6:30 p.m. CDT, Friday, Aug. 17, 2007
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-118 MCC Status Report #19
The Endeavour astronauts and their colleagues on the International Space Station today took time out from supply transfers and spacewalk preparations for a news conference with United States and Canadian reporters.
Commander Scott Kelly, Pilot Charles Hobaugh, and Mission Specialists Tracy Caldwell, Rick Mastracchio, Dave Williams, Barbara Morgan and Alvin Drew, and station Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Clay Anderson all gathered in the Destiny Laboratory for the traditional news conference.
In response to questions, the crew said it agrees 100 percent with the mission managers’ decision to land Endeavour without mounting a spacewalk to repair damage to its heat shield tiles.
Mission managers are keeping a close watch on Hurricane Dean and reviewing established plans as they might apply to STS-118, should the storm threaten Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control is located. They’re also considering how those preparations could affect the remainder of STS-118. Managers are working with the flight control team to keep open the option of ending the mission Tuesday rather than Wednesday if the storm continues to threaten Houston.
The crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 8:06 p.m. and wake up at 4:06 a.m. Then Williams and Anderson plan to begin the final spacewalk of the mission at 9:01 a.m. Saturday. The tasks in that spacewalk will be prioritized overnight while the crew sleeps so that the spacewalk can be abbreviated to protect all landing options.
The mission’s third spacewalk ended early because of damage to Mastracchio’s spacesuit glove. Mission managers today completed a careful review and concluded that Williams and Anderson could safely perform Saturday’s spacewalk. It is believed that the small tear was the result of wear in the material, but Williams and Anderson will check their gloves even more often than usual to stay alert for any cut that might be caused by a sharp edge on the exterior of the station.
The next status report will be issued Saturday morning or earlier if events warrant.