PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Considering the possible magnitude of the Space Shuttle Discovery's predicament, it's receiving amazingly thin coverage in the Corporate media. Yes, there are snippets, almost uniformly covering peripheral factums of the mission, but it seems they're willing to wait silently while the drama unfolds in outer space. The last shuttle mission, flown by Columbia more than two years ago, experienced similar technical problems before its fateful re-entry mishap. Though NASA spoke, in the tech-troubled weeks prior to Discovery's launch this week, of contigencies to avoid the loss of another seven astronauts, the announced "grounding" of the shuttle fleet today seems to rule out rescue should the heat shielding's damage compromise a landing attempt. For now, it's wait and see.
Space Station Tomorrow (JY 28)
Wednesday, July 27, 2005 – 4 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-03
STS-114 MCC Status Report #03
[NASA] - Discovery crewmembers completed a camera survey of the heat shields of the leading edges of the orbiter's wings and its nose cone Wednesday. They also began preparations for Thursday's docking with the International Space Station and the mission’s spacewalks.
Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi, Steve Robinson, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda downlinked imagery taken of the External Tank after launch. The crew also photographed the Orbital Maneuvering System pod tile areas and sent down those files. Most of the heat shield survey, taking a close look at the reinforced carbon-carbon of Discovery's wings and nose was sent down live. The rest was sent down before the crew went to bed about 2:40 p.m. CDT.
The data was gathered by the new Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) laser-scanner. Kelly, Thomas and Camarda, with some help from other crewmembers, operated the Discovery's Canadarm and the 50-foot boom extension at its end for the survey. The OBSS was reberthed and Canadarm and its cameras were used to survey the tile area around the crew cabin.
Preparations for docking included a checkout of rendezvous tools, and the extension of the Orbiter Docking System ring that will make first contact with the Station. The approach will include the first Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, a slow back flip by Discovery about 600 feet below the Station immediately before the 6:18 a.m. CDT docking.
The maneuver will allow Station Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips to photograph Discovery's thermal protection system with 400mm and 800mm lenses. The images, taken through windows in the Station's Zvezda Service Module, are expected to be downlinked before hatches between Discovery and the Station are opened.
Today’s imagery and laser scans will be compiled with other imagery taken during launch, and with data collected by wireless impact sensors in each panel of the wings’ leading edges. Downlink of both preliminary and raw data from the sensors also was completed today. A team of about 200 people across the country are working to analyze imagery from the early part of Discovery's mission, the most photographed Shuttle flight in history.
The crew also completed the checkout of tools and two spacesuits to be used during the mission’s three spacewalks. Two suits were also prepared for delivery to the Station for future Quest airlock spacewalks.
The next STS-114 mission status report will be issued after crew wakeup, or earlier if events warrant.
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