Monday, February 15, 2010

Station crew relocate mating adapter tonight

Crew members aboard the International Space Station tonight relocated a docking port and preparing spacesuits for a Tuesday night orbital walk.

The crews of both the space shuttle Endeavour and station awoke today at 4:14 pm EST, to begin another complex day of robotics and outfitting the newly installed Tranquility nodeand cupola observation module.

They awoke to the music of Tool and the song "Parabola", for Endeavour astronaut and spacewalker Robert Behnken.

Endeavour astronaut Kay Hire used the space station's 57-foot robotic arm to grapple the Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 at 5:40 am this morning. PMA 3 has been unused and resting on the Harmony module.
The mating adapter was delivered to the station by Discovery on STS-92 in October 2000. Station commander Jeffrey Williams and flight engineer Soichi Noguchi began operations to unlatch the docking port from Harmony.

With Robert
Behnken and Nicholas Patrick at the controls, the station's arm slowly moved the PMA 3 over to the forward end of Tranquility where the cupola had been docked a day earlier.

At 9:02 pm, the adapter was docked to the node, and 26 minutes later was firmly latched using 16 bolts.
Also tonight, the crew will begin outfitting the cupola observation module, as well as more work setting up Tranquility.

Later this evening, the crews will receive some 'off-duty' time which will be used to rest and catch up on select unperformed chores; and Behnken and Patrick will begin preparations for Tuesday night's third and final spacewalk of Endeavour's flight.

The duo will enter the Quest airlock and close it's hatch at 7:25 am on Tuesday. They will then depressurize the airlock down to 10.2 psi as they prebreathe pure oxygen to purge the nitrogen out of their systems to keep from getting what underwater divers get known as the bends.

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