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Saturday, March 15, 2008 - 1 a.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-123 MCC Status Report #09
The crews of Space Shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station opened the hatch to the station’s new module, the Japanese Experiment Logistics Module – Pressurized Section (JLP), at 8:23 p.m. CDT Friday. Commander Peggy Whitson and Mission Specialist Takao Doi were the first to enter the new section, the first of three components that eventually will make up the full “Kibo” science laboratory.

The crew also spent the day handing off the shuttle’s Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) from the station’s arm to the shuttle arm. The astronauts will stow the OBSS onto the station’s main truss during the fifth spacewalk of the mission. The arm extension is being left on the station because the size of the main section of Kibo that is to be launched on the next shuttle mission, STS-124, won’t allow it to be carried in Discovery’s cargo bay. The OBSS will be returned to Earth at the end of that mission.

The shuttle’s mission management team met earlier Friday and cleared Endeavour’s thermal protection system for re-entry, scheduled for Wednesday, March 26. As a result of having a clean heat shield, focused inspection is not required.

Toward the end of their day, the combined crews grappled the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM), nicknamed Dextre, with the station’s robotic arm in order to verify Dextre’s power supply unit was operating properly. Early troubleshooting involving sending up a software modification to the pallet on which Dextre currently resides was unsuccessful.

The station’s arm grabbed Dextre at 8:59 p.m. Friday and power was confirmed a few minutes later at 9:10 p.m. Declaring that a success, the stage is set for the second of five planned spacewalks beginning Saturday evening about 7:23 p.m. by Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan and Mike Foreman.

The two astronauts will spend their sleep period in the station’s Quest Airlock in preparation for the spacewalk designed to assemble Dextre’s arms and positioning the robot on the outside of the station.

The next STS-123 status report will be issued after crew wake up Saturday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.

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