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Crew Holds Class In Space, Prepares For Possible Repair Work

Mission Specialists Barbara R. Morgan, holding a Challenger crew patch, and Alvin Drew talk with students at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Alexandria, Va. Image: NASA
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Aug 16, 2007
The STS-118 and Expedition 15 crews are preparing for a possible spacewalk to repair damage on Space Shuttle Endeavour's thermal protection system. During the first half of the day, the crew held class in space for students on Earth. Mission managers have not decided that a repair spacewalk will be needed. But to prepare for that possibility, the crew members are getting ready to do the repair, should managers determine that is necessary.

The managers did decide to move the flight's fourth spacewalk from Friday to Saturday. If the repair isn't done, that spacewalk will see installation of two antennas and removal of one, installation of a stowage stand for the shuttle's orbiter boom sensor system and other tasks.

Mission Specialists Barbara Morgan and Alvin Drew participated in an education event this morning with students at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Alexandria, Va. Morgan, an educator who became an astronaut, was first selected by NASA in 1985 as the backup to Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe.

Following the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in 1986, Morgan continued to work with NASA on educational activities and returned to teaching elementary school in Idaho. She was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1998. Family members of the Challenger crew were in attendance.

The center is honoring Morgan with the President George H.W. Bush Leadership Award, its top award.

Morgan and Drew also talked with reporters representing Associated Press Television, Reuters and Idaho Public Television. And just before 1 p.m. EDT, Morgan used a HAM radio to talk with students in McCall, Idaho. See the transcriptListen to the Audio File

Also, the STS-118 and Expedition 15 crews are continuing cargo transfers that began shortly after Endeavour docked Aug. 10. Endeavour delivered supplies and equipment to the station, most of which were located in the pressurized Spacehab module in the payload bay. Spacehab will carry items, including science experiments, back to Earth.

This afternoon, the crews will enjoy some well-deserved time off.

Mission Management Team Update
Mission Control told Space Shuttle Endeavour's crew Wednesday that STS-118's fourth spacewalk will be moved to Saturday. The decision gives the STS-118 and Expedition 15 crew members an extra day to prepare for the spacewalk, which was added to the mission after the STS-118 crew arrived at the station.

Mission managers in Houston continue to consider whether a spacewalk will be needed to repair a small gouge on Endeavour's heat shield tiles. Before going to bed Wednesday, the crew was informed that managers have decided the next spacewalk will be moved from Friday to Saturday, but that they haven't decided whether Saturday's spacewalk will be devoted to tile repair or get-ahead tasks. View video of tile damage.

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NASA 'optimistic' no repair job needed on damaged shuttle tiles
Washington (AFP) Aug 15, 2007
NASA is "cautiously optimistic" that astronauts will not have to undertake repairs of a damaged area on the Endeavour shuttle's heat shield, an official said Tuesday.

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