Sunday, July 26, 2009

Japanese Experiment Carrier returned to Shuttle

The Canadian robotic arm aboard the international space station has just transfered the Japanese experiment platform over to the space shuttle Endeavour's robotic arm as crews near the completion of its transfer back to the shuttle's payload bay.

Operated by shuttle pilot Doug Hurley, Endeavour's Canadian-built fifty-foot robotic arm captured the platform at 8:52 am EDT. He then informed the space station's robitic arm operator Tim Kopra, inside the Destiny lab, that he can ungrapple the station's arm from the empty white platform.

As a cresent Moon hung in the blackness of space, the two space crafts worked well together as they transfered the Japanese reusable experiment carrier using three arms this morning.

On Tuesday, Endeavour is set to undock from the space station and prepare for her Friday morning landing back here at the Kennedy Space Center.

Also this morning, another space shuttle was on the move back here on earth.

Discovery was moved during the 7AM EDT hour from her processing facility to around the corner to inside the massive vehicle assembly building. There, Discovery will be hoisted later today into the verticle position for mating to her external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters for her lat-August STS-128 mission.

Currently, launch of the next space shuttle flight is set for around August 25th at the earliest. An official target launch date will be announced in a week.

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