Status Report

NASA STS-119 Report #22 Thursday, March 26, 2009 – 7:30 a.m. CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
March 26, 2009
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NASA STS-119 Report #22  Thursday, March 26, 2009 – 7:30 a.m. CDT

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

A last inspection of the thermal protection system is the order of the day for the crew members on board space shuttle Discovery as they make their way home to Earth.

The crew was awakened at 5:13 a.m. CDT today with the song “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, played for Mission Specialist Joseph Acaba. Within a few hours he and Pilot Tony Antonelli will use the shuttle’s robotic arm to grapple the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to kick off today’s inspection.

Starting with the reinforced carbon-carbon panels that line the leading edge of the shuttle’s starboard wing, the crew will guide the OBSS so its cameras and laser sensors can examine the orbiter for signs of damage from orbital debris. The inspection proceeds from the starboard wing, to the nose cap, to the port wing. The OBSS should be returned to its berth on the starboard sill of the payload bay starting at 2:43 p.m.

Throughout the day the crew members have time set aside for exercise to prepare them for the pull of gravity they’ll start to feel on the way to touchdown. Landing is scheduled for 12:38 p.m. Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For Mission Specialist Sandra Magnus, it will be her first encounter with gravity in 134 days since her mid-November launch. She has two exercise sessions on her schedule today.

Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Michael Barratt of the 19th International Space Station crew launched in their Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:49 a.m. today. With Padalka and Barratt is second-time spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi, flying under contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency. Padalka will serve as commander of Expeditions 19 and 20 aboard the station. Barratt will serve as a flight engineer for those two missions.

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

SpaceRef staff editor.