STS-92 Commander Brian Duffy and his crew were awakened at 5:18 a.m. CDT and will shortly move into final preparations for their undocking from the International Space Station later this morning. Discovery's crew delivered two critical components to the station - the Z1 Truss structure that will support large solar arrays arriving on the next shuttle mission and a second docking port that will be used as a docking location for that late November shuttle flight, designated mission STS-97.
Since the crew's activities inside the station yesterday ran longer than expected, undocking has been moved one orbit later than originally planned and will now take place at 10:09 a.m. CDT. Large springs in the shuttle's docking mechanism will provide the initial separation when Discovery moves away from the station. Pilot Pam Melroy will then use the shuttle's maneuvering thrusters to gently back the shuttle away from the International Space Station. Unlike some previous flights, the STS-92 crew will not perform a fly around of the station after undocking. Once the shuttle has backed a few hundred feet away from the station, a final separation burn will be performed to send Discovery and her crew on their way.
Following undocking and separation, Duffy and Melroy, along with Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Mike Lopez-Alegria, Jeff Wisoff and Koichi Wakata, will get a half day off to rest and relax following a week of docked operations that saw four consecutive space walks outside the station along with supply transfers and equipment checkout activities inside the station.
The STS-92 crew will be interviewed by three media organizations - CNN, Spaceflightnow.com and CBS radio - beginning at 11:42 a.m. CDT. Duffy and Melroy will also take some time to do interviews with three Rochester, New York television stations beginning at 1:12 p.m.
The STS-92 crew will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 9:17 p.m. CDT before being awakened at 5:17 a.m. Saturday morning to begin their final preparations for a return to Kennedy Space Center early Sunday afternoon.
The Discovery-International Space Station complex continue to orbit the Earth in a 247 x 232 statute mile orbit once every 90 minutes with all systems performing well.
The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued about 6 p.m. or as events warrant.
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