Thermal Blanket Repair Complete; Spacewalkers to Assist Array Folding to

STS-117 spacewalker Danny Olivas completed repair work on a thermal blanket that was out of position on space shuttle Atlantis. He and his partner, Mission Specialist Jim Reilly, will assist with the retraction of the Port 6 (P6) solar array before the completion of today’s spacewalk.

The orbital stroll began at 1:24 p.m. EDT with the duo tackling separate tasks. Olivas, while attached to the shuttle robot arm, tucked the blanket back into place and then used a medical stapler to secure it to adjacent blankets on Atlantis’ left orbital maneuvering system pod.

Meanwhile, Reilly went to work outside the International Space Station with the installation of a hydrogen vent on the Destiny Laboratory. The vent is for a new oxygen generation system.

During the second half of the spacewalk, they will be on top of the P6 to assist with the retraction of the starboard solar array. Over a two-day period, the crew has folded about half of the array bays. A future shuttle crew will relocate the P6 to the end of the Port 5 truss.

If time allows, Reilly and Olivas will tackle other tasks outside the station. The spacewalk is scheduled to wrap up just before 8 p.m.

Mission Specialist Pat Forrester is coordinating today’s spacewalk activities. Pilot Lee Archambault and Mission Specialist Steve Swanson are the robot arm operators.

Navigation Computers Troubleshooting Efforts Continue

This afternoon, the crew inside the International Space Station was able to power-up two lanes of the Russian Central Computer and two lanes of the Terminal Computer by using a jumper cable to bypass a faulty secondary power switch. The current plan is to allow the computers to operate overnight and analyze the data Saturday morning.

Earlier in the day, International Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini told reporters Russian and U.S. flight controllers and engineers are focusing on efforts for recovering the computers and options to maintain attitude control until the problem is resolved.

“I think we’re in good shape,” Suffredini said. “We still have a lot of options to go through to recover these machines. We’ve got a talented group of people to look at attitude control.”

The navigation computers provide backup attitude control and orbital altitude adjustments. For now, the station’s control moment gyroscopes are handling attitude control, with the shuttle’s propulsion system providing backup.

Image above: John (Danny) Olivas is repairing the thermal blanket on Atlantis. Image credit: NASA TV

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