NASA News

4:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
11.17.09
STATUS REPORT : STS-129-02
STS-129 MCC Status Report #02
HOUSTON – With a picture-perfect launch day under their belts, Atlantis’ crew members will spend their first full day in space taking pictures of what they hope will be a perfect heat shield.

Today’s STS-129 wakeup call came at 3:28 a.m. in the form of MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.” The song was played for Pilot Barry E. Wilmore, who will spend his day at the controls of the shuttle’s robotic arm. Wilmore, along with Commander Charles O. Hobaugh and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin and Randy Bresnik, will be using the 50-foot-long arm and its 50-foot-long orbiter boom sensor system to get an up close look at the tiles of Atlantis’ wing leading edges and nose cap.

The inspection will make use of a suite of cameras and lasers on the end of the boom and give experts on the ground 3-D views of the shuttle’s heat shield. Those photos, as well as others taken during various points in the mission, will be used to ensure that the shuttle did not sustain any damage during its launch on Monday.

This inspection will begin just before 7:15 a.m. and will take about five hours. While it is going on, the crew’s spacewalkers – Mike Foreman and Robert L. Satcher Jr., with help from Bresnik when he’s not working on the inspection – will perform a checkout of the two spacesuits to be worn on the first of the mission’s three spacewalks and prepare the suits for transfer to the International Space Station.

In preparation for docking with the station on Wednesday, the crew will also set up the centerline camera, extend the Orbiter Docking System ring and check out other equipment that will be used during the rendezvous.

Aboard the station, Expedition 21 Commander Frank De Winne and Flight Engineers Jeffrey Williams, Nicole Stott, Maxim Suraev, Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk will prepare for the shuttle’s arrival by reviewing photography procedures for their part in documenting the condition of the shuttle’s heat shield as it completes a rendezvous pitch maneuver during its approach to the station. Williams will also get a jump start on one of the STS-129 tasks, the preparation of the Harmony node for the arrival of the Tranquility node next year.

Atlantis’ crew will go to bed just before 7:30 p.m. The next shuttle status report will be issued at the end of the crew’s workday or earlier if events warrant.

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