10 p.m. CST Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-126 MCC Status Report #17
Astronauts Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen today completed the third spacewalk of Endeavour’s mission to the International Space Station. The spacewalk began at 12:01 p.m. CST and ended at 6:58 p.m. for a total time of six hours and 57 minutes.

Piper and Bowen focused their efforts on the continued cleaning of the station’s starboard solar alpha rotary joint (SARJ) and the removal and replacement of the remaining trundle bearing assemblies (TBA). Today, Piper replaced three TBAs and Bowen replaced two. Five have been replaced during the mission’s prior two spacewalks, and one was replaced on the STS-124 mission this past summer. The two astronauts also cleaned the area around the SARJ’s drive lock assemblies, which help the joint to rotate and lock into place.

A final trundle bearing assembly replacement will take place during the fourth and final spacewalk of the flight, which is scheduled for Monday. That spacewalk, which will be conducted by Shane Kimbrough and Bowen, will focus on the lubrication and servicing of the port SARJ.

Work continued inside the station on the transfer of cargo and supplies from the Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM). The station and shuttle crews also worked on setting up the station’s new Water Recovery System (WRS), with Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Sandy Magnus working on taking the first samples from the Water Processor Assembly (WPA). Ground controllers in Houston continue to examine data from the Urine Processor Assembly, which is also part of the WRS, to determine why it continues to experience errors. Engineers are exploring the possibility that there is a sensor touching part of the system’s centrifuge as it rotates, which might be causing it to slow down.

Endeavour’s crew is scheduled to go to bed at 11:55 p.m. tonight and be awakened at 7:55 a.m. Sunday. The next shuttle status report will be issued at the beginning of the crew day, or earlier if events warrant.

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