The crew of STS-96 was awakened just before 7 p.m. by the Beach Boys' version of "California Dreamin," played for Mission Specialist Tammy Jernigan. Once awake, Discovery's seven-member crew began preparing for its first full day on orbit to ready the vehicle for tomorrow night's docking with the International Space Station and a spacewalk the night after.
Commander Kent Rominger, Pilot Rick Husband and Mission Specialists Ellen Ochoa, Dan Barry, Julie Payette, Valery Tokarev and Jernigan will spend much of the day checking out orbiter systems and spacewalking equipment, while continuing to slowly close in on the station through a series of calculated rendezvous maneuvers.
The crew will examine and prepare the tools required to support rendezvous and docking operations, and later will spend a number of hours checking and testing the extravehicular mobility units, or space suits, that will be used during the planned spacewalk Saturday night into Sunday morning. Both suits are checked far enough ahead of the spacewalk to ensure good working condition in plenty of time to allow for any required troubleshooting work by the specialists on the ground.
Also tonight and into tomorrow, Canadian astronaut Payette will assist Ochoa in testing the mechanical arm, checking its operation while conducting a video survey of the payload bay. This procedure will make certain the arm is functioning properly to support the spacewalk. Just before the pre-sleep period, Tokarev, a Russian cosmonaut will move some logistics transfer items stored on the shuttle's middeck, into the Spacehab module to provide more room for the spacesuit checkout activities.
Discovery currently is orbiting at an altitude of about 200 nautical miles. At about 7 o'clock this evening, Central time, the shuttle was 775 nautical miles behind the station, closing in at a rate of about 60 nautical miles every 90 minutes.
The only problem of any significance on the orbiter is the apparent failure of one of the four corner cameras in Discovery's payload bay. This poses no problem with the flight as there are various other cameras available to document activities related to docking, the spacewalk and deploy later in the flight of STARSHINE.
The next STS-96 mission status report will be issued at 6 a.m. CDT Friday, or as events warrant.