Infobox Space mission
mission_name = STS-118
insignia = STS-118 patch new.png| shuttle = Endeavour crew_members = 7
launch_pad = LC-39A
launch = 8 August, 2007, 6:36:42 p.m. EDT (22:36:42 UTC)
landing = 21 August, 2007, 12:33:20 p.m. EDT (16:33:20 UTC)
duration = 12 Days, 17 Hours, 55 Minutes, 34 Seconds
altitude = 122 nautical miles (226 km)
inclination = 51.6 degrees
orbits = 201
distance = convert|5274977 |mi|km|0Cite web|url=|title=STS-118 Mission Status Report #27|accessyear=2007|accessmonthday=November 26|publisher=National Aeronautics and Space Administration|year=2007|author=NASA]
crew_photo = STS-118 crew lr.jpg
crew_caption = (left to right) Mastracchio, Morgan, Hobaugh, Kelly, Caldwell, Williams, and Drew.
previous = STS-117
next = STS-120

STS-118 was a space shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS) flown by Space Shuttle "Endeavour". STS-118 successfully lifted off on August 8, 2007 from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida and landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC on August 21, 2007.

It was the first flight of "Endeavour" since the STS-113 mission in November 2002, which was the last successful Space Shuttle flight before the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-107. STS-118 pilot Charles Hobaugh had been the entry team CAPCOM for STS-107. Had the "Columbia" not disintegrated, it would have been chosen for this mission, which would have been its 29th mission, and probably its only mission to the ISS.

The mission is also referred to as ISS-13A.1 by the ISS program. The mission added two more components to the International Space Station as well as bringing supplies for its crew. The completion of the mission left twelve flights remaining in the Space Shuttle program until its end in 2010, excluding two as-yet-unconfirmed Contingency Logistic Flights.

During and after the mission, the media focused heavily on a small puncture in the heat shield, created by a piece of insulation foam that came off the external tank of "Endeavour" during liftoff. Foam impact was the cause of the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia, but the extent of damage was very small in comparison and in a less critical area. KSC Launch Director Michael D. Leinbach mentioned in the post-flight press conference, that upon initial inspection on the ground "Endeavour" appears to be the 'cleanest' post-flight orbiter since Return to Flight". [cite news | first=Bergin | last=Chris | coauthors= | title=Endeavour's performance during re-entry classed as phenomenal | date=2007-08-21 | | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-22 | language = ] On 31 August 2007, NASA reported that the damaged tiles had been removed in the Orbiter Processing Facility, and engineers had found no evidence of heat-related damage to the orbiter structure beneath. [cite web | url = | title = NASA's Space Shuttle Processing Status Report |author=NASA| date = 2007-08-31| publisher = NASA]


* Scott J. Kelly (2) - Commander
* Charles (Charlie) O. Hobaugh (2) - Pilot
* Tracy E. Caldwell (1) - Mission Specialist 1
* Richard (Rick) A. Mastracchio (2) - Mission Specialist 2
* Dafydd (Dave) R. Williams (2) - Mission Specialist 3 - CAN CSA
* Barbara R. Morgan (1) - Mission Specialist 4
* Benjamin Alvin Drew, Jr. (1) - Mission Specialist 5

Number in parentheses indicates number of space flights by each individual prior to, and including, this mission.

Crew notes

Astronaut Clayton Anderson originally was slated to be launched to the ISS on this mission, but was moved to STS-117. His replacement was Al Drew. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=NASA Assigns Washington, D.C., Native to Upcoming Shuttle Mission | date=2007-05-03 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ]

NASA press releases and media briefing documents stated that STS-118 was the first flight of an Mission Specialist Educator due to the presence of Barbara Morgan. The Educator Astronaut Project is the successor to NASA's Teacher in Space Project, which ended with the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. [cite news | first= | last= NASA | coauthors= | title=NASA Educator Astronaut Program | date=2004-02-01 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] Also, the official STS-118 mission patch included a flame of knowledge that represented the importance of education, and honored teachers and students everywhere. The tip of the flames touched Morgan's name on the patch.Cite web|url=|title=STS-118 Mission Patch|accessyear=2007|accessmonthday=November 26|publisher=NASA|year=2007|author=NASA] However, NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin clarified at a post-mission press conference that Barbara Morgan was not considered a Mission Specialist Educator, but rather a standard Mission Specialist, who had once been a teacher. [Michael Griffin, NASA TV STS-118 Post-Landing briefing]

Prior to the "Columbia" disaster, the crew manifest for STS-118 was:
* Scott Kelly - Commander
* Charles O. Hobaugh - Pilot
* Scott E. Parazynski - Mission Specialist
* Dave Williams - Mission Specialist CAN CSA
* Lisa Nowak - Mission Specialist
* Barbara Morgan - Mission Specialist

Parazynski was assigned to STS-120 and Nowak was assigned to STS-121.

Mission parameters

* Mass:
**"Orbiter Liftoff:" 268,574 lb (121,823 kg)
**"Orbiter Landing:" 222,398 lb (100,878 kg)cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title= STS-118 Press Kit | date=July 2007 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-22 | language = |format=PDF]
* Perigee: km to mi|226cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title= ISS 13A.1 - Shuttle Endeavour (STS-118) | date=2007-08-12 | publisher=spacenewsfeed RSS | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-21 | language = ]
* Apogee: km to mi|226
* Inclination: 51.6°
* Period: 91.6 minutes

Mission payloads

The STS-118 mission delivered and assembled the starboard S5 truss segment of the International Space Station, as well as External Stowage Platform 3, (ESP-3) and a replacement Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG). The mission was also the final flight to include the Spacehab Logistics Single Module.

The Spacehab Logistics Single Module, a pressurized aluminum habitat that is carried inside the payload bay, has a capacity of 6,000 lb (2,722 kg), and carried a variety of cargo and research projects, including supply materials for the ISS. It returned with approximately 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) of cargo, including the MISSE PEC, a Department of Defense payload that had been installed on the ISS. Launched in July 2006, the MISSE PEC-3 contained over 850 materials specimens that will be studied to determine the effects of long-term exposure to the environment of space.

Mission background

The mission was originally scheduled to be flown by "Columbia"; STS-118 would have marked that orbiter's 29th flight and its first visit to the International Space Station. However, the Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster altered the planned flight schedules, and the mission was rescheduled for "Endeavour". STS-118 served as "Endeavour"'s return to flight after a planned orbiter re-fit and maintenance period that resulted in over 200 modifications to the orbiter.cite web|url=,2933,291871,00.html|title=Shuttle Endeavour's Stem-to-Stern Overhaul|author=Tariq Malik||date=2007-08-03|accessdate=2007-08-24]

One of the most important modifications that debuted during STS-118 is an upgraded power-distribution module, the Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS). SSPTS allows "Endeavour" to tap into the ISS power supply, converting up to eight kilowatts (8 kW) of electrical power from 120-volts direct-current (120VDC) ISS main voltage to the 28VDC system used by the orbiter. SSPTS was outfitted to the ISS Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 (PMA2) during STS-116. These upgrades will allow orbiters to remain docked at the station for an additional three to four mission days. [cite news | first= | last=Boeing | coauthors= | title=Vehicle Upgrades: Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS) | date=2007-05-03 | publisher=Boeing | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] [cite news | first= | last=Johnson Space Center | coauthors= | title=NASA Presolicitation Notice: (SSPTS) | date=2003-10-26 | publisher=Johnson Space Center | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=NASA's Space Shuttle Processing Status Report | date=2005-12-02 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] Other systems debuting on this flight were a three-string GPS system, which replaces the three Tactical Air Navigation-units, used to guide the shuttle and calculate its position during reentry and landing and the new Advanced Health Management System which keeps an eye on the three main engines during liftoff and will shut them down before any catastrophic damage might develop. Endeavour also received several systems that the other orbiters had already been equipped with, such as a glass cockpit, improved wing leading-edge sensors and the OBSS.

STS-118 included mission specialist Barbara Morgan, the first Mission Specialist Educator. Morgan trained as the backup to Christa McAuliffe, NASA's Teacher in Space candidate from 1985 to 1986. McAuliffe was killed in the space shuttle "Challenger" accident on January 28, 1986. While McAuliffe and Morgan were classified as spaceflight participants and not as mission specialists in 1986, after the Teacher in Space Project was cancelled, Morgan assumed the duties of Teacher in Space Designee, and continued to work with NASA’s Education Division until her selection as NASA's first Mission Specialist Educator in 1998. Morgan completed two years of training and evaluation, and began official duties in 2000. [cite news | first= | last= NASA | coauthors= | title=Biography of Barbara Morgan, first Mission Specialist Educator | date=2007-05-01 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] An educator astronaut is a fully trained astronaut who performs all the same duties that an astronaut does. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=Preflight Interview with Barbara Morgan | date= | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] Morgan became the first Mission Specialist Educator in space on STS-118, and will share what she learned from the experience with students during and after her flight.

The mission marked:
*150th manned US space launch
*119th Space Shuttle flight
*22nd International Space Station assembly mission
*20th flight of "Endeavour"
*94th Post-"Challenger" mission
*6th Post-"Columbia" mission
*First flight with SSPTS

Mission timeline

Launch preparations

"Endeavour" (OV-105) was moved from the Orbiter Processing Facility, bay OPF-2 to the Vehicle Assembly Building on July 2. [cite news | first=Todd | last=Halvorson | coauthors= | title= Endeavour prepped for return to flight | date=2007-01-25 | publisher=Florida | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] On July 10, "Endeavour" moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A. Moving at less than one mile per hour (1.6 km/h) atop the crawler-transporter, the move began at 8:10 p.m. EDT, and was "hard down" (secured in place at the pad) at 3:02 a.m. EDT, July 11.

The crew completed the terminal countdown demonstration test on July 19, and the Flight Readiness Review meetings were held on July 25 and 26, after which NASA managers declared STS-118 a "GO" for launch. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=NASA Gives 'Go' for Shuttle Endeavour Launch on August 7 | date=2007-07-26 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] The launch was delayed one day to repair a valve in the shuttle's crew cabin pressurization system.cite news | first = William | last = Harwood | url = | title = Shuttle launch postponed; Crew flies to Cape | work = Spaceflight Now | date = August 3, 2007 | accessdate = 2007-08-03 ]

Commander Kelly and the crew arrived at Kennedy Space Center on Friday, August 3, for final launch preparations. The countdown clock began at 8:00 p.m. EDT Sunday, August 5, for the launch at 6:36 p.m. EDT August 8.

Wednesday August 8 (Flight day 1, Launch)

Fueling of the external tank began at 8:11 a.m. EDT (12:11 UTC) and finished around 11:00 a.m. EDT. The Ice Team began their inspection of the orbiter to ensure no ice was on the orbiter or the fuel tank, something unlikely due to the unusually warm conditions as launch time approached. Their inspection lasted about 40 minutes shorter than the usual two hours. The crew departed for the Operations & Checkout (O&C) building, for the launch pad at 2:46 p.m. EDT (18:46 UTC), and arrived at the pad at 3:02 p.m. EDT (19:02 UTC). Launch occurred at 6:36:42 p.m. EDT (22:36:42 UTC).

Countdown and launch notes:
* The Ice Team members discovered a small crack in the foam surrounding the external fuel tank during their preflight examination. After a review by the Mission Management Team, it was concluded that there was no debris issue regarding the crack, and the tank was safe to fly.
* A problem with the switches associated with the crew hatch required a second and third hatch closure attempt. Hatch closure was completed and verified at 5:23 p.m. EDT (21:23 UTC).
* The high-definition video camera used to inspect the shuttle from Kennedy Space Center during launch failed prior to liftoff. The launch team decided that the cameras on the external tank and the orbiter would be sufficient for observations, and went on to launch without it.
* Launch Director Mike Leinbach conducted his T-9 poll, and declared "Endeavour" a "go" for launch at 6:26 p.m. EDT (22:26 UTC).
* Liftoff occurred at 6:36:42 p.m. EDT. (22:36:42 UTC)
* Solid Rocket Boosters successfully separated at 6:39 p.m. EDT (22:39 UTC).
* Main Engine Cutoff occurred at 6:45:30 p.m. EDT (22:45:30 UTC)
* External Tank separation occurred at 6:45:45 p.m. EDT (22:45:45 UTC)

The primary TAL site was Zaragoza Airport in Spain.

Following the procedures for post-ascent, the crew opened the payload bay doors, activated the Spacehab, powered up the Remote Manipulator System, and performed a variety of other payload activation procedures, before entering their scheduled sleep shift at 04:36 a.m. UTC (12:36 a.m. EDT) August 9, 2007.

Thursday August 9 (Flight day 2)

The shuttle crew spent most of the day inspecting the outer hull and the heat shield. During the mission status briefing, Deputy Shuttle Program Manager (and Mission Management Team chairman) John Shannon reported that during launch, approximately nine pieces of foam were observed breaking off the external fuel tanks. Three of these struck the shuttle. All three strikes are considered to be minor in nature. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Status Report 03 | date=2007-08-09 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ]

Friday August 10 (Flight day 3)

Endeavour successfully docked with the International Space Station at 18:02 UTC (2:02 p.m. EDT). Approximately an hour before docking, Endeavour performed the one-degree-per-second backflip, called the Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver (RPM), so the ISS crew members could take digital pictures of the heat shield of the orbiter. The images were then analyzed by NASA's Image Analysis Team, as well as the Mission Management Team to inspect the integrity of the orbiter's heat shield. Following a series of leak checks, the hatches were opened at 20:04 UTC (4:04 p.m. EDT), and the Expedition 15 crew welcomed the STS-118 crew aboard the station.

After preliminary review of the photos taken by the Expedition 15 crew during the RPM, an area of interest was discovered on the underside of the Shuttle; an area behind the right landing gear door covered with black silica tiles.cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=Space Shuttle Reference Manual - Thermal Protection System | date=2000-08-31 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ] The tile directly aft of the door had a 3.5 inch (8.9 cm) by 2 inch (5.1 cm) gouge in it. While the tile was penetrated, the underlying felt backing was not. NASA noted in the press conference that launch-time video confirmed a foam strike. This area is less critical than the leading-edge reinforced carbon-carbon tiles that were damaged in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, but did cause concern for the Mission Management Team. A focused inspection was scheduled for Sunday, August 12 to determine whether a patch attempt would be undertaken by the astronauts during an EVA.cite news | first=William | last=Harwood | coauthors= | title=Mission status briefing; tank appears to have performed well | date=2007-08-11 | publisher=CBS News | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-11 | language = ] NASA once reported that pieces of foam are bound to, and have fallen off of the external tank during the eight and one-half minute ride to orbit. Extraordinarily, an unprecedented three-hundred pieces of foam once struck the underside of an orbiter during launch.

The crew activated the Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS) after docking. [cite web | first=| last=NASA | url = | title = STS-118 Flight Day 3 Status Report | publisher = NASA] The SSPTS transfers electrical power from the station to the shuttle, allowing the shuttle to conserve its own power generating resources. An extension of the mission from 11 to 14 days was dependent on proper operation of the SSPTS.

aturday August 11 (Flight day 4)

At 21:45 (UTC), Rick Mastracchio and Dave Williams started the first EVA of the mission, installing the S5 truss to the station, increasing the total mass of the ISS to 232,693 kg (513,000 lb). The EVA duration was 6 hours and 17 minutes, and all objectives were successfully completed.

During the Mission Status press conference, Lead ISS Flight Director Joel Montalbano reported that the SSPTS was working well, and the recommendation to the Mission Management Team will be to extend the mission to the planned 14-day mission.

Mission Management Team chair John Shannon reported after additional analysis, it appeared that a piece of foam came off the external tank in the area of the tank's feed line, and bounced off a nearby strut, resulting in a hit to the orbiter's underside. An almost identical section of foam was lost on STS-115, but did not strike the orbiter. John reported after further review of photos taken on flight day three, they do not feel the damage went all the way through the tile, but focused inspection is still planned for flight day five, and decisions would not be made until more information is obtained. Five specific areas will be inspected during focused inspection, and with the data gathered, thermal testing can be done to determine what actions, if any, need to be taken.

Overall, John Shannon classified the foam loss as a "concern", but only with regards to the history that the specific area has with regards to foam loss in past missions. Shannon reported that analysis would be complete by Tuesday at the latest.

John Shannon also reported that the possible protruding gap filler noticed on flight day 3, was reviewed further, and was determined to be "shim stock", which will burn off in the upper atmosphere, and poses no issues for re-entry.

unday August 12 (Flight day 5)

The crew carried out the focused inspection without any problems, and at 20:56 (UTC), the crews of "Endeavour" and Expedition 15 were notified that the SSPTS was working as expected, and the mission was officially extended to the planned 14 day mission. Commander Scott Kelly replied, "That's great news, thanks".cite news | first= | last= NASA | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Flight day 5 Status Report | date= | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = ]

In the daily mission status briefing, Lead Flight Director Matt Abbott announced the official extension of the mission, that the SSPTS was working as planned, and they were pleased with the data gathered during the focused inspection on Sunday. Mission Management Team Chairman John Shannon confirmed the decision of the Mission Management Team to extend the mission to 14 days, and to add a fourth EVA, was unanimous. He noted that the addition of SSPTS will be a valuable new tool, providing not only extended missions, but also the ability to provide the space station with additional supplies of oxygen, water, and other resources.

Shannon reported on the focused inspection, confirming that good laser data and imagery was obtained, and they resolved several areas of interest, classifying them as of no concern. One area of interest was two adjacent thermal plates on the shuttle's underside that had a gouge that appeared to be deeper than would allow them to rule it out. NASA would use data from the focused inspection to model the area, and do thermal analysis of the area. [cite news | first=John | last=Shannon | coauthors= | title=Image of area of interest on Endeavour | date= | publisher=NASA | url =| work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-12 | language = ] They will use the data to mimic the damage with sample tiles at Johnson Space Center, and using a variety of testing methods, possible courses of action would then be evaluated. No decision would be made until all data had been received and reviewed.

Shannon did report that following STS-118, NASA will do a thorough review of the history of foam loss from the area of the external tank since STS-114, analysis and testing would be done, and any speculation as to a future course of action would not be made until all the information was available.

Monday August 13 (Flight day 6)

Rick Mastracchio and Dave Williams completed the mission's second spacewalk, successfully achieving all of the scheduled activities. During the EVA, they removed a new CMG from "Endeavour"'s payload bay, and moved it to the Z1 truss, where they removed the failed CMG. After installing the new CMG, they placed the failed CMG on an external stowage platform, where it will remain until it is returned to Earth with mission STS-122. After initial testing on the ground, NASA reported the new CMG was functioning normally. [cite news | first=John | last=Shannon | coauthors= | title=Mission Status Briefing Graphics | date= | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-14 | language = ]

During the EVA, Mastracchio reported an EVA suit alarm, indicating high levels of chem|CO|2, but after reviewing all indicators and sensors, NASA confirmed it was an instrumentation issue, and the suit itself was fine. At the mission status briefing, NASA reported the suit would be used on future spacewalks, and the issue was not of any concern.cite news | first=William | last=Harwood | coauthors= | title=New gyro installed; spacewalk ends | date=2007-08-14 | publisher=CBS Space News | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-14 | language = ]

During the Mission Management briefing, John Shannon discussed Endeavor's heat shield and re-entry issues. He reported that after initial modeling they believe the majority of heating will be on the backside of the gouge, and not into the filler bar side, which was the preferable situation. He reiterated that it was a complicated aerodynamic shape, and they wanted to be sure the flow would concentrate in the back "well" of the hole. The engineers and analysts would continue to do additional flow modeling, after which they would take the data into the arc jet testing facility for additional analysis. The first preliminary arc jet tests would be performed Monday night.

Shannon reported a "team four" had been assembled, along with the operations and engineering teams, to assist in data analysis. The teams will look at options for repair if required, and make recommendations to the Mission Management Team after the analysis of tests and data. Shannon stated he had no doubt that if a repair was required, the crew could execute it without significant impact to the mission timeline. He reiterated that this was "not" a catastrophic damage situation, but simply a situation that they would prefer to fix if possible, similar to the OMS blanket issue during STS-117 in June.cite news | first=William | last=Harwood | coauthors= | title=Update: Shannon said tile damage not considered a threat to astronauts | date=2007-08-14 | publisher=CBS Space News | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-14 | language = ]

There are three different on-orbit repair techniques available to the crew. Both post-"Columbia" Return to Flight missions experimented with various repair materials and techniques, and the STS-118 crew has trained for those procedures.

Tuesday August 14 (Flight day 7)

The "Endeavour" crew awoke on Tuesday to the voices of Tracy Caldwell's family singing happy birthday to her. The two crews successfully removed the ESP-3 from "Endeavour"'s payload bay, and installed it onto the P3 truss. They also continued with transfer activities, and several crew members took time out to have two Public Affairs events, one of them answering children's questions from the Discovery Center in Boise, Idaho. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Status Report #13 | date=2007-08-14 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-15 | language = ] During an interview with CBS, Commander Kelly stated that he was not concerned about the tile damage, and would be comfortable with any decision NASA made, "My understanding is this tile damage is not an issue of the safety of the crew... I'm not concerned with our safety." [cite news | first=William | last=Harwood | coauthors= | title=Kelly downplays tile concern; Morgan said spaceflight worth the wait | date=2007-08-14 | publisher=CBS News | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-14 | language = ] The main reason for fixing it, he noted, would be to assist with processing once the orbiter was back at the Kennedy Space Center.

During the Mission Management Team briefing, Kirk Shireman, Deputy International Space StationProgram Manager, reported that the External Stowage Platform installation went well; the new CMG was working well, and handover of attitude control directly from the shuttle to the station was completed without problems. In addition, a new Russian computer was installed on the station, and testing of the system would be performed in late August. He also mentioned several of the experiments that were launched with STS-118, and reported all experiments were proceeding well. Kirk also noted that as of 15:17 UTC, the Zarya module of the station had orbited the Earth 50,000 times.

John Shannon reported that the orbiter systems were in excellent shape, and had no issues. With regards to the remaining area of tile damage on the underside of the orbiter, Shannon reported that initial thermal analysis had been completed. Computational fluid dynamics testing at Ames Research Center had been done, and the preliminary results were "cautiously optimistic". Testing at the arc jet facility would continue Tuesday night. Shannon stated they would go through complete EVA scenario testing at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, to help develop the EVA procedures if needed.

Wednesday August 15 (Flight day 8)

Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson began the third EVA of the mission at 14:37 UTC. During the EVA, they successfully relocated a CETA Cart, retrieved the P6 Transponder, relocated the S-band antenna from P6 to P1, and installed a new S-Band Baseband Signal Processor and Transponder on the P1 truss. During a routine glove inspection, Mastracchio noticed a possible tear on the thumb of his left glove. [cite news | first=Paul | last=Boehm | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Mission Status Briefing Graphics | date=2007-08-15 | publisher=NASA | url =| work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-16 | language = ] To be safe, NASA managers decided to end the spacewalk at 20:05, and examination and photography of the glove was performed during suit removal. The spacewalk accomplished all but one of the tasks (MISSE retrieval). [cite news | first=William | last=Harwood | coauthors= | title=Mastracchio cuts spacewalk short after noting glove damage | date=2007-08-15 | publisher=CBS | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-15 | language = ] On the station, the crewmembers continued with transfer activities.

During the Mission Management Team briefing, Joel Montalbano reported that the issue with Mastracchio's suit was never a danger to the suit integrity, and the decision to cut the EVA short was one of precaution. Extended photography was performed, and additional analysis will be completed prior to the fourth EVA. Montalbano reported that the fourth EVA would be no earlier than Saturday, 18 August. [cite news | first=Joel | last=Montalbano | coauthors= | title=Mission Status Briefing Graphics | date=2007-08-16 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-16 | language = ]

Lead spacewalk officer Paul Boehm agreed that the EVA went well, the major objectives were completed, and he reiterated that at no time was Mastracchio's suit in any danger of leaking.

EVA Office Manager Steve Doering reported on the details regarding the issue with Mastracchio's glove. The EVA inspection procedure was implemented following STS-116, when a cut was found on Robert Curbeam's glove following an EVA. The EVA suit comprises five layers of material, and the second layer, called vectran, is a high strength material resistant to tearing. Mastracchio's tear was into the vectran layer. Prior to the next EVA, video analysis will be done of the path Mastracchio took during the spacewalk in an attempt to discover where the tear may have occurred. An analysis of Mastracchio's glove during the previous two EVAs will also be performed.

John Shannon reported that no decision had been made regarding the tile damage on the underside of the orbiter, but the fourth EVA was postponed to at least Saturday. The management team would continue to analyze the potential risks of repair to the underside of the orbiter, as well as any other areas of risk. Shannon reported the results of the arc jet testing showed some erosion into the backside of the adjacent tile upon re-entry, but the erosion did not go through the entire layer of the tile. Preliminary results were encouraging, but additional testing would be performed on Wednesday night. Shannon reported that the final decision would most likely be made on Thursday. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=Status Report #15 | date=2007-08-16 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-16 | language = ] Shannon said "I am cautiously optimistic that repairs will not be needed". [cite news | first=William | last=Harwood | coauthors= | title=Spacewalk No. 4 moved from Friday to Saturday; no decision yet on tile repair | date=2007-08-15 | publisher=CBS | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-15 | language = ]

Thursday August 16 (Flight day 9)

The station and shuttle crews continued transfer activities on flight day 9, as well as EVA preparations, which included TPS repair procedure review, in case NASA decided a repair was necessary. [cite news | first=Marcia | last=Dunn | coauthors= | title=Astronauts run through repair methods | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=Associated Press | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ] [cite news | first=David | last=Malakoff | coauthors= | title=NASA Nears Decision on Shuttle Repair | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=NPR | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ]

Mission Specialists Barbara Morgan and Alvin Drew participated in an education event in the morning with students at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Alexandria, Virginia. The event was hosted by Dr. June Scobee Rogers, wife of "Challenger"'s commander, Dick Scobee, and Founding Chairman of the Challenger Center. Morgan and Drew also spoke to reporters from the Associated Press, Reuters and Idaho Public Television. [cite news | first=Liz | last=Austin Peterson | coauthors= | title=NASA Optimistic No Shuttle Fix Needed | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=AP/Discovery News | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ]

During the interview with Reuters, Drew stated "We've been talking to the engineers who have been analyzing this far more than we have in space, and they seem to feel that the biggest danger is more to just being able to re-use "Endeavour" once it gets back on the ground. They seem to be confident, and I trust their confidence that we can get home safely even with the divot that we have in the belly," [cite news | first=Irene | last=Klotz | coauthors= | title=Shuttle crew awaits word on heat shield work | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=Reuters | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ] Morgan added "We have a lot of faith in the program, and we'll do what the engineers decide is the best thing for us to do. We have all confidence we're going to be able to do the right thing."

At 01:00 UTC, Friday August 17, CAPCOM Shane Kimbrough notified commander Kelly that the Mission Management Team decided that no repair to the damaged tile on the underside of the orbiter would be required. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Mission Status Report #17 | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ] [cite news | first=Kenneth | last=Chang | coauthors= | title=NASA Rules Out Repair to Gouge in Shuttle | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=New York Times | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ]

During the Mission Management Team briefing, John Shannon announced the team's unanimous decision that an EVA to repair the damaged tile was not required, and the tile damage on the underside of the orbiter was not a threat to crew safety. However, the spacewalk to repair the damage could pose a variety of risks, and those risks weighed heavily into the final decision. He noted the arc jet tests actually showed a higher degree of damage than the orbiter would sustain during re-entry, so the tests were helpful in showing the worst "possible" damage, and still did not damage the tile during testing enough to warrant repair. [cite news | first=John | last=Shannon | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Mission Status Briefing Graphics | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ]

Shannon did note that the JSC Engineering Independent Group advised NASA managers that repairing the damage on-orbit could assist with mission turn-around time once the orbiter was on the ground. Shannon noted that the risks associated with in-flight repair outweighed the possible delay in processing the orbiter following the mission. He stated that normal turn-around time would not be compromised, as most orbiters have at least 60 tiles replaced after each mission, so the situation would not be any different than past missions. [cite news | first=Marcia | last=Dunn | coauthors= | title=NASA Decides No Shuttle Repairs Needed | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=AP/Washington Post | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ]

When pressed during the briefing by a reporter as to the chance of shuttle or crew loss, Shannon reported "I am 100 percent comfortable that the work that has been done, has accurately characterized the damage, and that we will have a very successful re-entry". He stated that over 200 people were involved in the decision, representing over 30 organizations, including NASA Ames Research Center, NASA's Langley Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, KSC, JSC, and that all the groups combined came to the same decision.

Shannon reported that the glove issue encountered during EVA three had been discussed, and stated that analysis would be continued, in advance of EVA four on Saturday. The crew does have a spare set of gloves, if needed.

Shannon reported on a micro-meteoroid debris strike discovered on the commander's window of the orbiter, which was 1 millimeter in depth. Shannon noted that it was consistent with previous damage sustained on past missions. Analysis would be conducted regarding this issue, using photographs sent down by the crew early Thursday morning.

The final item discussed was Hurricane Dean, which was heading towards the Caribbean Sea, and projected to move into the Gulf of Mexico. Contingency procedures and plans were in place, but Shannon did not anticipate it would affect the mission's timeline at all.

Friday August 17 (Flight day 10)

The station and shuttle crews had a relatively quiet day on Friday, continuing transfer operations, and doing some troubleshooting on a communication system between the shuttle and station. The two crews took some time out to have a joint news conference with US and Canadian news agencies, and took the official combined crew portrait. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Status Report #18 | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ] When asked by reporters on the ground whether the crew agreed with NASA's decision to return without repairing the damage to "Endeavour"'s underside, Commander Kelly replied, "We agree absolutely 100 percent with the decision to not repair the damage." [cite news | first= | last=AP | coauthors= | title= Astronauts '100 percent' behind skipping repairs | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=CNN | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ]

During the mission status briefing, Lead Flight Director Matt Abbott discussed the ongoing preparations and plans with regards to Hurricane Dean, and reported NASA was watching the storm's track closely. If required, contingency plans are available. While the mission's timeline could be changed if required, no decision was made, and the mission was proceeding as planned. [cite news | first=Irene | last=Klotz | coauthors= | title=Hurricane threat may bring shuttle home early | date=2007-08-17 | publisher=Reuters | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-17 | language = ]

Deputy ISS Program Manager Kirk Shireman reported the S-Band system relocated during the third EVA was working well, and the SSPTS provided enough oxygen to be able to completely fill all reserves on the station. Shireman commented that transfer operations were approximately 75% complete.

EVA Office Manager Steve Doering reported on the decision to proceed with Saturday's EVA. The team analyzed the video downlinked from the third EVA, and the review showed no evidence of any specific event that would indicate a sharp edge, or excessive wear. A review of the manufacturing of the gloves was done, and no concerns were identified. The paths taken by astronauts during spacewalks were reviewed, identifying common paths between the third EVA, and Saturday's planned EVA, and the crew was notified of the common locations, to identify areas where additional glove inspections would be performed on Saturday. Overall, the final EVA would be less "hand-intensive" than the previous spacewalks, and the conclusion following the analysis was that Saturday's EVA would go ahead as planned. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Status Report #19 | date=2007-08-18 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-18 | language = ]

aturday August 18 (Flight day 11)

NASA Managers decided overnight to shorten the fourth EVA by two hours as a precaution due to Hurricane Dean's continued path into the Gulf of Mexico. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Mission Status Briefing Graphics | date=2007-08-18 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-18 | language = ] The EVA duration was five hours and 2 minutes, with a total EVA time of 23 hours and 15 minutes for the mission. The EVA accomplished three primary objectives, and one get-ahead task. Two tasks were deferred: plans to tie down debris shields on the Destiny lab, and relocation of a tool box. [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=STS-118 Status Report #21 | date=2007-08-19 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-19 | language = ] During the spacewalk, Williams and Anderson got a good look at Hurricane Dean, and were both awed at the sight. "Holy smoke" was Anderon's initial comment. "Man, that's impressive", Williams replied. Anderson added "They're only impressive when they're not coming towards you."cite news | first=William | last=Harwood | coauthors= | title=Astronauts marvel at Hurricane Dean | date= | publisher=CBS News | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-19 | language = ] Transfer activities were completed ahead of schedule, and both crews worked hard to get everything transferred back to "Endeavour" after the spacewalk.

Dave Williams set two records during his third EVA; He is the Canadian with the most spacewalks (3); and he passed Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield in total EVA time. Williams ended Saturday's EVA with a total of 17 hours, 47 minutes of extravehicular time. [cite news | first=Andy | last=Blatchford | coauthors= | title=Astronaut Dave Williams sets Canadian record with third spacewalk | date=2007-08-19 | publisher=CanadaEast Telegraph-Journal | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-19 | language = ]

During the mission status briefing, Launch Integration Manager LeRoy Cain [cite news | first= | last=NASA | coauthors= | title=LeRoy E. Cain Biography | date=2007-05 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-18 | language = ] reported that the Mission Management Team decided to take extra precautions in preparation for the storm, and STS-118 would be cut short a day. In the event of a hurricane evacuation in Houston, an emergency command center would need to be set up. While it was a contingency set in place for years, NASA would prefer to avoid that situation. To that end, Cain reported the EVA was shortened, and the hatch closure would be done Saturday evening, rather than Sunday as planned. Undocking would be at 11:57 UTC Sunday, with the first KSC Landing opportunity on Tuesday, 21 August.

At 19:46, a short farewell ceremony was performed, followed by hatch closure at 20:10 UTC. Tuesday's tentative KSC landing time would be 12:32 p.m. EST. (16:30 UTC) [cite news | first=Marcia | last=Dunn | coauthors= | title=NASA orders shuttle home 1 day early because of hurricane | date=2007-08-18 | publisher=AP/Houston Chronicle | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-18 | language = ]

unday August 19 (Flight day 12)

"Endeavour" successfully undocked from the International Space Station at 11:56 UTC. Saturday, NASA managers decided the station fly-around that is normally performed following each mission would not be conducted in order to give the Shuttle crew more free time during flight day 12. After several long work days, the Mission Control team felt the crew needed some downtime before the landing process began.

After undocking, two 4-second firings of the Reaction Control System were performed, in order to distance "Endeavour" from the station and move to a position above it. There, the crew deployed the robotic arm, beginning Late Inspection of the reinforced carbon-carbon tiles on the nose cap and wing leading edges. [cite news | first= | last=Associated Press | coauthors= | title=Shuttle heads home, aiming to beat storm | date=2007-08-19 | publisher=AP / MSNBC | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-19 | language = ]

At the mission status briefing, Matt Abbott reported the undocking was "flawless", and the late inspection was completed successfully. Monday would be a standard pre-landing day, with checkout of the various systems on "Endeavour", as well as an educational media event. Entry Flight Director Steve Stich and the entry team will take over mission duties tonight, in preparation for Tuesday's landing.

John Shannon reported the mission management team meeting went well. The landing plan was reviewed, and all teams reported "go" for landing on Tuesday. The latest track for Hurricane Dean was favorable for the Houston area; the storm seemed to be swinging farther south than originally expected. NASA managers were optimistic that contingency plans would not be needed. Final decisions regarding alternate plans would not be made until Monday, but Shannon noted that White Sands Space Harbor landing facility would be removed as an alternate site. Edwards Air Force Base, and Kennedy Shuttle Landing Facility would be the two sites evaluated on Monday.

Monday August 20 (Flight day 13)

On Monday, with the shuttle approximately mi to km|68 behind the International Space Station, the crew of "Endeavour" performed a variety of check-out tests in preparation for entry, configured the Spacehab module for entry, and did some last minute stowage. Kelly and Hobaugh worked with the shuttle landing simulator on board, practicing the anticipated landing tracks. Kelly, Williams and Morgan took some time out to talk to students at the Canadian school, La Ronge, in Saskatchewan.

During the mission status briefing, Entry Flight Director Steve Stich reported the track of Hurricane Dean would not require the activation of contingency plans, and the forecast looked favorable for a Tuesday landing at Kennedy Shuttle Landing Facility. [cite web | last =Austin Peterson | first =Liz | authorlink = | coauthors = | title =Astronauts Prepare for Tuesday Return | work = | publisher =San Francisco Chronicle/AP | date =2007-08-20 | url = | format = | doi = | accessdate =2007-08-20 ] There were also two opportunities for a Florida landing, with the first opportunity beginning with a deorbit burn at 15:25 UTC, and landing at 16:32 UTC. The second opportunity would call for a deorbit burn at 17:00 UTC, with landing at 18:16 UTC. Weather was not expected to interfere with landing, with a forecast of high clouds, but no inclement weather. If the second landing opportunity was taken, the shuttle would fly directly over Hurricane Dean, although it would be well above any effects of the storm. NASA did plan to call up Edwards Air Force Base as the backup site, which had two opportunities on Tuesday, but the plan was to attempt a KSC landing, and if both opportunities were waved off, NASA would decide whether to wait a day, and try for a Wednesday landing at KSC. If Wednesday opportunities at Florida were waved off due to weather, a landing at Edwards Air Force Base would be attempted. [cite web | last =NASA | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title =STS-118 Landing Ground Tracks | work = | publisher =NASA | date =2007-08-20 | url = | format = | doi = | accessdate =2007-08-20 ]

Tuesday August 21 (Flight day 14, Landing)

The crew of "Endeavour" went right to work after waking up on Tuesday, completing the close-out of the Spacehab module, and getting into the deorbit preparations timeline. [cite news | author=NASA | title=STS-118 Status Report #26 | date=2007-08-21 | publisher=NASA | url= | accessdate=2007-08-21 ] They closed payload bay doors, transitioned the vehicle computers to landing software mode and donned their reentry suits. At 14:30 UTC, the crew was given the "go" to begin fluid loading. This was done to assist with the crew's ability to adjust to gravity, and to prevent hypotension after landing. At 12:30 UTC, the Space Flight Meteorology Group reported to Entry Team Flight Director Steve Stich that the weather forecast was a "go". The weather at Kennedy Space Center showed only scattered showers moving away from the landing facility, and cross winds were not expected to be a problem. At 15:08 UTC, the crew was given a "go" for the deorbit burn, and the auxiliary power units were started at 15:20 UTC. The 4 minute engine burn was successfully completed at 15:28 UTC, slowing "Endeavour" by approximately 252 miles per hour, (405 km/h) and adjusting the orbiter's trajectory correctly for landing.

Radar acquisition of "Endeavour" through MILA happened at 16:19 UTC. At 16:20 UTC, the shuttle had passed the area of peak heating, with no issues reported on board. Main landing gear touchdown occurred at 16:32:16 UTC with nose gear touchdown at 16:32:29 UTC. The orbiter came to a complete stop at 16:33:20 UTC. [cite news | author=NASA | title=NASA STS-118 Landing Blog | date=2007-08-21 | publisher=NASA | url= | accessdate=2007-08-21 ] Upon wheel stop, CAPCOM Christopher Ferguson told the crew, "Congratulations, you've given a new meaning to the term 'higher education.'" [cite news | first=Irene | last=Klotz | title=Space shuttle Endeavour lands safely in Florida | date=2007-08-21 | publisher=Reuters | url= | accessdate=2007-08-21 ]

Initial post-landing inspection of the orbiter showed very little additional damage to the thermal tiles affected by the foam strike during launch. Barbara Morgan did not exit the crew transport vehicle with the rest of the crew; she remained on board the vehicle to receive additional medical tests, and would return to the Astronaut Crew Quarters in that vehicle. [cite news | first=William | last=Harwood | title=Shuttle Endeavour glides to smooth Florida landing | date=2007-08-21 | publisher=CBS News | url= | work=SR-77 |accessdate=2007-08-21 ] The remaining six crew members briefly examined the orbiter, doing the traditional post-flight "walkaround", posed for photos, and then returned to the crew quarters in the AstroVan.

During the post-landing briefing, NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin reported that the International Space Station was approximately 60% completed following STS-118. Griffin also stressed the importance of space exploration, and added that the damaged tile on the underside of the orbiter did very well during re-entry.

Associate Administrator for Spaceflight Operations William H. Gerstenmaier reported the damage was actually less than what the arc jet testing produced, a situation that NASA anticipated, and managers had earlier stressed that arc jets show "worst possible" damage. Launch and Entry Flight Director Mike Leinbach stressed how pleased he was with the mission, and with the condition of the vehicle following re-entry. He stated it was "one of the cleanest vehicles the managers have seen since the Return to Flight policies were implemented, if not the cleanest."

At the end of the briefing, Griffin commented to the media who focused on Barbara Morgan being the first "teacher in space", that Morgan was not technically a "teacher in space", nor was she an "Educator Astronaut". He stated she was accepted as a Mission Specialist, before the new class of Mission Specialist Educators were selected in 2004, and NASA considers her to be a mission specialist, who was once a teacher. [Michael Griffin, NASA TV STS-118 Post-Landing briefing] However, NASA does refer to Morgan as a Mission Specialist Educator in a number of interviews, so the terms seem to be interchangeable to most, if not to Griffin.

During the post-landing crew press conference, Kelly was asked "Did the tile damage enter your mind at all during re-entry, and what did you think about it once you got a look during the walkaround?" Kelly's reply was, "I thought about it, but only because I knew I'd be asked about it. I didn't worry about it at all. I was underwhelmed by it." [cite news | first=Kenneth | last=Chang | title=Shuttle Glides Safely Home in Spite of Damage | date=2007-08-21 | publisher=New York Times | url= | accessdate=2007-08-22 ]

Extra-vehicular activity

Wake-up calls

A tradition for NASA spaceflights since the days of Gemini, mission crews are played a special musical track at the start of each day in space. Each track is specially chosen, often by their family, and usually has special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities. [cite news | first=Colin | last=Fries | coauthors= | title=Chronology of Wakeup Calls | date=2007-06-25 | publisher=NASA | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-13 | language = |format=PDF]

* Day 2: "" by Russell Watson: played for Mission Specialist Rick Mastracchio (theme song of the "" series). [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 3: "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra: played for Commander Scott Kelly. [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 4: "Gravity" by John Mayer: played for Pilot Charles O. Hobaugh. [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 5: "Up!" by Shania Twain: played for Mission Specialist Dave Williams. [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 6: "Outa-Space" by Billy Preston: played for Mission Specialist Alvin Drew. [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 7: "Happy Birthday to You" (sung by Tracy's nieces and nephews) played for Mission Specialist Tracy Caldwell as it was her Birthday. [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 8: "Good Morning World" played for Barbara Morgan and written and performed by her son Adam. [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 9: "Times Like These" by the Foo Fighters: played for Rick Mastracchio. [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 10: "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall: played for Tracy Caldwell. [ WAV] [ MP3]
* Day 11: "Learn to Fly" by Foo Fighters: played for Al Drew. [ WAV] [ MP3]
*Day 12: "Teacher, Teacher" by 38 Special played for Barbara Morgan. [ WAV] [ MP3]
*Day 13: "Flying" by Long John Baldry Trio played for Dave Williams. [ WAV] [ MP3]
*Day 14: "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel played for the entire crew. [ WAV] [ MP3]

Contingency mission

STS-322 was the designation given to the Contingency Shuttle Crew Support mission which would have been launched in the event Space Shuttle Endeavour had become disabled during STS-118. [cite news | first=Chris | last=Bergin | coauthors= | title=NASA sets new launch date targets through to STS-124 | date=2007-04-15 | publisher=NASASpaceflight | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-21 | language = ] It would have been a modified version of the STS-120 mission, which would have involved the launch date being brought forward. If it had been needed, it would have been launched no earlier than September 22, 2007. The crew for this mission would have been a four-person subset of the full STS-120 crew.


Space Shuttle "Endeavour" from Kennedy Space Center in the mission STS-118]

ee also

* Space Shuttles
* 2007 in spaceflight
* List of ISS spacewalks
* List of space shuttle missions
* List of spacewalks and moonwalks
* List of human spaceflights chronologically


External links

* [ STS-118 mission summary]
* [ NASA Space Shuttle News]
* [ STS-118 Video Highlights]
* [ Behind the scenes at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab]
* [ STS 118 forum]
* [ EVA Hazards due to Inspection and Repair]
* [ Discovery Center of Idaho]

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