Midnight CDT Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2009
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-128 MCC Status Report #07
HOUSTON – The 8 tons of supplies, equipment and science experiments that space shuttle Discovery carried into space are now at the International Space Station and ready to be unpacked.

Using the station’s 50-foot-long robotic arm Monday, STS-128 Pilot Kevin Ford and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Mike Barratt removed the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module from the shuttle’s cargo bay and installed it onto the station’s Harmony module. Once attached, Mission Specialist Christer Fuglesang and Flight Engineer Frank DeWinne, both of the European Space Agency, became the first crewmembers to venture inside. They spent the rest of their day preparing the pressurized cargo module for the transfer work that will be performed over the next six days.

The shuttle and station crews already have gotten a start on transferring the cargo brought up inside the shuttle’s middeck. In particular, the mission’s spacewalkers – Mission Specialists Danny Olivas and Jose Hernandez, and Flight Engineer Nicole Stott – worked to move the tools to be used during the three STS-128 spacewalks into the station’s airlock and get them ready for use.

The first of those spacewalks is set to begin 4:49 p.m. Tuesday, as Olivas and Stott head outside the station to begin the task of replacing an empty ammonia tank assembly. They’ll also be retrieving two science experiments that have been attached to the station’s exterior and transferring them to the shuttle’s cargo bay for return to Earth.

Olivas and Stott will spend the night inside the Quest airlock at a lower air pressure to prepare their bodies for work in the vacuum of space. Part of what’s called the “pre-breathe protocol,” the reduced air pressure helps force nitrogen out of the spacewalkers’ blood stream, which protects them from getting decompression sickness, also known as the bends.

Discovery’s crew is scheduled to go to sleep just before 4 a.m. Tuesday and wake up at 11:59 a.m. The next shuttle status report will be issued after the crew wakes up call or earlier if events warrant.

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