Status Report

NASA STS-119 Report #02 Monday, March 16, 2009 – 9:30 a.m. CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
March 16, 2009
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NASA STS-119 Report #02  Monday, March 16, 2009 – 9:30 a.m. CDT

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

The astronauts on board space shuttle Discovery plan a day of orbiter inspection on their way to deliver a new set of solar arrays to the International Space Station.

The crew was awakened at 9:13 a.m. CDT to the sounds of “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, played for Pilot Tony Antonelli.

First up for Antonelli and Commander Lee Archambault is a planned firing of the shuttle’s orbital maneuvering system engines to refine its approach to the station for Tuesday’s planned docking at 4:13 p.m.

Then, Antonelli joins Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba and John Phillips to begin inspection of critical elements of Discovery’s heat shield. The astronauts use the shuttle robot arm to lift the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) from the starboard sill of the payload bay and move it into position to examine the reinforced carbon-carbon panels that line the leading edges of both wings and the orbiter’s nose cap. Data gathered by the OBSS sensor packages is transmitted to Earth for review by specialists looking for evidence of damage caused by debris during the shuttle’s Sunday evening climb into orbit.

Also on tap for Monday are checkouts of the spacesuits to be worn by Acaba and Mission Specialists Steve Swanson and Richard Arnold during the three spacewalks they’re to conduct from the International Space Station. The crew also will prepare the orbiter docking system and a suite of rendezvous tools they’ll use during Tuesday’s approach to the station.

International Space Station Commander Mike Fincke and flight engineers Yury Lonchakov and Sandra Magnus are scheduled to spend today getting ready for the arrival of Discovery, which is delivering Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata to take over for Magnus; she’ll come home with the shuttle crew later this month after some four months in orbit.

Along with the S6 Truss element and another set of U.S. solar array wings, Discovery’s crew is delivering a new distillation assembly to get the station’s water recycling system up to full operation for a doubling of the station’s crew size later this summer.

The next shuttle status report will be issued at the end of the crew day, or earlier if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.