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STORY WRITTEN FOR & USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: June 16, 2007Enjoying an unexpected reversal of fortune, Russian cosmonauts carried out electronic bypass surgery today to resuscitate the international space station's befuddled electronic brains while an Atlantis spacewalker successfully stapled a wound in the shuttle's upper heat shield. Danny Olivas and fellow spacewalker Jim Reilly then fluffed and pampered a huge set of solar blankets, coaxing them back into compact storage boxes and avoiding a host of feared problems. The work clears the way for a future crew to move the arrays as required before delivery of European and Japanese research modules late this year and early next.All in all, it was a banner day for NASA and the Russian space agency, which just a few hours earlier were contemplating gloomy contingency plans to keep a crippled space station alive after Atlantis' departure next week. Taking no chances, contingency planning continued while Russian engineers worked to confirm the health of the computers. But there was a clear sense of relief in U.S. space circles as the Russians reported initial success and the astronauts wrapped up a by-the-book spacewalk."You guys did a great job," astronaut Megan McArthur radioed Reilly, Olivas and their crewmates as they wound up a seven-hour 58-minute excursion. "It was great watching you work, great job by the whole team."The spacewalk, successful as it was, was overshadowed by concern about the station's on-again, off-again computers, machines that are critical to the safe operation of the international outpost.Three computers make up the so-called terminal computer system, which operates the station's Russian rocket thrusters to re-orient the lab complex as required to keep sunlight on solar arrays and to keep sensitive systems from getting too hot or too cold.The central computer, also made up of three redundant channels, or lanes, is used to control the Russian segment's Elektron oxygen generator, its Vozdukh carbon dioxide removal system and a variety of other critical systems. While both computers are triply redundant, the systems can safely operate the station with a single channel in section.Earlier this week, around the time the Atlantis astronauts were installing a new solar power truss, the terminal computer crashed. An automated reboot procedure was then executed to shut down and restart all three terminal computer lanes and all three central computer channels. The reboot procedure didn't work, however, and engineers have been struggling ever since to restore the computer system to normal operation.After two days of fruitless, around-the-clock troubleshooting, engineers disconnected the computers from U.S. solar power early today on the theory something in the circuitry was producing "noise" or otherwise interfering with the operation of the German-built computers. The computers are equipped with power supplies that include protective low-voltage circuitry sensitive to such noise.When commands were sent to activate the isolated computers, they failed to respond properly and engineers feared the worst - a subtle software bug or a hardware failure that at some point, in a worst-case scenario, could force the station crew to abandon ship.The Russians ultimately determined that two computers - one terminal lane and one central lane - had suffered hardware failures in their secondary power supplies earlier in the week. So they asked station commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineer Oleg Kotov to bypass the suspect power supply circuitry in the other four computers."While Danny and J.R. were outside, our Russian colleagues were busy uplinking a procedure to the crew in an attempt to bypass that sensitive circuit to see if we could prevent this constant rebooting that the computers were going through that wouldn't allow them to come up," said MIke Suffredini, manager of the space station program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston."It was a very simple shunt, they removed a connector on the back of the computers and they inserted a simple shunt and the shunt allowed them to bypass this circuitry. They went to activate the four that they thought were still good and all four of the computers came up in the configuration that tracked each other."After the power supply bypass surgery, Russian flight controllers told their NASA counterparts lanes one and three were had been successfully re-powered in the terminal computer, along with lanes two and three in the central computer. The systems then were shut down to close access panels and restarted in self-test mode as planned. Controllers said they planned to operate the computers throughout the evening and to collect telemetry for additional analysis during passes over Russian ground sites early Saturday."They want to let the computers run for a while overnight to make sure they remain stable and then tomorrow, if everything looks well and the data indicates the computers are doing all right, then I would expect we would slowly begin to activate the systems on board, including the attitude control system," Suffredini said. "Our colleagues were very excited."Today's spacewalk began at 1:24 p.m. when Reilly and Olivas switched their spacesuits to internal battery power. This was the 86th EVA devoted to station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998, the ninth so far this year, the third overall for the Atlantis crew and the second this mission for Reilly and Olivas.Olivas began the blanket repair work by using his helmet camera to beam down close-up views of the torn insulation and surrounding blankets to help flight controllers assess the health of the system. The damage site showed up in sharp detail, with a 4-inch by 6-inch corner peeled back from an adjacent row of heat-shield tiles.The damage was spotted during a routine payload bay survey shortly after launch last Friday. NASA's Mission Management Team decided earlier this week to extend the shuttle mission by two days and to add a fourth spacewalk, in part to accommodate a repair job. The team ultimately decided to add the blanket work to the third spacewalk today.Olivas had no problems gently tapping the peeled-back blanket down flat. And he had no problems using the stapler and later, inserting steel pins through the blanket and into nearby heat-shield tiles.Temperatures climb to between 700 and 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit on the upper surfaces of the rocket pods during re-entry and while the torn blanket did not appear to pose a threat to the crew, heat damage was possible to the graphite epoxy structure of the rocket pod. NASA managers decided to play it safe and order a repair.While Olivas was working on the blanket, Reilly installed a hydrogen valve on the Destiny laboratory module to support the eventual operation of a new U.S. oxygen generator. Then both astronauts turned their attention to completing the retraction of the P6-2B solar array.The P6 array was attached to the station in 2000 to provide power during the early stages of assembly. Now, NASA needs to move it to the left end of the station's main power truss to prepare the complex for the delivery of the European and Japanese research modules.During retraction of the P6-4B array last December, the astronauts ran into major problems and ultimately had to stage an unplanned spacewalk to fold the blankets back in their storage boxes. This time around, the Atlantis astronauts have taken a more deliberate, step-by-step approach, retracting the array about 28 feet before a spacewalk Wednesday in which Pat Forrester and Steve Swanson manually cleared hangups and ultimately got the 115-foot-long array in about half way.The central mast of the array was pulled in another few feet by remote control Thursday and today, Reilly and Olivas finished the job."We had a really good spacewalk today," said lead Flight Director Kelly Beck. "The crew did an excellent job and we accomplished everything we planned."Reilly now ranks 23rd on the list of most experienced spacewalkers, with 30 hours and 43 minutes of EVA time over five excursions.Additional coverage for subscribers:VIDEO:SECOND SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED VIDEO:SECOND SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY VIDEO:FIRST SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED VIDEO:FIRST SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:POST-SPACEWALK STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:BRIEFING ON MISSION EXTENSION PLANS VIDEO:SPACEWALK No. 1 BEGINS VIDEO:NARRATED PREVIEW OF THE SPACEWALKS VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:SHUTTLE CREW WELCOMED ABOARD STATION VIDEO:ATLANTIS DOCKS WITH THE SPACE STATION VIDEO:WATCH THE RENDEZVOUS BACKFLIP MANUEVER VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: VIEW FROM COMPLEX 41 VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: THE VAB ROOF VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: THE PRESS SITE VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-23 TRACKER VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD FRONT CAMERA VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA AT THE BEACH VIDEO:LAUNCH OF ATLANTIS! VIDEO:FULL LENGTH MOVIE OF ASCENT TO ORBIT VIDEO:EXTERNAL TANK ONBOARD VIDEO CAMERA VIDEO:POST-LAUNCH PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO:ASTRONAUTS DEPART QUARTERS FOR THE PAD VIDEO:PAD'S ROTATING SERVICE STRUCTURE RETRACTED VIDEO:HIGHLIGHTS FROM ATLANTIS' LAUNCH CAMPAIGN VIDEO:HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAYLOAD'S LAUNCH CAMPAIGN MORE:John Glenn Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!Celebrate the shuttle programFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Atlantis arrives back home after cross-country trip SPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: July 3, 2007Space shuttle Atlantis returned home to the Kennedy Space Center this morning, completing a two-day coast-to-coast piggyback ride atop a modified 747 ferrying jet that included rare stops in America's heartland. The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft nears the Kennedy Space Center runway with Atlantis aboard. Credit: Ben Cooper/Spaceflight NowSee more images The shuttle's recent space station construction mission landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California on June 22 after menacing weather precluded a Florida homecoming. Technicians spent a week safing onboard systems and readying the vehicle for the cross-country trip. Once an aerodynamic tailcone was installed, the 100-ton spaceplane was lifted on top of the aircraft and bolted in place.Atlantis departed the the Mojave Desert base at 9:04 a.m. EDT Sunday. The unique shuttle and 747 duo flew east to the Texas Panhandle, landing in Amarillo shortly before noon EDT for a two-hour refueling stop. The ferry flight completed a 100-minute northeastward leg to Offutt Air Force Base in the afternoon, arriving about 3:45 p.m. EDT for an overnight stay at the military installation on the eastern border of Nebraska.The voyage continued to Kentucky's Fort Campbell on Monday, arriving at 10:35 a.m. EDT. But unstable weather in the U.S. Southeast halted any further advance toward Florida for the day.The trip resumed at 6:15 a.m. this morning as the carrier aircraft soared out of southern Kentucky, crossed Tennessee at 15,000 feet, dodged weather in Georgia and then cruised into Florida.The pilots gave local Space Coast residents and visiting tourists a treat with a low-altitude pass along the beaches before arcing over the Atlantic and making the final approach toward the three-mile-long Shuttle Landing Facility runway.The smooth touchdown on Runway 15 came at 8:27 a.m. EDT (1227 GMT), delivering Atlantis back to its homeport 25 days after blasting off with seven astronauts and a 36,000-pound power-generating module for the International Space Station. The highly successful spaceflight connected the new Starboard 3/Starboard 4 truss structure to the station and unfurled a pair of solar wings stretching 240 feet tip-to-tip."It is great to be here, back at the Shuttle Landing Facility with Atlantis," LeRoy Cain, manager of shuttle integration at Kennedy Space Center said from the runway this morning. "We had a very successful ferry mission across the country. It took us a few days, but it really went very well."Atlantis will be plucked off the 747 later today and towed to its hangar as preparations begin for the ship's next flight, currently targeted for launch December 6 around 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT). That mission will transport the European Space Agency's Columbus science laboratory to the station."Atlantis is in great shape, as you can see. We're really glad to have her back here and get her processed for the next mission in December," Cain said.Meanwhile, sistership Endeavour has been raised vertically inside Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building for joining with an external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters atop a mobile launch platform. Endeavour was moved to the VAB from its hangar on Monday.NASA plans to roll Endeavour to launch pad 39A early next week. Liftoff is scheduled for about 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on August 7, marking that orbiter's first flight in nearly five years.Endeavour will bring up the small Starboard 5 truss spacer to the station for attachment to the segment just installed by the Atlantis crew. In addition, a Spacehab module riding in Endeavour's payload bay will be filled with a couple tons of food, clothing, supplies and spare parts to be carried through the hatchway and stowed inside the station.Endeavour's crew includes educator-astronaut Barbara Morgan, backup to Challenger "teacher-in-space" Christa McAuliffe. Morgan is now a fully trained astronaut flying as a mission specialist.Additional coverage for subscribers:VIDEO:ATLANTIS LANDS AT EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE VIDEO:LANDING REPLAY: SHUTTLE ONBOARD CAMERA VIDEO:LANDING REPLAY: CAMERA 1 VIDEO:LANDING REPLAY: CAMERA 2 VIDEO:LANDING REPLAY: CAMERA 3 VIDEO:LANDING REPLAY: CAMERA 4 VIDEO:INSIDE MISSION CONTROL WITH ENTRY TEAM VIDEO:NEWS CONFERENCE AFTER LANDING VIDEO:POST-LANDING COMMENTS FROM THE CREW VIDEO:WAVEOFF FOR FRIDAY'S FIRST LANDING CHANCE VIDEO:BAD WEATHER SCRUBS THURSDAY'S LANDING VIDEO:FIRST LANDING OPPORTUNITY WAVED OFF VIDEO:PRE-LANDING MISSION STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:CREW INTERVIEWS WITH NBC, ABC AND CNN VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 12 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:UNIQUE VIEW OF STATION OVER TAIL OF ATLANTIS VIDEO:ATLANTIS AS SEEN FROM STATION DURING FLYAROUND VIDEO:FOOTAGE OF THE STATION DURING SHUTTLE FLYAROUND VIDEO:SPACECRAFT FLY INTO SUNRISE DURING SEPARATION VIDEO:STATION'S VIEW OF SHUTTLE ATLANTIS UNDOCKING VIDEO:HATCHES CLOSED BETWEEN SHUTTLE AND STATION VIDEO:SUNI WILLIAMS' TEARFUL FAREWELL MESSAGE VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 11 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:TWO CREWS' FAREWELL CEREMONY VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 10 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:POST-SPACEWALK STATUS UPDATE VIDEO:INTERVIEW WITH LEAD EVA OFFICER VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 9 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:IN-FLIGHT CREW NEWS CONFERENCE VIDEO:SATURDAY MISSION STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:FRIDAY NIGHT MISSION STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:FRIDAY MID-DAY COMPUTER UPDATE VIDEO:SOLID ROCKET BOOSTER ONBOARD LAUNCH CAMERAS VIDEO:SECOND SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED VIDEO:SECOND SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY VIDEO:FIRST SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED VIDEO:FIRST SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:POST-SPACEWALK STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:BRIEFING ON MISSION EXTENSION PLANS VIDEO:SPACEWALK No. 1 BEGINS VIDEO:NARRATED PREVIEW OF THE SPACEWALKS VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:SHUTTLE CREW WELCOMED ABOARD STATION VIDEO:ATLANTIS DOCKS WITH THE SPACE STATION VIDEO:WATCH THE RENDEZVOUS BACKFLIP MANUEVER VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING VIDEO:FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE VIDEO:INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: VIEW FROM COMPLEX 41 VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: THE VAB ROOF VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: THE PRESS SITE VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-23 TRACKER VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD FRONT CAMERA VIDEO:LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA AT THE BEACH VIDEO:LAUNCH OF ATLANTIS! VIDEO:FULL LENGTH MOVIE OF ASCENT TO ORBIT VIDEO:EXTERNAL TANK ONBOARD VIDEO CAMERA VIDEO:POST-LAUNCH PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO:ASTRONAUTS DEPART QUARTERS FOR THE PAD VIDEO:PAD'S ROTATING SERVICE STRUCTURE RETRACTED VIDEO:HIGHLIGHTS FROM ATLANTIS' LAUNCH CAMPAIGN VIDEO:HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAYLOAD'S LAUNCH CAMPAIGN MORE:John Glenn Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!Celebrate the shuttle programFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Atlantis astronauts arrive at the Cape for launch BY WILLIAM HARWOOD