Endeavour’s astronauts worked Wednesday to get ready for the Thursday space walk by Mission Specialists Joe Tanner and Carlos Noriega. They also took a few hours off to rest and enjoy the view from their spacecraft, moving at five miles a second about 235 miles above the Earth.
Space walk preparations focused on techniques to tighten one of two solar blankets on the starboard wing. They got the word that task had been added to the space walk schedule shortly after they were awakened about 6:30 a.m. They reviewed the procedures during a conference with flight controllers later in the day.
Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Mike Bloomfield and Mission Specialists Marc Garneau will support Tanner and Noriega from the Endeavor’s crew compartment, retracting by two or three feet the mast extending the two blankets of the starboard wing.
Once the mast is shortened, Noriega will pull the slack in the tensioning cables through each spring-loaded take-up reel. Tanner will manually “wind” the spring-loaded tension reels. When each has reached its limit, Tanner will let it unwind by spring force while Noriega guides the cable on to the reel grooves. The outboard reel will be done first, followed by the inboard reel. The cables apparently came out of the grooves when the wing was extended on Sunday. Both wings of the 240-foot-long, 38-foot-wide array continue to function well, producing power to the space station.
After the solar wing repair, Tanner and Noriega will install the Floating Potential Probe atop the P6 structure. It measures the electrical potential of plasma around the station.
Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko had a busy day aboard the space station. They installed a new air conditioning unit brought up by the Progress supply vessel which docked with the station Nov. 17 to replace one that had failed earlier in the week. The new unit is functioning well. The crew also replaced a malfunctioning fan in the Vozdukh carbon dioxide removal unit, bringing that life-support unit back on line.
Shepherd went back inside the Unity module about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday to install electrical outlets and air ducts and separate the power feeds going to the early communication and S-band communication systems, providing additional redundancy.
Endeavour’s crew was scheduled to go to bed a little after 10 p.m., about two hours before the space station crew was to be awakened at 12:06 a.m. Thursday. The wake-up call for the STS-97 crew will sound at 6:06 a.m.
The next STS-97 status report will be issued Thursday morning.
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