6 p.m. CDT Thursday, March 26, 2009
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-119 MCC Status Report #23
Discovery’s crew is on its way home after today’s final inspection of the thermal protection system, which began around 9:28 a.m.
Pilot Tony Antonelli used the shuttle's robotic arm to grapple the Orbiter Boom Sensor System enabling the cameras and laser sensors to scan Discovery for signs of damage from orbital debris. The five-hour inspection included the nose cap and wing leading edges.
Imagery experts will review the data and report their assessment to the Mission Management Team tomorrow to formally clear the orbiter for re-entry. Landing is scheduled for 12:39 p.m. Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with a second opportunity one orbit later at 2:14 p.m.
At today’s Mission Status Briefing, lead shuttle flight director, Paul Dye, reported the total transfer from the shuttle’s middeck to the International Space Station (ISS) was 2,025 pounds and from the ISS to Discovery was 1,963 pounds. The transfer from Discovery’s payload bay to the ISS was 30,937 pounds (S6 truss).
Discovery’s crew is scheduled to go to bed shortly after 8 p.m. and awaken tomorrow at 4:13 a.m. to begin its deorbit preparations, including cabin stowage and check out of the flight control surfaces. Those surfaces will guide the orbiter’s unpowered flight through the atmosphere to a landing.
Shortly after 10 a.m., the astronauts will test fire the reaction control system thrusters, which control the shuttle’s orientation as it descends and begins its re-entry through the atmosphere. That test will be followed by a deorbit briefing for all crew members beginning around 11:30 a.m.
NASA astronaut Michael Barratt, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, and spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi lifted off at 6:49 this morning from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. They are headed for a linkup with the ISS on Saturday with docking scheduled to occur at 8:14 a.m.
The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wake up, or earlier if events warrant.
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