STS-99 Day 6 Highlights
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- On Wednesday, February 16, 2000, 6:30 a.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 11
- Optimism in orbit and in Mission Control that Endeavor will have
enough propellant and power to complete its planned mapping of more
than 70 percent of the Earth's surface continues to increase.
Mission Control also told the astronauts that the EarthKAM aboard
Endeavour has successfully transmitted its 1,000th image for middle
- Scientists reported that 67.2 percent of the target area -32
million square miles - had been mapped by early Wednesday. That
is equal to the area of the Americas, Africa and Australia combined.
It is about 56 percent of all the Earth's land surface.
- More than 32.5 percent of the target area had been mapped with two
passes. That 15.5 million square miles is roughly equal to the
combined areas of Africa and Australia. New radar images of Brazil,
South Africa and the South Island of New Zealand were released Tuesday
afternoon by enthusiastic scientists who said the picture of the Earth
obtained by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission will be used for
decades to come.
- EarthKAM, mounted in the overhead starboard window of
Endeavour's aft flight deck, lets middle school students take
pictures of the Earth. They use interactive web pages to select
photos. On four previous flights, EarthKAM took more than 2,000
- The astronauts completed the fourth trim burn, adjusting the
orbiter's altitude using the "flycast maneuver." The
carefully choreographed and timed maneuver is designed to adjust
Endeavour's orbit while imparting minimal stress to the 200-foot
mast protruding from the cargo bay.
- Mapping operations continued flawlessly early Wednesday. Endeavour
was gathering data on 40,000 square miles of land a minute while it
was over land areas.
- Flight controllers continue to troubleshoot a problem with a small
nitrogen thruster on the end of the 200-foot-long mast. They have
implemented a number of steps to conserve the propellant used by
Endeavour's reaction control system jets, which are being used to
maintain the attitude of the mast in the absence of the jet. Flight
controllers and crewmembers are optimistic that they will have enough
propellant and power to complete their planned nine-day, nine-hour
- Blue Team members, Pilot Dom Gorie and Mission Specialists Janice
Voss and Mamoru Mohri, are on duty. Earlier in his shift, Mohri took
time out to talk with Japanese students in Tokyo and Kagoshima.
Members of the Red Team, Pilot Kevin Kregel and Mission Specialists
Janet Kavandi and Gerhard Thiele, were in their sleep period. They
are scheduled to be awakened at 10:14 .m.
- Endeavour's systems are functioning normally as it continues to
gather data for unprecedentedly accurate and unified topographical
maps of the Earth. The next status report will be issued at 6
p.m. Wednesday, or as mission events warrant.
- On Wednesday, February 16, 2000, 6:30 p.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 12
- With growing confidence that fuel-saving measures onboard Endeavour
will permit the radar mapping mission to run its full duration, flight
controllers and crew members today marked the mission's mid-way
point. "We're almost there," stated Milt Heflin,
NASA's Deputy Chief Flight Director.
- Science operations progressed flawlessly through the halfway point
of the 11-day mission. "You have six smiling faces up here,"
remarked Gerhard Thiele after being told how well the mapping was
going. As of noon today, more that 73 percent, or 35 million square
miles, of the target area has been mapped once. That exceeds the land
area of the Americas, Africa and Australia combined. More than 38
percent of the target area - 18 million square miles - has
been mapped with two or more passes. Endeavour collects data on
40,000 square miles every minute it is over land.
- New radar images of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far
East, and of northwestern Mongolia were released today. Shuttle Radar
Topography Mission images hold the promise of helping scientists and
planners better understand such potential problems as river flooding
and soil erosion.
- While continuing to troubleshoot the balky small thruster on the tip
of Endeavour's 200-foot mast, flight controllers are implementing
steps to conserve the propellant used by the orbiter's reaction
control system jets to maintain the mast's attitude. With pilot
Dom Gorie cycling the cold gas line, Janice Voss reported seeing a
small, white object moving out of Endeavour's payload bay. The
object is suspected to be a small piece of ice. The remaining Blue
Team member, Mamoru Mohri, took some time out of his day to talk with
students in his native country of Japan. Later today, Thiele answered
questions from reporters at the German Space Operations Center in
- Meanwhile, EarthKam has processed 1,033 images - more than from
any other shuttle mission. Using a camera mounted in Endeavour's
overhead window, school students are taking pictures of the Earth. On
four previous flights, EarthKam took about 2,000 photos.
- Endeavour's continues to provide an excellent platform for the
most accurate and unified topographical mapping of the Earth ever
produced. The next status report will be issued at 6 a.m. Tuesday, or
as mission events warrant.
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