The crews of Discovery and the International Space Station will spend a final full day today packing the Leonardo cargo module on the station before they detach Leonardo from the complex Saturday night and secure it in the Shuttle payload bay for the trip home.
The crew was awakened to the Irish song “The Rising of the Moon” performed by The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem, selected for Discovery’s Pilot Jim Kelly by his family in honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow.
Two more full days of joint work remain before Discovery is scheduled to undock from the complex Sunday night. Tonight, in addition to packing work, Commander Jim Wetherbee will perform a third and final reboost of the station’s altitude, gently firing the shuttle’s small steering jets to raise the spacecraft by a little over two statute miles. Altogether, Discovery will leave the station a little more than seven miles higher than when it arrived.
Wetherbee, Kelly, Paul Richards and Andy Thomas will take a break from other activities to field questions from NBC News’ Weekend Today Show and ABC News at 5:20 a.m. Saturday. An hour later, at 6:22 a.m., Cosmonauts Yury Usachev, commander of the second International Space Station crew, Yuri Gidzenko, pilot of the first station crew, and Sergei Krikalev, flight engineer for the first station crew, will field questions from media gathered at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev, outside Moscow.
The shuttle and station remain in excellent condition orbiting Earth every 92 minutes. The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued Saturday morning.
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