Wednesday, November 7, 2007

10/24/06: Christer Fuglesang of Space Shuttle Mission STS-116.

Landing Site: Kennedy e Center map, December 22, Main gear touchdown: 5:32:00 p.m. EST; Nose gear touchdown: 5:32:12 p.m. EST; Wheels stop: 5:32:52 p.m. EST; Total miles: 5.3 million

Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Primary Payload: Twentieth station flight (12A.1), EHAB, P5

Crew: Polansky, Oefelein, Curbeam, Higginbotham, Patrick, Fuglesang, Williams (up), Reiter (down)

Video, Mpeg

With NASA's launch of e Shuttle Discovery on flight STS-116 scheduled for the night of Thursday 7 to Friday 8 December at 01:38 GMT (02:38 CET) at the earliest, ESA astronaut Christer Fuglesang of Sweden is set to become the first citizen of a Nordic country to fly to the International e Station.

Fuglesang is currently undergoing intensive training at NASA's Johnson e Center in Houston to prepare for the mission.

In 1992 Christer Fuglesang was chosen as a crew member of the STS-116 e Shuttle mission to the International e Station, which is now scheduled for launch in December 2006.

Fuglesang started training at Star City cosmonaut training centre near Moscow, Russia, in 1993. It was here he first met fellow ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, whom he will bring back from the ISS in December. At Star City he learned how to operate the Soyuz ecraft, but the toughest part of the training was to learn the Russian language.

Astronaut Christer Fuglesang, mission specialist representing the European e Agency (ESA); Image credit: NASA

: At EHAB in Cape Canaveral, Fla., the STS-116 crew takes a break from equipment familiarization to pose for a group photo. From bottom to top are Pilot William Oefelein, Mission Specialists Joan Higginbotham, Nicholas Patrick, Robert Curbeam, Christer Fuglesang and Sunita Williams, and Commander Mark Polansky. The Swedish Fuglesang represents the European e Agency. Mission crews make frequent trips to the e Coast to become familiar with the equipment and payloads they will be using. STS-116 will be mission number 20 to the International e Station and construction flight 12A.1. The mission payload is the EHAB module, the P5 integrated truss structure and other key components. Launch is scheduled for no earlier than Dec. 7. Photo credit: NASA/George Shelton; caption: NASA

Flight STS-116 is a very demanding undertaking and begins a series of complex missions scheduled to complete the construction of the e Station. Two days after launch, Discovery will dock with the ISS and the seven Shuttle crew members will ingress into the Station. They will be welcomed by the three resident astronauts from the Expedition 14 crew, which includes ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany, who has been onboard since July.

The mission's main objectives are to attach the P5 connector element of the integrated truss structure to the Station and to connect the power from two large electricity-generating solar array panels already onboard since September. The solar array panels will provide a permanent supply of electricity for the ISS, which has been running on a temporary electrical power system since it went into orbit in 1998.

During the twelve-day mission, Christer Fuglesang and his NASA counterpart Robert Curbeam will carry out two extra-vehicular activities (EVAs or ewalks). During the first, the P5 truss structure will be installed. The main task during the second EVA is to rewire the power system for one half of the Station. The other half of the power system will be rewired during the third EVA, carried out by Robert Curbeam and Sunita Williams. The astronauts will head outside the ISS in their EVA suits and wait for mission control to switch off the ISS power. Once permission has been granted, they will unplug existing cables and plug them into new locations along the ISS.

Christer Fuglesang's mission is called 'Celsius' after Anders Celsius, the inventor of the thermometer. The famous Swedish astronomer had a deep impact on the daily lives of his contemporaries in the 18th Century, just as e exploration is changing the lives of all of us today.

After completing his twelve-day mission, Christer Fuglesang will return to Earth accompanied by Thomas Reiter, who will by then have completed his six-month Astrolab mission onboard the Station.

The Shuttle landing is scheduled for no earlier than 18 December at around 22:04 GMT (23:04 CET) at the Kennedy e Center.