Friday, April 16, 2010

Astronauts awake for final full day in space

The crew of shuttle Discovery is awake and ready for its final full day in space before returning to Earth.

"We got a lot of work accomplished and we've still got a little more and we're looking forward to coming home soon," mission specialist Rick Mastracchio said after hearing the wake up call, the theme song from the movie "Stargate."

The little bit of work Mastracchio is referring to includes trying to move the Leonardo cargo module from the International Space Station into Discovery.

Problems with a latch on a robotic arm kept delaying the process and ultimately keeping it from being completed Thursday.

The module was supposed to be in the shuttle's payload bay by early afternoon Thursday.

However, NASA officials decided to put off the final step until today because the astronauts had already put in a full day Thursday.

The crew went to bed with the module in a “low hover position” right above its slot in the payload bay.

This morning's wake up call at 1:21 a.m. was an hour later than originally scheduled. Astronauts will now finish the task and slide the module into the shuttle.

Also on task for today, inspecting Discovery’s thermal protection system before the shuttle crew departs from the ISS early Saturday.

They are due back at Kennedy Space Center early Monday.

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