STS-126 Endeavour

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Countdown 101 | STS-126 Launch Countdown Milestones and Times

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currently have launch pages for STS-126 Endeavour, STS-119 Discovery, STS-125 Atlantis, STS-127 Endeavour. during STS-126, adding remaining manifest: STS-128 Atlantis, STS-129 Discovery, STS-130 Endeavour, STS-131 Atlantis, STS-132 Discovery, STS-133 Endeavour.

NASA Watches Weather for Friday Shuttle Launch :: Endeavour has a 60 percent chance of favorable launch weather for its planned 7:55 p.m. EST (0055 Nov. 15 GMT) liftoff to ferry a new crewmember and vital new equipment to the space station. Thick clouds and the chance of nearby rain showers at the shuttle's Kennedy Space Center launch site in Florida are the only concerns, NASA officials said. "Our systems are in great shape," said NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding in a televised briefing at the seaside spaceport in Cape Canaveral, Fla. "We're tracking no issues at this time." A weather front is expected to arrive at Endeavour's launch site late this week and poses a 40 percent chance of thwarting the launch late Friday, said Kathy Winters, shuttle weather officer for the launch. The forecast is even worse for Saturday, with rain and thick clouds posing a 60 percent chance of preventing the shuttle launch, she added. "The timing of the front will be critical," Winters said.

Station Prepares for Expanding Crew :: Expanding kitchen facilities, adding more bedrooms and an extra bathroom all sound like home improvements that many homeowners have tackled. But when the “house” is the International Space Station orbiting 220 miles above Earth, things are a little more complicated than visiting the local home improvement store for materials. Just in time for its 10th anniversary, the space station will get a delivery via space shuttle Endeavour that might win a prize for out-of-this-world home makeover. When Endeavour and crew lift off on the STS-126 mission for the 27th shuttle flight to the station, it will be packed with supplies like food and clothing for the station crew members. However, Endeavour’s major payload consists of equipment for enlarging the space station’s capacity to accommodate a six-member crew. The high-tech home improvement materials are stowed inside the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo, which will be tucked inside the shuttle’s cargo bay.

Crew Expansion Prep, SARJ Repair Focus of STS-126 :: “It’s the most jam-packed logistics module we have ever carried up there,” STS-126 Commander Chris Ferguson said. “We’re taking a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house and turning it into a five-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a gym.” The solar alpha rotary joints are two 10-foot-wide, wagon-wheel-shaped joints on the station’s truss that allow the electricity-generating solar arrays to rotate so that they’re always getting as much sun as possible. Flight controllers on the ground noticed a year ago that it was taking more power than normal to rotate the SARJ on the station’s starboard – or right – side, and it was vibrating more than it should. Over several spacewalks to inspect the joint, engineers narrowed the more than 100 possible causes down to one: insufficient lubrication. Without enough lubrication, the trundle bearing assemblies that hold the two halves of the joint together, and allow one side to rotate while the other stays still, were pressing too hard against one side of the joint. This added pressure damaged the steel of the joint’s “wheel,” which the bearings roll against, and left metal filings that could cause more damage. So spacewalkers Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Steve Bowen and Shane Kimbrough will spend the majority of the four spacewalks planned during the 15-day mission fixing that. They’ll start by cleaning the metal shavings off of the surface, then lubricate it and replace the trundle bearing assemblies – all of which is more complicated than you might expect.

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