The crew of Discovery, trailing the International Space Station by less than 2,000 statute miles, was awakened at 5:10 a.m. Central time to the sounds of "The White Eagle," a traditional Russian folk song played for Expedition Three Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov. Dezhurov and his crewmates, Expedition Three Commander Frank Culbertson and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin are just hours from reaching their new home aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Discovery Commander Scott Horowitz, Pilot Rick Sturckow and Mission Specialists Pat Forrester and Dan Barry, along with the Expedition Three crew, will begin rendezvous operations a little before 9 a.m. today. The shuttle will begin a final approach to the station from a point about 9 miles behind the outpost with the last major rendezvous maneuver scheduled at around 11:15 a.m.
With Discovery about 600 feet directly below the station, Horowitz will fly the shuttle in a quarter circle to a point in front of the complex. From there he will very slowly and precisely maneuver Discovery toward the station, pausing about 30 feet from the ISS to precisely align the docking mechanisms of the two craft.
Docking is expected to occur at 1:38 p.m. over the Indian Ocean just south of the Indonesian island of Jawa. The hatches separating the two spacecraft are to be opened around 3:30 p.m. allowing the current station residents, Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms to greet their replacements and the Discovery astronauts who will bring them home after more than five months in space.
ISS flight controllers are expected to ask the Expedition Two crew on Wednesday to try to reboot one of three command and control computers which experienced a hard drive problem last week and which has been put in standby mode with no impact to station operations. If the reboot does not recover the use of the hard drive, the crew may be asked to replace a component in the computer with a spare being brought to the station on Discovery. Two other command and control computers, a prime and a backup, are working perfectly in support of U.S. segment systems.
Discovery is orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes in good shape in pursuit of the International Space Station. The next status report will be issued Sunday evening prior the start of the two crew's sleep period, or earlier, if events warrant.
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