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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 3:30 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-123 MCC Status Report #04
The seven-member crew of space shuttle Endeavour is just a few hours away from arriving at the International Space Station.

Endeavour’s crew started their day at 2:59 p.m. Their wakeup call for the morning was a combination of fight scene music from the Japanese movie “Godzilla Versus Space Godzilla” and the Blue Öyster Cult song “Godzilla.” The songs were played for Japanese Space Agency astronaut Takao Doi.

The shuttle is scheduled to dock with the station at 10:25 p.m., and the crews of both vehicles will spend most of their time today on activities associated with the rendezvous. The shuttle spent the night closing in on the station at a rate of about 515 miles per orbit. By 7:42 p.m., it should be about 9.5 miles away from the station, putting it in place to fire its jets in a terminal initiation burn that begins its final approach to the orbiting complex.

When Endeavour moves to a point 1,000 feet below the station, Commander Dominic Gorie will manually fly the shuttle in a backflip to allow the station crew to photograph the shuttle's heat shield. The photos will be analyzed by engineers on the ground to ensure the heat shield is in good condition.

Once that maneuver is complete, Gorie will fly the shuttle to about 400 feet in front of the station from where it will close in to dock. Following docking, the hatches between the two spacecraft should be ready to open by 12:02 a.m. Thursday.

Once aboard the station, the Endeavour crew will transfer the Soyuz seatliner for Mission Specialist Garrett Reisman. Reisman will stay aboard the station as a crew member of the complex when Endeavour departs. The crew also will begin preparations for the mission's first spacewalk, set to begin Thursday evening.

The next STS-123 status report will be issued near the end of the crew’s day at about 5 a.m. Thursday, or earlier if events warrant.

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