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* The STS-116 mission delivered and attached the International Space Station's third port truss segment, the P5 truss.
* The STS-116 mission brought to the Station Expedition 14 crew member Sunita Williams (who subsequently established a record for most time in space for a female astronaut) and brought home Expedition 14 crew member Thomas Reiter from European Space Agency (launched by STS-121).
* Christer Fuglesang became Sweden's first astronaut. His flight was a rare occurrence of two ESA astronauts flying in space together.
* The third of three SPHERES testbeds launched to the ISS.
* Astronauts completed major rewiring of the electrical system of the International Space Station in order to bring online the P3/P4 solar array installed by STS-115 in September 2006.
* Additional rewiring was done to ISS Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 (PMA2) to enable Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS) commencing with STS-118.
* One half of the original P6 solar array installed by STS-97 was folded to make room for the new P4 array deployed by STS-115 to rotate and track the sun.
* STS-116 was the last STS mission scheduled for launch from pad 39B. The pad will be refitted for upcoming Ares I launches.
* The crew of STS-116 consisted of five rookie astronauts. Only Mission Commander Mark Polansky (2) and Mission specialist Robert Curbeam (3) had previously flown in space.
* Robert Curbeam became the first astronaut to make four EVAs during the same mission.
* This was the first mission with two African-American crewmembers.
Final Assembly Power Converter Unit mission for Discovery
During planned Orbiter upgrades to take place subsequent to this mission, Discovery's Assembly Power Converter Units (APCUs) will be removed and replaced with the shuttle-side components of the Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS). The APCUs converted 28VDC Orbiter main bus power to 124VDC compatible with ISS 120VDC main bus power. During initial station assembly missions, Orbiter APCU power was used to augment the power available from the Russian service segment. With the operation of permanent main electrical systems (e.g. P4 array and SARJ, MBSUs, DDCUs, Ammonia cooling systems), Orbiter power is no longer needed by the ISS.
The P3/P4 truss assembly was installed by the Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-115 mission, launched September 9, 2006, and attached to the P1 segment. The P3 and P4 segments together contain a pair of solar arrays, a radiator and a rotary joint that will aim the solar arrays, and connects P3 to P4. Upon its installation, no power was flowing across the rotary joint, so the electricity generated by the P4 solar array wings was only being used on the P4 segment, and not the rest of the station.
Then in December 2006 a major electrical rewiring of the station by STS-116 routed this power to the entire grid. The S3/S4 truss assembly—a mirror-image of P3/P4—was installed on June 11, 2007 also by Space Shuttle Atlantis during flight STS-117, mission 13A and mounted to the S1 truss segment.
The shuttle landed at 17:32 EST on 22 December 2006 at Kennedy Space Center