SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
*Crew Attaches P5 to Station, Makes Connections*
Image above: Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam participates in the first spacewalk of the STS-116 mission. Image Credit: NASA TV (GO TO: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html-FOR PICTURE
With the attachment of the P5 integrated truss structure on to the International Space Station, STS-116 spacewalkers Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang are finalizing the installation with power, data and heater cable connections.
The spacewalk began at 3:31 p.m. EST and the P5 was attached to the P4 segment at 5:45 p.m. Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham used the station's robotic arm to move the new segment with only inches of clearance into its installation position. Then, the spacewalkers guided Higginbotham with visual cues as the exacting operation was carried out.
The component, also called the P5 spacer, is a two-ton piece that is the fifth truss segment added to the port side of the station. The addition of the P5 sets the stage for the relocation of the P6 truss and its set of solar arrays. The P6 will be moved from its current location on the top of the Destiny Laboratory to the P5 during a future mission.
Pilot Bill Oefelein is coordinating the spacewalk. The excursion will conclude about 9:41 p.m.
Two more spacewalks are on tap for STS-116. All three will be based out of the station’s Quest Airlock.
Also, the STS-116 and Expedition 14 crews continue joint operations, which began Monday evening.
*No Focused Heat Shield Inspection Required Wednesday*
The Mission Control Center in Houston informed STS-116 Commander Mark Polansky that the crew will not need to perform a focused inspection of Space Shuttle Discovery’s heat shield on Wednesday.
The STS-116 crew will press ahead with their activities on Wednesday, which includes the retraction of the port solar array on the P6 truss segment.
For the latest news and information on the International Space Station and the Expedition 14 crew, please visit the main station page. + Read more http://www.nasa.gov/station