Friday, April 16, 2010

Cargo Module finally in Discovery's payload bay

The Leonardo cargo module is finally back in Discovery's payload bay ready for the flight home.

Trouble with a latch on the International Space Station delayed the task from Thursday to Friday.

The module was left in a "low hover position" Thursday before astronauts finally turned in for the day, past their scheduled bedtime.

They were able to sleep in an extra hour this morning before finally stowing the module in Discovery's payload bay.

Leonardo brought supplies and experiments up to the space station. This was its seventh trip in orbit and it has one left.

The Italian-made module will be brought back to Kennedy Space Center and prepped for a return on Discovery's final flight in September.

It will carry up supplies for the last time and remain on the space station to be used as a storage closet.

Now that the astronauts have stowed the module for the flight home, they have moved on to their next task - inspecting the shuttle's heat shield.

This is one of the final jobs a crew does before the flight home. Discovery leaves the space station early Saturday morning and retuns to KSC on Monday morning.

Mission control said the crew's making good time today and is actually about an hour ahead of schedule.

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