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Sunday, March 16, 2008 - 4 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-123 MCC Status Report #12
Now almost halfway through their 16-day mission, and with two spacewalks under their belts, space shuttle Endeavour’s crew members will focus on getting the cargo they brought to the station up and running.

The crew members were awakened at 2:43 p.m. with “God of Wonders” by Caedmon’s Call. The song was played for Endeavour’s commander, Dominic Gorie.

Just before the crew went to sleep Sunday morning, flight controllers on the ground began checking out systems on Dextre – the Canadian Space Agency’s Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator. Those tests wrapped up at 6:18 a.m., and were all successful.

Mission Specialist Robert L. Behnken and station Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman will pick up where the ground teams left off. Behnken will go through a series of tests to make sure the brakes on the joints on the two 11-foot arms on the robot work. At 10:48 p.m., Behnken will stow Dextre in the configuration needed for the third spacewalk of the mission by him and Rick Linnehan Monday night, when the assembly of Dextre will be completed.

Behnken and Linnehan will be starting their campout in the Quest Airlock for that spacewalk at 3:43 a.m., but before they do that, they’ll join Mission Specialists Mike Foreman, Reisman and station Commander Peggy Whitson for a set of interviews with reporters on the ground. KMOX Radio in St. Louis, WEWS-TV in Cleveland and WBZ-TV in Boston will be talking with the astronauts at 9:18 p.m. All three stations are all in cities close to crew members’ hometowns: Behnken, Linnehan and Foreman are from Missouri, Massachusetts and Ohio, respectively.

Work inside the Japanese Experiment Logistics Module, Pressurized Section, continues to be ahead of schedule. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takao Doi will be doing get-ahead tasks today for the STS-124 mission, when space shuttle Discovery will bring up the second Japanese component, the large Kibo pressurized laboratory.

The next STS-123 status report will be issued near the end of the crew’s day at about 6 a.m. Monday, or earlier if events warrant.

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