Friday, November 20, 2009

Atlantis spacewalker awaits daughter's birth

After a successful first spacewalk Thursday, seven Atlantis astronauts today will focus on transferring cargo internally from the shuttle's middeck and preparations for the next spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

It could be a tough for mission specialist and spacewalker Randy Bresnik to concentrate: The 42-year-old Marine lieutenant colonel's wife may deliver a baby girl today in Houston. (The couple already has a son.)

"Anybody who's been through that experience can tell you, sometimes you can't plan those things as well as you would like to," said Brian Smith, lead station flight director for the mission. "So we'll react and deal with it as it happens."

In the afternoon, Bresnik will prepare for the mission's second of three spacewalks, which he'll perform Saturday with Mike Foreman. It will be Bresnik's first spacewalk, Foreman's fifth.

Crewmates will use the shuttle's 50-foot robotic arm to grab a second platform of spare parts in the payload bay, preparing it for a Saturday move to the station.

Mission managers on Thursday waved off the need for a more detailed inspection of heat shields today, freeing up more time for cargo transfer that will prevent a late-mission frenzy. The middeck cargo includes a freezer for storing experiment samples.

The Atlantis crew will also spend some time in the morning and afternoon participating in their first media interviews since launching from Kennedy Space Center at 2:28 p.m. Monday.

Click here to open a NASA TV video player and watch all the day's activity live.

Here's a rundown of the day ahead (all times Eastern):
-- 3:58 a.m. Atlantis crew awakes. (Note: time may be pushed back after a station alarm interrupted sleep and shut down fans around 8:30 p.m. No one was in danger.)
-- 6:08 a.m. Media interviews with CBS News, WTVF-FOX and Fox News Radio.
-- 7:28 a.m. Media interview Tom Joyner morning show.
-- 2:38 p.m. Use shuttle's robotic arm to grapple the second of two spare parts carrier hauled to space in Atlantis' payload bay.
-- 3:23 p.m. Begin review of procedures for Spacewalk No. 2.
-- 4:33 p.m. Interviews with ESPN "SportsCenter," BET NEWS, WRIC-TV.
-- 5:53 p.m. Mission specialists Mike Foreman and Randy Bresnik began pre-spacewalk "campout" in Quest airlock.
-- 6:58 p.m. International Space Station crew sleeps.
-- 7:28 p.m. Atlantis crew sleeps.

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