Space Shuttle Discovery continues its approach to the International Space Station, trailing the orbital outpost by approximately 5500 nautical miles as of this morning, closing by about 600 nautical miles each orbit.
The STS-92 crew was awakened at 7:17 a.m. Central time with the song, "Incense And Peppermint" by the group, "Strawberry Alarm Clock". The tune is part of the "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" movie soundtrack and was played for the crew members, who are fans of the film.
Commander Brian Duffy and Pilot Pam Melroy will fire Discovery's thrusters in a continuing series of burns today to refine the Shuttle's approach to the International Space Station, and will check out some of the tools their crewmates will use to provide them with navigation information during the final phases of the Shuttle's approach to the Station for docking. Discovery's linkup to the ISS is planned for 12:43 p.m. Central time Friday afternoon.
It will be a day of preparations for Discovery's astronauts as Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria check out the space suits they will wear during four consecutive days of orbital construction space walks. Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will power up Discovery's 50-foot long robot arm to ensure it is operating properly and will use it to conduct a photographic survey of the payload bay and the new Space Station components housed inside. In the International Space Station control room in Mission Control, flight controllers continue to prepare the station for the arrival of Discovery's crew by warming up the Unity module and its attached docking port to maintain comfortable working conditions for the astronauts. Discovery's crew will enter the Unity module on Saturday to transfer logistical supplies and hardware associated with the installation of the first external truss structure for the complex.
Over the course of the next week, through the space walks and the use of the Shuttle's robot arm, the crew will install both the Z1 truss assembly and Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 to the Unity module of the Station. That adapter is a new docking port for the ISS. The Z1 truss provides a structural backbone for the Station, with four Control Moment Gyroscopes that will be used to maintain the Station's attitude or orientation in space. The truss also houses key communications gear. The truss assembly will support the large solar arrays that will be delivered during the next Shuttle mission, STS-97.
Discovery is orbiting at an altitude of about 200 statute miles with all of its systems operating in perfect shape. The next STS-92 mission status report will be issued about 8 p.m. Central time Thursday or sooner, if developments warrant.
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