9:15 a.m. CDT Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-119 MCC Status Report #06
The last set of American solar power panels for the International Space Station start the last leg of their journey today when the astronauts on space shuttle Discovery position the new S6 truss element for installation.

At 10:18 a.m. CDT, Mission Specialists John Phillips and Sandra Magnus start the procedure to command the station’s Canadarm2 to grapple S6 and lift it out of the shuttle’s payload bay, where Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialist Joseph Acaba are waiting for a handoff to the shuttle’s robot arm.

The station arm will release S6 so its operating base can move out to the starboard end of the station’s truss structure. Once there, Phillips and station Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata will fly Canadarm2 back to take a handoff back from the shuttle arm, and then move S6 into an overnight park position near its final installation location. The new element, and its two solar array wings, will be put in place on the starboard end of the truss during the first spacewalk of the mission Thursday.

In the meantime, Mission Specialists Steve Swanson and Richard Arnold will spend the first part of the day checking out systems in the station’s Quest airlock and configuring the tools they’ll take outside with them on the mission's first planned spacewalk Thursday. The two spacewalkers will assist with the installation of the S6 Truss and open the solar array blanket boxes.

Station Commander Mike Fincke and Discovery Commander Lee Archambault will join Acaba and Arnold to talk about the progress of the mission in an interview with Channel One News at 1:58 p.m.

Just before the combined crews break for lunch at 2:20 p.m. station Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov will assist his new crewmate Wakata with a leak check of the Japanese astronaut’s Soyuz launch and entry suit. Wakata has time in his schedule each day to familiarize himself with the stations’ systems and operations.

This morning’s wakeup song, “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash, was played for Swanson.

The next status report will be issued at the end of the crew day, or earlier if events warrant.

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