STS-99 Day 9 Highlights
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- On Saturday, February 19, 2000, 6:00 a.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 17
- The EarthKAM, a digital camera mounted at an overhead window on
Endeavour's flight deck, continues its record setting pace. A little
after 4 a.m. CST Saturday flight controllers reported it had sent down
more than 2,018 images, the combined total of the four previous
flights on which it had flown.
- The camera takes pictures for middle school students. Through the
Internet, their schools' mission operations centers are linked to the
EarthKAM Mission Operations Center at the University of California at
San Diego. Except for setup, initial camera pointing and lens changes,
no crew involvement is required for normal operations.
- Meanwhile, flight controllers continued to successfully conserve
fuel and electricity aboard Endeavour and plan an extension of the
- The nine-hour extension of imaging operations means that mapping
will continue until about 6 a.m. Monday. Successful completion of the
9 days, 18 hours of mapping will mean that almost all of the target
area will be imaged -- only small areas of the United States, already
well mapped, would be missed. The target area is the 80 percent of the
Earth's land between 60 degrees north, the latitude of Hudson Bay, and
56 degrees south, Cape Horn at the tip of South America. It is home to
95 percent of the Earth's people. With the current plan, more than
99.9 percent of the area would be imaged at least once. More than 94.6
percent of it would be covered at least twice, and almost half would
be imaged at least three times.
- Scientists reported that by early Saturday 89.6 percent of the
target area, 42.7 million square miles, had been mapped once. About
60.1 percent, or 28.6 million square miles, had been imaged at least
twice. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission's sophisticated radar
continued to collect surface imaging data at a rate of 40,000 square
miles a minute.
- Commander Kevin Kregel and Mission Specialists Gerhard Thiele and
Janet Kavandi, the Red Team, and the Blue Team members Pilot Dom Gorie
and Mission Specialists Janice Voss and Mamoru Mohri, held their crew
news conference Friday. Today Kregel and Thiele will answer questions
from German news media representatives and later speak with
dignitaries at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Red Team is
asleep and is to be awakened at 10:14 a.m. The Blue Team remains on
duty until 11:59 a.m.
- On Saturday, February 19, 2000, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 18
- Following yesterday's decision by mission managers to extend mapping
operations, Endeavour's astronauts are set to continue collecting data
until 5:44 a.m. Central time Monday. At that point preparations will
begin to stow the 200-foot-long mast for the remainder of the
mission. This 9-hour extension allows for almost 100 percent of the
planned coverage of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.
- The mission's target mapping area includes about 47.6 million square
miles. As of noon, 92 percent, or about 44 million square miles, of
the target area had been mapped once. More than 65 percent of the
target area - nearly 31 million square miles - has been mapped with
two or more passes. Only 80,000 square miles of the target area,
mostly in North America, will remain unmapped by the end of mapping
operations. Highly accurate topographic maps of these areas already
- Clearly elated, scientists released new images of Oahu, Molokai,
Lanai and west Maui, Hawaii; Dallas, Texas; Salalah, Oman; and
Tasmania, Australia. Quick-Time movies of Hokkaido, Japan, home of
Mission Specialist Mamoru Mohri, and of Brazil, also were released. "I
have to believe that scientists all over the world are giving a
standing ovation to the SRTM team," observed Dr. Jeffrey Plaut, a
research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He said that maps
resulting from SRTM data would help archaeologists study ancient
cultures and the lands they inhabited, and better understand the
reasons for their demise.
- Science operations continued on schedule through the mission's ninth
day, with all radar and orbiter systems continuing to work smoothly.
- Endeavour's crew carried out the seventh trim burn of the mission
earlier today. This "flycast maneuver" keeps the spacecraft at the
proper altitude for mapping and is designed to reduce the stresses on
the mast and minimize the loads at the tip. This was the last flycast
maneuver planned during the mission.
- Earlier today, Commander Kevin Kregel and European Space Agency
astronaut Gerhard Thiele spoke to reporters gathered at the German
Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen and in Munich. At 7:14
p.m., the crew will send greetings to the Houston Livestock Show and
Rodeo, the world's largest.
- Endeavour's systems continue to perform flawlessly as it circles the
Earth at an altitude of about 150 statute miles.
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