Status Report

NASA STS-119 Report #20 Wednesday, March 25, 2009 – 7:30 a.m. CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
March 25, 2009
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NASA STS-119 Report #20  Wednesday, March 25, 2009 – 7:30 a.m. CDT
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Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

After more than four months in space, astronaut Sandra Magnus takes the first step on the road home today when space shuttle Discovery undocks from the International Space Station.

The shuttle crew was awakened at 5:14 a.m. CDT today with the song “Dirty Water” by the Standells, played for Pilot Tony Antonelli, who’ll be at the controls of Discovery when it undocks from the station.

The shuttle and station crew members will take care of the final transfers of equipment and supplies this morning, including leaving a 12th container of water on the station, moving two spacesuits back to Discovery and transferring two double cold bags containing temperature-sensitive experiment samples to the shuttle for return to Earth.

The 10 crew members will gather in the Harmony module at 11:53 a.m. for a farewell ceremony before shuttle Commander Lee Archambault leads his crew back into Discovery. He and station Commander Mike Fincke will close the hatches between their two vehicles.

At 2:53 p.m. Antonelli will command Discovery to release the station’s Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 as springs push the shuttle out in front of the station. At a distance of 400 feet, Antonelli will start circling the station so the shuttle’s crew and cameras can get the first look at the completed truss structure and the fourth set of solar array wings fully deployed. Then the thrusters will be fired to move Discovery away from the station to start the journey home for a planned landing Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center.

The next status report will be issued this evening or earlier if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.