Endeavour’s astronauts performed an inspection of the orbiter’s thermal protection system. They also checked out spacesuits and rendezvous tools in preparation for Wednesday’s docking with the International Space Station, scheduled for 5:16 a.m. CDT.
The shuttle and its crew of six, Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Roberto Vittori, Andrew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff are delivering the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, other experiments and critical spare parts to the station.
The crew members took turns monitoring and using the shuttle’s robotic arm and its orbiter boom sensor system to look at the reinforced carbon-carbon on the spacecraft’s nose and wing leading edges, and some of its heat-resistant tiles.
Vittori and Johnson then latched the shuttle robotic arm onto the Express Logistics Carrier 3 to prepare for its installation shortly after arrival at the station. Fincke and Feustel spent several hours preparing spacesuits for transfer to the station’s Quest airlock, where the mission’s four spacewalks will originate.
The spacewalks are aimed at getting the International Space Station in the best possible shape for the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, through a variety of different tasks. Feustel completed a checkout of the Sensor Test for Orion Rel-nav Risk Mitigation, or STORRM, equipment. The system is flying aboard Endeavour to examine sensor technologies that could make it easier for future space vehicles to dock to the International Space Station. It will gather data during the initial rendezvous and docking to the station, during the nominal undocking, and again during a dedicated re-rendezvous.
Space shuttle Endeavour and its six-member STS-134 crew head toward Earth orbit and rendezvous with the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 8:56 a.m. (EDT) on May 16, 2011, from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Onboard are NASA astronauts Mark Kelly, commander; Greg H. Johnson, pilot; Michael Fincke, Andrew Feustel, Greg Chamitoff and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori, all mission specialists. STS-134 will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS), Express Logistics Carrier-3, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for the Dextre robotic helper to the International Space Station. STS-134 is the final spaceflight for Endeavour. Photo credit: NASA