At 4:50 this afternoon, the crew of Discovery awoke to the sound of the Space Center Intermediate Band playing familiar themes from "Star Wars." The music and performers were of particular interest to Mission Specialist Dan Barry because his daughter, Jenny, plays flute in that band. Barry and fellow Mission Specialist Tammy Jernigan are STS-96's own "skywalkers" tonight as they prepare to work outside Discovery during an Extravehicular Activity scheduled to begin shortly after 10 this evening.
During the planned six and a half hour space walk, Jernigan and Barry are scheduled to install some 700 pounds of tools and equipment on the International Space Station's exterior for use on future assembly flights.
The space walk will include the transfer of two cranes from the shuttle's payload bay to locations on the outside of the station. The cranes will help subsequent space station crews move large modular components from one module to another. With Mission Specialist Ellen Ochoa operating the shuttle's robot arm to maneuver Jernigan up toward the space station, Canadian astronaut Julie Payette will choreograph the activities from the Discovery's flight deck.
The astronauts will move the first crane, the American built Orbital Transfer Device from the cargo pallet to one of the pressurized mating adapters located on either side of the Unity module. Jernigan and Barry then will move components of a second crane, the Russian-built Strela - Arrow in English - to the other PMA closest to the shuttle.
Their last scheduled task is to open a storage box on the cargo carrier and move three equipment and tool bags to locations on the outside of the ISS. Time permitting, they will install a thermal cover on Unity's payload bay attach pin, inspect some painted surfaces on Zarya's exterior and examine a communications antenna on Unity's starboard side.
The space walkers are scheduled to climb back aboard Discovery at about 4 a.m. Central time Sunday. Meanwhile, all systems aboard the Discovery and ISS space complex continue to work well as the two craft orbit 240 statute miles above the Earth's surface.
The next STS-96 mission status report will be issued at approximately 6a.m. Central time or as events warrant.