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5 p.m. CDT, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
09.10.06
 
STATUS REPORT : STS-115-03
 
 
STS-115 MCC Status Report #03
 
 
It was a productive day for the six astronauts onboard Atlantis. The crew inspected the shuttle's heat shield, prepared for docking to the International Space Station and readied spacesuits for the upcoming three spacewalks.

The crew thoroughly examined Atlantis with the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, the 50-foot-long extension for the shuttle's robotic arm. Pilot Chris Ferguson and mission specialists Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean performed a slow, steady inspection of the reinforced carbon-carbon panels along the leading edge of Atlantis’ starboard and port wings and the nose cap. Imagery analysts at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will review data from the survey to assess Atlantis’ critical surfaces. As yet no decision has been made whether a more focused inspection will be performed later in the flight.

The crew worked ahead of schedule for most of the day readying the ship for docking and preparing for the mission’s three planned spacewalks.

Mission specialists Joe Tanner and Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper checked out the spacesuits and tools that they, Burbank and MacLean will use during spacewalks set for flight days 4, 5 and 7. The spacewalks are planned to install the girder-like P3/P4 truss, deploy new solar arrays and prepare them for operation.

On the space station, Expedition 13 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams prepared the orbiting laboratory for Atlantis’ arrival tomorrow. He readied the digital cameras that will be used to take high-resolution photos of the shuttle's heat shield. With help from Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Williams pressurized the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 at the end of the U.S. laboratory Destiny, where Atlantis will dock. Vinogradov also prepacked equipment that will be returned.

Tomorrow, flight day 3 of the mission, Jett will take over manual control of Atlantis and begin a slow back-flip rotation of the orbiter. This will allow Vinogradov and Williams to photograph the shuttle’s heat shield.

Once the back-flip is complete, Jett will maneuver Atlantis to docking, setting the stage for a week of joint operations between the two crews.

Even before the hatches are opened, Ferguson and Burbank will use the shuttle’s robotic arm to grapple the massive P3/P4 truss. Once the hatches are open, MacLean will join Williams at the robotic work station in the Destiny to maneuver the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm for a handoff of the truss from Ferguson and Burbank. The truss will remain grappled to the Canadarm2 overnight on flight day 3.

Crew sleep began at 3:15 p.m. CDT. Wake up is planned for 11:15 p.m. tonight. Docking is scheduled for 5:46 a.m. Monday, Flight Day 3.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Monday morning or earlier if events warrant.