A final day of robotic arm testing with a prototype destined for use on the International Space Station signaled the start of Discovery’s ninth flight day in space.
Commander Curt Brown, Pilot Kent Rominger, Mission Specialists Jan Davis, Robert Curbeam and Steve Robinson, and Canadian Payload Specialist Bjarni Tryggvason were awakened by Jackson Browne’s rendition of "Stay" which prompted Brown to jokingly wish for an extension day to the planned end of mission Monday.
Jan Davis watched over the Manipulator Flight Demonstration experiment while Japanese investigators again maneuvered the Small Fine Arm remotely from a control room near Mission Control. It is the final planned work with the arm during this mission.
While MFD operations were ongoing, Robinson again used the Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System’s ultraviolet imaging telescope to observe Comet Hale-Bopp and Curbeam continued his work with the Bioreactor Demonstration System designed to perform cell biology experiments under controlled conditions. Tryggvason spent his day supporting data gathering with the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount experiment.
Before the crew’s workday began, they discussed the mission’s progress with reporters in the U.S. and Canada as part of the traditional crew news conference. Questions ranged from life in space for the first time space travelers to providing a report card on the more than 24 experiments being conducted throughout the mission.
With landing scheduled for Monday, Brown and Rominger conducted routine communications checks with ground stations in Florida and California to ensure a good link when Discovery is on final approach to the runway. Forecasters predict favorable conditions for the single landing opportunity available at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Monday, citing a dominant high pressure system that should remain in the area for several days. While the actual landing time is likely to change following tomorrow’s rendezvous and retrieval of the CRISTA-SPAS satellite, Discovery is expected to touchdown at about 6:14 a.m. Central time on the concrete runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility.
The next scheduled mission status report will be issued about 5 p.m.
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