8:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-116 MCC Status Report #20
Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts will leave the orbiting laboratory today after four successful spacewalks, delivery and installation of a new segment of the International Space Station’s main truss and reconfiguring the station’s power system.
During their eight days docked to the station, the shuttle crew also dropped off more than two tons of additional equipment and supplies and a new station crew member.
After some final equipment transfers between the two spacecraft, Discovery crew members will bid their station colleagues farewell. Hatch closing is scheduled for 12:57 p.m. CST. Undocking is to occur at 4:09 p.m.
With Pilot Bill Oefelein at the controls, Discovery will slowly move away from the station. A partial fly-around of the station will give the crew a look at the orbiting laboratory, with its new P5 spacer truss segment and the port wing of the P6 solar array fully retracted and firmly secured in its retention box.
Discovery will begin its departure from the area at about 6 p.m. The crew is to begin its scheduled sleep period at 10:47 p.m. Landing is scheduled for 2:56 p.m. CST Friday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Highlights of docked operations include the four spacewalks. Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam participated in all of them, giving him the record for the number of spacewalks during a single shuttle mission. He teamed up with Sunita Williams, the new station crewmember for the third spacewalk, and with Mission Specialist Christer Fuglesang for the other three.
The first spacewalk was for the P5 truss segment installation, the second and third focused on the power reconfiguration, and the fourth was dedicated to completing retraction of the port solar wing of the P6 truss.
The P6 arrays were deployed in late 2000. On Wednesday almost half the port wing was retracted, leaving 17 bays out. Saturday spacewalkers Curbeam and Williams helped retract six more bays. In a dramatic Monday spacewalk, Curbeam and Fuglesang helped complete the retraction.
Discovery crewmembers -- Commander Mark Polansky, Oefelein and Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick, Curbeam, Fuglesang, Joan Higginbotham and Thomas Reiter, the European Space Agency astronaut from Germany who will be coming home after about six months in space -- were awakened at 7:47 a.m. CST to “The Zamboni Song,” performed by the Gear Daddies. The song, dedicated to the entire crew, was requested by the training team who sent a message to Oefelein saying they had arranged for him to fly the shuttle half a lap around the station.
Aboard the station, Expedition 14 Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Williams got their wakeup tone at 8:17 a.m.
The next STS-116 status report will be issued Tuesday afternoon or earlier if events warrant.