Thursday, November 27, 2008

645p 11/26 Update: Cargo module berthed in shuttle payload bay

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CBS NEWS STS-126 STATUS REPORT: 72
Posted: 6:45 PM, 11/26/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-70 (11/26/08): Progress cargo ship launched; antenna glitch may force manual docking; Endeavour cargo module move to shuttle on tap
   SR-71 (11/26/08): Progress antenna deploys on second try
   SR-72 (11/26/08): Leonardo cargo module detached from station, re-berthed in shuttle cargo bay

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6:45 PM, 11/26/08, Update: Leonardo cargo module detached from station, re-berthed in shuttle cargo bay

Astronauts Don Pettit and Robert "Shane" Kimbrough, operating the space station's robot arm from inside the Destiny laboratory module, carefully detached the Leonardo cargo canister today and re-berthed it in the shuttle Endeavour's cargo bay.

The Endeavour crew delivered 16,390 pounds of cargo to the station, more than 14,400 pounds inside Leonardo, including two 1,700-pound water recycling racks, a combustion research rack, a new toilet, a new galley and two sleep stations. The astronauts also transferred 3,642 pounds of no-longer-needed equipment and trash from the station back to Leonardo and the shuttle's crew cabin for return to Earth.

The astronauts continued work with the station's water processing system today, collecting an additional sample to send down for detailed chemical analysis. The urine processing assembly that gave the crew trouble during initial startup operations last week completed three full processing cycles Tuesday. It will not be used again until after Endeavour departs.

Because of the initial problems with the UPA, NASA managers made contingency plans for bringing its distillation sub-system home for troubleshooting. But after rubber vibration dampers were removed from its mounting, the device operated normally and space station Flight Director Holly Ridings said mission managers today made a "definitive decision that the DA, or the distillation assembly component of the UPA, would stay on orbit."

"Yesterday, we were running the urine processor assembly, the third cycle since we had completed the second round of modifications on the distillation assembly," she said. "And I'm happy to report it continued to run as we expected and processed right around 65 pounds of (urine) distillate, which is the amount we were targeting to combine with the condensate collected in the water processing assembly and then give us the samples we need to return to the ground.

"So the UPA performed well through the rest of the crew day yesterday. We turned it off, again nominally, put it in a shutdown state and we don't have any plans to run it again during the docked mission. So that's all very good news that that part of the system is working."

The water recycling racks are tied into a potable water bus. A new water dispenser was connected Tuesday and samples were collected today for return to Earth. After Endeavour departs, the space station crew will connect a new toilet to the bus that will feed urine to the processing assembly. The idea is to produce pure water for drinking, food preparation, hygiene and oxygen generation to support an expanded crew of six full-time astronauts and cosmonauts starting next May.

For Thanksgiving, the combined 10-member crew of the shuttle-station complex will enjoy a half-day off, followed by a joint meal that will include turkey, stuffing, corn, candied yams and green beans.

Thursday evening, just before 6 p.m., the seven shuttle astronauts will bid station commander Mike Fincke, Sandra Magnus and Yury Lonchakov farewell and hatches between the two spacecraft will be sealed in preparation for undocking Friday morning. Endeavour is scheduled to land back at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday.

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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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