ANOTHER NASA SUCCESS -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 21, 2006)
SPEECH OF HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2006
* Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully completed another space shuttle mission with this morning's landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the completion of the STS-115 mission. Launched on September 9, STS-115 is the 116th space shuttle mission, and the first since 2002 to include work on assembling and expanding the International Space Station. The successful completion of the STS-115 mission puts the space station back on the road to completion.
* The major accomplishments of the STS-115 mission include the delivery and installation of the massive P3/P4 truss--an integral part of the space station's backbone--and two sets of solar arrays that will eventually provide one quarter of the space station's power. The crew's other accomplishments include preparing an important radiator for later activation, installing a signal processor and transponder that transmit voice and data to the ground, and performing other tasks to upgrade and protect the space station's systems.
* The STS-115 mission is the first time a procedure called ``camp out'' was implemented. A ``camp out'' is where astronauts sleep in the Quest airlock prior to their space walks. The process shortens the ``prebreathe'' time during which nitrogen is purged from the astronauts' systems and air pressure is lowered so the space walkers avoid the condition known as the bends. The ``camp out'' procedure enabled the astronauts to perform more than the number of scheduled activities on each of the mission's three space walks.
* The Atlantis's crew preformed unprecedented robotics work on this mission. The crew used the shuttle's arm in a delicate maneuver to hand off the school bus-sized truss to the space station's arm, and also moved the space station's robotic arm to a position where it will assist in the next phase of station construction. Perhaps most significantly, the Atlantis crew preformed the first full fly around of the space station since before the Space Shuttle Columbia accident. Thanks to the fly around, ground crews now have a better perspective on the space station's environment and overall exterior health.
* Coming less than 2 months after the successful mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Atlantis mission is another demonstration of the skills and dedication of all NASA personal. I therefore urge all my colleagues join me in extending congratulations to NASA for the successful completion of the Atlantis mission. And extend a special thank you to Atlantis's crew of Commander Brent Jett, Mission Specialist Joe Tanner, Mission Specialist Steve MacLean, Pilot Chris Ferguson, Mission Specialist Dan Burbank, and Mission Specialist Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper, and the ground team that worked with the shuttle crew to make this mission a success.