Endeavour astronauts had completed mapping well over half the targeted Earth land surface by early Tuesday, and scientists continued to express delight at the quality of information they were seeing.
More than 20 percent of the targeted land had been mapped twice and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission had covered more than 6 percent of it three times. The area surveyed at least once was equal to that of Africa, North America and Australia combined.
Those totals were growing rapidly. Endeavour was gathering mapping data on 40,000 square miles of land each minute. Scientists say the mission already has tripled the world’s pool of digital terrain data with this much detail.
Endeavour is gathering data four times faster than its advanced data communications system can send it to Earth. “Quick look” data sent down, with less detail than will be available from the high-density tapes being filled aboard the orbiter, already has revealed features not shown on even the best maps available today.
While Endeavour continued to gather data that will be the basis for maps of unprecedented accuracy and uniformity, flight controllers were troubleshooting the balky cold-gas jet on the outboard antenna structure. The jet helps maintain the attitude of the mast – the longest rigid structure ever deployed in space. The orbiter’s reaction control system jets are being used for that function. Flight controllers are developing further procedures to conserve propellant.
Blue Team members Pilot Dom Gorie and Mission Specialists Janice Voss and Mamoru Mohri sent down television early Tuesday. It showed Voss using an inflatable globe to explain the SRTM mission, Mamoru Mohri, taking photos out the commander’s window, and then, with Pilot Dom Gorie, changing a tape on a payload high rate recorder.
Members of the Red Team, Commander Kevin Kregel, and Mission Specialists Janet Kavandi and Gerhard Thiele, are in their sleep period. They are scheduled to be awakened at 10:14 a.m. Central Standard Time.
Endeavour’s systems are functioning normally as it circles the Earth at a speed of about 5 miles a second and an altitude of about 150 miles.
The next mission status report will be issued at 6 p.m. Tuesday, or as events warrant.
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