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FEATURE
Packing the Payloads

03.21.05

Flight commander Eileen Collins and her crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery got some recent hands-on experience with equipment they will be taking into space soon. The Return to Flight astronauts were at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for a Payload Crew Equipment Interface Test.

Space Shuttle Discovery’s Return to Flight Commander Eileen Collins and Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi. Image at Left: Space Shuttle Discovery’s Return to Flight Commander Eileen Collins (left) and Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi (right) participate in a payload Crew Equipment Interface Test in the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Among the payloads is a Control Moment Gyroscope that will be swapped for an inoperable gyro on the International Space Station during a spacewalk. The gyros provide altitude control for the outpost, keeping it properly oriented toward the Sun without use of rocket fuel. Image credit: NASA

During the exercise, the astronauts performed tests to ensure the equipment for the mission's three spacewalks works properly, and they inspected the cargo containers installed in the Italian-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, called Raffaello.

They also performed a fit check on the Thermal Protection System repair sample box, and inspected the Control Moment Gyro and the External Stowage Platform-2. The sample box contains pieces of the Shuttle's heat-shielding tile. The samples will enable the crew to test new repair techniques in space recommended by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

Members of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s Return to Flight STS-114 crew Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson and Soichi Noguchi look at tile samples. Image at Right: Return to Flight crew Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson (left) and Soichi Noguchi (right) perform tool and equipment interface checks with the Thermal Protection System repair sample box. The seven-member crew will fly to the International Space Station primarily to evaluate procedures for flight safety, including Shuttle inspection and repair techniques. The repair sample box contains tile samples for the Detailed Test Objective. Image credit: NASA

The External Stowage Platform-2, similar to a large toolbox, will carry replacement parts to the Station. The platform will be deployed, attached to the Station's airlock and used as a permanent spare parts facility.

Members of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s Return to Flight crew, Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson and Andrew Thomas, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Image at Left: Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson (left) and Andrew Thomas examine equipment in preparation for the mission’s three scheduled spacewalks during the payload Crew Equipment Interface Test in the Space Station Processing Facility. Image credit: NASA

STS-114 is the first of two test flights following the Columbia accident. The seven-member Discovery crew will fly to the Station to evaluate procedures for flight safety and deliver much-needed supplies.

Pictured in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello is Space Shuttle Discovery’s Return to Flight Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence. Image at Right: In the Italian-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello, Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence inspects the resupply stowage racks headed for the International Space Station aboard STS-114. Image credit: NASA

Returning the Shuttle to flight and completing the International Space Station are the first steps in the Vision for Space Exploration, a stepping-stone strategy toward new exploration goals.

The Return to Flight mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery is targeted for launch during a window from May 15 to June 3.


Cheryl L. Mansfield
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center

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