Sunday, November 16, 2008

235p 11/16 Update: Terminal rendezvous sequence begins


Posted: 2:35 PM, 11/16/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-17 (11/15/08): Mission status briefing; presumed lost insulation still in place; analysis continues
   SR-18 (11/16/08): Shuttle closes in on space station; crew awake
   SR-19 (11/16/08): Terminal phase of space station rendezvous begins


2:35 PM, 11/16/08, Update: Rocket firing begins terminal phase of shuttle-station rendezvous

Trailing the international space station by about nine statute miles, Endeavour commander Chris Ferguson and pilot Eric Boe fired one of the shuttle's big maneuvering rockets at 2:27 p.m. to begin the terminal phase of today's rendezvous procedure, setting up a docking around 5:04 p.m. Video from the space station showed Endeavour as a brilliant "star" in the same frame as the waning moon moments before the burn.

There are no technical problems of any significance and the shuttle's KU-band antenna is operating normally in radar mode to assist in navigation, despite earlier problems maintaining auto-lock on NASA's tracking and data relay satellites.

The next major milestone occurs around 4 p.m., when Endeavour reaches a point about 600 feet directly below the station. Ferguson will guide the orbiter through a 360-degree flip to let the station crew photograph heat shield tiles on the belly of the shuttle. From there, Ferguson plans to guide Endeavour up to a point a few hundred feet directly in front of the lab complex before moving in for a docking on the forward port of the station's Harmony module.


Quick-Launch Web Links:

CBS News STS-126 Status Reports:

CBS News STS-126 Quick-Look Page:

NASA ISS Expeditions Page:

NASA Shuttle Web:
NASA Station Web:
Spaceflight Now:


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