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February 08, 2010

STS-130 on the Move

After a one-day delay, the Shuttle Endeavour thundered to orbit before sunrise on Monday morning. The ship will rendezvous with the space station just after midnight Houston time Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

Once the shuttle docks with the station, the real moving begins. The crew gets up about about 4 PM Houston time on Tuesday, works overnight, and goes to bed about the time Americans are getting up.

This puts most of the action of this flight during the late evening and wee hours of the morning. But don't worry, you can catch the highlights most mornings. Check the NASA Website or CBS site for the schedule.

Here's a quick summary of what's happening on this flight:

The first EVA starts on Thursday night around 8 PM Houston time and ends Friday around 2:30 AM. The Tranquility Node will be lifted out of the Shuttle bay and installed on the port side of the Unity Node. Highlights will be aired at 10 AM Houston time Friday.

Friday night, the crew will open the new module for the first time. But they won't be looking out through the cupola yet. They have to move it from its launch location on the end of the module to the side facing Earth (called the nadir port). But even then, they won't be able to loook out until the bolts are removed holding the protective covers over the glass--and that doesn't happen until the third EVA. Word is that Kay Hire gets first dibs on the view.

The second EVA starts Saturday night around 8 PM Houston time, and ends at 2:30 AM Sunday. That spacewalk will include lots of long hoses and this very odd-shaped thermal blanket. The crew said they expect this one to be the most challenging.

You might plan to tune in to NASA TV on Monday night at dinner time. That's when they will be moving the PMA-3 (the bent looking "funnel") from the top of Harmony to the "outside" of the new Tranquility node. The install is scheduled for around 7:30 PM. PMA-3 was used twice for shuttles to dock to while they moved things around, but a shuttle can't dock to it in its new location. So PMA-3 is the new high-tech closet for the "rec room."

The third EVA starts Tuesday night around 8 PM Houston time and ends at around 2:30 on Wednesday. They'll be moving lots of cables and installing handrails.

It is likely that this mission will be extended to allow more time to move all the life support equipmet out of the lab and into Tranquility--it is basically becoming the gym/bathroom/kitchen/rec room, and will have the toilet and the Colbert treadmill. Destined to be the most popular room in the "house," I bet the "new module" smell doesn't last too long!

Currently, the plan is to undock on Thursday and do the fly-around at 7 PM Houston time. That will be the first time an ISS crew will get to see a shuttle fly past the new "bay" windows of the cupola. Should be some very pretty pictures!

Landing is planned for Saturday night at 10 PM Florida time.

To the stars,

Marianne Dyson
NSS Advisor

Posted by m_dyson at February 8, 2010 11:43 PM



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