First in-orbit space shuttle repair successful (Update)

Aug 03, 2005
First in-orbit space shuttle repair under way

Updated: The STS-114 crew completed heat shield repairs efforts on Space Shuttle Discovery’s underbelly during today’s spacewalk. STS-114 Mission Specialist Steve Robinson removed gap fillers that were protruding from two areas between heat-shielding tiles on Discovery. Robinson gently tugged the protrusions until they came out. ***

Space Shuttle heat tile repair efforts are under way. US astronaut Stephen Robinson, tethered to the robotic arm of the International Space Station, began to be moved toward the belly of the Discovery shuttle for an unprecedented in-orbit repair mission.

Image above: Mission Specialist Steve Robinson emerges from Space Shuttle Discovery's airlock hatch to begin the third spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

Discovery co-pilot James Kelly began maneuvering the 20-meter (yard) Canadarm 2 around 1220 GMT. Robinson was equipped with a special saw and forceps, as well as a small garbage bag.

In order to make the unprecedented repairs, STS-114 Mission Specialist Steve Robinson is attached to the end of the Station's robotic arm so he can remove gap fillers that are protruding from two areas between heat-shielding tiles on the underbelly of Space Shuttle Discovery. Repair procedures call for Robinson to gently tug the protrusions until they come out. If that does not work, Robinson will have tools to cut off the protrusions.

This is the first time that Shuttle heat shield repairs have been attempted in orbit.

"This is going to be a very delicate task," Robinson said during a news conference Tuesday, "but ... a simple one."

Even though only one spacewalker is able to work on the underside of Discovery, the repair efforts requires teamwork. Fellow spacewalker Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi is providing communications and visual support to Robinson and flight controllers. Mission Specialist Andy Thomas is choreographing the spacewalk’s activities. Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence are at the controls of the Station’s robot arm.

Before they could start the repair work, Noguchi and Robinson attached the External Stowage Platform-2 onto the Station's Unity Node at 5:40 a.m. EDT. The duo also attached a materials exposure experiment to the Station. Later in the spacewalk, they will remove a Joint Rotary Motor Controller from the Station's truss.

The orbital stroll began at 4:48 a.m. EDT and is slated to conclude about 11:48 a.m. EDT. This is the third STS-114 spacewalk and the 61st spacewalk dedicated Station assembly and maintenance.

Non-spacewalk activities today include an inspection of the repair demonstration tiles inside the Shuttle's payload bay using the Orbiter Boom Sensor System. Also, cargo stowage is continuing inside the Station.

Explore further: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA considers second emergency spacewalk

Aug 03, 2005

The successful emergency spacewalk by a shuttle Discovery astronaut Wednesday might soon be followed by the world's second such emergency repair mission.

Discovery blasted off (Update)

Jul 26, 2005

Discovery blasted off, taking seven astronauts on the first US shuttle mission since the Columbia disaster in 2003 that forced a complete rethink of the US space program.

"Back to the future": countdown to Shuttle return to flight

Mar 24, 2005

Launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will soon see the Shuttle blasting off again for a new exciting mission in space. According to NASA’s current schedule, this will be between 15 May and 3 June (the precise ...

Recommended for you

Rosetta measures comet's temperature

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has made its first temperature measurements of its target comet, finding that it is too hot to be covered in ice and must instead have a dark, dusty crust.

How Rosetta arrives at a comet

10 hours ago

After travelling nearly 6.4 billion kilometres through the Solar System, ESA's Rosetta is closing in on its target. But how does a spacecraft actually arrive at a comet?

Lunar occultation of Saturn

10 hours ago

On the night of Monday August 4, mainland Australia will see Saturn disappear behind the moon. It's the third time this year that the moon and Saturn will perfectly line up, as viewed from our part of the ...

User comments : 0