STS-116


STS-116

Infobox Space mission
mission_name = STS-116
insignia = Sts-116-patch.png shuttle = Discovery
crew_members = 7
launch_pad = LC-39B
launch = 2006-12-09 8:47:35 p.m. EST (2006-12-10 01:47:35 UTC)
landing = 2006-12-22 5:32:00 p.m. EST (22:32:00 UTC)
duration = 12 days, 20 hours, 44 minutes, 16 seconds
altitude = 122 nautical miles (225 km)
inclination = 51.6 degrees
distance = 5.3 million miles (8.5 million km)
crew_photo = STS-116 crew.jpg
crew_caption = Back (L–R): Curbeam, Patrick, Williams, Fuglesang
Front (L–R): Oefelein, Higginbotham, Polansky
previous = STS-115
next = STS-117

STS-116 was a Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS) flown by Space Shuttle " Discovery". Liftoff was originally scheduled for December 7 2006, but that attempt was canceled due to a low cloud ceiling. "Discovery" successfully lifted off during the second launch attempt on Saturday, December 9 2006 at 8:47:35 p.m. EST. It was the first night launch of a Space Shuttle orbiter since STS-113, which launched on November 23 2002. [cite web |url=http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/061207_sts116_prelaunch.html |title=Night Launch: Shuttle Discovery Set for Evening Space Shot |accessdate=2006-12-19 |author= Ker Than|coauthors=Tarig Malik |date=2006-12-07| work = SPACE.com]

The mission is also referred to as ISS-12A.1 by the ISS program. The main goals of the mission were delivery and attachment of the International Space Station's third port truss segment (the P5 truss), major rewiring of the station's power system, and exchange of ISS Expedition 14 personnel. The shuttle landed at 5:32 p.m. EST on Friday, December 22 2006 at Kennedy Space Center, a delay of 98 minutes from schedule due to unfavorable weather conditions. This mission was particularly notable to Sweden since it's the first time a Scandinavian astronaut (Christer Fuglesang) has visited space.

STS-116 was the final scheduled Space Shuttle flight planned for launch from Pad 39B as NASA reconfigures the pad for Ares I launches.cite web| url = http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/164266main_2nd_exp_conf_05_DevelopmentAndOperation_DrSHorowitz.pdf| title = Development and operation
accessdate =| author = Scott "Doc" Horowitz
] The only remaining use of Pad 39B by Shuttles is as a reserve for a potential STS-3xx rescue mission for STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. [cite news | first = Chris | last = Bergin | title = NASA details Ares launch pad timeline | url = http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=4913 | work = nasaspaceflight.com | date = | accessdate =]

STS-116 was the last flight of "Discovery" before maintenance; the next "Discovery" mission was STS-120, which launched on 2007-10-23.

Crew

* Mark Polansky (2) - Commander
* William Oefelein (1) - Pilot
* Nicholas Patrick (1) - Mission specialist 1
* Robert Curbeam (3) - Mission specialist 2
* Christer Fuglesang (1) - Mission specialist 3 - SWE ESA
* Joan Higginbotham (1) - Mission specialist 4

Launching ISS Expedition 14 crew

* Sunita "Suni" Williams (1) - ISS Flight Engineer, (MSP On Board shuttle)

Landing ISS Expedition 14 crew

* Thomas Reiter (2) - ISS Flight Engineer - GER ESA

Number in parentheses indicates number of spaceflights by each individual prior to and including this mission.

Crew notes

Originally this mission was to carry the Expedition 8 Crew to the ISS. The original crew was to be

*Terry Wilcutt - Commander
*Bill Oefelein - Pilot
*Robert Curbeam - Mission specialist
*Christer Fuglesang - Mission specialist - SWE ESA

Launching Expedition 8 Crew
*Michael Foale, ISS Commander
*Bill McArthur, ISS Flight Engineer
*Valery Tokarev ISS Flight Engineer RUS

Landing Expedition 7 Crew
*Yuri I. Malenchenko, ISS Commander RUS
*Ed Lu, ISS Flight Engineer
*Alexander Y. Kaleri, ISS Flight Engineer RUS

Mission highlights

* The STS-116 mission delivered and attached the International Space Station's third port truss segment, the P5 truss.
* The STS-116 mission brought to the Station Expedition 14 crew member Sunita Williams (who subsequently established a record for most time in space for a female astronaut) and brought home Expedition 14 crew member Thomas Reiter from European Space Agency (launched by STS-121).
* Christer Fuglesang became Sweden's first astronaut. His flight was a rare occurrence of two ESA astronauts flying in space together.
* The third of three SPHERES testbeds launched to the ISS.
* Astronauts completed major rewiring of the electrical system of the International Space Station in order to bring online the P3/P4 solar array installed by STS-115 in September.
* Additional rewiring was done to ISS Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 (PMA2) to enable "Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS)" commencing with STS-118. [cite web|url=http://uplink.space.com/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=missions&Number=598317&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=1&vc=1|title=Re: STS-116/12A.1 Status (bbs posting)|author=eriolastrada] [cite web|url=http://uplink.space.com/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=missions&Number=598891&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=1&vc=1|title=Re: STS-116/12A.1 Status (bbs posting)|author=shuttle_guy] [http://pdf.aiaa.org/preview/CDReadyMIECEC05_1090/PV2005_5689.pdf A Power Converter for Manned Spacecraft from COTS Components] ] [http://www.astronautix.com/craft/endavour.htm Astronautix Endeavour STS-97 payload] ]
* One half of the original P6 solar array installed by STS-97 was folded to make room for the new P4 array deployed by STS-115 to rotate and track the sun.
* STS-116 was the last STS mission scheduled for launch from pad 39B. The pad will be refitted for upcoming Ares I launches.
* The crew of STS-116 consisted of five rookie astronauts. Only Mission Commander Mark Polansky (2) and Mission specialist Robert Curbeam (3) had previously flown in space.
* Robert Curbeam became the first astronaut to make four EVAs during the same mission. [cite news | first = Mark | last = Carreau | title = Astronaut Curbeam to set record with walk No. 4 | url = http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/4408898.html | work = Houston Chronicle | date = | accessdate =]
* This was the first mission with two African-American crewmembers.

Mission Notes

As one of the main goals of STS-116 was to exchange ISS Expedition 14 crew members, the crew of STS-116 changed mid-flight. ISS Flight Engineer Sunita "Suni" Williams was part of the STS-116 crew for the first portion of the mission. She then replaced ISS Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter on the Expedition 14 crew and Reiter joined the STS-116 crew for the return to Earth.

Final Assembly Power Converter Unit mission for "Discovery"

During planned Orbiter upgrades to take place subsequent to this mission, "Discovery"'s "Assembly Power Converter Units" (APCUs) will be removed and replaced with the shuttle-side components of the Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS). The APCUs converted 28VDC Orbiter main bus power to 124VDC compatible with ISS 120VDC main bus power. During initial station assembly missions, Orbiter APCU power was used to augment the power available from the Russian service segment. With the operation of permanent main electrical systems (e.g. P4 array and SARJ, MBSUs, DDCUs, Ammonia cooling systems), Orbiter power is no longer needed by the ISS.

In future missions beginning with STS-118, Orbiter vehicles will draw power from the ISS. The SSPTS will convert from Station 120VDC to Orbiter 28VDC. This will slow the Orbiter vehicles' consumption of hydrogen and oxygen used by the on-board electricity-generating fuel cells. The hydrogen and oxygen supplies, stored cryogenically in tanks aboard the Orbiter, limit the duration of Space Shuttle missions. As a result of the changeover to SSPTS, shuttles will gain approximately 50% of the time that would have been spent docked otherwise. This results in 2-4 extra days for each ISS-docked mission.cite web
url=http://shuttlepayloads.jsc.nasa.gov/data/PayloadDocs/documents/21492.pdf?PAGE=84 |PAGE=5-10 |title = Space Shuttle Program Payload Bay Payload User's Guide "Figure 5.1.3-1. Typical payload - APC"| |date=December, 2000 |publisher=NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center|accessdate=2006-12-17
] cite web| url = http://www.meitechinc.com/Services/sdad_projects.asp| title = MEI System Design Analysis and Development - Projects | accessdate = | publisher = MEI Technologies] [cite web
url = http://shuttlepayloads.jsc.nasa.gov/data/PayloadDocs/documents/07700/App_03.pdf?page=66| title = Space Shuttle Program "System Description and Design Data - Electrical Power and Avionics (NSTS 07700, Vol. XIV, Appendix 3)"| accessdate =| publisher = NASA| pages = 111
Section 8.5, page 66
] cite web| url = http://www.spaceref.com/iss/eva/10847.EVA.Ref.5A.STS98.pdf?page=161| title = SPDU position from STS-98| accessdate =| work = Spaceref.com ] cite web |url=http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/163524main_ASC_116_F_B_1.pdf?page=174 |page=174|title=Ascent Checklist STS-116 | accessdate =|publisher=Mission Operations Directorate Flight Design and Dynamics Division| date= page 174: AFT FLIGHT DECK PAYLOADS SWITCH LIST FOR HANDOVER] cite web
url=http://shuttlepayloads.jsc.nasa.gov/data/PayloadDocs/documents/21492.pdf?PAGE=92 |PAGE=5-18 |title = Space Shuttle Program Payload Bay Payload User's Guide (Section 5.2.2.3 Station Power Distribution Unit)| |date=December, 2000 |publisher=NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center|accessdate=2006-12-17
]

Mission payloads

The primary payload for the STS-116 mission was the P5 Truss segment of the International Space Station. The shuttle also carried a Spacehab Logistics Module to resupply the ISS, as well as four satellites, which were deployed after undocking from the ISS: the ANDE technology demonstrator, developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, and three CubeSats (RAFT-1 and MARScom for the United States Naval Academy, and MEPSI 2A/2B for DARPA). It was the first Shuttle mission to deploy satellites since STS-113 in 2002.

Mission background

STS-116 was planned (post return-to-flight) to launch on December 14 2006. But on November 29 NASA announced that the launch team had been asked to aim for a launch on December 7 rather than the original target date of December 14. The launch window for the STS-116 mission opened on December 7 and extended through December 17. The seven-member flight crew arrived for launch at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility on December 3 in the afternoon. [cite web
url = http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/061203crewarrival/
title = Discovery astronauts arrive at the Cape for launch
publisher = Spaceflight Now
accessdate =
] Primary payloads on the 13-day mission were the P5 integrated truss segment, SPACEHAB single logistics module, and an integrated cargo carrier. The STS-116 mission was the 20th Shuttle flight to the station.

Launch on the new, earlier date required a night-time launch. Subsequent to the "Columbia" disaster, NASA had imposed rules requiring shuttle launches to be conducted during the day, when light would be sufficient for cameras to observe falling debris. With the redesign of shuttle tank foam having minimized the amount of falling debris and the availability of in-orbit inspection procedures, the daylight-launch requirement was relaxed. [cite web | url = http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060929/sc_nm/space_shuttle_dc_2 | title = NASA hopes to launch next shuttle a week early | publisher = Yahoo! News | accessdate =]

Rollover of "Discovery" to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) occurred on October 31, and on November 1 the orbiter was raised into a vertical orientation and moved into High Bay 3 to be mated with the external tank and solid rocket boosters. Rollout to Launch Complex 39B was completed on Thursday November 11.

The crew for the mission arrived at Kennedy Space Center on November 13 to begin their final four-day prelaunch training for the mission, which included familiarization activities, rehearsal of emergency procedures and practice on NASA's Shuttle Training Aircraft, along with a simulated countdown, which took place on the morning of November 16. The astronauts then traveled to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and returned to Kennedy Space Center on December 3, four days before the planned launch date.

The payloads for the mission, including a SPACEHAB module and the P5 truss, were loaded from the payload canister into "Discovery's" payload bay on 16 November, and, with the sealing of the payload bay doors, all that remained was to fill the external fuel tank before the "Discovery" shuttle stack was in full launch configuration. With the completion of the Flight Readiness Review over November 28-29 (which evaluated all activities and elements necessary for the safe and successful performance of the shuttle during the mission, including the Orbiter itself, the payload and flight crew), "Discovery" was given her Certificate of Flight Readiness, the launch date was officially set to December 7, and the mission officially given the "Go" for launch.

Mission timeline

December 7 (Launch attempt 1)

Following the completion of the pre-launch preparations, all eyes were on the Florida skies, due to a forecast low cloud ceiling for the night of the launch. The mission's seven astronauts were loaded into "Discovery" ready for the scheduled launch at 9:37 p.m. EST, with hopes high for a break in the clouds, but as the scheduled launch time approached it became apparent that the cloud would not break, and the launch attempt was scrubbed, with the next attempt scheduled for December 9. [cite web
url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/12/07/space.shuttle.ap/index.html
title= "NASA hoping clouds will part for Discovery"
accessdate=2006-12-08
] Prior to the initial attempt on December 7, NASA had determined that they would not attempt a launch on Friday because of the cold front moving in that eventually scrubbed Thursday's launch attempt.

December 9 (Flight day 1 - Launch)

"Discovery" lifted off successfully at 8:47 p.m. EST (01:47 UTC), lighting up the Florida coastline. Weather conditions - in particular crosswinds at the launch and landing sites - continued to trend positively in the hours approaching the launch window Saturday night. The fueling process for Discovery's external tanks began at 12:46 p.m. EST (17:46 UTC) and was completed at approximately 3:45 p.m. EST (20:45 UTC). If a transatlantic abort landing (TAL) had been required during ascent, the shuttle had three possible landing sites: Zaragoza or Morón Air Base in Spain, or Istres, France. [cite web |url=http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/behindscenes/tal_sites.html |title= European Landing Sites for Shuttle Flights |accessdate=2006-12-17.]

The launch was the third shuttle mission in five months, being preceded by STS-121 in July and STS-115 in September, and was the first night launch in four years since STS-113 and first night launch following the Columbia accident during STS-107.

December 10 (Flight day 2)

Flight day 2 began for the astronauts at 15:47 UTC. The first order of business for the day was a thorough inspection of the Shuttle. Using sensors and cameras attached to a fifty-foot boom, which was in turn connected to a fifty-foot robotic arm, Nicholas Patrick inspected the leading edge of the wings and the nose cap. The process, which took five and a half hours, suffered a minor glitch that required Patrick to order the arm to manually grab the boom. During this time, the crew also inspected the upper surface of the orbiter.cite news | authorlink = http://www.livescience.com/blogs/author/kerthan | author = Ker Than | title = NASA: Discovery Shuttle in Good Shape After Launch | url = http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/061210_sts116_inspectionsbrief.html | work = SPACE.com | date = | accessdate =] Astronauts also completed a check of the spacesuits to be used during the mission, along with preparation for docking with the International Space Station.

December 11 (Flight day 3 - Docking to ISS)

Flight day 3 began for the astronauts at 15:18 UTC. Following the rendezvous pitch maneuver, docking to the International Space Station occurred at 22:12 UTC. The hatch between the International Space Station and "Discovery" was opened at 23:54 UTC. [cite news
title = Shuttle docks with space station | url = http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/12/11/space.shuttle.ap/index.html | work = CNN.com | date = | accessdate =
] The joint ISS/Shuttle crew then worked to undertake some further detailed inspection of the orbiter and unloaded the P5 truss segment from the payload bay, handing it off successfully from the shuttle robotic arm to the station arm. The astronauts scheduled for Day 4's EVA, Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang, ended their day by entering the airlock for a "campout" sleep session to prepare for the EVA by purging their bodies of nitrogen in a lower-pressure environment. [cite news | author = Ker Than | title = Mission Discovery: Shuttle Astronauts Dock at ISS | url = http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/061211_sts116_dock.html | work = SPACE.com | date = | accessdate =] Such a practice is common in order for the astronauts to avoid getting decompression sickness.

December 12 (Flight day 4 - EVA #1)

Flight day 4 began for the astronauts at 15:47 UTC.cite news | first = William | last = Harwood | title = Crew set for spacewalk to install truss segment | url = http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/061212fd4pre/ | work = Spaceflight Now | date = | accessdate =] During the first EVA of the mission, the astronauts of STS-116 brought the ISS one step closer to completion with the addition of the P5 truss segment.

The EVA began at 20:31 UTC, with Curbeam and Fuglesang removing launch restraints from the P5 truss and Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham making use of the station's robotic arm (the "Canadarm2") to move the truss segment to within inches of its new position on the P4 truss. The spacewalkers then guided Higginbotham with visual cues as the precise operation to finalize the attachment of the truss was completed.cite news | author = Dan Nicolae Alexa | title = NASA Resumes Construction of the ISS, P5 Trust Installed | url = http://www.playfuls.com/news_003336_NASA_Resumes_Construction_of_the_ISS_P5_Trust_Installed.html | work = Playfuls.com | date = | accessdate =]

After the P5’s attachment, Curbeam and Fuglesang finalised the installation with power, data and heater cable connections. They also replaced a faulty video camera attached to the S1 truss. Since they worked ahead of the time-line, the two astronauts were also able to complete some get-ahead tasks.

At the end of the spacewalk, Curbeam congratulated the Nobel Prize winners, including scientist Dr. John C. Mather at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Mather was honored for his work on the big-bang theory. Christer Fuglesang also held a short speech in Swedish, encouraging Swedes and others to aspire to become future astronauts. The EVA concluded at 03:07 UTC on the morning of December 13, and lasted for 6 hours and 36 minutes in total.

During the spacewalk, after taking a close look at imagery gathered on the first three days of the flight, mission managers determined that the shuttle’s heat shield would support a safe return to Earth. They also decided a more detailed inspection that had been scheduled for later in the mission would not be necessary.

Three more spacewalks, one of which was unplanned, were required to reconfigure and redistribute power on the station, so that the solar arrays installed during STS-115 could be used. The first step of reconfiguring the power took place Wednesday when the port solar array on the P6 truss will be retracted, which allowed the activation and rotation of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint on the P4. The rotary joint allows the solar arrays on the P4 to track the sun.

The astronauts were required to spend the night sleeping in protected areas in order to avoid radiation from a solar flare eruption. [cite news | title = NASA smoothing out pesky panels | url = http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/12/13/space.shuttle.ap/index.html | work = CNN | date = | accessdate =]

December 13 (Flight day 5 - Solar Array Reorganization)

Flight day 5 began for the astronauts at 15:21 UTC.cite news | first = William | last = Harwood | title = Station solar wing to be folded up today | url = http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/061213fd5pre/ | work = Spaceflight Now | date = | accessdate =] The most high-profile activity was the attempted retraction of the P6 port-side solar array. The process began at 18:28 UTC, but problems with the array folding due to 'kinks' and 'billows' led the controllers to redeploy the array (from about 40% retracted). There then followed a series of more than 40 commands to furl and unfurl the arrays in an effort to get them properly aligned and folded.

At 00:50 UTC, the retraction efforts were abandoned for the day. The problems, which appear to have been caused by a loss of tension in the solar array guide wires, [cite news | first = William | last = Harwood | title = Crew struggles to get balky array retracted enough to permit other critical work | url = http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/061213wingretract/index3.html | work = Spaceflight Now| date = | accessdate =] had still not been solved, although 14 of the 31 bays on the array had been retracted (leaving 17 bays extended). This was enough to leave the port side arrays in a safe position to commence the activation of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) at 01:00 UTC, allowing the solar arrays on the P3/P4 truss to rotate to follow the sun. [cite news | title = Pesky panels foil NASA's finest | url = http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/12/13/space.shuttle.ap/index.html | work = CNN | date = | accessdate =]

December 14 (Flight day 6 - EVA #2)

Flight day 6 began for the astronauts at 15:19 UTC. The day's primary activity, EVA #2, began rewiring work to bring the station's permanent electrical power systems into use. To allow this changeover, station controllers had to power down about half the systems on the ISS. The EVA started at 19:41 UTC with Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang exiting the Quest airlock, 30 minutes early. EVA #2 was planned to activate channels 2 and 3 of the four-channel electrical system, and the work progressed smoothly. About two hours into the spacewalk the first current was flowing through the reconfigured system, using the power from the P4 solar arrays for the first time. The EVA was completed in exactly 5 hours, finishing at 00:41 UTC.cite news | title = STS-116 MCC Status Report #11 | url = http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts116/news/STS-116-11.html| date = | accessdate =]

December 15 (Flight day 7)

Flight day 7 was a light work day for the crews of Discovery and the ISS after the previous days' activities. Spacewalkers Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang enjoyed some R&R, while the rest of the crew performed cleanup and preparatory tasks for Flight day 8's planned EVA #3. The traditional joint photo session and joint news conference were held by the crews.cite web | first = William | last = Harwood | title = STS-116 Master Flight Plan | url = http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/fdf/116flightplan.html | work = Spaceflight Now | date = | accessdate =] During this event Swedish first time astronaut Christer Fuglesang was interviewed by Crown Princess Victoria and also set a 20 second Frisbee world record in space, broadcasted live on Swedish TV4. [ [http://www.tv4.se/nyheter/fuglesang/512491.html tv4.se - Fuglesang spexade och intervjuades i rymden ] ] [ [http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/nyheter/story/0,2789,955915,00.html Aftonbladet: Fuglesang satte världsrekord - i frisbee ] ]

In an attempt to free a stuck solar panel, Thomas Reiter exercised vigorously on a machine which is known to cause oscillations in the solar arrays; it was not successful. Mission controllers continued to look at other solutions to the solar panel folding problem so as to enable complete retraction, including an extended or additional EVA. [cite news | title = How to fold a solar panel -- NASA style | url = http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/12/15/space.shuttle.ap/index.html | work = CNN | date = | accessdate =]

December 16 (Flight day 8 - EVA #3)

Flight day 8 began for the astronauts at 14:48 UTC. Astronauts Bob Curbeam and 'Suni' Williams completed the rewiring work on the International Space Station. The EVA began at 19:25 UTC and proceeded normally. As an "add-on task" to the EVA, astronauts Curbeam and Williams also continued work on the retraction of a sticking solar array, enabling the retraction of another six sections of the P6 array. At the end of the EVA there were another 11 "bays", or 35% left to retract. Upon completion of the EVA, the astronauts returned to the ISS via the Quest airlock.cite web | last = SpaceflightNow | title = Mission Status Center | url = http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/status.html | work = Spaceflight Now | date = | accessdate =]

Another significant event during the EVA was the loss of 'Suni' Williams' digital camera. At the post-EVA press conference it was suggested that a tether got snagged and caused the camera release button to break off allowing the camera to fall out of its holder. Images were lost but it was determined there was no need to retake them. Curbeam later said to the MCC: "We've got the bracket and the tether. Looks like the screws [on the bracket] came loose, we have the screws and the bracket and the tether." [Day eight, post mission management meeting press briefing]

December 17 (Flight day 9)

Flight day 9 was mainly spent preparing for EVA #4. The space suits were prepared (adjusting sizes and replacing LiOH canisters) and the crew went through the new procedures which had been developed for attempting to enable the solar array retraction. Various tools were to be coated in kapton tape to protect the array from coming into direct contact with sharp metallic objects and to provide electrical insulation if they are used to manipulate the arrays during the EVA. [Day eight, post mission management meeting press briefing] [Pre-EVA4 press briefing]

December 18 (Flight day 10 - EVA #4)

Flight day 10 began for the astronauts at 14:17 UTC.cite web | last = SpaceflightNow | title = Mission Status Center | url = http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/status.html | work = Spaceflight Now | date = | accessdate =] Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang embarked on an added EVA at 17:12 UTC to try to fully close the last eleven bays of the balky P6-port Solar Array Wing. [cite news | first = Mark | last = Carreau | title = Discovery crew gets extra day, 4th spacewalk | url = http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/4407682.html | publisher = Houston Chronicle | date = | accessdate =] The rapidly planned EVA was successfully completed after a 6-hour 38-minute spacewalk.cite web | title = Space Shuttle Status #19| url = http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts116/news/STS-116-19.html | work = NASA | date = | accessdate =] At the end of EVA #4, Curbeam ranked fifth in total EVA time for U.S. astronauts and 14th overall.cite web | last = Anikeev | first = Alexander | title = Number of EVAs of astronauts | url = http://space.kursknet.ru/cosmos/english/other/eva_cnt.sht | date = | accessdate =]

December 19 (Flight day 11 - Undocking)

Flight day 11 began for the astronauts at approximately 14:47 UTC. The Expedition 14 and STS-116 crews posed for photos and then closed the hatches between the ISS and Discovery. Undocking was complete at 22:10 UTC. Due to the extended mission for EVA #4, "Discovery" did not make a full circle to film and photograph ISS, but only flew slightly more than one-quarter of the way around (through ISS zenith) before its departure burn.

December 20 (Flight day 12)

Flight day 12 began for the astronauts at 12:48 UTC. They spent the day verifying the integrity of "Discoverys heat shield and preparing for deorbit and landing on December 22nd, 2006 (Flight day 14). Because of the extended spaceflight, the shuttle was required to make a landing attempt on flight day 14 unless all three landing sites were "no-go." Two satellites were also launched: MEPSI (Microelectromechanical System-Based PICOSAT Inspector) resembles a pair of tethered coffee-cups, and is being tested as a reconnaissance option for disabled satellites; RAFT"' (Radar Fence Transponder) is a pair of 5" cubes built by the U.S. Naval Academy which will test space radar systems and also act as data relays for mobile ground communications.cite web | last = SpaceflightNow | title = Mission Status Center | url = http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/status.html | work = Spaceflight Now | date = | accessdate =] cite web | last = U.S. Naval Academy Satellite Lab | title = ANDE, RAFT, NMARS, FCAL Operations | url = http://web.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/ande-raft-ops.html | date = | accessdate =]

December 21 (Flight day 13)

Flight day 13 began for the astronauts at 12:17 UTC.cite web | last = SpaceflightNow | title = Master Flight Plan | url = http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/fdf/116flightplan.html | work = Spaceflight Now | date = | accessdate =] "Discoverys crew launched the ANDE"' (Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment) microsats for the Naval Research Laboratory, which were designed to measure the density and composition of the low Earth orbit atmosphere in order to help better predict the movements of objects in orbit, but one of the satellites failed to emerge from its launch canister. ANDE is currently transmitting data, and emerged from the canister approximately 30 minutes after its launch according to satellite tracking data.

December 22 (Flight day 14 - Landing)

Flight day 14 began for the astronauts at 12:17 UTC. Preparations for landing were complete. High cross-winds precluded a landing at Edwards Air Force Base while clouds and showers were an issue at Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on the first orbit. That combination raised the possibility of the first landing at White Sands Space Harbor since STS-3 in 1982.cite web | last = SpaceflightNow | title = Mission Status Center | url = http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/status.html | work = Spaceflight Now | date = | accessdate =] Had landing taken place at White Sands, it could have taken as long as 60 days to return the orbiter to Kennedy Space Center. The first landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center was abandoned due to unfavorable weather conditions. However, at 21:00 UTC coordinates were sent to the shuttle to re-attempt a landing at Kennedy along runway 15, as the first contingency landing attempt at Edwards had been scrubbed due to high cross winds. The de-orbit burn for Kennedy occurred at 21:27 UTC, having been authorized at 21:23 UTC, and was finished at 21:31 UTC. Since the landing time coincided with the local sunset time 5:32 p.m. (22:32 UTC), the shuttle landing was not considered a night landing, as official rules for a night landing are sunset + 15 minutes; however the xenon runway lighting system was in use. "Discovery" touched down 30 seconds before the expected time. Landing time at Kennedy was at 5:32 p.m. EST (22:32 UTC).

The landing of Discovery also served a secondary purpose, [ [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/releases/2006/release-20061221b.html NASA - NASA's KSC Providing Assistance to Santa on Christmas Eve ] ] having been used by NASA to mimic Santa Claus's sleigh in order to test the ability to operate NASA's Debris Imaging Radar System and Differential Global Positioning Satellite System ground station in auto-track mode for the benefit of Santa on Christmas eve.

Contingency planning

TS-301

STS-301 was the designation given to the Contingency Shuttle Crew Support mission which would have been launched in the event Space Shuttle "Atlantis" had become disabled during STS-115. It was a modified version of the STS-116 mission, which would have involved the launch date being brought forward. If needed, it would have launched no earlier than November 11, 2006. The crew for this mission was a four-person subset of the full STS-116 crew:

* Mark Polansky - Commander and prime Remote Manipulator System (RMS) operator
* William Oefelein - Pilot and backup RMS operator
* Robert Curbeam - Mission specialist 1, Extravehicular 1
* Nicholas Patrick - Mission specialist 2, Extravehicular 2

TS-317

In the event that "Discovery" suffered irreparable damage but made it to Earth orbit during STS-116, the crew would have taken refuge at the ISS and waited for a Contingency Shuttle Crew Support mission to launch. The mission would have been named STS-317 and would have been flown by the Space Shuttle "Atlantis" no earlier than February 21, 2007. The crew for this rescue mission would have been a subset of the full STS-117 crew.

Wake-up calls

In what has become a tradition for NASA spaceflights since the days of Gemini, the crew of STS-116 is played a special musical track at the start of each day in space. Each track is specially chosen and often has a particular meaning to an individual member of the crew, or it is somehow applicable to their situation. [cite web| url = http://history.nasa.gov/wakeup%20calls.pdf| title = Chronology of Wakeup calls| accessdate =| last = Fries| first = Colin| date =| publisher = NASA| pages = 62]
* Day 2: "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles; played for Commander Mark Polansky. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd02.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd02.wav WAV]
* Day 3: "Beep Beep" by Louis Prima; played for Sunita Williams. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd03.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd03.wav WAV]
* Day 4: "Waterloo" by ABBA; played for Christer Fuglesang. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd04.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd04.wav WAV]
* Day 5: "Suavemente" by Elvis Crespo; played for Joan Higginbotham. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd05.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd05.wav WAV]
* Day 6: "Under Pressure" by Queen & David Bowie; played for Robert Curbeam. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd06.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd06.wav WAV]
* Day 7: "Low Rider" by War; played for William Oefelein. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd07.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd07.wav WAV]
* Day 8: "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland performed by the London Philharmonic; played for Nicholas Patrick. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd08.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd08.wav WAV]
* Day 9: "Blue Danube Waltz" by Johann Strauss performed by the Vienna Philharmonic; played for Christer Fuglesang. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd09.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd09.wav WAV]
* Day 10: "Good Vibrations"; by The Beach Boys played for the entire "Discovery" crew. Chosen as part of the EVA involved shaking the solar array. The track was used as a wake up call on STS-85 when a Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount was being tested. Curbeam was a mission specialist on that flight. It was his first trip into space. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd10.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd10.wav WAV]
* Day 11: "Zamboni" by Gear Daddies; played for Pilot William Oefelein. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd11.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd11.wav WAV]
* Day 12: "Say You'll Be Mine" by Christopher Cross; played for returning Expedition 14 crewmember Thomas Reiter. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd12.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd12.wav WAV]
* Day 13: "The Road Less Travelled" by Joe Sample; played for the entire "Discovery" crew. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd13.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd13.wav WAV]
* Day 14: "Home for the Holidays" by Perry Como; played for the entire "Discovery" crew. [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/mp3/fd14.mp3 MP3] [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-116/wave/fd14.wav WAV]

Mission parameters

* Mass: 1,647,000 lb (750 metric tons) at launch, 225,000 lb (102 metric tons) at landing [www.nasa.gov]
* Perigee: TBD
* Apogee: TBD
* Inclination: 51.6°cite web
last = Harwood
first = William
date = 2006-12-08
url = http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/fdf/116quicklook1.html
title = "Quick-Look Mission Facts and Figures"
work = Spaceflight Now
accessdate =
]
* Period: 91.6 minutes

Extra-vehicular activity

References

ee also

*Space science
*Space Shuttle
*List of space shuttle missions
*List of human spaceflights chronologically
*2006 in spaceflight

External links

* [http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/status.html Mission Status Center] - "SpaceFlightNow": Up to the minute blog on the mission
* [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/archives/sts-116/index.html STS-116 mission overview] - NASA's website
*PDF| [http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/162182main_STS-116_Press_Kit.pdf STS-116 Press Kit] |6.50 MiB
* [http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html Space Shuttle main page] at NASA
* [http://www.spaceflightweb.com/hsf/sts/missions/sts-116/ STS-116 Mission Profile] - A mission profile reporting on the missions events as well as video clips of mission events
* [http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-121106a.html#ofk STS-116 Official Flight Kit] - the list of mementos carried aboard "Discovery" for presentation by NASA and the crew

Videos

* [http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=30732 STS-116 Launch Video] : NASA VIDEO KSC-06-S-00251, captioned in English
* [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/video/shuttle/sts-116/html/fd1.html NASA Videos for STS-116]
* [http://www.nss.org/resources/library/shuttlevideos/shuttle117.htm STS-116 Video Highlights]
* [http://www.stormvideographer.com/blog/2006/12/10/awesome-launch-of-space-shuttle-discovery/ STS-116 Launch Video View From Cape Canaveral South Bridge] -Weathervine Video


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