Tuesday, November 18, 2008

330p 11/18 Update: SARJ work begins

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CBS NEWS STS-126 STATUS REPORT: 31
Posted: 3:30 PM, 11/18/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-30 (11/18/05): CORRECTION of EVA duties
   SR-31 (11/18/08): Spacewalk begins
   SR-32 (11/18/08): Depleted nitrogen tank moved to shuttle; coolant system component mounted on space station; SARJ cleaning work begins

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3:35 PM, 11/18/08, Update: Depleted nitrogen tank moved to shuttle; coolant system component mounted on space station

Running almost an hour ahead of schedule, spacewalkers Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Stephen Bowen have moved a depleted nitrogen tank from the space station to the shuttle Endeavour and transferred a spare coolant system component from the shuttle to the lab complex.

Bowen currently is focused on removing thermal covers from fittings on the Japanese Kibo research module that will be used next year to attach an external experiment platform. Stefanyshyn-Piper, meanwhile, will spend the rest of today's excursion cleaning and lubricating the station's right-side solar alpha rotary joint, a critical mechanism needed to turn outboard solar arrays to keep them face-on to the sun. Bowen will join her there when his work at the Kibo module is complete.

The port SARJ is operating normally, but the starboard rotary joint has suffered extensive degradation due to a presumed loss of lubrication. Cleaning metallic contamination, lubricating the three surfaces of the 10-foot-wide SARJ drive gear and replacing 11 of 12 bearing assemblies will take the rest of today, a full spacewalk Thursday and most of a third on Saturday.

Before today's work began, Stefanyshyn-Piper reported a grease gun apparently released a fair amount of lubrication inside her work bag, possibly the result of a pressure differential.

'It's kind of all over the inside of the bag," she reported.

See the 9:40 a.m. status report for a detailed overview of the SARJ joint and the cleaning required to return it to near-normal operation.

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Quick-Launch Web Links:

CBS News STS-126 Status Reports:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/current.html

CBS News STS-126 Quick-Look Page:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/currentglance.html

NASA ISS Expeditions Page:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/index.html

NASA Shuttle Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/index.html
NASA Station Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html
Spaceflight Now: http://spaceflightnow.com/index.html
GoogleSatTrack: http://www.lizard-tail.com/isana/tracking/

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