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The Mission




Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-119
Payload: S6 power truss
Launch: March 15, 2009
Time: 7:43 p.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: March 28 @ 3:13 p.m. EDT
Site: Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC
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Meet the astronauts flying aboard shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission.

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CDR: Lee Archambault

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MS 1: Joe Acaba

MS 2: Steve Swanson

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MS 4: John Phillips

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STS-119: The programs

In advance of shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.

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STS-119: The mission

A detailed preview of Discovery's mission to deliver and activate the space station's final power truss is provided in this briefing.

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STS-119: Spacewalks

Four spacewalks are planned during Discovery's STS-119 mission to the station.

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STS-119: The Crew

The Discovery astronauts, led by commander Lee Archambault, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.

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Spacewalkers to install station's final truss today
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: March 19, 2009

Astronauts Steven Swanson and Richard Arnold are gearing up for a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk today to attach a 31,000-pound solar array truss unit to the international space station. The $300 million starboard 6, or S6, truss segment was pulled from the shuttle Discovery's cargo bay Wednesday and parked overnight near its attachment point on the far right side of the lab's main power truss. The station's robot arm will move it into place for installation starting around 11:08 a.m. and if all goes well, Swanson and Arnold, floating in the Quest airlock module, will switch their suits to battery power at 1:13 p.m. to officially begin their spacewalk.

This will be the 121st spacewalk devoted to station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998, the second so far this year and the first of three planned for Discovery's crew. For identification, Swanson will be wearing a suit with red stripes and use the call sign EV-1. Arnold's suit has no strips and he will use the call sign EV-2. Joseph Acaba will serve as the spacewalk director, or IVA, inside the shuttle.

Assuming S6 is successfully attached and connected, the arrays likely will be extended Friday. They originally were scheduled for deployment Sunday, but with the decision Wednesday to forego additional docked heat shield inspections - work that would have been carried out Friday - the astronauts likely will get the green light to extend the arrays Friday, ahead of schedule.

If that scenario plays out, mission managers may look into the possibility of bringing Discovery back to Earth one day earlier than currently planned to ensure that time-critical experiment samples make it down safely even if the shuttle crew runs into multiple weather delays. Discovery currently is scheduled to land March 28, but by re-arranging off-duty time and other activities, sources say it may be possible to shave a day off the mission without impacting any mission objectives or off-duty time, giving the experiment samples additional cushion. But at this point, no such decisions have been made.

The installation of the S6 truss segment is the primary objective of the 125h shuttle mission. Measuring 45.4 feet long and 16.3 feet wide in its stowed configuration, the 31,060-pound S6 is the fourth and final set of solar arrays to be attached to the lab complex and the final heavyweight payload scheduled for launch aboard a shuttle. According to Boeing, the prime contractor, S6 cost $297,918,471.

Originally built as a structural test article and then delayed by the 2003 Columbia disaster, S6 has endured a long wait for launch. It will join the S4 arrays on the right side of the station and match the port 4 and 6 arrays on the left end of the power truss. All four sets of arrays, each set stretching 240 feet from tip to tip, are designed to rotate like giant paddle wheels as the station orbits the Earth to stay face on to the sun.

The S6 arrays will provide an additional 30 kilowatts of power for science experiments above and beyond what they generates for station systems.

"Once the S6 is installed on the space station, the entire space station's power generation capability, at least from the U.S. provided hardware, will be right around 264 kilowatts," said Kwatsi Alibaruho, the station's lead flight director. "So it's very impressive. We're excited about having that much power available to support not only core space station systems operations, but also all of the science that's going to be performed."

Swanson and Arnold spent the night in the station's Quest airlock at a reduced pressure of 10 pounds per square inch to help purge nitrogen from their bloodstreams. This is a standard procedure to ensure the spacewalkers don't get the bends working in NASA's 5-psi spacesuits.

While they are preparing to leave the airlock, John Phillips and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, operating the station arm from a work station inside the Destiny laboratory module, will move S6 into position for installation. The arm is anchored at a work site on the far right side of the power truss. Even so, it will still have to be fully extended across the S4 arrays and the S5 spacer segment to get S6 into position.

"There's quite a bit of choreography going on there because John and Koichi are going to be getting S6 into position," Arnold told reporters before launch. "When they have it in position, Swanee and I will go out the door and make our way to the interface where we're going to mate the S6 truss.

"From there, we have four attachment points to bolt the two pieces of truss together. Basically, it's like backing your car in the garage. We'll be telling John, 'a little bit closer, a little bit to the left, little bit to the right,' and they will fly it into position where we can then drive the bolts."

As S6 is moved toward contact with the S5 spacer truss, Phillips and Wakata will pause at one foot and six inches to make sure the alignment is precise. Initial capture will be accomplished using a central "capture claw" that will engage to hold S6 and S5 together while four attachment bolts at each corner are driven in.

"While Swanee's going around driving the bolts, we're going to attach some grounding straps, we're going to go ahead and make sure the two truss interfaces are mated," Arnold said. "Once that's all done, we then have to make some electrical connections and some data connections and then head on out to get the solar array blanket boxes deployed. The blanket boxes are in a launch configuration now."

Four electrical connections are required between S5 and S6: two for power and two for data. At this point, S6 will be structurally and electrically mated to the station. But the boxes holding the folded array blankets, and the canisters housing the collapsed masts that will be used later to pull them out, must be rotated out of their stowed positions and locked in place. The mast canisters and their associated beta gimbal assemblies - used to move the arrays from side to side once extended - will be deployed first, followed by the blanket boxes. A folding set of radiator panels will be deployed toward the end of the spacewalk.

"Swanee's going to be doing some stuff to get the mast canisters ready and while he's doing that, I'm going to be removing some launch locks that are holding the blanket boxes containing the solar arrays. I have four of those launch locks in total that I have to remove. Once the launch locks are removed, the arrays are able to move away from the truss and ... we're expecting they're going to largely go out on their own, deploy on their own. But we'll probably have to give them a little bit of a shove to get them into position."

Once the mast canisters are deployed and locked in place, "we're going to make our way up onto the mast canisters and then we have to pull the blanket boxes out into the deployed position," Arnold said. "It's a pretty complex EVA, we've got a lot of robotics going on. We have a lot of different kinds of work to do. But we're hoping when we're all done, we'll come back inside and if we don't need a focused inspection the next day, we're going to be able to go ahead and deploy the arrays."

Here is an updated timeline of today's activity (in EDT and mission elapsed time; includes revision C of the NASA television schedule):


EDT........DD...HH...MM...EVENT

08:13 AM...03...12...30...Crew wakeup
08:48 AM...03...13...05...EVA-1: 14.7 psi repress/hygiene break
09:38 AM...03...13...55...EVA-1: Airlock depress to 10.2 psi
09:58 AM...03...14...15...ISS daily planning conference
09:58 AM...03...14...15...EVA-1: Campout EVA preps
11:08 AM...03...15...25...Station arm (SSRMS) moves S6 to pre-install
11:28 AM...03...15...45...EVA-1: Spacesuit purge
11:43 AM...03...16...00...EVA-1: Spacesuit prebreathe
12:43 PM...03...17...00...EVA-1: Crew lock depressurization
01:13 PM...03...17...30...EVA-1: Spacesuits to battery power
01:18 PM...03...17...35...EVA-1: Airlock egress
01:48 PM...03...18...05...EVA-1: Setup
02:03 PM...03...18...20...EVA-1: S6 attachment operations
03:08 PM...03...19...25...EVA-1: S6 umbilical connections
03:08 PM...03...19...25...SSRMS releases S6
04:03 PM...03...20...20...EVA-1/EV-2: Blanket box launch lock release
04:03 PM...03...20...20...EVA-1/EV-1: Radiator cinch/winch release
04:28 PM...03...20...45...SSRMS solar array viewing maneuver
04:48 PM...03...21...05...EVA-1/EV-1: Keel pin stow
05:03 PM...03...21...20...EVA-1/EV-1: Beta gimbal joint release
05:18 PM...03...21...35...Ergometer repair
05:33 PM...03...21...50...EVA-1: Unstow blanket boxes
06:33 PM...03...22...50...EVA-1: SSU/ECU cover removal
06:43 PM...03...23...00...EVA-1: Cleanup and ingress
07:43 PM...04...00...00...EVA-1: Airlock pressurization
07:58 PM...04...00...15...Spacesuit servicing
08:30 PM...04...00...47...Mission status briefing
08:58 PM...04...01...15...ISS evening planning conference
09:38 PM...04...01...55...Crew choice downlink
11:13 PM...04...03...30...ISS crew sleep begins
11:43 PM...04...04...00...STS crew sleep begins
                               
03/20/09
12:00 AM...04...04...17...Daily highlights reel
07:00 AM...04...11...17...HD highlights
07:43 AM...04...12...00...Crew wakeup

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF S6 TRUSS UNBERTHING PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED TOUR OF DISCOVERY'S PAYLOAD BAY PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE CREW WELCOMED ABOARD STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY DOCKS TO SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE'S POINT OF VIEW DURING BACKFLIP PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY PERFORMS 360-DEGREE BACKFLIP PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF RENDEZVOUS AND DOCKING PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW ANIMATION OF HEAT SHIELD INSPECTIONS PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: THE FULL STS-119 LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: EXTERNAL TANK CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VAB ROOF PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-1 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-2 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA CS-6 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: FRONT CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: BEACH TRACKER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PLAYALINDA BEACH PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: THE VIP VIEWING SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PRESS SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: WEST TOWER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA 009 PLAY

VIDEO: SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY BLASTS OFF PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE'S CREW MODULE HATCH CLOSED FOR FLIGHT PLAY
VIDEO: MISSION SPECIALIST STEVE SWANSON BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: PILOT TONY ANTONELLI BOARDS DISCOVERY PLAY
VIDEO: COMMANDER LEE ARCHAMBAULT BOARDS PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS QUARTERS FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS DON SPACESUITS FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF SUNRISE AT LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF HYDROGEN ACCESS ARM RETRACTION PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF SATURDAY NIGHT'S GANTRY ROLLBACK PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S SHUTTLE AND WEATHER UPDATE BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: POST-SCRUB NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY IN THE PREDAWN DARKESS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S ROLLBACK OF PAD GANTRY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF PAD GANTRY ROLLING BACK PLAY
VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE IN FLORIDA FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: POST-ARRIVAL COMMENTS FROM THE CREW PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: FLIGHT READINESS REVIEW BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: SECOND LAUNCH POSTPONEMENT BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: NARRATED MISSION OVERVIEW MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: MEET SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S ASTRONAUTS PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH COMMANDER LEE ARCHAMBAULT PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH PILOT TONY ANTONELLI PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS1 JOE ACABA PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS2 STEVE SWANSON PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS3 RICKY ARNOLD PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS4 JOHN PHILLIPS PLAY
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH MS5 KOICHI WAKATA PLAY

VIDEO: NASA OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE LAUNCH DELAY PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE STATION'S VIBRATIONS DURING REBOOST PLAY

VIDEO: INFORMAL NEWS CONFERENCE AT RUNWAY PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR PRACTICE COUNTDOWN PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY POSITIONED ATOP PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: EARLY MORNING ROLLOUT FROM THE VAB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY ARRIVING AT PAD 39A PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CRANE ROTATES DISCOVERY VERTICALLY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY MOVES TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NOSE WHEEL LANDING GEAR RETRACTED PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY GOING VERTICAL PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ASSEMBLY BUILDING CRANE WORK PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF DISCOVERY'S TRIP TO VAB PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF PAYLOAD'S MOVE PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: STS-119 MISSION OVERVIEW BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY
MORE: STS-119 VIDEO COVERAGE
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