The crew of Discovery and the International Space Station will begin packing for the trip home today, having virtually completed unloading almost five tons of equipment and experiments brought by the shuttle.
The crews will spend today packing trash and unneeded equipment as well as luggage for the returning station crew in the Leonardo logistics module. They also will have some time off to rest after a busy week spent in space so far. The station crews also will continue comparing notes and handing over duties aboard the scientific outpost. During the handover activities, Expedition Two Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms will begin a thorough checkout of the robotic workstation inside the Destiny Laboratory. It will be used to operate the station’s Canadian-built remote manipulator system upon its arrival on the next shuttle mission next month.
The crews were awakened today with the song “Should I Stay, or Should I Go?” performed by The Clash, played for returning International Space Station Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd from his wife, Beth.
Early this morning, near the end of the crew’s seventh day in orbit, Discovery Commander Jim Wetherbee performed a reboost of the station and shuttle a day earlier than originally planned to ensure that the complex would remain clear of a piece of spacewalking equipment that floated free during the mission’s first spacewalk. The approximately 50-minute long reboost, performed by gentle, repeated firings of Discovery’s smallest steering jets, raised the station’s and shuttle’s orbit by almost two and half statute miles, keeping the complex well away from the lost foot restraint. Two more reboosts for the station are planned to take place later in the flight as originally scheduled for the mission.
Several crewmembers will take breaks from their work tonight to speak with media and students. At 2:17 a.m. Thursday, Wetherbee and Discovery Pilot Jim Kelly will field questions from three media from the Burlington, Iowa, area, Kelly’s hometown. At 3:40 a.m., the crew is expected to send a message honoring the 75th anniversary of rocketry. Two hours later at 5:40 a.m., Wetherbee, Shepherd, Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev, and Discovery astronaut Andy Thomas will field questions from school children in Dundee, Scotland.
Discovery and the International Space Station remain in excellent condition in an orbit with a high point of 243 statute miles and a low point of 230 statute miles. The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued Thursday morning.
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