The Mission Status Press Briefing has just ended.
ISS now has a black-mold (Stachybotrys) problem in it's air-conditioning system (in Russian equipment) and a corrosion issue with the same and
connected systems, Kirk Shireman of the ISS Office says, "like rust". The corrosion issue can be dealt with but not repaired easily. The black-mold
issue is on ISS is more serious. I will attempt to get more data. There has been mold before behind panels but that was years
ago and was dealt
with more easily than in duct work.
It may not be able to be treated with anti-septics and anti-biologics as the crew would be required to "take the car off the spark plug while
running" just to get at the ducts which are small and extensive... they go everywhere.
The EVA stuff will go as planned tomorrow. Gloves should not be an issue.
Cargo tranfer operations are 76% complete. If there is an STS program going forward they will definitely miss SpaceHab, a wonderful boring bit of
hardware on it's last trip "downhill". It's benefits are many including safe-haven during CME's with the correct blanket package. This mission
only has the lightweight blankets on SpaceHab.
Still no resolution on the ISS/STS hardwired communications chronic fault. The fault is thought to be on some of the externally routed elements that
mate with the STS Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA). I have some pics I'll post at some point of the cable "run" thought (or rather hoped) to be
associated with the trouble.
It is intermittent and not a show-stopper in any way as the walk will just revert to comm protocols from before that system was installed and
activated. It might be a transient connection right in the connector block as the PMA does "flex" a little tiny bit as moment is controlled by the
CMG of the ISS attitude and there is a thermal expansion and contraction factor too.
The PMA sealing ring does build up some ice and it can be seen as oddly shaped bits flying around whenever STS undocks from the ISS. Watch for it on
undocking day. That ice could be affecting the connector block/interface tolerances. Or it might just be a bad wire... or maybe even corrosion not
external to the ISS but rather internal. That would be bad and very difficult to route around.
The SSPTS (Power Transfer System) to Endeavour will allow an on-orbit stay to the 26th (if, if, if, if times 10) nominally. It was also mentioned that
OV-105 could in theory be brought back early say on the 21st, perhaps to beat the weather. That is not planned.
Should Kennedy and Houston get the bad weather, Moscow (Korolev) will have complete control of the de-orbit. I am unsure how that might work out... I
can not confirm what facilities are available there for STS use. It has been done before, but not since the new GPS avionics stuff was added.
Looking at Russian Mission Control... reminds me of looking at a 1997-era photo. Have there been upgrades? Yes. What upgrades? Don't know. Do they
have any American tech support? Would they need it? Or accept it? Weather... new big problem. Seems to be no end of possibilities both positive and
If just Kennedy gets bad weather no problem. But Houston gets bad weather and things get complicated lickety-split for landing control and network
monitoring and about a ... well a whole lot of "other" things.
I watched the entire crew interviews with all 10 on-orbit astros present. That is one high-performance group of humans.
Spirits are "good" and
yet pragmatic. I like that.
I have complete confidence in their abilities... particularly Commander Kelly. Tough, fair, smart, skilled, Navy and my personal favorite an
"identical twin" as runs in my family. Twins will understand what I'm on about as all twins have a funny-cool affinity.
Weather is heating up. This mission could use some good luck with that.
[edit on 17-8-2007 by V Kaminski]