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STS-114 Mission & Crew Briefing


More than two years after the Columbia accident, NASA plans to return the Space Shuttle to flight this month.
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With implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendations completed, a crew of seven astronauts will fly aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-114 to test new safety techniques and deliver needed supplies to the International Space Station.

The mission will debut and test new External Tank designs and processes that will minimize potentially damaging debris during launch. New ground and flight camera systems will observe the Shuttle environment during launch and on orbit. Also, new techniques for in-flight inspections and repair of the Shuttle Thermal Protection System will be tested.

Several elements will be carried in Discovery's payload bay for delivery to the Station. These include the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello, containing racks of supplies, food and water, and the Human Research Facility-2 rack. Also, the External Stowage Platform and a replacement Control Moment Gyroscope will be carried in Discovery's payload bay.

During Mission STS-114, mission specialists will perform spacewalks to install the External Stowage Platform and the Control Moment Gyroscope onto the Station. They will unberth the logistics module and attach it to the Station to transfer several tons of supplies and equipment, including food and water, for use by the Expedition 11 crew.

Mission STS-114 signifies the beginning of a new era in human exploration. Safely returning Space Shuttles to flight to complete the International Space Station are the first steps in the Vision for Space Exploration.

Discovery rolls to the Vehicle Assembly BuildingIn the early morning hours on March 29, Space Shuttle Discovery rolled from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center for mating with its External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters.

External Tank arrives at KennedyThe redesigned External Tank for Mission STS-114 arrived at Kennedy from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans on January 5, after a 900-mile sea voyage aboard NASA's specially designed barge, Pegasus.

Tank and boosters are mated in the VABStacking of the Solid Rocket Boosters was completed in the Vehicle Assembly Building on January 6, and the boosters were successfully mated to the External Tank on February 28.

Discovery is attached to tank and boostersDiscovery was mated to the External Tank and twin boosters atop the Mobile Launch Platform inside the Vehicle Assembly Building on March 30.

Discovery begins its trek to Launch Pad 39BSpace Shuttle Discovery began its trek atop the Crawler Transporter to Launch Pad 39B on April 6, arriving at the launch pad early the next morning. It rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building on May 26 to be re-mated with a new modified External Tank. Discovery re-rolled to Launch Pad 39B early June 15. An interesting fact to mention: Space Shuttle Discovery and the Mobile Launch Platform, on top of the Crawler Transporter, weigh approximately 12 million, 300 thousand pounds.

Discovery arrives at Launch Pad 39BMission STS-114 is NASA's Return to Flight mission and is also designated Logistics Flight 1. It marks the 31st flight of Discovery, the 114th Space Shuttle mission and the 17th U.S. flight to the International Space Station. The mission is set to take 12 days and the orbiter will be docked to the International Space Station for eight days.

MPLM Raffaello inside the Space Station Processing FacilityA primary element of the mission is the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello, shown here during processing in the Space Station Processing Facility. Raffaello will be carried in Discovery's payload bay and contain several racks of equipment, water, food, supplies, hardware and the Human Research Facility-2 rack.

HRF-2 with RaffaelloInside the Space Station Processing Facility, the Human Research Facility-2 rack was inserted into the MPLM Raffaello. The HRF-2 will provide additional biomedical instrumentation and research capabilities to the Station.

Orbiter Boom Sensor System in processingDiscovery's payload bay will also carry the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, or OBSS. Seen here, workers installed the 50-foot-long boom onto the starboard side of Discovery's payload bay inside the Orbiter Processing Facility. The OBSS consists of a camera and a laser on the boom's end. Prior to arrival at the Station, and after docking, mission specialists will attach the OBSS to the end of the orbiter's robotic arm and maneuver it to inspect Discovery on-orbit for any damage.

Control Moment Gyro in processingMission specialists will perform a spacewalk to replace a failed Control Moment Gyroscope on the Station with a new one. It is one of four gyroscopes that provide attitude control to the Station without the use of rocket fuel. Inside the Space Station Processing Facility, workers help guide the Control Moment Gyroscope as a crane lowers it onto a Small Adapter Plate Assembly for insertion into Discovery's payload bay.

Official STS-114 mission patchThe STS-114 patch design signifies the return of the Space Shuttle to flight and honors the memory of the STS-107 Columbia crew. The dominant design element of the patch is the planet Earth, which represents unity and dedication of the many people whose efforts allow the Shuttle to safely return to flight. The blue orbit represents the International Space Station with the Extra-Vehicular Activity crew members named on the orbit. The multi-colored Shuttle plume represents the broad spectrum of challenges for this mission, including Shuttle inspection and repair experiments.

Official STS-114 crew portraitThe crew members of mission STS-114 are, front row from left, Pilot James Kelly, Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence and Commander Eileen Collins. In the back row from left are Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson, Andrew Thomas, Charles Camarda and Soichi Noguchi, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Commander Eileen Collins

Portrait of Commander Eileen CollinsEileen Collins will serve as commander on her fourth Space Shuttle flight and second flight as commander. She served as pilot on mission STS-63 in 1995 and mission STS-84 in 1997, and was commander on mission STS-93 in 1999. Collins will command the crew and mission on orbit. She will dock Discovery with the Station and fly the orbiter to its landing at Kennedy Space Center. Collins has Masters Degrees in operations research from Stanford University and space systems management from Webster University. She was born in Elmira, New York.

Eileen Collins inside the cockpit of DiscoveryDuring Crew Equipment Interface Test activities at Kennedy Space Center in February, Commander Collins inspects the window in Discovery's cockpit. During the interface test, the STS-114 crew had an opportunity to get a hands-on look at the payloads they'll be working with on orbit.

Collins recently talked about mission STS-114 and the goals the astronauts aim to achieve.

"Well, the LF stands for logistics flight. I mean, primarily, STS-114 is a resupply, re-servicing, repair of the International Space Station. But we also have an objective of the flight that's equally as important and that's the test -- I mean, you could call this a test and logistics flight because the testing that we're doing is for the recommendations that came about after the accident in the inspecting, inspecting the exterior of the orbiter and the External Tank and testing repair methods. So we really have, I see it as, as two major objectives on the flight."
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Pilot James Kelly

Portrait of Pilot James KellyJames Kelly will serve as pilot on his second Space Shuttle flight. He served as pilot on mission STS-102 in 2001. During mission STS-114, Kelly's primary responsibility is to serve as backup to Commander Collins. He will operate the orbiter's robotic arm during vehicle inspections with the OBSS. He will also operate the Station's robotic arm during all three spacewalks, as well as during the transfer and retrieval of the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. Kelly has a Masters Degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama. He was born in Burlington, Iowa.

Pilot James Kelly looks at an engineDuring a visit to Kennedy Space Center, Kelly looks closely at an area of an engine on the orbiter Discovery inside the Orbiter Processing Facility.

Kelly recently spoke about his primary responsibilities as pilot for mission STS-114.

"Well, the primary job of the pilot in, in every flight, obviously, my first job is to back up the commander. So, Eileen Collins is our commander, and although she's totally competent to do absolutely everything, we never do everything with one person. We always have someone to back them up. So my primary job is to back up Eileen pretty much in anything she does: flying the vehicle, reconfiguring the vehicle, all those kind of things, so that's my job number one. Probably the second biggest job I have is robotics for this flight. I'm a robotics operator on both the Shuttle arm, helping out with all the inspection processes, with the inspection boom and sensors and all of those things, as well as I'm a Station robotic arm operator, primarily for doing all of the EVAs, all of the spacewalk work, as well as the logistics module back and forth, onto the Station and back in the payload bay. So most of my time in flight is going to be taken up with the robotics operations."
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Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi

Portrait of Mission Specialist Soichi NoguchiSoichi Noguchi, with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will serve as mission specialist 1. This is his first Space Shuttle flight. During the mission, Noguchi will be the lead spacewalker during three spacewalks to demonstrate repair techniques on Thermal Protection System samples, replace a failed Control Moment Gyroscope and install the External Stowage Platform on the Station. Noguchi has a master of engineering degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Tokyo. Noguchi was born in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.

Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab During preflight training, Noguchi checks a potential repair technique for the Shuttle's heat protection tiles at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The latest techniques and hardware were developed for Noguchi to use during an in-flight test of new Shuttle heat shield repair possibilities on mission STS-114.

Noguchi recently talked about what will be accomplished during his first spacewalk, along with Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson.

"The first EVA, first spacewalks, will be mainly dedicated to demonstration of the repair techniques. Steve and I will move to the cargo bay, the very back portion of the cargo bay, and there is a special box dedicated to this demonstration. And it's the size of like, four feet by three feet. And we will open this big box, and inside the box there is a kind of a simulated damage of the tiles and, uh, possibly RCC, the leading edge panel, and we will be performing the repair using a special repair equipment. And, what we like to do is shoot the goop into the grooved area of the tile and see how it cures and how we can operate the equipment under the zero G and other vacuum environment. And once we come back to ground, then engineers will put them onto the arc jet test facility to make sure they will withstand entry profile."
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Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson

Portrait of Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson Dr. Stephen Robinson will serve as mission specialist 2 on his third Space Shuttle flight. He will serve as the flight engineer during the launch and landing of mission STS-114. Robinson will perform three spacewalks with Noguchi to demonstrate repair techniques on all protection system samples, replace a failed Control Moment Gyroscope, and install the External Stowage Platform on the Station. Robinson has a Ph.D in mechanical engineering, with a minor in aeronautics and astronautics, from Stanford University. He was born in Sacramento, California.

Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson using virtual reality equipmentDuring preflight training, Robinson uses virtual-reality hardware in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at Johnson Space Center to rehearse some of his mission STS-114 duties.

Robinson commented on his primary mission responsibilities.

"My job on this mission is really two separate things. On launch and on entry, I'm flight engineer on board, which means Eileen [Collins], as the commander, and Jim Kelly, as the pilot, will be sitting in their seats, and I sit in a seat sort of a little behind and in between them, and I'm responsible for understanding all the systems of the Space Shuttle, helping the right information flow get to the right person in the cockpit, and in particular, that becomes important when there's any malfunctions. In flight, there's not too many malfunctions, but in training there's lots of them, so we get to train for lots of, be ready for anything, basically. So I'm part of the cockpit crew. While we're up there, my job is to be a spacewalker, and Soichi Noguchi and I will do three different spacewalks on the fifth, the seventh, and the ninth day of the mission."
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Mission Specialist Andrew Thomas

Portait of Mission Specialist Andrew ThomasDr. Andrew Thomas will serve as mission specialist 3 on his fourth Space Shuttle flight. Previously, he flew on mission STS-89 in 1998, which was a docking mission with Mir. Thomas served aboard Mir as flight engineer 2 for 130 days and returned to Earth on mission STS-91 in June 1998. Thomas will help unberth the OBSS in Discovery's payload bay and attach it to the orbiter's robotic arm to inspect the vehicle for any damage. Thomas was born in Adelaide, South Australia. He received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Adelaide.

Mission Specialist Andrew Thomas looks at payload componentsDuring the March Crew Equipment Interface Test at SPACEHAB in Cape Canaveral, Thomas checked out components on the External Stowage Platform-2. The platform, carried in Discovery's payload bay, will carry replacement parts, known as orbital replacement units, to the Station.

Thomas recently commented on how the Space Station will help the nation achieve the Vision for Space Exploration and pave our future.

"...a lot of people don't understand that the Space Station and what we're doing with it is really going to help us go beyond low-Earth orbit. And it's a connection that a lot of people don't appreciate. If you're going to go beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon or a six-month journey to Mars, you have to have systems in your spacecraft that you know will run continuously for long periods of time. You're going to have the right life-support systems, you've got to have the right electrical systems, propulsion systems. Everything has to work properly because when you do a mission to Mars there's no going back. If something's wrong, you can't just get down to Earth and fix it. The Space Station is going to teach us how to do that. It's teaching us what kind of technologies you need to operate and maintain a spacecraft in the hostile environment of space for long periods of time as you would have to do if you were doing a deep-space interplanetary mission. That's one thing. There's the human element, too: Space Station's teaching us what is required of us as humans to live and function in space. It's teaching us what is the consequence of living in space on us as human beings, and it's teaching us how to mitigate some of them, the deleterious effects, of space flight. We need to have answers to all of those questions if we're going to go on beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon or to Mars."
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Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence

Portrait of Mission Specialist Wendy LawrenceWendy Lawrence will serve as mission specialist 4 on her fourth Space Shuttle flight. Previous missions include STS-91 in June 1998, STS-86 in September 1997, and STS-67 in March 1995. Lawrence's work on mission STS-114 includes helping to position the orbiter beneath the Space Station to allow Station crew members to photograph the underside of Discovery. She will also lead the transfer of racks from the MPLM Raffaello into the Station and the used supplies, equipment and hardware from the Station into the module for return to Earth. Lawrence was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She earned a masters degree in ocean engineering from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence inside the Launch Pad 39B White RoomDuring the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test on May 4 at KSC, Lawrence prepares to enter the hatch on Space Shuttle Discovery from the White Room on Launch Pad 39-B. TCDT provides the crew of each mission an opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities.

Lawrence recently talked about her primary responsibilities on mission STS-114.

"I'm in charge of all the transfer operations, so the LF part of this flight designation is near and dear to my heart. We have a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module in the payload bay that's going to be carrying thousands of pounds of equipment and food and other items for the Space Station, and so we'll install that on Flight Day 4. And then we'll start the transfer operations and, hopefully by Flight Day 10, we've got everything done. We're actually on this flight bringing more back to Earth than we are taking up to the Space Station... A lot of the equipment on the Space Station is reusable, and it's time to bring it back down to Earth so it can be refurbished and flown again. And we're going to be bringing home quite a bit of equipment for the Russian space program, some of the rendezvous radar equipment that they use for the Progress and Soyuz vehicles."
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Mission Specialist Charles Camarda

Portrait of Mission Specialist Charles CamardaDr. Charles Camarda will serve as mission specialist 5 on his first Space Shuttle flight. Camarda will serve on the rendezvous team with Lawrence and Collins. He will help guide the orbiter beneath the Space Station so the Station crew members can photograph Discovery before docking. Camarda was born in Queens, New York. He has a Ph.D in aerospace engineering from Virginia and Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Mission Specialist Charles Camarda inside a Shuttle mission simulatorDuring preflight training, Camarda checks data on a monitor in the aft section of the cabin of the fixed-base Shuttle mission simulator at Johnson Space Center's Mission Simulation and Training Facility. The rehearsal was part of a long-duration integrated simulation for the STS-114 flight. Camarda recently talked about inspections of the outside of Discovery during the mission.

Camarda recently talked about inspections of the outside of Discovery during the mission.

"...Eileen [Collins], Vegas, myself, and Wendy [Lawrence] are on the rendezvous team, and we basically position the orbiter beneath the Space Station, about 600 feet below, and Eileen and Vegas put the orbiter into a pitch maneuver, which basically pirouettes or rotates 360 degrees. And when the orbiter is belly up to the Station, Station crew will be taking detailed photographs using a 400mm lens and, and basically taking detailed shots of the belly of the vehicle to look for critical damage areas or, or critical-size damage areas on the belly of the vehicle. And, and it's pretty easy to see, because on the bottom of the vehicle they have, you have black tiles, some of them are discolored because of, of the flights and, and the aging on the tiles. And if they see damage, then later on in our mission, if we see damage that we think needs a further inspection or a more detailed look, we will take the boom sensor out and we will put it underneath the belly of the vehicle to basically inspect for damage to the tiles."
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STS-114 crew atThe crew of mission STS-114 is ready for the Return to Flight mission to test new techniques designed to improve the safety of the Shuttle and its crew, and deliver several elements and supplies to the International Space Station.

Space Shuttle Discovery at Launch Pad 39BThe Space Shuttle Discovery sits on Launch Pad 39B, ready for a launch that will put in motion the beginning of a new era in human exploration and the first step in making the Vision for Space Exploration a reality!

STS-114 posterFinally, STS-114 Mission Commander Eileen Collins shares her thoughts about the future of space exploration.

"Well, I see STS-114 as the next step in getting people off the planet and, you know, on, onto the Moon and on to Mars, which is our nation's Vision for Space Exploration right now. To do that, to get to the Moon and to put a plan together to get on to Mars, we really need to complete the International Space Station to test what we're going to be doing when we're so far away from Earth that we may not have a way to get back quickly and safely. We've got to test as much as we can on the International Space Station to guarantee the safety and the success of the future missions."
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