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July 22, 2009

STS-127 Week 2 Summary

There was a little bit of unexpected drama added to the end of today's spacewalk. Flight controllers noticed rising carbon dioxide levels in Cassidy's space suit. At first they thought it might be because he was working hard, but finally decided that for whatever reason, the lithium hydroxide (LiOH) canister that is supposed to soak up the carbon dioxide, wasn't doing its job. The crew were quite a distance from the airlock, and carbon dioxide can be fatal, so just a few minutes after Mission Control voiced their concern and said to clean up the worksite, they ordered them back to the airlock.

The main task for the spacewalk was to install 4 of 6 new batteries that are used to store electrical power for use when the space station is in orbital darkness. No details have been released yet, but it is assumed that the unfinished activities of today's spacewalk will be added to the next spacewalk, scheduled for Friday. Another spacewalk is planned for Monday (see schedule below).

I anticipate that Cassidy and his suit will be put through some tests before he is cleared to join Marshburn as planned for the next two spacewalks. Hopefully a swap of the LiOH canister will correct the problem. If not, then Mission Control is sure to devise an alternative way to get those important batteries installed.

Here is the original plan for the rest of the mission:

Thursday is Flight Day 9. The Shuttle crew has shifted their sleep start from midnight to 8 PM now. (ISS crew sleep starts a half hour earlier.) Bed times always shift earlier during Shuttle missions because the crew has to be awake for launch and landing--and the landing opportunities shift earlier each day.

Th 7-23, First use of new Japanese robotic arm by Wakata/Kopra begins just before 9 AM CDT. Will move 3 experiments from the exposed section (farthest from the module) to the exposed facility (closer to the window). Experiments are an all-sky X-ray camera; a space environmental data measuring experiment, and a communications system that sends data between Kibo and Tsukuba, Japan.

Fr 7-24, EVA #4 begins at 8:58 AM CDT and ends at 3:28 PM. Marshburn and Cassidy complete battery swap out on the port truss. Station arm hands off the ICC-VLD to the Shuttle arm operated by Polansky/Hurley at 2:03 PM.

Sat 7-25, off-duty day. ISS crew is up at 3:33 AM, and Shuttle crew up at 4 AM CDT. Bedtime is 7:03 and 8:00 PM respectively.

Sun 7-26, At 7:03 AM, Wakata/Kopra will use the station arm to hand off the Japanese exposed section to Polansky/Payette who will use the Shuttle arm to put it into the cargo bay. The handoff should be fun to watch. Joint crew news conference at 3 PM.

Mon 7-27, EVA #5 begins at 7:28 AM and ends at 1:58 PM, Marshburn and Cassidy swap connectors on the Z1 truss (is it still called Mr. Potato Head?), install new video system, and remove insulation from the Dextre arm. ISS crew sleep begins at 5:33 PM, and Shuttle crew at 6:03 PM.

Tues 7-28, Station arm hands Shuttle back its arm extension. Hatch closure at 9:23 AM.

Wed 7-29 Undocking and fly around/inspection. These images are always spectacular, and will show the station with its new “porch” for the first time. Shuttle holds station 46 miles away from ISS in case of a problem.

Th 7-30, At 7:27 AM, Deploy Dragonsat which is the AggieSat2 and Paradigm (from UT). At 7:49, deploy ANDE-2, a DoD scientific satellite. Last bedtime is 5:03 PM, 7 hours earlier than their first night!

Fr 7-31, Crew is up at 1:03 AM. Landing at Kennedy Space Center is 9:45 AM CDT/10:45 AM EDT.

For more details, I recommend Bill Harwood’s blog:

To the stars,

Marianne Dyson

Member NSS Board of Advisors

Posted by m_dyson at July 22, 2009 05:36 PM



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