Flight day 5
Retracting the solar panel
Flight day 5, our second complete day on the ISS, we mostly spend moving things over from Discovery to the Station. Joanie is the logistics manager and checks meticulously that the equipment comes out of the SpaceHab in one piece and ends up where it should be on the ISS.
Later, a lot of other items will be transferred from the ISS to the SpaceHab, amongst other things the products of experiments carried out in the weightless conditions on the ISS and which will be analysed in detail in some laboratory back down on Earth.
On the outside of the Station one of the big solar panels on P6 is folded up (P6 currently sticks up from the middle of the ISS, but will be later transferred over to the outside of P5). The retraction command of the solar panel is given by Sunni in the US Lab, but many of us in both crews are positioned at different windows and TV-monitors to see to it that nothing goes wrong. In a worst case scenario we can stop the process also from the Shuttle using commands on a laptop connected to ISS’s computers.
This particular solar panel must be retracted in order for the two new ones on P4 to be able to start to rotate around the truss' axel so that they can always direct their entire surface towards the Sun. P4 was transported up to the ISS by the Space Shuttle Atlantis during the mission STS-115 before us, but these solar panels are still not connected into the ISS electricity system. That will be done during our next two spacewalks on flight day 6 and 8.
Last update: 27 October 2006