Houston, We Have a Minor Problem
by: Rod Rice, April 6, 2010 9:04:00 pm
The antenna is a way to send or receive big packages of information, like the laser images of the shuttle's wings and nose. Lead Flight Director Richard Jones says with the antenna the images are sent immediately to mission control.
"Since we don't have that what we have put in place is a file conversion process where we're getting these files and video files and putting them on a tape and then converting them to a digital file that we're going to downlink once we docked to the International Space Station."
That same antenna is also scheduled to be used for radar as the shuttle approaches the International Space Station tomorrow. Jones says they'll try it then to see if it works in that capacity.
"If it doesn't we've got procedures already built into our checklist in how to perform a rendezvous without that radar available."
Jones says shuttles can dock without it and in fact past shuttle missions have done so. He says during the crews last formal training session two weeks ago they did a walk through of docking without the radar.
Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, these seven astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-131 crew portrait. Seated are NASA astronauts Alan Poindexter (right), commander; and James P. Dutton Jr., pilot. Pictured from the left (standing) are NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Naoko Yamazaki and NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson, all mission specialists. (NASA image).