Monday, March 23, 2009

Discovery's Third Spacewalk set for Today

Following a busy "off-duty" day on Sunday, the Discovery and space station crews will turn their focus from approaching space debris to today's upcoming spacewalk as astronauts Joe Acaba and Richard Arnold step out on the final spacewalk of Discovery's STS-119 mission.

Spacewalk #3 is set to occur at 11:43 am EDT, this morning, however, it could start several minutes early with Acaba & Arnold ahead in their preparations to depart the space station's Quest airlock.

Once outside, the two will transition over to the Port 3 truss (which is on the station's left side) to, according to Mission Control, "to relocate an equipment cart from one side of the station’s Mobile Transporter to the other; attempt to complete a deploy of a cargo carrier that exhibited a balky handle during the second spacewalk Saturday. They also will deploy a payload attach system and complete work to swap electrical relays to the station’s gyroscopes. One last task will be to lubricate the latching end effector on the station’s robotic arm – a routine maintenance task to prevent stickiness during latching procedures".

On Sunday, while the station crew worked hard to get a urine processor system running, Discovery gave the space station a tug to lower the complexes orbit a tad to avoid a 4-inch piece of space junk from a Chinese Long March rocket.

Discovery's crew [above, Sunday afternoon] were awoken at 6:43 am EDT, to the music Ain't nobody here but us Chickens! - played for mission specialist Steve Swanson - as the shuttle-space station complex flew high 221 statue miles high over Africa's west coast at the beginning of Discovery's 119th orbit of her flight.

With only two days left of joint docked operations, Discovery's crew continues to have a very busy time line as they work to complete supply transfers from shuttle to the station, as well as trash and experiment stow from station to shuttle.

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