HOUSTON – Today is the grand opening of the International Space Station’s newest module, a connecting node that will host new laboratory complexes from around the world.
The day began with an Italian wakeup song at 12:39 a.m. “Bellissime Stelle” (Beautiful Stars) by Andrea Bocelli was played for European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli of Italy, the country where the new node, Harmony, was built.
This morning Nespoli, a member of the crew on Space Shuttle Discovery, will work with Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson to outfit the vestibule between Harmony and the Unity module, to which it was installed yesterday during the first spacewalk of the mission. They are scheduled to open the hatch into Harmony at 7:58 a.m. CDT, and the crewmembers will get to enter the module for the first time. They will install a ventilation line to circulate the air and begin setup operations.
Harmony will be relocated to the front of the Destiny laboratory after the shuttle departs, and provide the docking ports for laboratory modules from the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency that are to arrive later this year and early next year.
This morning shuttle Commander Pam Melroy, Pilot George Zamka, and Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson and Doug Wheelock will use the shuttle and station robotic arms to return the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to the starboard payload bay sill. Plans for a focused inspection of Discovery’s thermal protection system were cancelled by mission managers after a thorough review of detailed imagery yielded no evidence of damage that required more examination.
Additional time was added for today’s review of the updated plans for the second spacewalk of the mission, which takes place Sunday morning. In a newly-added task, space station Flight Engineer Dan Tani will visually inspect the truss’ starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint. He will look for possible causes of increased friction in that joint that has been detected for the past month and a half during its rotation for solar array positioning.
Tani also will spend time with astronaut Clay Anderson, his predecessor on Expedition 16, to get acclimated to life on the space station. This afternoon at 1:03 p.m. Anderson will join Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko plus shuttle astronauts Melroy, Zamka, Wilson and Wheelock in the new Harmony node to discuss the mission in interviews with CBS News, FOX News, and WHAM-TV of Rochester, New York, Melroy’s hometown.
At 2:23 p.m. Tani and his spacewalking partner, Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski, will begin their overnight campout pre-breathe inside the Quest airlock as they get prepared for their spacewalk starting at 4:58 a.m. Sunday.
The next STS-120 status report will be issued Saturday afternoon or earlier if events warrant.
Do you like what you read? Then subscribe to my blog by Email!