Monday, March 16, 2009

Discovery's Crew Prepares for Tile Inspections

The seven member crew of Discovery turned out the lights for the night earlier this morning following a busy launch day which saw a beautiful liftoff over America's spaceport.

The flight crew went to bed at just after 2 am EDT this morning, and will be awoken at about 10:13 am today. Following wake up, the crew will turn their attention toward surveying the tiles and blankets which cover the orbiter and protect it from extreme heat during entry into the earth's atmosphere. Using the ship 50-foot robot arm with an extension attached, the crew will inspect the upper and lower areas for any tile damage caused during launch.

Led by commander Lee Archambault, Discovery's crew of seven includes Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will replace current space station resident Sandy Magnus and stay aboard for three months.

Following heat tile inspection this afternoon, the crew will work to prepare the orbiter for Tuesday afternoon's docking with the space station. Docking is scheduled for 5:13 pm EDT tomorrow. will carry LIVE coverage of the entire mission.

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