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The shuttle Discovery has arrived at the space station

STS-116 crew members performed extensive inspections of the shuttle with the help of station crew members, mainly due to an alert of minor disturbances in three panels on the left wing

Members of the STS-116 mission team performed a thorough inspection of the left wing and began preparing for today's expected spacewalk.
Members of the STS-116 mission team performed a thorough inspection of the left wing and began preparing for today's expected spacewalk.
The team used a camera on the station's robotic arm to photograph the panels made of reinforced carbon. These are three panels numbered 19-21 on the wing. This is after the sensors showed that there is a disturbance, albeit a small one, in this area of ​​the wing. The engineers will analyze the images taken during the test.

During tonight's mission briefing, mission team chairman John Shannon said engineers completed the first test of the shuttle's heat shield on Sunday. "Hatzat inspected and performed a first pass on all the panels on the wing as well as the bow dome." Shannon told the NASA website, "We haven't discovered any problems so far despite the strict process."

Shannon also said the team began analyzing images from the underside of the shuttle, as taken by members of the station's 14th crew, while shuttle commander Mark Polanski steered the shuttle into a rollback maneuver before docking with the station. The shuttle arrived at the space station at 00:12 Israel time and the crew entered the station at 01:54.

Since then, during our night hours (evening in the USA) the members of the two teams began to transfer to the station space suits and tools that will be used by the members of the shuttle team in three spacewalks. The first of them is expected to be today - Tuesday, at 15:42 EST - 22:42 Israel time. Mission specialists Robert Korbim and Christer Vogelsang will perform the spacewalk. To prepare for the spacewalk, the two will spend time in the station's airlock, and the air pressure will be reduced and compared to that at 10,000 feet above sea level on Earth. This lower air pressure accommodation protects the astronauts against decompression sickness when they will experience even lower air pressure in their spacesuits.

The main task on Tuesday's spacewalk will be the installation of the P5 component - part of the station's backbone. Crew members will use the shuttle's robotic arm to lift the heavy component out of Discovery's cargo deck and transfer it to the station's arm.

Additional crew activities today will be to carry out the crew replacement when Sunita Williams will replace German astronaut Thomas Reiter who will return to Earth in her place on the shuttle. The exchange will be official when a special seating arrangement customized to Williams' body structure will be installed in the Soyuz spacecraft docked at the station, so that in the event of an emergency she can escape from the station along with the rest of the crew.

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