotating below. The robotic arm-assisted move was not without issue though, as jammed bolts and stuck latches initially held up its relocation.


Credit: NASA TV

The preparations to move the Cupola began earlier in the evening as STS-130 pilot Terry Virts and mission specialist Kay Hire monitored the observation module as it was depressurized prior to taking hold of it with the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Station commander Jeff Williams was in the process of operating the common berthing mechanisms connecting the Cupola to Tranquility's outboard hatch when one of 16 bolts failed to release. A workaround was devised by changing the torque settings, but not before two other bolts in the same set of four (out of four) also jammed.

After freeing the bolts, four capture latches holding the Cupola to the node also refused to open. Ground controllers, working with the crew, were however able to clear the problem.


Credit: NASA TV

Finally released from where it had been docked to fit into Endeavour's payload bay for launch, the Cupola was moved by Virts and Hire to its permanent location, the nadir, or Earth-facing side of the node.

Its reattachment was briefly delayed as Mission Control responded to Virts' report that an electrical connector on the Cupola had "popped up." Ultimately, it was determined that the cable was not in the way and the module was berthed at 12:25 a.m. Monday.

Secured in place, the Cupola was to be repressurized and monitored for an airtight seal by ground controllers later on Monday. The crew is scheduled to enter the Cupola and open its windows for the first time on Thursday after a spacewalk removes a thermal cover and launch locks from the outside of its protective shutters.

While Virts, Hire and Williams were occupied with the Cupola's move, Endeavour's commander George Zamka, mission specialist Stephen Robinson, and station flight engineers Max Suraev and T.J. Creamer resumed outfitting and activating Tranquility.


Credit: NASA TV

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Flight Day: Eight

Preparing for PMA-3

The International Space Station's new viewport now facing the Earth, preparations continued for it to provide a panoramic view of the planet below. Relocation of the Cupola was completed at 12:31 a.m. CST.

The Canadarm2 robotic arm, finished with the Cupola, was redirected to grapple the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) in preparation for the docking port's move later on Monday to where the observation portal had been berthed.

Meanwhile, the crew continued outfitting the Cupola, preparing to fill water lines and for the installation of a robotics workstation there. The astronauts are expected to get their first look out the Cupola's seven windows after Tuesday's third and final scheduled STS-130 EVA.

STS-130 spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nicholas Patrick spent an hour and a half earlier in the day preparing for that excursion resizing a spacesuit for Behnken. The suit he wore on the first two spacewalks had some communications dropouts.


Credit: NASA TV

Pilot Terry Virts and mission specialist Kay Hire answered students' questions Sunday evening, and then just before the end of their day, Virts and Behnken were interviewed by WOR Radio New York and by television stations KTVI-TV in St. Louis and WREG-TV in Memphis.

Endeavour's crew retired for the day at 7:14 a.m. CST.


Flight Day 8 Highlights. Credit: NASA TV

Browse NASA's STS-130 Flight Day 8 Photo Gallery

Robert Pearlman
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Flight Day: Nine

President's PMA-3 Day

The STS-130 crew woke at 3:15 p.m. CST to the song "Parabola" by the band Tool, played for spacewalker Bob Behnken at the request of his astronaut wife, Megan McArthur.
"A special good morning to my wife Megan, who I really do look forward to seeing here in just a handful of days now. I can't wait to be back in your arms and see you back in Florida and then back in Houston," he radioed.
Behnken, together with fellow spacewalker Nick Patrick, Expedition 22 commander Jeff Williams and flight engineer Soichi Noguchi will maneuver the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) from its location on the Harmony node to the now open port vacated by the Cupola at the end of Tranquility. Using the station's robotic arm, they will demate PMA-3 at 5:59 p.m. and install it on Tranquility just after 7:30 p.m.

This relocation will provide an additional docking port for spacecraft visiting the station as well as provide additional micrometeroid debris shielding for Tranquility.

Meanwhile, shuttle pilot Terry Virts and mission specialist Kay Hire will focus on the interior outfitting of the Cupola, now secured in its permanent location. Mission specialist Stephen Robinson will remove launch brackets used on Tranquility's Low Temperature Loop Pump Package Assembly and Common Cabin Air Assembly. Endeavour's commander George Zamka will monitor his crewmates' activities and support TV and camera set up for the relocation activities.

After their midday meal, both the shuttle and station crews will enjoy President's Day with off-duty time and exercise in their afternoon.

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Flight Day: Nine

PMA-3 repositioned

Using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, STS-130 mission specialists Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick, together with Expedition 22 commander Jeff Williams and flight engineer Soichi Noguchi moved Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) from its location on the Harmony node to the open end of the Tranquility node.

The PMA-3 relocation began at 7:52 p.m. and was completed at 8:28 p.m. CST when 16 bolts secured the common berthing mechanisms connecting the docking port with Tranquility.

This relocation offers an additional docking port for spacecraft visiting the station as well as provides debris shielding for Tranquility.


Credit: NASA TV

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Flight Day: Nine

Working out, camping out

With a port swap of the International Space Station's new Cupola and Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 completed today, astronauts continued outfitting the Tranquility node and its observation deck and prepared for a third spacewalk.

Mission specialist Nick Patrick and Bob Behnken will hook up heater and data cables between the relocated adapter and Tranquility during their spacewalk beginning Tuesday evening. Today, the spacewalkers reviewed plans for their final planned excursion with intravehicular officer Stephen Robinson, STS-130 commander George Zamka, pilot Terry Virts and station flight engineer T.J. Creamer.

Behnken and Patrick began their "campout" in Quest at 5:40 a.m. CST. With the airlock's pressure reduced to 10.2 psi, the overnight procedure aims to lower their blood's nitrogen content and minimize the possibility of decompression sickness.

Meanwhile, the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), which was earlier moved into Tranquiliy, got an early test run by Expedition 22 commander Jeff Williams, and all seemed to go well.

After several hours of off-duty time, Endeavour's astronauts went to bed at 7:14 a.m. CST.


Flight Day 9 Highlights. Credit: NASA TV

Browse NASA's STS-130 Flight Day 9 Photo Gallery

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Flight Day: Ten

Opening a "Window on the World"

Endeavour's crew will perform their third and final planned spacewalk for the STS-130 mission today and in doing so, reveal the view from the International Space Station's new Cupola observation module.

The astronauts began their day at 3:14 p.m. CST to the aptly-chosen song "Window on the World" by Jimmy Buffett, as played for mission specialist Kay Hire.

"That song is very appropriate today, performed by fellow Mobile, Alabama-native Jimmy Buffett, and on a day we'll be working on opening our new window on the world, performing EVA no. 3 here on the International Space Station and space shuttle Endeavour," radioed Hire.
The six and a half-hour spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 8:09 p.m. Spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick will hook up heater and data cables between the relocated Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 and Tranquility and then open the second of two ammonia loops allowing coolant to flow through Node 3.

They will then remove insulation and release bolts that protected the Cupola for launch, enabling their fellow astronauts inside the station to open the shutters covering the portal's seven windows.


Credit: NASA TV

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Flight Day: Ten

Third and final spacewalk begins

Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick configured their spacesuits for battery power at 8:15 p.m. CST, marking the beginning of the third and final planned spacewalk for the STS-130 mission.

The extravehicular activity, or EVA, is expected to last about six and a half hours during which Tranquility outfitting will continue.

First, Behnken will open the second of two ammonia coolant loops he and Patrick routed during the previous EVA, and then disconnect the temporary power cables that Patrick set up during the first spacewalk.

Concurrently, Patrick will work to connect heater and data cables from the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) to Tranquility.

For identification purposes, Behnken is wearing a spacesuit marked with solid red stripes. Patrick has on an all-white suit.


Credit: NASA TV

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Flight Day: Ten

Uncovering the Cupola

With the second of Tranquility's ammonia coolant loops now open and the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 connected to the node by heater and data cables, spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick have turned their attention to the International Space Station's new seven-window Cupola.

Together, they are working to remove six insulation panels covering the Cupola's windows.

Once that is out of the way, Patrick will work to release the three bolts on each of the seven window's shutters that were installed to secure the Cupola for launch.

While he does so, Behnken will return to outfitting the Tranquility node by installing four worksite interfaces and five more handrails.


Credit: NASA TV

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Flight Day: Ten

"Absolutely incredible."

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station got their first look out the largest pane of glass ever launched into space at 11:25 p.m. CST, thanks to the work of spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick who removed insulation and bolts that secured the Cupola for launch.
"Hey Bob and Nick, that's about 10 pounds of MLI [multi-layer insulation] in an eight pound bag," radioed STS-130 commander George Zamka after Behnken and Patrick finished removing and packing the Cupola's insulation cover. "Terrific job folding that up. You made it look easy."

"It wasn't, but thank you," replied Patrick.

"We're about to have [the] Cupola have its first orbital sunrise and its gleaming metal looks terrific," observed Zamka.


Credit: NASA TV

The observation module's metal surface exposed, Patrick made quick work freeing the bolts holding the Cupola's seven window shutters in place. It was then time for pilot Terry Virts and mission specialist Kay Hire from inside the module to test open each.
"I see it opening," said Patrick, describing the window at the top of the hexagonal module.

"Well as expected, the view through window seven is absolutely spectacular," shared station commander Jeff Williams. "It has to be the largest window onboard and when we have the others open it will be give us a view of the entire globe. Absolutely incredible."


Credit: NASA TV

A bit later, after the top window was closed and one of the six side shutters was opened, Patrick came face to face with Virts inside.
"Hello Nick!" said Virts.

"Hello Terry!" replied Patrick.

"You guys have come a long way to look at each other across that short distance," radioed Stephen Robinson, serving as the spacewalk's coordinator.

"That's the truth," agreed Patrick.


Credit: NASA TV

Robert Pearlman
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Flight Day: Ten

Third and final spacewalk ends

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick completed the third and final spacewalk of the STS-130 mission at 2:03 a.m. CST, five hours and 48 minutes after they began.


Credit: NASA TV

Having successfully completed their work outfitting Tranquility and setting up the seven-window Cupola for its use as an observation deck, the two spacewalkers wrapped up their third EVA together by routing cables for the station's video signal converter and closing off the centerline camera that was used on the zenith, or space-facing, port of the Harmony node when the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 was berthed there.
"Hey Bob and Nick, welcome back to the airlock," Kay Hire radioed from the other side of the hatch. "Great job raising the curtains on the bay window to the world."

"Thank you Kay, we appreciate it," replied Behnken.

"I look forward to the view from the inside," responded Patrick.

This was Behnken's sixth spacewalk, bringing his career total time to 37 hours and 33 minutes, ranking him 22nd on the list of worldwide spacewalkers.

Patrick, who made his first EVA earlier on this mission, now has three spacewalks to his credit for a total time of 18 hours, 14 minutes.

Today's spacewalk was the 140th devoted to station assembly since construction began in 1998 for a total of 873 hours and 16 minutes.


Click to enlarge. Credit: JAXA/Soichi Noguchi

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Flight Day: Ten

Readying for relocating racks

With the STS-130 mission's three planned spacewalks accomplished, Endeavour's astronauts returned their attention to the inside of the space station's Tranquility and Cupola modules, preparing to relocate the regenerative environmental control system from the Destiny lab to the new node.

Expedition 22 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi replaced the recycle filter tank assembly, part of the water recycling system, before filling the replacement tank. The replaced tank will be returned to Earth on Endeavour for analysis.

The astronauts retired for the day at 7:14 a.m. and are set to wake for Flight Day 11 at 3:14 p.m. CST. An hour later, they are scheduled to receive a call from the White House and President Barack Obama.


Flight Day 10 Highlights. Credit: NASA TV

Browse NASA's STS-130 Flight Day 10 Photo Gallery

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Flight Day: Eleven

Extra day's work

The crew aboard space shuttle Endeavour began their bonus day -- added when their mission was extended to complete setting up the Tranquility node -- at 3:16 p.m. CST to the instrumental song "Oh Yeah" by Johnny A, as played for mission specialist Steve Robinson.
"Man, I wish I could play guitar like that," responded Robinson, who plays lead guitar in the astronaut band Max Q. "But it is great to be up here and a wonderful day to transfer some ECLSS regen racks into the brand new Node 3."

"Oh yeah, we agree," replied capcom Chris Cassidy.


Stephen Robinson and Terry Virts in the Cupola. Credit: NASA

The crew will spend most of their extra day transferring the station's Environmental Control and Life Support System regenerative racks from the Destiny lab into Tranquility. Work to outfit the seven-window Cupola and transfer supplies between the station and shuttle will also continue.

Before they get to work though, both the STS-130 and Expedition 22 crews will receive a call from President Barack Obama, congressional leaders and middle school students congratulating them on their successful ongoing mission. The call, which is scheduled to begin at 4:14 p.m. CST, will originate from the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

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Flight Day: Eleven

Reboosting and relocating

After a chat with the President an hour after their wakeup call, it was back to nuts-and-bolts work for the crews of shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station.


Credit: NASA TV

Crew members transferred and installed racks in the station's new Tranquility node, reboosted the station using Endeavour's thrusters, reconfigured spacesuits and passed the 75-percent mark of supply and equipment transfers between the two spacecraft.

They moved and connected four racks from the Destiny laboratory into Tranquility: the Oxygen Generation System, the Water Recovery System, the Urine Processing Assembly and the Waste and Hygiene Compartment. They also continued outfitting the Cupola, installing a panel and transferring the robotics workstation that will be installed after Endeavour departs.

A little after 1:30 a.m. CST, STS-130 commander George Zamka and pilot Terry Virts began a 33-minute reboost of the station, using the shuttle's attitude control jets. When it was completed, the station's altitude had been raised by about 1.3 statute miles to an orbit of 219 by 208 miles.

In the Quest airlock, Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick reconfigured the spacesuits they had used on their three spacewalks, preparing some parts for return to Earth. They also stowed spacewalking tools.

Endeavour's crew went to sleep at 6:44 a.m. and are scheduled to wake at 2:44 p.m. CST.


Flight Day 11 Highlights. Credit: NASA TV

Browse NASA's STS-130 Flight Day 11 Photo Gallery

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Flight Day: Twelve

Getting ready to part ways

The last transfers were first on the agenda for the STS-130 crew on their last day before hatches between the International Space Station and space shuttle Endeavour were due to be closed.

The day began at 2:44 p.m. CST to the Steven Curtis Chapman song "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" played for pilot Terry Virts.

"Another great day to be in space," said Virts, who later briefed Expedition 22 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi on a hardware interference that delayed plans to relocate one of the station's robotic workstations into the Cupola.
Endeavour's commander George Zamka and mission specialists Kay Hire and Stephen Robinson carried out the last transfers of supplies between Endeavour and the space station this evening, including the move of medical experiment samples onto the shuttle for their return to Earth.

Spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick finished up their work in the station's Quest airlock, stowing the tools they used during three spacewalks to complete the connections between the station and its newest components, the Tranquility module and the Cupola.

At 8:39 p.m. ISS Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams and flight engineers Noguchi, Max Suraev, Oleg Kotov and T.J. Creamer joined the shuttle crew for their in-flight news conference with reporters at NASA centers and in Tokyo.


Credit: NASA TV

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Flight Day: Twelve

"The Cupola is open for business!"

Expedition 22 commander Jeff Williams and STS-130 commander George Zamka came together in Tranquility at 10:39 p.m. CST for a ribbon cutting marking the opening of the new node and its Cupola.
"Today we are here in Tranquility, standing above the Cupola, to formally open the Cupola for use by other crews that will be here up on the space station," began Zamka. "Arguably mankind has been after this view for centuries, this perspective, this view of the world. We finally have it and we are going to take advantage of and enjoy it."

"We on the station crew are especially happy to get this to be able to enjoy," added Williams. "I know for me personally it is a milestone that I will remember for the rest of my life in terms of my experience on the station because it culminates so much. It culminates just a beautiful view, a window on the world that we haven't had before, it culminates just about the assembly completed of the space station, getting us to full capability. So, this Cupola means a whole lot."


Lacy Veach's name tag in the Cupola. Credit: NASA
"We also want to take this moment to remember a friend, a coworker and a fellow astronaut, Lacy Veach, who was really dedicated to the early development of the Cupola and its vision on the International Space Station," continued Williams. "We would like to leave his patch in memory of him and dedicate it to him, as well as picture onboard the space station. The patch will be in the Cupola and the photograph of Lacy will go up on the airlock hatch."

"We also have one more item to put in the Cupola today," announced Zamka. "These are some moon rocks that were picked up on Apollo 11 and returned to Earth and later carried to the summit of Mt. Everest by Scott Parazynski. And so these moon rocks have had quite a journey and they will continue their journey for thousands and millions of miles in a very short amount of time. They will be placed in the Cupola as a reminder of man's reach and man's grip as they go out and explore."


Apollo 11 moon rocks and a Mt. Everest stone. Credit: NASA
"So with that George, how about if you cut the ribbon?" asked Williams.

"Sure!" replied Zamka, who then cut the red ribbon.

"And here we go: the Cupola is open for business!" proclaimed Williams.


Credit: NASA TV

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Flight Day: Twelve

Endeavour crew departing

The ISS Expedition 22 and STS-130 crews bid farewell to each other early on Friday morning before they separated into their respective spacecraft and closed the hatches between them.
"Congratulations on all the work with the module and getting the racks moved, the Cupola, we're really going to enjoy the view," said Expedition 22 commander Jeff Williams. "Wish you guys could stay a little longer."

"We will if you will keep us," STS-130 mission specialist Nick Patrick volunteered.


Credit: NASA TV

The final transfer of equipment and supplies between the two vehicles resulted in a net transfer to the station of 1,313 pounds. Items moved back into Endeavour included scientific specimens which were stored in the shuttle's General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator, or GLACIER.

The hatches between space shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station were closed at 2:08 a.m. CST, ending nine days and 52 minutes of joint crew operations.

With the STS-130 crew's addition of the Tranquility node and Cupola, the station is now 98 percent complete and has gained more than 1,000 cubic feet of habitable volume, bringing the total living space aboard the ISS to 13,610 cubic feet.

Endeavour's crew goes to sleep at 6:14 a.m. to begin Flight Day 13 at 2:14 p.m. CST. They are scheduled to undock from the station at 6:54 p.m. CST.


Flight Day 12 Highlights. Credit: NASA TV

Browse NASA's STS-130 Flight Day 12 Photo Gallery

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Flight Day: Thirteen

Undocking day

Having spent the night aboard shuttle Endeavour, its hatch closed in preparation for today's undocking, the STS-130 crew will depart the International Space Station at 6:54 p.m. CST.

The shuttle astronauts woke at 2:14 p.m. to the song "In Wonder" by the Newsboys, played for pilot Terry Virts.

"It is going to be a great day today with undocking and the fly-around," said Virts, who will be in control for the separation and tour of the ISS.
Once away from the station, the shuttle crew will unberth the orbiter boom sensor system for a "late inspection" scan of Endeavour's heat shield as they begin preparations to return to Earth.

Endeavour, as seen from the Cupola. Credit: NASA

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Flight Day: Thirteen

Space shuttle Endeavour departing

With STS-130 pilot Terry Virts at the controls, Endeavour departed the International Space Station on time at 6:54 p.m. CST as the two spacecraft orbited 208 statute miles over the Atlantic Ocean, west of Mauritania and the western Sahara, 19 hours and 48 minutes after they docked on Feb. 10.


Credit: NASA TV
"It has been good having you," radioed Expedition 22 flight engineer T.J. Creamer from aboard the station to the shuttle crew. "Sorry to see you guys leave. Enjoy the flyaround. We'll watch and wave."

"Thanks very much for the great hospitality," Endeavour commander George Zamka replied. "We're sorry to go. Hope you get to enjoy Tranquility and the new view."

"Absolutely!" Creamer stated. "And when you get back, write soon, okay?"

"Sure will," answered Zamka.


Credit: NASA TV

Following that brief exchange, ISS commander Jeff Williams rung his ship's bell, signaling Endeavour's departure while continuing a naval tradition carried forward into space by the station's first crew.
"Godspeed guys, we will see you back on the planet," radioed Williams.

"We will see you back there Jeff, Soichi, TJ, Maxim and Oleg," replied Zamka, naming the Expedition 22 crew members including Williams, Soichi Noguchi, Creamer, Maxim Suraev and Oleg Kotov.

Backing away to a distance of 450 feet directly in front of the station, Virts then flew a circle around the ISS while his crewmates, and the cameras in Endeavour's payload bay, focused on documenting the state of the station and its new Tranquility and Cupola modules.

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Flight Day: Thirteen

Late inspection

After undocking space shuttle Endeavour and performing a fly-around of the International Space Station, STS-130 pilot Virts executed two burns the orbiter's jets to maneuver the shuttle behind the station and leave the area.

Endeavour's crew members then began the "late inspection" of their spacecraft's thermal protection system using the orbiter boom sensor system.

Commander George Zamka, mission specialists Kay Hire, Stephen Robinson and Nicholas Patrick, together with Virts worked in shifts to examine the reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC) panels and heat shield tiles on Endeavour's starboard wing, nose cap and port wing.

Continuing to adjust their sleep schedules to prepare for their return to Earth on Sunday, the crew went to bed at 6:14 a.m. CST.


Flight Day 13 Highlights. Credit: NASA TV

Browse NASA's STS-130 Flight Day 13 Photo Gallery

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Flight Day: Fourteen

Gone the distance, preparing to come home

The STS-130 astronauts will spend their last planned full day on orbit preparing space shuttle Endeavour for its return to Earth on Sunday evening.

The astronauts woke to the song "The Distance" by the band Cake, selected by the planning team in Mission Control for all six STS-130 astronauts.

"Thanks very much for that great song," Endeavour commander George Zamka radioed. "It's certainly what it felt like as we were putting things together up on the space station, so thanks very much for picking that song out for us."
Pilot Terry Virts and mission specialist Stephen Robinson will berth the space shuttle's robotic arm before joining Zamka for a pre-landing checkout of Endeavour's flight and reaction control systems. They will manipulate all of the flight control surfaces and then test fire each of the reaction control system jets to make sure both are in good shape to support entry and landing.

Later in the day, they'll join mission specialists Kay Hire, Nick Patrick and Bob Behnken to pack up the crew cabin for their first landing opportunity at 9:16 p.m. CST Sunday at the Kennedy Space Center, weather permitting.


Port side view of Endeavour's payload bay. Credit: NASA

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Flight Day: Fourteen

Ready to come home

The crew of space shuttle Endeavour completed checkouts of its re-entry and landing systems Saturday and prepared for a scheduled Sunday evening landing.

With weather forecasts dynamic for both the Florida and California landing sites, flight controllers decided to forego a planned orbital adjustment burn to broaden landing opportunity options over the next few days.

Saturday evening, the STS-130 astronauts talked about their mission during interviews with CNN, CNN EspaƱol, and Univision. Two of the interviews were in Spanish, focusing on commander George Zamka who is of Colombian ancestry.

Endeavour's astronauts also completed the standard day before entry checkout of the shuttle's flight control systems and reaction control jets. Imagery specialists will finish their analysis of late inspection scans of the shuttle's nose cap and wing leading edges early Sunday.

The crew, who went to bed at 5:14 a.m., is scheduled to wake at 1:14 p.m. CST to begin final landing preparations.


Flight Day 14 Highlights. Credit: NASA TV

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Flight Day: Fifteen

Landing day, weather permitting

The STS-130 crew onboard space shuttle Endeavour awoke at 1:14 p.m. CST on what is scheduled to be their landing day, although the weather conditions on Earth may keep them in space until tomorrow.

The crew's wake-up call began with the oldest official song in the U.S. military, played for commander George Zamka.

"Thanks very much for the great Marine Corps Hymn," radioed USMC Col. Zamka. "That is terrific way to wake up and we're looking forward to today."

Credit: NASA TV

Landing support teams will be ready at both Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and Edwards Air Force Base, California. The first opportunity involves a deorbit burn at 8:14 p.m. CST and a landing at 9:20 p.m. The second calls for the burn at 9:50 p.m. and landing at 10:55 p.m.

The first west coast attempt would begin with a deorbit burn at 11:20 p.m. and result in a landing at 12:25 a.m. CST Monday. The final opportunity begins with a deorbit burn at 12:56 a.m. and ends with a 2 a.m. Monday landing in California.

The forecast for Kennedy Space Center calls for a chance of showers within 30 nautical miles of the shuttle landing facility and a cloud ceiling at 6,000 feet, both violations of landing rules.

The forecast for Edwards Air Force Base also includes violations for showers within 30 nautical miles of the runway and cloud ceilings at 3,000 and 6,000 feet.

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Flight Day: Fifteen

Configuring Endeavour for its return home

Although weather conditions for a landing at Kennedy Space Center remain observed and forecast "no go," Mission Control have had the STS-130 crew close Endeavour's two 60-foot long payload bay doors and begin transitioning the shuttle's flight software for reentry.


Credit: NASA TV

The astronauts' first opportunity to land in Florida would begin with a deorbit engine burn at 8:14 p.m., setting up a touchdown on Runway 15 at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility at 9:20 p.m. CST, should the weather cooperate.

"The primary concern is... the cloud layer," capcom Rick "CJ" Sturckow told Endeavour's commander George Zamka. "Right now [the cloud layer] is between six and 7,000 [feet], it is very thin, broken. It is early yet, so we need to see how things materialize."
According to Sturckow, deputy chief astronaut Chris Ferguson, flying NASA's shuttle training aircraft over Kennedy Space Center, reported that he could see through most of the cloud layer, giving the team in Mission Control a reason to be hopeful.
"There's good reason for optimism," said Sturckow, "we will just have to see how things develop as the evening progresses."

"We'll keep our fingers crossed and we'll keep pressing through the checklist," replied Zamka.

Should today's first attempt at a Kennedy landing be waved, a second opportunity calls for a deorbit burn at 9:50 p.m. and landing at 10:55 p.m. CST.

Endeavour could also return to Edwards Air Force Base in California this evening, though the weather conditions for the two opportunities there are less encouraging.

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Flight Day: Fifteen

Suiting and sipping

Donning the same orange pressure suits that they wore for launch now in preparation for reentry, the STS-130 crew has been given a "go" by Mission Control to begin fluid loading.
"We want you to begin fluid loading on time and the weather is looking promising," capcom CJ Sturckow told STS-130 commander George Zamka. "The [shuttle training aircraft] is flying around right now."
"Fluid loading" aids the astronauts' readjustment to gravity. The crew was given a choice of drinks, as indicated by the table below.

Credit: NASA

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Flight Day: Fifteen

"Go" for going home

Endeavour will be returning home tonight to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Flight controllers gave STS-130 mission commander George Zamka the word that he was "go" to perform the deorbit burn that will begin the shuttle's journey back into the Earth's atmosphere.

There may be a couple of very thin [cloud] decks that you might punch through," capcom Rick "CJ" Sturckow advised. "It looks really good for KSC [Runway] 15."

"Excellent, KSC 15," replied Zamka. "We will do it."

Zamka will fire Endeavour's twin orbital maneuvering system engines at 8:14:47 p.m. CST to set up a touchdown on the Shuttle Landing Facility's Runway 15 at 9:20:32 p.m.

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Flight Day: Fifteen

Deorbit burn

STS-130 commander George Zamka fired Endeavour's twin orbital maneuvering system engines at 8:14:47 p.m. CST for two minutes and 34 seconds, slowing the orbiter's velocity by 294 feet per second (or about 200 miles per hour) beginning his and his five crewmates' return to Earth.
"Good burn Endeavour, no trim required," capcom Rick "CJ" Sturckow reported.

"Copy, no trim required" said Zamka.

Endeavour is on its way home after a 14-day mission to deliver the last major U.S. components to the International Space Station.

Landing on Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility is set for 9:20:32 p.m. CST.

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Flight Day: Fifteen

Entry interface

Endeavour, flying Mach 25 over the South Pacific Ocean with its nose tipped up and its wings level, encountered the first traces of Earth's atmosphere -- known as "entry interface" -- at 8:49 p.m. CST at an altitude of 400,000 feet while still 4,358 nautical miles from landing on Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Flight Day: Fifteen

S-turns

Endeavour is now flying a series of four steep banks, rolling as much as 80 degrees to one side or the other, to slow its approach.

The first bank at 8:53 p.m. CST rolled Endeavour 80 degrees to the left. Its first left-to-right turn at 9:04 p.m. has it pitched 63 degrees to the right.

This series of roll commands gives the shuttle's ground track toward the landing site the appearance of an elongated letter "S".

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Flight Day: Fifteen

Boom! Boom!

Twin sonic booms heard over Florida, announcing Endeavour's arrival in the vicinity of the Kennedy Space Center.

Commander George Zamka has taken over control of Endeavour to guide it through a 234-degree left overhead turn to align the orbiter for an 9:20:32 p.m. CST. touchdown on Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Flight Day: Fifteen

Touchdown! Endeavour lands in Florida

Space shuttle Endeavour touched down safely in Florida on Sunday evening, beating a stormy weather forecast that had threatened to extend its two-week mission to deliver NASA's last major additions to the International Space Station (ISS).


Credit: NASA TV

Commander George Zamka piloted Endeavour and his five STS-130 crewmates to a landing at 9:20:31 p.m. CST (0320 Monday GMT) on NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"Houston, Endeavour, wheels stop," radioed Zamka as the shuttle came to a stop.

"Roger, wheels stop Endeavour. Welcome home!" Rick "CJ" Sturckow replied from Mission Control in Houston. "Congratulations to you and the crew on an outstanding mission installing the Tranquility node and opening up the Cupola's windows to the world."

"It is great to be home. It was a great adventure," said Zamka.


Credit: NASA TV

Returning to Florida with Zamka were Endeavour's STS-130 mission pilot Terry Virts and mission specialists Stephen Robinson, Kay Hire, Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick.

Their return concluded Endeavour's STS-130 mission, which installed the new Node 3 Tranquility module and its adjoining seven-window Cupola observation deck on the station.

The 217-orbit flight included three spacewalks to connect the new modules to the station as well as brought aboard the parts necessary to successfully repair the outpost's water and urine recycling system. By the time of Endeavour's departure, the ISS was about 98 percent complete (by volume).

STS-130 completed 217 orbits over the course of 13 days, 18 hours, six minutes and 24 seconds.

This was the 73rd space shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center and the 17th to land there at night.

The first of NASA's last five space shuttle missions, STS-130 marked the penultimate flght for Endeavour (OV-105), which is scheduled to launch on its final mission, STS-134, in July 2010.


Credit: NASA/Tom Joseph

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Flight Day: Fifteen

"We're back as we came..."

After exiting Endeavour and taking part in the traditional tour around their spacecraft, the STS-130 astronauts, led by commander George Zamka, delivered a few remarks about their mission.

Credit: NASA TV

Do you have comments and/or questions about the STS-130 mission? Post to our mission viewing and commentary thread.


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