The crews of Discovery and the International Space Station will join forces again today as hatches between the spacecraft are reopened, a change of shift aboard the science outpost continues, and a cargo carrier is attached to the complex.
Discovery’s crew was awakened today by the song “Blast Off” from the animated feature Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders, played for astronaut Paul Richards as a selection from his children. The shuttle and station crews plan to reopen hatches between the two spacecraft at about 8:12 p.m. today. They will remain open for about eight hours before they again must be closed in preparation for a second space walk Monday night.
Just after the hatches open this evening, the crew exchange will continue with Expedition Two Flight Engineer Jim Voss taking up residence aboard the station and Expedition One Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev moving to Discovery. With Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev already aboard the complex since Saturday, only one more crewmember switch remains to complete the station’s change of watch. Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd will trade places with Expedition Two Flight Engineer Susan Helms Tuesday night.
As the crews work together tonight, moving gear inside the shuttle and station, Astronaut Andy Thomas will use Discovery’s robotic arm to remove the Italian Space Agency-built Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module from the shuttle’s cargo bay and attach it to the station’s Unity module. Leonardo carries more than 5 tons of equipment and experiments that will be unloaded during the next few days before it is again detached from the station and stowed aboard Discovery to return to Earth.
Tonight’s plan calls for Thomas to begin lifting Leonardo from Discovery’s cargo bay at 9:12 p.m. He will maneuver it into place and latch it to the station at about 10:57 p.m. The station crew plans to enter the cargo module at about 5:42 a.m. Monday to begin the unloading.
Discovery and the International Space Station remain in excellent condition in an orbit with a high point of 236 statute miles and a low point of 229 statute miles. The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued Monday morning.
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