Seven Member Shuttle Crew Will Drop Off Member at Space Station – Mission STS-116 will Attach Solar Array Truss

Seven Member Shuttle Crew Will Drop Off Member at Space Station – Mission STS-116 will Attach Solar Array Truss

Space Station

The Space Shuttle Discovery is in its third day of mission STS-116 to deliver another solar array truss segment for the International Space Station and provide a crew member for long-duration space habitation aboard the station. This is the first time in four years that the shuttle, rather than the Russian Soyuz, has brought a crew member for a long-term stay.

The seven person crew will integrate an 11 by 15 by 14 foot high segment onto the station. It will serve as a “spacer” and be mated to the P4 truss that was attached in September during the STS-115 mission of Atlantis. Attachment of the 4,000 pound (1,800 kilogram) P5 sets the stage for the relocation to its final assembly position of the P6 truss and the pair of solar arrays that have been temporarily stored atop the station’s Unity module for six years.

The crew has folded back the 115 foot long solar array, which had been unfurled for more than 6 years. Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have begun a campout in the airlock as pressure is lower for Thursday’s spacewalk. The procedure protects against decompression sickness since the pressure inside their space suits will be similar to earth at 10,000 feet above sea level.

The folding of the solar array will permit the activation of a rotary joint on the P4 truss. The purpose of the joint will be to allow the solar arrays on the P4 to follow the sun as the station moves through orbital sunrise and sunset.

Two more spacewalks during STS-116 mission will accomplish a rewiring and redistribution of power on the station. Crewmembers will field questions from the CBS Radio Network, the Fox Radio Network at 8:07 pm Wednesday.

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By Dusty Rhodes
Best Syndication Science Writer

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