Discovery's crew headed for its sleep period this morning, reporting significant progress in the transfer of equipment and supplies to the International Space Station after finishing up the planned refurbishment of a battery system in one of the station's modules.
Mission Specialist Ellen Ochoa, the "load master" of this resupply mission, radioed to Mission Control that many of the larger items to be transferred to the new station, such as laptop computers and clothing, had made their way from Discovery to the ISS. At the time the astronauts prepared to go to sleep, well over 50 per cent of all planned transfers were complete.
Early in the crew's workday, Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev and Canadian astronaut Julie Payette changed out the final six battery recharge controller units for two of Zarya's power-producing batteries. The new recharging units are expected to allow the batteries to charge and discharge properly once again. They had experienced difficulty soon after Zarya's launch last November. Twelve of the units were replaced late Sunday.
Dan Barry and Tokarev continued the installation of mufflers inside Zarya to help dampen sound levels in the Russian module. Commander Kent Rominger sent down a video inspection of the mufflers installed on portions of the air circulating duct work, explaining that the mufflers are causing some of the flexible ductwork to collapse. Flight controllers believe that humidity levels inside Zarya are at an acceptable level even though they are a bit higher than predicted because of some restriction to air flow in the module. Additional muffler and humidity reduction work likely will be conducted by the astronauts late tonight.
Rominger and Tokarev took time out to answer questions regarding the progress of the flight from Russian reporters located at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow.
The astronauts will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 7:50 a.m. Central time, with a wake-up call scheduled for 3:50 p.m. to begin their seventh day of work in space.
Discovery and the International Space Station are in excellent health orbiting 240 miles above the Earth.
The next STS-96 mission status report will be issued Tuesday evening at about 6 p.m. Central time or as developments warrant.
- end -