The Station’s new robotic arm truly will extend the reach of humans in space today when it hands the 3,000-pound pallet delivering it to space to the shuttle’s robotic arm for transport back to Earth. The three-hour task is set to begin about 6 a.m.
While robotic arm operations are underway by Expedition Two crewmembers Susan Helms and Jim Voss aboard the station, and shuttle crewmembers Chris Hadfield and Scott Parazynski, the remaining shuttle and station astronauts and cosmonauts continue the task of unpacking the Raffaello high-tech moving van. European Space Agency astronaut Umberto Guidoni is overseeing the unloading of the Italian-built logistics module.
Today’s wakeup call to the crew was “Con te Partiro” (“With You I Will Go”), sung by Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli. It was played for Guidoni who is from Italy.
Working at the Robotics Work Station in the Destiny Laboratory, Helms and Voss will use the new Canadarm2 to maneuver the pallet within reach of Endeavour’s robotic arm under control of Hadfield and Parazynski. In a reverse passing of the torch, the new arm will pass the pallet to its older cousin officially beginning the station arm’s own career in space.
Hadfield and Parazynksi completed connections on the station’s new robotic arm during the second of two planned spacewalks yesterday. The 7 hour, 40 minute Extravehicular Activity included the connection of power, data and television cables, which allow the robot arm to operate from a base on the outside of the Destiny science laboratory.
At about 2:30 today, Endeavour’s Commander Kent Rominger and Pilot Jeff Ashby will boost the station’s altitude another 2 ½ miles by firing thruster jets in a precise sequence for about one hour. With one reboost maneuver completed several days ago, a third and final identical firing of the reaction control system jets is planned Thursday.
Both spacecraft are in excellent shape orbiting the Earth every 92 minutes at an altitude of 243 statute miles. The next status report will be issued late today, or if events warrant.
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