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Sunday, 14 February 2010 01:15

STS-130 astronauts are not tranquil

NASA astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) are having a problem with the newly installed Tranquility node. An insulating cover is not fitting properly due to an obstructing structure at the hatch.

On Saturday, February 13, 2010, while setting up the Tranquility mode, the STS-130 astronauts and the ISS Expedition 22 crewmembers found a problem with the insulating cover.

It was not locking properly due to interference with a structure at the hatch.

According to the Associate Press article 'Astronauts hit snag with new space station room,' the astronauts, along with flight controllers at the Mission Control Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, and other mission participants, are looking into various options to correct the problem

The AP article states, 'Flight director Bob Dempsey said engineers are trying to figure out how to proceed. Until this snag, everything had been going smoothly in NASA's final major construction job at the space station. Shuttle Endeavour delivered Tranquility and the attached lookout '” an enormous bay window '” earlier this week.'

And, 'The cover is needed to protect Tranquility's seals and docking mechanisms from the cold. This port will be exposed, temporarily, when the domed lookout is moved to its permanent location on the other side of Tranquility. That relocation is supposed to happen Sunday, but may be delayed.'

Please read the AP article for a more in-depth description of the problem and the various solutions being tested by STS-130 mission controllers.

The Tranquility node is named to honor the Apollo 11 astronauts. It is one of the final additions to the International Space Station, which is almost finished in its assembly process.


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