Space walk number two is at the top of the agenda for Endeavour’s astronauts today as they continue work to install, connect and activate the International Space Station’s new solar arrays.
Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Mike Bloomfield and Mission Specialists Carlos Noriega, Joe Tanner and Marc Garneau were awakened at 7:06 a.m. CST Tuesday. The crew started its day with the University of Southern California’s fight song, “Fight On,” played for graduate Noriega.
Tanner and Noriega are scheduled to begin their six-hour space walk at 11:56 a.m. CST, or a little earlier if they are ready. The main objective is to reconfigure electrical connections so that power from the newly installed P6 solar arrays can flow to the U.S. elements of the station.
After the second set of solar array blankets was successfully deployed Monday, all of the new power-generating unit’s batteries – six on each side for a total of 12 – have been fully charged and are ready to send electricity to the Unity module.
Noriega will work on the port side of the truss structure, moving cables from one connector to another to transfer power, and then removing a thermal shroud from a power conditioner. Tanner will remove a similar shroud from a signal processor and prepare to relocate the S-Band Antenna Subassembly from the Z1 truss, where it was temporarily stowed by the STS-92 crew in October.
The space walkers will be looking down on the space station from high above when they move the dish-shaped, high-data-rate antenna. Inside the shuttle, Bloomfield will maneuver the robot arm as far as it will reach up the truss structure, then Tanner and Noriega will alternate possession in a series of “leap frog” exchanges until the antenna assembly is installed on the Integrated Equipment Assembly. While there, they will take care of an added task – “eye-balling” the take-up reels on the starboard solar array’s tension cables. During Sunday’s deployment, the cables apparently slipped off the reels. Engineers on the ground are considering whether to attempt to tighten the cables manually on the third planned space walk Thursday.
Inside the station, Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev will enter the Unity module for the second time and in their 35 days aboard the station and reconfigure power cables there to accept the newfound source of electricity. They are expected to be inside Unity for about an hour.
The remaining EVA tasks are designed to pave the way for the arrival of the U.S. Laboratory Destiny early next year. Tanner and Noriega will remove umbilicals from Pressurized Mating Adapter-2, connecting them to a dummy panel on that docking port and preparing it for relocation to the end of the Destiny module, which will be connected to Unity on the STS-98/5A mission.
The next STS-97 status report will be issued Tuesday evening.
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