Friday, April 16, 2010
A cargo module which resupplied earth's outpost in space for eight days was returned back to it's home in shuttle Discovery's payload bay this morning.
The cargo module Leonardo was unberthed from the International Space Station late on Thursday, and after the crew stopped it's return for eight hours of sleep, they picked up operations and stored it in the payload bay of Discovery.
The Italian-built Leonardo was hard down in the aft section of Discovery's bay at 3:15 am EDT today.
"The payload is in the bay fully latch," Discovery astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger radioed her fellow crew mates in the station's Destiny Lab. "Good job ladies."
Mission specialist Stephanie Wilson with Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki aiding her then slowly backed the robotic arm away from the module.
This came after Mission Control near Houston spent most of the crew's day on Thursday working an unmating issue between the module and the station's docking port.
Once the module departed the station at the end of the complex's robotic arm, it was moved into a low hover position over the shuttle's bay so that the crew could get to bed an hour later than planned.
This morning, Discovery's crew will exercise the craft's own robotic arm to perform one last survey of her thermal tiles and blankets. The crew and Mission Control engineers will be looking for any new micrometeorite debris hits or missed damage which could have occurred from launch day on April 5th.
Discovery's flight will mark the final time in which thirteen humans are in space at one time. The final three space shuttle flight's during the coming months will each carry a crew size of six.
Discovery's crew of seven and the station's crew of six are set to begin their eight-hour sleep period at about 4 PM today.
Discovery is scheduled to depart her port-of-call on Saturday morning at 8:52 am.