Learn about the EVA, extra vehicular activity, of the Endeavour crew.
Read the full transcript »
Learn About the Endeavour's Space Mission 2/2 Our coverage of mission STS-97 continues. Previously, we witnessed the spectacular launch of space shuttle Endeavor from Launch Pad 39-B at the Kennedy Space Center. We’ve written with the five man crew onboard Endeavor as they hurdled into space and e watched the intricate docking procedure as she linked up with the international space station orbiting high above the earth. It’s now day four of the mission. The day for the first of three space walrks scheduled to be carried out by mission specialists Joe Tanner and Carlos Noriega. What could be seen in the airlock of Endeavour is the suits in preparation for their departure from the vehicle. The walk or EVA as its known for Extravehicular Activity is scheduled to begin about 12:30PM, but could start 45 minutes earlier if preparations are completed ahead of schedule. The primary objective of the mission was for Endeavor to rendezvous with the orbiting international space station and continue construction on med station. The STS-97 astronauts will spend seven days dap to the ISS and deliver, assemble and activate the US electrical power system onboard at the station. This will include the delivery of the first set of US solar arrays and batteries as well as radiators to provide cooling. This will be the first of eight sets of solar arrays that’s at the completion of space station construction in 2006 will comprise the station’s electrical power system converting sunlight to electricity. Using the shuttle’s robotic arm, Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau moved the P6 solar array structure into position above the Zed Bomb trust structure of the unity module and drove it home to its installation point. Tanner and Noriega secured volts on each of the four corners of the array assembly before Garneu released it from the arm. Pilot Mike Bloomfield took over arm operations and moved Noriega around the array as he connected nine power command in data cables. These pictures come from a camera attached to Noriega’s helmet. The space walker is working some 50 feet above the cargo bay of Endeavor which itself is about 235 miles above Russia. At the same time, Tanner releases the two solar array blanket boxes putting the boxes in the ready to deploy position. The solar arrays had been mounted on the blanket enabling men to be folded like in accordion for delivery, but the initial computer commands to release the pins holding the blanket boxes close was not successful. Tanner and Noriega standby in case they’re needed to release the pins manually. Soon afterward, the commands were repeated and the pins on the starboard blanket boxes released but one pin on the cord side blanket box remained in the close position. However, it was decided to proceed with the deployment of the starboard solar wing. And the international space station slowly unfilled the first half of the P6-solar array. The structure housing the arrays in associated electronics was mated to the stations at one plus structure about an hour into the space board. Flight controllers decided it was not necessary to attempt to deploy the port wing to allow time to ascertain whether the solar wing that was deployed was probably tension. After tests were carried out, it was discovered that the wing was indeed functioning well and sending electrical power to the P6 structure systems. There was no rush to deploy the port wing as flight controllers want to fully understand the situation with the starboard wing before they attempt to do so. The space walk by Tanner and Noriega lasted for seven hours and 33 minutes. The international space station complex was now orbiting the earth at an altitude of 235 statute miles. Following a couple of busy days, day five saw the crew of Endeavour take on a schedule of light duties before continuing activation of the new station power generation system. However, the astronauts and flight controllers on the ground were working on a plan for deployment of the sec