Second Spacewalk Ends

The astronauts of STS-115 spent a second day outside the International Space Station working to connect up the new P3/P4 truss element. During the 7-hour spacewalk Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean had to remove insulation covers and hundreds of bolts from the truss. The final test will come on Thursday, when the new electricity-generating solar panels are unfurled to their full 13.7-metre (45-foot) length. Once operating, the new panels will double the amount electricity available to the station. The third and final spacewalk will occur on Friday.
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First Female Space Tourist Will Participate in Several Experiments

The International Space Station is going to be a busy place. Right after Atlantis undocks, the next Soyuz mission, carrying the crew of Expedition 14, as well as a space tourist will launch on September 18. Iranian-American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari will live on board the station for a week, partly as a tourist, and partly as a test subject for several research experiments. Four experiments are planned for Ansari, including two that test her blood, one to seek the cause of astronaut low-back pain, and a search for bacteria around the station.
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Astronauts Complete First Spacewalk

NASA astronauts completed the first of three spacewalks this morning, as part of mission STS-115. Mission Specialists Joe Tanner and Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper exited the station at 0917 GMT (6:17 am EDT) and completed several tasks that will prepare for the installation of the new P3/P4 truss. As part of their 5-hour spacewalk, the astronauts installed power and data cables, and released the launch restraints that held the huge solar arrays safe during launch. The solar arrays will be completely unfurled on Thursday, and will double the station’s electricity.
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Atlantis Links Up with the Station

The Space Shuttle Atlantis caught up with the International Space Station this morning, linking up at 1048 GMT (6:48am EDT). After 2 hours of preparations, the airlock was opened, and the astronauts were greeted by the current station residents. As one of the first tasks of the day, the Atlantis crew used their robotic arm to transfer the P3/P4 integrated truss from the shuttle’s cargo bay to the robotic arm on the station. The STS-115 crew will conduct three spacewalks during their mission to connect and configure the truss for permanent operations.
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STS-115 Brings More Power to the Station

STS-115 is an ambitious mission that returns the focus of human spaceflight to building the International Space Station, bringing new capabilities to the ISS. While a song by John Lennon asserts that revolution will bring power to the people, it will be a new set of solar arrays and its ability for rotation that will provide more power to the space station.
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Atlantis Scheduled for August 27 Launch

NASA has announced that the space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to lift off on August 27, 2006. If all goes well, the shuttle will blast off from Cape Canaveral at 2230 GMT (4:30 pm EDT) and return to the International Space Station, finally continuing its construction. Over the course of three spacewalks, the shuttle crew will install the P3/P4 truss onto the station, which contains a set of giant solar arrays, batteries, and electronics.
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NASA Assigns STS-122 Crew

NASA today announced the astronaut assignments for the upcoming STS-122 space shuttle mission, tentatively scheduled for October 2007. The commander will be Stephen N. Frick, and the pilot will be Alan G. Poindexter. The mission specialists will be Rex J. Walheim, Stanley G. Love, Leland D. Melvin and European Space Agency astronaut Hans Schlegel. During this mission, the space shuttle will deliver the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station.
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A Day of Rest for the Astronauts

After eight days in space, and three spacewalks, the crew of the space shuttle Discovery will be taking the day off. Yesterday’s spacewalk went well, with Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum testing out methods of repairing damaged shuttle heat shields. During the mission, Sellers lost one of the caulking spatulas used to spread on the repair compound – it flew out of Discovery’s payload bay area and was lost in space.
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Inflatable Habitat Reaches Orbit

Robert Bigelow’s dream of a thriving space tourism industry took a significant step forward today with the launch of the Genesis 1 experimental spacecraft. Bigelow Aerospace reported that the prototype habitat was successfully lofted into orbit atop a converted Russian inter-continental ballistic missile. Once in orbit, it extended its solar panels and began to inflate. The rocket launched at 6:53 pm Moscow Time, and the company released a series of statements over the course of the day reporting that everything’s going well.
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Astronauts Wrap Up Third Spacewalk

Astronauts Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum wrapped up the third and final spacewalk for space shuttle mission STS-121. During the 7-hour, 11-minute spacewalk, they demonstrated techniques for repairing the shuttle’s heat shield if it was damaged during launch. The mock repairs were made using a special “space caulk gun” and several spatulas to spread on the caulking materials. Discovery will detach from the station on Saturday to return to Earth.
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