STS-99 Day 7 Highlights
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- On Thursday, February 17, 2000, 6:00 a.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 13
- Masses of data that will result in topographical maps far better
than any now available continue to flow into high-rate recorders as
Endeavour enters the second half of its Shuttle Radar Topography
Mission. Efforts to conserve propellant and power continue to pay
off, with officials gaining more confidence that the entire nine days,
nine hours of mapping operations will be completed.
- By early Thursday more that 77 percent or 36.4 million square miles
of the target area has been mapped once. That is about equal to Asia,
the Americas and Australia combined, or about twice the area of the
surface of the moon. More than 20.24 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. At that rate, SRTM could
map an area the size of Florida in 90 seconds.
- Propellant for the shuttle's reaction control system jets became
an issue after failure of a small cold-gas jet on the end of the
almost 200-foot mast extending from Endeavour's payload bay. The
small jet was designed to help control the attitude of the mast.
Without the jet, the orbiter's reaction control system jets are
doing the job. Their increased propellant consumption has required a
number of fuel conservation steps on the orbiter to enable a complete
- Mapping operations are not affected, and scientists continue to
express delight at the quality of even the rough data, sent down to
confirm SRTM function. The radar gathers data at a rate about four
times as fast as the orbiter can send it down. It is being collected
on about 270 high-density tapes (which hold as more information than
about 13,500 CDs). But even the early, rough data show scientists
features not seen on today's best maps.
- Endeavour's Blue Team, Pilot Dom Gorie and mission specialists
Janice Voss and Mamoru Mohri, is on duty until about noon Central
Standard Time. Mohri is speaking with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo
Obuchi and the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Hirofumi
Nakasone, at 6:22 a.m. The Red Team, Commander Kevin Kregel and
Mission specialists Janet Kavandi and Gerhard Thiele, is sleeping.
Its wakeup call is scheduled for 10:14 a.m.
- EarthKAM continued its record-breaking performance. A secondary
payload mounted in an upper window on Endeavour's flight deck,
EarthKAM is used by middle school students to take digital photos of
the Earth's surface. It has sent down a mission record of more
than 1,250 photos. On four previous flights, EarthKAM took a total of
about 2,000 photos.
- On Thursday, February 17, 2000, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 14
- Propellant conservation measures have paid off and Endeavour's crew
was notified this morning that the mapping operations will continue
for the full nine days as planned prior to launch. "That's great
news", replied Pilot Dom Gorie. "They're getting some fantastic data
on this mission."
- As of noon today, 81 percent, or more than 39 million square miles of
the target area had been mapped once. That exceeds the land area of
the Americas, Africa and Australia combined. More than 47 percent of
the target area - over 22 million square miles - has been
mapped with two or more passes. Endeavour images 40,000 square miles
of land every minute.
- Astronaut Chris Hadfield in Mission Control transmitted the good
news to the crew aboard Endeavour while all six astronauts were awake
conducting a shift change. The crew is working around the clock on
two shifts conducting the detailed mapping operations. Several
fuel-saving steps have been implemented, including a change in the way
excess water is dumped overboard, and allowing more flexibility in
holding Endeavour and the 200-foot mast in the proper attitude. The
final conservation measure will be the deletion of the eighth trim
burn, which controllers believe can safely be deleted by adjusting the
sixth and seventh burns without a disruption to data collection.
- Exuberant scientists today released new radar images of the San
Andreas Fault in California, the Los Angeles basin, Southern
California's San Gabriel Mountains, and the island of Hokkaido,
Japan, birthplace of Mission Specialist Mamoru Mohri. "We're
well on the way to making the best topographic map of the world
ever", said Dr. Diane Evans, chief scientist in the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory's Earth Science Office. "We are ecstatic about
this data set." She said the level of detail in maps resulting
from this Shuttle Radar Topography Mission should help scientists
better understand earthquakes and mudflows.
- Science operations continued through the seventh day of the mission,
with trouble-shooting a problem with one of six high data-rate
recorders on board being the only issue of significance. The
recorders are used to capture the masses of data collected during the
SRTM mission on 270 tapes.
- Earlier today, Mohri spoke about the mission with Japanese Prime
Minister Keizo Obuchi and the Minister of State for Science and
Technology. Later, he joined Dom Gorie and Janice Voss for interviews
with The Weather Channel and two television stations. Janet Kavandi
briefly joined them to send greetings to her hometown of Springfield,
- Meanwhile, EarthKam continues its record-breaking production of
images, having processed 1,355 images. The project allows school
students to remotely take pictures of the Earth using a camera mounted
in one of Endeavour's windows.
- The orbiter continues to perform smoothly and provide a solid
platform for the most accurate and unified topographical mapping of
the Earth ever produced.
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