Following this morning’s wakeup call at 1:40, Discovery’s astronauts focused their attention on testing of a small, robotic arm serving as a prototype for use on the future International Space Station and conducting experiment work on the Shuttle’s middeck.
While the free-flying CRISTA-SPAS satellite continues to gather data on the Earth’s atmosphere and ozone layer, Payload Commander Jan Davis and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson once again will spend the day testing the small Japanese robotic arm. Their work began about 5:30 this morning with Robinson operating the arm through a checkout and then detachment and reattachment of a box simulating an orbital replacement unit. The arm’s dexterity will further be tested remotely from inside the crew compartment by opening and closing a door on another box.
After lunch, Davis and Robinson will swap places with Davis operating the arm through an identical checkout with Robinson supporting the activity.
Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam continued his work with the Bioreactor Demonstration System designed to perform cell biology experiments under controlled conditions.
Canadian Payload Specialist Bjarni Tryggvason continued his work with the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount which uses magnets to levitate a platform and protect sensitive microgravity processing experiments from vibrations. Such a system could be valuable on a space station to protect materials processing experiments from vibrations caused by other activities.
Periodic firings of Discovery’s thrusters continue at the beginning and end of each crew day by Commander Curt Brown and Pilot Kent Rominger to maintain a desired distance of 25 to 45 nautical miles from the CRISTA-SPAS satellite.
The spacecraft will be retrieved a week from today for the return trip home.
The next mission status report will be issued late this afternoon.
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