6:30 a.m. CST Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-133 MCC Status Report #04
HOUSTON – Space shuttle Discovery has been steadily catching up to the International Space Station overnight and will be making its final docking with the orbiting laboratory at 1:16 p.m.

Discovery’s crew was awakened to begin preparations for the rendezvous at 5:53 a.m. The day’s wake up song was “Woody’s Roundup,” performed by Riders in the Sky, which was played for Mission Specialist Alvin Drew, who is making his second trip to the space station.

The terminal initiation burn, an engine firing that will give Discovery one last big push toward the space station, is scheduled to take place at 10:33 a.m. That should bring Discovery to a point 600 feet below the space station at 12:15 p.m., at which point Commander Steve Lindsey will fly the shuttle in a back flip below the station for the Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver.

As he does so, station Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli and Cady Coleman will be stationed at the windows of the Zvezda service module, armed with 800 mm- and 400 mm-lens cameras, with which to photograph Discovery’s heat shield. The photos will be sent down to specialists on the ground for analysis.

Following the back flip, Lindsey will fly Discovery to a point 310 feet directly in front of the station, and then allow the station to catch up with it for docking. After a series of leak checks, the crews of the two vehicles should be able to open the hatches between them at 3:18 p.m.

Following a welcome ceremony and safety briefing for the stations six visitors, Discovery’s crew will get to work transferring the cargo they’re delivering. Drew, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott will use the shuttle and station robotic arms to remove the Express Logistics Carrier 4 from Discovery’s cargo bay and install it on the starboard side of the station’s truss system. There it will be used to store spare parts, including the spare radiator launched with it.

The next shuttle status report will be issued at the end of the crew’s day or earlier if warranted. The crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 9:53 p.m. Saturday.

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