STS-114’s third spacewalk is now in the history books. The excursion featured the first-ever on-orbit repair of a Space Shuttle’s heat shield and attachment of a stowage platform onto the Station.
The orbital excursion began at 4:48 a.m. EDT and concluded at 10:49 a.m. EDT.
The heat shield repair efforts occurred quickly and just as planned on Space Shuttle Discovery’s underbelly. 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 gap fillers until they came out.
After he removed the second protrusion, Robinson declared, “It looks like this big patient is cured.”
+ View video of Robinson removing the gap filler
Robinson also took pictures of Discovery’s heat shield before leaving the area and returning to the payload bay.
+ Removing the Gap Fillers: A Spacewalking First
+ Customized Cutting Tool
Even though only one spacewalker was able to work on the underside of Discovery, the repair efforts required teamwork. Fellow spacewalker Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi provided communications and visual support to Robinson and flight controllers. Mission Specialist Andy Thomas was the spacewalk coordinator. Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence were the spacewalk’s Station robot arm operators.
The first task of the spacewalk was the installation of the External Stowage Platform-2 (ESP-2) by Robinson and fellow spacewalker Soichi Noguchi. They were assisted by the Station’s robotic arm. Then, Noguchi installed a materials exposure experiment on the Station’s exterior.
In other activities, Mission Control asked the STS-114 crew to use the Orbiter Sensor System to inspect insulation blankets under the commander’s window on Discovery. Also, cargo stowage activities are taking place on the Space Station.
Today’s Mission Status Briefing is slated to occur no earlier than 11:30 a.m. EDT and will be aired live on NASA TV.